By Richard Edmondson
“Let’s get onboard the choo-choo train!” said Vicky to her playmates.
“Where we gonna go?” asked Johnny?
“We’re gonna go spread democracy!”
And all the little regime-change buccaneers looked so cute and adorable as they boarded the train!
“What’s democracy?” asked Barryy-O, stepping up into the passenger carriage with a happy, bright smile.
“It’s when people have to do what they’re told to do, only they think they like doing it!” replied Vicky.
“Sounds good to me!” said Barryy-O
“When we gonna get our political homework done?” wondered Geoffrey.
“Don’t worry about that, silly!” rejoined Vicky, whereupon she squawked suddenly in delight: “I get to sit up front with the engineer!!!”
“You got to sit up front last time!” complained Cathy.
“That’s because it’s my train!” said Vicky as she ran forward past the coal car, stepping over the coupling, settling herself into the seat while reaching up to pull the whistle:
“We’re gonna go spread democracy!”
“WE’RE GONNA GO SPREAD DEMOCRACY!!!” they all shouted.
By and by the train arrived at the edge of the Ukrainian Enchanted Forest.
“Enchanted Forest Station!” said the conductor.
“Let’s get off!” said Johnny.
“Okay by me!” answered Barryy-O.
And so the children stepped down from the train, entered the forest, where they found themselves on a lush, green footpath, making their way gaily along while scattering handfuls of magic democracy dust—to the right, left, overhead, and all around. “Whoopee! This is fun!” exclaimed Cathy.
“Wait a minute—what’s that???” asked Geoffrey.
“It’s a snake!!!!” said Cathy.
“It’s a neo-Nazi snake!” announced Johnny.
“Don’t worry!!!” said Vicky confidently, “He won’t hurt us!”
Stepping forward, she picked the writhing creature off the ground. Snugly it wrapped itself around her arm, but did not bite her. “See???? I told ya!!!!!” she trilled, and indeed Vicky and the snake seemed to have developed an instant natural affinity for each other. “We’ll take him with us!”
“Yeah, that’s good by me,” said Barryy-O.
Further and deeper they made their way into the forest, which they discovered was inhabited also by faeries, witches, and goblins. There were good faeries and bad faeries; good witches and bad witches; and evil, evil goblins. They even heard tell of one clan of goblins known as the Urisks, said to be so ugly they are accredited with having actually frightened people to their deaths.
“We better stay away from them,” said Johnny.
“Sounds good to me,” replied Barryy-O.
But the Urisks weren’t the only evil forces lurking about. An Estonian faery they happened upon told them of a very mean and dangerous clan of Sniper goblins—believed to have been responsible for some particularly devilish mischief.
“All the evidence shows that the Sniper goblins killed people from both sides—the protestors as well as the Enchanted Forest government forces,” said the Estonian faery.
“That’s interesting. Gosh,” murmured Cathy.
“No big deal!!!” said Vicky in exasperation.
“Yeah,” shrugged Johnny. “Who cares?”
And so they pranced merrily on, spreading their magic democracy dust—until suddenly a massive guillotine, taller than a skyscraper, fell vertically out of the sky, slicing through the air, landing scant inches in front of Vicky’s slippers—so close she felt its wind on her face. “Where did that come from????” she shrieked.
“It’s the Urisks! I’ll just betcha!”
“Maybe we better get out of here!”
“Yeah, c’mon, let’s go!!!”
They ran as fast as they could, all the way back to the Enchanted Forest Station—only to find that their train was gone.
“Where’s our choo-choo train???????!!!!”
“It has been moved over to track 5,” said the conductor.
“Huh??? Track 5? Where’s that?” asked Geoffrey.
“Over Pillywiggins Rise, seven kilometers past Landvaettir Lake,” quavered the conductor, pointing westward.
But suddenly the Enchanted Forest station was surrounded by Urisks—and without a doubt they were ugly. They were the ugliest goblins that human beings had ever laid eyes on. So ugly were they the little regime-change buccaneers found themselves growing faint with fright. The deadly, terrible Urisks also had the dismaying ability to gaze in any direction and cause a series of combustible explosions to go ripping across the earth.
“I’m getting out of here!” said Johnny, turning left—right—but the hideous, ugly Urisk goblins were in every direction.
“Sick’em!!! Sick’em!!!” yelled Vicky, but the neo-Nazi snake promptly crawled into a hole and disappeared beneath the forest floor.
“What are we going to do????????”
Suddenly Vicky and her playmates leaped as hard and as fast as they could…out of the magic sandbox of make-believe.
“That was awful!!!!” exclaimed Geoffrey.
“Yeah, I never want to go there again!” howled Cathy, beginning to cry.
“I think I hear my mom calling me for dinner!”
“Yeah, I need to get home too!” sniffed Johnny.
“Fine and dandy with me,” said Barryy-O.
And they all ran home to dinner.