Frolijah — Part 17
A nitch in time
Can’t save Alice from a bad rhyme.
What, don’t you recognize the cliché?
I use it every day!
Tolkien owns it all
And that’s just fine with me
‘Cause he wrote it all,
I’m just usin’ it, ya see.
Recap: Alice is a movie wraith. Kind of. Sort of. Maybe. Ick — sentence fragments. Anyway, she’s following Frolijah (with just a few practical jokes) while her elder sister, Lea, wants to take Elijodo out to see the world.
“Let’s do the Time Warp Agaaaain!” (1) I sang loudly while gliding along. “Let’s make up impossible words Agaaaaain! Twist the song, twist the tune, each a white Rigadoon!!” Frodo – I mean Frolijah – didn’t seem to notice my singing. The others did – they heard an eerie cry that made their hearts shiver in pain. Don’t ask me how hearts shiver. I think it has something to do with quantum.
The “eerie cry” was, of course, my singing. Eerie: creepy, uncanny, weird, ghostly, supernatural. There are lots of words for a sound that I was making . . . but I think `eerie’ was the best. Or not. Whatever. (What’s up w/ all the sentence fragment?) Of course, shockingly excruciating and pointless might have covered the description just as well, but it doesn’t have the same Poe-ish ring to it.
And travelers now within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows, see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a rapid ghastly river,
Through the pale door;
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh — but smile no more.(2)
So that passage doesn’t actually mention the word “eerie.” I haven’t memorized that much of Edgar Allan Poe, and being somewhere over the rainbow, who-knows-where (well, beside everyone reading this story, and me) wasn’t exactly helping either my memory or my poetry-reciting skills.
But it did help my “eerie” singin’: “One-eyed, one-horned, flying Purple People Eater!” (3)
Wait, am I getting off subject? (yes.) Bleh, better start over and actually tell the story this time. Sorry about that, ladies and gents.
Anyhoo, for a time I was walkin’ down the . . . path . . . just havin’ some fun, annoying Frolijah as much as anyone! And what do you think happened? (Besides me realizing that I was gliding, not walking, that is.) Hold it — why is time in italics? Ah! It did it again! Stop saying time!!! Aaaah!!!!
Oh. So that why time was in italics. (You can stop it with the [ I ] [ / I ] button now!)
Time stayed stopped. What, don’t you remember? I’m sure there’s some kind of meaning for it — circular and math related, probably.
I failed my math class. I wonder why.
Tick . . . tock . . . tick . . . toc— * and lo! Time dug its cleats into the ground and stopped short as it was! And I knew then that `lo’ is a really stupid word in this case!
“Hey, what the heck is going on?” I yelled. “Hey, Valar thingy, what are you doing?”
**Please excuse the time stop. We are experiencing technical difficulties.**
“What do you mean technical difficulties? You can’t have technical difficulties in the middle of a story!”
“What’s going on?”
**Writer’s Block finished. Please continue as if nothing had happened and you had not experienced this. Oh, and by the way? I don’t exist.**
**Ending Time Stop Now**
—k . . . tick . . . tock . . .
“Okay,” I muttered to myself. “Don’t try and tell me that wasn’t weird; it was. And how can time just stop in mid-tick? Or, at least, in mid-tock as the case was. And where in Middle-earth did they get a universal air-watch?”
I stopped walking — uh, gliding — along and sat down suddenly — a un-wraithlike move. “I want to know what’s going on now! And why the higher power (no, not you, author-girl) all hate me! What’s with the charade? I mean really?”
The dirt I was sitting on didn’t decide to answer me. Maybe I was sitting on its mouth. So thinking this, I got up, and started pounding it. “I’m serious you blinking ground-thingy! What in Middle-earth is going on?”
Aragorn turned slowly around and looked straight at me from his position some fifteen yards ahead. Oops. Drawing two knives from hidden sheaths, he started to head toward me.
It was impossible! I mean, I suppose a ranger has got to have pretty good hearing, but it was like he could see me! For all I knew, he could. I was blind . . . but I think wraiths have echolocation or something, because inability to see certainly wasn’t hindering me anymore. One got used to things like that.
So I could here him draw out his knives: the shudder of the breeze against cold metal, and stench of a lingering rust even the Ranger could not completely eradicate.
It was the smell of death. Dang it.
I started to run, and, silent and invisible though I was, even my super-wraithness could not avoid tripping over a rock and slamming into Bill the Pony, who, it turned out, could see me.
“Frodo!” I screamed. “Frodo! Frolijah! It’s me, Alice! Remember?” Frolijah looked up wearily, and I could have sworn he saw me, if only for an instant. I could certainly see him — a pale outline against the nothingness of blindness. “Frodo!”
Then all of a sudden, Frolijah seemed confused again, almost hazy and unable to concentrate. I could hear him talking to Aragorn: “What’s wrong?”
“One last Rider is following us more closely than I thought,” Strider said. “I heard its cry.”
“That’s not one of the Riders,” Frolijah answered. “She’s a hobbit — Alice!”
“Your friend is dead,” Strider answered. “She died on Weathertop.”
“No, she didn’t,” Frolijah answered, looking a little shaken. “She is following us — who else would have such a bad sense of humour?”
Hey, I resent that!
“Mr. Frodo –” Sam began, as if to tell him gently that I was dead. But Pippin got there first.
“Frodo: she’s dead.” Heh, so much for tact.
“No, I’m not,” I said, waving a hand in Pippin’s face strongly enough to get a breeze going. I think Pippin both heard and understood me, and he probably paled (if I could see). After all, a low, hissing voice contradicting you is usually pretty easy to understand. “I’m not dead,” I repeated. “I’m quantum.”
“See,” Frolijah said, sitting up and looking rather healthier than he had any right to. “I told you she has a bad sense of humour.”
To their credit, not one of them fainted. Darn.
**Erp, not again.**
Frolijah looked up at me suddenly, and started gasping for breath. He seemed to be blacking out . . . and a minute later lay on the ground.
Strider very nearly jumped to see Frolijah suddenly not on Bill the Pony any more. To him it had seemed as if Frolijah had just appeared there. But I knew better: Frolijah hadn’t only experienced the time jumping as I had, he had caused it.
Every tick of the clock was based on his heart beat, ever part of Middle-earth hooked to him. If Frolijah died, so would Middle-earth.
I’m not sure how I knew that, I just did. It was a quantum thing . . . I was living in a Frolijahrun!Middle-earth.
I never wanted to come here . . . I had been content. Now, I wanted to leave. I wanted it even more than I wanted . . .
Elijodo, having successfully survived another ride with Lea (he was a very lucky hobbit) arrived at the famous McDonalds Lea kept jabbering about, and sat at a table across from her, breathing in the greasy fumes of her hamburger. A rather unpleasant headache descended on poor Elijodo, something he had desperately wished he hadn’t told Lea, who had immediately gotten up to give him more greasy food to ingest (it did give him a chance to throw away his burger, though. He was usually polite to the extreme . . . but still did not wish to be poisoned.)
“May I have the spoon, please?” Elijodo asked. He had noticed that the food-tenders in that place had given Lea utensils when she bought the poison — ah, food! I mean food! — from them.
Nodding, Lea searched through her paper bag, pulling out napkins (rather cheap ones, Elijodo noticed) and forks, before finally saying “Sorry — there is no spoon.”
Elijodo accepted this predicament of doom quite calmly, and began to pretend to eat the soup politely as Lea told him something rather unexpected.
“I had forgotten,” she murmured, looking extremely uncomfortable at the ‘I see all’ look Elijodo was giving her. “Something reminded me just a few minutes ago . . . I’m sorry, but I’ll have to leave you alone tonight.”
“That is fine with me,” Elijodo answered in surprise. “I have lived many years of my life unaided without difficulty. Though I wish to ask: what is it that draws you away so suddenly?”
“I . . .” Lea stuttered, looking rather embarrassed. It didn’t seem quite right to be telling these things to a young man who looked at her as if he were much older and wiser than his body would suggest. In addition, the way several other girls were looking at him and giggling, she had a feeling that, if they didn’t get out of there quickly, there would be a new tabloid out soon — about Elijah Wood. “I have a date.”
“With Dr. Wilson.”
“You know, like the volleyball.”
“Feeling especially verbal today, are we Mr. Baggins?” Lea asked, not bothering to suppress her laugh.
“I’m afraid I do not understand — no, I do. “Frodo said this with a look of shock and sudden recognition upon his — or E. Wood’s — face. “I do not know how, but suddenly a memory comes to my mind. It is of a movie! There is a strange ball with blood on its face. Is this the Wilson you wish to . . . ah . . . go out with?”
Not bothering to wonder how Elijodo knew the colloquial expression he had so rapidly picked up, Lea nodded. “Yeah,” she said. “So, basically, you’re on your own.”
Elijodo accepted this graciously, and excused himself to the car. It was better than eating the strange soup Lea had given him.
The other girls in McDonalds gave a little sad sigh. None of them had had the courage to ask his autograph!
At this point, several things might be thought of the true Mr. Baggins all the way in New York, with barely a notion of the world around him. But I say that he was one of the bravest hobbits in existence . . . and certainly not one ready to take an unfortunate fate as it was, and not bother to change it. So it was that when Lea left, Elijodo made his way out of the relative safety of the real world, and cruised the internet until he had found what he had been looking for.
Frodo Baggins would find a way home. The Shire needed him.
1. “Time Warp” The Rocky Horror Picture Show
2. Edgar Allan Poe: last stanza of “The Haunted Palace”
3. “One-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater”
Author’s questions: is Frolijah loosing interest? Do you have any ideas for me? If so, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org