It had been over a century since Mr. Tinker had built his ladder to the Moon in hopes of picking stars for King Pastoria’s crown, only to find the Moon so lovely a place that he had pulled up his ladder and decided to make his home there.
During that time, he watched as men from Earth in very strange vehicles came flying around his home.
He watched in amazement as a number of those strange craft would split in two, allowing one part to actually land on the surface and men would get out and take a look around. He was amazed by the strange clothing they wore and how they bounced around, picking up rocks, saluting flags and even playing golf.
Then there was that one time when one of those very strange craft landed near his home in Mare Imbrium, which he knew as the Sea of Rains, even though it had never rained there since his arrival.
What made the visit by the oddly dressed men from Earth very odd was the even stranger vehicle they left behind, much like a horseless carriage, which Mr. Tinker discovered could allow him to travel great distances across Mare Imbrium.
Now, Mr. Tinker found himself looking down at the lovely blue planet where his former life in the Land of Oz had once been.
He wondered to himself how things were in the Land of Oz and was even more curious how Tik-Tok; the Mechanical Man, who he and Mr. Smith had had invented long ago, was doing. Had his mechanical works remained in good working condition, or was he now only a pile of rusting gears, wheels and cogs?
The visit by the men from Earth and the mechanical devices they left behind had rekindled his curiosity and his desire to revisit the Land of Oz.
He looked down at the gray dirt beneath his feet and longed to see color once again. With the exception of the blues and greens of the planet Earth which crossed the skies above Mare Ibrium every twenty eight days, much like the Moon had done when he lived in Oz, the only color to be found on the Moon was gray. Be it charcoal gray, light gray or dark gray, the color of his home was gray. He found that he truly missed seeing the Great Rainbow of Oz, as well as Polychrome, Daughter of the Great Rainbow.
Mr. Tinker adjusted the control button on the little silver box which controlled the size of the air bubble that surrounded him and served as his means of breathing while living on the Moon. The bubble grew a little bit bigger and Mr. Tinker reached down and grabbed a handful of gray, lifeless dirt. He watched as the gray soil slowly ran through his fingers and down onto the gray surface beneath his feet.
“What would Mr. Smith think of my little device?” he had often thought to himself. The little silver box was indeed quite a feat of mechanical ingenuity and Mr. Tinker was certain the oddly dressed men from Earth would have loved to get their heavily gloved hands on his device.
He recalled how he had nearly suffocated upon his first try at climbing his ladder to the Moon when he first discovered that the higher he climbed, the less air there was to breath, until he found himself nearly blue in the face and had to make a very quick decent back into Oz.
On his second attempt, he had created a bubble of air which he thought would work well, only to discover that as he approached the Moon, his breathing made the air inside the bubble stale and un-breathable.
Only after much thought did Mr. Tinker finally come upon a means of providing fresh air within the bubble that he depended upon if he was going to visit the Moon and accomplish his goal of picking stars for King Pastoria’s crown. He had called it his “Breather-rator” and it worked very well, at least as long as the small copper tank that contained air from Oz remained filled.
Fortunately for Mr. Tinker, his first journey to the Moon found him wandering the South Pole, where he found that by digging into the soil just a little bit, he would come upon ice.
This was so because comets had crashed there long ago and the craters they made at the South Pole of the Moon had never seen sunlight, so the ice from the comets never melted… ever!
Mr. Tinker, being an ingenuous sort of fellow, discovered that he could place chunks of the comet ice into the small copper tank, and by tinkering around with the mechanics of his “Breather-rator” and placing a couple of metal plates that he found attached to an odd metal device which looked like a large mechanical bug that apparently had landed elsewhere on the Moon,
into the copper tank, he could turn the ice into water and then the water would somehow turn into two types of gas. One gas he could breath, which he assumed was air and the other was some sort of gas which burned easily when lit. Of course, Mr. Tinker didn’t know about Hydrogen and Oxygen, which are the two gases that, when combined, make water. He only knew that could breathe one gas and use the other gas for heat and to power his new home on the Moon.
It was then that Mr. Tinker, awestruck by the apparent beauty of the Moon, decided to leave Earth and Oz behind, and live on the Moon. When men from Earth had left behind their horseless carriage, it had made his life on the Moon much easier, especially when it came to gathering ice from the South Pole.
No longer did he have to walk for days just to get there. Now, he could do it in a matter of hours.
Still though, after many years of living on the Moon, the longing for color gnawed heavily at Mr. Tinker’s soul, as did his desire to check up on the condition of Tik-Tok.
As he contemplated the conundrum of which he found himself in, Mr. Tinker found himself thinking about rainbows and green grass, the road of yellow brick, of blue skies and the clear, cool waters of Oz.
The small dwelling that he had carved out of the mountainside which bordered Mare Imbrium seemed dull and drab compared to his memories and a sadness overwhelmed the lonely tinker from Oz.
As he often did when times like this overcame him, Mr. Tinker went about tinkering upon the mechanical devices that he had created from the remnants that the men from Earth had left behind. He was nearly finished repairing a minor fault within the “Breather-rator” which had left him without heat during the last sunset when his screwdriver slipped and tore across the dull copper surface, leaving a tiny fine scratch in the metal and a hiss of steam emitting from it.
Mr. Tinker watched as a small cloud of steam rose slowly into the shaft of brilliant sunlight that came streaming in from the little window above the small doorway of his home. He marveled at the interaction of light and steam and was pleasantly surprised when the sunlight, passing through the water vapor, created a small rainbow arcing across the back wall.
As he stared at the arc of colors splashing across the drab, gray surface of rock, his mind began wandering, as it often did when inspiration was looking for a way out.
“Eureka!” he shouted. His excited shout echoed across the rock walls and bounced off the inner surface of the air bubble which encased his underground home.
The little tinker from Oz ran about excitedly, gathering tools and working out details in his mind. He was coming to terms with the scale of what he had in mind and the thought of it filled him with excitement and enthusiasm.
For many hours, he tinkered here and there, putting together various parts he had gathered over the years from those places where the men from earth had landed. He had to make a return trip to the landing place on the Sea of Rains, using the horseless carriage, to gather more parts. He also headed south to gather more ice for his grand plan.
Finally, he was ready to try out his newest device, which he was certain would be his greatest achievement yet. He had made all his calculations and felt certain he had all the angles right, as well as the mechanics of what he now called his “Rainbow Projector.” Now, all he had to do was wait for the coming shadow. Fortunately for Mr. Tinker, the wait was only a few hours.
As he waited, he checked his calculations and felt certain the Terran Eclipse was near at hand. He had seen a number of them before and they had never failed to fill him with awe.
Now, he set about adjusting the control knobs of his newest invention, the Rainbow Projector, and filling it with fresh ice. In the distance, Mr. Tinker could see the approaching shadow of the Earth covering the gray lunar landscape with a reddish glow.
He turned up the heat on the metal sphere which held the ice and soon heard the hiss of steam emitting into the flange from which the large bubble of gas would form.
As the shadow drew closer to his home on the edge of the Sea of Rains, he set about positioning the large silver shroud that he had fashioned from the silver linings of the strange craft left behind by the men of Earth, atop the ever-growing bubble that was rising forth from the metal sphere.
As the silver shroud encasing the rising bubble began to gain some altitude, Mr. Tinker attached the cords he had fashioned earlier. These, in turn, were attached to the Rainbow Projector, which was now rising high above his home. It reminded him of the balloon that the Wizard of Oz had used to enter Oz long ago.
Just then, the reddish shadow of the Earth reached the edge of Mare Imbrium and Mr. Tinker realized that the time to realize his greatest dream was nearly here.
Moments later, the Terran Eclipse began as the Earth’s shadow enveloped the entire face of the Moon.
Mr. Tinker then played out more and more of the cord tethering the Rainbow Projector until it was high above Mare Ibrium and out of the shadow which the Earth was now casting upon the Moon’s surface. He played out just a bit more cord until he came to the marking on it that told him the Rainbow Projector was just at the right altitude for what he had in mind.
No sooner had the Rainbow Projector reached its final destination high above Mare Imbrium when a most magnificent thing happened.
A brilliant shaft of sunlight struck the bubble, which by now was more than a hundred feet across and Mr. Tinker watched in awed amazement as an immense rainbow of light spread out towards the northern region of the Moon.
If his calculations were correct, and the little tinker from Oz was certain they were, the spectrum of colors should spill out just beyond the North Pole, where no one on Earth could see.
He hopped into his horseless carriage, which his Breather-rator now encased in a bubble of air, and made for the North Pole at full speed. He knew that he had about an hour before the Terran Eclipse would be over and he desperately wanted to see the results of his work before then.
Fortunately for Mr. Tinker, his transportation made excellent time and in less than 45 minutes, he was well past the North Pole
and looking out upon the beautiful rainbow of colors that were laid out upon the gray, dull and darkened surface of the far side of the Moon.
Mr. Tinker looked back and confirmed that the Earth was below the horizon, so he was now confident that he, and only he, could see the rainbow on the Dark Side of the Moon.
For many minutes, Mr. Tinker marveled at the beautiful colors of the rainbow which were his alone. His thoughts wandered back to the Land of Oz and the colors which he missed so very much.
Just then, the Terran Eclipse came to an end and the splash of colors from the Rainbow Projector winked out, leaving the far side of the Moon bathed once more in darkness.
The trip back to Mare Imbrium and his home was filled with both great joy at what he had accomplished as well as great sadness at how quickly it had ended. Soon, he was back inside the hollowed-out cave that was his home and the Rainbow Projector had been pulled back down. The bubble of air was packed away in the back of the cave for further use when he needed more air.
“I do believe it is time to return to Oz,” he thought to himself as the little tinker from Oz began reassembling the long ladder which had been packed away over a century ago.
James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison of Oz