A/N: Apologies for the long wait. My life kind of blew up for a while and I completely forgot about this. Things aren’t really back to normal (hey, when is life ever normal??), but I finally have the energy to bring LotS back to corrupt the Reading Room. (You poor folks. )
Frodo: Come on… (The sockbits are in the woods, in the rain; they cross to the Bree Gates, which are closed after dark, and knock on the door)
Gatekeeper: Whadda you want?
Frodo: *sniff* I’m, uh, I’m heading for the Hopping Horsey…
Gatekeeper: Woah. Sockbits. What are YOU doing in Bree???
Pippin: (still munching on that candy bar) Where’s the best restaranut??
(Merry pokes him)
Frodo: We wanna stay at the hotel. Our business is our own. OUR PRECIOUS! (Sam gives him a suspicious look)
Gatekeeper: All right, young sir, I meant no offense. (pats Frodo on the head) It’s my job to ask questions after nightfall. There’s talk of weird guys abroad. Can’t be too careful…
(The sockbits wander through the streets, encountering lots of ‘big people’ who say things like “Watch where you’re walking” and pat Frodo on the head, as well as a nefarious character, eating a carrot and burping, who is actually Mr. Hyphen in a cameo as Albert Dreary, Entertainer. They see the Sign of the Hopping Horsey and go inside)
Frodo: Excuse me…
Butterbur: Yo! Lemme sign you into the registry, Mr…. Uh, what’s your name?
Frodo: Um–Presley. My name’s Presley.
Butterbur: Presley? Dude! THAT ROCKS! Can I have your autograph?!
Frodo: If you give me a pencil… Anyway, we’re friends of Gandalf the Grey. Can you tell him we’ve arrived? And do you *sniff, sniff* do you have a pencil??
Butterbur: Gandalf? Gandalf? Oh yes, I remember–old guy, big grey beard, pointy hat! Not seen him for six months… Nope, sorry, no pencils either.
Sam: What do we do now?
Frodo: I NEED A PENCIL!!! (sobs hysterically)
Patrons: (lots of snatches of conversation, laughter, etc., including “Get out of my way!” to Merry, making his way back to the sockbits’ table)
Pippin: What’s that?!
Merry: This, my friend, is a caramel apple.
Pippin: They sell caramel apples?!
Merry: Mmm… (agreeing, while taking a large bite)
Pippin: Duuuude! I’m getting one!
Sam: You’ve had three bagels and a milkshake the size of Liechtenstein already!
(Pippin heads off to the concession stand to get himself a caramel apple)
Sam: (looks over at Frodo who is wailing “pencil, pencil” into his hot cocoa) That fellow’s done nothin’ but stare at you since we arrived.
Frodo: (to Butterbur, as he shows up conveniently) Excuse me? That random dude in the corner–who is he?
Butterbur: He’s one of them Power Rangers, dangerous folk they are, wanderin’ the wilds. What his right name is I’ve never ‘eard, but ’round here he’s known as ‘Strider’, or ‘That Other Guy’.
Sam: Power Rangers? I’ve seen them on the TV. They’re pretty cool.
(Frodo sort of zones out, fingering the Sock in his hands, hearing a voice saying: “Baggins… Baggins… Baggins… What did the apple say to the banana?”)
Pippin: Baggins? Sure I know a Baggins–he’s over there. Frody Baggins. He’s my fourteenth cousin thrice removed on his mother’s side, and my eighth-and-a-half cousin twice removed on his father’s side, if you follow me…
(Frodo is horrified and jumps up to rush over to the concession stand to get Pippin to shut up)
Frodo: PIPPIN, YOU FISH FLOP!
(Frodo crashes into Pippin. He falls to the floor and the Sock, which he was still holding in his hand, ‘accidentally’ falls onto his foot and he disappears!)
(Frodo is in the Wraith World and he sees the Eye.)
The Eye of Sockron: Peek-a-boo! I see you! You cannot hide! There is no life in the void; only DEEEAAATH! MWAHAHAHA!
(Frodo yanks the Sock off his foot and comes out of the wraith world with an “EERP!”
Strider: You draw far too much attention to yourself, Mr. “Presley”. Don’t EVER use Presley as an alias…
(Strider hustles Frodo upstairs and into the sockbit’s room)
Frodo: EEEEERP! What do you want? And do you have a pencil??
Strider: Why would I have a pencil?
A little more caution from you. That is no trinket you carry.
Frodo: I carry, um, nothing. Unless you want my comic books…
Strider: (skeptically) Uh-huh. I can avoid being seen if I wish, but disappear entirely, that’s definitely something you don’t see every day.
Frodo: (terrified) Who are you??
Strider: Are you frightened?
Frodo: Uh, yeah…
Strider: Not nearly frightened enough–I know what hunts you.
Frodo: Oh, gee, that’s comforting… *sniff*
(Sam, Merry and Pippin burst into the room, wielding bananas and a hair dryer)
Sam: Let ‘im go, or I’ll ‘ave you, Longshanks! (waves banana menacingly)
Strider: I don’t think that thing’s going to hurt anyone, Sam. You can’t wait for the wizard, Frodo–they’re (the ominous music starts up again) coming.