The Lord of the... whatever, Book IV, Chapter 7:

The Freudian Pool

        Frodo woke to find Dr Faramir bending over him. For a second a ray of
hope seized him, and he felt his stomach muscles contracting.
        "There is nothing to be happy for," said Dr Faramir. "I definitely
feel nothing for you."
        Frodo's hopes vanished.
        "Wake up, you fool," said Dr Faramir and hit him in the back with
a rubber stethoscope. "Sam, your entrusted servant, thinks that you
should have your part in the deeds that will follow. I would have gladly
let you rot in this spare dungeon in the depths of our beloved University,
but Sam convinced me that you could make for an interesting experimental
subject. Move!"
        Frodo searched for his trusted sword, but that must have been
removed from him while he was asleep. It seemed to him also that the dungeon
had been redecorated slightly while he slept, and now had mood-lighting,
a plush purple throw-rug and garish upholstery. But Dr Faramir remained
standing impassive before him, and two of his lab-assistants stood near the
door with great cattle-prods. Taking the hint Frodo walked quietly to the
door, taking pains not to make any sudden movements. He was thankful to Sam
for having the idea of getting him out of that stinky (was that patchouli
oil?) basement Faramir was pompously caling his "dungeon".
        They climbed through anonymous corridors, lighted here and there by
old blacklight bulbs. In the end they reached something that looked liked a
closed balcony, suspended over a large hall. Some of Dr Faramir's men were
stationed along the walls, looking out through narrow embrasures at some
sight outside. Bad mood music (reminiscent of the mighty wails of the
Elven-queen Janis, yet canned and distilled like something meant for
old men in a seedy public-house) was playing from some unknown source, and
multicoloured posters trumpeted the achievements of the doors and some
sort of airplane. Dr Faramir stood beneath a mirror-ball and the stars
of Gondor™ wheeled and spun above his head.
        "Tonight, Lieutenant, we have a mystery to solve," he said
        Frodo went to one of the embrasures and peered out. Outside were
grey peaks in a rough semicircle, which Frodo thought were the peaks of the
Ethel Duwap until he saw they were made of broken concrete. Some old Peter
Max posters had once been affixed to the broken walls in a pathetic and
unsuccessful effort to make the space look friendly. Their peeling edges now
shone faintly green and grey from accumulated mildew. Frodo thought he could
see the moon over Gondor™ peeking over one of the cracked walls; yet it was
only the glare of an old quartz/halogen light, such as were fashioned
by the Velour in the early days of Arda when work-lights were scarce, and
Frodo was simply too uninterested to make the distinction.
        Far below, in a rough concrete pool, dirty water was swirling 

        "What is she, Anblorb?" asked Dr Faramir to a man standing in a 
higher position, looking down with a spyglass. "Is she a bimbo, as we have 
not seen in years? Is she one of those feminist activists we ushered out 
decades ago? Is she a female at all?"
        "'Tis not a bimbo, whatever else it be," answered Anblorb. "It has
icky feet and dives manwise. Not that it show too much skill, though; in fact
it is quite inept." And he grinned. "I think she is unaware of our presence. I
have a bow here - " here he grinned and pointed towards a huge, menacing siege-
crossbow mounted on a nearby trolley - "and I have other men with similar weapons
of mass destruction posted around the entrances. We are just waiting for your
order to proceed, Doctor. One word from you and we can unleash enough weaponry
to completely obliterate our own fortress." And he grinned again.
        Frodo wondered what were they talking about. He looked down again but
could see nothing. Looking again from a different embrasure, however, he saw a
skinny body moving slowly by the pool's edge. The thing, wrapped in an old towel,
was cautiously trying the cold water in the pool with one long toe.
        "Should we fire our shots at her?" asked Dr Faramir, looking at Frodo.
"It is for you to decide. I am pursuing a psychological experiment here and, yes,
you are a part of it. Feel free to decide. You have grown thinking each human 
being is different and that we all should be treated with the respect that is
shown to a unique being-"
        "I never once thought anything of the kind," Frodo snapped, insulted by
such a plebian attitude.
        "Anyway, what is it?" Dr Faramir continued. "Is it a spy, or a snack, or
some new species of crustachean? Is it a female? Would it be interested in going
to the prom? I've got a tuxedo," he preened proudly. To Frodo's eyes Dr Faramir
seemed younger than before, much younger, and his hair seemed slicked back in a
strange new manner. "But if she won't go to the prom with me," he continued
angrily, "I'll blow the entire fortress right out the bottom of our Flat Earth!
It'll be China Syndrome right through the back of the turtle! I've had enough and
I'm not going to take any more!-"
        "I'd go to the Prom with you," Frodo said hopefully.
        "Ask her!" Dr Faramir continued, unhearing. "Ask her! If she says yea,
I'll buy you a soda, or something. If she says nay, however..." Here the Doc-
tor's countenance grew fierce. His skin turned red and the Brylcreem on top of
his head began to smoke. Horns began showing from the top of his head. "If she
says nay, then I'll blow this entire soliloquy apart! Bang go the bandages
and the trestles! There'll be a smoking hole left where the high school used to
be! My wrath shall be one with the Way of the Albatross!" Frodo looked at Dr
Faramir's wild eyes and foaming mouth and stepped back in amaze.
        "Go!" Faramir continued. "Ask her. But if you dare return without her
ankle-bracelet, the very fires of Doom shall be unleashed upon you, upon her,
upon us all! Go! And spare not the '55 Chevy, which my ancestors held in great
esteem in days of old. Go!"

        Anblorb grabbed the small hobbit and, holding him by the neck like a
cat, moved quickly along a dark passage. In time and after much stumbling they
reached an airlock, inexplicably marked NO SNORKELS, where the vicious guard
threw Frodo in through the first door, slammed it and spun the wheel. Frodo
could hear water splashing outside the door opposite. A man dressed in an
academic's robe was hidden in the dark, trembling of cold. When he saw Frodo
his grim face changed to a hopeful one, but after getting a better look at the
hobbit he went grim once more and returned into the dark corner. Frodo stood
dumbly for a long moment until the academic reemerged, pointedly gestured at
the wheel in the second door, and again withdrew. Finally Frodo took the
wheel - it seemed icy and menacing to the touch - and gave it a good spin; and
then another spin, and still another. It felt good. He could have spun the
wheel in his hands all day.
        Just as Frodo was beginning to really enjoy it, though, the wheel
suddenly stopped with a disheartening splglunk and the airlock door
slowly creaked open on its hinges - loud, squeaking, portentious melodramatic
hinges. With a sigh of disappointment (and a curious guilty feeling that he had,
somehow, already failed, and a suspicion he was being laughed at), Frodo went
through the airlock and crawled down the long narrow tunnel leading down into
the cave.

        Frodo looked around. There were only the gray walls all around, and the
rush of water from some great fissure above into the pool before him. The posters
on the walls looked even worse when viewed more closely. Nothing indicated the
presence of the observation room suspended above, beyond the southwest wall.
        He crawled towards the edge of the pool. At first he could not hear
anything above the rush of the falling water, but as his ears adjusted he was
able to notice words near the water's edge.
        "Ssssss! Ayyyy. Hushhh. Darn cold water! How is poor Gulibbl supposed
to eat fishess and prawnss? No romantic dinner with poor Spiegel, noo, not
even the candles stay lit in this misst. Not likely to get a table in thiss,
even with a reservation. Ssssss! Tricksy hobbits, they woo Spiegel, they
insults her, yes, insults her, with their bad-tempered remarks and bourgeoisie
standards, and Gullible never getss her away for ten minutes, no, not even
for a quick tryst-"
        "Gulible," Frodo said quietly.
        Gulible stood abrubtly, dropping a handful of lace doilies. They fell
directly into the water. "Sssss!" the creature hissed. "Baggins! Filthy
bastard! All day I've been working on those."
        "Gullible," Frodo said again, trying an alternate spelling. "You must
listen to me. You're in terrible danger."
        "Ssstupid part to be cast in. Talks to my agent, I will," Gulible spat.
        "You're in terrible danger," Frodo needlessly repeated, hoping to
avoid a non sequitir reply this time. "Dr Faramir's watching us. He's
going to blow up the whole world and kill us all unless we appease him!"
        "Mother," Gulible said inexplicably.
        Frodo reeled. The single word stung him like a knife. He felt himself
sinking, sinking into a quagmire of itchy coddling. I never knew my mother,
Frodo thought to himself. Though I heard rumours. They said it was a boating
accident. They said Bilbo had an alibi. They said she was a party animal. They
said I'd never amount to anything. They said I had a small member. Well, I'll
show them. He turned on Gulible. "It's a lie!" he shouted. "I've always been
very proud of my body!"
        "Mother," Gulible muttered again. "She always liked me better. Anyone
who could wear pants. And now you want to get anything that isn't her, jusst to
show her. You basstard! This whole conversation is simply fraught with meta-
phorical significance."
        "I don't understand," Frodo said plaintively, echoing the sentiments of
most of the readers.
        At this Gulible turned away. Frodo imagined himself climbing a long
pole, or maybe a trout, which was equally insensible but served to get him out
of this odd state of literary symbolism he had found himself in. He hardened
his will, took a deep breath, and stepped towards Gulible with cold
determination in his eyes. "Gulible," he ordered, "put on that dress."
        "Ssssss?" Gulible hissed eloquently.
        Frodo pointed. A rack full of dresses were just off to one side. "Put
on that dress," he commanded, his hand reaching for the Ring. "That one. The
white cotton top and red plaid skirt. And the shoes and bobbysox. Be quick!
Faramir wants to dance!"
        Gulible seemed utterly confused, not least of all by the rack of
dresses. "Bobbobbysssocksess?" he hissed. "Sssss! Noooo! They hurts the
feet! Itches, itchessss! Nasssty Elven sox!"
        "Yes, the sox," Frodo commanded, feeling the command of the Ring at
his beck. "And the ankle bracelet. And the charms. I hear Dr Faramir's got
a '55 Chevy."
        "Ssssss. Oh. Well, that makes it all different," Gulible said quietly,
reaching for the skirt. Maybe there would be a drive-in, or a milkshake. The
pathetic creature surveyed the dress-rack for a moment. "What about underwear?"
Gulible asked, rooting about for a pair.
        "You probably won't need any," Frodo replied.

        After a time Frodo took Gulible's hand, and he led the period-costumed
gangrel creature back through the double doors and into the observation room.
"Well, here she is," he said to Dr Faramir, proferring Gulible's slimy little
hand to him. "But no parking lots, and be sure to have her back before
        "My dear Frodo! You did it!" Dr Faramir shouted.
        And then suddenly the lights came up, and Frodo realized the room was
filled with people. They cheered him and wrung his hand. Gulible was shoved
rudely out of the way as a thing of no consequence. Dr Faramir strode up to
him and began speaking loudly. "I knew you would pass the test," he grinned.
"I just knew you had it in you. And now all of Gondor™ is here to receive
your commands."
        "My - my commands?" Frodo gasped.
        "Yes, my Lord," Faramir fawned. "Even for the ruling classes of Gondor™,
before one can come into power one must pass the great Test of Leadership®. So
it has been for untold generations of our people. And by commanding this ugly
little creature to do your bidding - " he gestured quickly over towards Gulible,
who was sitting in a chair kicking his heels and looking put-upon - "you have
passed our Test®, and become the Ruler of our great people. Nay, even a
Yardstick! Praise Him With Great Praise!"
        And all the host cheered and threw confetti and water balloons, and
Frodo looked out at the awestruck unwashed masses and realized deep in his
heart that he really was meant by Divine Providence™ to lead them all;
and the feeling was powerful and strangely erotic.
        Just then the crowd parted and Sauron came forth - Sauron, the Evil
One, with three heads and only one Eye, five hands and only nine fingers, and
a three-piece suit with only one tie - Sauron came in and bowed before him.
"I hereby abjure of all my Evil Deeds," he said slowly, "and I really feel bad
about everything. I am your love-slave. You can keep the Ring if you want. I
don't need it any more."
        "Uh, thanks," Frodo said, then answered more expansively. "Fill out an
employment application and take a number. Have some hors d'ouevres; they're
on the little table back there."
        Sauron slunk away, and Gandalf stepped in to fill the void. "Frodo,
my lad!" he grinned. "About time you made it here. I sent a Candygram off to
the Lords of the West. They should be here in an hour or so to bow before
you, if the lights aren't against them. Excellent job, Frodo m'lad! Excellent
        "You can go back to cleaning latrines now," Frodo said dismissively.
        "Right, I was just getting back to that," Gandalf replied. He hastened
out of the way just as Dr Faramir hustled back in, along with Boromir™ and a
giant rat. Frodo began to panic just as Boromir™ spoke.
        "Nay! Nay, mighty Frodo, do not be alarmed; for I am here as your
vassal, and acknowledge that you have always had the right to slay me or treat
me as you will. I seek not revenge. For that is not my purpose here, nor of
anything but to this purpose: You are now to be Mighty Lord of Gondor™,
and now we shall have your Coronation!"
        Frodo felt an almost orgasmic buildup of happiness and power. With
Faramir kneeling on one side of his chair and Boromir™ upon the other, he
imagined his life as it was to be henceforward: kingly, and royal, and holding
all of the Western lands beneath his mighty fist. And with these two mighty
virile men at either hand, eager to obey his every whim! Behind him the giant
six-foot smiling Rat lifted up the Mouse-ears, the symbols of Kingly Might in
Gondor™, and slowly, gently placed them upon Frodo's kingly and noble head.
        Frodo smiled beneficently upon the crowds, then glanced for a brief
moment at his twin vassals before looking up for the champagne - then did a
double-take as he saw the braziers full of red-hot coals. "Uh, what the hell are
these for?" he snapped, partly irritated and partly scared.
        "The rivets," Boromir™ replied. "To hold the Crown on your magnificent
head. Forever."
        Frodo opened his mouth to object, but just then there was a searing
burning sensation from his right temple! The first rivet was in! He began to
cry out when the Rat hit the rivet with a hammer, a ball-peen hammer which
reverberated in Frodo's skull! Before he could object the second and third
rivets were placed, and though he tried to scream the Rat smilingly went on
with its work, pounding, pounding, pounding, the mouse-ears welded to
Frodo's head, with no chance of escape...

Book IV, Chapter Six / Table of Contents / Book IV, Chapter Eight
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