Calling 911

by Linaewen

Calling 911 -- A Conversation With Boromir


**Linaewen sits, staring vacantly out of the window. From time to time she lifts her hand to reach for a pen and notepad, but then her hand drops to her lap, as if she is too weary for the effort. Boromir enters the room, a hopeful look on his face, but upon seeing Linaewen sitting listlessly, he sighs, and reaches for her cell phone.**

Boromir: So... if I simply press these three numbers, a healer will come, is that correct?

Lin: (looking confused) What are you talking about?

Boromir: In order to call for help, I press the numbers 9-1-1, and a healer will come. Is that not so?

Lin: (still confused) Yes, 911 is for getting help in an emergency, but... Say, where did you learn about calling 911, anyway?

Boromir: I was looking over your shoulder while you prepared that English lesson for your refugee students recently, on what to do in an emergency. It was most enlightening. Calling 911 is a much simpler method than lighting beacon fires, I must say!

Lin: Well, yes, I suppose it is!

**Boromir squints at the tiny keypad on the cell phone, and presses the 9 tentatively, while rehearsing the lesson out loud.**

Boromir: To report an emergency situation, I dial 9-1-1, and when they ask me 'what is your emergency', I tell them that my scribe is very ill and to please send a healer immediately. Will it take long for help to arrive after that?

Lin: No, it shouldn't take long, once they determine the nature of the emergency and where to come...

**Boromir locates the 1 on the keypad, and presses it twice, decisively. As he searches for the SEND button, Linaewen suddenly wakes up from her stupor. Realizing what Boromir is doing, she leaps out of her chair and snatches the cell phone away from him.**

Lin: Wait a minute, Boromir! What do you think you're doing? First of all, don't be using my cell phone now, I hardly have any minutes left on my plan for this month, and they have to last me until next week! Who knows how long it will take you to explain your situation to the operator? If it takes too long, I'll be over my minutes and have to pay an exhorbitent amount per minute until the new month resets!

Boromir: Fear not! I am quite adept at explaining a serious situation while under tight time constraints. I do it all the time in the midst of battle.

Lin: I don't doubt that! But you know how cell phones are, it's so hard to judge how long you have been talking... Anyway, why do you need to call 911 in the first place? What's the emergency?

Boromir: Why, it is you, Linaewen! You are gravely ill, and I wish to call for a healer to come to save you.

Lin: (dumbfounded) Ill? But I'm not ill!

Boromir: (shaking his head sadly) Of course you are ill -- you have the worst case of writer's block I have ever seen! You should have seen yourself just now, with no strength to even lift the pen, let alone write anything coherent.

Lin: Writer's block isn't the same as being ill!

Boromir: Is it not? Tell me, how many chapters of my tale have you written in the last year?

Lin: (reluctantly) Er... well, I'm not exactly sure...

**Boromir frowns and looks at Linaewen sternly.**

Lin: (grumbling) All right, I confess -- I've only posted one chapter since last March. But I have lots of notes for the next chapter, and it's going to be really good...

Boromir: One chapter in an entire year? My, my, that's not like you, is it? And how long have you been toying with these alleged notes for the next chapter, if I may ask?

Lin: Well... about 5 or 6 months, give or take a month...

Boromir: Yes. Now then, when was the last time you recorded one of our conversations and shared it with our readers?

**Linaewen mutters something incohorent.**

Boromir: Speak up, Linaewen. I cannot hear you. Five months ago, you say?

Lin: (scowling) No, I said I had an idea for one five months ago but I never wrote it up. I actually haven't posted a Conversation with Boromir since 2005...

Boromir: You speak truly. That was a long time ago. People might come to believe we are no longer speaking to one another...

Lin: I know, I know. I'm sorry! Still, it's not as bad as all that -- it's just a temporary thing, really. I'll be fine soon enough, I'll just sit down and review my notes...

Boromir: (interrupting) Tell me, Linaewen; do you know what the date is today?

Lin: (surreptitiously looking at the calendar) It's February 26th.

Boromir: And what is significant about that date? What is it you traditionally do on the special occasion of February 26th?

Lin: Special occasion...?

**Linaewen suddenly cries out and gazes at Boromir in horrified chagrin. She has actually forgotten that February 26th is the anniversary of Boromir's death, which she traditionally commemorates with a piece of writing in his honor.**

Lin: Good grief!! What am I doing? Where is my head at?? I should be writing something!

Boromir: (nodding in satisfaction at being right all along) And here you are, attempting to convince me that you are not ill. On the contrary, there is something seriously wrong here! What other reason might there be for such unusual behavior on your part, except that you are ill? You are in dire need of healing, at once! Even our loyal companions who follow my tale have been saying as much; they have been trying to convince you for months, in ways both gentle and adamant, that you must return to writing -- yet you continue to be hindered by this evil writer's block.

Lin: I suppose you are right, it really isn't natural, is it? I can't believe I almost missed your death anniversary! I confess, it does worry me sometimes that I seem to have such a problem writing these days. But... well, I don't think calling 911 is the answer. I have a feeling they might not consider writer's block an emergency...

Boromir: I shall convince them!

**Linaewen looks doubtful.**

Boromir: Very well, then. I shall not call 911 if you do not wish it. But you are still in need of a healer. Shall I light the beacon fires, or call for an errand rider to take a message to the healers in Minas Tirith? Or, better yet, to Aragorn? He can do wonders with a bit of athelas...

Lin: Do as you think best, Boromir. My writer's block is in your hands!

Boromir: I shall go light the beacons, then, and call for aid for Linaewen -- but while I am gone, see what you can do with this pen and notepad. It is said by the wise in Gondor that the best way to overcome an obstacle is to meet it head on. This pen is your weapon -- go do battle with your writer's block, weapon in hand.

**Linaewen grips the pen and starts moving it across the page of her yellow legal pad -- hesitantly at first, but then more and more confidently. Boromir watches for a time, then proceeds to gather Linaewen's writing notes and puts them at her elbow. She is writing furiously as Boromir leaves the room.**

Boromir: (smiling smugly to himself) Perhaps I will just wait to light those beacons. It would not do to call for aid, only to have the problem solved before help arrives! There is nothing I hate more than being scolded by a healer who believes I have been wasting his time! I wonder if there is any athelas in the pantry? Perhaps I can try my hand at a little healing of my own. How does athelas mix with coffee, I wonder...?