Season 1, Episode 12
By Lady Alyssa and Random Dent
Apology: Sorry its not one of our best, our muses have gone off on a bender to Torremolinos.
Authors: Lady Alyssa and Random Flatmate.
Disclaimer: JRR Tolkien owns the Fellowship. Debt to ‘Father Ted’ in the characterisation of Gandalf. General situation debt to the ‘Young Ones’. Legolas drives exactly like Random Dent (worry not, she hasn’t passed her test. And probably never will.) Bridget Jones bits indebted.
Rating: R (comedic violence; flatmate strife; Language; gratuitous ingestion of various household objects..)
Frodo was sat on the sundial in the front garden, peacefully reading this week’s copy of ‘Good Housekeeping’ when Legolas arrived back home.
“Frodo… What are you doing out here? It’s freezing. And what’s that smell?”
“I know its freezing. Its Gandalf.”
Legolas narrowed his eyes. “Would this be why I can smell swimming pools? Has he been trying to turn Mrs Wainthrop’s goldfish pond into a hot tub again?”
“No, the restraining order’s still in place. He drank the bleach and then the toilet duck, and then all this green gas started coming out of his nose, so I ran out here.”
“Does he not know that when you mix toilet duck and bleach you get chlorine gas?”
“Perhaps he was hoping his stomach acid would neutralise the bleach…”
“Would it be too much to hope that he is dead?”
“Again? No, I heard him swearing at the telly. Can you do something about it? It sinks, I’m too short to make it to the windows before I start choking.”
Legolas sighed, and wrapped his scarf around his face and strode into the house.
This was another final straw for Legolas. Putting Gandalf in a home had failed, and so now it was time to try Plan C (Plan B, faking his own death, moving to Bulgaria and setting up a tinned porridge factory, had been rejected as impractical). Legolas felt that it was time for his announcement at dinner, at least partially because two of the hobbits would be far too busy eating to make any witty comebacks. Pudding was chosen as the ideal course to announce things during, since today was jam roly-poly day, and Merry and Pippin could be relied on to eat so much that they were incapable of speech or movement for about 2 hours afterwards.
“I think you should know. I’m going to start having driving lessons.”
Merry and Pippin had come to the end of their portions (the portion size described by the UN as ‘would feed one reasonable sized famine-struck village for about a month, as long as they didn’t mind all that cholesterol at once’) and paused in the middle of licking the last of the custard out of their bowls. Pippin had a strained expression, indicating that he was attempting to make some kind of filthy comment about driving lessons, but was simply too full of suet to make the vocal chords move. Either that or his tongue was stuck to the plate again.
Aragorn looked surprised. “I thought that you said cars would never catch on. That they were a danger to all life on earth, and a hazard to the environment.”
“That doesn’t stop him accepting lifts from you though.” Frodo attempted to look angelic, and failed.
“I still do not like cars. Trains, trains are different. A much more genteel way to travel. Like ‘Brief Encounter’.”
“Especially when you’re pushing the trolley up and down asking people whether they’d like tea or coffee.”
“And even more so when you’ve been stood on Huddersfield station for two hours waiting for a train that they then cancel, and when the train breaks down, and…”
“Yes, yes, just shut up. I’m learning to drive to get a little more independent. That is all.” He mentally added ‘so I can get away from you lot whenever I like without worrying that ‘the wrong kind of snow’ has shut down the entire rail network again.’
It was Merry’s turn to try and say something. Again the power of such a vast amount of suet was too much to allow speech, but Merry’s efforts succeeded in making him fall off his chair. He waved his arms and legs a bit, but was too full to stand up again. The rest of the Fellowship took one look at a tall, well built hobbit completely stuffed with jam roly- poly, decided that they liked not having lower back problems and left him on the floor.
“Good afternoon Mr. Green. This is your first driving lesson, yes?”
“Yes, it is.” Legolas smiled manically.
“Well, I’m just driving you to a nice quiet bit of housing estate where you can get used to the feel of the car, alright?”
Legolas nodded just a little too eagerly.
“Are you sure you’re OK with this? No-one’s forcing you to take these lessons…”
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, really, I want to learn to drive. I’m j-just a little nervous.”
They parked, and got out of the car.
“Now before I let you get in the driving seat I need to check your eyesight. Could you read that number plate over there.”
“The red one?”
“No, that’s about a quarter of a mile away, Mr. Green, we’re not that strict. The green Punto please.”
“P648 GKF, Hendersons Fiat Dealership, Weatherby.”
The instructor looked at him dubiously, walked over to the car and then walked back again. “Yeeees, well, I don’t think your eyesight is going to be a problem. If you could get into the drivers side please?”
Legolas had some problems climbing into the driver’s seat, since the instructor was quite a bit smaller than him. He managed to lever himself in, and then pushed the seat back to its greatest extent. The instructor told him where the seat should be for the proper driving position, but the seat wouldn’t go that far back, so Legolas ended up with his knees brushing the steering wheel, but this wasn’t an issue since he immediately hunched in terror over the wheel, gripped it with white knuckles and stared straight ahead.
“Turn the ignition, not for too long, now if we could try putting the car into gear. Right, just push the clutch pedal down. Push the gear lever into the first position. Apply a little pressure to the accelerator. As you gently raise up the clutch you’ll feel the car begin to move.”
Legolas felt the car move beneath him, panicked, took his foot off the clutch and both hands off the steering wheel and curled into the crash position while still remaining seat belted into his seat.
The instructor knew this was going to be one of his more difficult cases.
“Hi Legolas, had a good driving lesson?”
Legolas was staring fixedly straight ahead, muttering stopping distances under his breath (none of them for anything travelling faster than 20 miles per hour). He didn’t seem to notice Frodo and walked into the lounge, still staring straight ahead.
“I’ll take that for a no then…”
Merry wandered past looking despondent. Frodo did what any right thinking Englishman would do the circumstances. He went off to make some tea.
A few minutes later he entered the sitting room carrying a pot of Darjeeling, which he administered in much the same way as MASH surgeons administered morphine to injured soldiers. Well, not quite, not actually intravenously, although that probably would have been a lot more helpful. Sam was sat on the end of the sofa, looking helpless and trying desperately to think of something that needed doing in the garden. Insane Frodo he could deal with, but insane Legolas was causing him serious conceptual problems. Legolas was remaining uncommunicative, still muttering and staring, but Merry wanted to get this off his chest.
“He’s gone all secretive.”
“Pippin. Going off places on his own. Not telling me anything. It’s like with Nell Gwyn all over again.”
“It’s got to be. It’s not like she’s acting any different or anything, but that’s the only reason he could be sneaking about. He’ll be banging her in the store cupboard. It should be me in there!” He wailed.
Frodo patted him on the shoulder, but Legolas’ mental state was a more pressing worry. Fortunately Aragorn arrived to provide a somewhat bigger shoulder to cry on. So Frodo attempted to get Legolas at least to talk about it.
“Legolas… Is there something bothering you?”
“C-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c” Legolas appeared to be stuck.
“Cat? Catechism? Constantinople? Cornucopia?” Frodo guessed wildly, but Legolas shook his head. “Crumpet? Koala?” Aragorn and Merry looked at Frodo. “Sorry, got carried away.”
“DRINK!” This caused a sympathetic reaction in Gandalf, but they ignored him.
“I hate driving. I hate it. It’s, it’s a thing, not quite living and not quite dead.”
Gandalf looked offended. “Do you mind?”
The Fellowship looked at him somewhat surprisedly. Obviously they were at the beginning of one of his more lucid phases, possibly all that chlorine had fumigated his brain.
“Sorry. But, it can go so fast, with so little control, it wants to go fast I tell you, it has the power of darkness behind it!”
There was a noise from the driveway. The Fellowship went to investigate it. Pippin was stood in the driveway, next to a moped, in full, very small biker leathers. He was beaming with pride.
“Ah’ve passed mah test as weel.” He said as if to explain it all.
“So that’s where you’ve been?” Merry was still a little suspicious.
“Ah didnae want tae tell youse in case Ah didnae pass. But now Ah have, and Ah’ve got the bike. Oh, and this.” He tossed a spare helmet over to Merry. The rift between them was instantly healed.
Merry ran for the moped, dragging Pippin behind him. Knowing that it would be some time before they came back the other members of the Fellowship went into ‘bitching mode’.
“This is going to be like the business with the Sinclair C5 again, isn’t it?”
“Yes, the Police were very understanding about it and the coach company agreed not to sue after we got Gandalf to have a word with them.”
“But the driver wasn’t exactly happy about it.”
“We did get rid of it last time we moved, didn’t we?”
“Yes. That and his cheese press.”
“Aragorn…” Sam tried to alternate between looking at his feet and looking innocently at Aragorn while shuffling slightly on the spot.
“Well, you know how Pippin’s a moped…Can I have a sit on motor mower? I’ll pay for it myself and everything and I promise it won’t get in the way.”
“Haven’t you got one at work?”
“Yeah, but it’s not the same and anyway, there isn’t that much grass and I can’t quite reach the pedals without attaching things to my shoes.”
“But there’s even less grass here, you said you wanted to completely change the garden a few months ago and covered half of it with decking. The mower would probably be bigger than the lawn.”
“It’s not fair! You let Pippin do whatever he likes, just because he’s really violent.”
“I didn’t let Pippin get a moped, he just went and got one.”
“You haven’t said he has to take it back.”
“He’s a grown up now, at least on paper anyway and he’s using moped on public roads, not our garden, so whatever chaos he causes isn’t my problem.”
“Legolas would let me have a motor mower, wouldn’t you, Legolas?”
Legolas went pale at the mention of the word ‘mower’ and backed away. “Ask Aragorn.”
“Hello, 696969.” Frodo really was going to have to write to the phone company.
“Hello, is that Mr Green’s house?”
“Yes, but he’s out at his –”
“I know he’s out at his driving lesson, I’m his instructor. He’s a little upset and refusing to get back into the car.”
“What do you mean ‘a little upset’?”
“Alright, he’s trying to talk to the car, I just thought it might be better if someone he knows walks him home.”
“Where are you?”
“We’re out near the park, with the driving school’s logo on the roof of the car, but I think you’ll probably notice Mr Green first.”
About fifteen minutes later Frodo found the driving instructor, who was leaning against the back of the car, smoking and generally watching the world go by.
“Um, are you the one who phoned me about Mr Green?”
“Yes, he’s round the other side of the car.”
“Thank you. Is he alright?”
“See for yourself.”
Legolas was crouching beside the car with one ear pressed against it, whispering softly to the headlight.
“Legolas… Are you alright?”
“What about a squirrel.”
“I nearly killed it.”
“Yes, but you didn’t, did you?”
“Don’t know, check the tyres on the other side for bloodstains.”
Frodo pretended to look. “No, it got away. There’s nothing to worry about, really.”
“Yes there is.”
“What is there to worry about?”
“The cars, they’re too dangerous. People shouldn’t be allowed to drive them. Especially not me.”
“Do you want to go home?” Legolas hesitated. “We can take the footpath.”
“You have to let go of the car, first.”
Legolas reluctantly let go of the car and grabbed hold of Frodo.
“Did you really have to embarrass me like that?”
“Carrying me all the way home. You made it look like it was me who was having… an incident.”
“You don’t usually mind when people have to carry you.”
Frodo blushed and looked uncomfortable. “Yeah, but not in public, and anyway, I’m not usually in any state to notice.”
“Merry, d’ye want a lift home?” Pippin held out the spare helmet and looked at Merry pleadingly.
“Umm, no, I’m going to take the bus. Wait, I’ve got an idea, we don’t enough things together these days, so lets both take the bus!”
“But we could be home in less than half the time on the moped.”
Merry paled. This was the problem. It wasn’t that Pippin was a bad driver – he was quite good when it came it to avoiding oncoming lorries when speeding down the wrong lane of traffic – he was just a little shaky on the Highway Code. Drive on the left seemed to be a concept which had bypassed him, but drive wherever there was less traffic, be it on the right, left, middle, pavement or shopping precinct was the accepted way of doing things and those red, orange and green lights on sticks must be leftover Christmas decorations.
“Yes, but you miss all the scenery on the moped.”
“You mean the canal, the derelict factory, the three housing estates and the railway line?”
“Yes, urban scenery and I’ve developed an interest in industrial archaeology.”
“You don’t trust me on the bike, do you?”
“No, no, of course I trust you on the bike. I trust you implicitly, it’s just…are you sure you passed your test?”
“You don’t trust me, do you? Fine! You can get the bus home today. And every other day as well.” Pippin stormed off towards his bike and revved it up as menacingly as you can with a motor that had previously been used in a lawnmower.
Merry stormed off, practising looking 13 to get half fare on the bus.
“It’s your driving instructor on the phone.”
Legolas gave a high-pitched squeak not unlike that of a newborn kitten and beautifully conditioned by life with the fellowship dived into the sideboard. Frodo excused himself to the driving instructor and put the phone on mute.
“Did you hide in the side board at the Battle of Helm’s Deep?”
“Sideboards weren’t invented.”
“Did you hide in a cupboard, then?”
“And did you hide in the battle of Gaugamela?”
“No, we were in the middle of an arid plain, do you think there were just cupboards hanging about the place?”
“That’s not the point. What I’m trying to say is that you’re not a coward.”
“I hid in the cupboard at the battle of Trafalgar.”
“You got locked in to a storeroom by accident.”
“Yeah, accident. Bloody Hardy always trying steal the limelight with Nelson. It should have been ‘kiss me Legolas’, not ‘kiss me Hardy’.”
Frodo decided that this was not the point and didn’t ask why Legolas wanted to be snogged by dying lord admirals, but made a mental note for future reference.
“Fine. Do you want to talk to your driving instructor or do you want me to tell him you’re a cissy?”
“Are you calling me a cissy?”
“Are you wearing pigtails? I’m calling you a cissy.”
“I was nervous.”
Frodo attempted to raise one eyebrow, but failed and just ended up looking stupid. “Are you talking to him or not?”
Driving Lessons: 1 (v bad)
Giant sized toblerones: 3 (v v bad)
Cigarettes: 0.1 (bad idea, not cut out to be smoker)
Offers of sexual favours: 1/2 (don’t know if woman in post office was serious)
Frodo sent me for driving lesson. All bad and horrible. All other drivers’ faults. Got stuck going round roundabout 27 times. Driving instructor sick, not allowed to go back. Was followed round by 4 blokes in souped up nova with spoiler pissing themselves laughing. Others think I can’t hear them talking about how too many toblerones will make me fat. Don’t care, they’re all fat anyway (Aragorn claims it’s muscle, but yet to see six pack in shape of mini-beer gut). Hate life, hate Fellowship, all Sauron’s fault. No Sauron – would be living with Elves. On same note two most obnoxious Hobbits seem to have fallen out, can only be a good thing.
Number of mopeds owned: 1; v v happy, but could be better (harleyharleyharleyharley)
Number of times hit round head by Mavis: 3 (last one with catering tin of beans – count as 2?)
Number of days since last shag: too depressing to count.
‘Enormous Bosoms Monthly’ late again, deeply depressed. Merry not talking to me, also depressed. Got stopped by Polis, very, very depressed. Aragorn, Legolas and Merry sold moped and burnt self’s driving licence, suicidal.
“Listen to that.”
“That’s only because Gandalf forgot to take the tv off mute before he ate the batteries in the remote control.”
“Why’d he eat the remote control batteries?”
“Dunno, cheap thrills, I think he’s getting immune to alcohol.”
“He’s getting pissed on ammonium chloride?”
“He’s not human, remember.”
“He’s also not deaf. And what he does with his own free time is his own business.” Gandalf hiccupped. “Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards.”
“That’s your answer for everything, isn’t it? Why are you attempting to sell our video? ‘Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards’. Why is Joanna Lumley tied up in the cupboard under the stairs? ‘Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards’.”
Gandalf pointedly ignored Aragorn’s comment.
If Legolas had lacked dignity, he would have sat in the middle of the floor doing the opposite of Toad of Toad Hall, ie, making steam train noises. But since he did have dignity he was sitting on the sofa looking very smug about having been blacklisted by every driving school in the country and would never have to sit behind the wheel of a car again. He took another bite out of his giant toblerone (it wasn’t an addiction, really, he could stop any time he wanted).
Pippin was also trying to take bites out of Legolas’ giant toblerone, but kept being swatted away. He was not happy. Merry was talking to him again, but he didn’t have a moped. Possibly these two facts were connected. However, given his current listing on the local, and indeed the national police’s ‘stop this person if they attempt to drive anything, even a steamroller’ list, he didn’t think he was going to be getting the moped back any time soon.
“I think we should let him out now. It’s terribly cruel keeping him locked up like that.”
“Yes, yes, let me out! I don’t need any more toblerone, I’m cured.”
“No, it’s not out of his system yet, you can still hear the tremor in his voice. Better give him another few days.”