“So Frodo,” Gandalf said, “will you take on this epic quest?”

“Uhh … no.”

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Welcome back to Tuesday’s Tale, a weekly feature where we collaborate to write a story. Previous Tuesday’s Tales include Box of Rocks and ClichéMixMaster. We follow the basic rules of the “Yes, And” improvisational game – accept everything written so far as part of the story, and add your own paragraph (or so) where the last addition left off – except you needn’t begin your addition with “Yes, and.” I’ll start the story….

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Note: Today’s tale is, obviously, a variation on J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings.

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Gandalf’s beetling eyebrows rose. “What? Umm … why not?”

“Let’s start with us,” Frodo said, sweeping an arm to indicate the Shire. “We’re hobbits. Short, jolly, almost childlike. Peace-loving farmers who would never hurt anyone.”

“Right,” Gandalf noted.

Frodo shook his head. “It’s complete horseshit. Look, this is an allegory and the Shire is bucolic England. But we’re not exactly peace-loving farmers who would never hurt anyone. We’re ‘The Empire on which the Sun Never Sets.’ We have colonies all over the damn place, guarded by soldiers who conspire with some natives to keep the other natives in line. Heck, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, His Majesty is your Sauron guy.”

“But–” Gandalf began.

“–And that was just for starters,” Frodo continued. “Then there’s the notion of the fate of the earth being determined by,” he paused to chuckle, “jewelry. Did England fall when King John lost his family jewels in the Wash?”

“His family jewels weren’t magical,” Gandalf said.

Frodo shrugged. “Mrs. John might have disagreed. The point is, no, England didn’t fall. Of course, your Sauron guy hasn’t fallen either, but … and this is where you’re over-egging the lily–”

“–You mean gilding the lily,” Gandalf interrupted. “Or over-egging the pudding.”

“Whichever,” Frodo said. “Let’s say England would fall if the crown jewels were stolen … but only if they were brought back to Buckingham Palace and melted down in the basement furnace. Coz that’s the gist your ‘throw the ring in the fire of Mount Doom’ plan. It just seems a tad … contrived?”

Gandalf puffed on his pipe. At first, he blew smoke rings. Then they transformed into pound signs. “Yes, but … movie rights.”

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Have fun!

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Image Credit: PolygonBronson (DeviantArt>