8. Home for the Holidays: 4
January 14th (continued)
Rivendell-Elessar! The new house is in Rivendell-Elessar! When Elrohir said "west side", I assumed he would at least have the sense not to go for something in the worst neighbourhood known to all residents of this city! There are stray animals wandering around! There are stray children wandering around! Broken alcohol bottles decorate every street! Half the cars have smashed-up windows fixed with packing tape and cardboard from pizza boxes! And our neighbours on both sides are AVARI!!!
When Elrohir stopped the car and proudly asked me what I thought, I honestly felt ready to cry. The house is two storeys tall but only looks like it has enough paint left to cover one. The screen door has no screen and is inexplicably situated a foot above the ground with no front step leading up to it. The real door behind it has one missing pane that Elrohir fixed with a blue cellophane bag. All in all, it looks like one of those "fixer-upper" specials in the cheap section of the newspaper real estate listings. In fact, it probably was until Elrohir put the deposit down.
I stepped out of the car, looking before I put my feet down to avoid any possible glass hazard. Somewhere down the block, someone was listening to very loud rap music. For lack of anything better, I said, "Yep, it looks like a house." That seemed good enough for Elrohir, because he went bounding up to the stepless front door and waved for me to follow, saying that he wanted to show me around. I didn't want to leave all my things unprotected in the car, so I said that we should maybe bring everything inside first where it will be safer. Safer! Ha! Nothing will be safe in this neighbourhood! I might as well just give away my computer now, and the television, and the DVD player.
We made a few trips to bring everything in and all the while the Avarin neighbours to the left kept looking at us. Three of them were sitting on their front step, obviously showing off that they had one. I wouldn't be surprised if it were really ours and they stole it before I got here. I kept the DVD player and computer wrapped up in clothes so they wouldn't see me bring in all the potentially stealable things we had.
Once everything was in, Elrohir showed me around the house. He showed me the slanty main floor, the creepy damp concrete basement, and the crumbling bedrooms and bathroom upstairs. I left my shoes on the whole time because I was concerned the filthy carpet and lino might get my socks dirty. I think I will have to hire a Rug Doctor tomorrow. Elrohir had my bedroom set up already with one of the camp beds and a Doc Marten's box on top of a Nandorin orange box for a bedside table. He said he tried to assemble a desk out of boxes, but it kept falling over.
Then he showed me his room. I tried to explain that the basketball-sized hole in the middle of the floor (overlooking the kitchen) was a hazard, not a feature, but he wouldn't listen. He said he was going to try to rig up some sort of bucket-and-rope pulley system for transportation of snacks. I asked him what would happen if he got up to go to the biff in the middle of the night and fell in the hole, but he said he found a hubcap in the alley that's the exact right size to cover the hole when it's not needed.
I didn't want to unpack my things and risk dirtying them, so all I did for the rest of the day is sit on a sleeping bag on my camp bed and play computer pinball. Glorfindel rang in a panic around 5-30 after going to find me and discovering my bedroom evacuated, but he didn't even want anything. He was just shocked to find me gone. So I asked him to have Erestor give me a shout when he got home. It is nearly 10 now and still no word from Erestor, though. I am starting to remember that he is a horse's arse most of the time.
Between barking dogs, police sirens, and getting up every fifteen minutes to make sure the car wasn't smashed up, I got no sleep last night. Also the camp bed is terribly uncomfortable, which didn't help any.
I went downstairs to see if I could discover any breakfast, but there was none to be found. Elrohir ate the last of the pizza we ordered last night, leaving only a jar of peanut butter, a half-empty box of Dipps bars, and a few things of Jiffy Pop in the cupboards. There was Kool-Aid powder too, but no sugar. I yelled up to Elrohir to ask if there was a secret stash of food somewhere, but he yelled, "No." Then he stuck his arm down through the hole and asked me to pass him two Dipps bars and the peanut butter. That hole really is quite useful, in an annoying sort of way.
Then I yelled that I was going to go to the Extra Foods. He yelled back that he was coming too, so I had to wait twenty minutes while he very slowly got out of bed and pulled on some clothes. We went out to the car, which I was pleased to see was not destroyed at all, and I drove to the Extra Foods. Elrohir made a list along the way.
Once we got there we split up and I went about collecting everything important that I knew Elrohir would forget, like milk and eggs and potatoes and fruit and tea. I was glad I did, since when I met up with him he had a cart filled with naught but jars. Pickles, olives, salsa, cocktail wienies, maraschino cherries, mayonnaise, and about anything else that can come in a jar. He explained that there are no dishes at the new house, and purchasing jars eliminates the need to buy cups. I surreptitiously added a cheap Corel plate set and a pack of plastic cutlery to my cart on the way to the checkout.
I also bought Mr. Clean, TSP, Lysol, a Bee-mop and, according to plan, got the Rug Doctor. I've spent the last five hours cleaning and have so far only finished with my bedroom, the corridor, and the upstairs bathroom. I took a break to check my email, but realised that we have no internet connection yet. I will have to look into that straight away.
The house is slightly better now that everything's deep-cleaned and disinfected. I feel safe walking around in just my socks at least, and unpacking my things. We have no high-speed internet connection yet, but I did manage to get the dial-up working until the internet man calls round (next week) to get everything established. So I checked my email and found this one from Aragorn, dated yesterday:
From: "Aragorn" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: need your help
hey elladan- whats the password for moria?
gandalf cant remember.
Followed by another:
From: "Aragorn" <email@example.com>
never mind that last message he got it
I guess this means they're on their way through Moria now. Which also means they'll be arriving in Lórien soon. So I sent off a quick email to Rúmil telling him to make sure Haldir gives them a hard time at the border.
Elrohir is having a party tonight, the purpose of which is supposed to be introducing me to the neighbours. I tried to tell him that I don't want to meet the neighbours, but he claims they're all nice people. I also tried to tell him that they're Avari and by definition can't be trusted. He said that was a racial stereotype and I shouldn't pigeonhole them by their appearance. I said, "What about by their history and reputation?" but unfortunately at that exact second the doorbell rang and Elrohir didn't hear me.
The three shady-looking types who sit on the step next door came in bearing alcohol. Elrohir led them straight over to me and introduced them. I was a bit disappointed to learn that they all had regular Sindarin names like Agladir and Aerben and Callondhaer. The one that I think was Aerben held out his hand and I took it, tentatively.
He said, "What, you afraid to shake my hand 'cause I'm Avarin?" to which I replied, "No, of course not." But he must've known I was lying because then he scowled and said, "You tarrin' me, mithi?"
I had no idea what this meant, so I said, "Not that I am aware of, no." I think he must've said something rude in Avarin, because the other two laughed. But luckily Elrohir intervened right then and asked Aerben if he wanted to hold the iguana. I was able to escape moments later while Elrohir was busy untangling Gil-galad from Aerben's hair.
I slipped up the stairs, and not a moment too soon. Just as I got to the top I saw the door open and five more Avari wearing leather jackets and bandanas trooped in. Not knowing what else to do I rang Glorfindel. He can't stand the Avari and is the only person I can think of who might know how to get rid of them. Unfortunately Glorfindel wasn't home, but Erestor answered the telephone.
Erestor asked me what was wrong and didn't seem the least bit concerned when I explained the situation. I bet he has never had to go to parties with Avari! I asked when Glorfindel would be back and Erestor said that he was out with Aralindë for her birthday and would in all likelihood not be back until Sunday. So I asked Erestor if he knew what Glorfindel would do, but the best he could suggest was an outdated Vanyarin religious curse that Glorfindel is fond of using.
Then I broke down and started complaining about living here with Elrohir. Erestor listened nicely and said he would call round tomorrow to see if there was anything he could do to help. I said that would be good. We talked for about an hour before I decided I ought to go and try to get the party under control. The music had reached a frightening volume and the floor was starting to vibrate.
No sooner had I stepped out from my bedroom than I saw at least eight Avari and a few other regular Elves holding beer and hanging about in the corridor and on the stairs. I took Erestor's advice and said, "Nai velcar Valinoron ortuvar ar matuvar cuilelya nauca!" but they just kind of looked at me and didn't do anything. Religious curses aren't good for anything these days! I gave up and went back into my room. I'm planning to sit here for the rest of the night. Elrohir hasn't noticed my absence yet, so the outlook is good.
The house can be called fully liveable now that we have a kitchen sink. Erestor came round this morning, took one look at our squalid filth-hole, none the better after last night's party (which didn't end until half five when the police arrived to shoo everyone home), and said, "We're going shopping." We went to Ikea and bought an area rug, room lamps, cutlery, curtains, a desk, slipcovers for the ratty old sofa and chairs, shelving units, a set of small tables, two mirrors, and several decorative items like candles and picture frames. Then we went to Home Hardware and bought the sink, light switch covers that aren't broken, and new taps for the shower. Erestor put it all on his Visa without a second thought. I think Glorfindel must be right about the millionaire thing.
We brought it all home and got it all set up. The sink leaks a bit, but Erestor is not a plumber so I can't really complain. He told us to make lists of everything we need so we can go out shopping again tomorrow, so I made the following list:
*air freshener candles
Elrohir's was somewhat different. I'm not exactly sure what he's planning on doing with all of it, but he made a list consisting of:
*bean bag chair
I really hope he manages to contain all this stuff to his own room.
Erestor either bought or found everything on the lists. Even the big tyre for Elrohir. I am quite impressed. I really wanted to thank him properly but my new bed is not assembled yet and the camp bed is highly unstable, so we had to settle for being somewhat intimate on the slipcovered sofa while Elrohir was out in the back yard digging up sand for the iguana habitat and chatting with the Avari.
There was also an email from Legolas today:
From: "*Legolas*" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Hi!!! We're in Lorine now at your grandma's
house. She's very nice and gave us good
snacks but she also keeps touching everyone's
bums. You should tell her it's not polite to
touch people's bums. Lorien is very small
compared to Mirkwood but the trees are bigger
but they are also farther apart so I think
there are fewer trees.
The Elves here are very weird and talk funny.
I met one named Haldir who kept accidently
tripping me but then a nut fell on his head
from out of one of the big trees. We had to
sleep in a tree on a platform!! It was like
being in an army movie. Boromir was scared he
might fall of the edge so he had to sleep
between me and Aragorn and share my blanket
and pillow because his fell off the edge and
landed on a big mushroom.
I don't know how long we will stay here.
Maybe a long time. Gandalf fell in a hole
and now nobody knows what to do.
I wonder if Gandalf is injured? I wish Legolas would've said how big the hole was, and if Gandalf twisted his ankle or anything.
Erestor came by after work today to help try out the new bed. It works quite well. He also brought a DVD of some mindless Gondorian action movie that we could pretend to watch, but that worked less well. Elrohir insisted on watching the movie with us, which wouldn't have been so bad had he not sat himself directly between Erestor and me. About halfway through Erestor got up to fetch a Coke and sat next to me when he came back. But less than ten minutes later, Elrohir went to make popcorn and then sat back down between us again.
Either he has been hired by dad to keep Erestor and me apart and is terribly clever in his innocent sneakiness, or he is dumb as a bag of hammers and doesn't realise how infuriating his inconsiderate seating arrangements are. With Elrohir, it's hard to tell.
Today Elrohir asked me what I want for my birthday. Mine is the only birthday he ever remembers, since it's the same day as his. He can never remember dad's or Erestor's, even though they both share a birthday too (March 22nd). He doesn't remember that Arwen's is May 12th, Grandma's is October 10th, Grandpa's is March 16th, and Aragorn's is August 26th. I know all of these because they are in my computer's date book. Nobody knows Glorfindel's birthday, not even Glorfindel, but he figures it's probably sometime around the beginning of August. Therefore he celebrates his birthday every year on the first Saturday in August, to maximise partying potential.
I told Elrohir I hadn't though much about birthday gifts, even though I probably should since our birthday is in ten days. He told me he wants a cat. I think the only reason he had for asking me what I want is to make sure he had a chance to tell me what he wants.
Elrohir is doing something in his bedroom. It involves lots of banging. I tried to peer up through the hole to see what was going on, but he had it covered. All I know is that he took everything Erestor got him from the list and hauled it in there. What he's actually doing with it is a mystery. A very loud mystery that is preventing me from having a nap or watching telly.
The banging stopped at about 10 last night, but Elrohir was still up until three or so dragging things around. Now he's sweeping up the mess and tossing unneeded things out the window into the back yard. I still have no idea what he's doing and he refuses to show me until it's finished.
A large portion of carpet just went flying out the window and landed on the deck. I might have to go and put a stop to this nonsense.
Elrohir just yelled down through the hole asking me if we had any sandpaper. I said no. He's using a Brillo pad instead; I passed it up to him in a bucket. I note he has the bucket-pulley system installed.
I wonder if the landlord knows he's doing all this?
Oh well. At least the internet guy finally called round to hook up our DSL. Now I can ignore Elrohir's shoddy construction job in favour of watching flash animation cartoons online.
Elrohir showed me his bedroom. It looks exactly like something he would do.
He has built himself a new bed out of the plywood and 2x4s. The only thing is, it's situated diagonally across one corner of the room, four feet up the wall. Rather like a bunk bed with no bottom bunk. He uses the ladder to get up to it. At least it seems sturdy enough, though, with more 2x4s used to hold it up. The old trees form decorative columns. He's used a few sheets to section off a little fort in the space underneath the bed, and filled that space with pillows.
Shelving units made of old wooden crates line the walls, and strings of Fiommereth lights hang festively above the crates. There is a tyre swing in one corner. But perhaps strangest of all, he's for some reason tiled all the area within a two foot radius of the hole. I guess to facilitate his bucket-and-pulley setup, but I'm not sure how. It looks a bit peculiar, to say the least.
I must've been staring with my mouth hanging open in shock, because Elrohir looked nervous and said, "What?" I said, "It's very original." He perked up a bit at that, enough to grab my hand and drag me over to the under-bed fort. He said, "Look, now we have our own secret hideout!"
I mentioned that since we have our own house, a secret hideout within that same house is somewhat redundant. We can hide out just as secretly in the living room or the kitchen, after all. He looked hurt and said, "But this is fun!" He then got out the iguana, fetched a bag of Doritos, and pulled over the crate with the television and Nintendo on it to demonstrate just how much fun can be had while sitting under the bed.
Really, I don't suppose that the fun that can be had in an under-bed fort differs from the sort of fun that can potentially be had in the living room in any significant way. But still I ended up sitting in Elrohir's fort for the better part of five hours, watching him play Nintendo and eat Doritos with an iguana on his head just so I wouldn't hurt his feelings. I was almost rescued halfway through hour four when the telephone rang, but Elrohir had hijacked the cordless and, upon checking the call display, declared that it was nobody important and refused to answer.
I am starting to seriously suspect that he might be insane. I am tempted to print off one of those on-line psychiatric tests and try to con him into taking it.
I spent most of today in Elrohir's fort. He seems unwilling to let me leave. He's been bringing me tea and other insubstantial refreshments all day as I lie watching bad television. Sometimes he sits very close and pets my hair while talking to me in the same voice he uses to talk to the iguana.
Around supper time (Elrohir brought me a box of soda biscuits and a carrot to eat) the telephone rang, but again it was "nobody important". I really wish I knew who this nobody was. If he or she was anyone more important than Legolas, I'm going to be very upset.
Elrohir is surely insane. He made me sleep in the fort with him last night, clinging to my shoulders as if I were about to try and escape any second. Which I probably would have done, had he not been clinging to me. Though I did get him to leave the house for a short while this morning, to run down to the corner store and get some juice. While he was gone, "nobody important", better known as Erestor, rang and had a good complain about how he's been trying to get hold of me for three days.
Erestor is in a panic. Dad is in a panic. The office is in an uproar. The government will soon cease to function. And all because Glorfindel quit his job. Quit his job! Just like that! He walked in on Friday morning and announced that it was his last day. Preliminary reports give account of how dad yelled things on a theme of disbelief, then swore, then pleaded with Glorfindel to stay at least until the end of June when the year-end accounts are done. But Glorfindel would have none of that. He spent the better part of Friday afternoon cleaning out his desk and erasing all questionable temporary internet files and bookmarks from Netscape. Then he spent the better part of Friday night cleaning out his bedroom, since dad has evicted him.
So now Erestor has to do Glorfindel's job, and dad and Lindir share Erestor's job while also doing their own. Erestor used to be Glorfindel's assistant, and worked as chief accountant for the Government of Lindon for a while, so he knows what to do. I asked him why Glorfindel quit, but he didn't know. Then I asked him where Glorfindel went, but he didn't know that either. So for all we know Glorfindel could have run off to Valinor by now, with no warning! That seems like something he would do.
When Elrohir got back I was on the telephone trying to reach Glorfindel's mobile, but his number was unavailable. Elrohir gave me a stern look for daring to come downstairs. I tried to explain the situation about Glorfindel being missing and homeless, but Elrohir said that Glorfindel has a platinum Visa and is probably at this moment sipping room service cocktails in the Jacuzzi at a five star hotel. He is probably right. That sounds much more like Glorfindel than sleeping in a pile of newspaper under a bridge.
I will have to keep trying his mobile though, just in case. When Elrohir lets me leave the fort again. Right now he is downstairs with two of the Avarin neighbours attempting to invent supper. I was hoping they'd at least make some weird Avarin food like bannock and venison stew, but I think they're doing Hamburger Helper. How boring. What's the point of having Avarin neighbours if they act just like everyone else?
The Avari called round again today for lunch, helping Elrohir to make grilled cheese sandwiches and vegetable soup from a tin. He's spending an awful lot of time with them lately. If he's not careful, he's going to end up listening to rap music. He already wears huge trousers, so the danger is very real.
The one that I think is Agladir tried to talk to me while lunch was being made. He talked about regular everyday things like television and movies. I was a bit disappointed to see no indications of Avarin culture whatsoever, and I mentioned this. He asked if I'd rather he talk about canoes and totem poles and fur trapping and I said yes, that would make for an interesting conversation.
Then he said, "Sure, I'll talk about that if you tell me all about mining jewels and forging weapons and swearing oaths to your Valar, since being Noldorin you'd know all about those things, right?"
I told him that I hardly thought so, and that such vague historical stereotypes were in no way relevant to modern Noldorin society. But he didn't seem to get the point, since he then gestured at my GHU tee-shirt and said, "Did you kill a Telerin guy and take that from him? Or do you only steal ships?"
Honestly! Some people are so rude and ignorant! After assuring Agladir that no, I paid full price minus twenty percent for the tee-shirt at a legitimate GHU campus shop, I went upstairs. And I am not going back down until they leave. Perhaps Elrohir did have the right idea with this constant staying-in-the-fort business.
I did manage to get hold of Glorfindel though. He was in bed at the Hotel Eriador eating grapefruit and watching pay-per-view. I tried to get his room number so that I could escape to join him in paradise, but he said that Aralindë was on her way over due to some sort of emergency, and he hung up almost right away. It is just like him to abandon my in my hour of need, even after I helped him with all that letter-writing and telephoning to Valmar! We'll see if I ever do that again.
Elrohir is hanging around with the Avari. That seems to be all they ever do. They hang around next to, lean against, or sit on things. Right now they are out on the deck next door, sitting, leaning, and hanging around. Despite the cold, Elrohir is stretched out on a blanket in his shorts, trying to get a tan so he looks more like them. They are listening to rap music. I fear for Elrohir's future.
I tried ringing Glorfindel again, but he only said, "Look Elladan, I have a few problems to work out and can't really talk right now," and hung up just like that. Then I tried Erestor, but he wasn't at his desk. Dad was at Erestor's desk, though, so I talked to him for a while. He asked me what I want for my birthday. I said a new Teflon fry-pan would be nice. The one we have now Elrohir found in the garage, and it's all scratched-up and things stick to it. He also asked me what Elrohir wanted. I said, "Artificial intelligence."
It has come to my attention that it is socially impossible for Elves to live in groups of anything less than four. We live with parents, siblings, children, friends, cousins, and so forth. Parents whose children have moved away to other groups usually return to live with their own parents. All of Aragorn's friends that I've met live either alone or in pairs, but Elves always live in groups. Elrohir and I tried living just as a two, but I suppose we count as Elves because now we are part of a four.
I had hopes that today would be a day where nothing happened, since I've not had one of those nothing days for a while, and chances were looking good. But then at five Glorfindel showed up at the door with a collection of suitcases and his pregnant girlfriend. I just knew this would happen! The entire function of heterosexual people getting it on is to produce small Elves, so I don't know why they act so surprised when nature takes its course. I'd think they would have figured it out by now.
Glorfindel explained using very few words that Aralindë had to leave her house due to difficulties between her and her parents over this matter. She was clever enough to carefully dispose of the home pregnancy test kit while leaving the box it came in sitting on the back of the toilet. As a result, the two of them need a place to stay. I don't recall actually giving permission before he started hauling things inside and commandeering the sofa. I was about to complain when Elrohir came back in from another tanning session singing something about his name being "the real Slim Shady". He looked dead pleased to see that Glorfindel was moving in. Maybe Glorfindel's presence will influence him back toward wanting to be a Vanya and away from this Avarin nonsense.
I can hope, at least. Elrohir has abandoned his deck buddies in favour of looking from the kitchen doorway at Glorfindel, who is sitting on the sofa trying (and failing) to comfort a sobbing Aralindë. She refuses to cry on his shoulder because her tears and snively nose, not to mention all the runny makeup, will ruin his dry-clean-only rayon shirt. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that having them live here will drive me batty.
I will be 2910 years old tomorrow. I don't feel much older than 2500, though. When dad was my age, he'd already been governing Rivendell for well over 1000 years. I don't think my life thus far is much of a comparison. Though maybe I can chalk it all up to dad being a keener.
When I went downstairs Aralindë was busy at work making breakfast. She seems to be adapting remarkably well to her impending future as a homemaker, marrying Glorfindel and having ignorant babies. Glorfindel was just lying on the sofa looking tired and overwhelmed. He'd taken off his rayon shirt, but I guess Aralindë is done crying for now (actually she looked disturbingly happy) because I didn't see any mascara smudges on him.
I talked to dad at noon, and he said he'd made arrangements for him and me and Elrohir and Arwen to go out for birthday supper tomorrow at a fancy restaurant. I told him we'd be better off just going to some cheap place that has chicken fingers, which is all Elrohir ever orders anyhow, but he said he already made reservations at Whitesides.
Whitesides means of course that we're going to have to get all dressed up in our formal stupid clothes. And I don't think anyone realises just how much I dislike Elf clothes. Really I'd be far more comfortable in a shirt and sport coat borrowed from Glorfindel, but Whitesides is expensive enough to require the whole velvet and brocade extravaganza with long drapey parts that dangle in the mud and huge sleeves that are entirely impractical when eating anything that includes sauce. Unfortunately Arwen loves these formal outfits, and guess who dad listens to most of the time?
I asked Glorfindel if he had any proper Elf clothes I could borrow, since mine are all still at dad's and I don't want to have to drive all the way across town just for the sake of some stiff uncomfortable outfit. After a few minutes of digging through suitcases he came up with a slightly wrinkled dull green ensemble (100% rayon). I guess it'll have to do. With any luck everyone will be looking at Arwen anyhow and won't pay any attention to what I'm wearing.
January 31st (Birthday)
I woke up this morning to the realisation that I hadn't bought Elrohir a birthday present. Also to the sound of a funny noise outside. I tried to go back to sleep and dream up a suitable present, but the noise wouldn't stop. It sounded a bit like a homemade car alarm. So I went downstairs and outside to discover a small brownish kitten sitting on the pavement in front of the house. It looked up at me and made the noise. If I had to guess from its voice I'd say this kitten had ancestors that were finches and ducks.
I picked up the kitten and brought it inside, and gave it a bit of half and half in a yoghurt lid. That made the noise stop. Then I took it upstairs to ask Elrohir what we should do, but that was a big mistake. He took one sleepy look at the noisy kitten and said, "A cat! You got me a cat!" I'd forgotten that's what he'd asked for. He took the kitten and snuggled it into bed with him, despite the fact that it had just come in off the street and was probably filthy. He named it Beep, after the noise it makes.
I asked if Beep had a secret name like Dr. Green/Gil-galad the iguana, but he just looked at me warily and said, "Maybe." Then he went to the closet and got me my present, which was a collection of previously-viewed DVDs and VHS tapes of obscure foreign movies. Some of them look interesting and well-done, but I think Elrohir plans to make me watch all of them while sitting in his fort with the iguana (and now the cat).
At five dad and Arwen came to collect us for dinner. They hadn't had the pleasure of coming to see us at the new house yet, so I gave them a short tour while Elrohir frantically snooped through Glorfindel's clothes looking for something to wear. Glorfindel was hiding in the bathroom at the time. He and dad are not speaking.
Dad looked around sadly at the cracked plaster and dirty lino and said, "Well, I guess if you're happy here..." It took considerable willpower to stop myself from clinging to him and refusing to let go until he agreed to take me back to our real house and forbid me from ever leaving home again. In fact I probably would have become clingy had Elrohir not right then discovered a horribly outdated purple poncho-like monstrosity with silver trim. He threw it on over his shiny red jeans and announced himself ready to go. Dad shook his head but said nothing. Arwen said, "Daaa-aad! He can't wear that!" but did nothing. Elrohir grinned happily and walked out to the car.
Supper itself was fairly uneventful. Dad found a hair in his food, but then again he always does whenever we go out to eat. Elrohir was impressed that the restaurant had Diet Dr. Pepper. He drank five glasses and went to the biff twice. Arwen tried to be sophisticated by ordering something with a weird name, but ended up eating half of Elrohir's chicken fingers. I dropped a prawn in my lap and it got lost among the endless folds of Glorfindel's outfit. Then dad gave us our presents: a Teflon fry-pan for me, and a book of pie recipes for Elrohir.
When dad dropped us home again he didn't come into the house. He has a low tolerance for squalor, I think. It was just as well because when I walked through the front door the first thing I saw was Glorfindel and Aralindë being moderately R-rated on the sofa. Glorfindel yelled, "Manwë's pants, don't you ever knock?!" to which I replied, "It's my house!" Glorfindel flopped over with an exasperated sort of sigh and Aralindë looked at the floor while pulling a blanket up to her neck. Elrohir said, as he went up the stairs, "Get a room!"
At this Glorfindel's head popped back up and he had a peculiar expression on his face. He said, "Alright, I will!" Then he got up from the sofa, zipped his trousers, and fetched his chequebook. He handed me a substantial cheque and said, "That should more than cover half the rent. I am now in charge of half of the house and half of the bedrooms herein." Before I could think of what to do he was upstairs dumping everything from my bedroom into the corridor! When I shouted for him to stop, he simply pointed to Elrohir's room and said, "You live in there now." Of all the nerve!
And I expected Elrohir to at least be somewhat opposed to this new arrangement. But for some reason he's thrilled to be sleeping in the fort while I occupy the bed. Great! This is just great! And some birthday it's turned out to be! A dirty, noisy cat, Glorfindel's ill-fitting clothes, a family restaurant experience I could have done without, and now eviction from my own bedroom! I don't see how this can get much worse.
Actually I do. Elrohir just turned on the Nintendo. He has an iguana on his head and a kitten in his lap and is singing along with the Mario music. And he keeps peering up at me with a goofy smile every time he kills a koopa. I think I will soon go crazy. I will have to document the experience well so that when I finally do go, everyone will know exactly who to blame.
NOTES: The word "mithi" can be translated as a sort of slang word for the Calaquendi. The Avari here use it as the Elvish equivalent to "whitey".
Glorfindel's religious curse translates as "May the flames of Valinor rise up and consume your twisted life".
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