Bagenders – The Great Trip

Season 2, Episode 6

By Lady Alyssa and Random Dent
Disclaimer: JRR Tolkien owns all the characters, apart from the ones we made up.
Rating: R-ish (Jorvik; strife; bad language)
Feedback: yes please, please or else it means we have to work.
Story notes: The places in York were there last time I went, but that was a while ago. And apologies, but this is a short one.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Frodo wandered into the sitting room. And stopped. The sitting room had gone. Well, the room was still there, but the carpet, the furniture, the people and Gandalf had gone. There was one thing left though – a plug with an extension lead coming from it. Frodo followed the extension lead.

It led him through the house, out of the front door, down the front garden and out onto the street. There he found the sitting room, reassembled and complete with all its occupants. It had been enhanced though with various placards and posters, declaring such things as “Stop the War!”, “Don’t Attack Iraq!” and incongruously “US out of Vietnam!”

“What are you doing?”

“A sit down protest.”

“Do you want to join in, ‘Neighbours’ is on in a minute.”

Frodo found himself half sitting down before he realised what he was doing. “No! I am not sitting down until all this is back in the sitting room.”

“You can’t make us. We’re exercising our democratic right to protest.”

Frodo paused and looked at the assembled company. “You load of hypocrites!”

“Pardon?”

“You’re a load of homicidal maniacs given a good war! You’ve killed more people than Pippin’s had hot dinners! That’s more than the human mind can comprehend.”

“That’s going a bit far. I’ve killed more orcs than the human mind can comprehend. But orcs don’t count. And I’m sure the human mind can comprehend the number of actual people I’ve killed. Swordfighting’s more maiming.”

“But you always said you loved a good war, it got you out of the house.”

“That was before gunpowder. Horrible stuff. It’s just dishonourable.”

“Yeah, like, if someone shoots you through the chest with a longbow-”

“There’s, like, years of practice-”

“Skill, like and tradition-”

“And the craftsmanship and artistry of the bow-”

“So, like, you die in the knowledge that it was, like, a proper warrior who killed you.”

“So you’d support the war if they went over and fought it in handbuilt, aesthetically pleasing tanks.”

“Yeah, if the MOD had listened to us we’d be be over there fighting it.”

“But we’d like, prefer it if they were solar powered.”

“So none of you care about the humanitarian issues?”

“Nope, here because the telly’s here.” Merry, Pippin and Gandalf were obviously semi-reluctant parties to this protest.

“Or even the moral issues?”

“I care about the moral issues.” said Aragorn.

“You do?” Frodo was suspicious.

“Well, yes, it’s all been done before, pointless wars in the Middle East, I was there you know.”

“Aragorn, you weren’t in the Gulf in 1991. You spent most of that war on an advanced tree surgery course.”

“Not 1991. 1099. And again in 1191. The Crusades were great, going off with the lads-”

Frodo could feel a military anecdote coming on and forestalled it. “But you weren’t in Iraq.”

“Iraq wasn’t there then. And anyway, that’s where Merry and Pippin were conquering with whatshisname, short bloke-”

“Wee Alex of Macedon.”

“Yep, him. Anyway, I wouldn’t conquer anywhere they have. They’ve been there.”

Frodo sighed. This wasn’t getting him anywhere, and he might as well watch ‘Neighbours’.

Some time later the Police arrived.

“Would you mind moving this, it’s causing an obstruction.”

“Oh, like, we’re protesting-”

“Like, peacefully-”

“Are you trying to oppress us?”

“No, I’m not trying to oppress you, I’m trying to move you along, peacefully, so your neighbours can use the road.”

“Fascist!”

“Pig!”

“Shush! I’m trying to watch the telly!”

“Is that ‘Diagnosis Murder’? I don’t think I’ve seen this one.” The policemen both perched on the arm of one of the sofas.

“Would either of you two like a cup of tea?”

“Oh, if you’re offering. Two sugars, please.”

“Frodo! You can’t feed the forces of oppression tea!”

“Why not? They look like they could do with a break.”

“Yeah, we’ve had a bloody awful morning.”

Frodo swung into diplomacy mode. “Why don’t we all have a nice cup of tea and watch ‘Diagnosis Murder’. You two can have a nice break and tell your superiors we’re being terribly difficult, and we’ll try and sort something out at the end of the programme. Ok?”

There were nods from all but the Twins, who looked at Frodo, narrow-eyed.

“Quisling.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After ‘Diagnosis Murder’ it started to rain, so the policemen decided to go back the the police station to have a cup of tea somewhere warm and dry, and the contents of the living room were returned to the living room.

Gandalf, Aragorn, Merry, Pippin and the Twins were just settling down to watch children’s tv, when Frodo unplugged the television and stood in front of it with a expression most of the Fellowship only expected to see on Legolas.

“Well I hope you’re pleased with yourselves.” Pippin nodded and tried to crane his neck to look around Frodo at the tv as if to give him a hint. “I have never been so embarrassed in all my life. Showing me up in front of the neighbours like that. And not only have you shown me up, but you’ve shown yourselves up as well. Just as we were starting to be accepted in this street, you have to go and do something to make us look… abnormal again.”

“Like, we’re sorry.”

“Don’t you understand? It’s not just today! Merry, Pippin, you just sit in the house all day getting under my feet. You eat more than anyone else and what do you contribute to this household? Nothing! Find yourselves new jobs!”

“Like, calm down little dude. You shouldn’t get hung up on, like, society’s petty rules.”

Frodo turned to the Twins and Aragorn. “And you lot aren’t much better. You should get out there and do things.”

“But I can’t walk!”

“That’s no excuse. You’ve spent too long malingering already. You need to get outside for some Fresh Air.”

“But they said they can’t take the plaster off for another week and a half.”

“You are going out. No arguments. Tomorrow, you will all be out of the house by half past nine and if any of you are back before half past five there will be Trouble.”

“What about Gandalf?”

Gandalf was momentarily shocked out of his smugness and tried to make himself as inconspicuous as possible.

“He can stay. I’ve got used to him. You put the loop tape of Channel 5 on and if it wasn’t for the heavy breathing you wouldn’t know he was there. He even levitates his deckchair so I can hoover underneath.”

“But-”

“I don’t want to hear it. I will even make packed lunches for you. Just go.”

“Can we have cheese and curry sandwiches?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rosy fingered dawn stuck two rosy fingers up at the Fellowship. The Twins and Aragorn had got up, breakfasted and were now standing by the door awaiting military inspection. Frodo strode up and down the line.

“Where are Merry and Pippin?”

“Don’t know sir.”

“Are you trying to be sarcastic?”

“Nosir. Elrond. Arg.” Elrohir twitched from the warring automatic responses.

“Stop the sir. And the Elrond. And go and find them. They are to be out of the house in precisely twelve minutes.”

“Yes, S-Elro-Frodo.”

Elrohir ran upstairs and hammered on the door. “Merrypippingetup! Or Frodo will kill you!”

“Not getting up. Staying here. He won’t notice.”

“He’s already noticed! Get up! Like, now!”

Merry and Pippin looked at each other. Elrohir didn’t actually sound stoned. This was very worrying indeed. They got up.

A few minutes later the military line up by the door was quorate.

“Hmmmmm. Tuck that shirt in. Stand up straight. You will have to do.” Frodo handed out bundles of packed lunches. “Everyone has their keys? And their wallets? Their own wallets, and not someone else’s? And a clean handkerchief?”

The line up nodded.

“Right. GET OUT! OUT! NOW!”

They ran for the door. As soon as the last one was out the door was slammed behind them and there was the sound of bolts being shot and the chain being put on.

“Frodo! I need the toilet!”

There was the sound of the radio being turned up from inside the house.

“What are we going to do with ourselves?”

“We, like got tourist stuff. We’re going to York.”

“Why?”

“Cos, like we found the ‘Come to York’ leaflet on the train when we came up-”

“And it says ‘Come to York’-”

“So we should go to York-”

“Otherwise they might, like be offended, cos we were invited-”

“And it’s rude to turn down an invitation.”

“Can we come too?”

“No. You are going to find a job. J-O-B. Job.”

“Yeah, like work.”

“Not, like, a bank job.”

“Like, you go somewhere and you do stuff and they give you money.”

“Are you telling them to be prostitutes?”

“No, no, that’s not a good job -”

“But it is well paid-”

“But probably not that well paid if you’re four feet tall.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Twins and Aragorn were on the train, with leaflets spread out on the table in front of them.

“Like, the ‘Come to York’ thing was a Sign-”

“So we got leaflets, so we knew what to do when we got there.”

“What are we going to do? I can’t walk properly, you’ve been having to push me round the place in the wheelchair.”

“We’ll manage. We can carry you.”

“And, like there was a Sign to go to York-”

“Yeah, like that destination board with ‘1045 York’ on it-”

“At the station?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh god.” Aragorn realised now why he hadn’t kept in closer contact with the Twins. While they were mildly amusing for a while, after a time trying to think down to their level was difficult. A small part of him wondered if this was how Legolas felt all the time…

Elrohir waved a leaflet. “Look! They’ve got ministers!”

“They’ve got a Minster. A big church.”

“Why is the church a minister?”

“What else have they got there?”

“They’ve got a pub in a bath.”

“Cool!”

“Could you pass me that leaflet?” Aragorn took the leaflet and read it.

“It is a pub, which has a Roman bath house in its basement.”

“Dude! Even better! We can take a pint into the steam room-”

“Warming vodka in the cold bath.”

“No, no, a Roman bath. From Roman times. In ruins.”

“That’s no fun.”

“But if you take a pint in the steam room it’ll evaporate-”

“There isn’t any steam in the steam room, it’s a ruin.”

“What’s the point of that?”

“Look! Jorvik!”

“Yeah! That looks so cool!”

“The Viking place?”

“Yeah! Vikings! Vikings are so cool-”

“It’s like, a Viking experience.”

“You met Vikings. You knew Vikings. You experienced a lot of Vikings, generally skewered on the end of your sword.”

“But, like that wasn’t an Experience.”

“But they were real Vikings! You can’t get a more Viking experience than experiencing real Vikings.”

“But, but it recreates the sights and sounds and smells-”

“You know what Vikings look sound and smell like. You killed a few, you know what a Viking looks like on the inside, do you reckon they’re going to show you that?”

“We’re all people on the inside-”

“Kind of sticky, sometimes dribbly. It depends.”

Aragorn gave up. “How about we see what looks interesting when we get there?”

“Yeah, there’ll probably be a Sign at the station.”

“I suspect there will be, and that it will have ‘Places of interest’ written at the top of it.”

There was silence as they watched the world go by.

“Hey, Estel Estel Estel Estel Estel -”

“What?”

“I’ve got a joke.”

“If it’s the one about the pink gorilla, you told me it yesterday.”

“Oh.” Elladan looked crestfallen. “I’ve got another joke.”

“Go on.”

“A Noldor and a Sindar walk into a bar and the Noldor goes ‘Nice hat!’” Elladan looked expectant.

“Yes?”

Elrohir looked at his brother. “Dude, that one only works in Quenya. I know a joke. Why did the Sindar cross the sundering sea? Oh, wait, he didn’t.”

Aragorn didn’t laugh. “Never. Ever. Tell that within twenty miles of Legolas. Or you will die.”

“Legolas is a Sindar? He hides it well.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At around ten to eleven the phone rang.

“Frodo? What’s a CV.”

“You don’t know what a CV is?”

“Neither of us drive, and even if we did we wouldn’t drive a French car.”

“It’s not a car Pippin. It’s a piece of paper where you lie about your previous employment.”

“That’s great, I’m good at lying!”

“They have to be plausible lies.”

“Oh. Well, I’ll try and write one anyway.” The next part of the conversation ws slightly muffled as Pippin had put his hand over the mouthpiece of the phone. “Merry, have you still got your bus ticket? What do you mean why? To write my CV on. Frodo says I’ve got to write all my old jobs down and if I write small they should all fit.”

“Pippin, wait. We’ll write your CV when you get home this evening, we can print it off from the library computers.”

“Frodo, what kind of jobs are we supposed to be getting anyway?”

“Something that gets you out of the house and occasionally pays you.”

“Right, cos you see, I don’t really see myself as a marine engineer or anything like that.”

“That’s good, because neither will the people doing the interviews. How about something more like… retail, for example?”

“Are you trying to get us back to shelf stacking?”

“It’s the only thing you’re qualified for.”

“Hey, I have qualifications! I can do stuff!”

“Such as?”

“Ummm… I’m quite good with a short sword. And throwing stones. I can cook if I have to… ummm…”

“So, you can shelf stack, work in MacDonald’s or become a very unsuccessful mercenary.”

“The mercenary idea sounds good.”

“You’ll have to go abroad.”

“Oh. To places that speak Foreign?”

“Yes.”

“I can speak some Foreign.”

“You can speak Saxon. And Latin. That’s not going to get you far.”

“There’s a place called Saxony, do they need mercenaries?”

“I don’t think so.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“They are like, so hung up-”

“Tied to social conventions-”

“Like, totally unreasonable.”

“Some of the people did look really very scared though.”

“Yeah, but like we brought emotion to it-”

“Like, a proper Viking experience-”

“I was shit scared of the Vikings, so like other people should get that experience.”

“I thought we were just going to go round Jorvik normally, but no, you get out of the cars, sit very still pretending to be an exhibit and then jump out at people screaming Old Norse curses.”

“Yeah, like a proper Viking experience-”

“Most of the Vikings I experienced were swearing at me.”

“Was it really worth a life time ban from Jorvik?”

The Twins looked thoughtful. “Yeah-”

“Just wish I’d had a camera-”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Frodo! Frodo! Please let us in!”

There was silence from the house.

“I’ll pee in the garden.”

A window opened above them. “You wouldn’t dare.”

“If you don’t let us in soon I’ll have no choice.”

“Cross your legs. Think about deserts. You’re not coming back in here for another three hours.” The window slammed shut.

“What if my kidneys explode?”

“Come off it, I doubt that can happen. Tinkletoes.”

Pippin launched himself at Merry, hurling abuse and fists. After a few moments they realised that no-one was going to break up the fight, or do anything interesting, and let go of each other. They sat dejectedly on the path.

“Merry?”

“What?”

“I’m hungry.”

“You’re like a bloody broken record you are.”

“But I am hungry!”

“You’re always hungry! Apart from when you’ve eaten yourself sick. Then five minutes later you’re hungry again.”

“You’re no better.”

“Yeah, but I don’t whinge.”

“I do not whinge.”

“You do. Whinge whinge whinge. ‘I’m hungry, I haven’t had sex in three weeks, I need a pint.’ Whinger.”

“Just because you’re a bloody silent monk!”

“What?”

“I’m always the one who has to do the talking, who has to lie and say we haven’t any idea where Aragorn’s underwear is.”

“That’s just cos you’re a gobshite.”

“You’re dull. Dull dull dull. Stuck in a rut, never do anything interesting.”

“When did you last do something interesting I didn’t?”

“Got a moped licence.”

“Ooooh, oooooh, I’m so dull because I can’t ride a jumped up bicycle.”

“And you’re crap at sarcasm.”

“If time travel is invented I’ll go back and chuck you off Caradhras.”

“And then you’ll die, cos I won’t be there to save you from the orcs.”

“Better than eternity here. Like bloody purgatory.”

“Didn’t know you were a Catholic.”

“I’m not, I just approve of any religion that involves you in eternal suffering and damnation.”

“Why did we end up friends in the first place? Cos you’re a lot older than me.”

“Cos no-one else could stand either of us, Pip. And they still can’t.”

“Oh. Right. Let’s never fight again!”

“No, that means we’ll never talk again.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Tea! Tea! TEA! Teateateateateatea!”

“Oh my god! TEA! Tea! Tea!”

“What?”

“Legolas and Frodo saw the leaflets and said that while we were here we had to get special tea-”

“They wrote where to go on our arms-”

“But look! It’s like, run!”

“That might have been when you both fell in the river.”

“Oh. Yeah. It would. But tea!”

“Legolas is gonna kill us. Like, really kill us.”

“Can you remember the name of the shop?”

“I think it began with a ‘B’. Or a ‘G’. Or an ‘E’. That kind of letter.”

“Can you remember where it was?”

“Yeah!”

“Where?”

“York!”

“More specifically?”

“Dunno-”

“I think it was somewhere big. Or medium-”

“Probably not small. But I’m not sure-”

“Let’s run. If we run, we go to more places.”

The Twins each grabbed a handle of Aragorn’s wheelchair and began running round the streets of York, making car noises and occasionally stopping, yelling ‘tea!”, pointing wildly before heading off again.

“Stop! Stop! Cobbles! In pain!”

“Oh, like sorry.”

“Perhaps we could ask someone.”

“For some tea?”

“No, where any tea shops are.”

“But that’s like, talking to normal people-”

“And they’re scary.”

“I’ll do the talking.”

Aragorn was wheeled in the direction of some people who didn’t look like tourists.

“Um, excuse me, we’re looking for a tea shop, but we’ve forgotten the name. I think it’s a, um famous one…?”

“Oh, yes love, back the way you just came, second left and it’s right in front of you at the end of the street.”

“Thank you.”

The Twins wheeled Aragorn away, still looking suspicious. The tea shop was duly found.

“Like, hi. We need tea. Lots of tea.”

“Yes, sir. What kind?”

“There are different kinds?”

“Yeah, like don’t you remember? They both told us names of tea. Special tea-”

“Not like special lembas?”

“No, just ordinary tea, but special-”

“Cake! They have cake-”

“And chocolate-”

“Aragorn can we have cake and chocolate for the way home?”

“Canwe canwe canwe?”

“Um, since you have your own money, yes.”

“Well, some of it’s your money.”

“Cake money – wait! Tea! We need tea!”

“Yes, sir, you said you needed tea. What sort of tea?”

“It wasn’t Darjeeling… or Earl Grey-”

“The one Frodo wanted sounded silly-”

“Like, silly but… Hendrix-”

“Yeah, like Woodstock-”

“Trippy Assam! Trippy Assam!” Elladan started jumping up and down triumphally.

“Um, would that be Tippy Assam?”

“Actually – yeah. Like a bag of that.”

“What did Legolas want?”

“Can’t remember. Aragorn?”

“Yes?”

“Can you, like read out their list of tea in a really sarcastic voice? We’ll get it that way.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“We’re very sorry. We tried our best. But nature was against us.”

“Don’t think of it as us pissing in the garden, but fertilising the plants.”

“Legolas does it all the time.”

“Not directly, and this is the important difference.”

The Fellowship were at dinner. The Twins and Aragorn had managed to get home by themselves, a feat that they were all feeling very proud of. The tea had duly been presented.

“I asked you for Lapsang Souchong. You bring me Moroccan Mint. Forgive me if I fail to see the connection.”

“Like, we tried. Really hard-”

“But Aragorn’s not that good at being sarcastic-”

“And we fell in the river-”

“And they had cake-”

“So, like, everything was against us.”

“You managed Frodo’s tea.”

“It was like trippy tea-”

“Really easy to remember.”

“I see.”

Frodo tried to lighten the mood. “So, Aragorn, did you have a nice day?”

“I got out of the house. I got some fresh air. Um, yes?”

“We went round Jorvik, and the walls, and the Minster, and we went up the Tower, and then we came down the tower really fast, which was fun-”

“And then we fell in the river, but Estel didn’t which was good, cos his cast would have dissolved, and then we got lost and then we bought tea.”

“You managed all that with a wheelchair?”

“We carried him round some bits-”

“He’s not as heavy as he looks-”

“But then again, he does look very heavy-”

“Maybe he’s got hollow bones-”

“Nah, it’d’ve shown up on the x-rays-”

“How do you know they were his x-rays? Hospitals make mistakes all the time-”

“But a pitchfork through the foot’s quite unusual-”

“Oh, and we’re banned from ever going back to Jorvik ever again. It was great.”

Legolas and Aragorn made eye contact, and an unspoken agreement was reached.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“A Sign! A Sign!”

“What? Like where?”

“Like, I came down here and it was just sat there, on the table.”

“Really? That must be magic or something.”

“Yeah, cos it wasn’t there last night.”

“What does the sign say?”

“Um ‘Travel the Trans-Siberian railway’.”

“Cool! Where does it go?”

“Trans-Siberia, I think.”

“We’ve never been to Trans-Siberia.”

“It must be really cool if they built a railway there specially, cos it’s a long way away.”

“But is it a proper sign?”

“Yeah, cos I found like our passports, and visas, and, like, plane times to Moscow.”

“Wow. That’s, like such a Sign.”