So I was there outside the Cineplex on line for tickets to see the last installment of The Lord Of The Rings- The Return of the King. Sitting huddled against the side of the theatre was a homeless guy, all dirty and stinking of cheap gin. He was dressed in tattered but garishly colorful clothing; bright yellow boots that had seen better days and a torn blue jacket, all stained and worn. He had a long beard and was mumbling something incomprehensible but I did catch the word ‘Frodo’. He looked oddly familar.
Of course! It was Tom Bombadil, the character that had saved Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippen’s lives in The Fellowship of the Ring. Man, he looked bad.
“ Tom?”, I said, nudging his shoulder slightly with my toe. I didn’t want to get too close, he smelled like a sewer. He barely looked up.
“Yeah?,” he mumbled, “ Waddaya want?”
“ Tom, what’s happened to you?”, I asked, distressed, “ You were one of my favorite characters in book one! I can’t believe you’re here, looking like this. What went wrong?”
“ They cut me from the 1st movie!”, he screamed, “ I could’ve been famous! I could’ve had points! Merchandizing! Residuals! Now look at me!” He began to sob.
Man, Tom, that’s tough,” I sympathized, “ But you were doing alright, last time I read about you. You had all that real estate between the Old Forest and The Barrow Downs, nice property if I’m not mistaken, You had magical powers and Goldberry was waiting. Is she as hot as I think she is? That whole daughter of the river thing was a real turn on.”
“ Hotter.”, he replied moodily, “ But she dumped me when I got cut from the movie. She’s with Legolis now, can you believe it? She said she liked that edgy quality he has. What a freak show. And the land? Gone for taxes. I tried to get this resort and golf course thing going with elf/orc consortium I put together, but when I got cut from the movie the land value fell apart. I was mortgaged to the hilt and the next thing you know I’m on the street. I called Frodo, Sam, Gandalf...everyone I could think of, trying to get bailed out. You know what they did? Laughed at me! They’re raking it in...action figures, tie ins, the works. Me? Nothing, Nada, Zip!” He started to sob quietly.
“What about the magic?” I asked.
“ Gone with the booze,” he moaned, “ I started drinking when I found out I was cut and one morning the powers were just...gone. The only way I’m staying alive is with a little something each month from the Ring Wraiths. They’re pretty good guys.”
“Yeah, I always thought they got a bad rap in the books. You make one mistake, you pay for it the rest of your life. Look, Tom, is there anything I can do?”
“ Thanks pal, a little something for the cup would be appreciated. After that, just remember me. All those kids who only saw the movie and didn’t read the books don’t even know I exist. Get the word out, would ya?”
“ I’d love to, really,” I assured him as the line edged forward,” but I gotta pay for the ticket and I wanted to get some popcorn and stuff.” Behind me, I heard two teenaged kids whispering. “ Do you see that disgusting bum?”
“Yeah, just some loser. Ignore him.”
“Damn New Line Entertainment.”, Bombadil muttered.