News From Bree: Fitness Classes at Tom’s House
Those of you who love the movies and admire the masculine beauty of the main characters may not know that the astonishing good looks and hardbody ruggedness of these chaps is not all due to nature. No, like more ordinary mortals, Aragorn and Boromir and the rest have to work very, very hard at keeping fit.
So, how do they do it, with their busy schedules? After all, when you are on the Quest of the Ring, fighting off Cave Trolls and Balrogs, not to mention Orcs, it must be a tad difficult to squeeze in time for a workout. Well, this reporter has learned their secret!
Scattered along the road of the Quest, cunningly hidden behind trees or hills, or disguised as rocks (remember the campsite where they hid from the Crebain?), is a chain of Gyms, owned and operated by none other than Tom Bombadil! Known as Tom’s Fitness Towns, these temples of Sweat are full morning, noon, and night with the folk of Middle Earth. Here is where Aragorn agonizes over those abs, where Boromir builds his mighty biceps, where Frodo frets over his frail frame and tries to bulk up.
Speaking with Master Tom this very morning, in the Fitness Town near the Gates of Moria, I asked, “So, Tom. What led to this? What led to you opening this chain of Exercise Emporiums?”
Master Tom hemmed and hawed a little, but finally answered, “Well, I’m not one to hold a grudge, diddlely-udge, but I must admit it still rankles a bit, being left out of the movie. I sat me down by Mr. Willow one day, deep in thought, and the old Willow man gave me this idea, this dilly-down-dea. Tom, he says, there’s more than one way to skin a cat!” At this point Master Tom skipped about the room, dancing to a tune only he could hear.
(I have my own theory about Tom’s dancing, I believe that nutritional deficiencies can lead to nervous disorders and Tom appears to live only on bread and butter and honey–but that’s for another day.)
He skipped back to my side and sat down with a flourish of his hat. “More than one way to skin a cat! Fancy that! It came to me when I saw how wimpy that Frodo chap was, you see. Wimpy, limpy. Muscle, Tom, muscle. That’s what’s needed. One thing led to another, and I opened my first Fitness Town in Bree that very week. Why, right from the start, we had more business than we had ever dreamed of! Tom has his treadmills to mind, and Goldberry is waiting! She runs the ladies’ classes, you know. She wears a leotard that looks like silver-mail, a fishes tail, and steps in stepping classes!”
There was the bustle of an arrival and I glanced out into the Lobby and saw none other than Gimli Gloin’s son and Legolas Greenleaf come in. Each of these stalwarts was lugging a sports bag and had a water bottle slung about his neck. They were squabbling, jostling each other at the row of lockers. “Shove over, you jerk!” Legolas snarled. “Why do you have to take up so much room?”
“Shove over yourself, blondie! You might be taller, but I’m wider–I need room!” Gimli snapped in return. “Go look at yourself in the mirror or something, why don’t you?”
They tussled and bumped against each other, and carried on into the change rooms. Oh, how my imagination began to work overtime! The thought of these two disrobing, the expanses of masculine flesh–the rippling muscles–
Master Tom must have read my mind. “No,” he laughed. “The changing room you can’t go in, that would be an awful sin….but dilly but, tell you what, you can kit yourself out and join the class, if you like.”
I needed no second invitation. Within minutes I was changed into a pair of shorts and a tank top, a towel slung around my neck, a water bottle clasped in my sweating hand. Tom escorted me into the workout room. Oh, reader! There, attacking the Bowflex, was Legolas, his supple form encased in spandex, his blond locks dark with Elf sweat–I nearly fainted from the onslaught of scalding delight that swept through my palpitating body!
I was rudely brought back to earth by a peevish voice near my ear. “Here, you! Move along, sister, move along!”
I was astonished to be so addressed and by such a personage! A dwarf with a pink beard, wearing a T-shirt with the name Fili emblazoned on the chest–scowling at me! I could think of no suitably devastating reply, so I did as he bid, I moved along to where the treadmills were lined up along a bank of windows. I scarce knew what I did, dear reader, for on the treadmill next to mine was none other than Gimli, a sweatband around his forehead, togged out in satin boxer shorts with silver fringe and no shirt! Acres of masculine flesh made me dizzy, the proximity of those broad shoulders, those beefy biceps, those pumped pecs—-dear reader, I swooned…….
I woke to find myself lying across a pair of bare, manly legs, and a handsome face loomed over mine, a look of concerned annoyance or annoyed concern in his grey eyes. “She’s coming around,” he said, “help me get her up so she can get some air.”
Powerful arms grasped me and lifted me, arms that glistened with some fragrant oil and shone in the fluorescent overhead lights–the arms of Boromir the Bold. I allowed my face to rest for a brief, deliriously delicious moment against the chest of Denethor’s heir.
“Hey!” he sputtered. “None of that! I don’t want all that powder and lipstick all over my shirt!” He set me down rather roughly on a bench and stood back with his arms folded, frowning at me. “You and your healing hands, Strider! Should have left her there. She would have come around on her own soon enough.”
Strider, for it was he who had revived me, nodded and lay down on a weight bench and grasped the barbell with his kingly hands. He began his routine and I stared, transfixed. I made some pretence of doing some leg lifts, but I confess my entire being, all my womanly attention, was given to the sight of the Future King as he grunted and counted and strained to lift the weights. Such a mixture of feelings washed over me! Dear reader, I felt so blessed among mortals, to be near such royal exertions!
Boromir, meantime, had mounted the treadmill next to Gimli and began to run at a terrific rate, his manly countenance wearing an expression of abstracted concentration. Becoming warm, he pulled off his shirt while still running and again, oh, again I was nearly felled with sweet delight, such beauty in male form has seldom been my privilege to see!
Master Tom sidled up to me and suggested it was time for a “nutrition break”, as I looked to him to be a little flushed. Somewhat reluctantly I agreed and I followed his hopping form out of the workout room into the cafeteria. Galadriel and Arwen were lined up with the crowd at the counter, sliding trays along the rails, chatting amiably. They were wearing their workout gear, their long hair bound up with elastic bands, their shapely legs hidden under leg warmers, their narrow, aristocratic feet tied into Reeboks. They had healthy snacks on their trays, apples and skim milk, but I saw that Galadriel also had two bowls of chocolate pudding and knowing that chocolate is sometimes a substitute for Romance, I wondered if the rumours about Celeborn could be true……
I sat with Master Tom and nibbled on a whole-wheat cracker spread with fat-free butter and cheese. Flies buzzed around the dish of honey that stood with the salt and pepper in the center of the table. “Tom,” I said, “this has been a revelation to me, I must say.”
He grinned. “A revelation, bevelation? Tom is Master here! And you haven’t seen all, noddlelydoll. Eat your snack, and we’ll go back–for the Hobbits have arrived.”
Readers, dear readers, prepare yourselves. For I then was admitted into something very near to the Blessed Realm of female fantasy…..there, in the workout room, stripped nearly to Mother Nature’s costume, that is nearly Naked as New born Babes, were the Fantastic Four, wearing only wrestling jerseys, Merry and Pippin and Sam and, yes, yes, yes—Frodo! Bottles of oil lay about, their taut, rippling skins shone, they were still engaged in the anointing of each other’s bodies, preparatory to a Wrestling match on the Tag Team principle.
My knees trembled. I felt my breath shortening, waves of bliss swept through me. I sat on the nearest chair and fanned myself with a brochure that gave details of the Membership Offers in all Tom’s Fitness Towns. Sam squared off with Merry and they gripped each other and struggled and staggered about the ring, their dear faces twisted with effort. As they came to some conclusion (I was not able to keep track, dear readers, of any details!), Frodo and Pippin jumped in and began their friendly combat. They laughed and sang Hobbit songs as they wrestled, songs of Baths and Steamrooms, of mugs of Beer and dishes of Mushrooms.
I gazed in astonished bliss, scarcely able to decide where to rest my eyes. On Sam’s knees? On Pippin’s shoulders? On Merry’s ankles? On Frodo’s damp curls? Oh, just once to have the privilege of massaging those aching muscles……for a moment I allowed my fancy free reign, I saw myself as a Trained Professional Physiotherapist, with an office right here, right here at the Gates of Moria, right here in Tom’s Fitness Town—a franchise, perhaps…..but then I shook myself. Such a future could not be mine. I could not give up my Pen, could not give up the lifelong work of seeking out Stories, of bringing News from Bree……
Soon, too soon it was over. The Hobbits left the Wrestling ring for the changing room. Also gone were Boromir and Aragorn and Legolas and Gimli. Behind a closed door they were showering and toweling themselves, putting gel in their hair, patting Cologne on freshly shaved cheeks……soon they would emerge, invigorated, refreshed, their muscular frames singing with healthful exercise and surging appetites….
Master Tom guided me outdoors, a firm hand under my elbow. There was a seat in the shade of a tree, at least I thought it was a tree, but peculiar eyes peered out at me and I realized it was an Ent. A lovely, cooling breeze fanned my fevered brow. The sweet air refreshed my exhausted being, and I was soon able to bring my attention to bear on the events surrounding me.
Two tall, bearded fellows, dressed for biking, were fastening chain locks on the wheels of two Mountain bikes. As they approached, I saw it was Gandalf and Saruman, and I was struck with wonder that such seemingly aged Wizards looked so buff in their spandex gear. They were arguing in a friendly manner and ignored me. I was content to be overlooked just then. My entire existence had been thrust under a waterfall of feeling, and I was just a little worn out with all the excitement. I wished for one foolish moment that I had not long ago quit smoking cigarettes made from Pipeweed, it would have seemed like a fitting denouement to the afternoon, to have enjoyed a smoke under the spreading boughs of a friendly Ent.