Lord of the Keyrings

by MirandaOttoFan

I  II  III

Lord of the Keyrings: the Carpool of the Keyring

Prologue

It all began with the forging of the Great Key-Rings. Seven key-rings were given to the dwarf lords, great drivers and mechanics of the mountain halls, but a few days afterwards, the dwarves gave up driving, and so they threw their rings away (except for a couple who still liked an occasional joyride). Three key rings were given to the elves, the fairest of all, but the elves only drove limousines anyway and they had their own key-rings, so they never used them. And nine key-rings were gifted to the race of men, who above all else desire new cars, but they were all of them deceived.

Forged in the fires of Mt. Doom by the Dark Lord Subaru another key-ring was made and into it he poured all his malice, cruelty, oil, gas, and will to dominate all machinery: One Key-Ring to Rule Them All. One by one the consumers of Middle-Earth fell before the powers of the key-ring. But there were some who resisted. There was a last alliance of men and elves and on the slopes of Mt. Doom they fought for the freedom of Middle-earth. The armies fought brutally, the elves shooting arrows that shot down the merchandise that the goblins threw at them.

Then the King Elendil slew the great entrepreneur and it seemed that victory was near. But the power of the Key-Ring could not be undone. The Great Lord Subaru showed up himself in a mighty black minivan filled with advertisements for discounts on cars. He hurled them at the masses, as men and elves ran to grab them. Just when it seemed that all hope a failed (Elendil had shoved aside the elfin king to grab a flyer with a Honda on it), his son Isildur took up his father’s sword and slashed through the motor of the minivan. Subaru, in his fury at not being able to start his car, threw his key-ring out of the window and Isildur grabbed it. In a rage that his car wouldn’t work without a key, Subaru kicked his car and caused a massive explosion killing everyone within killing distance except Isildur (although it would be more poetic to say that only the bad guys were wiped out, but that would be impossible).

Isildur had this one chance to destroy evil forever, but the hearts of men are easily corrupted. Isildur took the key-ring and used it to drive his own personal limo. One day, as he was driving through a forest, goblins ambushed him and shot his tires out with machine-guns. Isildur thought that his key-ring would protect him and keep the car going anyway, as it had protected him from the blast of Subaru’s death, but it betrayed him to his death and allowed the car to slide into the river, where Isildur was shot to death. But when the goblins pulled the car out of the water and searched it, the Key-Ring was gone.

The Key-Ring then passed out of all knowledge and for 200 years it waited until it ensnared yet another creature. It came to the creature Golf-cart, who took it deep into the Misty Mountains and there, it consumed him. It convinced him that he was king of the golf court and that he should steal a golf-cart so that he could fit the part (hence the nickname he soon earned). He spent many long years in the tunnels, putting golf balls around and muttering to his ‘precious’ about the amount of points he was getting.

But in the outside world, rumors grew of a shadow in the east, whispers of a nameless fear and the Key-Ring perceived its time had come. He abandoned Golf-cart but only to be picked up by the unlikeliest of creatures: a hobbit, Bilbo Bumper, of the Shire. For soon hobbits would shape the future of all car merchandising.


Scene 1: A Long Expected Party

On the small dirt road leading to the small town of Hobbiton in the country of the Shire, an old, dirty, rusty Jeep was rattling along. It was extremely old and the tailpipe was belching smoke like a drunken dragon. Riding in the old jeep was an old wizard, with a large grey hat and a long grey cloak. He had long grey beard too and was singing a tune to himself (“I Got the Power!”).

Suddenly, a young hobbit with short black hair ran up to him along the side of the road. The old man stopped the Jeep and gazed up at him. “You’re late,” accused the hobbit.

“A wizard is never later, Fordo Bumper. Nor is he early,” said the wizard. “Coincidentally, I suffered a blowout and was delayed for three hours in Bree.”

Fordo raised an eyebrow. “Delayed by the tire or the ale?” he asked. Then they both laughed and Fordo jumped into the wizard’s arms. “It’s wonderful to see you, Gallant!” They rode off together into the town. After sharing the news of the wide world (“Honda has released a new minivan complete with a Jacuzzi bath and a DVD player,”), Frodo left Gallant, who went on to Bag-End in order to visit his old friend Bilbo. Ignoring the sign that said “no admittance unless on party business”, Gallant strode up to the green, round door and knocked.

“No, thank you!” came a voice from within. “I don’t want any more traveling salesmen or Jehovah’s witnesses!”

“And what about very old friends?” asked Gallant.

Of course, Bilbo came out very surprised and greeted his old friend. He invited him in and showed him around his newly furnished hobbit-hole, complete with an electric coffee maker and microwave (Bilbo was still a little behind in the times). After a while, they sat down to a nice cup of coffee and Gallant asked Bilbo if he still meant to go on with his ‘plan’.

“Yes, yes, all the arrangements are made,” Bilbo assured him. “I’m old, Gallant. I know I don’t look it, but I’m beginning to feel it in my heart. I feel thin, sort of stretched, like a bug spread over too much windshield. I need a long holiday and I don’t expect I shall return.”

Later on, the two of them sat smoking pipe-weed. Bilbo blew smoke-rings and Gallant blew helicopters through them. “Gallant, my old friend, this will be a night to remember.” At the party that night, dozens of hobbits came to cheer Bilbo’s 111th birthday. Many of them who weren’t invited stole their neighbor’s second cars and came anyway. Gallant spewed magnificent fireworks everywhere, bursting into designs of anything you could possibly think of, from balloons to Balrogs. At one point, one of them burst into a beautiful picture of the American flag (“How did that get there?” wondered Gallant).

However, unbeknownst to him, two young hobbits were getting into his fireworks and plotting to set one of them off. Unfortunately, they set it off in the Gaffer’s hobbit-hole and the entire roof exploded, as the firework shot into the sky and came blazing down in the direction of the party in the form of a burning fighter jet. After the firework finally disappeared, the hobbits cheered, but Gallant grabbed the two hobbits by the ears and glared at them. “Mercedes Brandybuck and Pontiac Took. I might’ve known,” he said and the next thing they knew, they were running a free car wash.

After the hobbits had recovered from the initial shock of burning fighter jets, they all gathered to wait for Bilbo’s annual birthday speech. As they all chanted his name, the old hobbit drove onto the pedestal in his new red roadster, stood up on the driver’s seat pulled out a wrinkled piece of paper from his pocket, scanned it, threw it away and began to talk. “My dear…er, hobbits!” he began. “Today is my 111th birthday! Alas, 111 years is too long a time to be among such idiotic and stupid hobbits. I don’t know half of you at all, which is why I invited you!”

And just as the surging crowd began to rush at Bilbo with teeth bared and hands outstretched, the hobbit and the car both suddenly disappeared and they all ended up in one big pile. Immediately, Gallant disappeared too and later reappeared to Bilbo, who was in Bag-End, packing his suitcase. “Is that you, Gallant?” said Bilbo. “Did you see their faces? Well, since you’re saying nothing and just glaring at me, I suppose that means you were too busy being annoyed with me for using the Key Ring to notice. Well you needn’t worry any more. I’m leaving everything for Fordo, even my car and the Key Ring.”

But then Bilbo remembered that it was still in his pocket. Gallant pressed him to leave it behind, but Bilbo would not and became angry, insisting that even though he was 111 years old, he could still drive. Gallant became irritated and grew tall and menacing. “Bilbo Bumper!” he growled. “I am not trying to help you; I’m trying to rob you, so give me the Key-Ring now before I blow your hobbit door through Bag-End and out the other side!”

Bilbo was so mortified that he threw the Key-Ring onto the floor, grabbed his stuff and ran out the door and off down the road before anyone could say anything. Gallant grinned to himself, then bent over to pick up the Key Ring before Fordo got back and saw it. But just as his fingers neared it, there was a bright flash of light and Gallant backed up doubtfully. Then, he went over and sat down and watched the Key-Ring, puffing his pipe and waiting for Fordo to get back.



Chapter 2: A Shadow of the Past

“Bilbo!” shouted Fordo as he hurtled the door to Bag-End open. “He must’ve already gone. Darn it! He owed me money. What’s this? It must be his Key-Ring. Oh well, I forgot it, but I suppose it might be useful for me, in case I ever get a car of my own.”

“I wouldn’t make much use of it if I were you,” Gallant told him, coming out of his pipe-weed induced stupor, standing up and gathering his hat and staff. “You’re much too young to be driving anyway. At any rate, I must be going. There are many questions that need answering and I must find them…the answers, that is, not the questions.”

“I don’t understand,” said Fordo, certain that Gallant had been on the pipe weed for too long.

“Neither do I,” answered Gallant mysteriously. “Keep it secret, keep it safe,” and then he was gone. Fordo could hear the wizard’s old jeep as it rattled its way out of Hobbiton and off into the distance. The hobbit looked at the key-ring and shrugged. He assumed that was what he was supposed to keep secret and safe, since Gallant hadn’t specified, and so he put it in an envelope and tucked it away in a drawer, then went outside to finish cleaning up after the party.

Meanwhile, Gallant’s old jeep had made its long way to the great city of men, Minas Tirith. From there, Gallant would see the fumes and fires of Mordor and he began to wonder if perhaps the dark lord had reopened his factories. He drove into the Minas Tirith parking lot and made his way to level three, where the public library was located. There, he looked up Isildur on the Net and found a copy of the old king’s diary, where he read of the fall of Subaru and the finding of the One Key-Ring. What he read caused his face to go greyer than it already was. He hurried out of the city, jumped into his old car and sped away as fast as he could go – which was a record pace of 40 mph.

A few days later, Fordo was returning to Bag-End after an exhausting day of trying to convince Mercedes and Pontiac (or Merci and Ponty as they were commonly called) that they shouldn’t drink ale and dance on the tables at the same time (it hadn’t worked). But as he neared his home, he saw that the windows were opened, so he entered cautiously, ready for anything. This is why he jumped clear out of his skin when Gallant suddenly grabbed him from behind and asked, “Is it secret?? Is it safe??”

Fordo was so shaken that had to take a glass of brandy before he could do anything and then he had to sit there for a few minutes and clear his wits while he remembered where he had put the key-ring. When he had finally found it, Gallant took it, envelope and all, and threw it into the fireplace. Soon thereafter, he took out the key-ring with the tongs and placed it in the hobbit’s hand. “What do you see? Can you see anything?” he asked.

Fordo looked at the key-ring. “No, there is nothing…” he began, and then he saw it. “Wait. There are letters. It says ‘One Key-Ring to rule them all, one Key-Ring to find them, one Key-Ring to bring them all and in the darkness drive them.”

“The language is that of Mordor, which I will not utter…wait a minute. You weren’t supposed to be able to read that!” said Gallant, exasperatedly. “Never mind, now that my best speech in this story is ruined. Sit down and I’ll tell you all I know.”

So the hobbit sat down and Gallant told him all about the history of the Ring. When he had finished, he completed the tale with a solemn warning, “The Dark Lord Subaru’s body was destroyed, but his spirit has survived. Now he is rebuilding the factories of Mordor to spread all the land in a second merchandising franchise. Subaru only needs this Key-Ring to drive his ultimate limo, so he can advertise his wares personally. His orcs, which are multiplying, could do it for him, but they have a bad habit of eating his customers. So, obviously, he cannot get this thing.”

“Alright!” agreed Fordo. “We take it away and hide it. No one knows it’s here, do they, Gallant?”

Gallant looked very weary indeed. “There was one creature who knew that Bilbo had the key-ring. I looked everywhere for the creature Golf-cart, but the enemy found him first.”

(in a flashback, we see Golf-cart strapped to a machine in the dungeons of Barad-Dur, where he is brutally bring force fed fried fish and chips).

“I don’t know how long they tortured him, but amidst the inane babble, they discerned three words.”

(Golf-cart cries out in pain, “Tartar sauce! Ketchup!”)

“Tartar sauce? Ketchup?” gasped Frodo in shock. “That will lead them here!” For everyone in Middle-earth knew that the only place to find such things as tartar sauce and ketchup was at the Michel Delving Condiment Factory in Hobbiton. Even at that very moment, riders in black were approaching the factory and asking around about any mysterious happenings in the Shire.

But this was unknown to Fordo and Gallant. The only thing the hobbit knew was that he must take the Key-Ring out of the Shire. “Head for the village of Bree and I will meet you there at the Inn of the Horseless Carriage,” the wizard told him. “I am going to see the head of my order. He, being most wise and powerful, will know what to do.”

Just as they were saying farewell, there came a coughing noise from outside the window. Gallant reached down with his staff, thumped something on the head and pulled in a hobbit who was holding a pair of shears. “Confound it all, Slamwise Gamgee!” shouted Gallant. “Have you been listening through a cracked window?”

“I ain’t been cracking no windows, honest,” said Slam. “I was just trimming the grass under the window there, if you follow me.”

Gallant didn’t follow him and as punishment for eavesdropping, the wizard told him that he had to go with Fordo to Bree to see him safely there. As the two hobbits left Hobbiton in a small Volkswagen Beetle, Gallant gave Fordo a last stern warning.

“Never use that Key-Ring, only use the one already given to you. Remember, the Key-Ring is trying to get back to the hands of its master. It wants to be found.” And with that, the wizard drove off into the night in his old jeep.


PS one more thing, guys. The rest of the story will be in script form. I decided that it just won't work in this form the way I want the story to go, so I hope you all don't mind!


Chapter 3: Three is Company

As the two young hobbits started their long journey towards Bree, Gallant rode his jeep as fast as he could to the great fortress of Isengard. There dwelt the head of his order, Suburban the White. As he approached the mighty tower of Orthanc, he heard the voice of the white wizard himself, as though it boomed across the land: “Smoke rises from the barbecue in the back yard, the hour is late and Gallant the Grey rides to Isengard, seeking my annual party. That is why you have come, is it not, my old friend?”

A few hours later, Gallant and Suburban were reclining in folding chairs in the backyard, sipping margaritas and waiting for the steaks to finish. “So, the Key-Ring of power has returned,” said Suburban, when in his mind, he was saying to himself, “That’s why I had a hunch to get my old black Chrysler from the garage.”

“All these long years it was in the Shire, as though it was right in front of me on the dashboard,” admitted Gallant, a little embarrassed.

“But you did not have the wits to see it,” sneered Suburban. “You never did have the brains to see anything that you did not want to see. However, because of your stupidity, we have no time to counter Subaru. His forces are already moving. He has gathered legions of orcs to swarm over all of Middle-earth to advertise his wares and those who will not buy will fall by the sword.”

“You know this?” asked Gallant. “How?”

“Unlike some people I know, I use the brains the Maia gave me,” grinned Suburban and he led Gallant into his tower. There, on a pedestal, was a small box with a screen. “Behold a Palantir, one of the lost seeing-stones!”

“Looks like a TV to me,” said Gallant, skeptically.

“So it is!” agreed Suburban. “But a TV unlike any other, for the people of Numenor took seven TVs and added communication devices to them. Now, through this thing, I can contact Subaru directly. You see, none can contend with the will of Subaru, so I’ve decided that it would be wise for us to join with him.”

“Tell me, friend,” said Gallant, in a tone that made Suburban glare. “Since when did Suburban the White abandon madness for pure stupidity?” Suburban was so angry, that he forgot he was supposed to knock Gallant around a bit before he pointed his staff at Gallant and sent him spinning to the roof.

Meanwhile, the two hobbits were making their way through a corn field, as their Volkswagen had broken down some time ago due to so much dust on the road.. Suddenly, Slam sat down and said to himself, “I’m lost and I’ve lost Mister Fordo. Oh well, I guess I’ll eat some corn.” He proceeded to do so. He had sat there for at least 10 minutes, when Fordo found him.

“What are you doing just sitting there?” asked Fordo. “I thought you were supposed to come looking for me.”

“I’m sorry, Mister Fordo,” apologized Slam, getting up and dusting himself off. “It’s just something Gallant told me. ‘Don’t you lose your appetite, Slamwise Gamgee.’ And I don’t mean to either.”

“Slam, we’re not even out of this cornfield yet!” exclaimed Fordo. “What could possibly happen to…” CRASH!!! Suddenly, all around them, corn was flying everywhere and the two hobbits saw a massive corn harvester coming their way. “Run!” cried Fordo and they fled in terror, running the extended of the field until they suddenly stumbled down a cliff. They watched as the entire harvester came crashing down as well and landed in a massive heap in front of them.

Two younger hobbits crawled out of the wreckage. “Why, it’s Merci and Ponty!” cried Slam. “Trust a Took and a Brandy buck to make a mess out of things.”

“What?” said Merci. “It was only a couple of cobs of corn. I saw no reason for the harvesting machine to go bonkers and go completely out of my control.”

“Except that you tried to program it to harvest every blasted thing in Farmer Maggot’s entire crop,” Ponty told him. “The Took family always was smarter. You should’ve had me program it instead of you. I’m the technical genius here.”

“Look here, you fool of a…” started Merci, but Fordo interrupted him. “I think we should get off the road,” he said.

“Oh, is poor Mister Fordo ashamed to be seen on the road with two stupid hobbit thieves?” asked Ponty, patronizingly. “Well, too late! We’ll make sure the entire country knows we’re here! Where were you going, Slam?”

“To meet Gallant at Bree,” said Slam.

“Ok now, everybody on the count of three. One, two three…and,” and then all three hobbits burst out into song. “We’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard at Bree. If ever a wizard of whiz there was the wizard of Bree was three. If ever a wizard of whiz there was the woozy wizard whizzed the woz…

“No, no, NO!” shouted Merci. “You’re singing it all wrong.”

“WOULD YOU BLOODY FOOLS GET OFF THE BLASTED ROAD!!!!!” yelled Fordo, startling them so much that they got off the road. All four of them gathered behind a giant tree root, snickering to themselves that Fordo had lost his marbles, when they heard it too: a distant rumbling, like an approaching car, far off in the distance…and getting a lot closer too. Then suddenly, a large black Porsche drove up right in front of the tree root and stopped. The four hobbits held their breath.

The window on the Porsche rolled down. Fordo could see a little bit through a hole in the root. He could see a black, hooded face in the window. Then they heard a sniffing sound. The sniffing grew louder and more ominous, when suddenly it was followed by a large sneeze and then the sound of someone blowing their nose. They heard a deep, evil voice say, “Blasted allergies!” then the Porsche drove off again.

The four hobbits fled the scene. Fordo told no one of the mysterious urge that had come over him to climb into the Porsche and give the strange man his Key-Ring and ride off with him. “What’s going on here?” asked Merci, interrupting his thoughts. “That rider was looking for something or someone.”

Fordo looked at him unhappily. “You must help Slam and me get to Bree. Now it is most important than ever that we meet Gallant.”

“Right! Buckle-berry Ferry, follow me!” said Merci, and they did.



(Finis - the author did not continue beyond this point)