A large crowd waited outside of the palace where AJ had been staying. Everyone was wearing dark glasses like he was.
“What can I say, I’m a trend setter.” he grinned. Nick held Tyke as they stood in the balloon, AJ giving a speech to the crowd.
“I will miss you, Nick.” the Scarecrow said, smiling.
“Me too…I think I will miss you most.” Nick replied as the Scarecrow hugged him.
“I’m leaving the Scarecrow and the Lion in charge while I’m gone, listen to them like you would listen to me.” AJ said.
“Dude, are you sure that’s a good idea? I mean…can he run a country?” Nick asked softly.
“They let Arnold be in charge of California.” AJ pointed out as Nick nodded.
“Good point.” he said. Tyke began struggling as he spotted a cat nearby. He barked and jumped down from the balloon, Nick and AJ called him but he wouldn’t come back.
“Shit. Brian’s gonna kill me…don’t go anywhere.” Nick said, hopping out and knocking one of the ropes loose.
“Fuck…..Nick get back here!” AJ screamed. Nick got Tyke, but by the time he came back with the dog the ballloon and AJ were already in the air.
“AJ you moron! Come back!!!” Nick begged.
“Uh….I don’t know how it works!” AJ said as he drifted away. The crowd was waving at him as he left….Nick pouted.
“Now I will never get home….” he said, his eyes watering as he held Tyke….the dog licking his face.
“We will keep you company…” the Lion said, winking.
“Thanks but this could never be like home. I bet Kevin stopped wondering what happened to me by now,” Nick scowled at him, angry at himself. He wondered even how AJ would find his way back….he had no idea how to work a hot air balloon.
“That’s great and all….but I miss my friends. I miss that old tour bus….I miss the crazy girls chasing me every night…” Nick said as a pink bubble floated towards them.
“Here’s someone who could help.” the Scarecrow said, smiling. Leighanne appeared in front of Nick, adjusting her scarf again.
“Can you help me?” Nick asked.
“You don’t need any more help.” Leighanne said sweetly, twirling her wand in her hand and smiling.
“Are you joking? I want to go back home….” Nick said, wanting to cry.
“You always had the power to go back.” she said, fixing her scarf again.
“What do you mean? Why didn’t you tell him?” the Scarecrow asked.
“He wouldn’t have believed me if I did. Nick needed to find out for himself.” Leighanne said.
“What did you find out?” the Lion asked, winking.
“That I already knew where I wanted to be…and I should be happy wherever I am, right?” Nick said, Leighanne smiling at him.
“That’s right. Now those shoes you’re wearing are magic shoes. If you want to go back to Florida, they will take you there in two seconds.” she replied.
“What? What the fuck? Why didn’t you just tell me that in the beginning?” Nick asked angrily.
“Now do you want to go home or not?”
“Trust me I do. Will Tyke go too?”
“Tyke too. Now are you ready?” Leighanne asked. Nick looked at her skeptically but guessed this wasn’t the weirdest thing to happen yet.
“Yes, I’m ready.” Nick said, picking up the dog and standing in front of her.
“Click your heels together and say “there is no place like home”.” Leighanne said. Nick didn’t believe her but closed his eyes and tapped the ends of his red shoes together.
“There’s no place like home….”