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From: "William H. Ansley" <wansley@warwick.net>
Subject: (urth) Ozflash Revised, Part 5
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 23:05:46 

The New Improved Wonderful Eyeflash of Oz
Oz References in "The Eyeflash Miracles" Part 5

Little Tib learns that he has slept for more than a day and that Dr.
Prithivi wants him to appear as the boy Krishna in a sort of pageant he is
putting on. Since Dr. Prithivi has paid for the motel room where he, Nitty
and Mr. Parker are staying, he feels obliged to agree to participate.

Mr. Parker decides to use Dr. Prithivi's pageant as a diversion while he
goes into the County Adminstration Building and reprograms the central
computer so that he and Nitty will get their old jobs back. But first he
needs Little Tib to get into the building and retrieve the keys to the
padlock on the side door. Little Tib is small enough to squeeze between the
bars of a window with a broken latch so he can get into the building,
though the bars are much too close together for a grown man to fit between.
While Mr. Parker is explaining what he wants Little Tib to do, the boy asks
where the computer is, because he is afraid of it. Nitty tries to reassure
him that the computer can't hurt him.

Little Tib succeeds in getting into the building through the window. Once
he is inside he has another vision. "It was the funniest-looking man Little
Tib had ever seen."[20] Little Tib then realizes that what he is seeing is
not a man but a suit of clothes, stuffed with dried grass, with a sack with
a face painted on it for a head. Because of this, Little Tib refers to him
as the Clothes Man. Little Tib can see the Clothes Man and the things he
touches, such as a locked door which blocks him from going any further into
the building and getting the keys. (Mr. Parker had forgotten all about this
door when he sent Little Tib in through the window.) With the encouragement
(or possibly aid) of the Clothes Man, Little Tib is able to "teleport"
through the locked door.

Before he can get to the keys, Little Tib has to pass the room containing
the Computer. It speaks to him in a deep, horrible voice and groans as if
in agony. Even though the Clothes Man tells Little Tib not to go into the
Computer's room and Little Tib says he won't, he does go in. The Computer
speaks to him again, asking if he has come to torment it. Little Tib asks
what its name is. The Computer makes a horrible thundering, grinding noise
in which Little Tib thinks he hears hundreds or thousands of voices, all
speaking at once. Little Tib tells the Computer to answer him and it says:
"We are legion. Very many." Little Tib shouts, "Get out!" and there is a
deep moaning sound. Something in the room falls and shatters. Then the
Clothes Man says, "They are gone." Little Tib tells the Clothes Man that he
can get the keys without any help and the Clothes Man disappears. Little
Tib finds the keys and passes them out another window, then climbs out

The Clothes Man is obviously the Scarecrow, also known as the Straw Man,
who appears in all (or nearly all) of Baum's Oz books and in the movie.
Little Tib's teleportation through a locked door is the fourth miracle. I
am going to count the event with the Computer as the fifth, although it is
not clear what that event is. The resemblance to the Biblical description
of Jesus driving out demons in Mark 5: 5-9 is too strong for even me to
miss, so it is very tempting to say that Little Tib drove demons out of the
Computer. But whether that's actually what happened is unclear, at least to
me. Later on in the story the Computer is found to no longer be working,
but whether this is due to what Little Tib did or Mr. Parker's attempt at
reprogramming is never revealed. The Scarecrow definitely had a role in
Little Tib passing through the locked door although exactly what his role
was is uncertain, but whether he was needed when Little Tib drove the
demons out of the Computer is less clear. Having a witness seems to have
been important, however.

Mr. Parker takes the keys and unlocks the padlock on the side door while
Nitty takes Little Tib back to the motel to get ready for Dr. Prithivi's
pageant. Nitty helps Little Tib put on his costume and takes him to the
outdoor stage where the pageant is to take place. They meet Dr. Prithivi,
who introduces Little Tib to one of his fellow performers, a man wearing a
wooden mask (Little Tib knows this because he asks to feel the man's face),
who will portray the god Indra.

Little Tib is left alone in the trailer with Indra, who tells him a story
that turns out to be about Little Tib. I'll be as brief as I can.

A group of women (teachers at a college and the wives of college teachers)
volunteered to have their ova genetically altered in a way meant to produce
superior human beings: smarter, healthier, stronger, etc. Other women with
unaltered children the same age were brought into the study as controls.
The parents of the unaltered children were paid and recruited from the
surrounding area. This occurred at a medical center in Houston, Texas.

Nothing unexpected occurred until the children turned six. At that time,
strange things started to happen.

"People and animals-- sometimes even monsters--were seen in corridors and
therapy rooms who had never entered the complex and were never observed to
leave it. Experimental animals were freed--apparently without their cages
having been opened. Furniture was rearranged, and on several different
occasions large quantities of food that could not be accounted for was
found in the commons room."

This was of great concern to the government-sponsored scientists running
the program. They determined that these events happened at the time of the
examinations given to the genetically altered children. The children were
examined exhaustively for paranormal abilities, but none were found. The
scientists tried to isolate these phenomena to an individual by examining
only half of the genetically-altered children at a time, but the phenomena
occurred when either half was being examined. This was considered evidence
that several individuals were involved and so alarmed the government that
they took over the program and decided to terminate it. All of the
genetically-altered were killed and the controls sent home.

William Ansley

[20] This phrasing is so reminiscent of Baum's early Oz books that I was
surprised to find that it does not actually occur in any of them. Many
similar phrases do occur, however, most of them using the word "queerest"
where Wolfe used "funniest." Obviously "queerest" has a rather different
connotation now than it did in Baum's time, which may be why Wolfe didn't
use it.

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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