Bilbo had been upset to find out Aslan chose him to host the April shindig of literary characters. After the dwarves destroyed his home years ago, he gravely disliked hosting at his hobbit-hole. But he had been chosen and he dare not complain to Aslan. So he went on with the cleaning and the cooking and all the party planning. Before he knew it, there was a knock at the door and the sound of arguing outside.
“Jack! I told you not to bring so much bacon. Not everyone – “
“Oh Ralph, be quiet! Everyone likes bacon.”
“Well, not me, and I doubt anybody else will either.”
With that Bilbo opened the door to Ralph and Jack from Lord of the Flies. They had been rescued from an island several years prior, and, after years of therapy, were on their first social outing.
“Hello, boys. Now before you enter, please remove your shoes and –”
The boys rushed in, completely disregarding his instructions and tracking dirt all over the floor. They were fascinated by the strange architecture of the hobbit-hole and the scrumptious smells wafting from Bilbo’s oven.
“This is why I didn’t bother vacuuming,” Bilbo muttered to himself.
Jack asked, “Hey, Mr. Baggins, where should I put the bacon?”
Bilbo’s mouth began to water at the word and he responded, “The bacon! How exciting! Set some on the empty platter on the table.”
Whispering so Ralph, who was staring at the woodwork, would not hear “…and sneak some in the refrigerator for me to eat later — I mean for us — for us to eat later!”
“I told you, Ralph!” Jack shouted victoriously. “I told you people love bacon!”
“What was that? Did I miss something?” Interrupted by a knock, Ralph turned toward the door.
Jack peered through the window as Bilbo headed towards the door to see who it might be.
“Golly, they’re dressed fancy.”
“Good day, good day,” were the soft, polite tones coming from the entryway along with a rhythm of composed footsteps and trailing skirts. The new guests carried an air of propriety that caused Ralph and Jack to attempt to remember their manners (manners that they had worked on cultivating for some time and were anxious to put to use.)
“Boys,” Bilbo said. “It is my pleasure to introduce you to the characters of Pride and Prejudice.”
The Darcys and the Bennets waltzed into the room. A symphony of bows and curtseys transpired. Speechless, the boys found themselves unprepared for the composure and posture of the Regency-era English couples.
“They’re so old fashioned,” Jack thought.
“This is so awkward. What do I say? Do I bow?” Hundreds of such notions flooded Ralph’s brain as he turned bright red in the ears.
“Well…” Bilbo nodded towards the boys, flashing an aggravated smile.
Ralph broke the silence. “Hey, hi, how do you do?” He bowed towards the left and the right and topped it all off with a curtsy directed towards Elizabeth and Jane, who covered their mouths and giggled. Bingley smiled brightly and threw his head back with laughter while Darcy smirked and shook his head.
“Do you guys like bacon?” Jack’s question threw the new group into a curious frenzy.
“Ba-con? What on earth is that? Lizzy, do you know what he is speaking of?” Jane asked.
“I’ve never heard of such a thing. Perhaps it’s a modern delicacy we have not experienced. Perchance the men have a superior notion to what this “bac-on” they are referring to is.”
“Not one notion, my dear,” Darcy said around a prodigious yawn. “Why don’t we sit? The journey has been long and my feet ache.”
“Oh, nonsense, Darcy,” Bingley joyfully chimed. “Why would you want to sit in such a marvelous place! The countryside is beyond beautiful. Jane dear, we must reconsider our current residence and contemplate a relocation to this wonderful place of Hobbiton!”
Jane kindly disapproved with a smile only Bingley could read.
Bilbo interrupted the desultory conversation with an announcement of the plans for the evening. “Thank you, you all for making the journey to Hobbiton! Aslan is flying over with the Narnia children and will be meeting with Gandalf down that hill. The sun will be down by the time we get there, so we better be leaving shortly. Following Gandalf’s fireworks, we will head back over here for dinner, drinks, and music. Does everyone understand?”
Jack and Ralph nodded excitedly. They were beyond excited to meet Edmund.
So they all headed down the lush green hills. Birds flew overhead, chirping various melodies that calmed everyone’s spirits, especially Darcy’s, after the long trip.
“Oh, Bingley, I may be changing my mind,” Jane whispered softly to Bingley.
Out of nowhere, there was a large boom followed by a lion’s roar, distressed apologies, and children laughing.
“Oh, what on earth!” Darcy shouted.
“NEVERMIND, BINGLEY!” Jane cried as she grabbed her sister’s arm in one hand, and her husband’s in the other. Elizabeth latched onto Darcy as Jane ran, dragging them both, causing the four of them to fall to the ground like dominos.
“Oh heavens!” Bilbo cried “Why does nothing ever go as planned?! Oh dear…BOYS!”
Jack and Ralph were rolling down the hill towards the fireworks explosion a few yards down the hill, giggling and having the time of their lives.
Everyone had heard of Gandalf’s famous fireworks, but now they had heard them indeed. Each shape had a different sound.
“Oink! Oink! OINK!” Pig and bacon shaped fireworks lit the sky pink. The boys stopped rolling and looked up at the pink sky traced with their favorite food. Elizabeth, Jane, and their husbands stared up in absolute bewilderment. Bilbo smiled, and nodded his head, feeling a friendly hand rest on his shoulder. It was Gandalf, followed by Aslan, carrying Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy.
“Everyone,” Gandalf announced, “there seems to have been some sort of malfunction with my wand. You see, I left it resting on a nearby rock because a squirrel stole my hat. When I returned, Aslan had arrived with the children, but my wand was missing. I happened to find it; however, it is covered with a powdery substance that tastes…” he raised the wand to his mouth and quickly licked it, “…quite sweet.”
Edmund blushed as pink as the pig fireworks.
“Edmund, you cannot be serious!” Susan rolled her eyes.
“And where on earth did you get your hands on more Turkish delight?” Lucy questioned with widened eyes.
“Lucy, that’s between him and-” Peter was cut off by Aslan’s powerful, peaceful voice.
“Edmund – I believe you owe everyone, especially Gandalf, a proper apology for robbing him of his wand and throwing these two couples into a fright. We’ve discussed this before and I do not expect to witness this behavior from you again.”
Edmund nodded repentantly. “My apologies. Say, is that bacon I smell?”
I had just arrived with a platter of bacon I found in Bilbo’s fridge.
And there, underneath the pig pink sky, Elizabeth asked: “Is that the Ba-con?”
“You know it!” Jack smiled
So we all sat around the bacon platter and they told me the story of the April shindig so I could record it and share it with clay. Everyone tried the bacon and thoroughly enjoyed it, except for Darcy, but we all know that he’s a picky one.