Welcome to Chapter 2 of my unfinished Hobbit parody. Chapter 1 can be found here.
CHAPTER 2: ROAST MUTT
Bulbous awoke with a start.
A dream, he thought, trying to calm himself, it must have all been just a dream!
As he lay there in the early afternoon light with his his eyes closed, he realized two things. The first was that his head was throbbing mightily; the second, that he was, in fact, sleeping on a hard wooden surface, not his own bed.
Memories of the night before came flooding back. The dwarves journey the previous day had taken them only as far as the Inn of the Yellow Veloceraptor just down the street from Big End. Many mugs of ale later, they had all passed out on the floor of the common room.
“Wake up, burglar!” came Thornless’ voice. “We’ve got a long way to go and we can’t keep waiting around for you!”
So it was that by early evening they finally set out, Gadfly astride his donkey and the others on foot. Before long they came near to the lands of a farmer who owned a number of mules, which Thornless proceeded to “liberate from their oppressive captor”. He also managed to liberate enough saddles and riding gear that the mules were able to enjoy their newfound freedom from beneath the buttocks of thirteen dwarves and a still-hung-over hobnob.
By dusk they had traveled nearly another mile, and called an exhausted halt for the night. The group huddled beneath a tree and fell asleep under the stars.
The tree was under the stars, that is, and so were they. I mean, the tree was between them and the stars, but the stars were still up above them, so technically they were under the stars, too, just kind of separated from them by the tree… oh, never mind!
It was a cloudy night and they all fell asleep!
* * *
Gadfly awoke during the night and slipped away from the dwarves’ camp. He’d brought along a small flask of something strong from the Inn, and knew that if he wanted a sip or two of it without having to share, he’d have to get far enough away that the dwarves’ keen magical alcohol senses would not alert them to the presence of un-shared fermented drink.
When he had to his estimation fled far enough, he sat down upon a log from a new fallen tree and took a few leisurely sips of the not-quite-identifiable substance in his flask. He had just begun to feel pleasantly if artificially warm when he heard a splash of water from not far away. Curiosity and drink-induced bravery inspired him to investigate, and he crept forward as quietly as he could toward the sound.
He had gone only dozen steps when he spotted the glint of moonlight on the surface of what appeared to be a small pond. Another step forward and he could see, through a narrow opening between two clusters of bushes, what was quite obviously a shapely and completely naked pair of female buttocks; in the pale moonlight they appeared almost ghostly, in a rounded, firm kind of way.
From Gadfly’s vantage point he could see little else of the woman, but guessed from her position and angle that she was kneeling forward to wash her hair. It occurred to him that it was perhaps improper for him to be staring at her; that thought was banished when another thought struck him.
Where is that blasted camera phone?, he thought as he fumbled through his many hidden pockets. Drat – I must have left it in my white robe! He sighed. I’ll probably never see that again!
He resolved to introduce himself to the lady. He mentally reviewed some of the pickup lines he’d used back in his bar-hopping days in the Undying Lands, not sure which one would be appropriate.
If you were a Balrog, I’d let you use your flaming whip any way you wanted…
No, not that one.
Hey, baby, I’m a wizard – want to see my gnarled staff?
Nope, not that one either.
I’ll pay you just to come with me so the other wizards think I’m on a date with you.
No – too expensive.
Please, I’m desperate! Desperate and lonely, oh so lonely…
Yes! That was that one that had come the closest to actually working in the past!
As he took another preparatory gulp from his flask, movement again caught his eye. The woman had lifted her head from the water, and now she was twirling her head to spray tiny water droplets all around as her long locks spun around. It was a scene from adolescent fantasy. Or from a rock video. Or from a rock video about an adolescent fantasy.
Gadfly watched in rapt fascination as she gave one last side-to-side shake and then let the hair come to rest on her back and shoulders…
… and chin, and chest, and stomach…
The sight of her long, bushy beard left the old wizard in such a startled, confused state that he was unable to hold any longer to his corporeal form. With a “poof” he vanished, and in death his spirit returned to the realm from which he had come to Myrtle-Earth long ago at the start of the Age.
* * *
The party had arisen by lunchtime the next day, and as they gathered their travel gear to set off once again, Bulbous noticed that the wizard no longer accompanied them.
“Where’d Gadfly go?” he asked out loud.
“I don’t know,” said Thornless, emptying a flask he’d found in the woods during the night. “Haven’t seen him. Never mind that – I suspect he’s off doing something mysterious and wizardy, and will rejoin us when he’s done. In the meantime, our journey awaits – as soon as we have something to eat, of course.”
“But the food is gone!” cried Happy in dismay.
“Gone?” Thornless bellowed. “How could it be gone? Which one of you ate it?”
“I only had a little extra!” said Inky, Dinky, Blinky, Kinky, Droolin, Foolin, Growin, Glowin, Cheezy, Sleezy, Happy, and Slappy.
“Burp!” agreed Bulbous.
“I’m still hungry though,” said Foolin.
“Us too,” agreed the three trolls in the woods.
“Well, we’re Dwarves! We can be resourceful and live off the land! We can – excuse me, did you say three trolls in the woods?”
Yes, I did.
“Run, brave dwarven warriors, run!”
But their courageous resistance was futile. The trolls easily grabbed handfuls of beard hair (or foot hair, in Bulbous’ case) and dragged their prey off to their lair.
* * *
“Today on the Live Wriggling Food Network, it’s three celebrity Troll chefs in a dwarf cook-off battle!” a bodiless voice announced cheerfully, waking Bulbous from a club-to-the-head-induced stupor. “Today’s winner receives a collection of ancient, magical Elven weaponry!”
Wrapped tightly in restricting aluminum foil, he lay on his side on a large shelf in an immaculate kitchen equipped with the latest in stainless-steel appliances. This kitchen had only three walls, though, and where the missing wall should have been were several rows of bleachers from which a number of Gobblers, demons, and senators watched the proceedings. Bulbous could see the squirming forms of the dwarves hanging below him by their beards from hooks mounted on the wall. Through the skylights above, he could tell it was night – but what time of night, he had no idea.
“Our first chef,” continued the voice, “is Bobby Flayer, a well-known TV personality and owner of the famous Chez Mirkwood. To his left is Julius Childeater of the luxurious Carrion Bar and Grill. The final challenger, Silmeril, brings an international flavor to our competition. Silmeril is famous for his elegant Elf-Mex creations at the popular Thigh Bone Gnawers’ Resort and Casino. Gentlemen, start your ovens!”
As Flayer explained to the audience his plan to create a meal of Dwarf Au Gratin, he reached, coincidentally, for Cheezy, tossing the dwarf into a large, inescapable pot. He then proceeded to vigorously shred a block of cheese almost as large as Bulbous’ bed back in Big End.
To the further terror of the dwarves, Julius sealed Slappy inside a lidded glass bowl to marinate for a while in a fowl smelling liquid concoction.
Then, worst of all, Silmeril snatched up a struggling, squirming Thornless and flopped him unceremoniously onto a large cutting board.
“Now you all know how tough Dwarf meat can be,” he said to the audience while holding the dwarf down with one hand. “There are a couple of things we can do to improve it. We can slow cook it in a stew, and let me tell you, a Dwarf stew where the meat melts in your mouth is a wonderful thing. But we don’t have time for that today, so we have to go with the quick option. Can anybody tell me what that is?” he asked, a knowing grin on his face as he reached into a cabinet with his free hand.
“Tenderize it!” shouted the audience in unison.
“Tenderize it!” he agreed, raising a knobby wooden club over his head as he did so. The audience cheered and hooted wildly – he had obviously done this on his show before.
“BAM!” he shouted as he lowered the club; and the audience shouted with him. “How about another? BAM!”
“Now let’s kick it up a notch!” said the troll, ominously lifting a spiked war mace for the audience to see. “Mmm, tenderized, sautéed Dwarf and a bottle of Chateau Minas Morgul ’39 Blood Wine – the perfect meal!”
“Savage! I beg to differ,” interrupted Julius. “Dwarf sautee clearly calls for one of the chunkier beverages, say, for instance, a Puree du Eldar.”
“Effete snobs!” chimed in Flayer. “There’s nothing like a good old fashioned mug of cemetery mud to complete a Dwarf meal.”
As the trolls argued, Bulbous looked down for the source of the sound and saw Kinky whispering loudly.
“It’ll be okay! Look up at the skylights – it’s almost morning! When the sunlight shines in, the trolls will turn to stone and we can escape!”
Bulbous watched hopefully for several minutes as the trolls’ bickering continued, until at last a bright ran shone into the kitchen. All went suddenly silent as the three chefs stiffened and began clutching at themselves as if in the throes of a painful transformation. In moments the trolls all stood dead still.
“Hurray!” called Slappy from inside his pot.
“Hahahahahaaaa!” laughed the trolls, suddenly animated again. “Got you!”
“Old troll joke”, Julius explained to the audience. “Can you believe some people still believe that silly urban legend about us and sunlight?”
Just when all seemed hopeless, there came the amplified sound of a muffled struggle over the announcer’s intercom. A final thud was followed by a moment of painful feedback, and then a familiar voice filled the air.
“Is this thing on? Testing, testing. Oh, good, it works. I’m from the Board of Health – prepare for an inspection!”
The trolls howled in terror and frustration and fled the premises, trampling their entire audience on their way out.
“Gadfly!” cried Bulbous as the wizard entered the room through a door somewhere out of view behind the refrigerator. The old man looked different somehow. Perhaps it was that his robes were now dyed a sort of faded lime color that would look at home nowhere save on the body of a 70s economy car.
“Gadfly… yes, that is what they once called me. But I am Gadfly the Green, now, sent back from beyond death to accomplish the tasks set before me. Come, now, let us flee this place before the trolls return!”
A short search revealed a hidden cache of weapons – the prizes the announcer had mentioned. Gadfly and each dwarf chose a sword from the collection. Unfortunately there were only fourteen blades, so Bulbous was left without a sword. When he complained about this, Thornless presented him instead with a large golden fork, its tines strong and true, forged in eons past by the great Elven silverware factories of old.
* * *
Before long, the companions were gathered around a campfire, eating roast meat that Gadfly had provided for them. Bulbous, looking around as he ate, thought he recognized the area.
“Say, isn’t this Farmer Magoo’s land? I’m surprised he hasn’t sent his dogs after us… I wonder where they are?”
“Shut up and finish eating that forepaw,” said Gadfly grumpily.