It was said that Rivendell was the best place to live in Middle-Earth. (not counting the opinions of thrill seekers who hitch their caravans up on Mount Doom). But when Elrond moved in, the last occupants (a boozy young couple who were probably called Steve and Charlene) had left the place in a bit of mess. There were empty bottles all over the place, rubbish bins were upturned and several species of insects had developed their own cultures and empires. And that was just the foyer.
So Elrond called in the decoraters.
(Walking up a long, stony path, two men carry what appears to be ladders, paintbrushes and a small dog).
Decorater #1 (let's call him Bob, because that's his name): What did you want to go and bring that dog o' yours for?
Decorater #2 (let's call him Tony, because that's what most people call him. His real name is Meridius Sinkwalli, but for some reason people prefer Tony) : Well, he's my friend, isn't he? Plus he can double up as a paintbrush if my other one conks out.
Bob: Now look, Tony. This is a very big job for us. Especially after what happened last time. So I don't want you saying nothing about...that whole unfortunate incident.
Tony: You said that weren't my fault!
Bob: That was the insurance claims, Tony. In reality, it was all your fault! Anyway, let's just find out how he wants the place to look. then we'll whistle a bit and tell him that it'll cost him.
Tony: Got it. And if he asks us what we really do for a living?
Bob: Change the subject.
(Inside Elrond's house, there is a knock at the door and Elrond opens it. Obviously. It doesn't take a genius to know that when a door is knocked upon the person who was knocking upon it is trying to gain access to the premises.)
Bob: Morning, Sir, how are we?
Elrond: I don't know. How are you? I only know how I am and I am fine.
(There is a silence).
Bob: Ri-ght. This is my associate here, Tony.
Tony: Hello there Sir, Mr. Elrond your greatness.
Elrond: Sir will do.
Bob: Right then. This it, is it?
Elrond: Yes. This is my great house. And a great refuge it will be for all good races of Middle-Earth.
Bob: Really. And I thought it was just a dump.
Tony: All good races?
Elrond: Yes. It will be a sanctuary for-
Tony: Will it have the Grand National?
Tony: What about the Marathon?
Bob: Tony, shut up!
(Elrond smiles calmly. He looks like he's been to one of those anger management clinics. He's good at it too, except for that vein that's throbbing in his forehead.)
Elrond: Please, step in to my humble abode.
Tony: Yeah, 'tis humble, innit?
(Bob takes an elbow to Tony's middle).
Bob: Right then, Elrond.
Elrond: Please, call me Sir.
Bob: Right then, Sir Elrond.
Elrond: No, just Sir.
Bob: Gotcha. Right then, Sir. Where shall we start?
Elrond: Have you got any plans?
(Bob goes red and starts to scratch the floor with his foot, which actually dislodges twelve feet of dust and causes a minor earthquake in the basement.)
Bob: Well...there's a funny story, there.
Elrond: You have...got plans, haven't you.
Bob: Ah well, you see, that's the thing, innit?
Elrond: What is the thing?
Bob: Ooh, that's a nice suit of armour over there. That Elvish, is it?
Tony: No Bob - Elvis never wore nothing like that-
Elrond: Have you got plans or not?
Bob: Not...as such.
Elrond: Not as such? You either have or you haven't!
Bob: Maybe, maybe. But in these dark days such as what we are having here in Middle-Earth, who's to say anything's for certain?
Elrond: You haven't got them, have you?
Bob: Alright, no we haven't. Or rather we did, until Tony here spilt coffee all over 'em.
Tony: Speaking of coffee, I'd love a cuppa-
Elrond: I hire who I believe to be the best decoraters and designers in the whole of Middle Earth, and they turn out to be con men.
Tony: Really? Where are they? I'll show 'em what for.
Bob: 'E's talking about us, Tone.
Tony: We ain't con men.
Bob: No, that's right - we ain't con men. But we are the only decoraters in Middle-Earth.
Tony: S'right. Dodgy Tony and Bob, that's what they call us-
Bob: Shut up!
Tony: Well that's what they call us, isn't it?
Bob: Yes but don't you remember, that's why we left Mordor.
(Tony has a glazed expression.)
Bob: Remember? They threw paint at us. Old Sauron face. Ran us out. Police were involved. Don't you remember any of that?
Bob: The county court judgement? Those few years in prison? When we dug a tunnel and escaped? When you were swallowed by that monster and I had to cut you out with a paintbrush? You don't remember all that?
Bob: When we arrived here and you were hit by that train? You must remember that, you broke every bone in your body? When the doctor said you had two days to live? When I donated most of my bones to save you and I fell onto the road outside the hospital cause I was too floppy and I had to go back into hospital when that car hit me-
Elrond: Excuse me, gentlemen. As interesting, ridiculously hilarious and highly implausable your history is, I would like to draw your attention back to my house. That needs decorating?
Bob: Right you are. Forget the plans, we'll make it up as we go along. What kind of a feeling are we going for with this place?
Elrond: I want it to feel like the last homely house. Elegant, but not over-stylish, oppulant whilst not seeming to be snobby and overall cosy whilst not being an invitation for bums to stay longer than necessary.
Bob: Right. This is Elvish country, is it?
Elrond: I suppose so.
Tony: You don't look like no elf I've ever seen.
Elrond: Well, I assure you I am the picture of-
Tony: I mean, all the elves I ever see are making presents in Santa's Workshop. Do you make presents you Lordship Elrond Sir?
Elrond: No, I do not make-
Tony: Cos I reckon you'd be really good at making presents. Although I don't agree with you Bob about this place being like Elvis country. I mean, Graceland was a lot nicer than-
Bob: Tony, would you please, please, for once in your life shut your mouth? Right, Elrond, Sir. Sir. Homely. Gotcha. We can do Homely, us. Homely is our middle name.
Tony: Mine's 'Terrence' actually.
(Elrond and Bob just stare at Tony.)
Bob: So, you want Homely - all these windows to go, I expect?
Elrond: Yes. I want Elvish- (he catches sight of Tony out of the corner of his eye.) I mean, I want...decorative styles.
Bob: And all...sort of...weird looking arches and corridors and that?
Elrond: I expect so.
(Bob whistles, looking at his notepad.)
Bob: It'll cost you, that.