The Lord of the... whatever, Book III, Chapter 11:

The Palantarium

     The sun was sinking behind the long western arm of the mountains
when Gandalf and companions, and the king with his riders, and the
local levies, and the Levis from the shul down the mountain Mishigäs,
and Uncle Tom Cobley and all rode off.
     Ments in a solemn row stood like statues at the gate, with their
long arms uplifted with flickering lights at their ends, but they made
no sound, unlike the statues in their hometown, which were quite
garrulous, and kept common folk awake all night. 
     They came to the Pillar of the White Hand. The pillar was still
standing but most of the graven hand had been thrown down except for
one long finger, which was still standing, but had been stained with
some dark substance.
     "Truly it is said that when the Ments turn to proctology the
world trembles!" remarked Gandalf with a shudder.
     They rode on, clenching their sphincter muscles.

     This clenching had its usual effect on horseback riders, and
Morrie finally whined, "Are we riding far tonight, Gandalf?"
     "No," replied Gandalf. "I want to put some distance between us
and those insidious works of Aruman. Every time I think of the terrible
things that he did to so many people, well it frays my temper and I
feel like going back and spitting on where he fell one more time. Why,
every time I think of what he said about you, Morrie, it just makes me
     "Huh," said Morrie, his usual sinister look of malicious stupidity
turning to one of baffled malicious stupidity, "What things? I don't
remember him saying anything about us, although," he added shaking his
head slowly as if it hurt, "everything about that seems kinda fuzzy."
     "Why, yes," said Gandalf quickly. "Better for you not to dwell on
it, how he called you a pimple-faced goon who displays all the
characteristics of a reverse Darwinism, a walking advertisement for
the sterilization of the morally unfit and someone who he was not
surprised was running a brisk trade in pipe weed to loose girls at the
local high school."
     "He said that, the Schmööck!" snarled Morrie. "Hey, wait a minute,
how did he know about the pipe weed thing?"
     "Well," said Gandalf, picking up the pace a little, "erh, I fear
that we may find that Aruman's appendages have reached further than we
thought!  Indeed, I fear we may find the Shire in the hands of a
extremely strong but fair criminal organization dedicated to enslaving
young Hobbit lasses into lives of prostitution and support for the
United Nations, and producing a vile crop of pipe weed."
     "WaitaErudamnminute," bellowed Morrie as he galloped after, "that
was my plan!"

     Soon after they stopped and got off their horses with many a
grimace and groan and soon dispersed themselves, several of the older
Rohan troopers pairing off with others beneath the hanging branches of
nearby trees, humming airs of old Rohan operas and show tunes as they
spread single blankets out for both men.
     Several of the other troopers chuckled as Morrie and Pipsqueak
spread their blankets, with many comments about Hobbit Holes not being
dirty places, heh, heh. 
     Morrie was sleepy, particularly after sampling more of the weed
he had salvaged from the wrack of Eyesore. Pipsqueak was more rest-
less, and the conversation kept coming back to the white ball he had
glimpsed. "That glass ball now. Gandalf seemed mighty pleased with it
I reckon, sho nuff. He knows some'at 'bout it, but do he tell us, I
reckon not. Nawsuh, he doesn't tell us in nowt in a coon's age. 
Din't I pick it up and I sure enough saved it dat der ball from
rolling into a pool. It felt right heavy as I live and breathe."
     Morrie glowered at him from under sleepy brows, "If you don't
stop talking in politically incorrect dialect, I'm going to kick your
sorry butt into that there briar patch. Shaddap, I haven't had a
nocturnal emission in the longest time and you're keeping me from it!"
     And murmuring the name of "Rambling" Rosie, he fell asleep.
     Pipsqueak said no more and rubbed his groin where Morrie had
kicked him. At last he could stand it no longer. 
     He crept down to where Gandalf was sleeping. Driven by some
impulse that he could not understand, but which was probably rooted
in an early childhood glimpse of his mother in the bath, he moved
closer until he could spy something bulging in a fold of the cloth.
Pipsqueak reached down and put his hands on it and as he did Gandalf
stirred in his sleep and murmured "Arwen, my nymphette, humbert, humbert,
hummmmm...." Pipsqueak hastily let go and grabbed the other bundle and
ran off.

     Much later there was a loud noise, sending the camp into a tizzy. 
Gandalf ran up, buttoning himself and wiping away at something. "So
this is the thief" said Gandalf. He booted Pipsqueak where he lay,
explaining that this would help him revive. It took several more such
attempts and several blows to the head before Pipsqueak revived. 
     As he lay blinking, he was showered with questions until finally...
     "Wait!" cried Gandalf. "Let him tell it in his own way."
     Pipsqueak shuddered as he remembered when he had unwrapped the
stone from his cloak, wiping off the grease and egg stains it had
picked up from his cloak with an equally grotty pocket handkerchief
embroidered with the initials TB.
     He remembered peering into it intently for a few moments until
it began to glow. Gradually arcane words began to appear, words that
seemed to have a certain malignancy in their form and content. 
     Gradually he began to make them out, his lips sounding them out
(usually with highly unorthodox pronunciations), and as he did so he
began a counterpoint of cursing under his breath as the words read:
"I'm sorry, we are unable to complete your Palantarium connection at
this time, please try again later." After a long interval the words
changed; he began to curse again as they read, "Your Palantarium is
not configured correctly/is not set up to work with Atlantis on Line.
Please check your settings and try again later." 
     Muttering about the curse of the Aölhëllïïm, he tried several
more times before he finally was connected.
     At first, all seemed blackness. Then he saw the outline of a
stark and severe hooded and cloaked figure. To his horror (overtaxing
underutilized sphincter muscles) it moved closer and closer until
all he could see were the figure's red-rimmed eyes in a gaunt and
sinister face. "Tell me!" it demanded, "Your puny powers are of no
concern to me! Have you found the one I seek? And what of the short
creatures? Oh, and by the way, I am afraid that your friends will find
the force field fully operational and the Death Star as well!!!"
     It was at this point that Pipsqueak realized that he had not the
slightest idea what was going on (this was not a new occurrence to
him, having occurred to him frequently in the half semester he had
attended school and frequently thereafter when he was asked to explain
the presence of other people's property in his possession). As his
usual expression of mulish stupor deepened into total bafflement, the
figure in the stone realized it and said "Hmm, you're not an Ewok,
you're not one of mine." The figure turned his head and called off
Pipsqueak's line of sight of the image in the stone, "Sorry, Saury
Honey, the call's for you." Pipsqueak could almost he the sound of
water dripping from, as it were, a shower head of antique and
unfathomable evil; he heard the sound of two floppy shower slippers
coming closer and closer. Finally a face was revealed to him, a face
that seemed to have supped on bowels of incalculable depravity and
unspeakable practices, a face that fairly reeked with a gelid scorn
and disdain, a face wrapped in a pink fluffy bath towel, a face that
resembled most that of...
     Well, you know who.

     "Mercifully," Pipsqueak said, "at that moment I slipped into
oblivion or my own poop after I cut loose with a dump. The shriek you
heard was a fart. A damn good one too!" he said with much contentment
as the bystanders proceeded to mutter and to move upwind of him as he
shook a pants leg.
     Gandalf looked down at him. Then he sighed and carried Pipsqueak
back to his bed. "He will take no hurt from this, I do swear; he is
much too dense to comprehend most of what goes on around him, let
alone this." And as he turned away, he lit slip his exasperation
sufficiently to flick out with a swift kick to the posterior of the
unconscious form that had slipped instantly into sleep after Gandalf
had whacked the Palantarium against the back of his head. Others
passed by silently and also similarly saluted the form of the cause of
the interruption of their slumber or other activities until his bed
place was moved several spans down the hillside from their kicks.

     [And where was Arwen when all of this was going on? Well might
you wonder, dear reader. In fact, as will be made clear in the next
edition of History of Muddle Earth, More fag-end Rejects that I can
sucker people into buying, you will see how Arwen, Giggly and Lego-
lass made a side trip to beat up Dunlendings (and getting paid very
well by the Pinkuton Agency, I might add). You'll thrill to her feats
of prowess, her stark blood lust and carving of new entrances into the
anatomy of Dunlendings, all to be featured in the new movie "Arwen: 
Warrior Princess!" I hope this explains the lacunae in this chapter
(not that I mind lacunae, of course (actually, there's nothing better
than a nice hot lacunae, with whipped cream on it of course (the
whipped cream is optional (don't you love parenthesis (I do)?)))]

     As Gandalf turned away Aragon confronted him, a look of peevish
arrogornance mixed with a certain cunning on his face. "Here is one
who can claim this by right. I believe this is the Palantarium that
my second cousin Poindexteran had from his uncle. I will take it."
     Gandalf looked at Aragon, then to the surprise of others he
passed it to him, murmuring under his breath: "Just wait until he
finds out that the parental controls are activated."
     Gandalf said, "Receive it, Lard, but ware! Oft things may
glister but not be gold."
     Aragon replied, "Yet, a stitch in time may save nine."
     Gandalf replied, "Yes, but for want of a nail."
     Aragon returned, more shortly, "A gherkin may be wrinkled but
it's not old."
     Gandalf, annoyed, said "Enough of this proverbial badinage! We
must away to the next chapter!"

Book III, Chapter Ten / Table of Contents / Book IV, Chapter One
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This chapter of this epic work is presented through the courtesy of Douglas Henderson <kueikutzu-aaaaaaat-notforemail-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. In today's chapter the part of Aragon was played by Nigel Bruce, and the part of Morrie was played by Charlayne Woodard. Our regular players, Colm Wilkinson and Al Pacino, will return next week. We apologize for any disappointment.