Monday, May 14, 2012

Hobbit Heartache—Chapter 9: The Family von Trapp

It's official: I have mastered Photoshop.
Just when you thought you were getting a grip on things . . .

Just when you were starting to think this was just another run-of-the-mill Sweet Valley High/Lord of the Rings erotic crossover fanfiction story . . .

Just when you were starting to grow bored of the overdone "evil cat-owning doppelganger from Antarctica seeking Sweet Valley High blood" storyline (like seriously, didn't Charlaine Harris do that in her last book? Or maybe it was Ken Follett, I don't know but it was someone) . . .

Well, guess what. It's all about to change.

(This is just like on The Bachelor when they announce big changes like 10 [ten] supermodels will now be competing with all the regular, only-somewhat-plastic-surgeried-contestants and do we think this will change anything  or when on America's Next Top Model they announce that it's a surprise double elimination week and now two [2] beautiful girls will stand in front of Tyra and be forced to cry.)

Basically I'm telling you that you should be making a face that's similar to the ones below.




































Preferably like the white t-shirt girl.

But hey! Fret not! For this is happy news. A new bachelor has entered the game. His name is Captain Georg von Trapp.




You may call him Captain. Captain Georg von Trapp.

Now, a handful of you may recognize Georg from an underground cult film called The Sound of Music. It had a pretty small release, played mostly in campus art cinemas and then quietly faded away, now known only to the most extreme of cinephiles.

A rare production still.

Or you might recognize him because I was lying before and The Sound of Music is one of the most beloved movies in the world and is a recommended film to watch if you enjoy singing, goatherding or are a human. If you haven't seen it, I would love to watch it with you. Then we can look at pictures from this amazing tumblr together.

It may require several hours.

ANYWAY. To briefly and inadequately sum up TSOM, it tells the beautiful tale of a melancholic Austrian Naval Captain (our man Georg) who feels distant from his seven (7) mischievous children after his wife has died. Instead of being a proper father, Georg hires governesses from the local Abbey to look after his wild brood. The kids tear through these governesses at a frightening speed with their tricks and general assholerly (the ol' frog in the apron pocket trick; who hasn't been there?) until Fraulein Maria arrives.


Sassy, sexy, singing Fraulein Maria.

The children fall in love with her, Georg falls in love with her, basically everyone falls in love with her except for the Georg's former fiance. Oh, and the Nazis. Who have been slowly taking over Europe throughout all of this merrymaking. Georg is a righteous and honorable man who refuses to pledge allegiance to the Nazi Party, forcing the family to flee Austria in the middle of the night after giving the performance of their lives at the Salzburg Music Festival (seriously, they nailed it. First place. Fraulein Schweiger didn't stand a chance!).

You go gurl.

When we last saw Georg in TSOM's final scene, he was hiking into the safety of the Swiss Alps with his new wife (yes, his former governess!! #SalzburgScandal #myfirsthashtagandIfeelawkward) and all seven (7) children to escape the looming threat of the Nazis.

Things were looking up for our friends. Pretty, pretty, prettttty up.

But in Hobbit Heartache land, things have taken a sad turn for the family von Trapp. Hopelessly lost on their quest for the Swiss Alps, the von Trapps begin to fall apart. Georg's strength is tested. His whistle becomes rusted, so to say. Will Georg and the Lord of the Rings and SVH crew eventually cross paths in the wild? Will paranoid Georg instantly assume the blonde, blue-eyed Wakefield twins are secretly Nazis and hatch a plan to kill them? Will the aristocratic Lila Fowler catch Georg's wealthy eye?

You'll have to read to find out. But the answer is yes.

Nazis? Not Nazis? Only  eight (8) more chapters of Hobbit Heartache will tell . . .

Just coming on board? I'm not sure what's going on in your life that led you to make that decision, but I'm glad to have you. Here's what you missed in one (1) handy, recycled recap (spoilers abound):

It's Spring Break and the Sweet Valley High gang has landed in Middle-earth! A freak accident leaves them stranded in the forests of Middle-earth, where they happen to merge paths with a group of fun-loving and sexy hobbits. Bilbo, Frodo, Merry, Samwise and Pippin are happy to have the extremely tanned teenagers join their journey to find and destroy a beautiful and powerful ring.

Feelings and fur start to fly as the group travels forth. Jessica has fallen hard for Frodo, but his eyes sure seem to linger intently on Bilbo, much to Merry's hidden rage. Elizabeth believes she has found her academic soulmate in Gandalf, but he appears reluctant to return her feelings. Samwise struggles to control his hidden brandywine addiction, while Pippin's lighthearted antics serve only to annoy Lila and Bruce. Distracted by excessive hair and hormones, the group fails to realize that they are being stalked by Lila's evil doppelganger, who has traveled all the way from Antarctica to take over Lila's life.

Our most recent visit with the gang saw them travel to the ominous Land of the Elves. Winston and Merry struck up a friendship, while Frodo remains clueless to Jessica's feelings. In exchange for possession of the Ring, the Elf King Elrond demands that a sacrifice of hobbit blood must be made. After a vote, it is ruled that ______ will be sacrificed, and a shocking slaughter takes place (I'm not saying who; just read Chapter Eight, lazybones). Heartbroken and exhausted, the group must now continue in their quest to destroy the Ring. But will they ever be the same?

Probably not.

As always, chapter links for playing catch-up:


If reading pages of text on a computer screen isn't your idea of fun but you are still extremely invested in the mind-boggling tale of Hobbit Heartache, don't forget it is available now in real, actual book form.

Now go read. But first, a detailed recap of my week, beginning with the first rays of Monday's gentle sunrise, followed by...JUST KIDDING I swear I hate recaps just as much as you do.



With no drapes to be found, the von Trapp family had to resort to the
most au naturel of accoutrements.


(As usual, the beautiful and semi-nude artwork is by Zak Tatham, who makes each chapter just that much better.)
Chapter Nine
The Family von Trapp

Georg von Trapp stopped and rested a moment, pulling off his felt fedora to wipe his damp forehead. He glanced at the crumpled object he clutched in his hand, stained and damaged beyond recognition. He heaved a despondent sigh.

This damned marionette is useless, he thought. I would be best to discard of it immediately.

But Georg knew that wasn’t possible. That wooden and cloth goatherder marionette was the last remnant he had of his family. Once known all throughout Salzburg as The von Trapp Family Singers, their prosperous musical career had been cut short by the looming threat of the Nazis. Georg and his newlywed wife Maria were forced to flee Austria and head for the safety of the Swiss Alps. With them were his seven children—Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta and the little one, Gretl.

The perilous journey had started well. Liesl, the oldest at sixteen, had helped Maria to take care of the younger children, often carrying Gretl for long stretches of time. When the children’s play clothes grew tattered and stained from the outdoors, Maria fashioned them new ones out of pine branches and bark strips. Though it pained Georg to see his children roaming about the mountains dressed like savages, the children loved them. And when inclement weather struck, truly there was no one better to have around than Maria. Even Kurt, his youngest son and a pansy of a boy, could manage to curb his frightened sobs to listen to Maria sing them through the frequent hail and lightening storms.

Though the hiking was difficult, Georg and Maria were still in a state of newlywed bliss and filled the cold nights with quiet yet passionate lovemaking. Maria was the best lover that Georg had ever had, so much warmer than that cold fish Elsa and the countless forgettable girls from when he was serving overseas. Maria’s love gave Georg the strength to keep hiking, day after day after endless day.

We’ll make it home one day soon, he reminded his family everyday. In the beginning, he had really almost believed it.


My Dearest Georg, though it pains me so I must leave you, the note read, for my heart belongs to another. I have gone to live with Herr Max Detweiler. He promises a life full of love and security. He also believes that my musical talents and seamstress skills will be able to make me a star in Prague. He possesses the faith in me that you never had.

Tell the children I will love them always, even Louisa.
Cordially,

Fraulein Maria

Uncle Max, Georg had raged that grey morning in his makeshift tent. Goddamn Uncle Max.

He had always thought Max was a homosexual, what with his penchant for pink lemonade and children’s choirs. Oh, Herr Zeller will just love it when he gets ahold of this news. I’ll be the laughingstock of all of Salzburg, he thought, his face twisted into a bitter scowl. He wondered if he should contact any of his old acquaintances from the Navy to take care of Max, but quickly dismissed the idea. He couldn’t afford to attract any attention and risk giving away the von Trapp’s location.

The family von Trapp did not fare well without Maria. The children, brokenhearted and angry, reverted to their old troublemaking ways. They quarrelled with each other often and refused to sing on command. Liesl began to sneak into the woods each night, returning to her tent to sleep for only a few hours before the sun rose. She would not elaborate as to her whereabouts, refusing to relent under Georg’s militant interrogations. Georg could on occasion hear her distant cries of “Wheeeeee!” slicing through the night air as he lay awake in his tent.

She better not be drinking champagne without my consent, he glowered. Liesl grew sluggish and her frequent mood swings frightened the children.

Friedrich also exhibited strange behavior. He approached Georg in private and enquired if he possessed any pictures of Baroness Elsa Schräder, Georg’s attractive old flame. Georg did, having covertly tucked a small portrait into the side of his boot before leaving his estate, and agreed to lend it to Friedrich for a short period of time. He then began to notice Friedrich stealing away from the family while hiking for fifteen minutes at a time, returning with his blonde hair dishevelled and his fair cheeks flushed. Friedrich also insisted on having his own sleeping tent, kicking Brigitta and Kurt out to sleep in the cold.

“I’m a man now, Father! When will you finally see that?” he cried. “I have needs and urges!” Georg rolled his eyes and issued Friedrich ten demerits for his lack of cooperation.

Discipline. That’s what this family needs, Georg thought with increasing fervor as he watched his family fall apart. Discipline.

Perhaps discipline could have saved the von Trapp’s, but Georg wasn’t afforded the chance to see. The family von Trapp experienced mixed emotions when Louisa suddenly perished after one of her notorious pranks went awry. Her malnourished body quickly succumbed to the poisonous venom from the snake meant for little Gretl’s bed.

She really had it coming, Georg reflected. How many times did I warn her of those damned pranks? Ah, well.

The family laid a meager bouquet of wildflowers on Louisa’s shallow grave and continued on their way. A certain peace seemed to have come over them, as Louisa’s vexing attitude and visage were no longer a bother.

That peace was short-lived.

He could still recall the look on Liesl’s face when she told him the news. She hung her head in shame, shifting uncomfortably in her now-bulging bark strip dress.

It wasn’t that the two didn’t seem to be in love. It was obvious that Liesl was quite enamored with the fellow, her blue eyes lighting up as she described how they had met on a hike and courted each other. She quite literally sang his praises.

“Oh Father, he dictated me thirty telegrams in one night!”
“He’s promised to take me for a ride on his sailboat once we make it out of here!”
“Nicholas knows everything about technology, Father, and he’s even made an appearance on the television box!”
“We both have dead sisters!”
“He’s not a member of the Third Reich!”

Georg was confounded. He grilled Liesl about her suitor. Morrow, his surname was, which he instantly recognized as a family of North American wealth. When he met Nicholas, he could see why Liesl repeatedly referred to him as a “certified hunk.” Georg had to concede that the chap was eloquent.

“Sir, I promise I can lead you and your family to the safety of the Swiss Alps. I know them well ever since my deaf sister Regina, may she rest in peace, had to move there to undergo surgery to restore her hearing. It was a miracle, sir! All of Sweet Valley rejoiced. I went to visit her often and discovered a love of mountain climbing. When she passed, I was lost with grief. I decided to leave the family business and go live in the mountains. And that’s where I met Liesl and I discovered joy again,” Nicholas said, lovingly patting Liesl’s plump belly. “I would be honored to join your family and escort you to Switzerland.”

Georg considered Nicholas’ words. The proposition of bringing his family to safety and ending their nightmare was certainly tempting. They could make a home once again, and poor Marta could finally obtain medicine for the rash that had ravaged all of her body. Then a moment of clarity hit and Georg realized he was in danger of losing his daughter, much like he lost his wife and other less important daughter.

Empty promises, Georg thought, and deception. To impregnate my daughter and then imply that I’m incapable of keeping my family safe. The gall of this young man! And he hasn’t even served in the Imperial Navy!

His decision was made.

“No daughter of mine will be an unwed mother. You have shamed your family and the very name of von Trapp, Liesl. You have shamed all of my associates, including Frau Schmidt and Franz. Most importantly, you have shamed Austria. I ask you to pack your things this minute and return to the Abbey.”

As his eldest daughter said her final auf wiedersehen, Georg stood frozen in spot.

“I always knew you still needed a governess!” Georg shouted after Liesl, his grief emerging as anger. And though Georg usually experienced a thrill when banishing someone to the Abbey, this time he felt nothing but pain.

And so another von Trapp was gone. The family hiked each day as usual but Georg took no pleasure from life. When he realized he had forgotten Marta’s birthday for the third year in a row, he offered to sing his and Liesl’s favorite duet “Edelweiss” with her as a present. Marta was sharply out of tune and whined of severe pain. He began to realize that a growing part of him despised his children.

Georg awoke early one morning and watched the sun rise over his family’s battered tents. At one point in his life he had believed that he was a brave man. He was even decorated by the emperor, for Christ’s sake. But hiking lost through the mountains with five children, always answering their questions about where Fraulein Maria went, why did Liesl leave, “we’re so hungry, Father,” is Louisa really dead, “why are these strawberries blue, Father?” never having just one, JUST ONE goddamn moment of silence. He could take no more.

He pulled on his equestrian riding pants, hunter green woolen jacket and his felt fedora. After gathering all of their food, Georg walked over to the children’s tents. He knelt and placed his silver whistle on the ground next to Friedrich.

“So long, farewell, my children,” he had whispered. “We shall not meet again.”

And now Georg stood, wiping his brow and reflecting on the past six months. He had discovered that without the children he was much more efficient and had nearly tripled his progress. Though still quite lost, he had renewed hopes of soon reaching human civilization. Earlier in the day, Georg had come across campfire remnants that were still warm and had thus increased his pace to catch up with the unknown hikers. He was walking faster than he had in weeks and could feel his woolen jacket sticking to his chest. His muscular quadriceps burned from exertion, yet he pushed further.

I feel like I’ve just danced ten Ländlers, Georg thought. Stiffen up, Captain. I can hear voices just ahead.

He broke into a march and high-stepped over a hill. His suspicions were confirmed as he spotted an eccentric-looking group of people sitting in a circle on the ground, appearing to rest.

“You! You there! Stop at once!” he cried. “State your names and ages.”

The group looked up in surprise. They were comprised of males and females of all ages, with varying degrees of body hair.

“Why hullo there, fellow weary traveler,” replied the oldest male. His wild, cottony-white hair appeared to not have been brushed in several weeks' time.

“I am Bilbo Baggins and this is Frodo, Merry and Samwise, all members of my hobbit clan. I am one hundred and fifty-two years living.” He gestured to three boys lounging beside him. Georg did not know what a hobbit was but he disliked this unkempt fellow almost immediately.

“I am Captain Georg von Trapp of the Austrian Navy. You may call me Captain,” said Georg stiffly.

“And we’re Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield,” chimed in a strangely tanned blonde girl, pointing to her apparent twin sister. “We have a Spanish-style kitchen.”

Georg stared suspiciously at the twins’ blonde hair, blue eyes and perfect Aryan features.

Nazis, plain as day, he thought with alarm. And I would gamble that they’re holding these hair-covered children hostage.

The rest of the tanned teenagers introduced themselves, but Georg was still staring at the Nazi females, contemplating how best to kill them. If I bludgeon one with my marionette . . .

Another female voice broke through his pondering. “And I’m Lila Fowler.”

Georg turned and froze. Facing him was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her glossy brown hair, so like the color of the espresso once served to him by Frau Schmidt each morning. Her lips, as ruby-red as the jam and bread he ate ad nauseam. The whites of her eyes, the same dazzling white as the edelweiss he had kept in his undergarment drawer. In that instant, he forgot Maria, Elsa, Sister Margaretta and his array of one-night stands ever existed. There was only Lila Fowler. He struggled to gain composure.

“Lila Fowler, was it? Are you by chance related to the von Fowlërris family of Klagenfurt?”

“No, my ancestors are all from California,” replied the woman.

“How very strange—I would have insisted that you descend from royal blood,” said Georg.

The lady Lila smiled while the rest of the teenagers muffled their laughter. Georg noticed, and wondered if he would have to bludgeon the rest of them as well.

The scrawny fellow with oversized feet will be first, after the twins, he thought.

He began to plan his method of attack when he noticed the hobbits huddling in a group and heard the unmistakable sounds of voices blending in a choral fashion.

“What’s that?” he demanded.

“It’s singing,” answered the scrawny boy.

“Yes, I realize it’s singing, but who is singing?”

“The hobbits.”

“The hobbits?” questioned Georg.

“Yeah, it’s kind of weird. They sing all the time. Like five times a day. You get used to it pretty fast. And then you start to learn some of the songs and it’s more fun,” explained the boy.

The singing stopped as suddenly as it began. A diminutive hobbit stepped forward, hair-blanketed arms extended towards Georg.

“Kind stranger, we insist on you joining our party. ‘Tis not safe for a lone man out in the mountains,” one of the hobbits said. Flodo? Dodo? What was his name? Georg wondered. “We are in the midst of a grand journey, one that may result in all of our deaths. We cannot promise your safety but we can promise you our tender companionship.”

Georg paused, and then spoke with trepidation. “Yes, I will join you. But I insist that you answer the following query before we proceed: are you or are you not members of the Third Reich?”

Half of the party appeared to be horrified while the other half remained blasé.

“The third what?” asked the more attractive blonde Nazi.

“Goodness, no! We’re not Nazis!” exclaimed the dowdy one. “I mean, we don’t have any Jewish people in Sweet Valley, but I’m almost certain we would tolerate them if we did.”

“And I will speak for the hobbits when I say that we enjoy men of all backgrounds and walks of life,” added Bilbo.

Falsehoods, thought Georg with certainty. Precisely what a Nazi would answer. I will use them for their knowledge of the land and kill them when I must. Yes, I shall kill them all except for Lila Fowler.

“Wonderful. In that case, I should be most pleased to join you,” he stated with feigned pleasantry. “Let us march!”

Georg set off with his new hiking companions and marveled at how quickly his journey had changed. He made sure he was positioned next to Lila and marched with extra finesse to impress her. Each time he and Lila locked eyes, Georg felt as if he had sat on twenty pine cones.

Nazi or not, he thought, I think I may be in love.


Have Jessica and Elizabeth been hiding a deep, dark secret from us? Will Georg's disciplinarian side catch the perverse eye of Merry? Will Liesl and Nicholas Morrow give birth to like the most attractive baby ever? Will the hobbits re-bring music back to Georg's life?

STAY TUNED.

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