No yellow brick road here, just smooth pavement stretching around in a stately circular drive-through, its wide expanses spoked in trim white paint, alternating with smaller pockets of manicured, chemically-enhanced grass. There was one pearl gray Lexus in the entire warren of parking slips.
No neat thatched huts in half-human size clustered around a colorful village square. Instead, two-story wood-shingled townhouses squatted, with a frighteningly large mouthful of windows. The lawns were clipped to crew-cut uniformity, breaking to seventy five feet of association-approved native flowers and grasses, edged on its far side by a forest of evenly-spaced deciduous, exactly 100 feet deep.
And the inhabitants of this gated community, who peered at me from out behind their curtains? Shrunken and gray-haired behind their many windows, they dressed in muted colors and finely tailored wools. I was almost certain they weren’t munchkins.
No talking rabbits with pocket watches, either, nor was there a walrus and carpenter leaning back with full bellies and surrounded by a scattering of empty oyster shells. Certainly, there was no caterpillar puffing and philosophizing from the height of a questionable mushroom.
On the plus side, I saw no sign of flying monkeys or homicidal apple trees.
I glanced at the backpack at my feet. With a rattle of flame thrower, bowie knife, Smith and Wesson and nunchucks, and a tin of pumpkin spice butter cookies, I swung the pack over my shoulders. I’d packed to reach the Emerald City’s treasure room, or second best, the palace behind the looking glass. I wasn’t prepared to navigate the wilds of outer-ring suburbia.
In that moment, a stout, florid-faced woman in tasteful kitten heels, who might have been the Red Queen, tore open her front door and stepped out on her front stoop. She pointed an accusing finger at me and opened her mouth. I didn’t wait to confirm her identity, but spun about and strode off to find a bus stop, or even better, a secret portal.
I prayed I had the right change, or at least the right denomination.
© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2017)
Midtown Writers’ Prompt(10/07/2017): Spiders and snakes and voles…Oh my!