From: Black Falcon
THE DHROOBS OF OZ
by Roger Price
copyright 1966 Roger Price
Isolated from the world of humans by the Deadly Desert, and
protected by the powerful magic of its' Ruler, Ozma, the marvelous Land
of Oz had existed since the beginning of time.
So when the Dhroobs first appeared before the gates of the
Emerald City, shouting and carrying their home-made picket signs, it
caused no alarm.
Only the Scarecrow, who had magic brains given him by the famous
Wizard of Oz, seemed uneasy. He hurried to the Royal Palace to try to
persuade the lovely Ozma that the Dhroobs were potentially dangerous.
"Everything is contagious," he said. "There is psychic contagion
as well as physical contagion. The Bad drives out the good. Once the
omelet has been burned, it is too late to drown the rooster."
Ozma's musical laugh rippled thru the Throne Room. "My dear, old
friend," she said, "you may have brains, but, unlike the Tin Woodman,
you have no heart. If these people from the Deadly desert wish to come
to the Emerald City and share our life, we must make them welcome. They
are, after all, creatures just like us."
"They are not like ME," said the Scarecrow.
"Should I drive you from Oz because you are stuffed with straw
instead of flesh and blood?"
"Oh, no, no, no, no" said the Scarecrow nervously. "I'm as
broadminded as the next Scarecrow. I have nothing against the Dhroobs
because they are not colored."
The Dhroobs, it was true, were not colored. The people of Oz
consisted of the Muchkins, who were blue, the Quadlings who were red,
and the Winkies who were yellow. Centuries of living in the hot, desert
land had, however, bleached the Dhroobs so that they were a grey, pasty
"What worries me," the Scarecrow said, "is....well....they're
"So was dear Dorothy," said Ozma. "There is no harm in mortals.
Besides, the Dhroobs are as they are because they were born in the
deadly Desert, so it is not their fault....and it is well known that:
Whatever there is an excuse for, does not exist."
"Glom!" said the Scarecrow, scratching his head and sifting a
handful of straw onto the floor.
"Once the Dhroobs are given ADVANTAGES and are allowed to
express themselves they will become Pussy Cats. They will love us
because we are so good."
"Good," said the Scarecrow sententiously, "is a word we use to
describe ourselves. Good is a self-serving concept. An objective Good
pre-supposes an external Intelligence which controls us. Good is God:
"Oh shut up, you animated mouse-nest!" said Ozma, stamping her
tiny foot. "I'm running the country, and I say we let the Dhroobs in and
And so the Dhroobs were not only welcomed, but encouraged to
come to the Emerald City.
Each one was greeted at the gate by Ozma, and all were given
lovely homes with gardens and bathrooms. Exquisite clothing was made to
their measure and fresh food was delivered daily to their doors.
"Oh, how those creatures must love me," exclaimed Ozma. "How
happy they must be."
But, strangely, the Dhroobs were not happy. They were suspicious
of the food delivered to their doors and would eat only hamburgers,
pizzas and french fries cooked in rancid oil. The Oz food, they
whispered, was Magic and part of a Plot.
They next complained that the Oz air - unlike the atmosphere of
the Deadly Desert - was flat and had no kick to it. They began burning
the clothes provided for them in small stoves, producing acrid clouds of
noxious fumes with which they filled their homes.
Then they demanded that something be done about the un-natural
silence in the city. A delegation called on Ozma. "Look, lady, ya better
get onna ball," their Spokesman said, "First ya try to poison us, then
ya try to strangle us, now ya try to drive us nuts. Gahdammit, we wanna
little action. We're fun people, ya know whadd I mean?"
So Ozma, using her most powerful magic, created thousands of
tiny boxes from which constantly issued a dreadful cacaphony. These
seemed to distract the younger Dhroobs, who walked about with the boxes
pressed to their ears.
But the general dissatisfaction increased. "They're tryin' ta
get us," the Dhroobs said. "They think because they're handsome and
strong and generous and ambitious and smart and also immortal that
they're better'n us. So we gotta get THEM." Several 100% Patriotic
Societies were formed to combat anti-Dhroogisim and subversive Magic.
The members marched thru the streets shouting for Justice and Freedom.
In an effort to finally appease her new subjects, Ozma sent
Welfare Workers among them, making notes of all their complaints, and
promising them whatever they wanted. Pink plastic hair-rollers were
given to the Dhroob females. Grotesque toy weapons were given to the
children. Comic books, and colored photographs of Ozma wearing no
clothes were distributed by the ton. When it was noticed that they were
chipping the emeralds from the great wall and prying bricks from the
golden streets, a weekly allowance of gold and jewels was given to each
Dhroob, but this only caused more confusion and violence. The larger
Dhroobs immediately attacked the weaker, took their jewels and gold, and
buried them in their cellars.
In a short while, even the fabulous Treasury of Oz was depleted,
and Ozma was forced to create more diamonds and emeralds, a task which
put considerable strain on her already overtaxed powers of Magic.
A year passed. The Dhroobs, who for the first time in their
History had decent food and shelter, began to multiply at an increasing
rate. In two years, they outnumbered the original inhabitants. Even more
alarming was the fact that many of the Oz people were beginning to lose
their brilliant color. Slowly, one by one, they turned a fish-belly
white. Their jaws became slack, they neglected to bathe, and in time,
they too began to pry bricks from the streets and hide them.
The Patriotic Societies grew in number. The two most powerful
were the "People's League for Freedom" and the "Committee of Peace-
loving Dhroobs for Democracy."
"The Imperialistic Criminal Exploiters must be driven from our
City!" their Leaders said. Anyone who did not eat pizza, read comic
books, wear rollers in their hair or who showed any sign of color other
than dead-white was considered subversive and pro-Magic. These Oz-symps
were tracked down, chopped into tiny pieces, and burned in the name of
Justice and Freedom. Under no circumstances would citizens venture from
their homes after dark.
The Standing Army, the soldiers-with-the-green-whiskers, had
long ago been torn to bits by a Mob protesting Police Brutality. Ozma
remained hidden in the one remaining tower of the Palace living on food
flown in to her by the Gump. Jellia Jamb had been raped 116 times and
H.M. Woggle-Bug, T.E. had been barbecued and eaten.
And over the entire city there hung the heavy cloud of poisonous
smoke created by the Dhroobs' stoves.
Only the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman moved about. Protected by
the Woodman's whirling axe, they kept working, trying to clear the
debris from the streets and to bring Happiness and Culture to the
Dhroobs. But the Magic which kept them both alive became daily weaker,
and suddenly they both crumpled to the ground at the same time, never
again to speak or move.
As the years passed, the Dhroobs and their influence spread to
every part of the Land of Oz. The sands of the Deadly Desert blew in and
mingled with the soil of Oz, and eventually the land, and even the name
itself were forgotten.
The Dhroobs, however, continued to multiply, and the Emerald
City remains. Today it is called Los Angeles.
Ozma, being enchanted, still lives there. She is a lawyer, and
works for the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. The
only remaining other creature from the ancient days is Ruggedo, the
Gnome King, who is, of course, the Mayor.
The Dhroobs of Oz
copyright 1966 Roger Price