Dorothy and the Multiverse

Wait! That’s not helium! — Last words of Henrietta Gale, June 26, 1937.

Dorothy’s parents took her to the dog pound on her sixth birthday. She walked slowly past the cages of beagles and corgis and stopped to look at a cairn terrier puppy. It was love at first sight. She named him Toto.

Dorothy’s mother baked a birthday cake while her daughter and puppy played outside. When the cake was done, she set it aside to cool, lit a cigarette, and walked out to the garage, where her husband was inflating balloons for their daughter’s party.

She saw his mistake immediately. “Wait! That’s not helium!” she cried, but it was too late.

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“Look what your dog did to my flower bed,” said Mr. Glitch, who did not in any way resemble famous character actress Margaret Hamilton or any trademarked Warner Brothers character.

“Toto would never do anything like that,” said Dorothy, just as Toto began to relieve himself on the ruined flowers.

Mr. Glitch took a step towards the dog, then stumbled, lurching forward. Toto interpreted this as an attack and bit him on the ankle. Mr. Glitch smiled the coldest smile Dorothy had ever seen.

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The doorbell rang while Dorothy was setting the table for lunch. It was Mr. Glitch, with a court order authorizing him to seize Toto and have him euthanized immediately. Her uncle read the document carefully and said there was nothing they could do. He told Dorothy to get Toto and hand him over to Mr. Glitch.

Dorothy went outside to find Toto. She paused for a moment and made her decision. She wasn’t going to let them kill him. She was going to run away with him, as far away as possible. She picked Toto up and started down the road.

They didn’t get far. A storm forced them to return to the farmhouse. Moments after they went inside, a piece of flying debris hit her in the head and knocked her unconscious. She had a vivid dream. When she woke up, the storm had passed, and Dorothy had decided not to run away after all.

Mr. Glitch returned shortly after Dorothy woke up. Toto was euthanized later that afternoon.

Universe #2

Mr. Glitch took a step towards Toto, then stumbled, lurching forward. Toto interpreted this as an attack. He jumped up and bit Mr. Glitch on the thigh, severing his femoral artery. Dorothy ran for help, but by the time the doctor arrived, it was too late. Toto was euthanized later that afternoon.

Universe #3

Mr. Glitch took a step towards Toto, then stumbled, lurching forward. Toto interpreted this as an attack. He jumped up and bit Mr. Glitch on the thigh, severing his femoral artery. Dorothy cleaned the blood off Toto’s face and quietly returned home. The coroner determined that Mr. Glitch had been attacked by some kind of wild animal, possibly a wolf. Toto lived a long and happy life with Dorothy and her aunt and uncle.

Universe #4

Dorothy’s parents took her to the dog pound on her sixth birthday. She walked slowly past the cages of beagles and corgis. Her mother steered her past the cairn terrier puppy, who was licking himself in a manner that she thought was inappropriate. Dorothy stopped to look at a six-month-old female collie. It was love at first sight. Dorothy named her Lassie.

Dorothy’s mother baked a birthday cake while her daughter and puppy played outside. Dorothy’s father went into the garage to inflate helium balloons for his daughter’s party. As he prepared to fill the first balloon, Lassie burst into the garage, knocked him down, and started barking loudly.

“What’s that, Lassie? This isn’t the helium tank? This is a propane tank? The helium tank is over there?”

Lassie, Dorothy, and her parents lived happily ever after.

Epilogue

Another young family arrived at the dog pound moments after Dorothy and her parents left. The boy walked slowly past the cages of beagles and corgis and stopped to look at a cairn terrier puppy. It was love at first sight. He named the dog Toto.

Timmy and Toto were inseparable. One day, Timmy fell down a well. Toto could hear Timmy’s cries. He stayed by the well and whimpered in distress for a while, but then he was distracted by a squirrel. Timmy’s body was never recovered.