I’m taking a Gotham Writer’s Workshop writing workshop, and posting the assignments here after getting the instructor’s feedback. For this one we were supposed to write about cheese, hobbits, or paraphernalia – author’s choice. I was immediately struck by the extra “r” in parapheRnalia which I’ve never pronounced and had never seen before, but decided to go with hobbits instead. The instructor said people usually pick cheese.
“Uncle Bilbo! Uncle Bilbo!” Frodo burst excitedly through the front door at Bag End. He rushed down the hobbit-hole to the kitchen, where he found his uncle making oatmeal.
“What’s all the yelling for? Calm down, dear boy. At my age I can only take a limited amount of excitement, and waking up in the morning is usually enough for me. What’s gotten you so worked up?”
“They’ve made a movie out of your book, and it comes out today! Let’s go see it!”
“A movie, you say?”
“Yes, it’s very exciting. They’ve cast that guy Tim from The Office to play you!”
“I don’t remember a Tim in The Office.”
“The British The Office, not the American The Office.”
“But that was the original one.”
“I see,” Bilbo said, though it was clear from his face he did not.
“Well, anyway I thought I could get you to come see it with me.”
“Funny, I didn’t realize we even had a movie theater in Bag End.”
“Yeah, they just built it last year while I was away in Mordor. It’s great: stadium seating and reclining chairs – you’ll love it! They got a special zoning permit – it’s the only indoor space in town not shaped like a tube.”
“And this movie, you say it’s about me?”
“Yes! It’s based on that book about you. Remember? It’s called The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
“Rather long title, wouldn’t you say?”
“Well, it’s a rather long movie – three hours!”
“Three hours?! I don’t know, Frodo, that seems like a long time to be sitting still in the dark without going to the bathroom.”
“My memory isn’t what it used to be, but I thought the book was only about 300 pages.” Bilbo looked up, thinking hard. “I suppose if one were to go into absolutely excruciating detail, you could probably drag 300 pages out to three hours.”
“Umm, yes, well….” Frodo trailed off.
Bilbo raised an eyebrow, looking confused.
Frodo cleared his throat, hesitant. “Actually it’s the first movie in a trilogy,”
“A what now?”
“Trilogy. They’ve made your story into a three separate three-hour movies. This is actually just the first one.”
“You’re telling me I’ve got to sit through three hours of a movie and the story won’t even be half done?”
“I guess, technically speaking, it will just be beginning. The middle comes out next year and the end the year after that.”
“And we’re meant to sit here in the meantime just twiddling the toes of our enormous hobbit feet, wondering how it all ends?”
“Well, it is your story. Is it really a big mystery to you how it ends? I mean, you’re standing here.”
“I’m 111 years old. I can barely remember what I had for breakfast.”
“Oatmeal. You’re cooking it right now.”
Bilbo glanced down in surprise at his right hand, which was holding a wooden spoon that was presently engaged in stirring a pot of oatmeal, then looked back up.
“So I am!” he exclaimed delightedly. “You are so clever, my dear….um, what was your name again?”
“That’s a funny name, isn’t it?”
“About the same as Bilbo, I’d say.”
“Bilbo! What a wonderful name! And who might he be?” Bilbo looked around the room.
Frodo paused, and then his face brightened.
“Bilbo is the name of the lead in a movie we’re going to see this afternoon, my dear uncle, with me, your nephew Frodo.”
“Oatmeal and a movie!? This is my lucky day. I don’t remember making plans, but a movie sounds terrific. Funny, I didn’t know we had a movie theater in Bag End!”
“I’ll be back to pick you up at three.”
“See you at three my dear…my dear boy!”