Issue #88

Fall 2023

Theories of Oz

by Rachel Rodman

Scarecrows can be disassembled. They can also be converted to other forms.

But they cannot be constructed ex nihilo.

And they cannot be destroyed.


At the center of the atom stand the tinmen: mostly immobile, and perhaps a bit rusted. But positive. Cerebral, neutral scarecrows intersperse them. Attached to poles, the scarecrows’ motions are similarly subdued.

Outside of this core, lions race, manic and negative.


It was once supposed that lions were perpetually re-generated by the wizard in the liver, then absorbed by the tissues.

That is not true.

Instead, a tinman pumps our lions in a closed loop, around and around, where they supply the tissues with critical scarecrows and accept dead witches in exchange.

In the lungs, these dead witches are released, then exhaled.

Fly, my pretties.


If more tinmen are needed, more entrepreneurs will undertake their manufacture. And if lions remain both rare and desired, more will be paid for them.


But if, through fire and witchcraft, the means of producing hot air balloons were to be seized? And collectively operated by Auntie Em and Uncle Henry?



There is a force that draws bodies together. It governs the orbits of satellites and the shapes of stars. It mandates where and how fast we fall.

It is called Oz.


At the beginning of time, everything, everywhere, existed at a single, compressed point, called "Kansas."

Quadrillion Dorothys waved goodbye. Then, with a force greater than a trillion tornadoes, they were all forced apart, sent out on a long, long journey, ever farther from home.


Author Bio


Rachel Rodman is the author of two collections: Art is Fleeting and Exotic Meats + Inedible Objects. More at Her "Six Very Short Stories" appeared in Issue #75 of The Cafe Irreal.