"What about breakfast?" whines Pippin, his foot drumming a beat against the back of the driver's seat.
"You've already had it," Aragorn replies, gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles.
"We've had one, yes. What about second breakfast?" says Pippin.
"Are you all expecting a second breakfast?" Aragorn asks.
Pippin and Frodo shout their acknowledgment while Gimli bangs the handle of his ax against the restraints of his child seat. Aragon sighs and wheels his Datsun into the parking lot of the Denny's on Broadway. Mordor will have to wait.
"Four," replies Aragorn.
Gandalf leads the party to a corner booth, smiting a smoke monster and delivering a grand slam to a table of orcs reeking of cigarettes and cheap vodka.
He hands them their menus.
"The salted pork is particularly good," Pippin says.
"Salted pork," grunts Gimli.
"It's bacon, guys. The rest of the world calls it bacon," Frodo reminds them.
He orders the Frodo pot roast, while Gimli and Pippin both choose Radagast's Red Velvet Pancake Puppies. Aragorn silently points to the fried cheese melt, hiding his shame beneath his raised hood.
"Go back to the abyss," yells Gandalf. "Fall into nothingness that awaits you and your master."
He brings the table a plate of complimentary onion rings to make up for the delay. Frodo offers one in return.
"Take it," says Frodo.
"No, Frodo," stammers Gandalf.
"You must take it," says Frodo.
"You cannot offer me this ring."
"I'm giving it to you."
"Don't tempt me, Frodo," says Gandalf. "I dare not take it. I would use this ring from a desire to do good. But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine."
"Onions make you gassy?" asks Frodo.
"Terribly," replies Gandolf.
As he presents the rest of their breakfast, Gandalf spreads his arms with a flourish.
"I will not say, Do not weep... not all tears are an evil."
Frodo struggles to cut through his pot roast, and Aragorn offers him a short sword in place of his butter knife.
"And my ax," Gimili yells from the banquet, silently regretting his decision to refuse a booster seat.
"I think we've got it covered," Aragorn says.
Three hours later, the traveling band gets up from the table to continue their journey on to Mordor. Light flashes through the bank of windows by the front door, and suddenly Gandalf appears.
"You shall not pass," Gandalf yells, slamming his staff into the grimy tile floor.
"Umm...Gandalf?" Frodo says. "The check's on the table, tip included."
"Oh," says Gandalf, lifting his staff. "Right...well...thanks for coming to Denny's."
Denny's launches its Middle Earth-themed menu on November 6.