Topic: "Never Doubt Bilbo"
Bilbo lives now in the Valley of the Sun, a long, long way from the Shire. Bilbo does not travel well these days, so personal contact is infrequent. Telephone calls are supplemented by the magic of the Internet, but much is lost in the translation of fact into fiction without the benefit of seeing what is to be believed.
Bilbo has been spreading mothballs underneath the magical motorcar. The magical motorcar is a 1989 Toyota Camry, with 38,000 gross miles. Frodo has speculated that if the motorcar's warranty did not have a timeline of five years, then this 16-year-old automobile would still be under warranty. Bilbo takes immaculate care of the motorcar, and changes the oil every 1,000 miles (which calculates out to about every six months).
Frodo queried Bilbo about the mothballs underneath the motorcar. Bilbo told Frodo that it discouraged rabbits.
"Okay. Rabbits you say?," said Frodo.
"That's correct," said Bilbo, "they get up underneath motorcars and chew the rubber off gaskets and wires."
"Why would they do that?," queried Frodo.
"They eat the rubber," said Bilbo.
"Have you ever seen this happen, or do you know anyone to whom this has happened?," Frodo asked pensively.
"It happens out here all the time, so they say," retorted Bilbo.
"I read about it happening in the paper," added Bilbo, defensively. This additional comment was offered as if it were indisputable evidence of the "Rabbit Plot to Render Motorcars Useless."
Frodo decided that he had accumulated sufficent testimony, and declined to further pursue prosecution. He helped Bilbo spread out a few more mothballs around the motorcar, and he decided not to tell Sam about Bilbo's hallucinations.
Several days ago Bilbo called Frodo and related the following tale. It seems Bilbo had taken the motorcar to the nearby, and fabulously wealthy, garage mechanic who accepted money for the lack of service required. Two days later, when next the motorcar was required, Bilbo had great difficulty in getting the motorcar started. When finally the motorcar did start, it vibrated and jerked as if it could not settle upon a proper gear. Bilbo called the fabulously wealthy garage mechanic seeking assistance. He suggested that Bilbo try and drive it to the shop immediately (Frodo is sure he was tabulating the balance due on the college tuition of his eighth child as Bilbo spoke).
When Bilbo finally arrived at the garage in the sputtering and wheezing motorcar, Bilbo was quite upset. The fabulously wealthy mechanic assured Bilbo that he would discover the problem and solve it. With Bilbo present the mechanic opened the hood and promptly screamed as if his eyes had been douched with battery fluid.
From the engine block sprang a rabbit.
Once the mechanic's heart started again, and the rabbit disappeared into the area behind the garage, both he and Bilbo peered into the engine area. Sure enough, nearly every wire, gasket, and pipe had been stripped of any protective rubber.
The fabulously wealthy mechanic received $348 for the repairs that followed to Bilbo's motorcar. The receipt is noted "Rabbit Damage."
Frodo now must accept the assertion that Bilbo's next-door neighbor does really peruse Bilbo's mail. Frodo has no grounds on which to question Bilbo's claims. What truly frightens Frodo, however, is that he now has no reason to doubt that there really are "rich people from New Jersey" who want to buy the motorcar because it was the last good car manufactured anywhere in the world.
Frodo thinks he could get the fabulously wealthy garage mechanic to submit a counter-offer in Bilbo's behalf.