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Old 03-12-2007, 08:28 AM   #15
Spectre of Capitalism
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Join Date: May 2001
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"So," thought Windsor Gummidge, left standing alone on the beachfront, "my mistress could be in mortal peril, but my master has run off to rescue her. I guess I should thank my luck that neither of them left me any instructions, and I’ve got an unexpected holiday. Well, as me old gaffer used to say, 'when life gives you lemons, don't look that gift horse in the mouth,' and no mistake." Before you could say “knife and fork” the hobbit had used both to consume a second breakfast out of the leftovers from the first, after which he got out his pipe, stuffed it from his pouch of Old Toady, and sat down on a rock overlooking the shoreline camp to smoke it.

He was just working on his third smoke ring when he caught a whiff of a passing smoke ring on the ocean breeze that definitely did not come from his own pipe. It had to be Troll’s-bottom Leaf – Windsor claimed that he could sniff out the brand last smoked by a week-dead orc at a hundred paces – and better than his own smoke by half. Clambering down from his rock (one small step for a man, one giant leap for a smallish hobbit), he prowled up the beach to find out who’d been holding out on him.

He rounded a bend where the beach turned to the left, and hey presto! sitting there on the sand, blowing smoke rings as pretty as you please, was a hobbit lass as pretty as Windsor pleased and more. A fair and wonderous hobbitess the like of which Windsor had never seen -- the pearl-white teeth, the protruding bosom, and oh, the beautiful fur that curled aound her dainty toes! But all that was beside the point -- she was smoking a pipe of Troll's-bottom! Could it be that he had found someone that shared his favorite pastime? Such a woman he would give his all for! (At least, all but his favorite pipe!) So startled was he that he nearly fell face forward into her lap, which he really didn't want to prevent. Recovering slightly, he put on his best smile and blurted out “Good morning!”

The Hobbit lass looked at him from under long delicate eyelashes that stuck out further than the whiskers of a shady cat. "What do you mean?" she said. "Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?"

"All of them at once," said Windsor, warming to the conversation -- at least, he tried to tell himself it was just the conversation. "And a very fine morning for a pipe of tobacco out of doors, into the bargain.” Then Windsor sat down on the sand by the lass, crossed his legs, and tried to blow out a beautiful grey ring of smoke that sailed up into the air without breaking and floated away over the dunes, but all he could manage was a short, roughly cylindrical column of smoke which hung in the air before them.

"Very nice," commented she sarcastically, then with a wink and a sly grin she blew a ring of smoke which drifted over to encircle Windsor's, moving slowly up and down the column which inexplicably doubled in length. "But," the winsome hobbitess continued in a sultry voice that curled the hair on Windsor's toes, "I really have no time to blow smoke-rings this morning. I am looking for someone to share in an...adventure...that I am arranging, and as you can imagine it's very difficult to find anyone here on this nearly deserted island, you big strong hunk of hobbit, you!" At this the petite femme fatale looked longingly at Windsor with her big blue eyes, fluttering those eyelashes like some kind of organic chaff flails. She took another draw off her pipe and blew the aphrodisiac vapors gently into his face as she dreamily intoned, "is that a ring in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

Windsor was now almost completely under her spell. Since leaving Pimpiowyn in Valleyum he'd had a difficult time trying to forget her, but now all thought of the half-halfling was banished. Now there was just...her...and her pipeweed...but then he began to feel something in what passed for his brain. When he tried to recall it later for his friends he could only say, "If you want to know, I felt as if I hadn't got nothing on, and I didn't like it...well, I might have liked it but that's beside the point. She seemed to be looking inside me and asking me what I would do if she gave me the chance of flying back home to the Mire to a nice little hole* with a bit of garden of my own."

Windsor remembered his pledge to Merisu and Gravendil to be their servant and gardener, and then the face of Merisu came before his mind. And it seemed to him in his reverie that Merisu spoke to him, saying "No oath or bond do I lay on you to go further than you will, but if you want my advice, get up off that sand and get away from that floozie!!"

From where he lay on the beach, with the tiny temptress nearly atop him, he threw her off of him, jumped up, and fairly ran for his life back towards the camp.


* -- the translators were unclear as to whether the word here was "hole" or "ho'", but the coin flip went for the gentler word.
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