Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Force of Hobbit

With apologies to Tolkein, a minor edit to Lord of the Rings which is the result of a frequent 'Why didn't...'
574 words. Saves an awful lot of that questing stuff on the way.


His eyes were streaming, though not from the wind in his face. Every one of his sneezes carried a curse for the stubborn little so and so that made this journey necessary. His great admiration and even love for Gwaihir did nothing to assuage his allergy to anything feathered and nothing could be considered more feathered than the greatest of the Eagles.
Two days he had argued, persuaded, cajoled even threatened but what they lacked in height your average Hobbit more than made up for in stubborn. They were impossible to shift once set on a course or task and unfortunately the task Frodo was set on was entirely concerned with the Shire and the coming celebrations. One Hobbit obsessing over a party had thwarted the plan he had nurtured for over a year. It would have united every race and tribe against Sauron and had been rendered useless by one insolent Hobbit. No other race would have suited as the ring bearer. There would have been far too much resentment and competition between the races of men with none prepared to accept a subordinate role. Elves wouldn't do it and considered themselves above such things. Dwarves? Even the thought of letting their aggression and obduracy loose made him shiver. No only a Hobbit would have united them, triggering that innate desire in all species to protect the apparently young.
Avoiding Sauron's ground forces had been relatively easy, Gandalf's main concern was the Nazgul and even their attention was directed goundward. Gwaihir was capable of such height that Gandalf nearly lost conciousness due to the thinness of the air and they would have passed over them but for another sneeze at just the wrong moment. Suddenly the Nazgul became aware that what they sought was above them. A frightening chase ensued and was still in progress for the rest of the Eagles that had massed around him. Wheeling and diving, one moment together like a flock of starlings and then bursting apart like one of Gandalf's own fireworks. In the confusion Gwaihir had folded his wings and dropped from the melee like a stone. Gandalf only survived by locking his arms round the eagles neck and burying himself as close as possible into the creatures neck, more violent sneezing. The drop succeeded and Gwaihir managed to disappear from the Nazgul's sight pulling out at treetop height and putting considerable distance between them and their pursuers by hugging the contours of the valley.
Gwaihir soared up the slope of Mount Doom to a rising, earth shaking roar as Sauron became aware of his imminent defeat. Gandalf let the ring fall from his fingers and watched it disappear from sight into the fires below. The roar turned into a wail and merged with the sound of splitting rock and explosions of lava as the mountain tore itself apart.
The final act had been surprisingly easy. Sauron had never expected Gandalf to succeed, confident that his massed forces would have dealt with the annoying wizard well before he was anywhere near the end. The few arrows from confused Orcs on the last approach to the mountain had been no more annoying than a wasps at a summer picnic.
Picnic. Yes. Now to return to the Shire and deal severely with a certain young Hobbit. Even more severely than he originally planned if there was no cake left.
Gandalf sneezed. And a handkerchief. The sleeve of his cloak was reverting from white to grey.

Friday, 20 March 2015

A Cap Full

Harking back to the days of National Service.


The last Trolley Bus spat him out at the top of the hill seeming anxious to divest itself of the once smart passenger, smelling strongly of the traditional Saturday night blend of beer and fags mixed with a last lingering whiff of cheap aftershave.
He walked downhill with all the certainty of a Pinball on a Bally table, and into the chip shop to add that last essential ingredient, a bag of chips smothered in salt and vinegar, which he cradled in his cap. A habit since he was young and something his mother still laid into him for every morning after. Where once it was his scout beret now it was his cap. He wouldn't get away with it after tonight though. Scary as his Mum could be there was always a little smile and a lot of love behind the shouting but he doubted the same would be true of a drill sergeant.

Not much of a send off, a few pints and a bag of chips on the way home before he was off to National Service in the morning. He looked about him at the dark terraced houses which looked only less dark but still as grey in daylight and took a deep breath. He failed to notice that clean smell of the first rain after a dry spell due to the steaming chips just inches from his nose as he kept bag close to mouth in fear of losing any.

He'd done his best but still come up short. Played the national hero off to foreign parts, one last chance before he went, no idea when or if he'd return, all with his best stoic expression. Though he stood as much chance of finding Stoic in the dictionary as he did of getting in Alice Randal's knickers.

'Oh push off. You're going no further than Aldershot and you'll be back on leave in six weeks'

He was off to do his bit for his country, not that he'd got much choice in the matter but that wasn't the point. Marching up and down a parade ground and whatever else they had in store for him was going to be hard work. Surely that warranted a last nights tumble but no. Harry was the one. Harry could get stuff. Harry could get silk stockings and make up and Harry could get into Alice Randal's knickers because Harry probably gave them to her. Harry with the flat feet and medically unfit for bleeding service. He wondered, not for the first time, if you could flatten your own feet and if it would hurt.

The van careering round the corner very nearly flattened more than his feet and missed him even more closely with the bundle of newspapers hurled from the back. The bundle skittered to a stop against the door of the newsagent and had he not been busy hurling abuse and a V sign at the departing vehicle he might have appreciated the accuracy of the throw. He went back to his chips, having held onto them with the certainty and dexterity only a drunk possesses and mumbled into them as he walked the last few yards to his front gate.

The bundle lent against the door with the last few drips of rain from the guttering above giving a darker look to the headline on the top copy 'More Troops Committed to Malaya'