Rum Punch Is A Color Of The Rainbow
by Shaye

She's not in Kansas anymore. For keeps, this time. She adjusted her hat, packed her suitcase, and big goodriddance to the open sky.

The bus ride was long and dusty, and she's not sure she ended up in the right part of town. It's ironic, that New York could faze her, when Oz didn't.

(None of that was real, remember? Remember? Remember. You know what will happen if you don't.)

Perfectly natural, then, that New York would be intimidating. Imagination doesn't prepare one for the real world.

Dorothy smirks, sipping her rum punch. She knows all those phrases by rote. The drink goes down like Em's medicinal barley wine; in other words, not well at all. Famous county-wide, that barley wine was. Not quite as famous as Dorothy Gayle, but then, they don't get maniacs very often in Kansas.

She's not surprised the drink burns on the way down. After all, it took her three days to find this place, down an alley where snot-nosed children stood in doorways, round the back of the building, into the basement and through a door you'd miss if you weren't looking. They sound-proofed the place pretty well, because standing at the top of the stairwell, you couldn't hear a thing. Not the low rumble of conversation, not the alto-sax-and-drums beat playing from the stage, not the clinking of martini glasses poured with liquid fire.

She's on her fourth rum punch of the night, and vaguely surprised she still remembers how she got here.

(Surprised you remember, end of story. Don't forget how the doctors asked you those questions, how you finally told them what they wanted to hear)

Dorothy picks lint off her skirt. Except there is no lint, but that hardly matters now. Brown broadcloth in an unfashionable style, but she's too far gone to realize it.

(how the sheriff came and took Uncle Henry away. How much it hurt when you finally told the truth, don't forget that, now.)

The last of the liquid clings to her scarlet lips, and she pushes the glass again toward the bartender. Dorothy smiles at him lazily, and leans in. Conspiratorially, "They finally locked me up for good when I threw a bucket of water on Miss Gulch."

He glares at her and shoves another glass of fire her way.

It slides down easily, and she tries to remember if that means it's four or five before it stops burning.

"I wasn't crazy. They're the ones who drove me crazy. But, you know, I can act quite sane. That's why they let me out, finally." The scent of alcohol is the scent of hospital in her nose. She chokes.

"Maybe you've had enough," the bartender growls.

("Have you had enough, Dorothy?" A smooth voice, and now you hate smooth voices. "Are you going to tell the truth now?")

Dorothy shakes her head and pushes the empty glass across the bar. She smiles. She runs her tongue over her lower lip, and bats her eyes. She's not an idiot. And she wasn't crazy until they made her so.

("You don't have to tell lies, Dorothy.")

But he was always a liar, she reminds herself. Always. The truth, the beautiful, splendid truth was never what they wished to hear.

She dreams now in black and white.

The others, they were the ones who lied.

("Where's Toto?" Squinting at the sun, because it's been too long since you've seen it.

"He's...he ran away."

Later, "Aunt Em, where's Toto?" And for real this time. Picking at your food, because it's been too long since you've had anything worth eating.

Uncle Henry, then, angry with you as always now. "Got run over by the milk truck, a few months back."

And you sit there stunned, because it's been too long since you've felt anything at all.)

She notices it's been far too many minutes since she's had a drink in front of her.

"I do believe I asked for another," she says, voice querulous.

The bartender's mouth is open to reply, when the door-that-isn't-there splinters inward. A cry rises through the throats of the crowd, "Cops!" and they scatter.

Dorothy has heard of Harlem speakeasies filled with poets and painters and people who just might believe her story. This, she realizes dimly, is not one of those places. The wrong part of town, she thinks, and sighs.

Her silver shoes won't save her this time.

(Did they ever, now? Be honest with yourself.)

She's suddenly unsure, and the bartender ducks under the bar as some men in the crowd, pinstripe doublebreasted type men, pull their own revolvers, and it rains bullets.

She wants to think that she's seen far worse. She wants to, but she really doesn't remember this time.

One of the bullets hits a lightbulb, and it shatters, pieces of light and fire falling on the crowd. So finally, the crackle-spark of electricity, and she dives for the floor, hunched in phantom pain at the sound.

Dorothy hugs the ground, and it strikes her, suddenly. That it doesn't matter if any of it was real or not. She's crazy now (they made you that way) and she can believe whatever she pleases.

(No one told you about Bellevue, did they?)

There's blood on her blouse. She's unsure whom it belongs to. But it doesn't matter. She's under the table, or over the rainbow, and everywhere in between.


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix