Hammer didn't like living in someone else's cartoon. He preferred his own fairy tale
“What kind of fairy tale is this?” Hammer felt like he’d been picked up by a tornado and dropped down on the yellow brick road in the land of Oz.
He rubbed his eyes as a fat rabbit checked its watch and jumped down a hole with a blonde girl chasing behind. “Alice?” Hammer hazarded a guess. The way his brain was interpreting the scene around him was the stuff of childhood storybooks and adult schizophrenia.
“Too right. Who are you? The Venus Queen sent you here, didn’t she? There been other strangers like you wandering around. None were the hunk you are." Alice batted her eyelashes. "There’s no way back you know.” She brushed off some dirt, rubbed a smudge on her brow and said, “Well, don’t just stand there. Help me.”
Hammer stopped the woman by grabbing her arm. “Help you what? I'm totally lost at what I'm even looking at. That’s another wormhole like I just left?”
“No silly. You’ve got to stop thinking like an Earthman. Down there is the home for the Queen of Hearts.”
Hammer wasn’t getting it. He wanted to pull the wax out of his ears. “Say what?”
Alice stopped before the hole yawning up at them. She stood hipshot, shaking her head at Hammer. “We’re in an alternate reality so weird the only way we can visualize it is through a looking glass of what we’re familiar with.” Alice stamped her foot. “Now, let's go or do I need to babysit?”
Hammer felt his teleportation ring for reassurance. Alice didn't wait. When he looked up Hammer saw he'd have to hoof it to keep with and not be left behind. "Hey, wait up."
Alice was the only thing that looked half-familiar. Hammer zeroed in on her. He followed, ignoring the Cheshire cat they passed, just hanging around in the air. "How long have you been here?"
She shushed him and slipped further down the rabbit hole. It seemed to Hammer this was rather like a smaller sized wormhole, like the interstellar travel device he’d just had some slimy company with. Whatever it was, he had to keep Alice in sight. "Alice? You're not another one of my female keepers, are you?
"Hey, pal. I'm not keeping anybody and you are not even keeping up. Shake a leg, buddy or I'll leave you behind lots in your own personal nightmare."
Hammer tripped over a brick someone had dislodged on the yellow brick road the two adventurers were now on. He hurried to catch up. "Sorry. I thought maybe the Venus Queen dropped you off ahead to make sure I didn't do any funny stuff when I got here."
"Funny stuff? I'm always interested in learning something new. What you got in mind?" Alice paused. She wasn't even breathing hard. She did the bat your eyelashes thing again and gave Hammer a hip bump.
His lack of flirting inspiration disappointed her. "Come on, we don't want to be late visiting the Wizard."
"Oz?" Hammer hazarded a guess, striving to keep up with the conversation as well as the feisty speed Alice maintained.
"Too right. You aren't hiding the fact you been to the Emerald city before, are you?"
Alice stopped so fast Hammer bumped into her. She turned, licked her lower lip slowly and felt his bicep. "My, you are a big one. Are you married? It doesn't really matter, I just want to know how well trained you are."
Hammer stared down the yellow brick road. "I thought we were in danger of being late?"
Alice looked back over her shoulder ready to flirt with a comeback. A lion roar froze the words she was forming in her throat."
"We've got company." Hammer stood protectively in front of Alice as three figures came into view. There stood a man size scarecrow, a tin man and a scraggly looking lion standing on its hind feet.
"Darn it. The wicked witch can't be far behind." Alice frowned, clicked her sparkly red shoes together and whistled.
The scarecrow gave a yelp of welcome, took his partner's arms and pulled them towards Alice. "There you are. Are we late?"
"I can't keep my fairy tales straight." Hammer shook his head trying to clear it.
Alice wasn't concerned about Hammer's state of mind. She was on a mission. "Everyone hold hands and we'll take a shortcut." She sang the words out excitedly.
"Oh no. I get airsick. The tin man closed his eyes waiting for takeoff.
"Got the shoes second hand off some babe named Dorothy. She was homesick and needed a little extra cash." Alice gloated out of the side of her mouth as everyone rose in the air. To Hammer, flying felt like a childhood dream. He held on tight to Alice and the Tinman's hands. Their speed increased until birds looked like they were flying backward."
"What a weird place." It seemed to take no time at all before they landed before the Emerald City gates. "We ain't in Kansas anymore."
They had landed in front of where Oz resided. The lion pounced on the city gates to begin banging on them.
"We've been expecting you. What took you so long?" A sing-songy voice rang out from the other side. The gates yawned open to a rendition of the Lilliput song.
The room they were led into could have been decorated by IKEA. Danish modern furniture decorated the walls. Oz was an older gent with thinning hair sitting on a divan smoking a pipe. "How's tricks?"
"You are our only hope to get back home. Dorothy gave me the speel. It's no secret. What'll it take?" Alice minced no words, getting right to the point.
"Well now, I think I can arrange that if you do a little task for me on the way." Oz puffed contentedly on his pipe. People were always asking him for favors and he was always promising to give them what they wanted. "Who's the hunk? I don't recognize him."
Alice pushed Hammer in front of her. "He's just a little lost lamb I picked up on the way."
"Looks like trouble to me. Glad you'll be taking him with." Oz got up, tied his smoking jacket, and beckoned them. "Put these 4-D glasses on It'll cut a little glare. It will also stop turning everything you see into a cartoon fairy tale."
Hammer did so with relief until he saw what the creatures in this strange world really looked like.
Alice wiggled a pair onto her nose. "Yuck. Can't get away from here fast enough."
"I'd choose door number three if I were you." Oz pointed towards a hallway bending weirdly uphill and to the right.
The lion, scarecrow and tinman were busy arguing with Oz for their own dreams to come true. "Come on, big boy. Oz wants whatever is behind that door. Let's go get it and be done here. What you say?"
"What I'm thinking about is a whole other story." Hammer replied. He pulled door number three open. He stepped forward with Alice at his side.
Read all of Hammer's adventures
Story #1 "Story #1 The Mystery of Women"
Story #2 "Story #2 Hammer Gets Religion"
Story #3 "Story #3 Hammer Goes To Mars"
Story #4 "Story #4 A Visit With Venus"
Story #5 "Story # 5 Hammer's Grown Up Fairy Tale"