Toto in Munchkinland
by Headley Hauser
The house never used to move like that. At least Toto didn’t think it moved that way, but he spent all of his time with Dorothy, and she wandered around outside singing a lot, so he couldn’t be sure. This was a lot like being in the basket when the bad dog rode on her bicycle over the rocky, hilly road, except that now he didn’t see any way to jump out.
Well, there wasn’t till now.
“Oh, Toto,” said Dorothy, “look at all the colors!”
What was a color? Dorothy was the love of his life, but Toto could never understand this thing she had about colors. Then she completely ignored the most interesting smells.
Dorothy was a very strange dog.
What was this? Toto ran out of the house and around to the side. There was something under the house – something either newly dead or just dying. It was the foulest, nastiest smell he’d ever smelled in his life. Was it food? Maybe he should roll in it.
He’d better check with Dorothy.
“Dorothy!” Toto barked, “You gotta come smell this dead thing!”
“Toto,” said Dorothy, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”
Talk about changing the subject! Sometimes it seemed like Dorothy just wasn’t listening.
Dorothy went around looking at flowers while Toto sniffed for really interesting things. Of course, the dead thing was pretty hard to ignore, but Toto wasn’t a puppy anymore. He knew how to sniff for little things. There weren’t many things to smell, no rabbits or squirrels or even those bag things with all the hard kibble in them. Unless that dead thing was food, they might be in trouble.
But there were dogs – lots of them. They smelled different than Dorothy, but so did Toto. Dogs came in all kinds of scents. Dorothy was so busy looking for colors that she didn’t even smell the pack.
Toto wasn’t worried. The pack smelled like they were afraid. Toto gave a growl to show them that they had reason to fear. Three dogs smaller than Dorothy and a big bitch with white fur came out of the weeds so Dorothy could see them. Toto prepared for a fight.
They just talked. They didn’t even growl, but at least they showed Dorothy respect.
The pack showed Dorothy the dead thing under the house. They didn’t say it was food, so Toto lost interest and went around marking the small trees that didn’t smell like real trees at all.
It was too easy. No dogs had marked any of them.
“What’s wrong with you dogs!” Toto barked.
Dorothy giggled like Toto had made a joke and held out her arms. Toto jumped into her arms. She never understood the things he tried to tell her, but she was nice and warm.
They talked some more – not about food or territory or anything useful. They talked about witches and a wizard. Unless they were the witches and wizard of food, Toto didn’t care.
Then it got weird.
Everybody started saying, “Follow the yellow brick road.” They said it over and over again. Even Dorothy said it. Dorothy started walking while saying, “Follow the yellow brick road.” She motioned for Toto to follow her.
Toto followed. He always followed Dorothy. He loved Dorothy.
“But when do we eat?” barked Toto.
“And what’s yellow?”