Bucklebury's LotR Parody

An ongoing role-play parody by various fans on Bucklebury.net

Strider
Frodo flailed his arms for balance as he tumbled into Nice Hobbit-Sized Room #3 (according to the brass plaque on the door) followed by the Greasehead. He had gotten a glimpse of Sam and Pippin gaping at his being Man-handled right before he'd been propelled around the corner.  Somewhere in the back of his mind a couple neurons fired between each other to note that Merry was not in their room and to agree that neither of them knew where he had gone.  The rest of Frodo's brain was filled with fear that he had just fallen in with a rascal and a thief, except for a few random thoughts that were hoping Sam has left some of that rabbit for him and that Gandalf would still somehow show up.
 
"Who are a you?" he asked the stranger, "and why have you been staring at me so much? And are you really called Greasehead?"


...over the hills and far away, teletubbies....uh I mean....oh.....

Tom Bombadil was really looking forward to getting in a nice warm shower, his day had been terrible, and he hadn't managed to catch up to those rascally rabbits . . . um I mean hobbits, his mood was not a particually good one. He eased himself into the shower, and then reached out to grasp the shower gel, his hand closed about instead an IOU note, it read;
     
 I owe you one shower gel,  
      signed Meriadoc Brandybuck

 
He growled ferociously and grunted, in his agitation he slipped on remnants of Tuna suprise (how did that get there?)  . . .. . he then blacked out   . . .

...and now back to Merry...dum-dum-dum-dum...dramatie reverb...

Merry tiptoed down a dark alleyway and spotted some hobbit sized clothes drying on a line, and decided to help himself. He had managed to get most of his "swirly" smell washed off before he was discovered by the girls, but in the excitement he had lost his favorite flowered shower cap and his rubber duckie, which he'd had ever since he was in nappies.
(audience says "awwwwww" in unison)
In his haste to get away from the Pony, he hadn't even bothered to eat his Coney con Queso, and his hunger began to override even his reluctance to be too close to post-cheese-eating Pippin.
Merry pulled out his script and consulted it thoughtfully. "Let's see...my dorky cousin has to talk to Greasehead for several interminable paragraphs in which he finally kind of sort of gets around to perhaps guessing what Frodo has in his pocket, if Frodo doesn't forget himself again and have it pierced through his lip to look cool, and my Generic Wraith has yet to make an appearance, so that leaves me plenty of time to go to Bell's House o' Hotcakes and get myself the Rooty Tooty Fresh n Fruity Special."
Whistling, Merry rolled up his script and strolled down the street toward Bell's.
(eerie bad guy music begins to play)

At first Bill Ferny thought he was hallucinating (perhaps that ear trumpet jammed into his brain did some serious damage) when he saw the bug-eyed hobbit disappear into thin air.  Ferny had an excellent view where he was sprawled out on the floor, and he was confirmed in his suspicions that the strangers were full of mischief (not to mention Coney Con Queso). He used the legs of the pinball machine in the corner to haul himself up and leaned against it while he brushed the sawdust off his clothes.
 
"Just wait until the guys hear about this," he muttered. Rubbing the seat of his pants, Ferny staggered towards the door with his squint-eyed southern friend, who reminded him the guys waiting for them at Bill's house would probably be pretty surly by now. It was Bill's turn to host poker night. He'd better get home with his to-go order of ale and pizza before they got too rowdy and ate his pony.

"Um...it's Strider."
The hobbit blinked. "Strider?"
"Yep."
"What's it mean?"
Strider squinted up at the ceiling for a moment as if trying to remember.
"It stands for...Sauratarkilranyaeiedeanamelalierandirion..."
There was another pause and more squinting at various objects in the room.
"...never mind. Anyways, I need to help you to Rivendell.  Gandalf sent me, by the way.And he said...what was it he said? Ah yes! He said to beware the screeching black teakettles. They work for Sauron."

Frodo's head felt like it was spinning - go to Rivendell? Where the Elves were?  Why go all the way over there? And where was Gandalf? And why was this unpronounceably named "strider" talking about tea-kettles? And how could he know that he wasn't just some ruffian who had...well.... figured out about Gandalf and...Rivendell...and Sauron....somehow...
 
Maybe it was all just a lucky guess.  He didn't like the reference to tea-kettles. Reminded him of nasty things, like....Goldberry's cooking.  And Lobelia's terrible "tea" that she had served him the day after he had become Bilbo's heir.
 
He wished the others were here, to see what they thought. He wished he had some sort of proof, but it wasn't like some letter from Gandalf with an official stamp of approval was likely to show up out of nowhere....
 
He fixed the stranger with his disconcertingly blue gaze.
 
"Black tea-kettles?" he asked.
 
There was a noise outside in the hallway.


Elladan and Elrohir managed to escape from the Prancing Pony with virtue intact, though Elladan did get several cocktail napkins with number and email addresses scribbled on them thrust into his hands before his brother dragged him out of the tavern.  Pausing by the horse-trough long enough to wash off their pancake make-up, Elrohir saw something that brought joy back to his life.
 
A hobbit walked by, talking to himself while reading from a script.... HIS script!  Excited by this unlooked-for development, he siezed his brother's arm and dragged him after the halfling, filtching two black cloaks from the drying peg outside the Pony.  They donned these inky robes and crept after Merry, whispering to each other in low hissing voices.


There was a knock on Frodo's door.  When it opened, Nob and Hob were standing there, smiling to beat the band. Hob began . . .  
 
"Butterbur sent us up with a sealed note--we tried to see . . . " He began to hold the letter up to the lantern in the hall.
 
" . . . if we could get it here quickly for you," Nob interrupted quickly,  "but Hob tripped on his way up."  Nob saw the quizical look on the hobbit's face.  "My friend, Mater Proudfoot has decorated his wooly feet with Dread Locks . . . they are the latest rage in Bree--Toupees for toes, or 'Toepees' as the we like to call them.  If you like, we could do a nice set of Pedacure Pomapdores for your, Mr. Underhill.  You are Mr. Underhill, aren't you?"

Frodo gaped at them, then snatched the letter.   "N...I mean, YES, I'm Underhill...right, right...but I'm not buying any..."  He saw their crestfallen faces and something made him take a moment's sympathy for them.  Like a businessman who goes out of his way to purchase a dixie cup of lukewarm, overly tart lemonade from a child's roadside booth, he took pity on them  and reached in his pocket, dropping what change he had into Nob's hand before shutting the door on them.
 
The two of them turned to the light and sifted through what they had been given.  A silver penny, a washer, a fuzzy breath-mint, a short wad of string and  a brass token "good for one pint" shone up at them.
 
Inside, Frodo turned the letter over in his hands. It was from Gandalf!  And it had a Wizard's Seal of Approval on it!   Cracking the seal, he tore it open and unfolded a mangled-looking piece of parchment that smelled of tobacco.  
 
THE PRANCING PONY, BREE Midyear's Day, Shire Year, 1418.
 
Dear Frodo,

Bad news has reached me here. I must go off at once. You had better split the Shire right away, and I don't mean just when you get around to it!  I will try to find you.  You may trust the landlord, Butterbur even if he is a bit stupid.  I've seen worse.  You may meet a friend of mine also, a Man, lean, dark, tall, by some called Greasehead though he prefers Strider. He knows all about...well, you know. Wink wink, nudge, nudge. Make for Rivendell and look up Elrond there.  
Yours in haste,
GANDALF. G.
 
P.S. Do NOT use IT again! Do not travel by night! Do not open the new carton of milk until you've used up the old one!  Watch out for black tea-kettles!  
 
P.P.S. Make sure that it is the REAL Strider. There's a lot of weirdos out there and he tends to blend in.  His true name is Aragorn.
 
Coffee that's cold still gives jitters,
Sometimes he wanders: he's lost;
The Man is sometimes in a dither,
But his boots were not bleached in the wash.
From the stupor a drunk shall be woken,
A smell from the shadows shall spring;
Reglued shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

 
PPPS. I hope Butterbur sends this prompltly. A worthy man, but a real block-head.  If he forgets, I shall use him for kindling! Fare Well! G.
 
Frodo looked up from the letter to Strider and appraised him critically.  "Well. I guess that settles that."

Settles it?"
Frodo nodded.
"Hmm...well, now that I'm here. Do you happen to have some coffee? It doesn't have to be warm. I mean, coffee that's cold still gives jitters, and I think I'm needing some of that right now."
 
After searching the room for a few minutes, the two of them located a coffee pot with something still in it.
 
After gulping down his daily dose of caffeine, Strider looked up at the door.
 
"By the way, where are your friends? We should get going soon as possible- the screeching teakettles and all..."

Bill Ferny's steps were none too steady, and his vision wasn't too good either, though his hearing was excellent thanks to his new hearing aid implant. Things were still a bit blurry and his bum was sore, but he wasn't in too bad a condition to be interested when he saw the two strange "ladies" leave the Pony. He and Squinty nudged and winked at each other, straightened their collars, slicked back their greasy hair (and then wiped their hands on their britches) before following the twins down the street...

(eerie music plays)
Merry stopped, frowning, and tipped his head to one side like people do when they're listening to something and for some strange reason think this will help them hear better, but really it doesn't make any more sense than when the Bionic Woman used to brush her hair back from her bionic ear when she wanted to listen...
eerrrumph. (rewind tape)
(eerie music plays)
Merry stopped, frowning, and tipped his head to one side to listen more carefully to the music.
"Hmm...I hear the eerie cadence to the music, but it's a little different than the Oh-my-here-comes-the-Black-Riders music we heard a ways back. This sounds more like Joke-Playing-Elves-In-Tights music."
He sniffed the air and nodded. "Yup- that's Eau de Elanor, the newest cologne from Fragrant Flet...I used a bit of Goldberry's."
Merry drew his bony hand (which had now had a fractured pinky thanks to Sam sitting on it) and said menacingly, "I'm warning you, I have three hands, and I know how to use them all!"
He felt a chill run down his spine when he heard identical evil snickers (though they were a bit girly-like)...

Elrohir stopped when the Halfling turned and brandished a withered wraith's hand at him.  Standing up his full height, he tried to intimidate the small creature.  "Hand over the script, shorty... or else!"
 
Elladan wondered why on earth his brother was threatening a person half his size, and was about to remind him of rule  #347 of the ReadyRanger's Code of Conduct : "Never approach a three-handed halfling in Bree", when a number of strange things happened at that exact time....

Hob and Nob came bursting out of the tavern, around the corner . . .  
 
"We did it, Nob, We did it!--You are a genius!  I know you are in the "Bar Bets Hall of fame, but Who would have ever thought that you would make good on that bet three years ago with Glorfindel."  
 
'Hobbits eat like horses' he said, 'You'll never get them to give you a breathmint, let alone a sandwich when they are travelling!  I'll wager 500 goldpieces that while you may steal a crumb from them, they would never part with food willingly.' 
 
"Well, now you have the mint--including the hobbit lint fresh from the pockets!  No DNA (Dwarf Nose Assesment) test will be able to deny that one!  Let him bring in Gloin or that son of his, they will be able to smell the Hobbit on that one from 10 paces!!  We'll be able to pay Barliman back and . . . errmph!
 
They ran straight into Merry, making him fall backwards and toss the hand at the shadowy figures behind him . . . causing the twins to stumble back into the reaching grasp of the dark-haired figure behind them . . .

Glorfindel had just tied his horse to the Prancing Pony stand, when he saw two really tall, ugly ladies emerge from the bar.  The smell of the perfume was an Elven spice favored by the twin's girlfriends--Eau de Elanor.  The keen elven eyes saw that the "ladies" in question were really the twins in drag.
 
Now I have them! he thought.  I'll get those two back for all of their tricks.  Look at them--all dolled up in cute wigs!  Since my golden hair disappeared, and with only an old black "Elf-vira" wig in the trunk from the last Rivendell Costume Ball, I have had to gallop from Rivendell so that nobody would recognize me.  But now--I shall reek my revenge.
 
He snuck up behind the twins, as they followed a small hobbit down the alley.  As he got behind them, and loomed ominously, everything went berserk!  
 
The twins, stunned by the sudden arrival of Hob and Nob, stumbled back into the tall Black form.  
 
The wraith hand, thrown by Merry, grabbed the end of the Dark Figure's Hair, and ripped it off from the head of the tall dark figure.  When it hit the ground, it wrapped itself in the hair and began to walk down the alleyway into the street (looking to many witnesses like a weird combination of 'Thing' and 'Cousin It' from the Aadams Family).  
 
As the wraith hand got to the main street, it startled the Black horse who threw the Dark Rider from the saddle, who landed in an earhorn of a local ruffian.
 
The brothers stared into the bald face of their kinsman, and screamed in horror--they had never witnessed an elf-lord in all his glory.  Battle Bald and ready for action.
 
"You have gone too far! were the last words the twins heard before they fainted.

The dark bald figure towered over Merry, who backed up stammering incoherently and tripped over the two fainted twins, and wished desperately for his hand, which he glimpsed out of the corner of his eye chatting up two girls at the porkpie stand down the street.
"Wh-who are you??" he stammered up at the dark bald figure.
"Merry," it said in a deep growly voice. "I...am...your father."
"Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" Merry screamed.  
"Yes, it's true," the figure continued as he advanced upon him. "You are not really a Brandybuck. You were kidnapped from Kurdish yak herders in infancy and raised as a hobbit...if you'll look carefully, you'll see those ears are attached with crazy glue..."
He got right into Merry's face, and the chilling stench of his black breath washed over the yak herder- er, hobbit, and made him pass out cold.
The bald black figure grinned and saluted the twins, who were just waking from their faint.
"Now THAT is playing mind games," he announced, and walked down the street whistling to join Cousin Hand at the porkpie stand.

Elladan lay in the muddy street where he had fallen.  It was curiously comfortable, just lying there, letting the mud and rainwater soak into his costume.  It was so peaceful....
 
...Until the maddened Black Horse trod ran across his middle.  
 
Wheezing, he scrambled up from beneath the sharp hooves and grabbed Elrohir by the collar, dragging him like a sack to the side of the road.  In a moment of pure selflessness, he also retrieved the halfling from where he had fallen.  Proping them up by the trough, he splashed some cold water on their faces.
 
When Elrohir woke up fully.  Elladan grabbed two fistfuls of lapel and shook his brother until his teeth rattled.
 
"YOU got us into this, Eldink!  YOU get us out, NOW!"

A piece of parchment is nailed to the door of Bree-Under-Hill:
 
Lost!  
 
One Right Hand, antique and of great sentimental value.  
 Five digits, one thumb (opposable)  Reward offered.  
Contact "Rags" by eMail,  
mouldybones@tombking.rot

As the crowd at the bar seemed more interested in the two flat chested blondes, Pippin didn't have to get a round in and had time to notice a tall dark greasy looking man with four feet scurry up the stairs.  
 
"They really are wierd here" he thought, then he shivered the weirdo had two booted feet and two hobbitty hairy feet and they looked just like Frodo's!
 
He hopped down form the bar and scurried over to where Sam sat amongts the remains of various bits of duck, rabbit jalapeno sauce and tortillas.
 
Pippin jabbed him in the ribs and angrily whispered
 
"Hey, Frodo's been nabbed by some dark greasy guy and I don't think he's being offered tea!"

A great dark thundercloud gathered above the Last Homely House, its centre being right above Arwen's chambers.
 
The Elven princess was fuming, packing her bag with everything within reach (including Erestor's hairbrush, Elrond's silk kimonos, and Glorfindel's rubber duckie), while she clenched a slightly smoking piece of paper in her fist, saying:
 
Prancing Pony EasyInternetCorner, Bree
 
Hi Wennie,
 
Bree is great! Everything's here, drinks, snacks, chicks... Too bad Daddy wouldn't let you go, hehe...
By the way, your Grimy Gorny is here, too. You might wanna start looking for something else, sis, because we just saw him exiting a private room with a very cute blue-eyed... thingy. He looked even more messed-up than usual.
 
Oh well, better luck next time, lil' sis!
 
Cheers,
 
The Ellies
 

 
Arwen slammed the door of her chambers shut behind her, stamped to the stables and...
 
saw that Asfaloth was gone.
 
Darn it all.

Merry groaned. "oohhh...."
The elven twins leaned in to listen.
"Moooommm....Daaaaaad....I see dead people..."
Just then Cousin Hand came bouncing down the alley with a bottle of Reviv-a-Hobbit (strong enough to waken even a Stone Troll) that he had purchased at the local Burt's Beer-Ice-Bread-Milk-Minimart-and-All-Night-DVD-Rental, Holidays Excepted. Unable to speak because he had no mouth, unable to see because his toupee was slipping from his fingers, leaking marrow tears from  his fingernails, Cousin Hand gripped the bottle and dashed its contents into Merry's face.  
Merry sat up and blinked at Cousin Hand, who next held out an ad he had ripped from the local paper, the Daily Bree Bugle and Kazoo, that read that his owner Rags missed him and wanted him home.
Cousin Hand pinched Merry's cheek affectionately, goosed the Elf twins, and then bounced down the street, as the Local Sad-Orchestra-Music-For-Hire followed after him with their violins.
The twins and Merry stared at each other.
"Well, that's the darndest thing I ever saw," Merry finally said. "I guess I'd better get back to the Pony now...it's time for me to burst in and make my grand entrance and realize that nobody missed me in the first place."

As darkness began to deepen outside, Frodo and Strider peered carefully out the grimy windows of Nice Hobbit-Sized Room #3.  In the street below the dusk had begun to deepen to true night.   There had been a lot of very strange things moving around on the street nearby, large and small.
 
"What were those strange black shapes scurrying around out there?" Frodo asked his companion.  "Those aren't the...the...tea kettles are they?  Do you think they know I'm at this Inn?"

 Strider nodded solomnly.
"Indeed, they are, and if you suspect that I suspect that you suspect that they suspect that you suspect that they are here, then you are wrong.
But if you suspect that I suspect that they suspect that you are here...then that would be correct.
I suggest that you spend the night in a different room. How about upstairs? They probably wouldn't suspect a hobbit being up there."
"Ups-s-stairs?" Frodo whimpered.
Aragorn sighed. "Yup."

Frodo sighed. "I hate heights."  He gathered up an extra pillow, an already-opened carton of unfinished milk and a spare packet of coffee.  
 
He sighed one more time, but the thought of Gandalf's warnings made him gather his courage about him. Stairs couldn't be that bad - after all, they had braved the Road... "Lead the way, Strider." he said.  
 
"Are you frightened of stairs?"
 
"Yes."
 
"Not nearly frightened enough." the Man said cryptically. This didn't do much to boost the trembling hobbit.
 
They opened the door to head out and promptly crashed into Sam and Pippin, both bravely clutching odd household objects as if they were weapons.

Merry burst into the room and was greeted by nothing but chirping crickets, two overturned chairs, and a bunch of duffel bags in various stages of emptiness-Pippin had apparently forgotten his pink bunny slippers before he went upstairs.
Merry sighed and glanced at Nob. "What did I tell you? I knew no one would notice I was gone. No one ever listens to me."
"Huh? What?" Nob asked.

Frodo's heart beat in his chest like a band of crazed teenage boys loose in a percussion store.  The first three steps hadn't been so bad, but he made the mistake of looking back and the landing seemed sooo far away he felt dizzy...
 
He really, really wished there was a bannister of some kind he could grip.  He slid his hand further up the wall and forced his legs to lift himself to the next step.  Behind him he could hear Pippin having a minor panic attack and felt Sam gripping the edge of his coat for comfort.
 
"I'm with you, Mr. Frodo. Just keep going. We'll get through this together." he gasped weakly.
 
Strider, up ahead of them had nearly missed a couple of the steps and caught himself just in time.  Stairs never had been his strong point. They just  went up so much.  He could never get the hang of stepping up onto the next one and also remember to lift his lower leg in just the right way that his toes didn't catch.  He finally reached the top and turned to encourage the hobbits.  
 
Pale but determined, they were still courageously climbing.  Frodo tried to imagine that it was level, and he was just stepping over the piles of paper that Bilbo had always left around Bag End.  It helped.  Somewhere faaaar below them he thought he heard Merry's voice.
 
"Merry!" he shouted. "We're up here! We're going to stay the n...."  he suddenly realized it wouldn't be too secretive if he continued. "...evermind....just follow us!"  He took another step.

Merry blinked. We're going to stay the nevermind? Boy, Frodo was getting weirder by the minute.
Merry saw his cousins and friend, headed by a tall greasyhaired stranger, shivering up on the stairway, clutching various kitchen implements and looking like they'd just seen the ROTK trailer.
"What is it with you guys?" he asked. "These are just stairs! No big deal! I'll sing my climbing song for you!"
The hobbits and human stared at each other, and then as one body they turned and fled up the remaining stairs, in order to avoid Merry's singing.
"Everyone's a critic," the Brandybuck muttered, and slowly inched his way up the steps.

Dashing into Strider's room (Mediocre Man-Sized Room #7) Frodo grabbed the lumpy pillow off the bed and wrapped it around his head, just in case Merry really did sing.  He peered out between the fat ends of the pillow to see if the others were writhing in agony, holding their ears, but as they seemed to be normal (for them) he carefully let the ends go and took a moment to look around.
 
The darkness outside was now complete, eerily so.  Strider efficiently re-made the bed sideways so that four very short people instead of one long one could sleep in it.  
 
"What if someone nasty tries to find us tonight? If they look in the window they'll see we aren't there.  Shouldn't we make, like, dummies or something...? Not that some of us don't already make like dummies..."  he broke off to chortle at his own joke.  
 
He wiped tears of mirth from his eyes.  "No, really - where'd that Hob Nob Bob guy go? Maybe he could mock up something.  That way all of us stay here nice and safe and let him be in danger instead."

In Rivendell in the meantime, Arwen was at a loss. With Asfaloth gone and her Daddy's Creampuff at the trimmer's, there was no good horse left to ride to Bree and all over Aragorn.
 
She finally made her decision and walked over to a very dark, spooky corner in the back of the stables, where a tall, dark steed stood almost invisible because of the many cobwebs covering it...
 
"Hi!" said the horse amiably. Arwen slapped it on the nose and told it to shut up.  
 
She had always stolen other people's horses and therefore of course never ridden this one, which was in fact her own, since the day she'd bought it off a door-by-door salesman some years ago. She thought its red glowing eyes were "like, sooo cool, you know".  
Elrond had had his suspicions about the horse and the dodgy black-cloaked salesman, but after a spectacular pouting session Arwen had been allowed to keep 'Muffy', as the horse was called according to its former owner.
 
Arwen mounted her black steed and rode out of Rivendell into the setting sun, to seek her Revenge...

The night was dark and still.
 
Still what?
 
Still dark!
 
Frodo had trouble sleeping and startled awake at every noise.  Even his own snoring woke him up more than once.  In the dim light of the banked fire he could just make out the shape of Strider.  It comforted him to think that the Ranger was keeping guard over them.  At least it did when the man wasn't dangling over the edge of the chair breathing noisily and twitching like a cat in his dreams.
 
Outside he heard horses go by, then what sounded like a cavalcade of ponies.  Various odd persons walked by on the street far below though the darkness hid their features.  A belch resounded.  A floorboard creaked.  Far off he thought he heard some odd whistling, like a tea kettle had been left over the fire in the kitchen.
 
He thought about the dummies down in their Hobbit-Sized Room and hoped HobNobBob had done his job.  That had a certain ring to it that made him enjoy rolling it around in his mind. HobNobBobJob.  HobNobBobJob.   Hobble Nobble Bobble Jobble.  Hobbity-Nobbity-Bobbity-Jobbity.  He finally fell asleep, mumbling.

Pippin stared up at the cieling, what with Frodo's twitching at every sound and looking around, not helped by Merry's 'b sharp' snoring, Sam's sleeptalking about Rosies hot-potatoes,  and the combined snores and "falling off a chair" noises of the grunger; not to mention Bree's nocturnal chorus of belches and farts outside he'd spent the last two hours awake.  
 
Of course drinking a whole pint had now also introduced him to a new level of suffering. Nope nothing for it, he'd either have to try out the Man-size bathroom at the end of the corridor or brave the stairs.
 
He crawled down from the bed and scurried along the corridor. The tiles were cold to his feet but dry ...

Merry opened one eye and saw his younger cousin tiptoeing out of the room. A perfectly evil smile crossed his face, and he saw a perfect opportunity to avenge Pippin taping that "Kick Me, I'm a Brandybuck" sign on his back on their way in to Bree.  
Pushing aside his blankets, and "accidentally" stepping on Sam's head as he went by, Merry skulked down the hall and concealed himself in a wardrobe in the hallway, giggling softly to himself. He'd jump out of there and give Pippin a fright he'd not forget anytime soon.
He stood there in the dark, waiting, and felt something furry rub against his legs. Thinking it was Butterbur's cat, Merry leaned down and absently stroked its head, murmuring, "Nice kitty."
A moment later, the entire inn was wakened by a shrill, very girlylike scream from the wardrobe.

At the sound of the scream, Frodo didn't even remember moving.  He just found himself crouching back behind the bedstead, gripping a blanket over his head like the Virgin Mary in a child's play.  There was a pause in which the only sound he could hear was the pounding of his own heart.   Sam, only mildly disturbed, turned over and snuggled deeper into his pillow muttering "good one, Gandalf."
 
Frodo poked at an insentient lump of blanket. "Pippin!" he hissed. "Did you hear that?"

Strider jerked upright at Merry's scream, blinked, and flopped back down with his eyes squeezed shut.
"Blast," he muttered. "Enough pranks, Halbarad. Can't you see I'm trying to get some rest here?..."

"A fine kettle of fish this is!" moaned Hob.
 
"I'll say!," replied Nob.  First these pesky newcomers can't ever get our names right.  Who in the world names a child after a fishing float??  Then, they think we are munchkins from the Wizard of Oz and have us building silly "Scarecrow" fake bodies of themselves.  Lucky for us that Ranger took a shower ahead of time, or else we would never have found enough hair to make these mock-ups.  Every Dustbunny in the Inn was needed for that 'Pippin' blokes feet!"
 
A stifled sob from Hob calmed the friend down.  "Sorry, Mate, I do go on.  I still say we could have filled Merry's with old cheese, the way he stank after that trip to the girls bathhouse."
 
Hob began to giggle, and Nob knew everything was OK.  
 
"But what they want with these things is beyond me.  Not really proper Teddy Bears, and not cute enough to be 'girl-friends.'  What do you reckon they want with them?"
 
"Maybe they owe people money . . . " Hob posited.
 
The two endentured servants flashed their dentures at each other, and headed off to the barn to find some more straw . . . but were stopped mid stuffing by a terrible scream, which no living soul could have made . . .

The Nazgul, still under the guise of "Pete the Teapot salesman," slipped over the Wall of Bree . . .  
 
Well, Actually, he slipped off of the wall at Bree, but that was his story and he was sticking to it.  Besides, who was the Horse, Creampuff, going to tell.  
 
Actually, had Creampuff been able to talk (but alas, he couldn't and suffered from "Mr. Ed Envy" to the end of his days), he would have told ol' "Pete" that he was thrown down from the wall by a wraith hand in a wig.  Later, he realized that had he said such a thing, he would only have become an object of ridicule . . . . but I digress.
 
He had been following the hobbits for some days, and had just gotten a track on the Ring a few hours ago.  The wraith slipped unobserved through the streets, and he vowed never to go traipsing through the streets without shoes with Rubber bottoms.  
 
He followed the call of the Ring to the Prancing Pony.  Assuming that the hobbits would be in the ground level rooms, he entered the Inn and strode through the hallway, carefully ducking his head.  
 
He found the rooms easily enough.  There were only 3 Hobbit Rooms that were taken--and one set was labled Nob and Bob Hob!  He stood above the covered creatures, and raised his sword.  After extracting it from the chandelier, he began stabbing the hobbits and calling the Ring to him.  
 
As the Fur began to fly (literally!), he suddenly realized that the beds were empty, and filled with Straw Dummies.  A shriek issued forth from his mouth, as he dove out of the window . . . .  
 
Aschblix vlegda! Mes Grebblix dwee blegla!!*
 

A few minutes later, he entered the local apothocary in search of a decongestant.  He almost tripped over the figure of Bill Ferny, who was putting some Preperation D on his dart wound.
 
*In the common tongue, this translates to roughly, "Creampuff, get here now!  I forgot my Allegra!

Frodo poked the blanket again, more insistently.  
 
"Pippin! Now there's been another scream... Pippin?"
 
He reached up a hand to flip the blanket around.  No Pippin.  No Merry either.  What had become of them? What if those screams had been his dear cousins, encountering one of those dreaded black teapots?  What if the boiling waters of the teapots spread and the inhabitants of Bree were boiled and there wouldn't be any cousins?  They could not face these things alone!  It affected all of them!
 
His thinking seemed to be slowing down. He woodenly struggled out of the blankets and got to his feet.  After the screams, it seemed eerily silent.  Somewhere down in the street he heard something like a gurgling, rasping sneeze.  The door was cracked open and a faint light came in from the hall.
 
Strider snorted and drooled on the sleeve he was pillowing his head on.

Elladan uttered a shriek himself, as he peered at himself in a mirror.  "Mousse!  Give me the mousse, quick!"
 
"Hurry up!" snarled Elrohir, who was keeping watch on the door of the make-up and costume gear trailer.  "That Ngila person is gonna be back any second.  Just get it wet and come on!"
 
They had finally found suitable clothing, since their ReadyRanger gear had disappeared.  They had foregone the garb that the costume director had wanted them to wear, "You cannot ride a horse bareback in ROBES, lady!  Are you insane?" and were now trying to make a break for it before Glorfindel caught his hair and then caught up with them.  
 
"Eldad is gonna send us on errands until the Sickle falls for this!" groaned Elladan, carefully touching up his pointed ears.
 
"Only if Glory brings us in," said Elrohir.  "We just gotta beat him back to Rivendell, and make a plausable excuse.  With luck, Arwen will have him so turned around, he won't even remember that we should have been back from Isenguard four weeks ago."
 
Together they ran from the trailer, found their horses, and then attemped to sneak them out of Bree that night.  Do you know how hard it is to get a horse to tip-toe?

Merry flung open the door of the wardrobe, crying and babbling as incoherently as if he were trying to post a review for a particularly heartwrenching ROTK movie spoiler picture. Some horrible hairy something had wrapped itself around his ankles, pretending to be a cat. Could it be one of those black teakettles? 

Something slithered to the tile floor and Merry leaned in for a closer look. It was just an old foxfur stole that had fallen off a shelf.
Merry turned as red as a tomato with sunburn and looked around, fervently hoping no one would notice. Then he heard crashing, tearing, and ripping sounds down the hall, and he whirled around. "Oh, no, I knew Frodo shouldn't have had that last cup of espresso before bedtime," he groaned.
As he ran back down the hall, he heard the crash of glass, a sneeze, and a rather girly voice calling for mousse.
"And I thought family reunions were weird," he muttered.

Hob and Nob were on their way back from the barn, hoping that they could finally leave the Straw Dummies in their beds and stiff ol' Butterbur with the check.  As they crossed the soggy ground, they had no idea what strange twist of fate would dash their hopes on this plan for good . . . 

Meanwhile, just outside the gates of Bree....

Glorfindel had just snatched the Wig from the wraith hand, and sent it scurrying back to the Barrow Downs, when he was beset by a heard of wild Hare-Moose, hopping as fast as they could, antlers foaming wildly, as if to the aid of an Elven Maiden's distress call.  He knew that Arwen had been left back in Rivendell, so it wasn't as if she would have called for them, and besides they were running in the wrong direction.  
 
He was about to see if one of the twins had forgotten to check their dresses for one of Arwen's Mousse call buttons.  But as he turned, he caught sight of a dark figure on a dark horse just under the trees along the road, and decided that with the Nazgul about, and rumors of a Teapot Salesman who gave everyone the cold shivers, his folicals couldn't handle the stress of another emergency, and headed straight for Rivendell.
 
Half an hour later, in the back of the Prancing Pony. . .  
 
Nob and Hob crawled away from the heard of Hare-Moose that had finished eating the stuffing out of their scarecrows.  The creatures, so hungry from their long run with little notice, had started munching before the pair had even let go.  Some of their hair had got caught in the buck-teeth of these strange creatures.  Seeing the bad coiffure on the bringers of such tasty straw, they set about fixing the damage, resulting in the first
Middle-Earth-Mullet.
 
Hob and Nob had had enough strangeness for one night, and returned to their beds, watching as the one called Merry, whom they thought sleepwalking, muttered about "coffee."  This put them in mind of the dreaded "Pete" who was said to be lurking about.  They decided then and there that if they were ever to get through the night alive, they would become honest hobbits, and work until Butterbur was ready to let them go.


Rags looked up from reading the DeadWorld Daily News when he heard the sound of scratching at the door.  He opened his crypt and was delighted to find his right hand sitting on the unwelcome mat.  He picked it up and examined it closely.
 
"My! A broken finger and what are these scratches from?  My poor hand!"  Deftly applying craz-e-glue to the little finger, he repaired the hand and prepared to reattach it to his boney wrist.
 
Hand wasn't having any of that.  It flipped over, pointing at the add in the paper that said "reward offered for return of wight hand", snapped it's fingers and lay palm-up.  
 
Rags sighed and placed 5 gold pennies in the palm of his hand.  Hand waved a salute and scrambled nimbly away, heading back to the only person who cared; Merry.
 
Rags wiped away a tear, watching him leave.  He looked at his left hand.  "Why do the right ones alway leave?"  
 
Lefty said nothing.


Frodo had been about to open the door and venture into the hallway when even more screams and odd noises were heard, sending him back to his hiding place under the blanket.  Due to the lateness (or earliness) of the hour by then, he promptly fell asleep and didn't even wake up when the much-abashed Merry and much-relieved Pippin rejoined them.
 
Dawn came all too soon, sticking it's rosy pink fingers through the grimy glass and right into their eyes.
 
"Ow!"