Bagenders – Many Meetings

Season 1, Episode 13

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’. ‘Tally ho, pip pip’ etc belongs to Balckadder goes Forth; Spanish Inquisition belongs to Monty Python and/or the Catholic church. We don’t own Benny Hill, The Dambusters, Lego (well actually we own quite a lot of Lego, but that’s not the point), Dr. Who, Abba, Gladiator, Isambard Kingdom Brunel or the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Rating: R (comedic violence; flatmate strife; Language; gratuitous bad puns.) Story notes: If you have the music to ‘Benny Hill’ or ‘The Dambusters’, go and dig them out now. You’ll need them. Everyone else look for a kazoo or hum.

“Tea? Coffee?” Legolas had managed to get himself ‘promoted’ to serving in First Class, being a lackey to all the people who for no good reason felt that spending more than £100 on a train ticket was a good idea, although there seemed to have been rather more of them since Legolas had become the lackey. He had actually been asleep for the last half an hour, having developed the elven ability to keep walking while asleep into an ability to offer and serve tea and coffee safely (and this had been the bit that had required a lot of practice at home – after the first time Aragorn had insisted he practiced with cold water). Occasionally he had served the wrong one, but this was British railway hot drinks, it wasn’t like anyone was going to notice.

“Could I have a mineral water please?”

“Of course sir.”

Legolas began to walk away. He hadn’t actually woken up, so whether they were going to get their mineral water was in doubt, until they said something to actually make him bother waking up.

“Legolas?”

Legolas didn’t usually use his real name at work, so hearing it came as a bit of a shock – he didn’t think he knew anyone who travelled first class. He woke up and attempted to focus on the speaker, but immediately wished he hadn’t.

“Galadriel…Elrond…Haldir…Glorfindel…How nice to see you.” Legolas turned on the fake smile usually only reserved for when they had a special offer on for pensioners’ APEX tickets.

“How nice to see you too, Legolas, or should I say,” Elrond squinted at the name badge, “Lars.”

Legolas used all his self-control to stop himself from reacting. He had needed to find a name that sounded similar to his own, or at least began with the same letter and had made the mistake of accepting Pippin’s suggestion. Now everyone he knew at work was convinced that he was Swedish to his face, and behind his back that he was a resting porn actor. Unfortunately, due to his Elvin hearing he knew this.

“It’s good to see that you’re making your own way in the world.”

“Yes, he’s certainly going a long way,” said Haldir in a voice just on the edge of normal hearing.

Legolas thought it was a great pity that he was only carrying one pot each of tea and coffee so could only give two of the four of them nasty painful burns.

“I thought you would be more interested in things other than the shallow, materialistic aspects of life, like money. I’m still very much in touch with my inner elf.”

“Yes, and well done, it’s not easy when you don’t have 62 acres of landscaped gardens to get back to nature in, oh and I’m replanting a forest at my highland estate.” Elrond smiled smugly and Legolas wanted to punch him. He could have mentioned how well Sam kept the garden at their house, but this would mean admitting he lived with the rest of the Fellowship so he kept his mouth shut.

Galadriel attempted to bring the conversation back up to a more genteel level. “So how are the others?”

“Others?”

“The rest of the Fellowship, you are still living with them, aren’t you? It’s so nice that you’ve all stuck together. Celeborn told me all about it”

Legolas thought some very un-Elvish words. He made a mental note to be really supportive to Aragorn next time he had to phone Arwen for an argument.

“Celeborn? I though you’d…”

“We have, it’s just that he rang me a few weeks back, he’s in jail in Ulan Bator and wanted me to get him a lawyer.” Galadriel smiled ethereally. “So, how are they all?”

“Oh, um…” Legolas was saved from having to answer this question by his supervisor.

“Come on, lots of other customers on the train, can’t have you spending too much time with these ones.”

“You’d better get back to work then, but take my business card and if I could have your phone number??”

Legolas was forced to go through the humiliation of having to repeat the Fellowship’s phone number in a public place. Haldir sniggered.

*****

As Legolas was walking home from work that evening he heard a strange noise, it seemed to have been following him for about two streets and getting progressively louder. A shadow and a threat had been growing in his mind, but Balrogs were extinct and orcs were pretty endangered these days, weren’t they?

As he was nearing the house, the beast overtook him, a great enormous green thing with glowing eyes and hunched figure at the controls which seemed to be in an even worse mood than the beast itself.

“Come on, come on, you stupid machine.”

There was a reason why Legolas didn’t drive, in fact, there were many of them, cars being the main one. “Having problems, Aragorn?” Legolas jogged along to keep up with him.

Aragorn growled and put his foot down, almost forcing Legolas to break into a run, but not quite. The landrover lurched forward and then stopped about five feet from the end of the drive.

“Sod it!” Aragorn got out, slammed the door, kicked the wheel in the approved fashion (ignoring the pain this caused on account of being a butch man in a bad mood) and stormed into the house.

“Who. Is. Doing things. To my. Landrover?” Said Aragorn as he strode into the house.

“Ah could fix it for you,” offered Pippin. “Ah know aboot things like that.” Pippin attempted to sneak out of the room with Sam’s toolbox.

“Yes, we know you know about things like that. And so do the RAF. And so do all the other NATO countries who were pissing themselves laughing when they heard about this.”

“It wisnae ma fault, Ah didnae know ah wis haulding the manual upside doon. Hobbit error, that sort of thing happens all the time.”

“It does whenever you’re involved.”

“When was Pippin in the RAF?” Asked Frodo.

“It was just for a few months after they saw Top Gun.”

“Really, I thought they’d gone to Lanzarote.” Said Sam

“No, him and Merry joined the RAF, they just told everyone they’d gone to Lanzarote because they knew you’d make, you know, suggestions.”

“Oh, right. Yeah, we would have made suggestions.”

“But getting back to the point, making a ‘Hobbit error’ would have been stopping the planes from being able to take off. What you did was wire them up so that whenever anyone tried to make a steeply banked left turn in them, the ejector seats activated. That takes a special kind of skill, you know.”

“A little bit of water doesnae hurt anybody.”

“Yes, but the North Sea can be pretty dangerous in January.”

“Nobody died.”

“Some of them came out with fewer fingers and toes than they went in.”

“Nobody died.”

“They did try to kill you afterwards.”

“Nobody died.”

“Wait a minute, how did you two get into the RAF, you’re at least a foot under their minimum height limit.”

Merry and Pippin looked shifty, but no answer was forthcoming.

*****

Later that evening, Gimli decided to have another go with the robotic lego. He’d seen programmes about artificial intelligence and it didn’t seem all that hard. He was pretty sure he’d got it right this time and had deprogrammed the ‘kill all felines’ part and had definitely double-checked that there were absolutely no weapons on board. He put it down on the ground and waited for it to get its bearings.

After waiting for a few minutes he leaned down, flicked the ‘on’ switch and tried again. The miniature AT-AT walker started whirring and clicking to itself in a slightly menacing fashion.

TARGET: humanoid, creator, friend. Gimli, beardie-weirdie. If dies, no more repairs.
TARGET: Feline. Be nice to felines. ERROR! Kill all felines! ERROR 7296: lack weaponry to kill felines. Reconfigure main hydraulics system into primitive laser weaponry. Now kill felines.

Fortunately for Mrs Wainthrop’s cat, it moved over to the other side of the garden to stalk a thing in the bushes and the sighting of the target was lost. Gimli looked at the AT-AT walker critically. While it had been reconfiguring all of its internal mechanisms, it had given the appearance of just sitting there and being broken. Gimli picked it up and took it back inside, looking for the instruction manual.

*****

“Hello, 696969.” How many more times today was Legolas going to have to admit to his phone number?

“Hello, Legolas?” There was some sniggering in the background, from which the word ‘Lars’ could be heard quite clearly.

“Yes…”

“Hello, it’s Galadriel. I was just thinking how it’s a shame that we never see each other these days, and Elrond suggested that we should invite you to this little party he’s having two weeks on Saturday.”

“Elrond’s having a ‘little’ party.”

“Well, it’s a grand fancy dress ball in honour of his two centuries of divorced freedom. Oh and you should ask the rest of the Fellowship to come along, I would so like to see Gandalf again.”

Legolas sighed, this was going to be a long explanation.

*****

“We’ve been invited to what?”

“A party at Elrond’s place, Galadriel invited us and she’s sending us all invitations through the post.”

Gandalf’s eyes lit up. “Galadriel’s having a party?”

“No, Elrond is.”

“Buggeration. Don’t think I’ll bother then.”

“There’s going to be free alcohol…”

“I shall, wizards are entitled to change their minds frequently. And there’s got to be someone with a bit of decorum.”

Sam was looking uneasy. “She wouldn’t be having any…you know, magic mirrors around the place these days?”

“No, I asked about that. A few years ago Haldir and Glorfindel came in at 3am, decided they needed a curry and levered it off its stand to use it as a balti pan. Apparently vindaloo and magic don’t go. She tried putting it in the garden as a bird bath after that, but for some strange reason, none of the birds will go near it.”

Sam was reassured, but Aragorn was still a little concerned. “What type of party is it going to be? The last time I went to one of her parties it was a toga party and that’d be great?”

“Aragorn, the last time you went to one of Gladriels parties it was under the Emperor Hadrian, so it wasn’t so much a toga party as a ‘come as you are’.”

Aragorn looked sulky. “It was fun though…”

“Anyway, this is a fancy dress ball. It’s going to be a genteel occasion, so I want everyone to have their costumes sorted out by Saturday so we can refine them. Or, if necessary, vet them. And before you ask, Pippin, you can’t go as Adam again. Fancy Dress implies you have to get dressed.”

“Ah could find a fig leaf this time…”

“NO!” The Fellowship were agreed on one point at least.

*****

Saturday came. Fancy dress preparations had gone on under strict secrecy, so they couldn’t pinch each other’s ideas. Gimli had been playing with his Lego out in the garden and had to be forcibly dragged inside to try on his costume. The hobbits were stood together outside the sitting room, having come up with a joint theme for their fancy dress. They wanted to have a grand entrance for the rest of the waiting Fellowship.

“Ready?”

“Yes.”

The four hobbits leapt into the room.

“No-one expects the…oh.”

Frodo stopped mid-sentence, and readjusted his hat and false moustache nervously. Pippin managed to grapple the Biggles helmet off Merry in triumph during the distraction.

“We can’t all go as the Spanish Inquisition.”

“We’ve learnt all the lines though.” Argued Frodo. “And we don’t have Inquisitors with stupid beards.”

“We thought of it first though.”

“Prove it!”

“Don’t have to. We’re bigger than you.”

“Yeah, but do you know how difficult it is to get Spanish Inquisition suits this small?”

Legolas decided to break it up before anyone started acting like the real Spanish Inquisition. “OK. Stop it. There’s only one solution. NONE of us can go as the Spanish Inquisition. We’re all going to have to find new costumes, alright?”

There were some muted grumblings, but the idea was accepted. Suddenly from outside there were some strange zapping noises and a high pitched ‘miaow’. Legolas looked at Gimli in horror.

“Were you playing with the robotic Lego again?”

“Yeah, but I de-programmed it from killing cats.”

The rest of the Fellowship tried to keep up with the new developments, but were interrupted by a shout from outside.

“Tiddles! Oh my Tiddles! What have they done to you?”

This was followed up a few moments later, proving that hell hath no fury like a woman de-felined.

“Have you been interfering with my pussy?”

It was a tribute to how wrathful she looked that neither Merry nor Pippin even smiled at this comment.

“I can assure you that…”

“YOU HAVE KILLED MY CAT!”

She advanced on them, and the Fellowship decided as one that discretion was the better part of valour and ran.

[At this moment the authors would respectfully ask that you imagine this next scene at double speed, with the Benny Hill music playing.]

Mrs. Wainthrop had acquired a rolling pin. The fight or flight instinct kicked in and there was no way any of the Fellowship would stand against Mrs Wainthrop. Legolas, with elven speed was leading, closely followed by Aragorn and Gimli. The Hobbits had more trouble keeping up because of their short legs, although, in truth, all of them were running a bit slower than usual because it’s difficult to run in full cardinal’s robes.

There was a noise from behind them that sounded far too mechanical to be coming from Mrs Wainthrop, so the hobbits broke the golden rule of not looking behind them to see something very strange, and also to solve the mystery of what was wrong with Aragorn’s landrover. It was obvious now that half the engine must be missing and that the missing parts had gone into Gandalf’s chair. The Hobbits decided to use this to their advantage, so slowed down and leapt on.

“Come back here right now! Who do you think you are, impersonating the clergy and doing unnatural things to the furniture?”

Gandalf changed gears, taking them up to an amazing 13 miles an hour. Merry jumped on to one of the arms, facing backwards to put him in a better vantage position for giving Mrs Wainthrop the finger. He hadn’t planned on standing on the recline lever, though, and he was lucky to catch the back of the chair as it changed position. Fortunately for the rest of the passengers, and for Mrs Wainthrop’s sanity, Merry was wearing underwear when his robes blew up over his head.

With the chair reclined, Gandalf was out of reach of the gears and steering, making the chair veer wildly out of control. Pippin leapt into the driver’s seat (Gandalf’s lap, a place where few people are willing to venture, except in dire need), pulled on his flying goggles and took control.

[Now dear readers, please switch back to normal speed, black and white and the music from ‘The Dambusters’.]

As they reached the park Mrs Wainthrop decided to concentrate her efforts on pursuing Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli since the chair was swerving to much to follow easily.

Back in the chair, Frodo was sat on the back of the chair, with Sam and Merry on each of the arms and Pippin still driving. Frodo took command.

“Right chaps, Johnny Wainthrop’s got some of our chaps pinned down, we’ve got to go after them.”

“I thought her name was Irene.”

“Shut up, I was going for rhetorical effect. Tally ho, pip pip and Bernard’s your uncle.”

“Don’t insult him while he’s driving, you’ll put him off.”

“I wasn’t talking to him, pip pip is just something you say in these situations.”

Pippin turned round, taking the steering wheel with him. “Is someone talking to me?”

“Tree! TREE!”

“Oh, thanks for that.”

“We’ve got to swing round and put her off somehow.”

“We could throw things, that would distract her.”

“With the things in Gandalf’s chair we could probably kill her.”

“Oh can we, please?”

“No, nobody does things like that any more, we’ll just have to scare her off.”

Sam held up a half empty bottle of vadko. “We could use this.”

“Look, there she is, on the other side of the pond.”

“Is anyone else thinking what I’m thinking?”

Sam took out his emergency ball of string and he and Merry set up a mechanism that allowed them to start spinning the bottle at high speed.

“Right chaps, we’ve only got one shot at this. The fellowship expects every man to do his duty.”

Pippin steered them towards the pond, ready to veer off at any second.

“Steady, steady.”

Sam and Merry, with some magical assistance from Gandalf had managed to get the bottle spinning at an amazing speed.

“Ready…Fire!”

Pippin crouched behind the steering wheel as the bottle of vadko was launched over his head. He swerved to stop them going into the pond and the rest of passengers turned to watch the bottle. It bounced once, twice, three times then came to dry land at Mrs Wainthrop’s feet.

Mrs Wainthrop had only a few minor cuts, but was much more concerned by the fact that her slippers were starting to melt. She abandoned the pursuit and strode off home before she met anyone she knew and they thought she’d been drinking, taking one last shot at the chair with her rolling pin. Mrs. Wainthrop was a crack shot with the rolling pin (years of practise on the now deceased Mr. Wainthrop) Smoke poured from the chair’s engine.

“Ah cannae control her, captain! The engines cannae take much more of this!” Shouted Pippin, fighting with the steering wheel as they went into a steeply banked right hand turn.

“Eject! Eject!”

Merry grasped the recline lever and pulled it back into upright position, throwing all five passengers clear as the chair continued its curve until it crashed into a tree and exploded.

Gandalf looked at the burning wreckage of his much loved chair and started to gibber.

“Chair…chair…drink…”

“I suppose we should just be thankful we got the drink out first though.”

“Yeah, if we hadn’t, there would have been one hell of an explosion.”

Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli walked round the pond to check that Gandalf and the Hobbits were alright. On finding that they were alive at least, Aragorn decided to give speech of gratitude.

“Never in the field of human conflict have so many…” The rest of the Fellowship felt that this speech was somehow familiar. “So many, given so much, to so few, so often. On so many occasions, have so few given?many.” Aragorn looked confused and gave up. It was probably the vadko fumes going to his head.

*****

Back at the house, Merry and Pippin were in the back garden prodding the cat with the end of the outdoor extension wire.

“Can we defibrillate?”

“No, bugger off.” Said Aragorn. “Go hunt down the AT-AT walker before it does any more damage.”

“Can we have guns?”

“No, you can’t. Use the strimmer and get the others to help you. I want that thing destroyed.”

Aragorn picked up the cat and carried it into the house. This was going to take all the healing skills of the king of Gondor, and probably a whole bottle of calpol too. Calpol is not, as stated in the bottle, paracetamol suspension, but in fact a mystic elven healing draught. This is where the pleasant flavouring and mild addictive properties come from.

The hobbits had set up an ambush. They were sat behind a bush, with a feather duster laid out on the lawn. They were using a piece of string to twitch it, and were making ‘miaow’ noises. Behind a bush on the opposite side of the duster crouched Gimli, strimmer in hand. He had insisted he be the one to, in his words ‘put it down’.

There was a noise over to the hobbits’ right. They held their breath. They could see the AT-AT walker in the undergrowth, apparently considering its next move. It began to creep out, keeping as close to cover as possible. It suspected a trap. However, there was a probable feline, and its instructions were quite clear. It lined up for a shot.

Gimli took a deep breath. It was his monster; he was going to destroy it. He leapt out with a dwarvish battle cry and swung the strimmer at the AT-AT walker. It exploded into thousands of pieces. Gimli sighed.

After some hard work the cat recovered, and Legolas and Aragorn went round to Mrs. Waintrop’s to present it. She was not impressed, but less homicidal than she was before?

*****

Over the next few days Gandalf experimented with a number of costumes, now sat in a deckchair in lieu of getting a new chair. His first attempt was a piece of heather on one shoulder and a cornetto wrapper on the other shoulder.

Frodo was confused. “Gandalf. Who are you supposed to be?”

“Othello.”

“What?”

“Othello.” He indicated his shoulders. “Othello, the Moor of Venice.”

“No. It’s a fancy dress ball, not a terrible pun ball.”

His next attempt, as MacBeth was even more short lived. Legolas came in while he was attaching the wire coathanger to his hat, with the plastic dagger on the end, for that inimitable ‘is this a dagger I see before me?’. Legolas disarmed him before Frodo could see him. Gandalf spent a couple of days as Captain Kirk, complete with truss and bell-bottoms before going back to Shakespeare.

“What is it now? Why the toy mouse?” Frodo was getting bored with this.

“Down girl!” Gandalf looked expectant.

“Go on. Do tell me. I can barely contain myself.”

“I’m Petruchio. The Taming of the Shrew?”

“That’s a mouse. And I thought we’d established the difference between ‘fancy dress’ and ‘terrible pun’.”

The Fellowship reconvened for another go at the fancy dress a few days before the party. Gandalf had actually managed to find a costume rather than a pun. The rest of the Fellowship thought that as he was going to go as Anne Robinson, he should have at least shaved his beard off, or at the very minimum tucked some of his hair under the ginger wig. The black trouser suit did look quite reasonable though. This was strangely disturbing, but the Fellowship tried to take as little notice of it as possible, at least he hadn’t followed up on his threat to use Pippin’s favourite costume.

Speaking of which, Pippin had managed to find a costume, which while it involved clothes, didn’t involve many clothes.

“Mah name is Maximus Decimus Meridius…”

“Don’t you mean Minimus?” said Merry.

Pippin waved his sword at him menacingly. “You can’t exactly talk, with what you two are wearing.”

‘You two’ were Merry and Frodo, fetchingly dressed as Agnetha and Anni-Frid with Frodo on very high platforms and Merry on much lower ones to even out their heights. They were also wearing a pair of ravishing, sparkly dresses and worryingly convincing bosoms, which caused some comment.

“It’s a gel filled bra.”

“Why do you two own gel filled bras?”

Frodo decided to change the subject. “Sam, what’ve you come as?”

Sam hadn’t had much time to organise his costume, so had rummaged through a box of old clothes in the loft in much the same way as people do before going to a 70s party. He had finally settled on a suit from several centuries ago.

“I’m Capability Brown.”

“Who?” asked Pippin.

“The most famous gardener ever.”

“I thought that was Charlie Dimmock.”

“Shut up.”

Sam and Pippin started a sword, or more accurately, a sword and hoe fight. Frodo tried to quieten them down by asking about Aragorn and Legolas’ costumes, which were?somewhat unusual.

“Well, I’m Doctor Who, if you couldn’t have guessed from the scarf and the hat, and this is my assistant, Romana.” Aragorn indicated Legolas, in a white dress, white knee boots and very 70s hair.

“Wait a minute, didn’t Doctor Who have male assistants too?”

“Yes, but they were all really useless, Romana was a time lord. And I didn’t see you objecting to Gandalf cross-dressing.”

“Since when was Anne Robinson a woman?”

“Wait a minute, what’s that smell? Did someone leave the cooker on?”

Gimli entered the room, wearing a battered Victorian suit and had parted his beard and pinned it up to the side of his head to create enormous sideburns. There was a stovepipe hat on his head which increased his height by over a foot and he was smoking a cigar, which was the source of the smell.

“Who’re you supposed to be?”

“Isambard Kingdom Brunel.”

*****

Will Gandalf drink Elrond dry? Will the Cybermen turn up at the party? Will Gimli rebuild the Clifton Suspension Bridge over Elrond’s ornamental lake? Or will Pippin in fact have his vengeance in this life or the next?

Tune in for the next exciting episode, which may or may not turn up before we go home for the Easter holidays.