If Ever a Whiz there Was

by Laiquendi

A loud bang, like the last dying breath of spitting burnt sausages on a barbeque that’s being run by a pyromaniac, immediately seized the attention of the Fellowship. In the same moment, billows of ominous smoke began to gather on a small nearby hill; the thick mist congealing like days old milkshake that no one likes, forming a tall column against the horizon.
As the smoke began to clear, the Fellowship could begin to make out a dark shadow in the centre that quickly grew to the size of man. A deep booming voice broke though the last remaining vestiges, proclaiming to the awe-struck, but slightly less amused Fellowship.

“Greetings, m….” Before the voice was quickly drowned out by the sounds of unhealthy, deep-throated coughing.

“Greetin….” The voice began again, before descending into even more wheezing coughs and splurts.

“Wow! This stuff is really strong!” The voice eventually said clearly, as a crinkly old man in a dark black cloak stepped out of the remaining smoke, franticly waving his arms around.
“They should put some sort of warning on this stuff…” He continued, before reaching inside his volumous garment and retrieving a small cardboard box. He held it close to his face, then muttered and began moving it away slowly before muttering again and then began fumbling inside his cloak once more. A few seconds later his hand emerged with a pair of small metal glasses which he placed upon his nose before adjusting the distance of the box a third time.

“Well so it does, right here…” He said to the bemused Fellowship, marking the location with his finger before noticing the expressions on their faces and quickly throwing the box over his shoulder.
“Yes, so, anyway…” He continued yet again to his less than enthusiastic audience.

“Greetings, my friends! I…” He stopped, then readjusted his footing before throwing his arms wide and announcing in a deep tone.

“I am the Great and Powerful Shallallaallla… wait, no…” He stopped abruptly, thought for a second then began again.
“The great and powerful Kavaballaba… wait, no… Thaphaphephaff… wait, no… Yiggajjigamigg… oh, just call me Bob.” He finished finally, the exasperation evident in his voice.

“You are the great and powerful… Bob?” Aragorn eventually asked, feeling rather confused as to this entire state of affairs.

“Yes, well, ok, yes.” Bob replied before continuing: “ I am the Great and Powerful … Bob… the sixth wizard! And I have…”

“Sixth wizard?” Merry piped up from the back. “I thought there were only two wizards… you know, Gandalf and that creepy other fellow, Sauron, or whatever.”

“No, no, there are three wizards, Gandalf, Saruman and Radagast.” Frodo quickly corrected Merry.

“I thought he was Dracula?” Pippin interjected between the two.

“Honestly! You’re all wrong. Have you never even read the book?” Bob exclaimed with frustration, taking control of the conversation. “There are five wizards: Saruman, Gandalf, Radagast, Allatar and Pallando.”

“So how can you be the sixth? You said there were only five.” Boromir asked, placing one hand gently on his shiny (and still sharp) sword.

“Yes, well, the books were wrong too. For here I am! The Great and Powerful… Bob… the sixth wizard! And I have returned to you now…”

“How you can have ‘returned’ to us if this is the first time we’ve ever met you?” Gimli grumbled from somewhere in the background.

“Surely the usage of the word ‘returned’ implies that you have been absent after first meeting us?” Legolas agreed, however reluctantly.

“Stop interrupting! I’m the great and powerful one here.” Bob quickly responded. “And I can say whatever I like. And besides, being a wizard as I am, you may not have recognised me on our last meeting. Yes, haha! Argue that one!”

Which was only greeted by even more quizzical looks, although Aragorn’s hand over Pippin’s mouth may have contributed to the uneasy quiet.

“As I was saying. I am the Great and Powerful Bob! The sixth wizard of Middle-Earth, son of the all-powerful Valar, heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed! And I have returned to you now at your time of need…”

“I need some afternoon tea, if you happen to have any stored away in that bottomless cloak of yours.” Pippin jumped in suddenly, as Aragorn yelped and began nursing fingers that had suspicious teeth shaped marks in them.
“Some chocolate, a few cakes, a nice sandwich or two…” he began to count off various snacks and dishes although no one else bothered to listen.

“I need a break…” Frodo muttered.

“I’m not some sort of dinner service, you know! However, I may be able to help you out. I recently picked up this vial…” And with that, Bob reached into his cloak and removed a small glass container, the pinkish hue of the liquid sparkling in the sunlight.

“Apparently it’s able to do wonders with Turkish delight, but well, I haven’t had much chance to use it, what with these new teeth and all. This old man stuff really has some deceptive side-effects! My back hurts, my bones ache, and my eyesight’s about as good as a blind emu on stilts!”

“What an ‘e-moo’?” Gimli asked Legolas, who only shrugged in reply.
“Maybe it’s what cows send over the internet?”

To demonstrate his power to Pippin, Bob carefully let a single droplet of the liquid drop to the floor, and as it hit the ground a small poof of smoke rose up. As the smoke clearly it left a small (for Hobbit snacks) sized box with a red ribbon tied delicately in a bow on top. Pippin ran instantly to the new present, ripping off the bow and gorging himself on the sweet delights found inside.

“So let me get this straight…” Aragorn spoke sternly, trying to wrap his head round their current bizarre turn of events while simultaneously nursing his fingers and trying to ignore the mess Pippin was making.
“You’re a hitherto unheard of ‘sixth’ wizard, who has come here to help us… how?”

“You do know we already have a wizard of our own.” Merry said.

“Mamdav” Pippin tried to say with a mouth full of Turkish delight, the light powder covering his entire mouth and making an absolute mess of his clothes.

“Yes, he’s just… delayed at the moment, trying to pry Sam out of a hole in the ground.” Then after a second Aragorn added: “It’s a long story.”

“I say we run you through!” Boromir shouted, pulling his long sword free.
“See how magical you feel when you’ve got Bertha here tickling your ribs.” Boromir smiled menacingly, softly caressing the cool metal of his sword.

“Oh, there’s a lot more to me than you’ve seen, my lad. How about a balloon poodle?” Bob countered, before searching through various pockets throwing out a long string of multicoloured hankerchiefs, a penguin, two packs of cards, and a sonic screwdriver until he finally held a small piece of red material before the disgruntled audience.

“This, good sirs, is a balloon!” Which was instantly met by assorted gasps and ooooooos.

As if to demonstrate its use, Bob touched the piece of red material to his lips and began to blow. This resulted in several heavy coughing fits, such that Aragorn thought he was going to pass out right then. Waving a hand to the crowd as if to allay them of any fears, when actually no one had bothered to help the old man, Bob reached into his cloak once more and pulled out a small pump.

After several failed attempts to attach the pump to the balloon, Bob finally got it fixed and began to thrust weakly on the piston. Slowly, ever so slowly, the balloon started to grow bigger until finally it stood about 10 inches long. With an exhausted look on his face, Bob detached the balloon and began to mercilessly torture the new shape.

“My ears!” Legolas shouted in alarm above the incessant squealing and squeaking of the balloon-creature, both hands clasped firmly across the delicate organs. “My delicate ears! Why did they have to be so long and pointy!”

Eventually, Bob stopped the torture and before him, to the marvel of the now fascinated crowd, floated a small, mis-shaped red creature.

“What it is?” Merry asked, dumb-struck at the spectacle.

“Well, whatever it is, it’s got five legs and no head.” Frodo said, trying to resist the powerful magic.

“Tis devilry to be sure!” Boromir exclaimed, shock and fear plastered across his face.

“Oh you say that about everything Boromir.” Aragorn chided, although he too was uncertain of what to make of this new wonder.

“Well, as you seem to like it so much Boromir, you can have it if you want.” Bob said, tying a small piece of string around the balloon-creature and the other end to Boromir’s sword.

Everyone stared up at it, humbled by the magnificence of the new creation as the disfigured balloon-creature floated happily in the sky above Boromir’s head. A sudden “pop!” startled the onlookers as the balloon instantly vanished before their eyes.

“Wha…” Boromir wailed, still more shock plastered across his face.

“The balloon!” Merry shouted

“The balloon!” Gimli squealed.

“Fa mammoon!” Pippin mumbled.

“Yes, the balloon, wow.” Frodo muttered in mock-delight.

“The creature is finally freed!” Legolas shouted out triumphantly as he re-stowed his bow over his shoulder.

Everyone suddenly turned to look at Legolas, their menacing gazes digging deep into the unfazed elf.

“What?” Legolas asked. “You’ll thank me for it later, just you wait and see. I go saving everyone from evil floating creatures of doom, and what do I get in return? Nothing, that’s what! I’m not just a pretty face you know! Well, I am, but that’s besides the point.”

And with that, Legolas turned his back on the rest of the group and sat down on a large rock to sulk in the corner.

“Can we have another, Bob? You are truly a great and powerful wizard!” Merry asked, followed by head nods and mutterings of “ayes” from everyone except Frodo and Boromir, who was on the verge of tears as he held the balloon-creature’s string in his hands.

“Sorry, my friends, but it’s a one-time only deal!” At which the faces of the fellowship suddenly dropped.

“However…” Bob said, as he seemed to reconsider, “I could do some more, If you let me join your Fellowship.”

The rest of the group leaned back slightly, a little taken aback by this new offer.

“Two wizards are better than one, I always say.” Merry offered his opinion first, knowing no one would actually listen to it until the very end of the discussion when Aragorn would claim he thought of it first.

“Me makes mood murmish melights!” Pippin added, trying to stuff a few more bits into his mouth in case it was suddenly taken away if the vote went against him.

“There’s always more where those came from, my friend.” Bob said with a smile as he winked at Pippin.

“…Balloon…” Was all Boromir could muster, the tears welling under his eyes.

“And those, my friend, and those.” Bob added, placing a consoling hand on Boromir’s shoulder.

“Well I think we should ask Gandalf when he gets back. There’s something fishy about this...’Bob’ fellow, and I’m not talking about the two mackerels that are hanging out of his pocket.” Frodo stated with a strong voice, his stern grimace unwavering in the devotion to his old friend, even if he did want just a small taste of the Turkish delight.

“Well if you ask me, as I will note that no one has…” Gimli started to say until something small and furry jumped up and out of view over the small hill behind Bob.
“Oooo…oooo… a little bunny rabbit!” Gimli proclaimed with delight, before quickly scurrying over the hill to find it.

“That’s Gimli gone…” Bemoaned Frodo with a sigh.

“Hmmm, it appears that we have little choice. And as a wise Elf once said to a dandelion, two wizards are better than one.” Aragorn said finally, drawing the matter to a close.

“It’s four against two, Frodo, with one abstention. You loose!” Aragorn said.

“Don’t I have any say in this matter, since I am the Ring-bearer and all?” Frodo quickly put in, dangling the Ring on the chain round his neck in front of the group.

“You got to make the decision about which way we turn out of Rivendell when we started, and you got that one wrong too!” Merry said sharply, still trying to avoid Aragorn.

“.. The Ring…” Bob said unexpectedly, now that the group had made its
decision. And with a flash and some more expanding smoke, Bob had swiped the Ring from Frodo’s chain and vanished into the mists, leaving only a trail of cackling, and coughing, evil laughs.

“Oi! The Ring!” Frodo shouted in surprise. “He’s taken the Ring!”

“Get him!” Aragorn cried, although he was still a bit disorientated by the smoke and worried that he might step on one of the Hobbits.

“Met me must minish mese mast murkish melights…” Pippin mumbled somewhere in the dimness, holding the box of Turkish delights to his chest for dear life.

“I’ve got his leg!” Merry suddenly screamed as he grabbed on to something.

“That’s my leg, you idiot!” Legolas replied almost as quickly.

“Oops, sorry.” Merry mumbled sheepishly as he let go of Legolas. “It’s hard to tell all these legs apart in the smoke. Honest mistake, oh, and sorry about the bite marks.”

“…Balloon…” Boromir whispered softly, although no one could tell where anyone was by now and just decided to sit it out and wait for the smoke to clear.

“What are we going to do, Aragorn? Gandalf’s going to be coming back any minute!” Frodo wailed as the smoke slowly began to recede and the dishevelled group took stock of the recent affair.

“Quick, take the clasp for Boromir’s cloak, dig out Pippin’s gold fillings, and grab Gimli’s hammer. We can make our own Ring!” Aragorn began.
“All we need now is a fire that’s hot enough to melt gold, some ancient Elvish magic, a whole heap of bubblegum and a jewelsmith that doesn’t charge overtime.”

“I’m afraid it’s a lost cause, Aragorn.” Frodo said eventually, feeling totally disheartened as Aragorn prepared to wedge open Pippin’s mouth.
“The whole quest comes to an end over Turkish delight and a mutilated balloon-creature!”

“Phewww! Just think how bad it could have been if we’d continued!” Merry added, just a little relieved to finally be going home, even if he did have to fight Pippin for the last Turkish delight now that he couldn’t eat it.

“Not to fear, Gimli’s here!” Came a voice over the hill, and there, standing proud in the sunlight atop the small hill stood Gimli. In one hand he held what looked like a half-eaten rabbit leg, and in the other was the Ring on Frodo’s chain.

“The silly old fool tripped over his own cloak and fell down a rabbit hole… and I don’t think Gandalf’s going to help him get out of that one!” Gimli announced proudly, returning the rabbit-leg to Frodo.

“Mmm.. Gimli… wrong hand.” Frodo said quickly, before retrieving the Ring and hastily throwing away the rabbit-leg.

“So all’s well that ends well. As I’m sure someone once said, sometime, to someone.” Aragorn said in the end.

“I told you there were only two wizards!” Merry said. “But no, no one listens to Merry, because then everyone would be ok.”

“Ahmmm… please notice that it was I that slew the foul floating beast.” Legolas spoke up, making sure that he got some of the credit for his courageous feat in this bizarre matter.

“You said there were three wizards.” Pippin corrected Merry wondering if he had enough time to run to where Bob was stuck in the rabbit-hole and retrieve the vial of Turkish delights.

“There are five wizards.” Frodo corrected yet again, “And here our one comes now!”

As the group turned to see the familiar large hat bob up and down over the hill, they were all a little relieved that nothing could surely go wrong when they got to Caradhras.

“….Balloon…” Was all Boromir said.