After walking for quite some time Dorothy and John arrived in the city and were walking through a park filled with green grass and lively street performers. John had told Dorothy about how much he loved the place when he was younger and when she saw all the people in colorful costumes performing tricks and music she immediately understood why. Her young eyes lit up with joy at the sight of a clown standing on his head. She clapped her hands and hummed along to the tune the park's makeshift band made up of several different street musicians was playing. While she was admiring all the wonderful talents Dorothy noticed a lone performer standing alone a ways away from the others. She wandered off the see him and John followed her with a quizzical look on his face.
The performer was dressed as a Tin Man and was so still that Dorothy thought she had mistaken him for a statue at first. He was covered in a shiny makeup that mimicked metal and was leaning on an ax painted the same color as himself. He stood on a makeshift pedestal made out of a wooden box. The tin cup in front of him was void of coins despite the man's wonderful performance. John came up behind Dorothy as she was admiring the Tin Man. "The fun part about these kinds of performers is trying to make them move."
He pulled a funny face that made Dorothy burst out in giggles but the Tin Man didn't move. Then Dorothy crossed her eyes and stuck out her tongue but the Tin Man still didn't move. After trying everything they could think of to make the Tin Man laugh without success the two travelers sat down on the grass to see if he would move by himself. Once they stopped laughing Dorothy heard a strange sound. "mmmmfffff! mmmmmmfffhhhhh!" It reminded her of the time Uncle Em glued his lips together by accident while trying to fix a shelf. She listened a bit closer and she soon realized that it was coming from the Tin Man. "Oh dear i think his lips are stuck!" exclaimed Dorothy.
She and John jumped up and listened intently, the sound came again, even louder this time. "MMMMMFFFFHHHHH!!! MMMMHHHHHFFF!!!"
Dorothy looked at the Tin Man and asked, "Are your lips stuck together?"
They listened again "mmmmmhhhhhhfff! mmmmmffffhhhhhh!"
"I'll take that as a yes." replied Dorothy.
She turned to John, "How do we go about getting his lips unstuck?" she asked him.
"I'm not sure, do you have any water with you?" replied John.
Dorothy searched through her bag and pulled out a water bottle. She reached up and poured a few drops on his lips. Then all of a sudden, "Ahhhh! Thank ya very much!" Spoke the Tin Man.
Both Dorothy and John jumped back in surprise.
"H-he talked!" yelled Dorothy.
"Well of course I talked! I'mma person aren't I? or was my acting so good that ya thought I was a statue?" The Tin Man chuckled to himself but he still didn't move.
"You know that you don't have to stay still, We've already figured out that you aren't a statue." John was a tad wary that the Tin Man would jump out at him as suddenly as he had spoken.
"Well ya see, I'm kinda stuck this way." Replied the Tin Man sheepishly.
"Poor you! How long have you been like this?" Asked a very concerned Dorothy.
"Hmm that's a good Question li'l lady." The Tin Man thought for a moment." I'd say I been like this for about a week."
Dorothy and John were both shocked by how non-chalant the Tin Man seemed. "Aren't you hungry? Aren't you sore? Why didn't you call for help? Why are you stuck?" Dorothy bombarded the Tin Man with her questions.
"Whoa there li'l lady, I can only answer so many questions at once." The Tin Man took a deep breath. " Yes I am hungry, yes I am sore and the reason I didn't call call for help was because my lips were stuck together, as you folks witnessed earlier. Now the reason I am stuck is a longer story... Basically all of my life I have wanted to be a famous performer so a year ago I quit my job and decided to take up street performing. I tried everything! Mime, music, painting, being a clown, a robot man, none of them worked. So one day, exactly a week ago, I decided to try being a human statue. I covered myself in this silver paint from head to toe and stood here like this for a while without moving. After a bit I tried to move but found out that I couldn't. It turns out that I had accidentally covered myself in metal paste, left over from repairing my robot man costume, and I had used so much that I am now encased in a metal shell. The one thing I am glad for though, is that the metal paste comes in two parts and one of those parts contains the water-proofing solution. If you don't add that then the metal will melt off with water so I have been standing here waiting for rain for a week. Now if you would be kind enough to pour some of that wonderful liquid on my joints so I could move, I would be forever grateful."
Dorothy was greatly moved by the Tin Man's story and she immediately set out to unfreeze his joints. She would pour the water onto the joint and John would rub it until the metal dissolved. It turned out to be a greater task than either of them had expected, by the time they had freed his neck, shoulders and elbows they only had half of the water left. The Tin Man was a bit sad that he wouldn't have his whole body freed but his sadness was dwarfed by his joy at being able to move again. "Oh its a lovely feeling! Being able to move again is wonderful! I swear I was about to go crazy when you two came along, I mean if this li'l lady here hadn't heard me my mind would have gone to jelly! What's with that 'the fun part about these kinds of performers is trying to get them to move' crack anyway!? I mean really, that's just plain mean mister!"
"I'm starting to think we shouldn't have set his mouth free at all." Whispered John.
"Oh I don't think so." Replied Dorothy "I think that he is quite funny."
John sighed, "I guess we couldn't have just left him here." He mumbled.
After rubbing the makeup off the Tin Man's joints for what seemed like an eternity Dorothy dropped the empty water bottle and plopped down on the soft, green grass. "All done." she sighed.
She wiped her brow and watched the Tin Man's face light up with joy. He jumped off the makeshift pedestal and did a little jig before falling flat on his face.
"Oh my! Are you alright?" Dorothy rushed to help him up.
"So that's what happens when you don't eat for a week." Uttered the Tin Man, half to himself.
"I almost forgot! You need something to eat."
Dorothy grabbed her lunch out of her bag. She and John had planned to make a picnic out of it and save a snack for later. Dorothy set out a small piece of cloth on the grass to serve as a picnic blanket and laid out the food. Once she was done setting up their lunch she sat down and looked at the meager meal. "I hope it will be enough."
One sandwich, a bag of crackers, two apples, an orange, a bottle of juice and a bag of cookies lay on the picnic blanket in front of the three of them. "It looks wonderful!" cried the delighted Tin Man.
"Its a lot better than anything I've had in a while." Stated John, who was nodding in approval.
With that they divided up the food and began their picnic lunch. Cooking was definitely a talent that Dorothy possessed, when she lived back in Kansas Aunt Henry was usually so busy complaining about life in general that Dorothy ended up making the meals for her small family. After they were finished eating Dorothy packed up what was left of the food. "Thank you for the grub li'l lady." said the Tin Man as he stretched out on the grass, well as much as one can stretch when you are almost completely coated in metal.
"Yes, thanks Dorothy. It was really good." added John who had just sat down beside the Tin Man.
"I'm so glad you liked it!" Dorothy didn't usually get complimented on her cooking so she was especially happy when she heard their comments.
"So what brings you two to these parts?" asked the Tin Man while trying unsuccessfully to chip off some more of the metal paste.
"We are heading to the empire state building to see the wizard." answered Dorothy.
At first the Tin Man thought the little girl was joking but as he looked into her big brown eyes he realized that she was completely serious. He burst out laughing. "Wizard!? This is New York City not a fairy tale book!" announced the Tin Man between fits of laughter.
Dorothy was a but confused by his reaction but proceeded to tell him her story, she told him of the bus that brought her to New York, the angry munchkin and the wicked policeman, and finally of her meeting with John. "So that is why we are going to find the wizard." She concluded.
The Tin Man had stopped laughing an was now scratching his shiny chin. "that's quite a quest that you two are on, what did you say your names were again?"
"Oh how rude of us! We forgot to introduce ourselves!" Dorothy clambered to her feet, pulling John up with her. "My name is Dorothy, it's very nice to meet you."
She did a small curtsy and smiled at the Tin Man as he tipped his imaginary hat to her. "Nice to meet you Dorothy, but what about this guy?" he motioned to John. "What are you dragging him along for?"
"Ahem, I can hear you y'know."
"Yeah I know, now do you have a name or not?"
John sighed and chose to ignore the Tin Man's rude comments. "Yes I have a name, It's John and I am accompanying Dorothy on her journey. I am making sure that she makes it to the Empire State Building in one piece."
"Well isn't that just dandy!" exclaimed the Tin Man as he creaked to his feet in his stiff suit. "My name is Tom, Tom the Tin Man. Try saying that ten times fast." He winked at Dorothy, making her giggle.
"You have already heard my story and now I have a quick question for you miss Dorothy. You say that this wizard guy can make people's wishes come true, right?" Dorothy nodded in response to Tom's question. "So do you suppose... that maybe... he might... possibly..." Stuttered Tom.
"Well? Spit it out already." grumbled a very annoyed John.
"I'm getting to it, give a guy a moment to answer won't ya?" John sighed and let Tom continue. "So do you think that he might be able to... make me a star performer?" asked Tom sheepishly
"Of course! He can do anything!" answered Dorothy, who had already placed a great amount of faith in the wizard.
Tom thought about this for a moment. "well if that's the case, I think that I might decide to join you two fine folks on your journey."
"That would be wonderful!" shouted Dorothy before John could say anything. "We would love to have you come with us! Wouldn't we John?"
John cleared his throat, "Well actually, I think that..." Before he could finish his objection to the idea a clown and a mime can rushing past them in a panic. When Dorothy turned around she saw why.
There was a sour looking police woman stalking through the park barking threats at the performers and sending them scattering. The expression on the woman's face looked mimicked that of an apple that had been let sit out for much too long. The wrinkles on her cheeks condensed as she opened her mouth to yell at the street band, who had stopped playing very abruptly upon her approach. "Do you have a permit to be playing here!? I should give you all citations!" her voice was like sandpaper, it ground against everyone's ears and made them wince.
The street band was sent sprinting away like there was a pack of wolves chasing them. A lone violin player was left standing in the middle of the park, Dorothy watched the policewoman stomp up to him and open her wrinkle surrounded mouth once more. "Didn't you hear me!? Or are you deaf or something?"
She was yelling so loudly that Dorothy thought the violin player might go deaf any moment. The player pulled out a slip of paper from his violin case with shaky hands, "A-actually ma'am I do have a permit to be here." his voice shook as the police woman's expression changed from furious to smug.
"Well do you now? Oh but you need an instrument to play don't you?" The sandpaper in her voice had melted to honey in an instant.
"I do have an instrument ma'am."
He held out his violin for her to see. It was a lovley dark color of wood and the music that had come from it was sweet like liquid sugar. Oddly enough the splinters that came shooting out from it as the wicked woman crushed the instrument between her talon-like fingers, were a light yellow color that didn't match the heavily varnished outside. The police woman dropped the pile of crushed wood and string at the shocked violin player's feet. "Well you don't have an instrument anymore, now do you?"
The horrid look on her face didn't match the sweetness of her voice at all. But the matching sandpaper screams followed soon after, "Now get out of here before I have you arrested!"
Dorothy's eyes followed the police woman as she stalked out of the park cackling. As Dorothy turned back to her companions she could see that both of thier faces had paled under their masks of dirt and metal. "What's the matter? Is something wrong?" she asked.
"T-that was the Wicked Police Woman of the West." They stuttered in unison.
"Who is she?" Dorothy was wearing a very confused expression similar to the one she wore whenever they explained a new concept in math class.
"She is an evil police woman who hates everyone and is feared throughout West New York." Explained John while trying not to let Dorothy hear the fear in his voice.
"that's horrible! Are you scared of her too?" Dorothy had thought that John was fearless and invincible but the lack of color in his face sent uncertainty running rampant through her.
John took a breath before answering, he didn't want to disappoint Dorothy but he could not hide the fact that the mere thought of the woman sent chills down his spine. "I admit, she does scare me. Why do you think I was hiding out on the edge of the city? I have been running from her for years and if she ever caught me..." He thought for a minute before continuing. "Let's just say that I would definitely not end up with the sweet end of that deal."
"What about you Tom? She must scare you too if she can put fear into the heart of someone as brave as John." Dorothy saw the metal covered man give a small chuckle at her last remark but he instantly sobered when he had to think of the Wicked Police Woman of the West.
"Yes I am scared of her, terrified in fact. Did you see how those other performers ran at the mere sight of her? Well that's because it's people like us that she hates the most. Free spirits like me and Johnny-boy here, she wants us all gone. I can hardly imagine what would happen if she ever saw you, no doubt she would-" Tom's sentence was cut off buy a sharp warning look from John.
"W-what would she do to me?" Asked Dorothy in a shaky voice.
She couldn't stop imagining the pretty violin that now lay crippled and broken in the poor player's case. Would she end up like that violin if the police woman found her? "Oh nothing! That was just me rambling on, besides, chances are that we won't ever see her again anyway. Don't worry Dorothy." Said Tom apologetically.
"You think so?" asked Dorothy.
"I know so." the two men said together.