It only stands to reason that after a catastrophe of the magnitude
endured by Isengard, that Saruman would call his friendly insurance
company and attempt to file a claim...
(He hears a scuffle behind the door, culminating in several sharp whacks and a muttered “Get out of the way, you idiot!”) and then Saruman opens the door. He looks worse for the wear, very tired, with large blue shadows under his eyes.)
Saruman: “Good day, sir. Please, come in,”
A: (Looks around) “Ah, impressive place you have here, Mr…”
S: Saruman. Just Saruman.
A: Ah, one name, like Cher or Prince, eh?
A: Okay, Mr. Man it is.
S: No, its just Saru…blast, never mind.
A: (cheerily) Okay, sir, it looks like you’ve had some water damage. Quite a pool you’ve got out front. And so many trees. Did you have a professional landscaper do this for you?
S: (through gritted teeth) – They are no trees, they are Ents. And THEY are responsible for the flood you see and the utter destruction of my property. They should be the ones paying for damages, but they have little to offer in the way of material compensation. Therefore, I was forced to call your company and invoke my tower-owner’s insurance.
A: Well, we here at Middle Earth Mutual aim to please and to provide the most comprehensive coverage available. You know, we’ve been in business since the first age…but enough of that. Let’s start with structural damage, shall we?
S: Fine, fine. Well, as you can see I have water in the basement, which has severely damaged my stores of food and other provisions. My storeroom has been flooded – you may have noticed a couple of rapscallions making rather free with my food and wine, down below…
A: Yes, I did run into those fine fellows; had a smoke with them as a matter of fact. They have some fine pipeweed there, the finest I have ever…
S: That is MY pipeweed and they are nothing but thieves and opportunists. But, as you no doubt saw, the building is utterly ruined, and my stores demolished. Then, I suffered severe structural damage when those Ents hurled rocks at my tower…
A: The trees threw rocks at you?
S: I told you, they are not trees, they are Ents. Shepherds of the forest. They move…
A: So they’re like, super trees? Walk and talk and all that type of thing?
S: (sighs) Yes, you could call them that.
A: Well I’ll be darned. My grand daddy used to tell of such things but I thought he was just a little (makes twirling gesture near his temple) but you say they’re real?
S; Very real. Vicious, vindictive, nasty vegetation. They trashed my tower, flooded my land, absolutely destroyed my mining operations, killed several dozen of my orcs…I’m meeting with legal counsel regarding the latter, but still, I have been rendered virtually penniless by these actions.
A: (looks around dubiously) Well, Mr. Man, I wouldn’t exactly say you were penniless – what is that all over that room and chair? Some sort of silver plate?
S: (Bristling) Certainly not! That is mithril, the most valuable ore ever mined in Middle ( trails off, realizing that he is not helping his case) –but that is not a liquid asset and cannot assist me in the short term. Therefore I am hoping that your company can offer me some recompense for this occurrence.
A: That reminds me, before we go any further, I need to know what category to file this under- (flips vigorously through his manual)...umm…there doesn’t seem to be any provisions for walking trees…I mean Ents…in here. How about Act of God?
S: Whatever works.
A: And you are…?
Saruman looks at him, puzzled.
A: (prompting) Christian, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Atheist, Wiccan, Pagan…what God do you worship?
S: Oh. Let’s just say for the sake of expediency, that I worship a being named Iluvatar.
A: Hmm, Il-uva-tar. I have, lets see…Yahweh, Buddha, Jesus Christ, The Holy Trinity, The Goddess, Zeus, Odin…no Iluvatar.
S: Try the Tolkien section.
A: Hmmm…oh, good, here we are. Ah yes. Premier God of Middle Earth, creator of the Firstborn AND men. Which one are you, sir?
S: (Draws himself up impressively) I am an ISTARI, one of the Maiar; but I suppose you would call me a wizard in today’s vernacular. I am one of what the commoners would call the gods of this Middle Earth.
A: So if you are a god, then…
S: But I am not THE God – though I should be. More of a minor deity. But for your purposes, this is an act of Iluvatar and should be classified as such.
A: Okey-dokey. Would it be possible to get a tour of the place so I can assess the damage for myself?
S: Certainly. Let me call a servant to show you around. (Claps his hands) “DirtRat!”
S: Old family name
An orc appears, shuffling in and bowing unctuously.
A: Dear God- er, Iluvatar – what is that? It looks like a garden gnome left out in the acid rain, then set on fire!
The orc preens. “Thank you, sir!” (Turns to Saruman and says “I told you mud was good for the complexion, but you said nooo….” Saruman grimaces.)
A: Unbelievable. These are your servants? How many of these…things…did you, or do you employ?
S: Well, I used to have three hundred, give or take a few. Then, of course I had my beautiful Uruk-Hai, but I fear they have met with foul play, as they have not returned from the…errand…I sent them on a few days ago.
A: Uruk-Hai? I’m afraid I am not familiar with that creature. What do they look like?
DirtRat: Like us, but twice the size and even more butt-ugly.
A: I wouldn’t believe that was possible.
(They leave, and Saruman is left alone with his thoughts of revenge. Every once in a while he looks down from his window and grits his teeth at the sight of Merry and Pippin cheerfully eating their way through his storehouse as the Ents stand guard. He can tell when the hobbits are taking a break because great clouds of pipe smoke emanate in billows from the opening.)
A: Well, here we are again. Thank you very much for the tour, Mr. DirtRat. You were a most genial guide. And I’ll try that mud bath you were recommending. It may well help my eczema. (Adjusting spectacles and smiling at Saruman) Well, Mr. Man. You have –had- a most impressive abode here, as well as a thriving manufacturing operation – though I can’t tell just what you were manufacturing…
S: Weapons, mostly. Arms, munitions, some cloning. Very minor stuff.
A: Ah. Well, it does seem to have been ruined. However, I must ask if you had the proper permits to create a factory, as such. You know, commercial property, water, sewer, OSHA, and the like. I’d like to see those permits, if I may.
S: I always thought of this as more of a “home occupation,” rather than a factory, per se.
A. Yes, well…if you don’t mind, I’d like to make a call to the home office and confer with my supervisor. I haven’t really handled a case like this before, and I want to make sure I have all my T’s crossed and I’s dotted. You understand.
S. Oh, of course, of course. Please feel free to use the phone in my study. That is if the phone lines are not also submerged.
A: Oh, thank you, appreciate the offer, but I have my cell with me. (Pulls out a small flip phone, which, when opened, plays a portion of the “Lay of Luthien.’) Seeing Saruman staring at it, the adjuster smiles and notes “Elvish design, this. Clever, don’t you think?” Saruman nods through gritted teeth. Blasted elves. Into everything) “Wow – excellent reception here!”
S: Yes, I put a small phone tower up not too long ago. The roaming charges were killing me. Luckily, it seems so far as to have escaped harm. Unlike the rest of my property. (Looks meaningfully at adjuster, who smiles nervously into his phone)
A muted conversation follows, during which Saruman strains to hear. However, his hearing aid is flummoxed by the cell phone and all he can hear is endless choruses of Luthien pledging her love to Beren, which annoys him no end. Finally, in disgust, he turns it off and is pleasantly surprised to find that he can no longer hear the Isen lapping against his walls, which is a great comfort.
At length, the adjuster ends his call and closes his flip phone with a decided snap. He turns to Saruman and smiles an ingratiating smile.
A: Yes, well…it’s apparent that you’re property has suffered a great deal of damage, much of it irreversible. And it’s not likely that that your operation will be up and running again anytime soon.
However, in inspecting the premises and talking with the staff, it seems as though what happened cannot really be construed as an Act of God. The sense I’m getting is that you might have…well…brought it upon yourself, one would say. For instance (holding up his hand as Saruman’s face begins to turn purple), it seems like your foundry used the surrounding woods as fuel. There has definitely been widespread clear-cutting, which violates at least six MEDEP rules I am aware of. And by doing so, you appear to have angered these woods, who then expressed their displeasure by hurling rocks and such at your house. Normally, malicious mischief by others would be covered. I spoke at length with a Mr. Treebeard, I think his name was, and he indicated that your orcs, at your behest, had created a great deal of damage to HIS home as well. However, you also dammed up a river, which is a ME Watershed issue, as it disturbed greatly the local ecosystem. And your cloning operation raises all sorts of ethical questions best handled by a board of inquiry.
Therefore, I am denying your claim based on an intent to defraud the system. I must say, Mr. Man, I found myself agreeing with Mr. Treebeard when he said:
A wizard should know better!