Frolijah – part 23
You ain’t nothin’ but a hobbit . . . acting all the time.
Recap: Frolijah is walking with the Fellowship while Alice is in Rivendell. Elijodo has just been called to the director’s office to find about some changes in the now-Russian script.
Disclaimer: Oh my, my, Mr. J.R.R. Guy,
Maybe dead and maybe buried and way up in the sky,
But you’re still famous, and we all know why
You wrote things before the day that you die-
D. Things that only I base my stuff off of. So thanks. Not mine. All of this is based off Tolkien.
So there I was, eating mushrooms. And what do you think happened? No really, what do you think happened? Oh, come on, you’re not going to make me tell you, are you? Guess. Pleeeeease?
My legs started moving.
I know, I know, it’s weird. You’ve probably *never* had your legs move.
That was sarcasm.
What I meant is that they moved . . . and I didn’t want them to. What possible reason could I have wanted them to? I was sitting, eating mushrooms, *surrounded* by mushrooms, and all of a sudden, my legs were like “hey, let’s go *this* way, *away* from the mushrooms.”
It was weird, let me tell you.
So I did what any normal person – hobbit-person – would do: I grabbed all the mushrooms I could with both hands as my legs were moving away, and stuffed them in my pockets. My legs paused long enough for me to get a lot.
I should have known that to be a bad sign.
I mean, aside from my legs apparently growing brains of their own, which is weird, because they don’t have heads.
Aside from my head.
Oh, I’m Alice, by the way. I know it’s been a while since I’ve last talked in the first person, but, see, a long time has passed. I’ve been in Rivendell for . . . well, a long time. I’m not sure how long. Time is weird here.
Have you noticed I’ve used the word `weird’ four times already? I’m sorry, I’m just so nervous. You see, not only did my legs *start* moving on their own, but they never stopped moving.
But let me start over and tell this in a more reasonable style.
I ran out of Rivendell as fast as my legs could carry me – literally. I felt as if I were being dragged along behind them.
I didn’t really feel scared, not yet. I mean, bizarre as it was, they were still my legs. And what do you think a Random Elf would do if I yelled at him for help because I couldn’t control my own legs?
Uh, huh. That’s what I thought. So instead, I yelled at my legs “Hey, stop it! This isn’t cool! This isn’t fun!”
The Random Elf gave me a Look anyway.
I just can’t win.
So I just kept running. Over the river and through the woods past Rivendell valley I went. Well, I thought it would make a good song. I’ve been thinking a lot of that sort of thing lately.
Did I ever tell you that aside from a plethora of mushrooms, the elves like really, really strong wine? I mean, I’m responsible, and of age. But it did rather mess up my perceptions.
Anyway, I just kept running. And running. For, like, four days. I would have totally died had it not been for all the mushrooms that I ate on the way, and the one time I tripped in a river, so I could get a drink. I literally learned to sleep on my feet. The army is right; it is a good life skill.
I just wish I hadn’t had to learn it; I swear a squirrel gave me a weird look.
But I did stop eventually running. And let me tell you, it was a peculiar sight that met me eyes.
My legs came to a stop all of a sudden. I was so surprised at it that I very nearly fell over; it was a shock to have control over my legs again, and I felt very weak. It also took me a moment to re-figure out how to use them.
Of course, the situation I saw was enough to make me weak in the knees anyway.
It was twilight, and amidst the brush sat eight companions: a dwarf, an elf, two men, and four hobbits. They all sat around a small flat stone, presumably used as a table, with cards set up all around. Each one of their faces bore an _expression of absolutely solemn silence, as they gazed at their ninth companion.
The ninth, the wizard Gandalf, as, of course, you all know, was not sitting, nor did he look solemn. No. He was singing.
The United States national anthem.
All four verses.
I don’t even want to know how he learned the song, especially not after the first verse. I mean, nobody in his right mind knows more than the first verse. But Gandalf, the great Mithrandir, had somehow learned all four. I know. I stood there in stunned silence and watched him.
But, see, I didn’t really hear the first verse. I came in at about the middle of it, but I listened to the first part all right as I was running. Only, when I first arrived, my eyes were too blinded by the bright crimson (maybe ’twas crimsun…) scarf he was wearing around his hat as he skipped around the table to really notice much else.
This was Frolijah’s doing. I knew it. I didn’t have to think about logical deduction, or the likelihood of anyone else knowing any American songs, or, for that matter, who else would set something like this up (except Merry and Pippin.)
Somehow, somehow in my heart of hearts, I just knew.
I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or chew Frolijah out. I was really too tired for either, so I just stepped out and said, loudly, just as Gandalf sat down at the table, “WHAT are you doing?”
Can we say “deer-in-the-headlights” look? Yes, I think we can. Gandalf had a wonderful impression of it. Sam exclaimed “Alice!” in a surprised voice, and the others rose from their feet.
All except Frolijah. “Talking,” he said simply, and passed
Sam an extra card.
Sam opened his mouth, looking like he was about to protest, but then shut it very firmly. Apparently, he wasn’t supposed to talk in this very bizarre game.
“Time out,” Frolijah said cooly, standing up with the others. “So, Alice, what are you doing here?” Seeing my staring look he added, sweeping his hand toward the table, “We were playing a game.”
“I can see that,” I snarled, more sharply than I meant. “I wasn’t born yesterday.”
He raised his eyebrows and grinned at me.
The others seemed to come unfrozen from their shocked stances, and I suddenly realized Legolas was behind me, pointing the tip of an arrow at my head, and Aragorn had drawn his sword. This didn’t look good.
“Alice,” Gandalf said, looking very stern indeed, and at all embarrassed that I had seen him skipping *and* singing. “What are you doing here?”
I shrunk back a little. There was an angry glint in Gandalf’s eye that I didn’t like. He was suspicious of me, I knew that. Well, I should have expected it, should I? I had thought that maybe my legs were running to meet up with the Fellowship over the last four days. (That was one of many theories I had in that stretch, including the one about the purple chocolate bunny of doom.)
But never once had I thought that maybe the Fellowship might think *I* was bad. Irresponsible, strange, and childish, maybe. But not *evil.*
I should have though. Suspicious times. But I was just so tired. I couldn’t think straight.
“I just wanted to see what game you were playing,” I told
Gandalf vaguely, wondering what I was saying. “Mao, isn’t it? That’s nice. I like your scarf. . . .”
Finally, my legs collapsed from under me, and I fell asleep.
“Wood, is it?” the director squinted over his tiny, circular glasses at Elijodo.
“Mmm,” Elijodo answered hesitantly. He was, he supposed, telling the truth and lying at the same time. He wasn’t sure which the right thing to do was, but noncommittal answers seemed to work well enough. The director – Elijodo read the plaque to see his name was Mr. Gingivitis – took his answer for a yes.
“As my assistant, Nero, I’m sure told you, there has been a slight miscalculation in casting. I’m sorry to inform you so late, but I’m afraid this is necessary.”
“I’m no longer in the movie?”
“You’re playing the lead. I know, I know,” Mr. Gingivitis waved his hand in dismissal as Elijodo opened his mouth to protest, “It’s a great honor. We start filming in three hours. They’re waiting for you in make up – you’ll need all that time for your costume as the Great gAhN. Remember – in that role, you’ll never have to brush your teeth. Ha, ha.”
Elijodo just stared. “Ha?”
Mr. Gingivitis shoved a script in Elijodo’s hand. It read, “Vous dupez, ce manuscrit est dans le Russe!” and was three inches thick.
“Oh, and I expect you to have that memorized. This is not a baby’s movie. We all do our part. Gwen!”
Elijodo stood stock-still as a woman rushed in from the back room, still applying very bright orange lipstick.
“Get him ready,” Gingivitis ordered. The woman clapped her hands together, and Elijodo noticed that her nails were the same color as her lips.
“Oh, he’s so cute!” she exclaimed. “Oh, Elijji, I’m you’re biggest fan!”
Elijodo couldn’t even find it in himself to smile as she led him away.
“So, ah, where are we going?” he at last forced himself to ask, trying to find a grip on reality.
“Oh, you know, to the makeup room,” she answered cheerfully, clapping her hands together again in a way that Elijodo found extremely annoying. “We’ve got to get you all made up! Three hours is a little tight for all the work we have to do – nothing but your eyes are going to show. They wanted to change the color of those, too, but I thought they
were just so pretty. Don’t you?”
Elijodo didn’t answer.
“Oh, and we’re doing most of your scenes by computer, with a voice synthesizer, but you’re going to be wonderful. I
assume you’ve already learned Russian?”
“äà?” Elijodo hazarded in reply. “Why do they need me, if everything I do is going to be changed on the . . . um, computer.” How did he know about computers? It was bizarre . . . like the author was putting knowledge into his
head, or something!
Gwen clapped her hands together again, and ignored Elijodo’s question, instead saying, “So you do know Russian. Wonderful! They said you could learn it quickly. I knew *anyone* with eyes like *yours* could, of course. But you never know. Oh! Here we are. Carlos, he’s all yours.”
Elijodo gave a helpless gulp, and followed Carlos stiffly into the next room. He was beyond all fear, anxiety and nervousness. All of that had been replaced by a cold, resigned dread. What were they going to do to him?
Carlos clapped his hands together much like Gwen had, and surveyed Elijodo. “Oh, no,” he said. “It’ll all have to go. It’ll all have to go.”
Author’s Note: Yes, it took forever for me to get around to writing, but here it is, and a little longer. I’m pushing through this thing, though slowly.
I think the Russian is “yes.” The French theoretically means, “You fool, this script is in Russian.”