The Heartless Tin Man

steampunk-1809590_960_720There once was a farm girl from Kansas named Dorothy whose house was picked up by a tornado and flung all the way to a place called Oz where it landed on top of a witch.

Hey, these things happen.

After that, things got complicated. She got into a tiff over footwear with another witch then was directed to follow a yellow brick road by a crowd of diminutive and somewhat portly people.  Later, she fell in with a scarecrow who was dumber than a box of rocks.

All of this was bewildering and somewhat stressful until the yellow brick road happened to pass through a woods….

“Oh My Goyd,” she chortled, “he’s goygeous!”

For there, standing among the trees was the hunkiest hunk she ever laid eyes on. Granted, Dorothy was from a little farm town in Kansas where the males trended toward chunky rather than hunky – but what she saw truly was goygeous.

The object of her instant affection had copper-skin, broad shoulders, six pack abs, dreamy tattoos and shiny brass plates and gears that sparkled in the sunlight.

He was heavenly. A veritable steam-punk angel.

She had never seen anything like that and was on him in a flash. Leaping into his arms, her ardor was instantly chilled by cold unyielding metal.

WD-40,” he squeaked.

Being a farm girl, she knew exactly what that was and after rummaging around, came up with a can of penetrating oil – which she applied first to his jaw.

“Ah,” he said, “keep going.”

“More than happy to,” she giggled.

Working down his neck and across his shoulder, she got well into his whirly parts before coming to an abrupt halt.  “Uh,” she said, being a modest Kansas girl, “maybe you ought to finish this yourself.”

He did.

“Say, would you like to join us on our quest to the Emerald City?” she asked.

He stared at her coldly.

“Come with us,” she implored.

“Is that a command?” he asked.

“Why, yes it is,” she said slyly and sure enough, the hunky tin man fell in step with her, her dog Toto (whom I have to yet to mention) and the scarecrow on the yellow brick road.

In the course of their journey, they picked up a lion as a traveling companion, met a wizard and were set upon by a flock of flying monkeys.

Again, these things happen.

During this last encounter, Dorothy and Toto were almost carried off by the monkeys.

“Do something!” Dorothy cried as the monkeys lifted her off the ground.

The tin man looked confused.

“Save us!” she shrieked.

So the tin man did. He reached down, picked up a rock, measured its heft and flung it at the flying monkey carrying Dorothy.


It cracked against the monkey’s skull like a rifle shot.

And down came both Dorothy and the monkey.

“Save Toto!” she cried.

A moment later….

WHAP! and down came Toto too.

“Why didn’t you do anything when we were first attacked?” Dorothy cried.

“It didn’t occur to me,” the tin man responded flatly.

Dorothy was spitting mad.  “You know what you lack?” she shrieked.

“What?” he asked calmly.

“Heart. You lack heart.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do.”

“I have heart right here in my accessory box.”

Dorothy could hardly believe it, for there in a box that the tin man had been carrying all along were two hearts.

One labeled Eco and the other rated Turbo.

“Is it complicated to install them?” she asked.

“No, they just snap in,” he said and to demonstrate, he set the Turbo heart in place.


Instantly his eyelids began to flutter, his lips started to tremble and his whole hunkalicious body commenced to quiver..

“How beautiful you are,” he exclaimed.

He swept her into his arms.

Just then, a voice that sounded like rotten cabbage being force-feed through a wood chipper, exclaimed, “Am I interrupting something?”

It was the witch.

“Darling,” Dorothy crooned, “do that trick with the rock, except use a big one.”

The tin man was horrified. “I couldn’t do that.”

“Why not?” the increasingly desperate Dorothy asked.

“Maybe we should look at things from her perspective.”


“Historically witches have suffered oppresion….”

“No way!”

“She’s green.”


“Maybe the last of her species…”

“Oh, pity sake,” Dorothy hissed.


The Turbo heart popped free.

“Now, do the rock trick.”


“From now on, we go with the Eco heart.”


“Whatever you say, dearest.”



This story was in response to D. Wallace Peach’s wonderful monthly writing challenge:  May’s Speculative Fiction Prompt

** Pixabay image by Brigitte Werner

Author: Almost Iowa

86 thoughts on “The Heartless Tin Man”

  1. I’m SO Late but loved every word of this tale turned into a fun romance!

    1. I am doing product placement in all my stories. Still trying to figure out how to fix Honeywell thermostats in though. [snark] 🙂 🙂

  2. What a delightful story Greg. Imagination and creativity on Turbo mode! I love the twists on the classic Oz story and Diana’s prompt. Thanks for the laughs.

    1. Normally, my muse is pretty quick to come up with something clever and in some cases snarky, but this time, she went all gaga over the photo and it took her almost a week to come up with something coherent. I an not actually saying this is coherent, but it is the best she could do.

  3. What’s funny is that if an untoward incident hadn’t landed me and my car in a Texas ditch on Monday, I’d have had no need of a rental car, and I wouldn’t have been given a brand new RAV4, and I wouldn’t have had a single clue what that “Eco” and “Turbo” was all about. As it was, the young girl working at Enterprise had to explain to me how to turn the danged car on and off with that silly button. I wonder if she knows what WD-40 is. Probably not.

    1. Ouch! Hope you weren’t hurt in the accident.

      We had a problem with a rental car in Germany. We could not figure out how to get it into reverse. So every time we wanted to go backwards, your truly had to push it. Glad we didn’t rent a SUV. 🙂

      1. Nope – not hurt at all, and I get my car back tomorrow or maybe Saturday. I’m glad. The one I’m driving is too big, too fancy, and too stylish. The tinted windows on the sides are so dark I can’t see out of them.

  4. When I finally dragged my attention away from the illustration long enough to actually read your post, I really liked it! You have a real talent for mixing humor, common sense and a subtle moral message. Well done!

    1. When Diane posted the picture for prompt, I was worried about how the WordPress reader would present it. I could just hear my followers muttering, “Has Greg finally lost it?” Something they mutter more than not.

    1. The best of humor treats its subject, characters and audience with respect and tries to do more than crack a joke. It is one reason why I don’t watch late night comedy. 🙂

  5. All and I can say is great job! Well, maybe I could add I have a relative who provided the voice for one of the Munchkins in the original Dorothy. It isn’t much of a claim to fame, but a claim, none-the-less. 🙂 –Curt

  6. Took me fifty years to find out I should be using the eco instead of the turbo heart. excellent telling and with a semi moral too.. Good write Iowa.

    1. I have written here many times that “a vice is a virtue taken too far” and yes, sadly, too much empathy, like anything, is a vice. Never be heartless, but it’s okay to turn the Eco heart up to 10.

  7. What a great story! Your imagination was on Turbo for this one, Greg. I love the revision to the original tale, the accent, the logic. Thanks so much for taking up the prompt. What a riot. 🙂 Can’t wait to share.

    1. Your writing prompt gives rise to such great stories, just glad to hold down the humor lane. Thanks again for all your work, reading and posting these prompts.

  8. Wow! There’s an important moral lesson in there, but I’m a little distracted by all the hunka-hunka burnin’ love…
    Coffee, snorted out my nose and all over my monitor. Well played, Sir!

  9. I saw the head image and thought, hm, looks like Greg has spiced things up a bit.

    And you did! Hubba!

    In “The Things I learned from playing Computer Games” department – apparently Hollywood originally considered a romance between Dorothy and one of the Gale family farmhands. The one played by the actor who morphed into the Scarecrow during Dorothy’s dreams. Back in Kansas, his nickname was “Hunk.”

    1. Isn’t that just like Hollywood? They wring their hands over a romance for Dorothy – but what about Toto? What does the little guy get? Flying monkeys?

    1. If this story is destined to become a holiday classic, I’d be pleased with April Fools Day, which is a holiday in and around Almost Iowa.

  10. Your revised modern adaptation of the Wizard of Oz is a delight. Who doesn’t like a “veritable steam-punk angel” in need of WD-40 who saves the day?

    1. Clearly. I am glad to finally get the true story out. BTW, they lived happily ever after….other than the Tin Man having to clean the cat box. Even a robot can smell that. 🙂

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