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Wizard of Flaws

copyright 2001, by Nyx Fixx

Disclaimer:    The Wizard of Oz was written by L. Frank Baum. The characters used here were created by Thomas Harris.  They are used without permission, but in the spirit of admiration and respect.  No infringement of copyright is intended, and no profit, of any kind, is made by the creator, maintainer or contributors to this site.

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Part 1

Special Agent Dorothy Gale sat at her abominably ugly institutional gray desk, and tried, once more, to quiet her pet.

"Toto," she pleaded. "You've got to stop that screaming. You'll get us in trouble."

The small white lamb, unmoved by her pleas, threw its woolly head back and shrieked like a steam whistle.

Deputy Assistant Inspector General Elmira Gulch came swaggering towards her desk, fuming as he came.

"Gale - shut that goddamn thing up! What the hell is it doing in here in the first place? No pets on the job, that's Bureau SOP, and you know it!"

"I'm sorry, Mr. Gulch - we're outta here in five - Toto's due for his annual shearing at the vet today, and I needed to stop by the office for a few things. I just brought him with. He's a lot worse if I leave him in the car."

Toto had been screaming continuously throughout the entire exchange, and it would have been difficult to imagine how he could possibly be worse. But Gulch did not stop to consider this question.

"Well, you'll just have to hand him over. I'm impounding him!"

Dorothy knew, had known for years, that Gulch was a first class sonofabitch. She had once asked the Bureau's most respected forensic psychiatrist, Alan Bloom, if he had any idea just what was wrong with Elmira Gulch. Bloom had spouted a lot of psychiatric jargon about inadequacy issues and impotence anxiety, but had particularly stressed the psychic discomfort produced by living life as a man named "Elmira". He'd concluded that at least one of Deputy Assistant Gulch's' parents must have been a certifiable sadist.

But this was a new low, even for Gulch. Impound Toto? Over her dead body!

"Mr. Gulch, I formally protest," she said, shouting to be heard above the racket Toto was making. "There is no Bureau standard protocol for the impounding of personal pets!"

"You don't want me to take little Toto away?" inquired Gulch with a nasty grin.

"I'm saying you have neither right nor precedent to take him away, Mr. Gulch."

"I might reconsider, Gale, if you'd agree to join me for dinner tonight. ‘Nudes on Ice' is playing at the Kit Kat Dinner Theater . . ."

"I think not, Mr. Gulch." Dorothy said.

"No? Well then, would you consider a drink over at the Hideaway Lounge?"

"No, I wouldn't."

"How about a blow-job?"

"You unbelievable creep," Dorothy snarled through her teeth.

"Is that a 'no'?" he asked. "I've got a couple minutes between appointments."

Dorothy took a moment to decide between marching into Section Chief Auntie Em's office to report a grievance, or just pulling her weapon and blowing Gulch to smithereens. Eventually, Auntie Em won out. She rose from her desk and tucked Toto under her arm, smothering his screams somewhat by tucking his muzzle into her armpit.

"I'm going to Section Chief Auntie Em with this, Gulch! You're not getting tumble one from me - and you're not getting your mitts on my lamb!"

She fairly sprinted for the Section Chief's office down the hall, with Gulch close on her heels (and, no doubt, watching her rear every step of the way).

Auntie Em was in his office, snorting nasal spray and gobbling St. John's Wort tablets like there was no tomorrow. Bloom had once speculated that perhaps Auntie Em's parents had used the same twisted baby-name book that had blighted Gulch's life.

"Hey, Gale," he said as she burst in. "Want some Alka Seltzer?"

"Section Chief Auntie Em -” she began, but Gulch interrupted her.

"Look here, Auntie Em, Gale can't bring that loudmouth thing in here, and she knows it! I've warned her before and -”

"You have NOT!" Dorothy interjected.  "He's never even SEEN Toto before, Auntie Em! He's lying, as usual. Besides, he just asked me for a goddamn blow-job!"

"I didn't either, you little cornpone country -”

"Call me that again and I'll blow your fucking head off!" Dorothy interrupted, having heard this particular mode of address from Gulch before.

"Umm. Well. I'M gonna have some," Auntie Em put in. "Alka Seltzer, I mean. Sure you guys don't want any?"

Toto chose this moment to snake his little head out from under Dorothy's arm and screech at the ceiling of Auntie Em's office.

"Uh, have you asked the vet about that constant screaming, Gale?" Auntie Em inquired. "You have to admit, he just never seems to shut up. Maybe he needs some Alka Seltzer."

"Can't you forget about the freakin' Alka Seltzer for two seconds at a time, Auntie Em?" Gulch demanded. "I intend to impound that lamb, and there's not a damn thing you can do to stop me!"

Dorothy looked to Auntie Em for an answer. He took an extra large swallow from his fizzing glass and looked into her eyes.

"Actually, Gale, he's right," he admitted.  "As far as providing the slightest bit of help or support for you or any of the agents under my jurisdiction, I'm a dead loss. All I can do is provide you with disastrous and highly questionable assignments and hold out on you about what my true motives are. You might as well give Toto up. Why you want to keep a pet that screams like that all the time is a bit beyond me anyhow."

"But I've had him since I was ten," Dorothy said, her eyes already beginning to mist. "It's true, I don't really like him much, but he is mine, so I guess it's my responsibility to keep him. Can't you do anything, Auntie Em?"

"Not really, Gale," he answered. "I can give you the case file on the radioactive waste dump murders, if you want. You could go out there and sift through the evidence . . . it's still a little "hot" out at the crime scene, if you know what I mean, but you'd probably be all right. Still, I'm afraid Toto's got to go."

Gulch grinned like an entire school of piranha. Weeping, Dorothy handed him the squirming, screaming lamb. Toto, as soon as he realized he was in the arms of a stranger, trebled his customary volume, and a glass jar full of individual Alka Seltzer packets on Auntie Em's desk shattered spontaneously.

"See ya later, Gale," Gulch gloated, and walked out of the office. Toto's constant screams diminished in volume as Gulch walked away down the hall.

Dorothy couldn't resist an accusing glare at Auntie Em.

"Some mentor you turned out to be," she told him bitterly.

"Well, Gale, you know how it is. Here's the waste dump file, if you want it. Sure you won't reconsider about that Alka -”

"NO! Don't say it!!" she interrupted, at the absolute limit of her patience and self control. "Look, Auntie Em, I'm getting out of here, okay? I'm taking the rest of the day off."

"Yeah, whatever, Gale," he said. "Relax, get your nails done or something. Best thing for you. We can talk about this waste dump case tomorrow. Oh, by the way, you might want to consider garaging your Mustang pretty soon. I heard on the radio we're supposed to be expecting a force five tornado . . .”he broke off as he consulted his wristwatch.

"Should be blowing through here in, say, the next twenty minutes. Is your reserved parking still on the structure roof, Gale?"


Part 1 of 17

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copyright 2001, by Nyx Fixx

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