Orcs in Hobbiton
9. The Green Cap
When the Big Folk came to the Shire and the first women were outraged, and after. Two years now. Don't go nowhere without it, and speak but little, and talk low when you do. She's the lad in the green brimmed cap and even Mother calls her My good boy. Now the Ruffians are ousted and Orcs have taken their place, but Rega sees little difference. When she brings the family cow for the register they pay no closer attention than the Men did. No smarter, then, just uglier.
Out by the Cottons' smial one day she passes two in the road. They stop, and turn, and follow. Her steps lengthen. So do theirs. "Hi! You!" one shouts and she is running, green cap flying from her head. They catch her by the third fencepost before the thoroughfare.
After, the second smears himself against her face, wipes himself on her short-cropped hair. "Hoo, feel that! Soft as a wench's." Their horrid laughter in her ears long after they have gone.
Coughing out their poison, Rega wonders bitterly if she'd have been safer as a girl. Prompted by two years' habit, she rises slowly and walks back to retrieve her cap.
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