Orcs in Hobbiton
12. Apple Time
Little call for ladders this year. When the apples ripen they are all in the orchards, hobbit and Orc alike. Tall Uruk-hai lift Halflings and goblins up into the green, lean bored beneath the laden boughs. They stack each basket as it comes to them, apple on apple, pear on pear.
The Chubbs have never picked before: in past years it was done by hirelings. But the orchard isn't hers anymore, and Amelia is there with the rest. Gray-faced she clings to her branch, tries not to lose her breakfast, while the Noakes children clamber around her.
"Oi you swine," calls unpleasant Burzug. "We're coming behind on baskets."
"This one's not doin' nothin'," counters a goblin, jabbing a thumb at Amelia.
"You toad, Yagrub," snaps Marigold Noakes, "you do precious little yourself!"
The Uruk bellows, "Fuck the lot of you! You'll all pick faster or have a lesson in efficiency! I'll give you a taste of my – hurk!"
There's dispute over the offending apple, whether it was thrown by a goblin or a Halfling. Later, both camps will claim it as a point of pride. For now it helps that no one is fond of Burzug, and Tree#349 only receives a stiff lecture on productivity. It's hard to say if the talk itself makes any difference: they're all in better spirits now that Burzug and his swollen eye have gone, and the pace picks up accordingly. Amelia finally conquers her stomach, stands full-height while Marigold advises her in picking. The green leaves are luminous in the sun. The goblins have adopted the Halflings' straw hats, which they tug low over their foreheads.
"Twist as you pull," says Marigold. "Yes…that's coming along nicely." She wipes the sweat from her brow. "Changed days, eh, Amelia."
Amelia smiles ruefully. "Changed days, Mrs. Noakes."
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.