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The Funniship of the Ring: Books 6 - 9. A Parody - Tweakenal

(A note from Tookish: To catch the first five installments of TweakenAl’s ‘The Funniship of the Ring’ check the Tickler’s writing archives for July)

The Funniship of the Ring. Book 6.
Or, In Which Tom Suddenly Becomes Rich.

Arrogant woke up the next morning with a headache that could have cracked walnuts. And he made sure that everybody knew about it.

"Ouch," he said for the fiftieth time.

"Shaddap," said Handoff. "We've got to get moving if we expect to get anywhere before winter sets in."

The funniship journeyed on. For sixteen days they journeyed south towards Mortar. They were camped on a small hill in the middle of a forest. As Hoho was eating his dinner and listening to the others complaining about it, he noticed that Handoff and Arrogant were standing apart some ways off. He could see Arrogant's head bandage gleaming in the almost pitch darkness. He crept towards them with all the silence of a blobbit trying to sneak up on something. To his surprise they were continuing the debate that he had heard them talk about months ago.

"I tell you, Handoff, I'm not going your way! It gives me the creeps. Come to think about it, you give me the creeps too!" said Arrogant.

"I've climbed enough mountains for one summer," growled Handoff. "We have to get past the Messy Mountains somehow. Going over the mountains is too dangerous. Why not go under instead?"

"Because it's creepy!"

Hoho gave a gasp of Horror. Arrogant whirled around and drew his sword, hitting Handoff in the nose. The blizzard gave a muffled shout and fell over. Arrogant went around beating the bushes with his sword. Hoho snuck back to camp.

A few seconds later, Arrogant came into camp with Handoff leaning on his arm clutching his bloody nose.

"Spies!" shouted Arrogant. "We're being followed!"

"And they dared to attack us?" gasped Boring, looking at Handoff.

"Yed!" said the blizzard. "We bust ged boving bevore we ged attaged agaid!"

"But it's dinnertime!" said Tom holding up his half finished banana.

"Well," said Arrogant, "I suppose we could wait until we finish dinner."

Hoho kept silent. He decided not to disappoint his companions by telling them that they were safe. While they were nervously finishing dinner, Piping kept them all amused by asking stupid questions.

"Does it hurt, Handoff?" he said.

The funniship roared with laughter. Exept poor high-strung sensitive Wimpy.

"Shh!" he whispered urgently. "The spies will hear us!"

"Oh, you don't take that seriously, do you?" said Legless. "Knowing Handoff, it was probably just a moth, and he hit himself in the face trying to swat it."

"I hade boths," growled Handoff.

"Say, Arrogant," said Hoho, "I don't remember you having a sword. Where'd you get it?"

"He probably stole it," said Tomfool.

"It was mine anyway!" shouted Arrogant. "Sellrond should have given it to me a long time ago."

He stood up and drew it out from it's sheath.

"I didn't mean it!" yelped Tom.

Arrogant gave him a funny look and showed Hoho the sword. Hoho noted that it shone in the moon, with funny marks on the blade and hilts.

"One of the Selfish swordsmiths dropped it and scratched it all up." growled Arrogant. "That's why it was so cheap. And it's even got a name," he continued. "It used to be Doorsil. But I renamed it Andy."

"Andy?" said Hoho.

"Well, it's better than my old sword. I called that one Wallace," said Arrogant.

"Uh huh," said Hoho.

"Yup," said Legless streching his arms, "There are definitely no spies around. And I for one am going to get a good nights'…"

His comment was cut short, however, when on the wind came a bloodchilling howl. "EEK!" shouted Wimpy.

"Throwruggs!" said Handoff. "See, Arrogand? We bust go uder de boundans! We bust go dru Abore Lad!"

Amore Land! That fell name fell on the empty ears of darkness like bread and butter on a white carpet.

"Goody!" shouted Legless. "The playland of the Dafts!"

"Nononono!" said Wimpy. "I'd rather be eaten by a pneumatic drill!"

"Huh?" said Mary.

"Well," said Hoho, "Whether we go there or not, I think we'd better go somewhere now because I think I just saw eyes!"

"AAAHHH!" shouted the funniship, jumping up and running off towards the mountains.

"Wait for me!" shouted Legless, pushing his wheelchair to the limit. He turned around and saw a great big Throwrug about to take a bite of him.

"EEK!" he shrieked, and with a powerful thrust of his arms he sped ahead of the funniship, leaving a trail of fire. The Throwrugs were confounded by this new development, and they stopped chasing the funniship and instead turned around and sped off in the other direction.

After about five minutes, the funniship noticed that they weren't being followed anymore, and they stopped momentarily to rest.

"Well," said Wimpy, "It's a good thing you had me with you."

"Excuse me?" said Legless, "What do you mean?"

"I mean," said Wimpy, slowly so that Legless could understand, "I mean obviously once those Throwrugs caught sight of me they turned and ran away."

"I can understand that," said Legless. "If I caught sight of your ugly face I'd run away too."

"Why you…" snarled Wimpy.

"Loog!" cried Handoff, lifting his staff and pointing ahead of them, whacking Wimpy on the head as he did so. "Up yodder is the eddrance to Abore Lad! Yub, just ub de stebs, aroud de lagge, ad den trough de door ad we're dere."

He ushered everybody up the million or so stairs, and there in front of them was a huge slimy looking lake.

"Wonderful," said Boring.

Tom turned to Hoho and his face was green.

"I think I'm going to be sick," he said.

Handoff was already picking his way around the smelly water.

"Cobe od!" he said. "Led's go areddy!"

The funniship followed, holding their noses. Hoho accidentally slipped on a rock and actually wet his foot in the algae encrusted slime. He shuddered. Asides from being really gross, there was something about the pond that made him want to gag.

As the funniship came to a wider space before a large flat space in the wall, they saw Handoff standing before it, thinking.

"Well?" said Legless eagerly, "What are we waiting for? Let's go in!"

He went up to the wall and pushed with all his might.

"Legless," said Handoff.

"What?" said Legless impatiently.

"The door is over there," said Handoff pointing to his left. "And another thing, it's a pull door, not a push door."

"Well how was I supposed to know?" said the slightly perturbed Self. "There weren't any signs!"

The funniship looked up to see a burned out neon sign above where Handoff had pointed.

Legless looked up and growled. He wheeled himself away from the wall and sulked.

"Hey," said Piping, "Your nose is better. You're not talking funny anymore"

"What are we waiting for, Handoff?" said Arrogant.

"Until I remember the password," said the blizzard.

"How long will that take?" asked Mary.

Legless put his hand on the blobbit's shoulder.

"A loooooong time, Piping," he said.

"I'm Mary," said Mary.

"Oh," said the Self.

Handoff shot them a dirty look and resumed thinking.

"Now," he mumbled, "It seems to me that the password was something really simple, and easy. Which was one of the reasons why Amore Land went out of business."

Piping, meanwhile, was wandering around on what little dry space there was. All of a sudden, in the light of the moon, he saw a piece of paper halfway in the water. He picked it up and looked at it listlessly. It was a guide to the mazes of Amore Land.

"Hey Handoff, would this be of any help?" he called.

"Be quiet, you silly blobbit, can't you see I'm thinking?" he said angrily.

Piping shrugged and went on reading.

"Open sesame!" said Handoff.

"Hey," said Piping, "Did you know that Amore Land had the first ever underground roller coaster?"

"Ding dong!" cried Handoff.

"And a popcorn machine!" squealed Piping.

"Popcorn?" said Legless eagerly.

"Popcorn?" said Handoff, "Let me see that!"

He snatched the pamphlet from Piping's hand and started reading.

"Ah!" he said, "Here I have it! The password is in Selvish. It's 'melon'."

"Melon?" said Legless, "Let me see that."

He looked at where the blizzard was pointing.

"No, that's pronounced 'mellon'," he said.

"Are you contradicting me?" said Handoff. "Listen, Self, I've been around Selves longer than you. I think I'd know Selvish."

"Hellooo?" said Legless, "Can't you see my pointy ears? What do you think I am, a Vulcan? Plus I've heard your Selvish. It's pronouced 'mellon'."

"Well, we'll see, won't we?" sneered Handoff.

He turned to the wall, lifted his staff up in the air, and in a commanding voice cried,


A round object hurtled out of the sky and landed at Boring's feet. Which was bad for Piping, because he was standing right in front of Boring.

"Ouch," said Piping.

Boring and Arrogant looked at the now smashed object.

"It's a cantaloupe," said Arrogant disbelievingly.

The funniship looked at Handoff accusingly.

"It's not even a very good cantaloupe," said Boring, "Why, in Flounder…"

"You aren't eating it are you?" cried Wimpy.

"Yeah, save some for us!" cried Tom.

"No, I meant…"

"Let's try this again," said Handoff. "Melon!"

A larger object hurtled out of the sky.

"Watermelon," groaned Wimpy, rubbing his head.

"Melon melon melon!" shouted Handoff, "Melon melon melon melon!"

The funniship now took up their time with better things to do, such as dodging honeydews. Finally Handoff paused for a moment. He stood deep in thought for a while. The funniship amused themselves by trying to catch their breaths.

"Lemon?" said Handoff.

A whole bushel of lemons came pattering down the wall.

"Handoff," wailed Legless, "Just say 'mellon' and be done with it!"

"Oh, fine, but it won't work," said the blizzard. He turned to the wall and limply held his staff up.

"Mellon," he said half-heartedly.

The sign above the door sparked and came on, bathing its surroundings with pink and orange, which didn't help the appearance of the lake any, and calliope music becan to play. The door creaked and started to open.

"Melon melon!" cried Handoff.

The door was now fully open.

"See?" said Handoff, "It was 'melon' after all!"

A last cantaloupe hurtled down the wall and hit Handoff on the head. He fell to the ground, out cold.

"At last," said Hoho.

But his relief for the moment was cut short, for something grabbed him by the ankle and started dragging him towards the lake.

"AAAHHH!" he shouted.

The funniship gasped, for out of the lake now rose a hideous apparition that resembled a giant octopus. They busied themselves trying to be the first inside the doors. Finally, Boring picked up a huge rock and hurled it with all his might towards the octopus. It splashed harmlessly in the water twenty feet from it. But Hoho's attacker started swinging the blobbit around and around, and finally it threw him inside the doors and the funniship rushed inside as fast as they could. They grabbed the body of Handoff and dragged him inside.

Then the giant arms swung the doors shut, and there was a sound of rumbling and all light was cut off.

There was a silence for a while, until Wimpy finally spoke.

"AAHHH!" he shouted.

That, of course woke Handoff up, and he sat up dizzily.

"Where am I?" he wondered.

The funniship explained as best as they could over the noise of Wimpy. But soon his ear splitting shrieks reached a pitch that they could not hear, and explaining grew easier.

"But," said Tom, "Where's Hoho?"

The funniship looked around at the deep dark. Then they heard a really spooky moan.

"AAHHH!" they all shouted.

Then there was a sound of something stumbling around. It wandered for a little while, and then there was a sound of a crash. Lights came on. Music started to play. A display flashed. And in the sudden lights, they beheld what a moment ago had held them all in a grip of raw terror.

"Hoho!" cried Piping.

"You found the popcorn machine!" cried Mary Christmas.

And indeed, the thing that Hoho had crashed into seemed to be a popcorn popping device of some sort.

But they also beheld in the dim light a gate, beyond which seemed to be giant figures out of some child's nightmare.

"Creepy," muttered Arrogant.

"Well," said Handoff, "It is as I feared. To get beyond the gate we must pay, and pay dearly. I fear here we must part with our money, which has been such a comfort to us on our journey."

He went up to the gate, and put all his money in a small slot. The gate opened just enough to let him through, and then it clanged shut. He stood there impatiently waiting for them to do likewise.

The others followed suit, until only Arrogant and Tom were behind. Arrogant crossed his arms stubbornly.

"It is not to my liking," he said, "That the heir of Mistletoe should fork over all his money to this thing."

"Well, you have no choice," said Handoff. "It's either that, or remain behind alone in the dark. I wouldn't want to leave you there. Much."

Arrogant sulked for a moment. But then he walked up to the gate and crossed over.

"Well," he said putting his now thin wallet back, "I expect you to pay me back, if we live through this."

Now only Tom stood on the other side. He contemplated the gate for a moment. Then he walked up to it. But instead of handing over all his money, he simply opened the gate and walked through.

"Well, what are we waiting for?" he asked. "Let's go!"

The funniship looked very hard at Handoff, who looked less than comfortable.

"Uh," he said, "Sure, uh-huh, yeah."

The funniship walked on, guided by giant glowing arrows. Soon they came to their first obstacle.

"I can't see anything," whined Legless.

"Does anyone have a flashlight?" asked Wimpy, quaveringly.

"Why don't we just turn on the lights?" asked Hoho, reaching over and flipping a switch on the wall. Immediately lights came on, plain ordinary lights which seemed to come from very high up. It grew as bright as day.

"My eyes!" cried Boring.

The rest of the funniship gasped. For there in front of them, though up above the rafters seemed a mile up, stood a small house. A sign over the door read 'Handy Harry's House of Frighteningly Obtuse Obstacles'.

"We must go through this," said Handoff grimly. "We have no other choice."

"Hmm," said Legless. "Would this be dark, darker, or darkest?"

The funniship reluctantly entered into the revolving door. Directly in front of them stood another door. They looked to Handoff for some wise advice.

"Well, Hoho," he said, "Open it!"

"Uh-uh!" said Hoho.

"Tom, you open it then!"

"Noooooo," said Tom.

"Fools," the blizzard hissed, "All of you, fools!"

"I'll open it!" said Legless cheerfully. He wheeled himself to the door and opened it. A chill breath of air met them, and pitch darkness was all they could see.

"Cool," said the Self. He wheeled himself in.

"Legless!" cried Handoff.

But Legless did not hear him. For as he went in, a terrible stench met his nostrils, and he gasped. He was momentarily blinded by the pitch darkness. He felt time stand still. He slowly wheeled himself forward, heedless of anything exept the hideously animal-like howls coming from somewhere close at hand. He quickened his pace slightly.

When he came to the other side of the house, and his wits caught up with him, the funniship was waiting for him with paler faces than was normal.

"What's the matter?" said the Self. "You looked like you saw a ghost!"

"N-n-not a ghost," said Tom, "We think we saw the Pillsbury Doughboy dodge behind one of the roller coasters."

"Nonesense," said Legless, "We've had a rough day. I think we need some shuteye." The funniship eagerly agreed to this, and immediately set out for a place to sleep. They settled for a small corner away from any rides, and started a small campfire. The last thing Hoho remembered before falling asleep from sheer exhaustion was the sight of Legless cheerfully roasting marshmallows. It occured to Hoho that while he was in Flivenbell he had forgotten to ask Uncle Dumbo why he had let the blizzard Handoff into the blobbit's hole so many years ago. He sighed. There wasn't much to do except hope that he got back alive.

He fell asleep and dreamt of green pencils drawing on a purple canvas the story of his life. It was not a pretty picture.

The Funniship of the Ring. Book 7
Or, In Which Wimpy Develops An Unnatural Fear Of Blobbits.

Hoho awoke to the smell of burnt hair. He opened his eyes and sat up. The funniship were gathered around the fire laughing and chatting. Legless sat away from them with a hat pulled way down and a scarf wrapped way up so that only his nose showed.

Handoff was blowing bubbles with a pipe. There was a huge mass of bubbles above his head. Suddenly they all popped and Handoff was suddenly very wet.

"Spies!" shouted Arrogant.

"They're attacking the leader of our company!" shouted Tom.

"No they aren't," said Arrogant.

"Yes they are!" blubbered Handoff.

"That's not what I was led to understand," said Arrogant folding his arms stubbornly and sticking his nose in the air.

They could get no word out of him for some while. Finally Handoff decided to start the journey for the day.

"Let's go," he said.

But before the sentence was fully out of his mouth Arrogant leaped up and shouted.

"I have decided that we should get started!" he yelled. "Follow me!"

He jumped up and stalked off.

"Arrogant," said Handoff, "We are not going that way."

"We are if we're leaving," said Arrogant, as if he thought the blizzard was stupid, which he did. "All who want to leave follow me."

Mary, Piping, Tom, Hoho, Wimpy, Legless, and Boring jumped up and would have followed him if Handoff hadn't suddenly pulled out a rope and lassoed them.

"We are leaving!" he said. "But not that way. We are going through Amore Land. And anyway, we're more than halfway through. I think. Piping, do you have that guide still?"

"No," said Piping with a Cheerful Demeanor. "I ate it."

"Eew, why?" said Hoho.

"For just such an occasion," he said, standing up to his full three-and-a-half-feet-short-of-a-basketball-player height. He laughed wildly. "Now you have to go my way, for I memorized it, and now I am the only one who knows where to go!"

"Well," said Handoff, "Actually, that isn't quite true. I came in here once, and I can still remember the vague outline."

"I too passed the doors of Amoré; Land," said Arrogant. "I do not wish to go through it again. It gives me the creeps."

The funniship started off, though reluctantly, Handoff's way. Before they had gone fifteen feet, they came across a tunnel.

"Hmm," said Handoff, "I don't remember this being here."

The funniship peered down the dark passage.

"Do we go through?" asked Boring.

"It seems we must," said Wimpy.

"There's a light at the end of the tunnel!" cried Legless.

"And it's coming closer," said Mary.

"It's probably nothing," said Handoff.

When Hoho came to, he found himself upside down against a wall. He got up and noticed the rest of the funniship scattered here and there like random leaves after a windstorm. He stumbled over to the nearest form and gently shook it. It was Arrogant.

"Y'know," he croaked, "I could really use some asprin right now."

As Hoho went around reviving his companions, that statement seemed to be the common thread of their mumblings more often now than at any previous time during their journey.

Now the funniship, bruised but not seriously hurt, gathered around their leader and started making threats. Just as things started to get nasty, Wimpy noticed a door.

He wandered over and went inside. It seemed to be an office, with all sorts of controls and buttons and things. It looked like it had been looted. The desk was overturned in a corner, papers were scattered on the floor, the rug was torn to shreds, and there was at least an inch of dust covering everything.

"What'cha doing?" said a voice.

Wimpy gave a little shriek and whirled around. There were Piping and Mary, looking at him with suspicion.

"I'm looking around," he said beating his chest, trying to get his heart started again.

"I see," said Piping, walking in and moving a shred of rug with his foot. "And what exactly were you looking at?"

"Well, this stuff," said Wimpy.

The two blobbits walked up to Wimpy.

"Listen, Daft," hissed Mary, "Don't start getting any funny ideas now. We wouldn't want you to leave us, would we Piping?"

"No," said Piping solemnly shaking his head.

"You see, Wimp," said Mary, putting his arm around the Daft's shoulders, "There's been talk of a split. We don't want that. It would leave our good cousin Hoho with less protection than he deserves. So see here, if there was a division, you'd like to go with Hoho, wouldn't you? I mean, you don't want Hoho to get eaten, or captured by Corcs, or anything, would you?"

"No," said Wimpy reluctantly.

"Of course not," said Mary. "And that's what we're hoping for, isn't it Piping?"

"Yup," said Piping solemnly.

"I'm glad you chose willingly," continued the blobbit, "I wouldn't like to have to, shall I say, persuade you. I am a very persuasive person, aren't I Piping?"

"Yup," said Piping rubbing his arm.

Mary smiled at the Daft. "I'm glad we understand each other."

The three walked out of the office. Mary whispered in Wimpy's ear.

"Let's keep this conversation our little secret, shall we?"

The rest of the funniship were done with Handoff, and they looked up as they approached.

"Where have you been?" growled Arrogant.

"In sort of a control room thingie," said Wimpy.

"Control room?" said Handoff, "Take me there."

The funniship filed in slowly. The blizzard surveyed the mess. He went over to the desk and started going through the drawers. Out of the third one he pulled out a thickish book. He righted the desk and set the book on it and started to read it.

"You aren't reading that now, are you?" asked Hoho.

"It seems to be an account book of some kind," said Handoff ignoring him. "Well! It seems that they only made a small profit for the first three months! That is very bad for business."

He flipped through, making snide comments every once in a while.

"Here's the last page. I can barely make anything out.

They have taken the then there's a scrawl, it looks like slide. I fear the end was cruel and nasty. Listen! We cannot have any fun, we cannot have any fun. A shadow moves in the dark. Look! there it is again! The thing in the water took the pizza delivery guy. Another scrawl, it looks like horrible, lamentable, starve, and suffer. Poor little Dafts! Flooey tripped on his own shoelace and fell down a and I can't read the last word. Fiddlers, fiddlers on the roof. I wonder what that means. There's one last trailed off scrawl. We are bored…"

He paused reflectively.

"What do you think happened to the Dafts?" queried Hoho.

"Well, that's easy to surmize. Apparently, Amoré; Land attracted very few visitors. That is also very bad for business. So I think the Dafts excavated too deeply into the caverns deep underneath the floor to find new attractions, and awoke something that should have been left to nap. Then they very foolishly shut themselves into this room here. I think probably they all died of boredom."

Piping, meanwhile was looking around the room. He felt curiously intrigued by the heat vent close to the floor. He sidled over to it and nudged it with his toe. The cover fell off. He bent over and looked into it. A long shaft met his gaze, lighted from some crack in the joints. Compelled by something he did not understand, he stuck his face into the hole and yodeled at the top of his lungs.

Echoes magnified throughout the heating system bounced around the entire maze of caverns. The funniship looked up in fear and astonishment. They saw Piping kneeling by the heat vent with a sheepish look on his face.

"Fool of a Take!" shouted Handoff. "You will bring doom upon us! Doom! Doom! Doom!"

But even as he lunged at the defenceless blobbit, a noise was heard. Not more echoes of yodeling, a new sound. It came from high up, a hideous scraping noise. All the lights suddenly went out.

"EEK!" shouted Wimpy.

"Cool!" yelled Legless.

"Fiddlers!" shouted Handoff, "Run for your lives!"

The funniship now noticed a small door marked with a glowing exit sign. They squeezed through and ran down the long hallway. All of a sudden, Corcs poured out of a small doorway and started fighting with the funniship. The funniship were outnumbered by about eighty million to nine when a rather large Corc jumped out of the doorway. As he went for the blizzard, he happened to brush up against Hoho. Hoho was thrown against the far wall, and he was left gasping for air.

Arrogant, moved by an extremely rare display of unselfishness, picked up the blobbit and strapped him to his back.

The funniship was in a bad position. Tom was once again forced to take control of the situation.

"Look!" he cried, pointing off to the direction they had just come from.

They Corcs looked back.

"We don't see anything," they said. When they turned back around, they were alone in the hall.

It started getting very warm. At the end of the hallway there was a bend. As the funniship rounded the bend, a terrible sight met their eyes. A wide room with carved pillars, far as the eye could see. At the far end, they could see daylight streaming through a doorway.

Unfortunately, twenty feet from the door, there was a wide and deep fissure that went from wall to wall, blocking them off from escape. Fortunately, someone had built a bridge across the crack. A narrow bridge to be sure, but a bridge nonetheless. Paved roads streched from dozens of doors in the walls, all connecting to the bridge.

"Now for it!" cried the blizzard.

As they came out from their place of seclusion, a hurtling missile flew through the air and landed right in front of Handoff.

"Someone is throwing water balloons!" roared Arrogant.

The funniship looked to their left, from whence the object had been thrown, and to their horror they saw not one, not two, but at least three thousand Corcs streaming out of a large door. The funniship rushed and made it to the bridge. They were almost over it when the screams of the Corcs turned from glee into fear. They turned to see what made them change their tune.

Two large Dinner Rolls came out of the door, bearing a red carpet. They spread it on the ground. Then Corcs and Rolls alike shrank from the door as a dark shadow issued out of it, in what looked to be a snappy red sports car. It raced towards the bridge.

The funniship quickly ran across the bridge, but Handoff stayed in the middle.

"It is as I feared," he said. "A dangerous foe beyond mortal thought. And my shoe is caught in a crack!"

He struggled wildly with his shoe, as the shadow raced closer and closer.

"What is it, Handoff?" cried Arrogant.

Handoff gave one more desperate yank on the shoe, and then stood up to meet his doom.

"It is a Roadhog," he said grimly.

The Roadhog rushed up to the bridge, and pulled rather rapidly up until he was three feet away from the blizzard. It flashed its lights, and honked its horn.

"You cannot pass!" cried Handoff. "Do you see the two solid yellow lines on the pavement? You cannot pass!"

The Roadhog, fed up with this childish nonesense, got out of the car and he and the blizzard started shouting at each other. Then, the Roadhog shoved the blizzard. Handoff toppled, swayed, and plummeted into the depths shrieking "Fly, fools, fly like little birds! Cheep cheep cheep…" and he was gone.

Then the Roadhog looked at the remaining funniship. It stomped back to the car. But instead of getting in and driving off, it reached under the seat and pulled out a tire iron. He started towards them, but they were already out the door and away.

Outside, the funniship soon caught their breaths.

"I can't believe it," murmered Tomfool.

"Can't believe what?" whooped Legless.

"Handoff was carrying our food!"

"Handoff!" screamed Hoho, trying to run back in but not succeeding because he was tied to Arrogant's back.

The funniship screamed in agony, some throwing themselves on the ground and weeping bitterly, others standing grim and silent, shaking their fists towards the caverns behind them.

"Someday, Handoff," growled Arrogant. "Just you wait!"

Then he turned, and it seemed to Piping that he looked almost like he was the younger brothers' cousins' best friends' nephews' uncle twice removed on his mothers' side of a king as he squinted into the light.

"We must go to The Loth L---ri Inn, for Sellrond had made reservations," he said with a trace of fear in his voice.

Hoho felt weak for no reason at all, and he saw Legless's face twist up.

"Do not name that place!" said Legless, his voice dark, harsh as stone.

It was with these thoughts that Hoho fell asleep. (Although with some difficulty, because Arrogant was sleeping on his back.)

The Funniship of the Ring. Book 8.
Or, In Which Piping Finds His True Calling.

Hoho woke up the next morning stiff and sore. Not from their long arduous journey from the gates of Amoré; Land the night previous, but from the shirt of mail that his Uncle Dumbo had given him (and Arrogant sleeping on him). Hoho thought he knew why Dumbo had gotten rid of it.

Hoho wimpered until Arrogant finally whirled around to grab him. But, of course, the man couldn't see him, because the blobbit was still strapped to his back.

"WHERE IS HE?" he roared. (Arrogant had a poor memory sometimes.)

After maybe half an hour, Legless finally quit laughing enough to tell Arrogant where Hoho was.

When Hoho had told Arrogant why he was whining, Arrogant just laughed.

"We'll see why the poor little baby is whimpering!" he said, ripping off Hoho's favorite t-shirt.

Wimpy gasped. Legless covered his mouth.

"So that explains it," he murmered.

"A Worthless coat. You've been wearing this since Flivenbell?" asked Boring incredulously.

Mary, Piping, and Tom looked at him in awe.

Arrogant spoke up. "Woah, man! My advice to you, Hoho, is to chuck that coat into the nearest lake." He looked around at the company. "Since every one is up, shall we get going?"

There was much grumbling among the companions.

"You're a hard man, Arrogant," said Tom.

Arrogant smiled.

"I know," he said.

"You're a cruel man," said the blobbit.

"I know," smiled the man, examining his fingernails.

"You're a heartless man."

"Mmhmm," said Arrogant, admiring himself in the mirror he used to apply his makeup, with a dreamy look in his eyes.

"You're a merciless man."

"Aren't I though?" sighed the man, hugging himself. "Tell me more!"

"You're an ugly man," chimed in Piping.

"An obtuse man," said Mary.

"With a mind like a mousetrap," said Wimpy.

"All the leadership qualities of an angel food cake," said Legless.

"The resourcefulness of a grasshopper," said Hoho.

"With a mind like a mousetrap," repeated Wimpy.

"The courage of a bowl of grape Jell-o," said Boring.

"And the figure of a string bean," finished Tom.

"Ah," sighed Arrogant, "I'm glad you see how great a king I will be, someday soon."

He danced around humming for a moment. Then he suddenly remembered where they were going.

"Off to the Loth L---ri Inn!" he cried, stomping off into the underbrush. Almost immediately, they heard a scream that was suddenly cut off. The funniship charged after Arrogant to see what was the matter. Almost immediately, seven screams sounded that were suddenly cut off. For a terrible sight met their eyes.

"Tell me not that that is…" croaked Hoho.

"It is," said Arrogant grimly. "It is the Loth L---ri Inn."

The funniship gasped in horror.

"We make for Amoré; Land," said Boring.

Then Piping said something that made them all think going to the Inn would be the best plan.

"A bug!" he shrieked, jumping three feet into the air.

The funniship ran as fast as they could towards the building. It was not long, however, until Legless noticed something.

"Corcs!" he shouted.

And indeed, the funniship looked around to see the woods filled with moving shapes.

"They're trying to claim our reservations!" hollered Arrogant.

The funniship ran faster. The door drew nearer, and Hoho felt impending danger closing on him like a door that needed oiling. Finally, they rushed inside and slammed the door.

"Whew," said Mary, "That was too close."

The funniship looked around at the room they were in. It had a red plush carpet that went well with the pale blue wallpaper. At the far end of the room, there was a single door. A desk stood in the middle of the room. Arrogant walked confidently up to it and rang a little bell that stood there.

After several moments, a trap door suddenly appeared and two Selves rappelled out. They were both very tall, and they stared down at the company gravely.

"May we help you?" said one of them, the woman.

"Uh, yeah, Handoff the Gloomy called and made us reservations," said Arrogant, rubbing his head from the nasty crack he had gotten on the ceiling when the trap door opened.

The man consulted a small book. Then he gazed at the company gravely.

"Eight there are gathered here, but nine were set out from Flivenbell. So say the messages. Where now is Handoff, for the check he gave me bounced, and I would much desire to meet him in a dark alley somewhere." He pushed up his sleeves and glared at each of the company, as if they might be the blizzard in disguise.

He stomped up to Hoho and hoisted him up by the collar.

"Are you Handoff?" he growled.

"N-n-no!" stammered Hoho.

Now the woman, who had been gazing at each of the funniship in turn placed a hand on the shoulder of the man.

"Nay, Celebrate," she said in a deep voice, "Handoff is not here. He has fallen into shadow."

"Is this true?" demanded Celebrate.

The funniship nodded. The man and the woman looked at each other.

"YEEHAW!" they shouted, dancing around the room vigorously.

"Please put me down," said Hoho very politely.

"When did this joyous event happen?" cried Celebrate, setting the blobbit down rather carelessly.

"Yesterday evening," said Wimpy capering around.

"I saw him fall," said Arrogant, doing a little jig himself. Then he related the events that led up to the fall of Handoff.

"This is indeed a glad day!" said Celebrate. "And in return for this wonderful news, we will let you stay for half price!"

"Wait," said the woman, "Consider what you are doing!"

"You are right, Gladreel, my dear. I shall give you each a coupon for one eleventh off a month's stay."

He dealt out the slips of paper gravely as soon as Gladreel wrote them up.

"These are good for next week only," he said.

"But, we are on a long journey that may take months," said Arrogant. "We don't even intend to be in this region next week."

"Well," Celebrate shrugged, "If you don't want them…" and he proceeded to take them back.

"But I wanna keep mine," said Wimpy.

Mary bent close to the Daft's ear.

"You aren't thinking of deserting are you, Daft?" he whispered. "I told you I don't want you to do that." He looked at the Daft mournfully, yet pinching his arm as he did so.

"Ow!" said Wimpy. "No no, never mind, I don't need it!"

Arrogant looked at him strangely, then relieved Piping of a small but valuable clock that had been sitting on the desk a moment before.

"It's time for lunch," said Gladreel looking at her watch. "For you are weary and hungry with much toil. Tonight, you will eat in peace."

Then she looked straight at Hoho. He could feel her gaze pierce his daydreams.

"Welcome, Hoho Flaggins of the Mire," her voice said, though her lips did not move. "One who has seen the NOSE!!"

"AAAGGHH!" shouted Hoho jumping up and down.

"I didn't know you had such an aversion to food, Mr. Hoho," said Tom, looking at him puzzled.

"No Tom, she, oh, never mind," said Hoho. "You'd never believe me anyway."

"My, what lovely silverware," said Piping, slipping a rather large silver serving spoon into his pack.

"My, what a lovely looking lunch," said Mary, sneaking the rather large silver serving spoon out of Piping's pack and back onto the table.

They sat down to the table.

"Ok," said Gladreel, "On the count of five everyone grab as much food as they can before it's all gone. Everyone ready? One…"

"No," cried Wimpy, "I haven't even got my napkin on yet!"


"Give him a moment, for pity's sake!" cried Boring.


"Yeah," snickered Legless, "He's so slow that a snail ran him down yesterday!"

"You promised you wouldn't tell!" shouted Wimpy, standing up.

"Eat potatoes, shorty," snarled the Self, throwing a handfull of the same.

The Daft stared incredulously at his soiled shirt. Then with a roar he picked up a large bowl of potato salad and heaved it with all his might at Legless. He missed by a mile and it fell plop! onto the head of Arrogant. Piping took this opportunity to slip half a dozen forks into his pack.

Arrogant lifted the bowl off of his head and Hoho could see his eyes burning. The man set the bowl down and stood up, grabbed the edge of the table and heaved it over.

"Four," croaked Gladreel.

"Do we have to wait for you to finish counting, or can we eat now?" queried Tom, wriggling out from under the table and brushing powdered sugar off of his shirt.

Gladreel and Celebrate stared at the mess and nodded wordlessly.

"Hey, powdered sugar," said Mary, "That must mean doughnuts!"

"Ooh!" squealed Boring, lifting the edge of the table and peering earnestly underneath.

"No doughnuts, but a whole lot of angelfood cake!" said Piping wiggling up.

"Goody, ow!" cried Boring, diving under the table and forgetting that he was holding it up.

"This is really disgusting," said Hoho, trying to wipe some mayonnaise off of his shirt.

"You're not kidding," said Arrogant, looking at his reflection in a highly polished plate.

"Do you know what this is going to do to my hair?"

"You never looked better," chortled Legless, who alone of the funniship escaped messiness. "I think mustard is your condiment!" He giggled wildly.

"Umm," said Piping, "These pickles are simply yummy! You simply must give Tom the recipe!" Tom had been forced to do all the cooking on the trip.

"Maybe it's the nice crispy bacon wrapped around it," suggested Hoho.

"Mmmm, nice crispy bacon!" said Mary, Piping and Tom.

"Lunch is over," said Celebrate in a high quavery voice.

"Aw," said Mary, "It isn't even 1 o'clock yet!"

"We noticed," said Gladreel in an equally high quavery voice.

"What do you do for fun around here?" said Tom. "Do you have a pool anywhere?"

"A pool!" squealed the rest of the blobbits dashing away.

"No," said Celebrate.

"Hey Arrogant, bring a beachball!" shouted Piping.

"What did you find?" asked Wimpy, going to investigate. He came running back.

"That's so cool!" he cried. "I've never seen such a neat looking pool before! I wish I'd packed my rubber duckies."

"Duckies?" said Legless.

"Rub-a-dub-dub, four blobbits in a tub," came four voices.

"But we don't have a pool," said Gladreel with a worried look on her face.

"Oh dear," said Celebrate, "I hope they haven't found my man eating octopus pond!"

"ARROGANT! IT'S GOT HOHO! HELP HELP, NOW IT'S GOT ME! AAAUUUGHHH!!!" came a scream. And soon after it came a wet blobbit. It was Mary.

"It's got Hoho and Piping!" he gasped.

"There's only one thing to do," said Arrogant. "Run!"

He turned to do likewise, but Wimpy stuck his foot out and tripped him.

"You wouldn't be deserting, would you? I wouldn't like that," hissed the daft.

"Huh?" said Arrogant looking at him strangely.

"Uh," said Wimpy, "Just something Mary said."

"Are you going to help Hoho and Piping or am I going to have to?" shrieked Mary stomping his foot.

"You can if you want," said Legless.

"Why you…" snarled the blobbit. He spluttered for a moment and ran off.

Half a moment later, Tom walked into the room with a blobbit under each arm, one slung over his shoulders and a grim look on his face.

"Do I have to do everything on this stupid trip?" he growled.

"It would appear so," coughed Hoho, removing a strand of seaweed from behind his ear.

"My octopus!" wailed Celebrate, running to investegate.

"Leave," said Gladreel, "Leave this place now!"

"Are you kidding?" laughed Piping jumping on the overturned table, "We only just got here!"

"We'll pay you to leave!" said Celebrate, coming back at that moment.

"What are you saying?" hissed Gladreel.

"Ok, then, I'll give each of you a coupon for a twelfth off a fortnights' stay in our presidential suite!"

"That sounds reasonable," said Piping slipping a little stone gnome into his pack.

"Not so reasonable to me," said Mary, slipping a little stone gnome and six silver forks out of Pipings' pack.

Wimpy looked at the little stone gnome closely.

"Why wouldn't it sound reasonable?" queried Piping, slipping a large crystal punch bowl into his pack.

"What's a president?" asked Hoho.

"It's a large dent in a presi," said Mary slipping a large crystal punch bowl out of Piping's pack.

"Well then, what's a presi?" said Tom.

"It's a small christmas present," said Mary quickly frisking Piping and removing from his person two large heavy silver candlesticks.

"It's time to sleep," said Celebrate quickly pulling some dark curtains over the windows.

"Already? Aww…" chorused the blobbits.

Late that night, after the noisy pillow fight, Hoho still wasn't asleep. He giggled thinking about the great shot he had got at Arrogant. He sat up suddenly, hearing someone noisily clumping down some stairs. He saw a figure dressed in white flowing robes. His screech was cut short when a hand was clamped firmly over his mouth.

"Come with me," a deep voice said.

Hoho went with the person, around the beds, through the door, up the stairs, through the river under the mountains, over the ocean, to Grandmothers' house, and finally to a big pool of water.

"Will you look into the mirror?" asked the person.

"Will I look into the mirror?" repeated Hoho.

"Yes, will you look into the mirror?"

"Why would I look into the mirror?" asked Hoho.

"Because I told you to," said the person, slightly agitated.

"Because you told me to?" asked Hoho.

"LOOK INTO THE MIRROR YOU MISERABLE BLOBBIT BEFORE I GET ANGRY!!!!!!" screamed the person, who Hoho now identified as Gladreel.

"Before you get angry?" asked Hoho.

" Will------you------look------in------to------the------mirror?" said Gladreel, slowly pronouncing each word, more for her benefit than Hoho's.

Hoho looked around. "What will I see?" he asked.

Gladreel smiled. "Some things that were, some things that are, and some things, that have not yet come to pass," she said.

"No," Hoho said, "I meant what does the mirror look like? Is there a pretty ring of rocks or flowers around it so people can see it easily? You know, like a party of teenage girls come over and, 'giggle giggle giggle, Oh, look there's a pretty ring of flowers around that mirror of Gladreels' giggle giggle giggle, Let's look into it!' giggle giggle giggle.' And they go over andÉ"

"WILL YOU LOOK INTO THE MIRROR?" screamed Gladreel.

"Oh," said Hoho, "That's not a mirror, that's a pool of water. Y'know, like some people have with goldfish and maybe some fake plants, and some snails!"

Gladreel grabbed Hoho by his collar and dangled him over the pool of water. "Looklooklooklooklooklooklooklooklook," she insisted.

Hoho looked in to the water. He at first saw his handsome (in his own opinion) reflection.

Then it suddenly disappeared. Hoho was about to cry out in rage when he saw the faces of each of (or so he thought) his company, with pink frosting all over their face. The last person the mirror showed was Wimpy, who was crying. Hoho noticed that Wimpy didn't have any frosting on his face.

Than it faded into times long gone. Hoho was forced to watch the rise and fall of the Roman empire. Hoho was never so bored in his life. Except maybe, at the Mire's annual Ice Cube Festival, which, of course, appeared next. Hoho saw, with horror, that it showed him break dancing in a giant ice cube costume during the Ice Cube Almost 6 Quarters Of A Century Parade.

"How did you get my uncle Dumbo's home video that he promised that he'd never show anybody but of course he did?" screamed Hoho. Gladreel only laughed and adjusted the lenses on her movie camera.

"You never know what kind of stupid, embarassing, good stuff the mirror will show," she said.

Then Hoho saw a great, big, giant nose. Sniffing, sniffing, eternally sniffing. Hoho felt himself drawn to the nose (when it inhaled, anyway). Then all of a sudden, the nose sneezed. Hoho was thrown backwards about thirty feet. Hoho coughed and sat up. He rubbed the back of his head and looked at Gladreel.

"I know what it was you last saw," she said. "For I was looking over your shoulder."

"What does it mean?" Hoho asked.

"Mean? It could mean that Moron is looking for you and is using all his servants to track you down," said Gladreel.

Hoho gasped.

"Or," said Gladreel, "It could mean that you are going to get a cold!"

Hoho's eyes widened and a bit of drool escaped his mouth.

"Eew!" said Gladreel. "Can you possibly be more gross?"

"Sure!" said Hoho brightly, sticking his finger in his nose and making noises that a yak would have envied.

Arrogant came running up.

"I think a yak ate Hoho!" he cried.

"Dibs on the Ring!" cried Tom jumping out from behind a bush and tripping over Mary and Piping who were huddled close by.

"Double dibs!" shouted Boring, swinging on a vine and knocking over a torch onto a small tent.

"AIIEEE!" screamed Wimpy running out of the small tent and into a rock, knocking himself out.

"Hee hee!" said Legless taking gleeful notice of the whole mess.

Celebrate noticed that Legless's wheelchair was on an incline, and the Self was soon very quickly on his way towards the pool.

While on his somewhat rapid, rushing way to the pool, Legless knocked over several more torches starting a huge forest fire. Gladreel just stood there slapping her head. Hoho tried to stay and watch the fun, but he could barely keep his eyes open so he wandered back to bed to sleep, and slept deeply and dreamlessly.

The Funniship of the Ring. Book 9
Or, In Which All Is Discovered And They Leave The Country.

Hoho awoke the next morning to Piping cutting the ropes that bound them.

"What happened?" he queried.

"Gladreel tied us all up and set us afloat in this swan boat with no oars," the little blobbit said with Bright Enthusiasm. "I guess she doesn't know good company when she gets it. Anyway, I swiped her pocketknife and I'll get you out in a jiffy."

After he was untied, Hoho wandered over to where Legless and Wimpy were playing some sort of game.

"Help help!" cried Wimpy.

Legless chuckled. "Don't pay any attention to him. He loves this game!"

"Don't listen to him, he's a maniac!" screamed Wimpy. "Get him away from me!" he screamed, wildly flailing his arms and whacking Mary overboard. Mary grabbed onto the side of the boat, and with much difficulty climbed back in.

"AAAIIIIEEEEE!!!!" screamed Wimpy as Legless smiled at him.

Hoho looked at them strangely and walked away.

"Avast, ye landlubbers!" cried Boring leaping about with Reckless Abandon. "Trim the mains'l, hoist the port jib and away we goooooo!" He ran around the boat several times waving his arms and leaping high in the air before tripping on a coil of rope and sprawling face down on the deck.

"Ouch," he said decidedly un-nautically.

Hoho shook his head and wandered off to where Arrogant was sitting glumly.

"I can't believe this," the man said shaking his head. "I can't believe that I, Arrogant son of Thornbush, the next king of Flounder, am stuck on a stupid little swan boat. Think of it! Me on a dinghy little swan dinky, I mean swan dinghky, I mean, well, no, I mean I could stand it if it were an eagle, or at least a hawk. But a swan!" he shuddered disgustedly and threw another small stone into the stream.

He sighed bitterly and reached around suddenly for another rock, and whacked Mary overboard. Mary spluttered and grabbed onto a rope dangling over the side, and with considerable difficulty climbed back in.

Hoho wandered over to where Tom was in the stern.

"What're you doing, Tom?" he queried quizzically.

"Quaffing," said Tom, "For the quacking has made me quite batty, considering the questionable status quo. And a quid pro quo to the Qatarians."

"Huh?" said Hoho.

"I thought we were, oh, never mind."

Hoho looked over at the still smoldering remains of the forest. Suddenly he saw a piece of paper on one of the trees.

"Arrogant!" he cried, "Pull the boat over!"

When Hoho read the piece of paper, he gasped. Arrogant snatched it away from him.

"WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE REWARD!!!!!!!!!" he screamed.

"Huh?" said Hoho. (And the co-author)

"I've always wanted my picture on a reward poster," murmered Piping dreamily. Soon everybody was in a panic. So, once again, you guessed it, Tom was forced to take control of the situation.

"Run!" he cried.

"I don't know if you noticed," said Legless, "But we are in a BOAT!!!"

"A boat?" shouted Tom. "But I get sick in boats!" He leaped off the boat onto the shore and started running.

Camping that night by the poster, Hoho suddenly wondered where Gladreel had got their pictures.

'Hey, Arrogant!" he cried. "Arrogant? ARROGANT!!!!!" he screamed.

"Be quiet!" bellowed Wimpy. "Everybody's trying to sleep!"

"Be quiet yourself!!" yelled Arrogant.

"Hoho started it!" cried Wimpy.

"I didn't hear Hoho, I only heard you!" shrieked Legless.

"Tell the Self he snores!" howled Wimpy.

"Tell the Daft I don't!" wailed the Self.

"Both of you be quiet and go to sleep!" came an irate voice.

"You first!" hollered Wimpy and Legless.

"I didn't say anything!" screamed Arrogant.

"Yes you did!" said Wimpy.

"No, it was you," said a voice that sounded like Legless's.

"It was NOT me!" said the Daft angrily.

"I never said it was, it was Arrogant!" said Legless.

"It wasn't me, it was Wimpy!" said Arrogant exasperatedly.

"No, it was me," said a voice that sounded like Arrogant.

"Don't contradict!" shouted Legless.

"I wasn't!" hollered Arrogant. "Now if certain peoples would shut up, we could all get to sleep before the sun comes up!"

"Then dawn take you all, and be up with you!" said a voice.

And immediately, dawn came and Hoho rubbed his sleepless eyes.

Arrogant cried in his sleeping bag until they threatend to roll him up in it and throw him in the river. Even so, he sniffed until he got the bright idea to have a questioning to see who deprived him of his beauty sleep.

He lined up the Funniship shortest to tallest, and starting at the tallest (Boring) he glared at each of them in turn.

"Ok," he growled. "Now we're gonna make this fast. What I want to know is why did someone want to deprive me of my beauty sleep? If I'm any less beautiful at the end of my life than I should be, someone's gonna get it hot!"

"I don't think you're gonna have to worry about that too much," retorted Legless.

Arrogant snarled at him and moved on to Wimpy.

"Well?" he said. "What do you have to say? I think I would be right in assuming that you started this."

At the short end of the line, Mary and Piping burst out giggling.

"I'm telling you, Hoho started it!" hollered Wimpy.

"Although he could be lying," came a voice like Legless's.

"I am not lying!" screamed Wimpy.

"I never said you were," shouted Legless.

"Yes you did!" screeched the Daft.

"Let's not start this again!" bellowed Arrogant.

"You started this!" wailed the Daft and the Self.

"Did not!" said the Man angrily.

Hoho, fed up with this childish nonsense, clambered back onto the boat and started off.

"Hey!" cried Tom pointing. "Hoho's starting off without us!"

"No, Hoho, No!" shouted everyone. They started running towards the boat and jumped on. Except Tom. He had tripped on something and was now running along shore trying to keep up with the boat.

"Tom, run Tom!" shouted Hoho.

"Go!" Tom screamed. He jumped onto the boat and just made it.

"Oof!" said Hoho, who Tom had landed on. After about a minute, they came to where the fire hadn't burned the forest, and there was a mountain on either side on the banks, and one rather tall one in the middle of the stream.

"Ok," said Arrogant cheerfully, "Let's land here."

Hoho looked back up the stream forty feet or so to where they had just been and shook his head.

"Let us linger for a time," said Legless. "For the eastern shore does not worry me."

Piping almost said that they were on the western shore, but he decided not to remind Legless of his terrible sense of direction.

"Ok, said Arrogant, "I'll go home and the rest of you can go to Mortar."

"Where are Boring and Hoho?" said Mary. "I think they can go to Mortar and the rest of us can go home."

The rest of the Funniship agreed to this readily.

Boring, however, had gone up the hill to seek solace. He wandered up a long unused trail, and soon came to a small clearing in the trees with a large flat boulder in the center. He had an impression that somone unfriendly was behind him. He whirled around but he saw only Hoho's smiling face.

"None of us should wander alone," he said while giving Boring some logs to hold. "Least of all me, er, you. I know what troubles you," he continued, "But there are other ways, other paths that we might take."

"I know what you might say and it would seem like wisdom but for the warning in my heart," shot back Boring. Hoho sulked for a couple of seconds but soon recovered.

"Warning against what?" he queried.

"Warning against delay. Against pain. And against tongue piercing!" Boring sighed.

"What?" said Hoho (and the co-author) thoroughly confused. "Tongue piercing? What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about my family problems. What did you think I was talking about?" "Well, the Ring of course!" said Hoho. "That is the reason we're on this quest. Y'know," he sidled up to Boring who was seated on the rock and put his arm around his shoulders, "I've had a lot of time to think on this trip. I've thought about me, I've thought about the Ring, then I thought about me again, but then I thought about you."

"Uh, ok," said Boring leaping up, "I gotta go."

"No no, you dolt!" shouted the blobbit. "What I was trying to say was, you poor unfortunate soul, you've never even seen the Ring. Wouldn't you like to now?"

"No," said the man nervously.

"As you wish, I care not," said Hoho. "But it's a great and powerful Ring, It'll give you cool powers, and make you invisible! It gives the power of conquest, and vanquishment! You can be a king rich and powerful beyond your wildest imaginations!"

Hoho jumped up and strode up and down, speaking ever more loudly. Almost he seemed to have forgotten lunch, while his talk dwelt on walls and weapons, and the mustering of men; and he drew plans for great alliances and glorious victories to be; and he cast down Mortar, and set Boring up as a mighty king, benevolent and wise, giving many great feasts. Suddenly he stopped and waved his arms.

"And you would throw it all away?" he shouted.

"Yes, yes!" shouted Boring.

"Then you won't take the Ring?" said the blobbit in dismay.

"No no no!" said the man rushing round to the other side of the boulder.

"Why are you so unfriendly?" asked Hoho. "Can't I even lend you the Ring?"

"No!" the man shouted. "Help help help!!"

"You may be twice my height," growled the blobbit, "But I am twice the man you are! And you are no match for me, Man!" And he leaped over the stone, and his handsome (in his own opinion, anyway) face was contorted in rage. Boring rushed to the other side and stood panting.

"Help, help!" he screamed at the top of his lungs.

"Fool! Obstinant fool!" shouted Hoho. "To throw away such a thing as Moron's great Ring! You're hopeless!" And with a final snarl, he pulled a huge iron chain from around his neck, and with some effort wrenched from it a small band of gold, slipped it on and disappeared.

Boring ran around shrieking until he tripped on a log. He rolled over and over and over and over and over until he was stopped by a lake. He swam back and sat down.

"Hoho?" he spluttered, "Hoho? I'm sorry, I do not know what came over me, but it has passed! Hoho? HOHO!?"

But Hoho had put his earplugs in and was seated on a tower of some sort. He saw a cloud shaped like a hand groping its way toward him. Hoho's mind was in a turmoil between 'Take off the Ring!' and 'Run run run run!'. When the cloud-hand was 2 inches away he blew on it and it disappeared.

Then Hoho looked down and saw the river stretching like a rubber hose that needed to be rolled up. Hoho knew in his heart what he must do, but he was afraid to do it. He wondered what Handoff would have said. Then he remembered. The blizzard probably would have said something like, 'You wimp! Don't choose a blobbit to do a man's job! And pass the pretzels!'.

Hoho decided to sleep on it. He stumbled sleepily down the hill and crawled under a log for a much needed nap.

So ends the Funniship of the Ring. In The Two Cowards, we will continue with what paths the Funniship chose, and where they went, and what clothes they wore, and if their hairstyles were in style, etc. etc. etc. and so on, and so forth.

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