Ernie versus Gollum
Here’s Ernie’s chance to finally fight someone other than Bert. True, he also faced Bruce Campbell and lost in the Biggest Damned Fight Ever, but so did everybody else. The lovable bath-loving muppet is facing off against J.R.R. Tolkien’s Gollum, who previously bested Jar Jar Binks. Gollum is similar to a muppet in that he’s got exaggerated features and has a strange speech pattern. He is different in the fact that he kills people in their sleep, steals their stuff, and sometimes eats them. One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t belong.
Ernie doesn’t know who he is anymore. He should be happy to finally rid the world of Bert’s evil, but at the same time he’s killed the man who used to be his best friend. Unable to find peace, he travels far from the innocent confines of Sesame Street and begins wandering, searching for somewhere in the world where he can find peace. He meets many wise men. While he hones his body and mind, his spirit still feels empty. One day, while traveling to a monastery in the Himalayas, Ernie falls into a pit. Trapped in the mountain caverns, he travels without food or light for what seems to be days on end. Then he finds that he is not alone.
The creature Gollum creeps up on Ernie in the blackness, wondering what to make of the orange muppet. Does it taste good? Does it bite? Does it have his precious? Creeping closer and closer to Ernie, he prepares to snap the muppet’s neck and make himself a dinner of orange foam and fish. But Ernie has trained with masters of combat, stealth, and perception. Though his eyes can’t help him, his other senses work overtime to let him know about the world around him. Even in the echoing depths of the mountain tunnels, he hears Gollum’s creeping. Tensing his body, he grabs Gollum by the arms just as the creature is about to attack. Then he flips Gollum over his shoulder, slamming the slimy-fish-smelling creature against the sharp rocks of the tunnel. Round One goes to Ernie.
Surprised and in pain, Gollum changes tactics and goes with something that’s worked time and time again for him: he starts wailing pitifully and crying. As with just about everyone else, Ernie takes pity on the cringing, slimy creature, and tries to talk things out peacefully. The two arrange a riddle contest, a la The Hobbit, where Gollum will bring Ernie out of the passage if he wins. Ernie goes first, and goes with the one thing he knows well:
“Every day when I make my way to the tubby
I find a little fellow who’s cute and yellow and chubby.
Who is he?”
Gollum immediately answers, “Duckie,” and smacks his lips at the prospect of chewing through some duck meat instead of frogs and mushrooms. Ernie argues that he’s wrong, though, because Gollum didn’t guess that it was specifically a rubber duckie. Gollum is not known for being a fair or even-tempered fellow, and the rules dispute results in another melee. This time, Ernie’s eyes have adjusted to the darkness well enough to give him a real advantage, and he takes Gollum out with three well-placed strikes. Saddened by the creature’s pitiful state, Ernie begins trudging through the tunnels again, looking for a way out on his own. Round Two goes to Ernie.
Gollum is not a good loser. When he coems to, he hounds Ernie through the tunnels, howling and whining at the top of his lungs. Ernie ignores him, and finally finds his way out of the depths. He emerges from the tunnel and finds himself near the frozen peak of one of the Himalaya mountains. It’s going to be a long trudge downhill, but Ernie is convinced he can pull it off. After all, he has toughened up quite a bit from his days as a frightened fledgling on Sesame Street. Unfortunately, Gollum’s howls follow him out of the tunnel, and the echoes of the screams trigger an avalanche. Caught by surprise, Ernie is buried under a metric ton of snow and rubble. It seems doubtful that even his training can save him from that, so I have no choice to give him an uncertain death with the words, “Nobody could survive that!”
Realizing that he’s won, Gollum prances about his tunnels in victory. Eventually, he slips on a rock and knocks himself out for about half an hour. But he’ll be conscious in another thirty minutes, while Ernie will still be trapped in the rubble. Round Three and the fight go to Gollum.