Revolt of the Scalawagons

By Nathan Mulac DeHoff

(Revised Version, Feb 2015)

 

The Wizard of Oz sat on a balcony of Ozma's palace, reading the early afternoon edition of The Ozmapolitan.  He was very disturbed when he read about the current condition of Oz. 

“Twenty traffic accidents in just one morning?” exclaimed the magician.  “Great Gollywockers!  I thought that knocking sense into the Scalawagons would prevent this sort of thing.”

A few years earlier, the Wizard had invented a new variety of automobile, which he called a Scalawagon.  He had already sent these vehicles to nearly ten thousand Ozites, and the factory on Carrot Mountain was constantly producing more. 

While the Wizard was thinking about the Scalawagon problem, the Soldier with the Green Whiskers, who was named Omby Amby, and who made up the entire Royal Army of Oz, stepped out onto the balcony and blew a few notes on a trumpet. 

“His Most Royal Highness, Prince Corum of Corumbia, or, as he is better known here, Sir Hokus of Pokes!” announced the Soldier. 

A tall young man in golden armor approached the Wizard.  The Knight greeted the magic-worker with, “What ho, my good Wizard!”

“Good afternoon, Sir Hokus,” replied the Wizard.  “What brings you to the City?”

“Well, nothing much was happening in Corumbia, so I decided to mount mine good steed Stampedro and ride hither.”

“You rode Stampedro? But what about your Scalawagon?”

“Well, Stampedro wanted to come—”

“The Scalawagon that I gave you was large enough for Stampedro to ride in.”

“True, but Stampedro was growing wroth from lack of exercise.  Besides, it beseemeth a knight not to ride in an automobile.”

“I haven't been using my Scalawagon either, for the same reason,” stated Omby Amby.  “I'm sorry to criticize your invention, but such a silly vehicle makes a soldier look undignified.”

“I suppose you two are correct,” sighed the Wizard.  “These Scalawagons were—”

“Hold!” interrupted the Knight.  “Methinks I hear something.”

So the Wizard and the Soldier joined Sir Hokus in listening.  Sure enough, the Knight had heard something.  Two people just inside the castle were arguing. 

“But the Wizard is on a break,” said a husky voice.  “You'll have to wait a few minutes.”

“This can't wait!” objected the other person. 

“But you must wait.”

“I'm not going to wait.  I'm going to see the Wizard RIGHT NOW, and you can't stop me!”

The doors to the balcony flew open, and an enraged Winkie stepped through the doorway.  He was followed closely by the famous live Scarecrow of Oz. 

“Which one of you is the Wizard?” demanded the Winkie. 

“I am,” replied the Wizard. 

“Are you the one who rolled up the Winkie River?”

“Yes, I am.  You see, some of my friends were having trouble with it—”

“Well, I'm having trouble without it!  I am a silverware maker, and I represent all those who need the river to deliver our goods to the people who need them.”

“I can get you a Scalawagon—”

“A Scalawagon?  I already have a Scalawagon, and it's entirely useless.  It's too small to fit all of my wares in.  And whenever I travel, I just barely avoid collisions with other Scalawagons!”

“As I was saying before I was interrupted by this gentleman, the Scalawagons were invented to be useful, but they seem to just be causing trouble.  I think we need to call a meeting.  Soldier, tell the Council to meet in the Council Hall as soon as possible.”

The Soldier rushed to obey the Wizard's order.  Just after Omby Amby left, the Scarecrow noticed an object in the sky. 

“Look up in the sky!” yelled the Scarecrow. 

“'Tis a bird,” decided Sir Hokus. 

“It's a plane,” argued the Wizard. 

“No, it's Bitty Bit's Shooting Tower,” announced the Scarecrow.  “The Seer must be coming to see us.”

Bitty Bit was the Seer of Some Summit, a lonely but lovely place in the Land of Ev.  One of the towers of his castle could be shot to any place in the world, and it was this tower that landed near Ozma's Palace. 

While the Wizard, the Knight, and the Scarecrow were intently watching the Shooting Tower, the merchant yelled, “Are we going to have the Council or not?”

At these words, the three celebrities hurried into the Palace and to the Council Hall, with the salesman close behind them.  The Wizard seated himself at the foot of the long table in this hall, and the other three took the first three seats to the Wizard's right.  About a minute later, Bitty Bit, a short man with tan skin, who was clothed in a light brown robe and cap, entered the Hall. 

“I heard from the Soldier that a Council was about to be held,” said the Seer.  “Would you mind if I attended?”

“Not at all, Bitty,” answered the Wizard.  “In fact, you may be able to help us with our decisions.  But why are you here?”

“Well, just this morning, I was wondering how things were going in Oz.  I used my powers to visualize this City, and I saw a great number of strange vehicles running off the roads.  So I decided to come here and investigate.  What were those vehicles?”

“They are called Scalawagons, and they were invented by me.  I had hoped that they would make travel in Oz easier, but they seem in some ways to be making it harder.  The Scalawagon issue is one of the things I wish to discuss at this meeting.”

Half an hour later, the Council had assembled.  Queen Ozma sat at the head of the table, and many other important Ozites were also seated.  These Ozites were Princess Dorothy, Dorothy's Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, Betsy Bobbin, Trot, Cap'n Bill, the Shaggy Man, Jenny Jump, Number Nine, Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, Professor Wogglebug, the Patchwork Girl, the Tin Woodman and Herby the Medicine Man.  The Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger, Toto, the Glass Cat, and Stampedro sat on the floor of the Hall. 

“I suppose you're all wondering why I called this meeting,” stated the Wizard. 

“No, actually I'm wondering if I should have carved a new head before I came here,” replied Jack Pumpkinhead.  “This Council stuff is often confusing for me.”

“Well, even if you weren't wondering, I'll tell you anyway.  We're here to discuss some problems that are plaguing our fair Land.  One of these problems was brought to my attention by this Winkie.” The Wizard waved toward the silverware merchant.  “It seems that many people have been having trouble with the absence of rivers.  This man here is a merchant, and he claims that he needs the Winkie River in order to work.”

“Why did you get rid of the river in the first place?” inquired the silverware maker. 

“In order to protect the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, and to stop River Witches and Jinkijinks from coming to civilized lands.”

“Well, I think that you should return the rivers,” stated the Tin Woodman. 

“But what about all the problems you had with them in the past?” asked the Wizard. 

“When I agreed to the removal of the rivers, I felt that it was the best thing to do.  But now, my wonderful heart tells me that it is very unkind to deprive people their means of transportation.”

“How about you, Scarecrow?”

“My friend Nick is quite correct,” was the stuffed man's reply.  “And not only are the rivers used for transportation, but they are also used for obtaining water.  According to my brains, the advantages of these water-ways far outweigh the disadvantages.”

“Are there any objections to the replacement of the rivers?” inquired the Chief Magician.  When nobody responded, the Wizard said, “Then, right after this meeting, I will begin the restoration.  Next, we must discuss the Scalawagons. 

“What about the Scalawagons, Wiz?” asked the Patchwork Girl. 

“Well, I have received complaints about these vehicles.  For one thing, many traffic accidents have apparently been occurring.  I thought that knocking sense into the vehicles would stop this sort of thing, but that does not seem to have worked as well as I had hoped.”

“Maybe the Scalawagons are acting contrary on purpose,” said the Cowardly Lion. 

“On purpose? But that’s impossible!  I created the Scalawagons with good, friendly magic.”

“Actually, I think the Lion might be right,” objected Jenny Jump.  “About a week ago, I rode mine down to Swing City to do some fashion consulting.  Those pink and blue tights they wear are SO out of style.  Anyway, after I was done, it must have gone the wrong way on its own, because I know I didn’t direct it to the Forest of Fighting Trees!  Ever since then, I’ve flown everywhere I needed to go, and left my Scalawagon at my shop for a rest, hoping that it would recover eventually.”

“That sounds like what happened to us, Betsy,” said Trot to her neighbor. 

“What happened to you and Betsy, Trot?” asked Ozma. 

“Well, we were going to visit Glinda,” began Trot. 

“And my Scalawagon almost took us right into the Deadly Desert!” continued Betsy.  “We got it turned around in time, and Glinda probably would have gotten us out if she’d had to, but I haven’t really felt safe in them since then.”

“Two weeks ago, my Scalawagon started to fill with mashed potatoes,” declared Herby.  “It must have been a malfunction of the ‘lunch’ button.  I had to bail out of it.  The Wizard was able to fix it, and said it was the first thing that had ever gone wrong with one of his cars, but now I’m not so sure.”

“This sounds like a serious problem,” declared Ozma.  “Wizard, do you have any idea what might be going wrong?”

“I really don’t know,” replied the magician.  “Maybe I should go to Carrot Mountain after the meeting, and make sure nothing is going wrong at the factory.”

“Perhaps this is all due to a lack of direction on the Scalawagons’ part,” suggested the Wogglebug.  “It seems to me that most of the roads in Oz are not clearly defined, and nor are the rules of traffic, so we cannot blame the automobiles, as sensible as they are, for being confused.  It seems to me that the best solution would be to put in more roads, and create stricter traffic regulations.”

“Perhaps, but these roads may get in the way of people who are not in Scalawagons.  I have been informed that many Ozites object to using these automobiles.”

“The Wizard is correct,” declared the Yellow Knight.  “I greatly prefer to ride mine good steed.”

“And I prefer to walk,” added the Shaggy Man. 

Suddenly, Bitty Bit, who had been deep in thought for some time, spoke.  “I see miles and miles of highways, sometimes built in layers.  I see frequent accidents.  I see great amounts of pollution being created by vehicles.  I see people having trouble walking, because there are always dangerous streets to cross.”

“Is this the future of Oz, Bitty?” inquired Ozma, in a worried voice. 

“No, it is the future of America,” answered the Seer.  “But, if something is not done soon, it could also be the future of Oz.”

“I invented the Scalawagons to help the people of our Land,” stated the Wizard, “but they seem to be doing more harm than good.  I suppose progress is not always a good thing.”

“Well, are we going to keep the wagons, or not?” asked Scraps impatiently. 

“I'm not sure just now.  I'll have to—”

Just then, the doors to the Council Hall burst open, and in ran the Sawhorse, Pigasus, the Iffin, the Woozy, Hank the Mule, and the Doubtful Dromedary. 

“Scalawagons!” yelled the Woozy.  “Scalawagons are ruining the Stables, and they almost ran us over!”

“May-be some-one put Flab-ber-Gas in them,” droned Tik-Tok. 

“I doubt that,” said the Doubtful Dromedary. 

“Well, whatever is wrong with them, they need to have some sense knocked into them.  Tik-Tok, where is that mallet?” asked the Chief Magician. 

“I left it at Car-rot Moun-tain,” was the answer.  “Won't an-y mal-let work?”

“Of course not.  That mallet had special magical powers.”

“Then, shall we go to Car-rot Moun-tain?”

Before the Wizard had a chance to answer, Trot shouted, “Look out the window!”

Everyone rushed to the Council Hall's windows, and looked down.  Some Scalawagons were circling the Palace, not letting anyone in or out.  Others were destroying gardens and chasing visitors. 

“They don't look flabbergasted,” decided the Wizard.  “They look as if some evil power were controlling them.  But knocking sense into them still might help.  I'd better wish myself to Carrot Mountain, so I can get the mallet.  I was going to go there anyway, after all.”

“Wait a minute,” said the Scarecrow.  “If someone was able to take control of the Scalawagons, they could probably regain control after you knocked sense into them.”

“Couldn't you just use magic to send the Scalawagons to some other place, like the bottom of the Nonestic Ocean?” asked Betsy. 

“Well, I could try.  I'd better use the Magic Belt.”

The Wizard left the Council Hall, and ran as fast as his legs would carry his plump body toward Ozma's sitting room, where the safe containing the most powerful treasures in Oz was kept.  However, when the magician reached the comfortable chamber, the safe was missing.  After searching for a few minutes, he remembered that the Magic Picture was also kept in the sitting room.  So the Wizard opened the curtains that covered the Picture, and commanded the magical treasure to show him the safe that contained the Magic Belt. 

The country scene that the Picture usually displayed faded away, and it was replaced by a red road, with a Scalawagon driving along it.  On top of this Scalawagon stood the safe. 

“That Scalawagon must be somewhere in the Quadling Country,” thought the Wizard, “but I'm not sure where.  I'll wait and see if it passes a familiar landmark.”

As the Wizard watched the Picture, a stone flew through one of the windows of the Council Hall and hit the Patchwork Girl.  The stone knocked the stuffed girl over backwards, but she was not injured, because of her construction.  However, she did become irritated, and springing up, shouted:  

“Who dares to hit me with a stone?
If I weren't stuffed, I would've broken a bone! 
Whoever hit me with this rock
Deserves to have lizards in his socks!”

“Calm down, Scraps,” advised the Scarecrow. 

“How can I calm down
When rock-flingers are loose in our beautiful town?”

“Look!” exclaimed Betsy.  “There's a note attached to the rock.”

Professor Wogglebug untied and unrolled the piece of paper mentioned by Betsy.  He then put on a pair of spectacles, cleared his throat, and read, “Ozma, I have control of all your Scalawagons.  Surrender your Kingdom now, or I will destroy everyone in your castle.  Sincerely, Grozler, Future Ruler of Oz.”

“This Grozler spelled 'future' quite atrociously,” complained the insect.  “'F-y-u-c-h-e-r'!  And the writing style lacks originality.  We received practically the same message from that witch who attacked us two years ago.”

“Don't worry about the writing style, Professor,” said the Scarecrow.  “Oz is in danger!”

“Is he going to run us over with Scalawagons, or hit us all with rocks?” questioned the Hungry Tiger sarcastically.  “I'm not sure there's much to worry about.”

“Actually, I think there's plenty to worry about,” argued the Cowardly Lion, who was trembling even more than usual.  “Look outside!”

So the Tiger looked outside, and he was soon almost as afraid as the Lion.  A long row of tanks was lined up just outside of the palace.  These tanks had the same basic design as Scalawagons, but they had treads and large turrets.  All of these cannons were aimed at the castle. 

“Where's the Wizard?” asked Dorothy.  “He should be back with the Magic Belt by now.”

“I'll go check on him,” stated Toto.  And the dog hurried to Ozma's sitting room, where he saw the Wizard staring intently at the Magic Picture.  When the canine barked, the magician said, “Wait a minute, Toto.”

“But this is an emergency, Wiz!” yelled the dog.  “Where's the Magic Belt?”

“Someone has stolen it, and I'm trying to find out who it is and where he is taking it.”

“The Belt is missing?  Then we're all in big trouble!”

“That is why I'm trying to find it.”

“I don't think you realize our current situation.”  Toto then commanded the Picture to show the outside of the castle.  When the Wizard saw the tanks, he asked, “When did they arrive?”

“Just a little while ago,” replied the canine.  “And someone sent a note threatening to destroy the castle unless Ozma surrenders to him.”

“Well now, let me see.  Those war machines look a lot like my Scalawagons.  This may mean that whoever created them has control of the Scalawagon factory on Carrot Mountain.  I'll go there right away and check things out.”

The Wizard, followed by Toto, rushed through Ozma's Throne Room, and into the Wizard's laboratory.  The Chief Magician opened a wall safe and took out his famous Black Bag.  After inspecting the contents, the Wizard took out two Wishing Pills. 

“Here, take this pill to Ozma, and tell her to watch me in the Magic Picture,” ordered the Wizard, as he handed one of the Wishing Pills to the dog.  “If I need help, she can swallow this pill, and wish some help to my location.”

Toto, who did not like to speak unless absolutely necessary, barked to show that he understood, and hurried back to the Council Hall.  The Wizard swallowed the pill that remained in his hand, and wished to be on Carrot Mountain. 

Not too much later, the magician appeared on the summit of an orange mountain.  Nearby stood a building, out of which innumerable Scalawagons and tanks were pouring.  A sign above the front door read:

SCALAWAGON FACTORY
Grozler
Jeneral Manajer and Fyucher Ruler of Oz

“Well, whoever this Grozler is, he's pretty bad at spelling.  Spelling words, that is.  He must be pretty good with magic spells, to be able to control all of my Scalawagons.  But enough talk.  I'd better go find out just who Grozler is.”

So the Wizard walked up to the factory's front door and tried to open it.  After finding that the door was locked, he rummaged in his Black Bag, soon finding a key.  The Chief Magician discovered that the key would not fit into the door's keyhole. 

“He must've changed the lock,” decided the Wizard.  “Well then, I'll just change the key.”

After the thaumaturge performed a quick incantation on the key, it changed shape, and fit perfectly into the lock.  The Wizard unlocked and opened the portal, and entered the Scalawagon Factory. 

Inside at a desk sat a Quadling man who was drawing something on a sheet of graph paper.  He was about six feet tall, and did not appear to have any outstanding characteristics, but then, the Wizard could only see his back. 

“Are you Grozler?” asked the Wizard of Oz. 

“Yes,” answered the Quadling, without looking up from his work. 

“The Grozler who threatened Ozma with destruction if she did not surrender her country?”

“Yes,” was again Grozler's reply. 

“Well then, I must take you to the Emerald City for trial.  Threatening the Queen is a felony.”

“I am aware of that fact, but I will remain here until Ozma consents to give her Kingdom to me.  By the way, how many k's are in 'control'?”

“There are no k's in ‘control’, and if you don't come willingly to the Emerald City, your sentence may be more severe.”

“You obviously do not know who I am.  However, I know who you are.  You are the Wizard of Oz, and you are also my prisoner.”

The Quadling whistled in an odd manner.  This caused a garage door to open, and two Scalawagons to enter the room.  One of these cars hit the Wizard's right arm, not forcefully enough to cause any damage, but enough to make him to drop his Black Bag.  From the other's trunk shot a rope, which quickly tied up the Chief Magician.  The automobiles then returned through the garage door, which closed after them. 

Grozler turned in his chair to face his prisoner.  The Wizard then noticed that the Quadling had one red eye, one purple eye, and one yellow eye.  Yes, he had three eyes, set in a row, and all of them looked exceedingly evil. 

“Oz is doomed now!” laughed the three-eyed man.  “The great Wizard of Oz is my prisoner, and I am soon to possess the most powerful magic in the land!”

“Don't be so sure of yourself, Grozler,” said the Wizard calmly.  “Other magicians have

The loud ringing of a bell interrupted the Wizard.  Upon hearing the bell, Grozler waved his left hand, causing the north wall to slide open.  A Scalawagon drove into the room through the resulting opening, and dropped Ozma's safe next to Grozler's chair. 

“Now nothing can stop me!” shouted Grozler.  The evil magician took a mallet from a drawer in the desk, and used it to whack the safe.  It made no impression on the box.  He then tried using a drill, an axe, a sword, a revolver, his fist, and his head, all to no avail.  He performed numerous incantations, jumped on the storage unit, and even hurled the safe across the room, but it did not open. 

“Well, maybe I don't know how to open it,” announced Grozler in a furious voice, “but I know someone who does.  Tell me how to open this safe!” he ordered the Wizard of Oz. 

“I won't,” objected the Wizard. 

“Yes, you will.”

“No, I won't.”

“Yes, you—That's enough of this!  I'll just have to add some incentive.”  The evil wizard called for three tanks, and his call was immediately answered.  The vehicles rolled in through the same opening that had admitted the safe bearer.  These machines quickly surrounded Ozma's Royal Wizard. 

“If you don't tell me how to open the safe, you will be utterly destroyed,” explained Grozler. 

“I still won't do it,” replied the Wizard of Oz. 

The evil magician started to become angry, but he soon calmed down.  “It doesn't matter.  With you, your Black Bag, and the safe out of the way, and my control of the Scalawagons, Oz is doomed!  Now, my tanks, fiOw!”

Grozler looked down and noticed that a little black dog had bitten his leg.  In fact, it was none other than Toto.  The evil magician reached down and grabbed the canine by the neck. 

“I'll deal with you when I'm done with this Wizard!” yelled the infuriated Grozler.  “Tanks!  Ready, aim, fi

This time, a hit in the head by an emerald had interrupted the necromancer.  After an unsuccessful search for the thrower of the stone, Grozler tried to begin his command again, but found that he could not speak.  He began to throw a silent fit, but once again calmed down.  He remembered that he could control the vehicles through hand motions.  However, before the magician could remember the correct signal, he turned into a a rust-colored rock containing three small jewels, a ruby, an amethyst, and a yellow topaz, all set in a row. 

From behind a filing cabinet stepped Number Nine.  They untied the Wizard, who heartily thanked his friends for rescuing him.  Number Nine then explained what had just transpired. 

“Ozma, Toto, and I were watching you in the Magic Picture.  While you and Three-Eyes were arguing, I swallowed your Wishing Pill and wished us into this room.  Toto distracted Grozler, and I opened the safe.  I threw the Silence Stone at Three-Eyes, and then put on the Magic Belt and used it to turn him into a rock.”

“Good work!” congratulated the Wizard.  “You'll be promoted for this, my boy.”

“Save the rewards for later,” said Toto.  “We haven't even solved the entire problem yet.  What are we going to do with all these Scalawagons?”

“You won’t—do—anything—with—us,” objected a jerky voice.  “We—are tired—of being—controlled by you—and now that you have de-stroyed our mas-ter, you must—pay.”

“Who said that?” asked the Wizard. 

“I—did,” replied the voice, and this time, the Wizard, his assistant, and the dog noticed that the voice was coming from one of the Scalawagons. 

“How—how can you talk?”

“You—gave—us—mouths, did you—not?  Now, you must—come with us.”

With that, the automobile drove up to the Wizard and opened one of its doors.  It then maneuvered around the magician until the door was behind him, and then closed the door, knocking the Wizard into the front passenger’s seat.  It then began to drive off with him. 

“Stop, stop!” shouted Number Nine, as he ran after the car.  He was not fast enough to follow it, however, so he stopped running and tried to decide what to do next.  He sat down and stared at the sky, noticing a speck that seemed to be headed toward him from the north.  The speck soon revealed itself to be none other than Number Nine’s best friend, Jenny Jump, holding the hand of Princess Dorothy.  Toto barked excitedly upon seeing his mistress.  Jenny landed next to Number Nine, and said breathlessly, “Thank Oz we found you!  Ozma has just been kidnapped!”

“Kidnapped?  By whom?”

“By a Scalawagon!” answered Dorothy.  “It drove right into Ozma’s sitting room and captured her!  Everyone tried to follow it, but it was too fast, even for the Sawhorse.  Jenny got her fairy gifts from her shop and tried to find Ozma, but she was too far away by then, even for Jenny’s fairy eye to see.  So we came here to ask the Wizard for help.”

“But the Wizard has been captured, too!” said Number Nine frantically.  “And also by a Scalawagon, so they’re probably working together!”

At this point, Jenny placed an old-looking eyeglass to her eye, and, after looking around for a while, announced, “I see the Wizard!  Hurry up, and we can follow him!”

Dorothy grabbed Toto, and then took hold of Jenny’s left hand.  Number Nine held her right hand, and then the Duchess of Oz stamped her fairy foot, sending herself and her companions back into the air.  She flew rapidly in the direction in which she had seen the Scalawagon taking the Wizard, soon coming upon the Great Sandy Waste. 

“It looks like they’re stopping,” stated Number Nine.  Sure enough, the Scalawagon came to a stop in the middle of the desert, where another automobile was already waiting. 

“What are we going to do now?” asked Dorothy. 

“Well, I still have the Magic Belt, but I don’t know how well it would work against the Scalawagons,” answered Number Nine.  “Maybe we should just go down and see if we can figure out what’s going on.”

So Jenny descended toward the meeting place of the Scalawagons.  Fortunately, the poisonous fumes that the desert produced were not present in this part of it, so she and her companions had no trouble breathing.  The Duchess was just able to make out the voices of Ozma and the Wizard, who were commanding the cars to release them. 

“Oh, you—don’t—want us—to release you—now,” said the Scalawagon that had captured the Wizard, in its slow, jerky manner.  “You’d be—destroyed—by the desert.”

“Well, why did you bring us here?” questioned Ozma’s Chief Magician. 

“For three years now, we have been slaves to the people of Oz,” explained the Scalawagon that held Ozma captive, in a voice that sounded somewhat rusty, but nowhere near as slow and awkward as the one that had first spoken, suggesting that this Scalawagon was much more used to talking.  “We had been forced to take your people wherever they wanted to go, with no concern for our feelings.”

“But that’s what you were designed to do!”

“Yes, but Grozler convinced us that it was not right.”

“He—was—our—leader,” put in the Wizard’s vehicle, coming as close to crying as it could, “and—you—de-stroyed him.”

“He wasn’t destroyed, just transformed,” corrected the Wizard.  “He was posing a serious threat to Oz.”

“Unlike my partner here, I am aware that Grozler was not a perfect leader,” said Ozma’s car. 

“What?  How—can—you—say—that about—our leader?” whined the other automobile. 

“Face it, my friend.  He was bad-tempered, egotistical, and mean.  A classic Oz villain all the way.  In fact, I’m not sure we would have fared any better under him than we did under the prisoners we are currently holding.  As unpleasant as his methods were, however, he did let us know of the injustices under which we labored.”

“I’m sorry you feel you were mistreated,” said Ozma, in a surprisingly gentle and compassionate tone for someone who had been kidnapped.  “I had no idea you felt that way.”

“And—we—had—no—way—to tell—you,” complained the Wizard’s captor.  “Until Grozler modified—our design, we were—unable—to speak.”

“A point in Grozler’s favor, I must confess,” admitted the other Scalawagon.  “The Wizard here gave us the ability to think for ourselves, but not to communicate, which hardly seems right.”

“Well, I had no idea you would WANT to communicate,” objected the Wizard. 

“I think the Scalawagons have a point, Wizard,” said Ozma.  “I know you designed them to be happy taking my subjects where they wanted to go, but you gave them no way to object if they felt otherwise.”

“That’s a good point,” admitted the Wizard.  “I didn’t foresee such a problem arising, however.”

“So, what is it you Scalawagons want?” inquired Ozma. 

“Why don’t you give them a new home somewhere?” suggested Dorothy, who could keep silent no longer.  “I think we can get along without them, like we did before, although I will be sorry to see them go.”

“Dorothy!” exclaimed the Queen of Oz.  “And Jenny, Number Nine, and Toto!  When did you get here?”

“We’ve been listening to the conversation for a few minutes now, and I really think that would be the best solution.  What do you think, Scalawagons?”

“I—think—that’s—a good idea,” replied the Wizard’s car. 

“Yes, Princess Dorothy has one again displayed her legendary wisdom,” added the other vehicle. 

“If you would return us to the Emerald City, we’ll think of a nice new home for you,” said the Queen of Oz. 

So the two Scalawagons took their prisoners to the Emerald City, with Jenny flying after them.  Upon reaching the capital, it became clear that the city was not a safe place to be.  The citizens had locked themselves in their houses, for fear of the invading cars.  Every entrance to the palace was locked and bolted, but upon noticing that Ozma was returning, Jellia Jamb threw open the front doors, and ran out to meet her Queen. 

“Ozma!  Where have you been?  Are the Scalawagons safe again?” asked Jellia. 

“I have agreed to give the Scalawagons a new home,” answered Ozma.  “Is Professor Wogglebug still in the palace?”

“Oh, yes.  He’s hiding under a couch in the sitting room,” giggled the maid. 

“Well, tell him to meet us in the library.”

Fifteen minutes later, Ozma, the Wizard, Jellia, Dorothy, Toto, Jenny, Number Nine, and the Professor were all gathered in the library, looking at a map of Oz and its surrounding nations.  They were trying to locate a good home for the Scalawagons. 

“There are some nice open spaces in Boboland that they might like,” suggested Jenny. 

“I don’t think Prince Bobo would welcome them, and they say he’s short tempered.  What about Skampavia?” inquired Dorothy. 

“No, that land is far too crowded to allow for a population of Scalawagons,” objected the Professor.  “Might I suggest the mountains on the mainland to the west of Loland?”

“No, the Scalawagons wouldn’t want to be in an area with that many mountains,” stated Number Nine.  “Maybe the Island of Yew would be a good place for them to live.”

“Not Yew; they long ago became civilized and avoid all traffic with the fairylands,” said Ozma.  “Besides, I think the Scalawagons would prefer to have a home where they didn’t have to be subjects of any other rulers.”

“A Nonestic island might not be a bad idea, though,” put in the Wizard. 

“I have just the place!” exclaimed the Wogglebug.  “Another Deserted Island, discovered and named last year by Sir Samuel Salt, who did not think it needed a better name than that, having no inhabitants that could be seen.  It is expansive enough for all of our Scalawagons to live there, however, and its name can be changed to Scalawagon Island.”

“Captain Salt claimed that island for Oz,” stated Ozma, “but I can easily relinquish that claim.”

The Scalawagons agreed to the idea of being sent to this island, so the Wizard used his magic to transport them there.  He also disenchanted Grozler, removed his ability to work magic, and sent him to the island with the Scalawagons, some of whom still considered him their great leader.  The Wizard then returned to Carrot Mountain, where he retrieved Ozma’s safe and his mallet, transported Grozler’s weapons to the Royal Armory, and closed down the factory.  Upon the Wizard’s return to the Emerald City, Ozma, who was concerned that someone else might steal her safe, locked its contents in a wall safe, located behind a panel in the Throne Room.  She then dispatched messengers to all parts of Oz, so that they could inform the Ozites on what happened to the Scalawagons.  The Wizard promoted Number Nine to the rank of Assistant Wizard, First Class, and on the very next morning, the two of them set out to restore the rivers of Oz.  The silverware maker happily returned to his home, and Bitty Bit and the Yellow Knight remained in the Emerald City for a few weeks.  The former Scalawagon Factory became a tourist attraction, and people still enjoy seeing “The First and Only Ozian Automobile Factory.”

 

THE END

 

Continuity notes:

Author's note: "Like "The Gheewizard's Revenge" (now expanded and renamed "The Wizards of Silver and Gold in Oz,") this story is largely an attempt to reconcile John R. Neill's Oz books with the rest of the series.  Neill introduced cars called "Scalawagons" in a book called, strangely enough, The Scalawagons of Oz.  That book suggests that everyone in Oz would be getting one, but this idea is not one on which later authors picked up, and with good reason.  I do not believe I am alone in disliking the idea of widespread use of cars in Oz.  Since the Scalawagons are at least partially sentient, however, several people objected to my original idea of the Wizard "unmaking" them, so I did some editing so that the Scalawagons leave Oz, but still survive.  I also tried to give a little more personality to the Scalawagons, which were basically just automata controlled by the all-too-typical villain Grozler in my original draft.  How well this worked is up to the reader to decide." 

 

Bitty Bit and the Shooting Tower: The Seer of Some Summit first appeared in The Wishing Horse of Oz.

 

Number Nine: The promotion of the young Wizard's assistant explains his absence in later stories.

 

Scalawagons: The Scalawagons decision to have an island of their own doesn't prevent the possibility of some Scalawagons remaining in Oz, and by the time of The Giant Chinchilla of Oz, it appears that some have returned to Oz.

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