After the jump…the Wizard of Boz!
Welcome to Buffalo, New York. The “City That Really Sucks” as it’s called is home to a little boy named Jeremy Jacobs, who has big dreams of one day owning an NHL hockey team. Jeremy, who is normally picked on by the other children for his poor taste in chicken fingers and high priced lemonade stands, lives at home with Uncle John and Auntie Em. Uncle John is a hard working man and makes his living in the Buffalo bath houses to put food on the family’s table. Auntie Em is a stay at home woman, providing a clean and safe environment for Jeremy to grow up in.
“Auntie Em, why won’t Uncle John support my idea of owning an NHL team?” Jeremy asked one day as he was churning butter on the back porch. Auntie Em looked at him like he was a retarded monkey humping a football.
“Because hockey is stupid. Look at the Sabres, they’re a joke.” She said. Inside, little Jeremy’s heart was breaking into a million pieces. He began to churn the butter harder as Auntie Em spoke up once again. “But I’m sure if you were able to own a team, it would be the best hockey team in the world.” She stated as a soft smile crossed her wrinkled face. Jeremy’s face lit up as he kicked the butter churn over in excitement.
“It would be the best hockey team Auntie Em! We’d build our own building and fill it with our own sub-par and over priced food! Then we’d make it to the playoffs every year but never really make it far, just good enough so everyone comes back the next year with a renewed sense of accomplishment! We’d always sell out and people would always show up, no matter what happens!” He screamed as he ran around in circles throwing his hands in the air and waving them like he did not care. Just then, Uncle John came busting through the door.
“What the hell are you so excited about?” He said to Jeremy as the smell of whiskey and shame overpowered the room.
“I’m going to own an NHL team Uncle John!” Jeremy said as he began to run in circles again. Uncle John clamped his big hand onto Jeremy’s shoulder and began to yell louder.
“NHL TEAM?! Haw-key is for queers and Canadians and I don’t see a maple leaf on your sweater, boy. No nephew of mine is going to own a god damn haw-key team. You’re going to do what every American should do, own an NFL team! Football is a man’s sport! It’s not like that damn figure skating you love.”
Jeremy was crushed. Owning an NHL team was the only thing he ever wanted and his uncle was telling him how bad his dream was. Tears began to well up in Jeremy’s eyes as he yelled back at his uncle.
“You don’t know anything about hockey and you don’t know anything about me!” He screamed as he ran out of the door. His uncle, drunk and tired of his nephew’s zany schemes, did not care to chase after him. Uncle John looked over to Auntie Em and shrugged his shoulders.
Jeremy was wandering the streets of Buffalo alone when he saw a black Cairn Terrier trying to knock over a trash can. Jeremy watched him hit the trash can multiple times, but the trash can was to full to tip over. The little dog didn’t have the power (or the knowledge) to tip the trash can over. Jeremy felt bad for the little, stupid dog as he saw a lot of himself in the canine. Jeremy walked over to the animal and kneeled next to him.
“Hi, I’m Jeremy.” He said as the dog blankly stared back at him. Jeremy waited for a response which is silly because he’s talking to a dog. After a minute or so of looking at Jeremy, the dog hit the trash can once again.
“Oh do you want this?” The boy asked the animal. The dog hit the trash can once again and Jeremy stood up and tipped the can over. Trash spewed from the metal cylinder as the dog leaped into the smelly goodness for which he was trying to get. After a little trash diving, the pooch walked over to the watching boy and jumped up into his arms.
“Hello friend!” Jeremy exclaimed. Jeremy and the dog nuzzled one another and the dog began to bark.
“We’re going to be the best of friends! I am going to call you…Peter Chiarelli!” Jeremy and Peter Chiarelli hugged once more. “Okay Peter Chiarelli, lets go. I don’t know where we are going to sleep tonight, but it’s not going to be at Uncle John’s home anymore!”
Jeremy and Peter Chiarelli walked through Buffalo the entire day looking for food, water and shelter. While food and water were plentiful, shelter was becoming a much harder option and the sun was beginning to set. Jeremy and Peter Chiarelli were walking over a bridge when Jeremy had an idea.
“We can sleep under the bridge tonight Peter Chiarelli!”
Jeremy and Peter Chiarelli walked down the embankment and under the bridge. Jeremy grabbed pieces of stray cardboard and used them as pillows and cuddled with Peter Chiarelli.
“I love you Peter Chiarelli.” Jeremy said as the dog licked his face and the two closed their eyes.
The Village of Boston
The sun shone down on Jeremy’s face as Peter Chiarelli began to bark. Jeremy woke up and was surprised to find out that he was not under the bridge at all! How did Jeremy and Peter Chiarelli get here? An even better question is where is here? He was confused as he looked around and saw little houses with large plants growing on each side of them. Right next to him was a statue of a man that was flying through the air, looking as happy as ever. Jeremy rubbed his eyes and stood up, scared and confused. Behind him a large fern began to rustle, which caused Jeremy to jump.
“Who’s there?” He yelled as two small “men” began to walk out of the fern. Jeremy was confused by them as they had the faces of men but the height of children. He leaned down and extended his hand.
“Hi, I’m Jeremy.”
One of the “men”, visibly older than the other one, began to speak. “Hello, my name is Mark Recchi, but you can call me Rex. What are you doing here?” He asked as Jeremy shrugged his shoulders.
“I have no idea. I was sleeping under a bridge in Buffalo and woke up in this strange village.” Jeremy said as the younger man piped up.
“My name is Brad Marchand, but you won’t remember it. You’ll call me Chad, Todd and Andrew Moshmont. It’s okay though, we’re still friends.” He said as little Moshmont extended his hand and Jeremy shook it. Jeremy then shook Rex’s hand.
“So how did I get here?” Jeremy asked as a booming voice sounded from another fern.
“You are the ‘Chosen One’!” the voice said as a small mushroom like creature came waddling out to them.
“Ah Nathan, how are you?” Little Moshmont asked as the mushroom ignored his question.
“My name is Nathan Horton. I have come to this village because my old village – Panther of Florida- was deserted. On my way, I’ve been told about the Chosen One – someone who will come and liberate this village from the bad witch named Pierre Gauthier and his flying monkeys! Gauthier wants to take over the village of Boston and will stop at nothing to do so. It has been told that someone will have the fortitude to stop Gauthier!” the mushroom stated as Jeremy looked confused.
“But mushroom, how will I get home?” Jeremy asked with a hint of desperation in his voice.
“Once you defeat the evil Pierre Gauthier, you must meet with Wizard of Boz and touch the Cup. Once you touch the Cup, you will be transfered home and everything will be like you never left.” Nathan Horton stated.
“How do I know where evil Pierre Gauthier is?” Jeremy asked.
“He will find you. See the blue line? You must travel down the blue line on the way to Boz to meet the wizard.” Nathan Horton said. Jeremy picked up Peter Chiarelli and waved goodbye to his new friends.
“Goodbye friends! I will destroy the evil Pierre Gauthier! Don’t fret!” He said as he followed the blue line to Boz.
Jeremy and Peter Chiarelli were traveling down the blue line as they crossed a corn field. Jeremy stopped and sat down with Peter Chiarelli.
“I need a rest Peter Chiarelli, my feet are killing me.” He told the little dog as a noise came from the corn field. Jeremy jumped back as Peter Chiarelli began to bark. Hanging high above the corn field was a scare crow tied to two hockey sticks. Jeremy looked at the scare crow as he tried to get down from the hockey sticks, but was tied there tightly. Jeremy stood on the fence and leaned over and began to untie the scarecrow. The scarecrow hit the ground hard, but was able to get up and dust himself off.
“Hello.” Jeremy said as the scarecrow hopped over the fence.
“Oh boy, you saved me!” The scarecrow said in extreme glee. He ran over the Jeremy and shook his hand. “My name is Claude Julien and I’ve been on the stake since forever!”
“What were you doing there?” Jeremy asked him as Peter Chiarelli began to bark.
“My old owner, Lou Lamoriello put me there to scare off the crows from eating his corn. At first it worked, but eventually the crows figured out that I was just a figure tied to two hockey sticks and began eating all the corn. I’m the worst scarecrow ever!” Julien said as he lowered his head in shame.
“Well why don’t you think of different things to do?” Jeremy asked, concerned for the well being of his new friend.
“Because I have no brain. Without a brain, I am not able to come up with power play strategies and make adjustments on how to fend off the crows. Instead, I keep doing the same thing over and over because its all I know.” Claude Julien said. Jeremy put his arm around Claude and began to tell him it was okay.
“Wait boy, what are you doing here?” Claude Julien asked as Jeremy went into the long story of how he ended up in The Village of Boston. Jeremy also told Claude Julien about the evil Pierre Gauthier and heading to see the Wizard of Boz.
“The Wizard? You’re going to see the Wizard? Do you think he can give me a brain?” Julien asked in excitement.
“Well, sure, why not?” Jeremy said as the two interlocked their arms and began to sing, skipping down the blue line.
“We’re off to find the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Boz!”
After heading past the corn fields, the blue line took the trio into the woods. Jeremy put Peter Chiarelli down who took off running down the blue line.
“Peter Chiarelli!” Jeremy called, chasing after his best friend in the whole world. Peter Chiarelli veered off of the blue line and into the woods, running after something. Jeremy, who was frightened for his best friend began to run faster until he crashed into a big tin hockey player, holding a tin hockey stick. Peter Chiarelli stopped running as Claude Julien helped lift Jeremy off of the ground. The two looked at the large tin player in awe. Jeremy had never seen anything as big as the tin player in front of them. Jeremy walked around the player and saw the number 17 etched into his back. He walked around to the front of the player, whose mouth began to move.
“Oil. Oil.” It said as Claude Julien looked confused.
“I think he wants oil.” Claude said as Jeremy found a small oil can. He picked up the can and begin to dispense oil in the joints of the tin player. The player began to move as Jeremy dispensed more oil around his joints. Suddenly, the tin player was able to walk and talk!
“Thank you so much little boy.” The tin player said.
“Hi, I’m Jeremy. My dog’s name is Peter Chiarelli and my scarecrow friend’s name is Claude Julien. Who are you?” Jeremy asked.
“My name is Milan Lucic. I’ve been stuck in these woods for hundreds of years.” He said as he and Jeremy shook hands.
“How did you get stuck out here Milan?” Jeremy asked as the booming voice of the tin player filled the woods.
“I was out here shooting pucks in the woods for when I had to encounter Pierre Gauthier again. Unfortunately my oil can was to far away from me and it began to rain. My joints rusted up and I was unable to move until you guys came along so thank you. Because you were able to help me, I am now in debt to you.” He said with a bow.
Jeremy explained of his quest and Milan insisted that he come along. At that moment, evil Pierre Gauthier came flying in on his broom with his three monkeys, Scotty, Brian and Carey flying behind him.
“Oh no!” Jeremy shrieked as the three monkey circled around Milan. Milan let out a giant roar.
“Help me, they’ve taken away my spacing and I can’t get free!”
“Stop it!” Jeremy yelled again as he began throwing rocks at the flying monkeys. Pierre Gauthier stood before Jeremy and Peter Chiarelli.
“How dare you throw rocks at my all-star monkeys!” He yelled as Jeremy coward. “Do you know who I am? I am the all powerful Pierre Gauthier and I will destroy you!” He said as Jeremy kicked him in the shin. Pierre flopped to the ground and began writing in pain. “You’ve won this round Jeremy!” Pierre said as he jumped on his broom and took off, his flying monkeys right behind him.
Jeremy gathered his friends and asked if everyone was okay. When his friends confirmed (Peter Chiarelli with a loud bark) the team set off down the blue line.
The city of Boz was now insight as Jeremy, Peter Chiarelli, Claude Julien and Milan Lucic continued their journey. All of a sudden, there was a large roar from behind them as they turned around to see the most vicious lion ever looking at them. The four of them were scared of this lion with a 73 on his chest. The lion roared again, this time in the face of Peter Chiarelli. Jeremy, afraid that the lion may eat his friend, walked up to the animal and slapped him on the nose. The lion, shocked, began to cry.
“Ow, why did you do that!?” The lion said through his sobbing.
“You were about to eat my best friend in the world!” Jeremy said, scorn wired through every word.
“No I wasn,t I was just saying hi.” The lion said once again, crying.
“Oh, well I’m sorry. I was scared there for a minute. I’m Jeremy.” He said extending his hand. The lion placed his paw into Jeremy’s hand and the two shook.
“My name is Michael Ryder. I’m so sorry for scaring you.” Michael Ryder said to the group. “I didn’t mean to do that.”
“It’s okay. You know what Michael Ryder, for a lion you aren’t very mean.” Jeremy said as Milan and Claude looked without saying a word.
“I know. I’m a cowardly lion. I can’t hit anyone, I can barely move up and down this blue line without worrying about what’s going on. My pack of lions left me because they were sick of me coasting along and not going out to help them hunt. I don’t bring anything to the table, I have no courage.” Michael Ryder said, once again crying.
“Courage huh?” Jeremy said as Milan spoke up. “Maybe you can come see the Wizard of Boz with us and he will give you courage!”
Michael Ryder’s eyes lit up. “Do you think he would do such a thing?”
Jeremy nodded and the five friends headed down the blue line towards the field of stanchions!
The Final Fight and The Wizard of Boz
The group of friends headed to the field of stanchions, which was the last obstacle before the city of Boz. The grass was green as red stanchions popped up like flowers blooming in the sun.
“Protect your neck everyone.” Michael Ryder informed the group.
As the group began to head through the field of stanchions, evil Pierre Gauthier and his flying monkeys once again showed up and began harassing the group.
“This is enough! Come down and fight me!” Jeremy yelled as Gauthier jumped off of his broom.
“So it’s a fight you want huh?” Gauthier said as he pulled his hands back and yelled. “HADOUKEN!!” A blue wave of energy came flying out of Gauthier’s hands, but Jeremy was able to leap out of the way and dodge it. Sensing his enemy was vulnerable, Jeremy ran over to Gauthier and began punching Pierre in the face. Pierre backed up and sent another Hadouken towards Jeremy, this time sucessful. Jeremy hit the ground hard, but jumped back to his feet. He reached into his pocket and found a golden rope that must have been in his pocket when he left his house. He threw the rope at Gauthier.
“Get over here!” he yelled as the rope wrapped itself around Pierre and pulled him towards Jeremy. Jeremy uppercutted Pierre and sent Pierre flying through the field. Pierre got up and tried another Hadouken, but Jeremy was able to dodge it. While on the ground, Jeremy picked one of the stanchions from it’s stem and hurled it towards Pierre. The stanchion hit Pierre as he let out a loud roar.
“NO! THE STANCHION, MY MORTAL ENEMY!” He screamed as Pierre began to sink into the ground. “NO! I’M MELTING….MELLLLLLTIIIIIING!” he screamed. His flying monkeys, who were battling with Claude, Milan and Michael noticed that their leader was melting into the ground and flew away.
Claude, Milan and Michael picked up a battered Jeremy.
“Are you okay?” Claude asked as Jeremy nodded. It was time for the group of five to finish their quest. They set out for the city of Boz to speak to the Wizard so Jeremy could touch the Cup and return home. The crew finally made it out of the field of stanchions, bloody and beaten, but were amazed at the black and gold city that stood before them. The city of Boz. Finally, the group was going to meet the Wizard and make things right. As Jeremy went to knock on the city’s gate, it opened and a voice boomed over a loud speaker.
“You may see the Wizard.” it said as the group jump in fright. They walked through the gate and into a room where a large head began speaking to them.
“I AM THE WIZARD AND I KNOW WHY YOU ARE HERE. YOU’VE DONE A GREAT SERVICE TO THE VILLAGE OF BOSTON BY DESTROYING THE EVIL PIERRE GAUTHIER SO I WILL GRANT YOU ALL ONE WISH.” He said as Michael Ryder stepped up first.
“Sir, I ask you for courage so I can hit people and be useful once again.” He said as he bowed.
“Granted!” The Wizard said.
“Sir, I ask you for a heart so I am able to show emotion.” Milan asked as he bowed.
“So be it.” The Wizard stated.
“Sir, I ask you for a brain so I am able to come up with the proper strategies and adjustments to keep my enemies at bay.” Claude stated, bowing.
“It is done.” He said. Suddenly a silver Cup came down from the ceiling, floating in mid-air. Jeremy looked back at his friends and gave them each a hug.
“I’m sure we’ll meet again friends.” He said as he touched the cup.