I just managed to lift the hatch to the storm cellar, when the whole house shuddered and lurched. Through the hatch I could see the ground slip away into a maelstrom of flying debris. Then the floor tipped and I slid violently hitting my head on the stone fireplace.
"Would you please return to your seat and return the standard lamp to the upright position. We are in a holding pattern and, in accordance to protocol, seeking a witch to land upon."
I did as I was asked with the standard lamp and sat down heavily in the armchair. I felt my head and fingered a large tender area on my temple. At least I wasn't bleeding.
The house plummeted and with a deafening crash hit the ground. A female voice came over the radio, "Captain Kangaroo would like to let you know that he has landed your house successfully and when everything stops bouncing up and down, you may disembark through the front door. Please be careful when collecting your luggage from the cupboard-under-the-stairs as the contents may have shifted during the flight, could fall and knock you the f*ck out," Charming, I thought.
I grabbed my coat, and stepped out of the front door. Outside was bright and sunny. All the people were somewhat short and were singing cheery songs as they went quickly about their business.
"What have you done to my sister?"
She pointed to the legs protruding out from under the house, "Her legs. Over there."
"Oh my goodness, I'm really sorry. I had no idea."
She cut me off mid-apology, "Did you dress her in those hideous striped leggings? Bet she was wearing a leotard too."
"No, but it's my house."
"Oh, don't worry about that. We never really got on. She was allergic to my flying monkeys you know. I thought her fitness drive was silly. Especially leggings and a leotard. Black pointy hat, green face and long black cape - it's traditional."
"Would you like a cup of tea?" It seemed the polite thing to do, since my house had inadvertently squashed her sibling flat.
"No, but thank you. Must be flying. Left my broom with the engine running tied to a lamppost. Got to look after the environment you know." With that she went.
I looked my house up and down. There was no way I could leave it here. The local authorities would get a bit bent out of shape and demand planning permission or something worse. "Excuse me," I spoke to one of the diminutive men singing his cheery song, "Do you know someone who could help me get this back to where it came from?"
"No, sorry mate. You can use my phone if you want," He passed me a small brown cell phone.
I tried for a few moments to dial a number before realising the sad truth. "It's made of chocolate."
"Well, what do you expect? We're Oompa-Loompas. We do chocolate. Everything here is made of chocolate. That's why we're hyperactive and the phones don't work."
"Great. Just great. Do you know anyone who can help me?"
"You need a great wizard to help you. We think he's in Cupertino. We'd give you a map, but to be honest it'll melt in the sun and make a mess of your pocket."
"How am I going to get to the wizard of Cupertino?"
"There is a way. You need to follow the yellow brick road."
"Oh, that one!" I step smartly forward, twist my ankle and fall.
"Mind the potholes. Rough winter here last year. Also don't stop, it's marked as an urban clearway. Oh yes, also, keep out of the bus lane."
I set off, muttering to myself, "Follow the yellow brick road. There's a song in that somewhere, I'm sure of it."
I have a feeling this is going to be a long journey. As I walk, the town falls away, the cloying smell of chocolate reduces and finally I am out in open refreshing countryside. Fields and woods as far as the eye can see. It sure doesn't look like Slobbering-under-the-Bed.
I find myself walking beside a huge corn field. In the middle of the field stands a man-sized scarecrow. Surprisingly he hops off his wooden stand and walks towards me in a somewhat wobbly manner. The scarecrow, upon reaching the edge of the field, speaks to me in a Lancashire accent, "It's turned out nice again!" He looks me up and down, "Hang on, you're not Do..."
I didn't hear the rest of what he was saying because at that moment there was a cry of "TIMBER!", then "Ohhhhh shiiiittt!" and finally, "ouch!"
A short man, with quite a flat head and a nearly non-existent neck steps out from behind a nearby tree. He staggers over to where the scarecrow and I am standing. The scarecrow says only what I was thinking, "Are they all dwarfs where you come from?"
The short man hits the scarecrow with a well constructed right hook and lays him out flat.
Scarecrow bounces back up to his feet and timidly says, "Never touched me!"
Hoping to prevent this escalating into something worse, I introduce myself. "Hi, I'm iDifficult," and then for some general interest add, "and I'm off to see the wizard."
The scarecrow speaks first and holds out a hand ready to be shaken. I grasp it and he says, "Call me George. By the way, don't you think you should hold off on second helpings occasionally?" I blink.
The short man speaks, "Hi, Call me Edward. I'm a tree surgeon." He thinks over what I was saying in his mind and then adds, "Did you mention a wizard? It's just I have this problem with trees."
"Allergic?" I ask helpfully.
"Nope, they keep falling on me. I used to be 6'5". I suspect I'm a little less than that now."
"I've got a problem too. He pats his chest. No tact. When the farmer made me he left out the tact. Do you think the wizard could give me some tact?"
"I'm expect in the end he will, but it'll be a rough journey. We'll probably have to throw a ring into Mount Doom. Anyway first things first, do either of you two know if there is a pub down this road? I could murder a pint of beer."
"Sod the road mate. I've got sat-nav."