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Lockout Lit presents: an excerpt from H.R.R. Tolkien's 'The Two Fehrs'

In the second book of his "Lord of the Revenue" trilogy, author H.R.R. Tolkien expands his fantastical world of swords-sorcery-and-sports labor negotiations to tell the harrowing tale of an epic war between owners and players at the "Battle of Memos Deep."

Streeter Lecka


Much of the talk was intelligible as many of the Orcs were using ordinary locker room language. Apparently the players from two or three quite different teams were present, and they could understand one another's orc-speech. There was an angry debate concerning what should be done with the owners who would oppose them.

"There's no time to kill them properly," said one. "No time for play on this road trip."

"But why not kill them quick, kill them now?," asked a second. "They're a cursed nuisance, and we're in a hurry. The chance of losing the entire season is coming, and we ought to get a move on. They think us treacherous, muddy swine!"

"Swine is it? How would elf and hobbit folk like being called swine? The dwarves and muckrakers and dirty little wizards! It's player-flesh they eat, I'll warrant."

"If I had my way, they'd wish they were dead now," said the first. "I'd make them squeak, those miserable rats!" He bared his two empty front spaces where fangs once were and drew a black stick with a long flat blade from his back. "Lay quiet little rat, or I'll tickle you with this, is what I'd say. Curse the team owners!"

Many loud yells in orc-speech and cursing answered him, and the ringing clash of weapons being drawn. Orcs harumphed in agreement of sentiment.

Then, a pause. And a cough from somewhere within the mob.

"Of course, my team owner is no rat." croaked a soft voice. "I don't question him with regards to negotiating my contracts in good faith. I don't question that. We just want to play again."

Again, the orc-players were in concert, nodding politely and sympathetically at one another and uttering, "My words were misquoted," "everyone's frustrated right now," and "I know they're all good people."

"Except one, a hobbit" called out an orc leader named RyMillúk, stepping to the center of the mob. "I heard that he has got something in his possession, something magical that's needed for the next CBA, some thieving elvish plan for hording revenues or other. And he refuses to relinquish and bow to Fehron!"

"Aye, I don't trust that little swine. He has no guts outside his own sty. But for us he'd have run away. We are the fighting Uruk-Eh?! We slew the great warriors. We took the injuries. This hobbit has never played the game. We are the believers in Fehron the Wise, the Union's Hand: the Hand that will give us fortune to eat like kings. Fehron, who keeps us informed of all negotiations via e-mails as swift as the mighty hawk. I am RyMillúk. I have spoken."

"You have spoken more than enough, RyMillúk," shouted a far off voice. "I wonder how we would like it in Omsk. Or Frolunda or KalPa? Those lands might make us think that RyMillúks shoulders needed relieving of a swollen head. They might make us ask where his strange ideas came from. Did they come from Steveruman, perhaps? Who does he think he is? Is Steveruman the master or is it Fehron, the Great Eye? Bah! We should go back at once to Lukko or Bolzano or one of the Metallurgs.'

"Maybe, maybe," said RyMillúk. "Then you'll fly off and get all the pay and praise in Omsk, and leave us to foot it as best we can through the dingy local rinks, college sheets or frozen puddles of the plains. No, we must stick together. Those lands are dangerous: full of foul rebels, brigands and loose cursed wenches."

As RyMillúk shouted, a number of reporters looking for a quote sprinted from the forest. Suddenly, without warning, RyMillúk sprang forwards, and with two swift strokes, swept the heads off two of his interviewers. The severed skulls hit the frozen ground with a dull synchronized melody of thuds. The reporters' last, desperate, fleeting gasps flitted from their mouths like vapor, and wafted to Twitter where they were tweeted and retweeted to all of hockey-earth for the rest of the day.

The Orcs were getting ready to march again, but some of the lookouts halted the preparations. The rest were cowed and there was much cursing and confusion.

'The scouts have come back at last," said an Orc close at hand.

"Well, what did you discover," growled the voice of RyMillúk.

"Only a single horseman, and he made off westwards with an internal players-only memo," the scout cried.

"You fools! You should have shot him. Raise the alarm! The cursed owners will read this memo in mere moments. Now we'll have to leg it double quick to prepare a new memo before they release their memo to counter our memo. Filthy rats!"



Part I: H.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Revenue