Chapter 13 – You Will Need a Good Deal More Than Heart, Chip Chopper, to Father Children!
After an hour and another shaker full of butter, the metal man was moving a bit.
“Can you butter my jaw, please?” Chip said with a rusty whisper.
I sighed. Once Dorothy buttered his jaws, there would be one more mouth filling the air with words.
“My limbs groan horribly,” cried the metal man as Dorothy and Scrobins worked at moving his arms. At last, he gave a sigh of satisfaction and the weight of his ax fell with a thud as Chip Chopper wiggled his fingers.
"This is a great comfort," he said. "I’ve been holding that axe up like a sore thumb ever since I rusted. I might have stood there forever if you hadn’t come along," he said. “So you’ve certainly saved my life. What brought you to my cottage?"
"We’re on our way to the Emerald City to see the Wizard, but to my dismay, I find that we are much better at talking," I answered, "and we stopped at your cottage to pass the night."
Turning to Dorothy, he asked, "Why do you wish to see the Wizard?"
"I want him to help Toto and I return to our home in Kansas.”
“And I,” interrupted William, “want him to make my butter better…, better in fact, than butter. And Toto…,” William said as she looked my way with her toothy William grin, “and Toto is looking forward to enjoying the wonderful gizzards of Oz.”
I was not amused nor in the mood to hear William’s choked-chicken chuckle or watch her udders erupt in mirth. Therefore, I said nothing. The Metal Woodman appeared to think deeply for a moment. Then he said, "Do you suppose Oz could give me a heart?"
"Why, I guess so," Dorothy answered. "It would be easy for a brilliant wizard…I’d think."
“Only after I get my brain,” said the scarecrow. “I’m in line before you. First, the Wizard shall see Mr. Toto, then Dorothy followed by William and then me.”
"I graciously and willingly will await my turn for a heart," the Metal Woodman replied. "Please allow me to join your party.”
“What about Cottage and Door?” I said. “Surely they you want them to know that you’re well.”
An alligator tear slid down his cheek and skied off the slope of his dimple. Then Chip’s face crumpled. “You’re right, Toto, this is why I need a heart,” Chip said, “undoubtedly they’ve wondered and worried a year…and…and I hardly gave them a second thought.”
“Being late in the day,” William said, “It makes no sense to try to make it through the forest at night.”
Despite William’s ulterior motive – the fine grass in the yard by Cottage, it was a good time to boost the morale of my troops, because that is the sort of thing that makes a leader exceptional.
“Dorothy, William has been a grand sport through all of this. She must be hungry by now. Metal man, you surely need some time with Cottage and Door. Can we stay the night in your cottage and all of us leave at first light?”
With all in favor, we headed back to Door and Cottage. Along the way, we spoke with excitement and anticipation of the reunion that would shortly take place. Even more so than the night before, the euphoria that soaked into us coupled with the intoxicating joy of reunion, made for a remarkable evening.
“I really respect Chip Chopper,” said Scrobins. “If I woke up feeling this good every morning, I wouldn’t be leaving for work...unless of course, Cottage packed some of that happiness in my lunch box.”
In addition to the exhilaration that settled upon us, Door and Cottage were hosts extraordinaire. With more charm than most people, Door and Cottage, were warm, witty, and welcomed Chip with the love and attention of a son. After many hours of chatter, I said,
“Lights out, lest we wear our lips out….”
Early next morn, Chip said, “Door, keep Cottage safe. I hope to return but have no idea when, but, I promised you a family. As you know, the Wicked Witch destroyed my heart and I’ve lost my desire to love. So, I’m off to see the Wizard with high hopes of getting a new heart.”
“I don’t claim to know the ways of men,” said Cottage, “as I’m of the wood. When you speak to the Wizard, I suggest that you tell him about the other parts of your body that the witch destroyed.”
“Why?” said Chip.
“I do believe,” the scarecrow interjected, “that you’ll need a good deal more than a heart to father children.”
With a cock of his head and wrinkled brow, the metal man opened his mouth to speak, frowned, pursed his lips, but the light bulb never lit. Thus, he remained silent.
"Come along, Chip," I said. “You shall have plenty of time to consider this matter while you walk.”