*Parte ye Fyrste*
'I was only ten feet away when the shot rang out. Whizz. Thwock.
The crowd began to scream, but I'd been on the business end of a dart
too often to be afraid. I didn't even bother looking into the wings; I
figured whoever fired the shot was too smart to hang around. So I
strolled over to Frodo, lying pinned to the stage by the arrow. He
looked unconscious, and I gave him a tap to help him stay that way. I
wasn't worried about that skeletal freak; I'd seen him survive too many
wounds to think he was in danger. So I turned him over on his side,
broke off the point protruding from his chest, and pulled the rest of
the arrow out ofhis back.
'This was a humdinger and no mistake. I'd just been admiring the
fine job pulled on Ariellë: there aren't too many folks who know how to
manufacture a Bywater Grin, and we'll keep it that way, just saying
that it involves a thumbtack, half a glass of Old Winyards, choklit, a
grain of Vala Dust, and the Secret Ingredient.
'But this was different. I only had to glance at the arrow to know
where it came from: long and straight in the shaft, tapering green
feathers. Leaving the ceremonial to Paragraph, the Priest, and Aragon,
I hoisted Frodo over a shoulder, slipped off the stage, and went to
look for Lego-lass.
'"I wasn't there!" she insisted. Her square face was shinier than
ever. "Giggly can testify that I was..."
'"Yeah, yeah," I interrupted. I'd dumped Frodo at the Houses of
Healing, with strict orders to keep him sedated. "Any gumshoe can tell
you were framed. The question is, by who? Who's had access to your
'"Nobody!" she answered. "I keep it with me at all times. I only
take it off when I go to bed."
'"Anybody with you then?" I asked, rhetorically.
'"Nein!" Giggly said. "I was nowhere around. You ask Lego-lass!"
'"Yeah," I said, "but the arrow..."
'"What is this? You want to blame everything on the Dwerrows? The
Dwerrows are responsible for wars, the stock market, assassinations,
nu? You think we have no feelings? Hath not a Dwarf eyes? Hath not a
Dwarf mustaches? Hath not a Dwarf ear wax, nostril hair, foot fungus?"
'"Waitaminnit. I didn't say you did it. I know you couldn't fire
an arrow without hitting your own foot. I just want to know if you took
'Giggly growled and was silent.
'"Things could get rather difficult for 'Lass..." I reminded him.
'"All right! I did borrow an arrow. Boromir(TM) said he wanted to
look at one, see how it was made."
'Boromir(TM). How could I have forgotten about him? The web grew
'I found him in the Tower, watching the late-night newscasts of
PalanTirith. I laid it on the line for him without fear; I'd come
armed with a big bottle of _limpë_.
'"Thou hast the wrong man, friend!" he exclaimed. "Ariellë was my
sister. Wherefore should I harm her?"
'"Leave Ariellë out of it, chump. It was Frodo who got the hit.
And you and Frodo have a history, nespasu?"
'"True enough it is that I hate the bastard and would gladly see him
dead," Boromir(TM) said with a goofy smile. "But I did not shoot him.
Why should I? As I know from experience , it is not easy to kill such
a one. And living, he would endure a hell of self-loathing that is far
worse than death. How could I possibly better that?"
'"That's nothing to me. All I care about is the arrow."
'"I know nothing of arrows. Why don't you ask Lego-lass?"
'"You're lying," I said. "Lie again, and you get this bottle of
limpë in the face. Then you can see if Aragon will make you a new
'Boromir(TM) looked at the open bottle poised in his right hand, and
gulped. You could see the lump travel from his throat all the way down
to his right foot. I hate toons.
'"All right, I confess!" he said. "I asked Giggly to get me an
arrow from Lego-lass. But I didn't mean to kill Frodo! I swear!"
'"So what *did* you mean?"
'"She said she'd let me rub oil on her thighs if I got one from her!
I didn't know that she would do anything with it! I thought it was
just for her weapons collection! I promise!"
'There are times when a shamus has to decide how far he wants to get
into a case. Sometimes, when you follow the leads, you end up
someplace you don't wanna be. It doesn't matter how long it's taken or
how much work you've done; sometimes you just drop the matter if you
know what's good for you. As they say where I come from, you can't
fight Brandy Hall.'
So it was that on the day of Midsummer, Aragon the King El Lesser
married Arwen, Warrior Princess, in the City of Commerce, and the long
tale of their difficult and tortuous relationship was come to
There are eight thousand stories in the Magic Kingdom. This has
been one of them.
*Parte ye Seconde*
When the days of rejoicing were over at last the Companions
considered, but soon dismissed the thought of returning to their own
homes. 'The Shire?' Morrie asked rhetorically as he lay back on his
lawn chair sipping a pińa colada and having his feet massaged by two
buxom Műmakteers. 'Whereąs that? Oh, yes, I remember. Depressed
area. People live in holes.'
Frodo had recovered from his wound, and with plenty of bedrest, new
clothes, and five meals a day was better than ever. But he seemed to
have no memory of the events of Coronation Day at all.
So Frodo went to Aragon as he was sitting with Arwen by the
fountain, and she sang a song of Valhalla, while the Tree grew and
blossomed. They welcomed Frodo and rose to greet him; and Aragon said:
'I know what you have come to say, Frodo: you wish to take up your
ownership of Moneybags Hall in Nurnenshire. Well, dearest friend, the
tree grows best in the land of its sires....' (Frodo frowned at this)
'but nonetheless you must do as you please. Behold! Here are the
parchments giving you the title to Nurnenshire; and here are the keys
of the manor. Just sign here... and here.... and there.
Congratulations, Frodo! You are now the proud owner of Nurnenshire,
with a 51% share in Mordor Enterprises, and the courtesy title of "Duke
'Fifty... one... percent!ą Frodo gasped. ŚBut thatąs a controlling
'Do you wonder at that, Ring-eater?' said Arwen. 'For you know that
three-quarters of the land area of Mordor is in Nurnenshire, and 99% of
the arable land. But do not forget that the headquarters of Mordor
Enterprises is ruined, its Board of Directors have been slain, and the
vast majority of its records are lost with the fall of the Dark Tower.'
'Whoo-hoo!' cried Frodo, heedless of Arwenąs cautions. 'I'm in
charge of Mordor! Heh-heh... now those Orcsąll find out how a
corporation *ought* to be run! Hm..., letąs see....'
Frodo stalked up and down the courtyard, shouting to himself as he
milked the Kow. 'First, Iąll rebuild the Dark Tower. No, two of them!
They must rise even higher then before, or the narcoterrorists have
won! Then, Iąll stamp out the last remnants of Socialism. In five
years weąll be outperforming Gondor! Hah-hah! Nothing, nothing can
stop me now! 'Cos I--Iąm the Duke of Nu-urn!'
'Dook, Dook, Dook
Dook of Nurn, Dook, Dook
Dook of Nurn, Dook, Dook,
Dook of Nurn, Dook, Dook, Dook...' came the echoing chorus from the
sides of Mount Minnie.
Aragon coughed. 'Since you are so (potentially) wealthy,ą he said,
'then you surely won't mind redeeming *this*.' And with that he
produced a much-folded, dog-eared document. 'Your IOU,' he went on,
'for I believe fifty thousand gold pieces...'
'Fifty grand!' Frodo exclaimed. 'You kept *that*? You
bloodsucker! You canąt be serious!'
'But I am,' Aragon said, nodding. 'You see, with the downturn in
revenue and unredeemed war expenses, Crown finances are somewhat
embarrassed. I must collect my debts where they are owed me, or go
'*I*ąm not going to be supporting him,' Arwen finished.
'Well, I donąt have 50 Gs on me. Maybe when I get to Moneybags
'Oh, donąt worry about that,' Aragon said. 'Just sign this cheque,
and it'll be deducted from the assets of your Estate.'
Frodo snarled, but took the proffered quill and signed. 'Thatąs the
last I see of you, you rascal. I knew as soon as I set eyes upon you
that you were a rogue! Well, be seeiną ya, toots -- Iąm off to
Aragon took the cheque, verified the signature, and tucked it away
inside the ample folds of his tunic. He smiled broadly and nodded at
'One moment, Ring-eater,' she said softly but menacingly.
Frodo stopped and turned back, warned by her voice. 'What is it?' he
growled, hand straying to the hilt of his sword.
'I understand that after all the trauma you have suffered your
memory may be weak. Therefore I wish to bring to your recollection
this document, which you signed before you left Rivendell.' She
produced an ornate parchment, covered in tiny elvish script and adorned
with many wax seals attached to ribbons.
'Yeah, okay,' said Frodo. 'I remember that. Thatąs my deferment.
But it was good for 10 years, and I destroyed the Ring in much less
than that amount of time!'
'That is true indeed,' said Arwen. 'Howbeit, I draw your attention
to the last paragraph. No, the one *under* the seals.'
Frodo looked. Besides being half-hidden by the enormous seals, the
elvish script was composed of letters about a millimeter and a half
high, on average. He held the parchment close to his eyes, squinted
the right, and read out loud:
'I, Frodo Baggins of Bag End, being of doubtful sanity and unable to
care for myself, do remit to El Rond, Lord of Rivendell, the sole
custody and guardianship of any and all Estates that I may lawfully
inherit or otherwise come to possess within the boundaries of the Land
of Mordor. I grant to El Rond, Lord of Rivendell, sole power to act
upon my behalf, to buy, sell, grant, deed, enjoy, transmit, bestow,
bequeath, or otherwise dispose of said Estates in precisely such manner
as if I were a legally declared minor or lunatic. Signed, FRODO
The last words were uttered in a semi-incoherent rush as Frodo
foamed extravagantly at the mouth and then collapsed senseless on the
cobblestones of the Court of the Fountain. _What a loser_, came a
mocking voice inside his head as he lost consciousness. _I always knew
you wouldnąt amount to anything_.
The next day, Frodo, Sam, Morrie and Pipsqueak were informed that
they were several months in arrears on their rents and would forthwith
be expelled from the City.