Oh what will you do with a drunken sailor,
Oh what will you do with a drunken sailor,
Oh what will you do with a drunken sailor-
Early in the morning!
Bilbo roused from his bed with a start, swearing to the Thrain's ears at the racket his nephew's alarm clock-radio had caused. He rolled out of bed, shoved his feet into his worn out house slippers, and stormed to the den where his nephew resided. Frodo was still sleeping, even as his uncle slapped the snooze button of the infernal device on his way to the kitchen, grumbling as he went. A right poor way to be woken up- and on a Sunday, out of all the days! Bilbo dragged a hand over his face as he glared at the choices of coffees and teas in his tea cabinet, as if they had been the cause of his troubles and had offended him. He picked a minty chocolate coffee and set about brewing it in the clunky coffeemaker he was gifted well over 10 years before that very morning. He swore time and time again the damn thing was never going to die, despite all the times Frodo had slammed into it as he grew up or tripped whilst proofreading his work.
Speaking of work, the older of the Bagginses was not looking forward to it. He had stayed up almost til 2 in the morning- which, looking at the clock by his still sleeping nephew, was only 5 hours of sleep that was allotted- and was bound to up til the same hour yet again if he didn't get any ideas and fast. It's one of the woes the Bagginses had- they were writers by trade and if they had a spell of writers block, then they lose fresh sources for money to cycle in. There were still their old material being sold electronically on a self-publishing website, but sooner or later, their patrons would come calling for more reads; how are they to meet those requests if they can't write? It's dreadful, it really is. As Bilbo clicked the power switch to the coffeemaker so that it would beginning brewing his choice of brew, he let out a sigh and deflated a bit.
"At least Frodo isn't stuck in a rut like I am. The wonders of a young mind- plenty of imagination to spare," the older Bagginses muttered to himself, puttering over to the fridge to get a start on the family's first breakfast. As if the fridge was created to be a disappointment for old Bilbo that day, it revealed that they were almost out of eggs and the milk had expired just two days prior- Bilbo didn't know of this because Frodo had been the one cooking the last few days and had served them waffles or toast for their first breakfast, neither of which requiring milk. Swearing to himself, Bilbo tossed the old milk out and started improvising by making hash browns- thankfully there were plenty of potatoes, as the two both enjoyed the tuber and had easy access to them thanks to Frodo's friend, Samwise Gamgee, who grew them by the plenty in his vegetable garden.
But, as with other things that morning, the hash browns decided to turn out poorly- they were half burnt and no amount of salt seemed to brighten their flavor. But Bilbo knew that Frodo wouldn't mind the burnt parts, so he dished out the browns to where his nephew had the crispy bits more than he did. Apparently the smell of the browns and coffee had caused the nephew in question to wake from his slumber and sluggishly find his way to the kitchen table. Frodo sat down with a mighty yawn and tired groan, groping for his coffee mug which wasn't on the table yet. "Uncle... Uncle, coffee," the boy whined.
"Stop that noise right now or you won't be getting any coffee," Bilbo said sternly, setting down the plated meals on the table before turning back to get to work on preparing the coffee mugs.
Frodo groaned again, "Why don't we have a faster pot?"
"Unless you have the money to buy a faster one, you have no right to complain about ol' Steamy," replied Bilbo, smirking as he returned with the mugs- his own was a nice shade of brown while Frodo's was borderline tan due to the amount of creamer the younger liked to have in his morning cuppa joe. Frodo carefully brought his mug closer so that he could nurse it whilst he woke up further.
"I'd have the money to buy a faster one if the patrons would stop buying your scripture more so than they do mine, Uncle."
"It's not my fault that we agreed to write under the same pen name. You could have used that Underhill one instead of my Burglar," Frodo's uncle pointed out before scooping a forkful of browns into his mouth. Goodness, I can never get the salt right on this. Perhaps I should follow Gandalf's advice and have it with ketchup... but then it's not really hash browns, now is it? More of a scrambled tater tot... I suppose, now that I think of it, that is what hash browns are.
"I did offer to compromise with Burglar R. Underhill, but you complained about how the 'R' could mean anything-"
"And it still can, Frodo."
"Well, if it bothers you so much on what it could mean, we can just define it in the author's notes," reasoned Frodo, waving his fork pointedly at his uncle, ignoring how some of his hash browns fell onto the table despite Bilbo giving him a look for it. "It could be... I don't know, 'Ring' or something."
"'Burglar Ring Underhill?' Come now, Frodo, you and I both know you could come up with a better name than that even when you're asleep at your computer after many hours of hard work," teased Bilbo as he reached over and cleaned up the browns on the table. An awkward silence suddenly filled the air, as if someone had pressed pause on the telly whilst a character is posed in a ridiculous manner. Bilbo looked up at his nephew, who was staring into his coffee mug. "Something the matter, Frodo?"
"Nothing...major," said Frodo tentatively, bringing the mug to his lips as he gingerly sipped at the still very hot brew. Bilbo knew that whatever was bothering his nephew was clearly the opposite of 'nothing major,' as Frodo only sipped at his fresh coffee if something major was bothering him. And Bilbo would be the one to know, as he was the one to teach his nephew the trade of writing and also introduce him to coffee. Bilbo watched Frodo with a steady gaze, waiting for his nephew to spill the beans in his own time. Which didn't take long, as the boy put his mug down with a sigh.
"I... Haven't been able to think of anything to write. Like, at all. I tried writing a short review last night and revised the thing about thirty times before telling the patron that I would need a while to think about it before giving them anything," the younger Baggins explained slowly, staring into his coffee mug. "It's been like that all week and no matter how hard I try to get inspired, i just can't think of anything. Do you think it's cabin fever?"
Bilbo gave his nephew a thoughtful look. So they were in the same boat after all- and here he thought that Frodo wouldn't have trouble at all, but clearly the fates had other plans and decided to deal them this curve ball. Writers block was the worst thing to try and handle, especially when there were patrons depending on you to give them manuscripts as soon as possible. Bilbo recalled his last writers block spell had lasted well over a month and he had lost a fair sum of his income during that period because he didn't have material to dish out. It was also round the time that Frodo had just started with his portions of their writings, which was what kept them out of the hole during that time. If both of them are sitting like bumps on a log, then there was no telling how antsy their costumers would be. Boy, were they in a pickle...
Bilbo looked around slowly, trying to see if anything could help, and Frodo watched him expectantly. What could get them out of this bind? Was it cabin fever? Now that he thought about it, it had been a while since they went out to actually do something other than getting groceries. Perhaps they needed the fresh air to get their gears turning. Resting his gaze on a photograph just past Frodo's shoulder, Bilbo had a sudden idea- it was crazy, but it just might work.
"Frodo... I think it's time we got out on an adventure."