© copyright 1966 Roger Price


Isolated from the world of humans by the Deadly Desert, and protected by the powerful magic of its' Ruler, Ozma, the marvelous Land of Oz had existed since the beginning of time.

So when the Dhroobs first appeared before the gates of the Emerald City, shouting and carrying their home-made picket signs, it caused no alarm.

Only the Scarecrow, who had magic brains given him by the famous Wizard of Oz, seemed uneasy. He hurried to the Royal Palace to try to persuade the lovely Ozma that the Dhroobs were potentially dangerous.

"Everything is contagious," he said. "There is psychic contagion as well as physical contagion. The Bad drives out the good. Once the omelet has been burned, it is too late to drown the rooster."

Ozma's musical laugh rippled thru the Throne Room. "My dear, old friend," she said, "you may have brains, but, unlike the Tin Woodman, you have no heart. If these people from the Deadly desert wish to come to the Emerald City and share our life, we must make them welcome. They are, after all, creatures just like us."

"They are not like ME," said the Scarecrow.

"Should I drive you from Oz because you are stuffed with straw instead of flesh and blood?"

"Oh, no, no, no, no" said the Scarecrow nervously. "I'm as broadminded as the next Scarecrow. I have nothing against the Dhroobs because they are not colored."

The Dhroobs, it was true, were not colored. The people of Oz consisted of the Muchkins, who were blue, the Quadlings who were red, and the Winkies who were yellow. Centuries of living in the hot, desert land had, however, bleached the Dhroobs so that they were a grey, pasty white.

"What worries me," the Scarecrow said, "is....well....they're mortal."

"So was dear Dorothy," said Ozma. "There is no harm in mortals. Besides, the Dhroobs are as they are because they were born in the deadly Desert, so it is not their fault....and it is well known that: Whatever there is an excuse for, does not exist."

"Glom!" said the Scarecrow, scratching his head and sifting a handful of straw onto the floor.

"Once the Dhroobs are given ADVANTAGES and are allowed to express themselves they will become Pussy Cats. They will love us because we are so good."

"Good," said the Scarecrow sententiously, "is a word we use to describe ourselves. Good is a self-serving concept. An objective Good pre- supposes an external Intelligence which controls us. Good is God: Good is.."

"Oh shut up, you animated mouse-nest!" said Ozma, stamping her tiny foot. "I'm running the country, and I say we let the Dhroobs in and that's that!


And so the Dhroobs were not only welcomed, but encouraged to come to the Emerald City.

Each one was greeted at the gate by Ozma, and all were given lovely homes with gardens and bathrooms. Exquisite clothing was made to their measure and fresh food was delivered daily to their doors.

"Oh, how those creatures must love me," exclaimed Ozma. "How happy they must be."

But, strangely, the Dhroobs were not happy. They were suspicious of the food delivered to their doors and would eat only hamburgers, pizzas and french fries cooked in rancid oil. The Oz food, they whispered, was Magic and part of a Plot.

They next complained that the Oz air - unlike the atmosphere of the Deadly Desert - was flat and had no kick to it. They began burning the clothes provided for them in small stoves, producing acrid clouds of noxious fumes with which they filled their homes.

Then they demanded that something be done about the un-natural silence in the city. A delegation called on Ozma. "Look, lady, ya better get onna ball," their Spokesman said, "First ya try to poison us, then ya try to strangle us, now ya try to drive us nuts. Gahdammit, we wanna little action. We're fun people, ya know whadd I mean?"

So Ozma, using her most powerful magic, created thousands of tiny boxes from which constantly issued a dreadful cacaphony. These seemed to distract the younger Dhroobs, who walked about with the boxes pressed to their ears.

But the general dissatisfaction increased. "They're tryin' ta get us," the Dhroobs said. "They think because they're handsome and strong and generous and ambitious and smart and also immortal that they're better'n us. So we gotta get THEM." Several 100% Patriotic Societies were formed to combat anti- Dhroogisim and subversive Magic. The members marched thru the streets shouting for Justice and Freedom.

In an effort to finally appease her new subjects, Ozma sent Welfare Workers among them, making notes of all their complaints, and promising them whatever they wanted. Pink plastic hair-rollers were given to the Dhroob females. Grotesque toy weapons were given to the children. Comic books, and colored photographs of Ozma wearing no clothes were distributed by the ton. When it was noticed that they were chipping the emeralds from the great wall and prying bricks from the golden streets, a weekly allowance of gold and jewels was given to each Dhroob, but this only caused more confusion and violence. The larger Dhroobs immediately attacked the weaker, took their jewels and gold, and buried them in their cellars.

In a short while, even the fabulous Treasury of Oz was depleted, and Ozma was forced to create more diamonds and emeralds, a task which put considerable strain on her already overtaxed powers of Magic.


A year passed. The Dhroobs, who for the first time in their History had decent food and shelter, began to multiply at an increasing rate. In two years,they outnumbered the original inhabitants. Even more alarming was the fact that many of the Oz people were beginning to lose their brilliant color. Slowly, one by one, they turned a fish-belly white. Their jaws became slack, they neglected to bathe, and in time, they too began to pry bricks from the streets and hide them.

The Patriotic Societies grew in number. The two most powerful were the "People's League for Freedom" and the "Committee of Peace-loving Dhroobs for Democracy."

"The Imperialistic Criminal Exploiters must be driven from our City!" their Leaders said. Anyone who did not eat pizza, read comic books, wear rollers in their hair or who showed any sign of color other than dead-white was considered subversive and pro-Magic. These Oz-symps were tracked down, chopped into tiny pieces, and burned in the name of Justice and Freedom. Under no circumstances would citizens venture from their homes after dark.

The Standing Army, the soldiers-with-the-green-whiskers, had long ago been torn to bits by a Mob protesting Police Brutality. Ozma remained hidden in the one remaining tower of the Palace living on food flown in to her by the Gump. Jellia Jamb had been raped 116 times and H.M. Woggle-Bug, T.E. had been barbecued and eaten.

And over the entire city there hung the heavy cloud of poisonous smoke created by the Dhroobs' stoves.

Only the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman moved about. Protected by the Woodman's whirling axe, they kept working, trying to clear the debris from the streets and to bring Happiness and Culture to the Dhroobs. But the Magic which kept them both alive became daily weaker, and suddenly they both crumpled to the ground at the same time, never again to speak or move.


As the years passed, the Dhroobs and their influence spread to every part of the Land of Oz. The sands of the Deadly Desert blew in and mingled with the soil of Oz, and eventually the land, and even the name itself were forgotten.

The Dhroobs, however, continued to multiply, and the Emerald City remains. Today it is called Los Angeles.

Ozma, being enchanted, still lives there. She is a lawyer, and works for the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The only remaining other creature from the ancient days is Ruggedo, the Gnome King, who is, of course, the Mayor.

Written in 1966 ..... How times have changed ..... or have they?

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