Bagenders – A Bus in the Park

Season 1, Episode 11

By Lady Alyssa and Random Dent

Disclaimer: JRR Tolkien owns the Fellowship. Debt to ‘Father Ted’ in the characterisation of Gandalf. General situation debt to the ‘Young Ones’.

Rating: R (comedic violence; flatmate strife; Language; gratuitous psychiatrists.)

Story notes: Much of this takes place in an NHS hospital, which the authors try to avoid for obvious reasons. Much of it couldn’t happen for real, but if we’ve got something glaringly wrong that can be corrected without killing the comedy tell us and we’ll change it.

“Drink!”

“No, Gandalf, that’s bleach.”

“Drink?”

“Liquid air freshener.”

“Drink?”

“Washing powder, I’m trying to do the washing up, go watch some of your videos, that’ll take your mind off it.”

Gandalf went back to the sitting room. He didn’t want videos, he wasn’t in the mood for videos, he just wanted a drink. He looked behind the TV, one of the places he knew Aragorn sometimes hid alcohol. There was a half-empty bottle of cherry brandy, which Gandalf sniffed, sipped tentatively, and then poured into Aragorn’s ass groove on the sofa. He could try asking Frodo again, but he’d only try to settle him down in his chair with something constructive, or at least non-destructive, to do until someone else came home. There was nothing for it, he was going to have to go to the shops, but first he needed money and there was only one port of call for this – the sofa.

Having acquired enough money (for vadko anyway, so approximately ’1.15) Gandalf set off, leaving the front door wide open. Half an hour later Frodo, disturbed by the lack of mumbling, came to check on Gandalf, but reasoned that he would find his own way home eventually and shut the door.

Gandalf eventually made his way to the park, bottle of vadko in hand. He found a bench offering him a good view of the young mothers pushing their children on the swings and adopted the usual mode of ‘dirty old man in park’. That was until the vadko began to take effect.

“Balrogs, everywhere. They’re watching me. Some of them have even got wings!”

The sparrow was a little disturbed by this accusation and flew off to find someone else to scrounge food from.

*****

“Hello, 696969.”

Frodo had been meaning to have a word with the phone company for a while about this. When everyone else in their street had had their area code changed, they’d mysteriously got a letter telling them the whole number was changing. He had a feeling that Merry and Pippin, possibly in league with Gandalf, had something to do with this.

“Hello, is that Mr Baggins?”

“Yes, it is.”

“I’m calling from the Accident and Emergency department, there’s been a gentleman come in and he had a sort of collar round his neck saying that if anything should happen we should contact a Mr Baggins at this number…?”

“Oh dear, has Gandalf been in an accident?”

“Yes, it’s probably best if you come in.”

“Yes, I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

*****

“I’m afraid, Mr Baggins, but we did everything we could, but Mr Grey didn’t make it.”

“Oh.” Said Frodo very quietly.

“I know this is hard for you, but did Mr Grey have any suicidal tendencies?”

“No, why?”

“Because one of the eyewitnesses said that they saw him leap in front of a speeding double-decker.”

“Oh.”

“Apparently he was waving a branch around and shouting something like ‘you cannot pass, I am a servant of the secret fire’ and then something about a dark flame, but that finished rather abruptly.”

“The bus?”

“Yes, I’m so sorry. Does any of that mean anything to you?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“What exactly does it mean?”

Frodo had a sudden realisation that any attempt to explain the balrog incident would just get him committed again, so he gave an explanation as close to the truth as he dared. “He’s probably been drinking something. He quite often gets a bit like that when he’s been drinking.”

The doctor nodded understandingly. “Were you very close to your Grandfather?”

“No, not really.” This was roughly true, as no one ever really wanted to stand too close to Gandalf.

“Oh.” The Doctor looked slightly confused. “Are there any other family members you’d like us to contact for you?”

“Yes, here.” Frodo pulled out his emergency ‘I’ve gone completely barking’ personal information sheet with all of the Fellowship’s work numbers on it and handed it over.

“Would you like to talk to someone about this?”

“No, it’ll be fine, he’ll snap out of it soon. He’s just doing it to annoy me.”

The doctor looked at the contacts sheet again. It also listed a strong enough cocktail of anti-psychotic drugs to knock out a small elephant and the number of a community psychiatric nurse. He should probably phone her first.

*****

“Hey, Phil, you’ve got all of Julie’s patients from the first half of the alphabet while she’s away in Torremelinos, haven’t you?”

“Yeah, that’s me.”

“A and E have got a Frodo Baggins and they want someone to go down there and have a chat.”

“Ah. I think the actual phrase I used when I agreed to this was ‘I’ll take all of Julie’s patients in the first half of the alphabet, EXCEPT Frodo Baggins, because I’m only five years away from retirement.”

“Well someone’s got to go see him.”

“Send one of the psychiatrists, because not even the offer of a night out with Diana Rigg’ll get me to see him.”

*****

“Dr Brown, can you do a psychiatric consult on one of the patients in A and E?”

Dr Brown guiltily swept his ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ action figures into his desk and tried to look professional. “Yeah, what’s the name, have you got a history?”

“It’s Frodo Baggins and the history…”

“If it’s Frodo Baggins I know the history and the answer has suddenly changed to no. I can’t do a consultation. Ask one of the consultants, they?re paid more than I am.”

“Look, someone’s got to seem him. All the psychiatric nurses said that too.”

“There’s a good reason for that and I think I speak for all my staff-grade colleagues when I say ‘No way, Jose’.”

“Funny, but that’s almost exactly what all the nurses said.”

*****

“Can you do a consultation on a patient in A and E, Dr Shaw?”

“What’s so important it needs a consultant?”

“It’s, um, Frodo Baggins.”

“No, no and no.”

“But no-one else will go…”

“I consider it one of the privileges of being a consultant that there are other people who I can tell to go and deal with Frodo Baggins.”

“What am I supposed do? Tell A and E that the whole department’s too scared to see this patient?”

“You could go yourself.”

“I’m a secretary, I don’t have any medical training.”

“This is Frodo Baggins, no one would notice.”

“I think that’s an unethical statement, so I’ll pretend I didn’t hear it.”

“I know! We’ll reclassify the problem. I don’t think Mr Baggins needs a psychiatrist, he needs a psychologist.”

Five minutes later the secretary came back. “Everyone in psychology’s gone to a conference in Birmingham for the day.”

“Who told you this?”

“Their secretary.”

The consultant walked to his window and looked out across the courtyard. His office was on the third floor on the opposite side from the psychology department, who had their offices on the second floor. “Ah yes, the type of conference which is held behind a filing cabinet in their office with everyone drinking coffee nervously and biting their nails.”

“It would appear so. I’ve never seen an entire department, no, two entire departments, hide from a patient before.”

“You’re new here aren’t you?”

“Used to work in London.”

“Ah, so you haven’t heard about Mr Baggins yet?”

“No, but I get the feeling I’m going to. This doesn’t solve the problem though, someone has to go see him.”

“I could threaten to sack one of the staff-grades of they won’t see to it…”

“That would probably be even more unethical than sending me.”

“Alright then, find everyone you can with psychiatric training and tell them to be in my office in ten minutes. Oh, and find some straws, we’re going to do this the old fashioned way.”

*****

Due to the entire Psychiatry department attempting to hide under the sink in the disabled toilet claiming that they were all gynaecologists, or midwives, or breast care specialists, or indeed anything that would definitively exclude Frodo, Sam and Aragorn arrived before the professionals.

A nurse gave them the bad news and asked them to talk to Frodo since he had ‘taken it all rather badly – he doesn’t seem to understand that Mr. Grey isn’t coming back’.

“You could call Julie, that’s his psychiatric nurse…”

“Finding any psychiatrist in this hospital at the moment would be nice, they’ve all disappeared…”

Frodo looked up and smiled as they came in. The other two waited until the door was shut before speaking.

“Umm… Frodo… are you alright?”

“Yes, fine.”

Aragorn felt this was a good time to wax wrathful. “Then why the hell did you feel the need to blow our cover? There was no need for you to say that Gandalf is coming back, we all know he’s coming back!”

“Oh. Ooops. Sorry.”

Frodo was not looking his best. Even with the knowledge that previous attempts to kill Gandalf (cyanide, arsenic and straightforward decapitation) had failed, the news that he had been run over by a bus had been quite a shock, and Sam was a little worried about Frodo, who decided to justify those worries.

“It’s all like it was before… With the thing…”

Sam and Aragorn looked at each other. Sam put his arms round Frodo, partially as a comfort, but mainly to restrain him.

“Come on Frodo, don’t think about it, it’s your WI meeting tonight, what are you going to do then?”

However, Frodo had just started gibbering quietly. This was somewhat of a relief, since low grade gibbering tended to stay as low grade gibbering. He attempted to burrow into Sam murmuring things about ‘horrible eyes’.

*****

Gandalf was all cold. He wasn’t sure why, so he opened his eyes. He was naked and in a very large fridge, one of his stranger awakenings, but not quite as strange as when he woken up on top of St. Paul’s cathedral in the seventeenth century to find that the cathedral was in fact on fire. He was on a very uncomfortable tea tray and really wanted to be somewhere else. The word ‘pub’ flitted through his brain, closely followed by ‘drink’.

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is the pathology lab…” the pathologist swept in, trailing medical students in his wake, to be abruptly cut off by a bang from one of the morgue fridges.

“Sounds like something’s not quite dead in there!” There were the dutiful giggles made by all students whose lecturer has made a truly pathetic joke, but they know this is the man who marks their tests. Unfortunately this was followed up by Gandalf crashing feet first out of the fridge and landing in a crumpled heap on the floor. Naked Gandalf was bad enough; naked Gandalf back from the dead would make Buffy run for the door. However, the Pathologist made an admirable recovery, and none of the students fainted.

“This WAS the cadaver I was going to show you, but he appears to have recovered. As I am sure from your perusals of the textbooks, you will be aware this would appear to be a unique recovery from brain death. This would be a good moment to move onto the legal liabilities section of pathology, but first I feel we should do something for this gentleman.”

Gandalf was uninterested in this conversation, although he was interested in some of the female medical students and he started leering towards them like something out of ‘Night of the Living Dead’, except with more of a cupping motion. His attention was distracted by the interesting jars of clear liquid on the side. He sniffed one, then drank it.

“Nooooo…” the pathologist was quiet for a moment. “That was formaldehyde. I think that he will be returning to the state of ‘cadaver’ very soon, so if someone could page the crash team right now…”

One of the students headed to the phone.

“But there’s only us here,” objected one of the students, “We could just leave him, and all the legal stuff wouldn’t happen.”

“I take it you slept through the medical ethics lectures?”

“I’ve paged them, sir.”

Gandalf was cold, and now bored and not really drunk enough for his liking. And the women had too much in the way of education and too little in the way of bosoms to hold his attention. He headed for the door.

“Follow him! But don’t try and stop him, we could make it worse!” the pathologist yelled, deciding this was the point to become the Indiana Jones of the pathology world.

“How can we make it worse? He’s legally dead!”

*****

The entire Psychiatry department was on its way down to A and E. The drawing straws idea had worked, and only one of them was actually going to see Frodo, but since the person who’d drawn the short straw was the chief consultant psychiatrist the rest of the department really, really wanted to watch. This of course included all the cleaners and the secretarial staff. They gathered round the door of the relatives’ room, some peering though the cracks in the door, others with stethoscopes pressed to the wall.

“Mr. Baggins. I’m Dr. Shaw, how are you feeling?”

“Eyes. Flames. Eyes. Sees me.” All this though was rather muffled, coming via Sam’s neck.

Dr Shaw looked at Frodo’s copious medical notes (volume one) and wondered what to do. There wasn’t really anything they hadn’t tried on him, including once, in a fit of bad handwriting, viagra, but he did seem genuinely distressed. And he’d been genuinely distressed when there’d been that incident the last time he’d been sectioned. Dr. Lewis had taken early retirement after that. Best to sedate him before he did anything dangerous. However, given the unpredictable effects that some drugs had on him he’d better stay around, although this was helped by the confident knowledge that half the hospital was listening outside.

About half an hour later the drugs had indeed gone unpredictable. Frodo did occasionally gibber about giant eyes and giant spiders, but he didn’t seem to care about this, since he was now deeply in love with everybody. He’d started on Sam, moved over to Aragorn and was now sat on Dr. Shaw’s lap, cuddling him and kissing him on the cheek.

“Y’re such a nice doctor, I do love you, lovely psychiatrist. Can we take him home please Aragorn?”

Outside the muffled giggling had turned in to outright hilarity, but they were about to regret this lack of self-control.

“More nice people!” Frodo opened the door and proceeded to declare his love for the whole of the psychiatry department, hugging and kissing all of them as well.

At this point Merry and Pippin turned up, complete with Sainsbury’s uniforms. Aragorn attempted to explain the situation, more difficult when Frodo’s current definition of ‘brotherly love’ (or even cousinly) involved kissing. With tongues. Merry and Pippin were dying of embarrassment. This though got worse.

“You know I love you. You do don’t you, Tinkletoes.”

Pippin froze and Merry and Sam started giggling in spite of themselves. One of the nurses couldn’t help herself.

“Tinkletoes?”

“Oh yes. When he was little, four, I think he was, he was the pageboy at a wedding and his mother told him to go before it began but he was so excited he couldn’t, and then he did. In the middle of the ceremony, all over the bride’s train as well.”

Pippin was attempting to commit hara-kiri by thought control alone. Here he was surrounded by some very nice people in nurses uniforms and the first thing they were finding out about him was the wedding incident, which in 6,000 years had not been supplanted as ‘the most embarrassing moment of my entire life’, with a close second being when Merry told the entire court of Gondor about the wedding incident, third being when Merry had told the massed legions of Augustus about the wedding incident, and so on. At least Frodo telling someone was a change.

Fortunately for Pippin’s sanity, but unfortunately for his libido Legolas arrived, and the nurses very suddenly found something much more interesting than Pippin’s embarrassment. Legolas was given the bad news, then offered no less than 56 cups of tea by different nurses, and 35 separate offers of sexual favours ‘to take your mind off things’. The fact that Frodo was attached to his lower leg, claiming to ‘love you, lots and lots, nice person’ did not seem to dampen their ardour.

*****

Gandalf was still rampaging around the hospital, acquiring a larger and larger train of people. Each ward he stomped through gathered him more, doctors, nurses, medical students and some more mobile patients (hospital is deadly dull, so naked insane old men definitely come under the heading of ‘entertainment’). The crash team was also following him, in case he should decide to go back to being dead, and the crash cart (with defibrillators and other such interesting things in it). The crash cart had also acquired, on its way through a paediatrics ward (now full of traumatised children) a small child, holding on and going ‘wheeeeee’. The crowd was too distracted to do anything about this.

The lead doctors were having an argument.

“Look, we have to stop him, he could be doing himself untold damage!”

“No, it’ll be worse if we do?” He paused mid sentence to look at his colleague, while still following Gandalf. “Hang about, what would you know, you’re an obstetrician!”

“And you’re a dental surgeon, so we’re quits.”

There was a movement in the crowd following them as others tried to elbow their way to the front.

“This should be led by the relevant professionals. Let me through I’m a cardiac surgeon!”

“Why the hell is this a cardiac problem? Look at the way he’s acting, definitely a neurosurgeon should be leading this.”

The two had elbowed their way to the front of the following pack, with their acolytes (staff grades and medical students) in train behind them, taking sides as appropriate.

“This is most emphatically a cardiac problem. Typical post heart attack behaviour.”

“Coming back form the dead is typical? I don’t want to know about your clinical excellence record.”

“His heart stopped and now it has started again, QED cardiac issue.”

“But for something as unusual as this it must be a complex neurological problem. And his brain must have… have… stopped and re-started again, therefore neurosurgical issue.”

A small Brummie voice from the back of the pack piped up. “His kidneys must have stopped and started again as well, so it’s a G.U.M issue.”

The pack paused and stared at him.

“Sorry.” He squeaked. The pursuit began once more.

Gandalf had a crisis at one of the crossroads, the choice of directions seeming to confuse him. This gave the pathologist time to get his way to the front and stake his claim.

“This patient is dead, and I am the pathologist so therefore he’s mine.”

“I take it all your cadavers are so active?”

“That is not my problem, I have a signed death certificate so he’s dead. Mine.”

“Who signed the death certificate? Because I don’t want to be admitted under them, I’d be down in the morgue like a shot.”

The pathologist did not appreciate sarcasm. “I did have look at him you know. Definitely dead, you know no pulse, heartbeat, breathing, brainstem activity, pupil reaction, you know D-E-A-D. Dead.”

“He’s off again!”

“Come on lads!”

“Neurosurgeons and associated staff first!”

“Come back here, you smug bastards! Come on cardiologists, get yer running shoes on, not all neurosurgeons are Roger bloody Bannister!”

*****

Legolas was sat with Frodo on his lap to try and calm him down a little (before he did anything that could be construed as sexual harassment), and to give Sam a rest. Legolas was also surrounded by a crowd of female admirers, the male ones having been beaten back forcefully with handbags and much crying of ‘he’s mine bitch!’. Small scuffles were still breaking out at the back of the crowd, but they were careful not to fight at the front. Might ruin their chances. Legolas was ignoring them. Mortal women were all the same.

Frodo was still gibbering (although it was very affectionate gibbering), so Legolas thought he might take his mind off it with a song.

“Frodo?”

“Mmmmmmmmmmmmnnnnnn?”

“Would you like me to sing to you?”

“Yes.”

“What shall I sing?”

“Could you… could you sing a lament? For Gandalf?”

Legolas had the thought that perhaps ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ would be more appropriate, but quashed it. “Are you sure that won’t make you worse?”

“Sure.”

Legolas began to sing, and Frodo curled himself contentedly round him. However, the rest of A and E were reacting badly to the song. The whole place began sobbing, genteelly at first and them moving on to the big, chest heaving stuff, necessitating everyone hugging each other in an attempt to use each others shirts as handkerchiefs. Dogs howled, babies cried. In short, Legolas managed to paralyse an entire hospital department. This is of course, with the exception of the other members of the Fellowship, who were sat in a corner playing poker for Smarties.

It was into this emotional maelstrom that Gimli arrived, having woken up to find the note on the kitchen table (‘Gone to hospital, Gandalf probably dead, will get bread whilst I’m out.’) He reported to reception, who managed to point him over to Frodo and Legolas in between sobbing all over important medical records. Legolas finished his song. There was a general feeling that something terrible had happened, but they weren’t sure what. Gimli offered assistance, but Frodo seemed to have fallen asleep, so he decided to go out into the waiting area for some more quality sleeping where he wouldn’t be interrupted by sex crazed nurses.

*****

Gandalf was striding through the Geriatrics ward when he suddenly stopped, braking fast enough to cause a pile up in the following crowd (now consisting of most of the hospital staff and a large proportion of the patients. Some of the visitors had commandeered wheelchairs and trolleys to push along their loved ones to see what was happening, but due to the lack of such transport it was about three to a wheelchair and seven to a trolley. The sudden braking caused much falling on the floor, and untold damage to post operative scars.) He sniffed the air and looked around himself suspiciously.

“Drink!”

Gandalf moved slowly, triangulating. Then he pounced on a patient’s locker, and began to go through the contents. This delay gave the two warring surgeons time to get down to business.

“This isn’t even about him, this is about pecking order in this hospital! I’ve heard the comments in the staff room, ‘he isn’t exactly a brain surgeon’, well cardiac surgery is very challenging.”

“Is it bollocks! I’m working on the brain, we don’t even know how half of it works!”

“Exactly! Half trained butchers!”

“Glorified flesh tailor!”

“Lobotomiser!”

“Personality-bypassed, heartless bastard!”

That was it. They both grabbed nearby drip stands (swift check that they weren’t attached to any patients) and began to take swings at each other. The others formed a semi-circle round them, egging them on randomly.

Gandalf meanwhile felt that he was nearing the source of drink. His reached again into the cupboard (the occupant of the bed being far too terrified to offer any resistance) and his hand closed around a bottle.

“Drink?” Contentment and anticipation oozed out of him. He withdrew his hand from the cupboard to find it was… a bottle of cherry brandy.

“Drink! Nononononononononononononononoooooooooooooo! DRINK!”

The two surgeons, who were attempting to be Russell Crowe but ending up more like Benny Hill, temporarily forgot their fight and looked at Gandalf who set off again. They did not stop the fight as they followed him, taking wild swings at each other, while the following herd kept a safe distance.

*****

Gandalf burst through the doors of A and E, like a vengeful (naked, smelly) god, followed by most of the hospital.

“Drink!”

Frodo, who had been nice and warm and felt safe curled up on Legolas’ lap, woke up, and did not look… right. The psychiatry department took a collective step backwards and tried to look for somewhere to hide, or just someone to put between them and him. He stood up.

“What is going on?”

Gandalf paused. This was a person he recognised, and not only that it was a person who on previous occasion had provided him with drink. A nice person. Perhaps everything would be all right now?

“Frodo…?”

“Gandalf!” Frodo turned to the psychiatrists. “See, I told you he wasn’t dead.” The psychiatrists looked like they would believe just about anything right now, as long as Frodo didn’t try anything.

Frodo went into organisational, WI efficiency mode. “Could someone please find some clothes for Gandalf? Those patients look like they should be in bed, shouldn’t someone be seeing to that? And you two, stop acting like children and grow up! Put the drip stands down!” He went over and forcibly disarmed them. “How did all this start?”

“He started it?”

“I am not interested in who started it, I want to know why you are behaving like this.”

“He thinks he’s better surgeon.”

“Am too.”

“Are not.”

“STOP IT! I am sure you are both very good surgeons, otherwise the hospital wouldn’t employ you would it? Does it really matter who’s best?”

“Yes.”

“NO IT DOESN’T! Now you can either go back to your departments and be good surgeons, or you can stand here arguing and you’ll both be bad surgeons, understood?”

“Yes.”

“Yes.”

“Now you are both going to apologise to each other, NICELY, then you are going to go back to work, alright?”

The two grudgingly apologised and slunk off. Frodo would have re-organised the entire hospital (quite probably to the benefit of the NHS, but never mind) there and then if Legolas hadn’t intervened.

“I think we should take Gandalf home.”

“But they’ve signed the death certificate, he doesn’t legally exist.”

“Oh, I think a threat of a medical malpractice suit against them and they’ll make him exist. If we threaten them enough I’m sure they can even find some computer hacker to wipe his criminal record. Come on, let’s take the poker school and the streaker home.”

The other members of the Fellowship were extracted from the Poker game (Merry currently owed Pippin NestleL’s entire European Smartie production for the next three years) and piled into Aragorn’s landrover to go home.

“You know, I get the feeling we forgot something…”

“Oh, lets just go home.”

*****

The next morning the general admissions ward was having problems with an argumentative patient in a helmet.

“Look, Mr. Goodson, we have not removed your tonsils!”

“Och, you have. I didnae even want to be admitted I just fell asleep in the waiting room in A and E, and you admit me and take my tonsils!”

“You were admitted for observation because you were found in A and E unconscious and every effort was made to wake you up and you did not.”

“I said I was asleep. That’s normal when I’m tired. That’s no reason to go and take out my tonsils and sell them to the Triads!”

“We have not sold your tonsils. We have not removed your tonsils. Your tonsil status now is exactly the same as when you came in. And what do you think the Triads would want with tonsils anyway?”

“Ah’ve heard all about it, organ trafficking!”

“Of useful organs yes. Tonsils no. And the NHS has nothing to do with that sort of thing.”

“Why should Ah believe you? You work for them!”

“Yes, because on this nurse’s uniform there can quite clearly be seen Triad and other Mafia logos.” It had been a long night.

“All I know is I came in last night with tonsils and they’re not there now.”

The nurse sighed. She would call a psychiatrist, but for some reason all of them had called in sick…