The Lord of the... whatever, Book III, Chapter 8:

The Road To Isengard

   So it was that the two grossly obese men, Gandalf and HeyHoDen,
met again.  The hicks of Rohan stared in wonder at the poles that now
dotted the field before the Hornburg, but their attention was broken by
Giggly, who strode out of the canyon behind the Hornburg, giggling
furiously.  He was accompanied by the smiths and Gambler the Old.
   "Forty-two, Miss Lego-lass!" he shouted triumpantly, as he walked to
her side.
   "Hmm," she mused, "I only managed to finish off forty-one."
   "Damn that Arwen,"  Giggly said.  "She's got us both beat."
   "Yes," replied Lego-lass.  "We're going to have to get her written
out of the movie, or she'll end up overshadowing us both.  I'm supposed
to be the token elf-babe after all, not her!" she finished with a stamp
of her foot.
   Meanwhile, everyone turned back to the poles.  They squinted at
them, as if they were an illusion or something, but the poles
remained.  Then they started to look at Gandalf suspiciously.
   "Don't look at me like that," Gandalf said.  "I had nothing to do
with the poles.  It's better than what I had planned anyway, so stop
   "Then is this the work of Aruman?"  HeyHoDen asked.  "Did he put
these poles here to trap us so his orcs can get free run of my kingdom?"
   "Nope," said Gandalf.  "It's a power far older than Aruman himself:

            The forest has its lamps so bright,
            What could make that shining light?"

   "What's that supposed to mean?" grumbled HeyHoDen.
   "If you want to find out," said Gandalf, "then you'll have to come
with me to Isengard."

   However, the men of Rohan decided right there to have a celebration
barbecue, delaying their departure for the rest of the day.  Gandalf
fumed for a while and chain-smoked several pouches of pipe-weed, but
then he took Aragon aside so they could discuss their plans.  They
talked in Auld High Elvish, so that no one else would be able to
understand what they were saying (well, except for Arwen, but she
already knew the plan anyway.)
   "Once we deal with Aruman, our plan for world domination will be
unstoppable," said Gandalf.  "The elves are tired of Middle-earth, and
will let you do whatever you want.  The dwerrows should be fairly easy
to exploit once you take over.  Old Denethor™ is senile and crazy,
so he won't be a problem, and Dr Faramir is loyal to us.  We're almost
finished with Aruman, so he won't be a problem, either."
   "Speaking of which," said Aragon, "where did those orcs really come
from?  I can't believe Aruman would attack Rohan and risk losing all
the money he's making off them."
   "Oh, they're Aruman's alright,"  Gandalf replied.  "They were busy
vandalizing Fungang, but I convinced them to attack Rohan on a dare
right after I took care of that Balrog. I even had a bunch of helmets
made up to implicate Aruman, but the stupid smith thought I
said 'Saruman' and put S-runes on the helms instead of A."
   "I was wondering about that myself,"  said Aragon.
   "All that leaves is the Shire," continued Gandalf.  "As long as he
has the Ring, Frodo could get in our way, but luckily for us, he
doesn't know how it really works.  He was too busy trying to bag that
Took wench to learn its real powers.  Once he destroys that damnable
Ring, he'll eliminate both it and Sauron for us.  While he's busy doing
that, we'll liquidate what assets he has left. When we're done with
him, there won't be any place left in Middle-earth for him.  The rest
of the Shire is ripe for a revolution, thanks to all that time I spent
there over years planting the seeds of revolt.  Once they have
their 'freedom', you'll be able to secretly control them through the
Brandybuck crime syndicate."

   The men of Rohan had their barbecue, and lounged around for the rest
of the afternoon.  Their Dunlending slaves didn't get any rest,
though.  First they had to cook the food and serve it.  Then they had
to clean up, and then take down the portable grills.  Needless to say,
by the end of the afternoon, they had gotten pretty pissed.
   Finally HeyHoDen's curiosity about the poles overcame his laziness,
and he gathered his host to set out for Isengard.  There had been
causalties in the battle, which left extra horses, and now no one had
to share horses except for Giggly and Lego-lass.   They folowed Gandalf
through the poles.
   "These poles are strange," said Lego-lass.  "I'd like to find out
what they are."
   "No way, said Giggly.  "It feels like they hate us, and want to kill
   "Not all of us, silly," she said, "just the orcs.  Maybe these poles
come from Fungang."
   "Well, you're a tree-hugging elf, so I guess you think Fungang is
wonderful," said Giggly.  "But I have seen something even better.
   "Humans can be so stupid, Lego-lass.  Here they have a natural
wonder, and what do they do with it?  Caves, they say!  Holes to
amplify that horrible music from their concerts.  Lego-lass, do you
know that the cave's of Deem's Help are vastly amusing?  I know many
dwerrows who would pay pure gold, just to see them and laugh."
   "And I would pay double, just to be let out," she snorted, knowing
some of the stupid things Giggly would laugh at.
   "Shows what you know," said Giggly.  "I know I laugh a lot, but these
caves really are funny.  The stalactites, and columns, and everything
else made me laugh.  And it wasn't just me.  Gambler was laughing his
ass off too.  It was pretty dark when we were in there.  I can only
imagine how funny it would be all lit up.  Just think, cavern after
cavern of funny shapes, deep into the mountain."
   "Maybe the Men of Rohan are smart to conceal them," said the
elf.  "Just think what damage a single family of dwerrows with hammers
and chisels would do to them."
   "Spoken like a true elf," said Giggly  "You think that the dwerrows
have no economic sense whatsoever.  But we can recognize a profit when
we see one, and exploit it.  Hell, we need the revenue, thanks to the
elves and Gondor™ taking advantage of us for centuries.  I could
make this into a tourist destination: the Giggling Caves of Aglarond, a
theme park to rival the Magic Kingdom of Gondor™!"
   "You move me, Gimli," said Lego-lass.  "Never before have I heard a
dwerrow actually come up with a sound financial scheme.  But where are
you going to get the money to run your little enterprise?  Everyone
knows the dwerrows are broke.  Let's make a deal -- if you visit
Fungang with me when all this is over, I'll lend you the money to start
up the business, and then we can share the profits."
   "Well, I suppose if I have to visit that stupid forest I will," said
Gimli.  "But only if you promise to help me with the caves."
   "I promise, I promise," said Lego-lass quickly, crossing her fingers
behind her back.  But then some thoughts came unbidden to her
mind.  Come to think of it, I won't even have to shell out any of my
own money to help him, she thought.  I can just get the money from
Daddy, and if his plan fails, I won't lose anything.  But if he
succeeds, then I get my cut of the money.  But I am definitely not
falling in love with him.

   The company rode past the last poles, and headed toward the highway
which lead to Isengard.  Lego-lass looked back, and then exclaimed,
"Look!  The poles are lighting up!"  Then she turned her horse around,
and galloped back toward the poles.  "Ooh, the pretty colors," she said.
Giggly was busy having another lauging fit.
   "Stop, Lego-lass Greenbutt!"  shouted Gandalf.
   "I'd listen to him if I were you," said a strange deep voice with a
metallic undertone.  "Those poles are all charged up."  It came from a
creature that looked like a walking pole with arms and a bright halogen
glare.  He pointed to a large squat box that read in big letters:

                        High Voltage
                      Do Not Touch Ever
                 Especially in Thunderstorms

Then more of the same creatures strode out from the poles, with all
sorts of different colored lights, bright reds, soft greens, glaring
sodium yellows, and neon pinks.  Some actually laughed at the elf,
while most of the others walked from pole to pole, checking them. Cries
of fear came from the smiths and farmers, and they tightly clutched
their pitchforks and pokers.
   "Stop!" shouted Gandalf.  "Put your weapons away.  They aren't
enemies, and in fact aren't concerned with you at all."
   "Well, what are they, Gandalf?" grumbled HeyHoDen, hoping that these
creatures did not like barbecue, for it seemed to him like they could
eat a great deal.  "Can't you give us a straight answer for once instead
of all these stupid riddles?"
   "Riddles?" asked Gandalf.  "Has your brain become as soft as your
backside?  Any five-year old could tell you what they are.  You have
seen Ments, HeyHoDen, Ments of Fungang Forest, which you call the
Mentwood.  Really, how the hell do you think it got that name in the
first place?"
   Before HeyHoDen could answer, Gandalf rode off, and they had little
choice but to follow him.  Finally they came to the Fords of Isen.
This was a wide plain with a hard black ground, where many Fords were
parked.  There were all sorts of makes and models; Model-Ts, Mustangs,
even a few scruffy-looking Edsels.  "We wasted enough time barbecuing
back at Deem's Help," grumbled Gandalf.  "Everyone get in a Ford, and
we'll drive the rest of the way."  HeyHoDen, Eonard, and Aragon traded
their horses for a Mustang, Arwen got in a Model-T, and the others got
in the remaining Fords.  The farmer that had complained so much back at
Deem's Help had straggled behind, though, and all that was left for him
was a beat-up old Pinto.

   Once upon a time, the men of Atlantis built Isengard™ at the south
end of the Musty Mountains.  However, as the centuries passed, it
generated no tourist income, and so Gondor™ sold the property (at
which time it lost its trademark).  It passed from the hands of one
disreputable owner to another, until finally Aruman came to dwell
there.  He had just recovered from his centuries-long bout of
alcoholism, and decided to make up for his seedy past by doing charity
   He had planned to found an orphanage and school for disadvantaged orc
boys.  He tore up all the weeds that had choked the grounds for a
millenia or so, and planted grass and trees, forming what he hoped
would be a calming environment and thus lessen the homocidal tendancies
inborn in orcs. He failed.  The older boys set up a nasty system of
hazing for the younger boys that actually made things worse.
   Eventually Aruman gave up his original plans, and decided to break
the boys' spirits by using them as child labor.  The serene, almost
pastoral landscape of the Wizard's Vale gave way to dormitories and
factories.  All that remained the same within the circle of Isengard
was the tower of Eyesore, the ugliest outcrop of rock in Middle-earth,
and the chief cause of Isengard's™ economic decline.  There the men
of Atlantis carved a tower out of the rock, but no one wanted to be
caught living there.  Aruman, during his days of recovery, thought the
humiliation would be good for him, after his centuries of dissolute
living.  Later, he hoped the ugliness of his attempts at
industrialization would make the ugliness of Eyesore less noticeable.
   Now Gandalf and the others drove up to the gates of Isengard.  Once
there were lagre iron gates here, but they had been hurled to the
ground and crumpled like an aluminum can.  There were large gaps in the
walls, as if something, or rather, a large number of somethings, had
melted their way through.   Inside, Isengard was filled with bubbling,
boiling water.  However, Eyesore stood untouched in the center, as ugly
as always.  HeyHoDen and his company sat in the Fords, speechless.
They saw that Aruman's School for Boys was no more.  "Damn," though
HeyHoDen, "so much for television."  Then as he looked away, he noticed
two small figures sitting next to a large pile of dirty dishes on an
outcrop of melted rock, now cooled.
   The company got out of their Fords, and walked up to the figures.
One was sleeping, and snoring quite loudly, the other was awake and
smoking, with a dangerous gleam in his eyes.  "Welcome to Isengard," he
said.  "I am Moribund, of a quite unimportant family.  My companion,"
he paused here, firmly kicking the sleeping figure in the ribs with his
steel-toed boots, "is Paragraph Took, son of Palatine, of the house of
Took.  Aruman is busy, so he can't be bothered to see you right now.
You'll have to make an appointment."
   "Indeed," answered Gandalf.  "Aruman must be getting really cheap
if he can't affort better doormen than two ill-mannered louts."
   Morrie ignored Gandalf's insult, deciding to pay him back
later.  "Aruman's not in charge anymore.  Isengard's under new
management.  Our orders came from Steelbeard."
   Giggly couldn't help it any longer.  He burst into laughter.  After
about a minute or so, when he was finally able to talk, he said, "Wow,
Morrie, I never thought you could be such a joker!"
   Before Morrie could retort, HeyHoDen and the others burst into
laughter.  "I take it you know these, uh, men, Gandalf?" HeyHoDen
asked.  "Since we've already seen Ments, I'm guessing these are the
fabled Halflings?  Little is said about them in Rohan, just that they
dwell in a bunch of shacks, and nothing at all about them blowing smoke
out of their mouths."
   "Really?" said Morrie.  "The weed-trade of Beltbuckleland and
Bongbottom in the Southfarthing is very profitable, and has been ever
since we, ah, acquired the rights to it from Tobold Hornblower.  I'm
surprised that no one knows about it."
   "That's because of Gondor™," said Gandalf.  "They banned weed
centuries ago, when they cleaned up Gondor™ to make it more family-
   Morrie's jaw began to drop, but then widened into a broad smile as he
realized the profit potential of what could be a huge new market in the
south.  He drew a small pouch out of his pocket.  "Here's a small
sample of weed, my lord," he said.  "If you like it, I can get more for
you, but you'll have to pay for it."
   "You do not know your danger, HeyHoDen," interrupted Gandalf.  "The
Brandybucks lace their weed with a substance that makes it highly
addictive, which ensures that their customers always come back for
more.  I should know, since I learned that the hard way," he said,
lighting up another pouch of pipe-weed.  Morrie glared angrily at him,
but Gandalf ignored him and went on.  "I don't have the time to see you
get hooked on a new bad habit right now.  I must speak to Steelbeard.
When we're done here, you can talk to Morrie about weed if you want.
It's actually quite enjoyable, but first things first."  Morrie decided
that he didn't need to kill Gandalf after all.
   Then Gandalf, HeyHoDen, and the other Rohirrim rode into Isengard to
look for the elder Ment.  Morrie turned to Pipsqueak and whispered,
"We're going to make a fortune."

Book III, Chapter Seven / Table of Contents / Book III, Chapter Nine
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This chapter of this epic work is presented through the courtesy of David Sulger <orius-aaaaaaat-my-deja-dawt-com>. Copyright © 2000 by the author. All rights reserved. Some variance between this e-text and the original printed material by Professor Tolkien is inevitable. Using this as an electronic resource for scholarly or research purposes may lead to a certain degree of academic embarassment. All agree that the printed version of the text, available from respectable publishers such as Houghton Mifflin and Ballantine Books, is to be preferred. Denethor™ and Gondor™ are trademarks of Saul Zaentz and Tolkien Enterprises, who hold all merchandising rights to Gondor™ and its subsidiaries. Tolkien Enterprises' supply of surplus Isengard™ T-shirts and souvenir plates is now available for liquidation to wholesale dealers at an extremely heavy discount.