In the Library...
Nine nervous Nazgûl stood hesitantly before the librarian's desk, a charred and mouldering tome laying before them.
"We're sorry...." whispered the first one, "we really thought it had been returned...."
The librarian pushed her glasses up on her nose and took a long look at
the offendingly overdue item. "Where has this been? Didn't your mothers
ever teach you to wrap your books in a bag before going out in the
rain? Or was it read in the bathtub, perhaps? For shame! And what are
these marks? Reading too near the fire?"
"Errr....something like that," dithered the second one. "We lent it to a, er, friend...."
"You should never lend out your library books, they don't belong to
you," she said with a stern shake of her head that made her tight bun
of hair bob from side to side. "Next time, you need to return it and
let them check it out themselves."
"But, he can't..." said the third.
"Why not? Hasn't he a library card?"
"No, he hasn't any... hands..."
She flipped through a small stack of cards. "This was checked out
in the last Age - I'm afraid I'll have to charge you not only for it
being overdue, but for the damage to the book. That will be ten golden
"Uh....what did you say? Rings?"
"Ten golden rings. All currency was converted to the Golden Ring standard fifty years ago. You should know that."
"But, we only have nine...." they hoarsely chorused together.
"Well, you'll just have to come back when you have enough to pay
your fine. I can't let you check out anything else until then, I'm
"Not even...." they chorused, each pointing to a different murder mystery on the nearby rack of New Arrivals.
"No, not even that. Good-day."