The Lord of the... whatever, Book III, Chapter 9:
Flopsy And Jackson
"Sheesh!" muttered Aragon. "Why am I stuck here with these
losers when I should be off with the movers and shakers? Gandalf will
pay for this insult!" Fortunately no one (except Arwen -- and possibly
Morrie, the cat-eared, but he gave no sign) could hear him over
"Where the hell were you guys anyway?" the Dwerrow barely
managed to enunciate. "And how did you end up here of all Eru-forsaken
places, gorging yourselves on pâté à foie gras and tripping!
Tripping! Where did you get the drugs, hosses? This is so hil... HA!
HA! HA! HA!" Giggly collapsed into hysterics.
"Bongbottom weed, too," observed Aragon, cheering up a
little. "Pretty valuable stuff – very pure."
"When are you going to kick the habit?" sighed Arwen.
"What I want to know is where they got the wine," said Lego-
lass. "I thought Aruman had outlawed it. This is supposedly a school,
not a saloon, no?"
"What's it to you where we found it?" said Morrie. "It's here;
what's it worth to you?"
Giggly and Aragon bargained hard, but Morrie ended up pocketing
a lot of flokarinos. No one ever got around Morrie the Mean Dude --
or at least it was a long walk, especially with the decline of public
transit in the Third Age from the Dark Years when Sauron and Miniwethil
made the Eagles come on time. But I digress.
Having gobbled their bouillabaisse with cilantro à la
noldoroise with almost indecent haste, the companions sat around for a
while and got stoned. Aragon lay back and sniffed the white stuff like
there was no tomorrow.
"Look!" squealed Pipsqueak, "Strider the Cokehead is back!"
"I've been back, you bleating idiot!" retorted Aragon. "I
could have been with the important people -- but nooo!"
"Have some morphine," said Morrie soothingly. "It'll make you
feel much better."
"Are we going to spend ALL DAY GETTING STONED?" yelled Lego-
lass after a couple hours of groovin'. "What about ANSWERING Giggly's
"Well, I woke up to find myself tied up and being lugged around
by a bunch of nasty snobbish public school brats. Someone had tied the
knots awfully tight, too," said Pipsqueak, glaring at Morrie, who had
an expression of such wide-eyed innocence that Pipsqueak might have
been accusing him of giving alms to hobbit-orphans (but under the table
he gave him the special kick that meant "Drop it, unless you want to
know what a Bywater grin feels like). "The less said about the
initiation rites the better," continued Pipsqueak. "Let's just say
they put the zing in hazing, and leave it at that."
Pipsqueak went on to give a précis of III.1, which you can read
for yourselves, as I have no intention whatsoever of recapping it; but he
left to Morrie the invidious task of describing the horror of Clarénce,
his disgusting pawing, his liquor-laden breath, his insidious cheating
at cricket, his irritating uppah-clawss ahccent, his abominable violin
practicing, and his annoying habit of singing "If I had the Ring of the
Master". Morrie, true to form, refused to say a word about it, other
than, "Mordor-Orcs ain't Mother Teresa."
"The educational system in Mordor is a horrible abyss of evil,"
intoned Aragon. "Instead of just teaching the three R's and vocational
ed -- the only stuff the lower orders really need to know -- they have
this accursed arts education cruddola. Frills, I call it." His eyes
were glazed with horror at the thought, or else mayhap he was only
suffering a really bad trip. "I only hope Aruman's school wasn't too
corrupted by that long-haired stuff. It looks like Sauron and Aruman
must have been allied somehow." He took another draw. An act was this
fraught with consequences.
Morrie looked at the Ranger contemptuously, but did not tell
him that the Brandibuck mafia had known about the Sauron-Aruman
alliance for years, as it had really eaten into their profits.
Instead, he abruptly changed the topic. "Now we're coming to a part of
the story you don't know anything about. The Ments ..."
"Oh, can I tell them? Please let me tell it! PLEASE!"
squealed Pipsqueak. Morrie gave in, only cautioning Pipiqueak not
to "spill too much." Pipsqueak had the sense therefore not to say
anything about Morrie's motives in coming to Isengard in the first
place (the less outsiders knew about the weed trade, the better; no
need for Aragon to worry about Lotho and all that business -- the
Brandibucks could handle it much more effectively). Nevertheless, he
managed to swell Book III, Chapter IV to three or four times its
original size, not forgetting to lay great stress on Steelbeard's
resemblance to the Terminator in the celebrated mummers'
play, Terminator II.
"I have to admit I had trouble buying Steel's story of the
singing Lion," concluded Pipsqueak. "Especially the baritone part."
"It's the truth," said Arwen. "He used to appear now and then
during the Second Age, or so my father told me. He had a better voice
than Bing Krozbi. I saw him once as a girl; but he muttered something
about this world being rather a waste anyway, and hasn't been seen
"Your meriniscences are reeeeeeeally sexy," drawled Aragon,
"Anyway," said Pipsqueak, deciding he hadn't concluded after
all, "we went on this forced march to Isengard, and the Ments were
rapping so loud, we had to stick our twinkies in our ears to avoid
being deafened. While this was going on, we passed a bunch of Fords.
There was also a sign, where it was written, 'From Sauron to Aruman.
Here are those cars you wanted. Now start enacting democratic reforms
and eliminating labor abuses ... and I mean now!!!'"
Aragon frowned at the words "democratic" and "labor."
"Next to them were some opera CDs by a guy named Gaetano ..."
"What's that?" said Arwen.
"Oh Eeeeeeeeeeeeeru ... You don't want to know!" zombed Aragon,
moved perhaps by some memory or, more likely, hallucination about his
trips to the East. In after years, by the way, he was known as El
Lesser the Tasteless.
"... Metríc, labelled 'Try it, you'll like it!'" continued
Pipsqueak. "Steelbeard burned down the sign and smashed the CDs,
muttering something about the decline of civilization since the First
"Nearly forgot to mention that the entire forest of lampposts
was following us by now. Creepy, like something out of a bad science
fiction mummer's play. It was the Scruporns, as the Ments call them
in 'rude language.' Steel won't say much about them, but it seems a
lot of the lampposts malfunctioned after sleeping with Jadis Joplin the
Screecher, the White Witch. Their descendants were born with nasty
birth defects, and have the intellectual capacity of an intelligent
toaster, but can still deal out a shock to write home about."
"Steel came and broke down the gates," interposed Moribund,
more in order to maintain a simulacrum of variety than because he
really felt like talking. "They looked strong, but Steel and the Ments
melted them with their woozy-like eyes as if they were made of cheap
cardboard. It seems to me Aruman's pretty wimpy stuff if he's so
easily beaten by a bunch of lampposts out of a really bad cartoon.
What's the big deal all about, anyway? Aruman, Schmaruman, I saying."
"Aruman's smarter than you think," said Aragon. "He always
used to beat Gandalf at Othello like nobody's business. I didn't tell
you about that at the wake, 'cuz I was too doped and boozed up to
remember it. Moreover, he had a mean PR machine. Gandalf says Aruman
used to make some naaaaasty moonshine, until he quit and started
getting into that boring charity work stuff instead. It's almost a
relief that he turned his pupils into child labor; at least it shows
he's related to Gandalf after all."
"Well, anyway," said Paragraph (so named because he talked in
paragraphs instead of sentences), "we saw a bunch of Orcs up to some
kind of mischief, yelling things like, 'Amo, amas, I love a lass.' The
Ments tried to kill them, but a mysterious and very fat figure appeared
and raised a forcefield, before leading them away. We don't know who
it was; not Aruman. I think it was ..." Morrie kicked him and he
changed the subject. "The Ments made a bonfire like the Sun was never
going to shine again. That pyromaniac Steelbeard was having a grand
old time. 'Hoom, HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!! This is fun, by the Lion's
Mane!' he boomed. The entire school was demolished, the textbooks
burned -- especially the Latin ones..."
"Latin heraus!" yelled Aragon. Morrie looked at him with
annoyance, and wondered whether he should stick to his plan of using
Aragon as a puppet, or just get rid of him as soon as Sauron and the
other nuisances were overcome. While he pondered this, Pipsqueak's
interminable squealing continued.
"Well, anyway," said Pipsqueak rather repetitively, "Aruman's
forces figured out pretty fast the way things were turning, and
bolted. The Ments let most of the Men go, figuring they were probably
a typo for Ments; Steel only demanded a few flokarinos from each Man. I
don't think any Orcs survived -- other than the ones that left earlier;
they were all massacred."
"Serve 'em right!" said Aragon. "They're lesser breeds without
the law, and must perish. Natural selection. Orcs heraus!"
"I dunno," said Lego-lass. "Giggly and I were wondering about
that. Don't you think it's wrong to wipe 'em out? Shouldn't we be
educating them about the sanctity of the Market instead?"
"Wrong, but fun; kind of like adultery." Giggly exploded into
guffaws. Lego-lass glared at him.
"What is you, a goblin-lover?" sneered Aragon, ignoring
Giggly. "So typical of someone who thinks Balrogs ..." The expression
on Lego-lass's face silenced the Ranger, coupled with the fact that he
needed more cocaine.
"Aruman made a run from one of the burning buildings, taking
swigs from a bottle as he ran," was not silent Paragraph. "The Ments
ran after them, but then he pointed away and yelled 'There's a bird!'
While the Ments looked away, he made a beeline for Eyesore (it deserved
its name: it was yoooow-GLEE!) and holed himself in. There he got his
precious computers to work, disturbing the Ments' mechanisms with Java
Script errors, The Page Cannot Be Displayed Nyah nyah nyah! messages
and other horrors. Worst of all was the onslaught of emoticons. He
"I thought the Ments were mad before, but that was nothing.
Have you seen the mummers' play, The Towering Inferno? That's what
it was like. That, and a really bad fight scene in one of the Star
Wars mummers' plays, as Steelbeard and Co. wielded their internal
lightsabres and expelled some mean photon torpedoes out of various
cavities. I was scared. Luckily, Morrie always brings asbestos suits
wherever he goes-"
"Like they really needed to know that," grumbled Morrie.
"And then Steel suddenly called the other Ments together over
his PA system. I think he'd already thought up a plan of his own in his
superior artificial intelligence system, or maybe he just needed to
refuel. Anyway, while they were doing what they do best, Gandalf
suddenly showed up. I... er... well, keep this private please, because I
probably shouldn't tell you it, but my vocal chords have rather a mind
of their own, and don't know how to stop-"
"You can say that again," muttered Morrie, which Pipsqueak
promptly did before continuing.
"Well, I was kind of not happy to see the codger back, to tell
the truth. I nearly spilt my latte in my chagrin, but I managed to gasp
out, 'Gandalf! I was hop... er... I thought you were dead!"
"'The feeling is mutual, you pitiful little rodent half-breed,"
hissed Gandalf, before kind of half-laughing to make me think it was a
joke. 'Where in the name of instant messaging is Steelbeard? I need to
talk to him pronto!'" I pointed the way to a building (one of the few
left standing) marked 'Maintenance Workers Only.' He came out having
some kind of altercation with Steel; I caught the words 'I can break
you,' but not much else, as I was tripping on peyote at the time.
"When I came down, I saw that the Scruporns had planted
themselves all over the schoolyard. It wasn't an appropriate place for
Orc-children to hang out, I'm here to tell you. Morrie and I looked
around for eats. We nabbed a bunch of rabbits; they were horribly
cute, and begged us not to kill them. 'I'm Fwopsy,' said one. 'I'm
Mopsy,' said the second one. 'I'm Cottontail,' said the third. 'I'm
Michael Jackson,' said the fourth. I wanted to spare them, but Morrie
can be brutal when necessary. He called me an incurable romantic! We
found a lot of other good stuff, too. Morrie has a nose." Pipsqueak
was on a roll, and there was no stopping him now, for Morrie was still
lost in plans for world domination and kneecapping his enemies, and was
paying no attention to the stream of blather that issued forth from
Pipsqueak's mouth like unto a rushing torrent of squeaks. "We found
Aruman's cabinet, the one marked "Top Secret. Don't Let Sauron or
Miniwehtil See Contents."
"Who's Miniwethil?" asked Giggly. "And if it was so top
secret, why wasn't it in Eyesore?"
"It wasn't in Eyesore because Miniwethil was," explained
Pipsqueak. "And Miniwethil was some rodent broad Aruman hung out with.
She had chîchiz like succulent peaches! Last I saw, Steel was
dragging her somewhere and she was screaming. I'm guessing she came to
a bad end."
"She was for long Sauron's mistress -- she was quite the
vamp," said Arwen. "I never understood what the big deal was; did
people get turned on by those mouse-ears? I fought her with namuchakus
once. During the First and Second Ages she and Sauron wrought much
evil, like the forty-hour work week, free ballet and sung mummers'
plays, and sex education. At the end of the Second Age they had a
"Rumor has it that she tried to bobbitt the Dark Lord, but bit
off the wrong portion of his anatomy," said Aragon, coming out of his
morphine-induced stupor. "Then she transferred her attentions to
Isildur, and together they conceived Anarchion the Sartorially
Challenged Waterfowl. After Isildur met his untimely end at the
hands of Black Pete (leading to the Gondorians' famous Racism), she
moved in with Aruman. Meanwhile Anarchion begat-" Arwen quickly
covered Aragon's mouth, as she always did whenever he uttered the
"Enough amusing -- or not so amusing -- narrative
irrelevancies," she muttered. "They eat up too many damn kilobytes."
"Next time we saw Steel, he seemed kind of ticked off," said
Morrie. "'You didn't give me a lot of info earlier,' he grumbled.
'Didn't you trust me?' He seemed kind of hurt when I told him 'No.'
Like it says on the Brandibuck coat of arms, 'Don't trust nobody but
your crowbar.' 'Then what the Angband use are you losers?' he whined.
He gave me a mild electric shock. When my crime syndicate takes over,
he'll wish he hadn't."
By now Pipsqueak had, unfortunately, woken up. The torrent
recommenced. The others zoned out on drugs; it was the only way they
could survive Pipsqueak's incessant bleating. At least the blatherers
at El Rond's Council had mostly had pleasant baritones. Even Giggly
had given up waiting for the punchline. "Gandalf turned up again and
told us a bit about Frodo and Sam. But we were more concerned with you
"After all," put in Morrie, "that estate in Mordor is all very
well and good (or would be if they didn't have so much damned
regulation in Mordor). But the United Kingdom means a Global Market,
and that means..." He rubbed his fingers together in the ancient hobbit
gesture for what, in Elvish, is called mucha múla.
"Suddenly we smelt fumes of a mysterious substance that Steel
called gasolinorpetrolbenzinorwhateverdahellyawannakallit," continued
Pipsqueak. "A slimy, malodorous liquid flooded Isengard. It was like
bubbling, boiling water with a bad case of halitosis. 'They want to
eliminate Aruman by destroying his habitat; pretty clever,' as old
Morrie explained. The Scruporns meanwhile filled everything with an
unbearable red light. Steel and whatnot burned the gaso... stuff and
caused nasty exhalations of some flaming substance or other..."
At the word "flaming," Aragon woke up and lit a cigarette
before remarking, "Yeah, we saw that. We thought Aruman was dreaming up
some new devilry, or else that he'd developed a wicked new form of weed."
"Not he!" bleated Pipsqueak. "He was probably choking and not
laughing anymore. We managed to hole ourselves in this tower with the
cabinet with lots of cool secret stuff..." Morrie twirled his walking
stick idly. Pipsqueak took the hint and changed the topic. "Today was
pretty much a drag. Nothing left to eat but pâté à foie gras and other
haute cuisine, no news, no Ments... they were all at a party and wouldn't
let us come. 'No rat-folk allowed,' as Steel put it. Instead we had
to wait at the gate for HeyHoDen and whatnot."
"Worth the wait, though," said Moribund. "We've got vast new
markets just waiting to be opened up."
"True," said Paragraph. "Oh, I almost forgot to mention this
guy named Grimey..."
"No!" said Aragon, in a voice full of what he meant to sound
like majesty, although he gave more the impression of an overgrown
spoiled brat. "I will not listen to any more of your world-without-end
squealing. I do not want to know how Grimey came, nor what evil plots
he's been hatching with Aruman. I do not even want to know how he got
out of Edoras, where he was locked last I knew. I only want to know
one thing, and after that you are to shut up. How much, in the name of
Steamboat Willie, are you willing to give for those silver belt
things?" Giggly chortled at the recollection of how the belts chimed
the Happy Birthday song when Aragon picked them up.
Morrie, after calmly and efficiently gagging Pipsqueak, said
nonchalantly, "It would be a pity if your drug supplies dried up."
Aragon groaned and forked over the belts, while Arwen sighed.
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