A spontaneous cyclone whipped up 16-year-old Dorothy from the ramshackle Kansas farmhouse she had been residing in. She awoke in the shadow of a pretentious sign. The letters, declaring ‘PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE.’ A bricked, yellowish road stretched from Dorothy to the horizon. It shimmered a golden hue when the sunlight caught it at just the right angle. On the far tip of the road, a building blossomed into the sky, dominating its surroundings. The structure, conspicuous for its strict whiteness, was the type that had only been seen in fairy tale books by Dorothy.
As Dorothy tiptoed down the road, she observed a tableau silhouette. When she drew nearer, the amorphous edges traced out a scarecrow-esque figure. Dorothy noticed the features she looked at becoming more descript. Straw-coloured hair that matched the road’s tone. Skin peppered with wrinkles, mirroring the road’s emerging cracks. As the lady turned to face Dorothy, a battalion of nearby pigeons scurried.
At arm’s length away, Dorothy noted a badge: ‘Secretary of Education.’ “Why aren’t you at school now missy?” The lady questioned. “They shut my school down because it’s public” Dorothy riposted. The person in charge of education had one glaring weakness- they didn’t have the brain to care about education. As the woman left abruptly, Dorothy continued on her path.
Dorothy next met a man who moved awkwardly. The stilted movement of his limbs was almost robotic. It was akin to a dancer within a nightclub whose body appears machinelike due to the flickering lights. As Dorothy encroached into his space, he poured the remnants of his flask down a nearby drain, then wiped the sweat off his shiny forehead. The liquor flowed with the viscosity of oil and had a tar-like colour.
This man introduced himself as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency. As Dorothy reciprocated and introduced herself, the man interjected, “That’s an interesting accent you’ve got there. You’re not from overseas are you?” His entire demeanour changed. “No, I’m from Kansas,” Dorothy reassured him. “How did you get here?” he queried. “A cyclone lifted me up and brought me here. There are a lot of them nowadays.” “Climate change isn’t real,” the man retorted before mechanically moving his lever-like legs away. The man in charge of maintaining the environment had the significant inadequacy of not having a heart to care about the environment.
On the steps of the obnoxious, sheet-white building, Dorothy drew towards a man wearing a worn military hat. At the precise angle that Dorothy approached, the outskirts of the hat seemed to frame his face from behind. The hat’s frayed edges created the illusion of a mane. He proudly wore a badge: ‘Secretary of Defense.’
The man roared, “What are you doing here alone? I might shoot you. It’s fun to shoot some people.” Dorothy cautiously stepped backwards akin to a ringmaster tentatively surveying an unpredictable circus animal. She replied, “My parents are both soldiers. My Dad is fighting in the war against Canada and my Mum is fighting in the California war.” The man trotted off with his tail between his legs. The person whose primary job concerned maintaining peace didn’t have the courage to create a peaceful world.
Dorothy entered the exaggerated ivory coloured building. Within the labyrinth of corridors she followed a chosen one like a mouse in an experiment. The cheese at the end of the tunnel was an overbearing door. She heaved it open and entered an office with an oval-shaped floorplan.
An intimidating man overlooked her. His blotchy, pumpkin orange skin mimicked his comb over hair colour. A ruby shaded tie hung from his neck like a noose ready to be tightened. Above his desk, a photograph of Mount Rushmore. The George Washington face on the granite cliffs had been chiselled away and sculpted into a likeness of this very man.
“What do you want?” The man’s voice boomed as it lingered around the room for several seconds. “I’m worried about climate change, education and creating a peaceful world. Not just on my behalf but for the tens of millions of American children.”
“FAKE NEWS!” The imposing figure thundered. A solitary tear trickled down Dorothy’s face, preceding a flurry of drops. The man squinted then pointed, “See the millions of people lining that street right now? They all support me bigly.” Dorothy glanced out the window. All she saw was three silhouettes on the empty street. Their outlines resembling a scarecrow, a tin man and a lion.
Beside Dorothy, a scrapbook lay open. Newspaper clippings had been sloppily stuck in. One headline read “President Wins Unprecedented Third Term in Office.” The article began, “The President won the 2024 election with a record 100% of the vote.” Dorothy paused. She could have sworn that both her parents didn’t vote for this man. She continued reading. “A record one billion votes were cast for the president. Even the opposition candidate voted for him.” At the 2020 election, Dorothy had heard rumours that the opposing candidate had been poisoned by two spies for not voting correctly. Her eyes skimmed the page, searching for an author- a Mr. Spicer who belonged to the ubiquitous media organisation, The White House Times.
“As a leader you shouldn’t use power for your own interests. You should be working for the benefit of the masses. You are doing this poorly” Dorothy proclaimed. “Or-well” the man responded in such a way that Dorothy was uncertain if his answer consisted of one word or two.
The man who had originally overlooked Dorothy now began to look her over. His eyes changing from ruthless to deviant. Attempting to grab Dorothy, he inadvertently brushed one of her tears. In a flash, the man vanished.
A perplexed Dorothy examined the room. On the empty bookshelf she detected a hologram projector. It had short-circuited from the liquid on her face. Lurking in the shadows of the unnecessarily oversized desk, she noticed a bald head. It poked just above the desk level like the sun prowling above the clouds. The man stood but didn’t grow in height proportionally like you would expect someone standing up to. His impish, troll-like facial features were emblematic of his presence. Beneath the conglomerate surface was a solitary human pulling the strings.
From his mouth spewed a thick Russian accent.