Linaewen is reclining in Boromir's Lazy Boy recliner, looking rather sad and disheveled, with a worried expression on her face.
Boromir enters the room, carrying a tray laden with crackers and cheese. He notices immediately that Linaewen is not herself.
Boromir: (trying to sound cheerful and lighthearted) Have some food, Linaewen. The cheese is especially good -- sharp cheddar from Wisconsin.
Lin: (turning her head away) No, Boromir.
Boromir: (sternly) You have eaten nothing all day, nor have you slept. Do not think I have not noticed? Is something wrong?
Lin: I'm all right!
Boromir sets down the tray and stands before Linaewen, hands on hips, glowering with disapproval.
Boromir: I think not! I can see you have been tearing your hair out and biting your lip -- and you are wringing your hands as we speak!
Linaewen quickly stops wringing her hands, and sits on them. She scowls at Boromir, then sighs heavily.
Boromir: (coaxingly) Tell me, Linaewen. What is wrong?
Linaewen sighs again, wearily.
Linaewen: It's the List... it's getting heavier...
Boromir frowns and shakes his head in dismay.
Boromir: I was afraid of this! The List of Doom, Linaewen's Bane -- alas, that its strength and its length
is growing! You will be hard put to it to defend yourself against the Ruling List of Real World Things Yet to Be Done.
Boromir lays his hand on Linaewen's shoulder.
Boromir: But fear not! I will help you bear the burden of this List, as long as these tasks are yours to bear.
But we must do something, soon. The List is growing longer by the moment.
Lin: It's a pity I didn't do everything on the List when I had the chance!
Boromir: Pity? It was pity that kept you from saying 'let someone else do that job' -- pity, and mercy
to not let the burden fall on others who are also overworked. Yet pity and mercy can backfire when
there are so many jobs to be done. Many who seem not to have enough to do deserve less free time,
and some who work harder than others deserve more rest and many coffee breaks. Can you give it to
them, Linaewen? Then do not be too eager to take on their workload for them, even when they say they
have too much to do. Even the very wise cannot do everything written on their own Lists, if they take
on too many jobs which ought to be done by other people.
Linaewen removes the List of Doom from her pocket and gazes at it thoughtfully.
Lin: Yes, but it is worthy work, and I just can't say no!
Boromir leans closer and speaks more persuasively.
Boromir: You carry a heavy burdensome List of your own, Linaewen. Do not also attempt to carry the weight of other people's lists.
Lin: But if I don't do it, no one will!
Boromir: (shaking his head in exasperation) That is a popular misconception held by many overworked people who bear exceedingly long Lists.
Lin: (sighing loudly) I wish the List had never come to me. I wish I had done my work in a more timely fashion,
because then it would be finished and I could do fun things like watch my LOTR DVD's and write inklings.
Boromir: So do all who live to see such Lists, but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do
with the List that is given you. There are other people who work in the world, Linaewen, though there may be few
with Lists as long as yours! You -- and no other -- were meant to have this One List; in which case, you also are meant
to complete all the tasks written upon it.
Lin: That is NOT an encouraging thought!
Linaewen falls silent, as if thinking over what Boromir has said. Boromir waits patiently for a moment, but
when she does not speak, he grows tired of waiting and helps himself to some crackers and cheese.
Lin: (after a long silence) What must I do?
Boromir chokes slightly, and spits cracker crumbs as he tries to speak with his mouth full.
Boromir: Cast the List into the fire!
Lin: We don't have a fire. Besides, the Ruling List cannot be destroyed, remember? It belongs to the Real World,
and can never be utterly destroyed, for another List will take its place. As long as this List is in the world, I shall be
bound by it, until all the tasks are accomplished.
Boromir: Very well! Since there is no way to destroy the List, then let me carry it for you. Perhaps I can even do
some of these tasks listed here... (He looks at the List over Linaewen's shoulder and frowns) Laundry? Hmmm, on second thought...
Lin: (interrupting, much to Boromir's relief) No, Boromir; it is my List, mine alone. It is for me to carry and look
at and attempt half-heartedly to do everything listed on it at once. That is what we call multi-tasking.
Boromir: What chance do you think you have? This List is too heavy for you -- multitasking or no multi-tasking.
(He reaches out his hand for the List) If you would but lend me the List...?
Boromir: Give it to me! Give me the List!
Linaewen looks at Boromir with narrowed eyes, but he seems so sure of himself, that she wavers; at last,
the thought of the heavy List is too much for her, and she pushes the List into Boromir's hands. He looks
it over quickly, then tears off the top portion and hands it back to Linaewen; the remainder of the List he tucks into his tunic.
Boromir: There -- now your List of Doom is not so heavy.
Linaewen looks at the List, and begins to smile, as she realizes the List is suddenly much shorter and more manageable.
Lin: Why, I do believe I can actually manage to finish these jobs today -- maybe even before suppertime!
Boromir: With time left for the writing of inklings, perhaps?
Lin: (happily) Yes, I think there will even be time for some inkling writing.
Boromir looks pleased. Linaewen climbs out of the Lazy Boy and gives him a quick hug.
Lin: Thank you for your help, Boromir. I could never have managed the List without you.
(She suddenly notices the cheese tray) Say! Is that sharp cheddar...?
Boromir: Indeed it is! Sharp cheddar of the highest quality.
Lin: Do I have time for a snack before I begin my work?
Boromir: (holding out the tray with a bow) Of course! There is always time for cheese!
As they sit munching cheese and crackers, Linaewen watches Boromir thoughtfully.
Lin: (sweetly) Say, Boromir, I realize you don't do laundry, but I was wondering...
Have you ever considered the joys of wielding a vacuum cleaner........?