Veggie Burgers At Half Price! - An Instructive True Tale by Banui Rochon
One Saturday afternoon, when it was so hot that bricks were melting, Jo and her cousin Andi were sitting in their grandmother's living room with nothing to do.
"I'm dying," Jo moaned.
"I'm bored," Andi said.
"Let's go to Rivendell!"
And off they went.
It was far less stifling in Rivendell. They said hello to Legolas, (who happened to drop by) and spent a long, long time pampering Asfaloth in the stables. However, the time finally came when they had to admit--they were still bored.
"Let's go to Capri!" Andi suggested when they began to talk about how to combat the immanent boredness.
"Capri? Why Capri?" queried Jo. "Isn't that where they make those pants?"
"They're not pants, they're capris," said Andi.
"They're a kind of pants," replied Jo.
"Well, whatever. That's the only logical place for capris to be made. We could go shopping."
"Wouldn't the Gap of Rohan do just as well?" said Jo. "It's closer. And did you know that capri means "goat" in Italian? What kind of a person wears goat-pants?"
Their dilemma still unsolved, the girls sat down to think.
"I wonder," said Jo.
"Wonder what?" asked Andi.
"Well, I was wondering what might happen if someone put on the Ring and the Sock at the same time," replied Jo.
"That's a good question," said Andi.
"We could...experiment," said Jo, with an evil gleam starting in her eyes. They looked at each other, the evil gleam growing.
Elrond refused to take part in the experiment. So did the other inhabitants of Rivendell. Elves, after all, are far too wise to and far too foresighted to ever try such a thing. It was quite unfortunate that the girls had not the least amount of foresight, or they might have avoided the terrible events to come.
"So much for our experiment," Andi said disconsolately.
"Not quite," said Jo, looking on the bright side. "We could try somewhere else." So, grabbing their backpacks, they were off to find an, um, volunteer.
They were met with refusals everywhere they asked. From Jean Grey to Jenner Dabarrah to Snow White to Bill Gates, their offer was turned down. No one wanted to participate.
The day was getting late. Elrond was expecting them for dinner. Almost ready to give up hope of ever finding out what would happen if one was to wear both the Ring and the Sock at the same time, they stumbled into an eighteenth century blacksmith's, looking for a payphone to call Elrond.
"Great," said Andi. "I don't think I've ever seen a shilling in my life."
"Me neither," said Jo, inspecting the phone.
"Maybe someone here has a phone we could use," suggested Andi, completely forgetting the marketing behind the payphones in the first place.
"Can't knock it till we try it, can we?" replied Jo. They trooped over to the front of the store thingy, where a young man by the name of Will Turner was busy constructing a metal violin.
"Hey!" yelped Jo. "You can't make metal violins! They sound awful!"
"Well, the Narrator said..." Will protested.
"Okay, never mind. Do you have a cell phone we could borrow?" Upon receiving the answer "no", Jo sighed. Just then, Andi walked up, wielding a pen and notepad.
"Hello, sir!" she said cheerily, looking at Will. "Would you mind participating in an, um, medical experiment?"
"What sort of experiment?" Will asked, immediately suspicious.
"We'll pay you--" Andi said.
"In chocolate," Jo finished.
Will's face lit up. "Chocolate? Really??" He put the metal violin away.
"Right this way," Jo said. "Wait. Where is the Sock, by the way?"
"I think it's in my bedroom."
"The SOCK?! The One Sock of POWER?!" Jo shrieked.
"Let's just go pick it up," Andi said wearily. So off to Pennsylvania it was.
Andi opened the door and ushered Jo and Will into the house.
"AAAH! What is THAT?!" Will shouted, pointing.
"That's a refrigerator," Jo replied while Andi went to rummage through her room.
"AAAH! What is THAT?!"
"That's a television set." Jo switched it off. Why are they playing FotR? she thought.
"AAAH! What is THAT?!"
"That's a cat, Will." Jo peered closer at the lump on the couch. "Or...I think it's a cat..." Jo looked at Andi, returning with a bright red sock in one hand, for help.
"I'm not sure," said Andi. "It might be a cat."
"This place is weird," muttered Will.
"Let's do the stupid experiment already!" Andi shouted. She removed a small gold ring from her jeans pocket and handed it to Will. "Okay, you put this on--" she handed him the Sock as she spoke, "--and this, too. And tell us what happens." She poised her pen over her notepad. Will inspected the objects for a moment, then slipped them on and vanished.
At first, the Sock and the Ring seemed to be battling for mastery. Will blinked on and off for a couple seconds, then continued being invisible. His presence was made evident by the lamp that toppled of its own accord.
After a moment, he reappeared, clutching the Sock and the Ring.
"How'd it go?" asked Jo.
"I feel sick," said Will.
"Here, let me have those," Andi said, reaching for the Sock and the Ring.
"NO!" shouted Will. "THEY'RE MINE!"
"Oops," said Andi. She grabbed them from him. "Get a hold on yourself." She stuffed the Ring and the Sock back into her jeans pocket.
Two days later, reports of power going out across the country flashed over the headlines.
"Do you suppose we had anything to do with that?" Jo asked Andi.
"Maybe. I don't know."
Jo's youth pastor turned into a super-villain the same week.
"Do you think we might have messed up the universe?" Jo asked.
"Maybe. I don't know. Hey, by the way, I think the universe is combusting."
Jo stared at Andi. "WHAT?"
"Oh my goodness, we must have done something really bad!!" yelled Andi, beginning to panic. She felt in her pocket for the Ring and the Sock. Still there. She ran around the living room, panicking. Jo regarded her solemnly for a moment, then joined her.
While they were running around the room panicking, the phone rang. Andi stopped panicking momentarily and answered it. It was Elrond. He was calling to let them know that Legolas was missing, and did they know where he was?
"There's this other guy here," he said. "He looks a lot like him, but not really."
Jo and Andi looked at each other.
"And he's terrified of Frodo's Ring."
"It's not Frodo's Ring," said Jo.
"He said it's painful."
"Oi," said Andi.
Five minutes later, they were back in Rivendell. Elrond looked dreadfully worried.
"The universe is awfully messed up," he said. "It's December, and it should be cold. But it's not. It's about hot enough to melt bricks."
"Hmm, that's funny," said Jo. "Hello, Will. What on earth are you doing here?"
"Are we on earth?" asked Andi.
"That's what I called about!" said Elrond. "He showed up in place of Legolas the other day. About the same time it began to get so hot. And we saw someone in a dark cloak flying around wreaking havoc, too."
"Oh, dear," said Jo. "Then, if Will's here, Legolas must be..." She thought a moment. "On the Black Pearl?"
"AAAAAAH!" shrieked Andi.
"The where?" asked Elrond.
"Who's Legolas?" asked Will.
"Do we have to save him?" asked Jo.
"YES!" yelled Andi.
"Yes," said Elrond.
"I don't know who he is," said Will.
Not long afterwards, the three of them (Jo, Andi, and Will) were trooping along down a narrow dirt road.
"We have to get you back into your respective universes," Andi was explaining to Will.
"Was that really a cat?" Jo asked absentmindedly. "And you know, we do have a slight quandary."
"What's that?" asked Andi.
"Well," said Jo, "how are we supposed to do that? How do we even get into another universe?"
"It's another time, really," said Andi.
"All right. But how do we do it?" asked Jo.
"We should contact H. G. Wells," said Andi.
"Who's he?" asked Will.
They stopped in a McDonalds to eat and puzzle over their predicament.
Sam: WAIT! Since when are there McDonaldses in Rivendell??
Banui: I don't know. I'm just the narrator!
Sam: But it doesn't make any sense!
Banui: It's not SUPPOSED to make sense!
Merry: I bet it makes dollars.
Banui: WHY are all you hobbits here, anyway? Go away and let me finish narrating!
They stopped in a McDonalds to eat and puzzle over their predicament.
"I think H. G. Wells is dead," said Jo.
"We could ask my mother," said Andi.
"Hey, Mom!" Andi said several minutes later, back in her kitchen. For whatever reason, her mother took no notice of the two figures behind her. "How do we contact H. G. Wells??"
"He's dead, dear," said her mother.
"Well, what about Michael J. Fox or Christopher Lloyd?"
"I don't know," said her mother.
"A lot of help that was," Andi complained to Will and Jo as they walked out of the kitchen and back down the dirt road.
"I guess we'll just have to find a time machine," said Jo.
"Where do we find one?" asked Andi.
And suddenly, there before them swung a time machine. It was teal and circular, shaped somewhat like a CD. It hung from a tree, blinking all sorts of lights at them.
"Well! Problem's solved!" cried Jo, hopping over to inspect the time machine, Will and Andi close behind.
"It looks okay," said Andi.
"We don't have much time to waste," said Jo, looking up at the sky.
"I think that tree is on fire," said Will. "And was that really a cat??"
"Let's go," said Jo. They piled on top of the time machine. It was a tight fit. Andi punched in the destination and they swung dizzyingly back and forth, round and round. Suddenly a fork of lightening hit them. The time machine swung crazily and they all flew off and landed on the ground.
"Where are we?" asked Will.
"I don't think this is the right place," said Jo.
"Me neither," said Andi.
"Look, there's a flag!" said Jo, pointing.
"It has pants on it," said Will.
"CAPRI!!" Jo and Andi yelled, grabbing Will and yanking him back to the time machine.
"What's wrong with Capri??" Will asked as they all smooshed back into the time machine.
"I have no idea," said Jo.
"Ask the Narrator," said Andi. "Or whoever is writing this crazy thing."
"I don't see why we can't go shopping," said Jo. Suddenly a small figure collided with the time machine--
Banui: FRODO! You're not in this!
Frodo: I'm sorry...
Banui: What are you doing?? You could seriously affect the outcome of the story by smacking into the time machine like that!
Frodo: I was compelled. I bet it's a plot twist.
Banui: Okay, fine.
Suddenly a small figure collided with the time machine. Everyone spilled out onto the ground again.
"Great!" yelled Jo. "We're being sabotaged!"
Frodo began to wail. "I CAN'T FIND MY SOCK!"
"It's miiine..." Will said.
"Snap out of it," Andi replied. "Sorry, Frody. We don't know where it is right now."
"We're not dragging him around with us, are we?" Jo asked.
"No," said Andi. "Hey Frodo, have you ever been to Brazil?"
"No," sniffed Frodo. "Is it nice there?"
"I guess so," said Andi. So off Frodo went, landing comfortably in Brazil.
"Now, on with our quest," said Jo. Once again, they piled into the time machine. And when it finished its dizzying spin, they found themselves in the middle of the ocean.
"I guess this is it," Jo said. "Where's the Black Pearl?"
"We're in a little rowboat," complained Andi.
"Hey, Will, where's the Black Pearl?" asked Jo.
"I don't know!" said Will. "I haven't even gotten to that part yet."
"Oh dear," said Jo.
"There's a ship," said Andi.
"That's not the Black Pearl, dear," said Jo.
"What is it, then?" asked Andi.
"That's Merry and Pippin's boat, the Apple. Look at the sails." Jo pointed at the sails, which were purple and covered with an apple print.
"Oh," said Andi.
"There's a hole in this rowboat," said Will.
They all panicked for a second, until another ship came into view.
"Maybe that's it," said Andi, looking at the black sails.
"Maybe," said Jo. Just then, the ship turned. On the other side of the black sails was printed a bright red heart, outlined in white.
"What's that??" asked Will.
"It's called THE LACY HEART," said Jo, pointing at the side of the ship. "That's an awfully funny name for a pirate ship."
"I agree," said Andi.
They floated around for a good long time, the water beginning to seep into the boat from the hole Will had discovered on the bottom.
"Look!" Andi shouted suddenly. "There it is!"
"How do you know that's the Black Pearl??" asked Jo.
"Good question," said Will.
"BECAUSE," yelled Andi, "THERE'S A BIG SIGN POINTING AT IT STATING SO IN LARGE BLACK LETTERS!!"
"Oh," said Jo and Will together. "That's convenient."
In moments, they were aboard the ship.
Sam: WHAT? That still doesn't make sense! How come the pirates weren't watching??
Merry: Yeah! They should have all been killed in seconds! That's impossible!
Banui: Sheesh! You hobbits are so skeptical! Now stop interrupting or you'll never find out what happens!
In moments, they were aboard the ship.
"Where's Legolas?" asked Andi.
"Padlocked to those two trees," said Jo.
"WHAT?? Why are there trees growing out of a ship??" asked Will.
"I know. That doesn't make any sense," said Jo.
"I don't know why," said Andi. "They're just there."
"That's terribly random," said Jo.
"What's the combination?" asked Andi.
"I don't know," said Jo.
"Is that a bee?" asked Will.
"There's hundreds of 'em," said Andi.
"They're undead bees," said Jo.
"How do you know?" asked Andi and Will together.
"BECAUSE THE SIGN SAYS SO!" said Jo.
"Oh," they replied.
"Question," said Will. "How do we get this...uh...Legolas...person--"
"Elf," corrected Andi.
"How do we get him unpadlocked and off the ship without anyone seeing us??" asked Will.
"You go distract them," said Jo.
"What??" said Will.
"Yup," said Jo, and she shoved him into the middle of the ship.
"Um...hi," said Will to the pirates. "You all look...nice." He tapped a microphone that showed up out of virtually nowhere. "Uh, is this thing on??" And there began Will Turner's thirty minute stint as a stand-up comedian.
Meanwhile, Jo and Andi were trying to figure out a way to free Legolas, who was, fortunately, unconscious.
"We could get something really, really heavy and whack the padlock with it until it breaks," suggested Jo.
"No way!" protested Andi. "I don't think Legolas would appreciate us banging a rock at his head!"
"True," said Jo, frowning in thought. "Well, if we only knew the combination..."
"Yeah," said Andi. "It's not written down here anywhere."
"If I were keeping someone prisoner," said Jo, "I wouldn't write down the combination where he could see it."
"Good point," said Andi. "So how do we figure out the combination lock?"
"Simple," said Jo. "Ask Captain Barbossa."
"What??" said Andi.
"So then the pink hippo said to the blue hippo, 'I'm pinker than you are!'" trailed in Will's voice from the deck.
"Oi," said Jo. "Let's get out of here quick."
"No, look," said Andi. "They actually think it's funny. They're about falling out of their seats, they're laughing so hard."
"They need help," was Jo's only comment.
"This story needs help," said Andi.
"Okay. Well, I'm going to ask Captain Barbossa the combination. Coming with me?"
"Uh...okay. You might need...backup," Andi replied. Leaving Legolas padlocked to the trees, they dodged the undead bees and headed onto the deck.
"Then, the store was out of birthday candles, so..." Will continued.
"Excuse me," Jo said. "Mr. Captain, sir? Yes, you. Um, what's the combination for the padlock over there?"
"6-14," said Captain Barbossa absentmindedly. Then, as the girls hurried away--"WAIT A SECOND! Who was I just talking to??"
"ACK!" yelped Andi. "THAT'S MY BIRTHDAY! HOW DID THEY KNOW MY BIRTHDAY?!"
"It's probably only a very odd coincidence," said Jo. She turned the padlock and the chains all crumpled to the ground, whacking Legolas in the nose and waking him up.
"Where am I??" he moaned.
"You're, uh, dreaming," said Andi.
"...And so, that's why most keyboards are grayish." Riotous laughter.
"Okay, yes, I'm dreaming," Legolas moaned. "No one tells jokes that bad in the real world..." Andi and Jo lifted him up and dragged him back towards the time machine.
"Wait a second," Andi said as they climbed in with a still-bewildered Legolas. "Are we just going to leave Will there?"
"It's his movie," Jo said. "He's supposed to be there."
"Not at that part, not exactly, yet..." said Andi.
"Oh, well," said Jo. "We don't have much time to waste, anyway." Starting up the time machine, they spun back into Rivendell.
Things went better after that. The universe finally stopped combusting, and Jo was almost certain her youth pastor was no longer a super-villain. (Almost.) The weather returned to normal in Rivendell, and Legolas sent them an email telling them that he hadn't been having any odd dreams lately. The power came back in all the states, and miraculously, Jo's AOL stopped kicking her off.
There was one slight problem, the girls found out, when they became once again bored and went to the theater to see Pirates of the Caribbean for the second time. It was an awful lot shorter, and everyone sort of randomly died or just vanished. (The pirates all died laughing.) And those jokes still weren't funny.
And no one ever found out if it were really a cat or not.