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 The Wizard of Wacko

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Urs Suberbabe
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PostSubject: Re: The Wizard of Wacko   The Wizard of Wacko - Page 2 EmptySat Aug 14, 2010 12:30 am

Chapter 34
Just Rewards


“Who wants to be first?”

All eyes turned toward Dorothy but it was Fernando who rose to speak. “It must be the Senorita Dorothy. We would not be coming here without her.” Guy and Uar nodded vigorously. Fernando gave a quick bow, half to Dorothy, half to the Wiz and sat down.

Dorothy smiled at Fernando’s gallantry and felt for the raggedy lone feather in her headband. She looked fondly at each of the men, remembering how they’d worked together to accomplish their tasks and defeat Simian. They were here because of each other. They were a team and she wanted, no needed, to see it through to the end.

“Thank you Fernando. What a gentleman, you are,” she looked from Fernando to Uar and Guy, “all of you. But since I invited you along, I’d like to see your problems fixed before I leave.” She looked over at the Wiz for confirmation.

The Wiz’ toothy smile and teasing tone did not take away from the message. “Do my ears deceive me? What have you done to that self-absorbed Dorothy the micromanager, boss and spokesperson of all she surveys? The one we’ve grown to know and love.”

“I left her back on that God-forsaken Appian Way you call a road,” she admitted with a self-deprecating grin. “Now do you think we could get on with the wizardy part?” In her humble opinion he might be the great and powerful Wizard of Wacko but sometimes he had the attention span of a gnat.

“Ah yes, the wizardy part. Actually each of you has done the hardest part already, the changing. That’s the magic. Can’t you feel it?” What the Wiz felt and heard was their confusion.

“What about the fashion sense you promised Uar? And giving Guy the heart to say no to online shopping? And helping Fernando find his soulmate?” Dorothy challenged.

“Why anyone can have fashion sense.” Uar winced and stood up as the Wiz walked over to him. Hoyt appeared, as if my magic, carrying a small leather box. “What they don’t have is a lifetime subscription to GQ.” The Wiz reached into the box and handed Uar the magazine. “Now about that wallet…” Uar tucked the magazine under one arm, reluctantly fished his wallet out of his back pocket, and slapped it into the Wiz’ outstretched hand. What he got in return was a silver money clip with his bills neatly folded in it.

Uar’s voice wobbled. “Gee thanks, Wiz. I guess change does come carrying gifts.” He turned the clip over, examining it. “Dang, I’ve never had something this nice.” His work-roughened fingers traced the stylish engraved U.

“My pleasure, Uar. That might make paying full price a bit less painful. Very GQ by the way,” he winked and moved on to Guy.

Again the Wiz held out his hand but this time he was holding a wastebasket. Guy didn’t need to ask what far. Merde! It was a hard thing he was asking. But the worst was yet to come. Hoyt was holding an oversize pair of scissors. One by one Guy turned each credit card over, remembering the beautiful things they’d bought. He looked over at his friends, his beautiful friends, smiling and nodding their encouragement and knew he couldn’t let them down. He took the scissors and made the first cut. “Now I know I have zee heart because it is breaking.”

“No worries, my friend. I have just the thing to mend your broken heart along with your shattered credit rating. I would like to present you with a certificate of fiscal responsibility, the result of your restored good credit rating. And to guarantee it stays that way, here is your new card, the ONLY card available to you, a debit card. You can buy whatever you want as long as you have cash in the bank to pay for it.”

Now it was Fernando’s turn. He had slipped the pendant off while the attention was focused on Guy. He could not even look at the Wiz as he held it out to him. His booming baritone was barely a whisper, “It is not for me having the luck of the finding.” He shrugged. “It is not unusual.”

“Not unusual?” the Wiz bristled. “It’s unheard of. Oh sure I have the odd little spell that goes a bit wonky but this is a horse of a different color entirely. The pendant has never and I mean never failed before. Are you certain you checked every card?”

Now it was Fernando’s turn to bristle as his Spanish pride got the better of him. “Si, but of course I am doing the sorting and the looking every night. And every night it is the same nothing!” To prove his point he snatched up his briefcase, flipped open the latches, turned it upside down and shook it. There were no cards.

“Wait, what is that in the corner?” exclaimed Guy.

Fernando turned the case right side up and saw a small piece of something wedged between the lining and the leather. He sat down and put the case on his lap for a better look. Could he have missed a card? He carefully grasped the corner and pulled.

“Look,” Dorothy’s hand flew to her mouth as the pendant began to glow.

Even before Fernando had drawn the card completely out of its accidental hiding place there could be no mistake. The pendant was indeed glowing, the most beautiful iridescent purple he had ever seen. His hands trembled as he turned the card over and read the name. Of course, she was the one. In his dreams, even at the BBQ restaurant, he saw her everywhere; that illusive face just beyond his recall. How could he not have remembered lush, little Lorina, warm and feisty? His eyes filled with tears of gratitude. “Gracias de Dios and to you Senor Wizard. I have found my true love at last.”

The Wiz blinked his eyes several times and cleared his throat. “Uh, I’ll have to have that back now. I’m not one to say I told you so but I am sure happy it hasn’t lost its magic touch.”

“Si, Senor Wizard, but of course.” Fernando was still staring at the card as he distractedly held out the pendant. He was puzzled when he felt something being pressed into his palm. He stared at the two matching gold wedding rings and then the room was lit with sunshine as he smiled.

Dorothy could feel the butterflies swarming. How did that saying go? Save the best for last…or the worst? She gave a nervous laugh, “Well, I guess that leaves me,” then chided herself. A leader should be cool, calm, and collected or at least sound like it. She just sounded needy. “Will you help me? Can you help me?”

The Wiz grinned. “You don’t need my help anymore. You always had the power to return to Dallas.”

Uar jumped up and pointed angrily to the Wiz. “Why didn’t you tell her that?”

“She wouldn’t have believed me. She had to find it out herself. And where would that have left you three or me for that matter? Hasn’t what you’ve learned been worth the journey?”

Fernando filled with the courage of commitment puffed his chest out a little further. He had been so busy chasing his idea of happiness he didn’t recognize it when he’d found it. That would not happen again.

Guy thought about Uar speaking up for him and how he’d saved his butt in return. How could he ever think the beauty of something manmade could compare to the real beauty inside people? It was a hard lesson but one he’d never forget. The real stuff wasn’t stuff at all.

Uar looked down at his new boots and smiled. Yessiree, he’d done right well by changing. Singing for an audience had been scary. So had getting a haircut and learning to be crispy and sweet-talk the ladies. But it had paid off big time. He was proud of the way he looked now and that had sure made him more popular with the ladies.

Dorothy was incensed. Always had the power? So all this bumping around doing silly tasks was just a way to…to what? Didn’t the Wiz know how important her job was? How important she… Her runaway ranting came to a screeching halt as her brain finally registered what she was saying. It wasn’t all about her. She looked at Fernando, Guy, and Uar and finally understood. Only by sharing the power had they been able to be successful. It had taken this journey for her to realize that. He really was the great and wonderful Wizard of Wacko.

“ I think I’m ready to go back now, Wiz.”

“Indeed you are, Dorothy, but I couldn’t let you leave without a parting gift.” He handed her what looked like a recipe card. “As a little reminder of your journey,” he whispered as he bent down and gave her a hug.

She chuckled as she read the first few lines. ‘Recipe for Humble Pie: democracy, objectivity, tolerance, compromise, open-mindedness, discretion, respect.’ Then it became a mosh pit of hugs and teary goodbyes.

Finally it was time. Dorothy took a deep breath and looked at the Wiz expectantly.

“Just stomp your boots three times and think of your Divos performing onstage. Before you can say Nintendo DsX Box 360 you’ll be back in Dallas. A word to the wise though; I’ve done a little research on their fans. Some of those Cuties are big into chest hair and naming Carlos’ body parts. Now the Sirens seem to go gaga over cute and cuddly while the Divas tend to be free spirits. And more than a few of those Ubers get extremely over wrought about blinky winks and tight butts.”

“Thanks Wiz. I’ll watch out for them.” She allowed herself one last glance back. “I’ll miss all of you.” She closed her eyes. Stomp, stomp, stomp. “Regresa mi, Regresa mi, Regres…”

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PostSubject: Re: The Wizard of Wacko   The Wizard of Wacko - Page 2 EmptySun Aug 15, 2010 9:59 pm

It's been fun ladies. Hope you enjoyed this flight of fancy.

Chapter 35
Welcome Back



“The Texas state mascot is the armadillo. They always have four babies. They have one egg, which splits into four, so they either have four males or four…”

“Got it!” David bumped his way into Marissa’s room trailing her rolling suitcase behind him. “Boy am I glad we managed to get her transferred up here to Dallas. Won’t she be jazzed when she wakes up? This should make her feel better. Has she said anything?”

Urs closed his book, using a finger to mark the place, and looked up from Marissa’s bedside. “A few moans and groans,” he reported optimistically.

Seb glanced away momentarily from the soccer game on the TV. “She was just commenting on his reading, David. Who’d want to wake up to facts about armadillos?”

“I was talking to her like the nurse suggested. I thought it was interesting anyway,” Urs muttered under his breath.

“My fault, I’d forgotten about you and the sea turtles. Who knew you were an idiot about animals?” David’s toothy grin left no doubt his teasing was all in fun.

“And you’re a geek,” Urs shot back without rancor.

“Better to be a geek than an idiot.”

Caught between consciousness and dreaming, Marissa’s mind took one last backward look, mumbled “The geek shall inherit the earth,” and pushed to the surface. She blinked, opened her eyes and looked up into the anxious faces of David, Seb, and Urs. She was back with her Divos and suddenly they were all talking at once.

“Somebody press the call button. Don’t close your eyes. There was this tornado and the car got blown off the road. Do you remember?”

“Yes, and then I was on this bumpy road and you were there,” she pointed to Urs, “with a guitar. And you were there too Seb. You kept changing hats and wanting to shop.” Seb’s eyes grew big. Had she woken up briefly and seen him trying on his new Stetson earlier? “David, you had on a geek shirt and kept playing the drums.” David exchanged looks with Urs and Seb. Their new manager had evidently done her homework. Was she winding them up? It was hard to tell. She sounded sincere.
Marissa raised herself up on one elbow. “Where’s Carlos? What happened to him?”

“Stay calm, Marissa. He’s fine,” David said soothingly as Urs found the remote button to raise the head of the bed. “He’s just outside making zee phone call.” Seb explained.

Marissa’s face softened into a knowing smile and she relaxed back onto the bed. “Of course, to his girlfriend.”

The three men were still wondering if that was a good guess or just plain weird as the nurse arrived with the doctor and shooed them out of the room.

A half hour later the doctor found all four Divos in the waiting room and reassured them Marissa was fine. So fine in fact he was on his way to sign her discharge papers. She was getting dressed and then she would be free to leave. The nurse would come get them when she was ready.

“We will be doing the behaving, si?” Carlos half asked, half threatened. They all nodded and one by one began their litany of bad behavior.

“No criticizing in public. No pouting. No complaining. No beating each other up over mistakes. No blaming. No arguing. No put downs.”

Suddenly they fell silent, embarrassed by what they had done in the past and perhaps fearing they would fail in what they were promising to do.

David finally gave voice to their collective thoughts. “You really think we can do this? Seriously?”

“We have been acting more like professional ten-year olds than professional singers,” Urs commented dryly.

David jumped on that with both feet and a smile a mile wide. “But we were such GOOD ten-year olds!”

The chorus of, “David!” had them all laughing as he gave in. “Okay, okay. I was just joking. You know that don’t you? You DO know that. C’mon guys. Let’s shake on it.” And they did just that.

*****

The Marissa that motioned them in with one hand as she talked on the phone was as much city as her counterpart had been country. Linen and silk had replaced denim and gingham and her hair was arranged neatly into a French braid. One toe of an elegant high heel tapped impatiently as she firmly but politely took the reins of the Il Divo bandwagon. The Divos released a collective sigh of relief. Everything would be fine now.

Marissa finished her call and turned to the men. Urs eyed the set of stapled papers she pulled from her briefcase and attempted to sit up straighter, impossible of course. Marissa quickly looked away to compose herself.

“First of all I want to thank you all for stepping up and taking over while I wasn’t um, wasn’t available.” She blinked and cleared her throat as she thought again of how lucky she was…they all were, not to have been seriously hurt.

“Urs, thanks for keeping Simon and the production manager apprised of the situation. I know it couldn’t have been easy.” If my last conversation with Simon is anything to go by poor Urs must have gotten an earful.

“Having me moved up here to Dallas saved us time and money. Great idea, Seb.” Look at him. No wonder the women think he’s cute and cuddly. If he were a puppy he’d be wagging his whole body.

“David, they would have sent over my lost luggage but you went and picked it up yourself. You’re going to spoil me.
There’s that aw shucks look. They were right. You are the All-American poster boy.

“And Carlos, what can I say? You certainly know the way to a woman’s heart. With all those lotions and creams a wrinkle wouldn’t dare to appear,” she teased.

“Si, it’s not unusual for me to be giving the presents.” He lowered his voice as if the others couldn’t hear. “Did you like the tooth paste? It is the same one for giving me the white smile.” Carlos beamed. Marissa beamed back, wondering if he could see a difference after only one use.

Suddenly everyone was Father Christmas. “The nurses ‘ave been very ‘elpful. We could send some flowers.” Marissa nodded.

“And Swiss chocolate.” Marissa shook her head no.

David snapped his fingers. “I’ve got it! Tickets to the concert tomorrow night.”

“Alright, enough guys. Seb, you and Carlos are in charge of the flowers. Urs, check with ticketing. No more than ten. You and David can decide who gets them.”

“I want you to know I don’t plan on managing by committee but I will respect your input. So although the final decisions are mine I think it will be to our mutual benefit to include you in the decision making process. With that in mind, here’s our old schedule. Let’s get busy together revising it.” Urs smiled happily and reached for his pen.

*****

She watched as they walked ahead of her down the hall and smiled. Did she detect a bit of an energetic bounce to their step? A more determined stride? Four, no make that five, adventurers setting out together on their quest to conquer the music world. Marissa crossed her fingers in hope they’d reach the end of their journey together. Time would tell. “Hey David, wait up you tall drink of water. These short legs of mine don’t go that fast.”

*****

Marissa sat in the reception area slowly working herself into a tizzy. The Il Divo tour had been a rousing success hadn’t it? Most venues had sold out. She’d gotten them to every scheduled appearance and a few impromptu PR opportunities to boot. Sure she and the Divos had had their differences but it had never been over anything major and always settled privately. When they said their goodbyes two weeks ago it was as friends. At least she thought so. She wiped her sweaty palms on her skirt. Why did she let Simon get to her like this?

The red light on Mrs. Collin’s phone stopped blinking. “He’s ready for you now.” Marissa took a deep breath and opened the door.

Simon addressed her from behind his desk. “Come in Marissa and close the door. Have a seat.” He smiled tightly, motioned toward one of two chairs near him, and resumed reading from an open folder in front of him.

She perched nervously on the edge of the chair and watched as he slowly closed the folder, gave it a final pat and folded his hands. “I have to be honest with you Marissa.”

She felt her stomach drop and gripped the edge of the seat. Hurry and get it over with. She swallowed a near hysterical giggle as she pictured an army of Aunt Ermentrudes’ come to save her. Even that wouldn’t be enough.

“I would have given your chance of success at one in a million. But somehow,” he rolled his eyes, “you were able to get Il Divo back on track, stick with it through the tour and in the process turn yourself into a manager. Well done.”

Marissa slowly released her death grip on the chair. The blood that was returning to her fingers continued to rise all the way up to her cheeks. “Th…thank you.” She slumped back in the chair, weak with relief.

But Simon wasn’t finished. “You did a fine job keeping Carlos’ surprise wedding under wraps. Of course I must admit my being at the concert taping was a brilliant distraction.”

Brilliant only in your tiny egocentric mind thought Marissa as she recalled how his last minute demands had given her a massive two-day headache.

“I must admit I was thoroughly pissed when I discovered, after the fact, you’d let Urs ride a bike in the wilds of Vancouver.” Marissa lunged forward in the chair ready to defend her judgment. “But,” he held up a finger, “I learned he’d been with an experienced guide. Good move on your part. That must have put you permanently in his graces.”

If she’d explained the ride had been to benefit Urs not herself would he have believed her? Probably not. But she couldn’t let it slide by. “I told him I could either find him a guide or sew a GPS into his underwear,” she quipped. Simon gave her a blank look. Oh how she missed David’s sense of humor.

“Now I’ve got to give you full marks for turning Seb’s stolen shoe fiasco into a gem of a PR opportunity. Money for charity and the fans loved it. Two for the price of one,” he winked.

“I’m not sure where we picked up that Japanese violinist but what a coup that was.”

“Japan,” Marissa supplied straight-faced.

Simon hurried on as if he hadn’t heard. “So did David enjoy his Japanese lessons? Kept him occupied did it? Sometimes he seems a bit hyper to me. You don’t think it’s that Red Bull stuff he drinks do you?”

This time it was Simon who received a blank stare.

“Next tour will you see if that Japanese girl is available?”

“Next tour? Me?” Marissa squeaked.

“Of course you. Haven’t you heard a word I’ve said? You’ve proved you can manage. Il Divo has already insisted on having you for their next tour.”

“They did? I mean I thought we got along well but…”

Simon cut in. “…that leaves you up in the air while they’re on hiatus this year. So in the meantime I need you to work a little of your Il Divo magic on another act.”

He pressed a button on the phone. “Alright, Mrs. Collins.”

The door opened. Simon stood to make the introduction. “Marissa, I’d like you to meet Billie Clonagin.”
“Bubba, this is Marissa, your new manager.”


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