Greetings, from Dogpatch (Skin Deep #3)

Image result for greetings from dogpatch skin deep book cover

 

This isn’t a mistake. I wasn’t thinking about whether there would be novels for the first two, so I’m beginning my review with the third, but the fact I’ve read this many should warm anyone else who hasn’t heard of this STELLAR online comic, and I may even perhaps go back eventually and review the first two for funsies. The bugbear Myra, Eustace – a fox spirit, Marshall the raven spirit, and Gabe the angel are currently driving into Arkansas in May, this being 2005. Myra is quite annoyed by her passengers and complaining about the reason Gabe is even along for the ride when he could fly, Eustace unable to shed light on his reasons, nor why he took the skull which had been given to a demon by Myra (this all being explained, here). Their next conversation has to do with whether Gabe is male or female, until he/she puts a stop to it, and they continue on their ride to Dogpatch.

When parking, Gabe notes how they had to get down there in an odd fashion, Eustace explaining how a tram used to be lowered down to the theme park when it was still open, a dryad currently keeping the place well hidden, even though it was right off the highway. After Myra points out how a Bigfoot was currently watching their movements, Gabe steps up to get the attention of whoever lived there, wanting to speak to the big kahuna, a chickadee, Hank with a shotgun sporting a trucker hat popping out near his feet. Myra’s had enough and states how Bigfoot let them pass, even though Hank was confused by how the group hadn’t been stopped, she then telling of only being there to pick something up and would be out of there quickly, since the place didn’t seem right. Marshall then steps up to vouch for Gabe being cool and they wanting to speak to Old Ivory about the guards.

Hank takes Gabe’s word when showing him the “nightmare” he was attempting to weed out the owner of, so Hank leads them all to where Old Ivory is, Marshall and Eustace then discussing how they agreed with Myra’s instinct about Dogpatch being out of the ordinary. The two then get into the last time Michelle and crew had run into the nightmare which was then related to the demons which were setting them up (Orientations and the One Eyed Bear being reference, the links, above). Hank then can’t stop himself from gabbing at Gabe due to not having ever been in the presence of an angel before and deciding to relate the communities history of where they traveled and how they picked up their guards. Then, before Hank could get into it, Gabe shuts down any questions he may have on religious topics and so Hank instead goes in to inform Ivory, a woodpecker of his visitors.

Gabe then interrupts to toss the nightmare into Ivory’s hands, he not knowing how the skull could’ve gotten to Missouri, nor how the demons picked it up, they having been searching for “her” for some months. Ivory then states how he’d been training some animals to take over his jobs when he was no longer there, Gabe inquiring into how he’d believed spirit animals were incapable of death, but Ivory’s case was due to most of the specific sort of woodpecker he represented had been dying out, and he was on the verge of being done, so he’d been having the other animals take care of the daily tasks whilst he trained them for the long-term workload, and Ivory didn’t have any hard feelings for humans causing the death of his species due to his long lifespan and curiosity of what came next.

After Ivory calls over the two who had been handling the responsibilities, but only one, Ricky arriving since the other, Obi was taking care of some specific sort of task, he apparently not being responsible for her disappearance, and they figuring she’d run away. Gabe asks a few pressing questions which suggested they hadn’t done much to aid the recovery of the nightmare, but Ricky makes clear how they’d been quite worried, and was annoyed when learning Gabe had found the nightmare a little while ago and hadn’t brought her back sooner, they then hearing a scream, Ricky believing Obi was in trouble and hoping the Howler didn’t have him. When they approach his yells, they see Myra looking pissed and relating how Obidiah was the cause of everything being off, and was getting ready to let the Howler out on them all, they thinking she’d gone crazy, but she adamant of Obi’s intentions being ill and making clear, bugbears were impossible to deceive.

Gabe questions further on Obi’s attitudes being odd recently, the critters confirming he’d been acting ill when the nightmare had left, but was working even harder as of lately, Obi agreeing he’d been getting too tired from work and pled to be released from Myra’s grip. Gabe then agrees Obi should be let down, but surprises everyone by bringing out his own weapon, Damien the demon then showing himself and looking pissed. As Gabe attempts to learn more about why Damien was turning up and seemingly trying to get closer to Michelle, Damien’s smart ass answers are getting on Gabe’s nerves, he making him pay for it with more pain. When Damien finally gives him a reason for the “Dark Lord’s” reason for tracking Michelle, Gabe is again thwarted by Damien’s resistance in divulging more. Gabe then tears Damien out of Obi, Gabe turning on the group of creatures to learn whom had figured out their close friend had been infested and no one stepping forward, Gabe properly pissed, and when inquiring if Myra had sensed any other demons about, she confirming there were none.

Then Obi describes how he hadn’t any control over himself and what it had felt like, not recalling much of anything whilst he’d been overtaken. Hank then elaborates about the caves nearby when Gabe considers how quickly the demons seemed to be able to return upon his sending them to hell, and demands Obi show him to this “not much sink” cave. Gabe then explains how hellmouths work and the one in the cave being shut could waylay a demon fairly well. After Obi shows where the cave was, he meekly asks to go, since he didn’t want to tempt another demon with his bod, Gabe agreeing to this, he then divvying out tasks for the other creatures whilst he dealt with what was within the cave, the one for Eustace being hilarious and adorably simple.

Marshall notes his tone to Eustace, but Gabe dismisses him what with not feeling he should have to keep an eye on him for he not being a fighter, Marshall and Myra following him deeper into the cave. Soon they approach an orange oozing mess from their high vantage point, Myra stating of it most likely being part of the cause for the odd senses she’d gotten from the place. Gabe then suggests Myra help him deal with some demons whilst Marshall brought along some buddy birds to draw attention, a view of an oddly shaped hole with what look like teeth coming out of the ground shown, which then reveals why a hellmouth is named as such. Myra is hella happy to do her duty and Gabe encourages her to do so, since some demons were currently taking the opportunity to crawl into the world, Marshall using his birdy friends to distract them as Myra walks up, big bear form ready to do some damage.

As Myra baits one of the creatures, Gabe stabs the other and takes a smoke break, the crows, meanwhile, do their job of flying about, but many also get too close to the teeth and are smushed. Gabe then steps up to attempt another phrase in whatever language which is shown, chopping at the hellmouth head right after another demon comes out, whom apparently was a bunch of other demons’ distractions, but fortunately, Gabe commands Marshall to continue his attack at the mullet demon and Myra informs Gabe of their coming,  so he begins saying some more magic speak. Damien had returned once more, and his buddy Mikhail upon seeing Myra, ditches the crew when one of the others suggest they attack them, but Myra gets up in Mikhail’s face as he explains how he didn’t want to fool around with her or Gabe. As Myra has the demon in a bear hug, another demon is looking irritated about their hellmouth dying, but as Gabe is fighting another, the little demon pushes Gabe into the hellmouth as it makes one last roar of defeat (to be fair, I’m feeling a little badly for the hellmouth, it didn’t do nuffin’ and Gabe takes him out easy as lemon meringue).

This new development pauses Myra and Marshall, but they then see Gabe’s spear pierce through the hellmouth, and when he emerges looking grim, one out of three of the demons have booked it, the other two standing and staring in shock. This definitely doesn’t help the two though, since Gabe lets out his anger and envelops them in holy light, Myra properly impressed. Gabe turns on her and notifies of the demon she’d been cuddling had escaped, Mikhail still sprinting for freedom, and feeling close to success when seeing the outside, but upon climbing the rock face out, realizes his strolling out into the world won’t be so cut and dry. As Gabe, Marshall, and Myra rush off after him, Eustace is looking pleased and gives props for Gabe having thought to give him his coat to hold, this being the item which had recaptured Mikhail (who has a multiple way of spelling his name, apparently), and Eustace not catching the look of surprise on his face. As Mikhail pleads for Gabe to let him stay, the latter gives him the opportunity to make himself useful with the need for information, but Mikhail has none to offer, so Gabe takes him out. He then relates now the hellmouth was closed in the area, the demons would have a more difficult time coming back, and wouldn’t be able to do so anywhere near Dogpatch. Eustace and Marshall also inquire if Michelle was still in danger, Gabe’s answer not a comforting one, and when Myra states she still didn’t understand Gabe, he was cool with it.

Another interesting episode, and onward I go!

 

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The Golden Days (The Story of the Stone, Vol. 1)

Image result for the story of the stone vol 1 book cover

 

I’ve decided to pair down this review due to how long it took to complete and my own inability to motivate a full edit. So here is the Epilogue about the main characters instead.

Regardless, though, I am hooked, and I’ll be quite happy to continue the series (with time). In the Appendix we learn who Bao-yu had seen the fates for in the fairy’s library, beginning with Skybright’s terrible fate by slanderers. Aroma does marry, Caltrop/Ying-lian is murdered by Xue Pan’s horrible wife, Xin Jin-gui. As for Bao-chai and Dai-yu, they are represented as two halves of a perfect woman and the meaning behind their songs are up for debate as to whether the first or second refer to one or the other, or the first to both, or the first and second about Bao-yu, alone. There are other characters explained, but I’ll only list those I remember, the last being Xi-feng, whom will have an unfulfilled life which may end in divorce.

Castle Waiting (Issue #1, Bone Crossover)

Image result for castle waiting issue #1 book cover

 

I had said in a previous post how I was interested in reading more from this series, and it looks as if I now have the ability, the first issue having been included in the collection of Bone I have, ha ha! Success!

The story follows a princess, whom runs away from home and holes up in a desolate un-remembered castle. This story, called Solicitine Part One, opens with a goose-looking face-masked doctor ordering someone to be still, the person flinching with fear and getting hurt in the process. Then it’s shown the doctor was cutting a boy’s hair and apparently could not make it through the process without the doctor clipping his ears a bit, the doctor not taking the blame and saying the boy had unusually large ears to begin with. His mother attempts to support the boy by suggesting he do his best to stay still, another goose-fellow, Rackham noting how rainy it was, and Jain would now have to wait longer to get her new room, she complacent with this fact. Jain declares how wet days were perfect for haircut scheduling, and the boy, Pin had been requiring one, the two then discussing how similar he was to his father. Jain is then shocked by a woman whom she didn’t notice at first had facial hair, the bearded woman asking her if she planned on getting her haircut next, Jain having a double-take which the lady states how she’d get a kick out of the face she was pulling if she could see it. Jain recovers and laughs at herself, the woman declaring she must not know of the Solicitine nuns, Jain agreeing, having thought bearded women stuck with the circus crowd.

The woman states of having been with a circus, as well, Jain ready to hear a good story about it as the woman readied to get her hair cut, she agreeable to giving her background, and starting with her home village, in a town where the only pub being owned by her father, Tom Warren, she being christened Peaceful Hortense Elaine Warren, and helping him in the pub when she was learned to walk and could carry drinks. As she got older, she stuck with her idea of taking after her father and planned on running the pub, her mother certain she wouldn’t be allowed for eventually getting married and keeping house, Peaceful certain her husband could keep the house whilst she ran the pub. Her father would attempt to calm her mother down, he believing she was fine where she was and working at the pub would put her out there to potential mates, her mother not thinking her daughter’s plan was realistic. Peaceful certainly had plenty of men flocking to the place, and all of them were happy to socialize with her, the only problem was they spoke to her as a buddy of there girl problems, she helping them out with advice and gathering a loyal following of men who took her advice and found success. Then, one day, Peaceful noticed some fuzz on her face, and it would always grow back, her mother distraught of her fate now sealed on remaining single. Fortunately, the new addition to her looks didn’t stay a surprise to the men who came in, they quickly resuming their usual respects to her, until a couple travelers couldn’t get over seeing a bearded woman outside a circus.

Peaceful was shocked to learn bearded ladies worked in other forums, not having gone to a circus before, she attracted to the idea from this point forward, imagining how interesting it would be to travel elsewhere, she keeping it in mind until overhearing from some other travelers of a show setting up in a town not too far away, she taking advantage of the distance and leaving the same night. Jain is shocked how quickly Peaceful did what she’d wanted, the latter agreeing her resolve may have changed if she’d spoken with her father first, but she had visited since then and they were the same as they had been. When Peaceful gets to the circus and a friendly worker allows her to see a show of what bearded lady they had as their show-runner looked like, she views the woman in a Cleopatra get-up and would have been a hard act to over-run, she also being the owner’s wife. Peaceful realizes she didn’t have a chance, she then introducing herself when the worker asks, she inquiring whether there was other work she could get hired for, Reggie Aleman remembering how his wife had been after him to get a girl to help around with their tent, Peace realizing this could be a good situation for all involved. So, ironically she became a barmaid once more, in the circus, but she moving up quickly enough, the interesting side to her work being to check out the gaming tables, she having a good eye for the gamer’s sleight of hand, Reggie having her start training quite abruptly. Peace was quickly brought in to the fold of the close family relationship people had being in the circus, except for the owner Lint and his wife, she having to stay separated from everyone else on Lint’s orders.

One day though, as Peace was sweeping up outside, she’s approached by Lint’s wife, whom was happily surprised to see another bearded woman around, Peace shocked she spoke English because of her act being Egyptian, the woman stating Lint had made it up for her, she introducing herself as Mabel and confessing Peace was the first bearded lady she’d met, Peace saying the same, and then Mabel deciding they should be best friends, Peace agreeing. Lint then walks up, and acting all high and mighty, attempts to quash the friendship, but Mabel wasn’t going to give in quite so easily to this one, he backing off and instead stating she should get inside a half an hour before customers milled about. From then on, Peace and Mabel, whom she called Nessie, a nickname from her stage name, were thick as thieves, Peace now having a confidante, and when confiding to Nessie of how her work wasn’t as satisfying anymore, Nessie certain it’s because she didn’t have a husband, Peace getting an example how wrong she was when a man walked in asking for her advice. Peace wouldn’t have been opposed to a little courting, though, so when she’d seen Reggie turn away a young man whom had been interested in Nessie, Peace got a little hot over how he hadn’t thought to introduce her, Reggie taken aback for a moment, but then explaining how Nessie was a special sort, Peace noting this, as well.

Nessie soon shares the problem she was currently having with Lint, he having promised Nessie and her father his plan to settle down with her and begin a family, but now he wouldn’t even entertain the idea to speak of it with her, she not even getting a chance to talk with him when the circus closed, since they were occupying separate wagons. Peace convinces her she should insist speaking with him one night, Nessie empowered and planning to do so, but overhearing a conversation between Lint and a girl about his true feelings about her and she only being used for lucrative interests. Nessie, upset goes to Peace, whom was on duty, but directs Nessie to meet her in back, concerned by her pain, and was livid when Nessie confides what she’d heard, Peace declaring Nessie shouldn’t be doing her show, but would think of a solid plan, having Nessie pretend everything was fine until she did. Nessie now comforted, goes back to her wagon, a plan soon coming in the form of two men wanting to speak with Peace one night, they thinking she knew of the Abbess at St. Wilgeforte’s, the two explaining what the convent did. Peace brought this good news to a much elated Nessie, the former planning on they making their escape as the circus moved on, she feeling some guilt for planning to leave again without warning Reggie, like how she had with her father, but finishes helping pack up for Reggie on the day she scheduled them to run off. Peace then joins Nessie in her wagon, she having difficulty leaving her pretty dress, Peace lightening her mood so she’d let it go. Nessie pretends to be sick when Lint runs into her, successfully leaving without suspicion, unfortunately, Peace’s escape had been witnessed by Lint’s dumb girlfriend, but she not speaking up quickly, so they not getting any trouble until later on.

Not a bad beginning, especially upon realizing Castle Waiting follows the progression of a community for about three decades, like One Hundred Years of Solitude, except not as dark and obviously not so many years. This story is based on the Brother’s Grimm story, St. Solicitous. Then, the short of Bone’s and Castle Waiting is next!

The Bones are lost again, Phoney complaining about missing his cash, since all anyone ever used were eggs. Smiley then points out the sign with Castle Waiting on it, Phoney seeing the bright side of royalty of a castle definitely working with more than poultry for bartering. Phoney makes a racket as he insists on speaking with a king, a horse, Sir Chess, the Knight Destrier opening the door and not understanding what he was going on about. Phoney busts in and looks for someone kingly, he asking a beaked fellow, Rackham the Adjutant if he was the one they were looking for and requiring assistance. Rackham allows they could definitely help in some way, then offering tea and snacks, Fone politely grateful, but then getting tickled by polterspritz as Phoney asks for cash so they could return home. Rackham ponders their issue and eventually suggests they could do odd jobs until making enough to get back, Phoney making certain they paid in bills (not of the bird nature, HA! No pun intended), and became quite upset when discovering they also used eggs, since they were in the country. Phoney urges the other two off and running, Rackham wondering if they would have changed their minds if they’d known he was referring to gold eggs, Chess certain it wouldn’t have, they must not liking breakfast-related foods.

Not a bad side-story, at all! I’ll be looking forward to reading more, once finishing my other graphic novel needs. Now to continue with Rose.

Driving Miss Daisy

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The author’s preface begins by stating of Miss Daisy being a real person his grandmother knew in Georgia in the 1940s. Daisy was a spinster and the last of her large clan. There was also a real Hoke, whom was a part-time bartender at a country club, and Boolie was the brother of Uhry’s aunt’s friend, and the characters aren’t like the people, he only used their names. Miss Daisy was partially his grandmother, her four sisters, and his mother. Hoke comes from his grandmother’s driver, but also other black drivers he’d known in his youth, and Boolie is made up of not only Uhry, but many men he couldn’t identify from his past, and Florine’s character’s real-life counterpart is refused to be revealed. As for the play itself, Uhry didn’t realize the hype it would bring, originally given five weeks on stage, a 74-seater, then the play was given an extra five weeks for popularity and moved to a much larger theater. Uhry had been currently writing the screenplay when he’d written this introduction, and had won the Pulitzer, he stating of writing what he knew and people shining to his perspective without seeking publicity.

Daisy, whom is 72-years-old, is heard announcing of going grocery shopping, starting her car, and then noises of a terrible wreck occurring. She is then arguing with Boolie, her 42-year-old son, he noting how lucky she’d been not to have gotten hurt or worse. Daisy stubbornly declares of the car being faulty, her old one not having acted this way, but Boolie stating how it wasn’t the car’s idea to hit their neighbor’s garage. Daisy denies his idea of hiring a driver, he trying to convince her of the likelihood she’ll be able to stay insured after wrecking her car with only two weeks of use so far, he then attempting to ease her mind with knowing he’d work out all the details, but she not wanting to be hassled with someone whom would take advantage by using her things and eating at her home. When he fails to convince her and she defends herself by stating how she was brought up to rely on herself and hiring “them” wasn’t affordable, Boolie gives her a hard time upon hearing her usage of “them”, he sharing he and his wife, Florine had plans for the evening, and Daisy passive-aggressively commenting. Boolie dismisses this, and then relays he’d be interviewing men for the job and would phone the next day, she still resisting, and then sings a song to conclude the argument.

Boolie is found in his office, Hoke walks in, currently around the age of 60, and looking like he needed work, but attempted to look nice. Boolie finishes a bit of work as he invites him to sit, Hoke agreeable to allow him to finish his task, Boolie then asking how long he’d been unemployed and where he’d worked before. Hoke responds of it being about a year, he then sharing how he preferred working for Jews which led into whom he’d worked for before having attempted to rip him off by selling him over-priced shirts, he then driving for a Jewish man whom Boolie knew, Hoke having worked for him for 7 years before he’d died. Hoke inquires who he’d be driving, Boolie relaying whom it was for and the reason he was looking rather than his mother, assuring him since he was hiring, she wouldn’t be able to let him go. Hoke is satisfied and accepts the job after Boolie offers his pay rate at 20 dollars a week.

Daisy is next seen coming into her living room, reading the news and ignoring Hoke, she only replies to his greeting her. She answers smartly to his weather chat, and then states of taking the trolley to the grocer’s when Hoke relays what the housemaid had told him of certain supplies running low, she refusing to let him take her. Hoke attempts an offer at caring for her flowers and when denied, states of being able to start a vegetable garden, but again is refused, Hoke then resigning himself to sit in the kitchen like he had for six days, but upon discussing how she’d been raised, he offers to water her front steps, this being when she gives him permission to drive her, instead. Hoke makes conversation on the car’s new smell, Daisy speaking of how she’d been taught to drive by her husband and she wanted him to drive well below the speed limit, she then freaking out about the route he was taking, but he gets her there, and once relinquishing the keys to her, she gives him a death stare after he reminds her of getting cleanser, then he calls Boolie from a pay phone, he seeing she’d caught him calling from inside the store and expected she’d have a fit.

Daisy is now peeved when Hoke picks her up from temple directly at the front doors, the two arguing why it would be a big deal Daisy’s acquaintances would see her with a driver and looked wealthy, Hoke giving up on talking about it, and next Boolie receiving a call from Daisy, he agreeing to visit her later, she speaking quickly. When he sees her, Daisy is going off on how Hoke had taken a can of her salmon, Boolie not getting what the issue was, he now tired of arguing and stating she do what she wanted, Hoke then arriving and sharing how he’d had the can of salmon and bought a replacement, Daisy attempting nonchalance and going upstairs to change from her robe. Daisy and Hoke are now at a graveyard, she carrying a mini-shovel and Hoke commenting how often they’d come in the past month, she having cleaned her husband’s stone thoroughly, and how she didn’t allow the staff to tend to it, she instructing him to retrieve some flowers from the car to set on a friend’s husband’s grave, she directing where it would be, but Hoke returning and guiltily confessing of not being able to read, Daisy not believing him at first, since she’d seen him look at the paper, he confiding he was looking at the pictures. Daisy then learns he knew the alphabet, and so actually could read and didn’t know it, having him listen to the sound of “B” and “R”, the first and last letter of the last name he was searching for, she declaring he’d locate it, and Hoke sharing how much he was grateful for her help, she dismissing this and sending him off, claiming of getting hot.

It’s now Christmas and Boolie is speaking on the phone and looking festive, he asking Daisy if she had coconut, to bring it along, since Florine needed it for her ambrosia. Daisy and Hoke are leaving, she not caught up with the Christmas spirit (hwhat a surprise…), she giving Florine the most crap for how many decorations she put up, Hoke agreeing, but enjoying himself. He points out how she’d also put a Rudolph up in a tree, Daisy declaring how Florine’s grandfather would’ve responded to viewing this, but then changes the subject to a book she’d given to Hoke, she vehemently denying it being a present, and to tell no one, Hoke assuring her and attempting to hide his feelings, the two then walking up the drive.

Boolie is now in his late 40s, dressed for golf, and waiting for Hoke, whom comes out to share of Daisy not coming, he relating how defensive she’d been with this new car lately, she chasing some man around when he’d set his case on the hood for a moment, and how she disliked using the A/C, he going on to describe of having purchased the old car and allowing Daisy to ride in it once in awhile, he warning Boolie to mind his ashes. Daisy is then shown carrying out a large suitcase, looking around apprehensively, then getting a dress bag and wicker basket, after which she brings out a wrapped present, Hoke then coming out with a small suitcase and fussing about how she’d brought out all the heavy items unnecessarily, she going on about the time, and he assuring they weren’t late, Boolie then coming out with Florine’s gift for his uncle, whom was turning 90, Daisy stating how inconsiderate they were for not attending and instead going to a show, My Fair Lady in New York. Boolie gives Hoke some emergency money, makes sure they’re set with map, and then wishes Hoke well. Hoke is eating deviled eggs with enjoyment whilst he drove, they discussing their first times out of Georgia, Daisy’s being when she was 12, and Hoke’s being right then, she getting agitated when realizing they’d made a wrong turn, she regretting having been driven and getting talked into it by Boolie instead of going by train. As they are still driving, Hoke soon has to relieve himself, Daisy demanding he wait, but Hoke insisting, and declares of taking the keys, after which a few moments pass, and Daisy at first sounding furious, and then scared as she waited in the dark silence. Hoke is then entering Boolie’s office and relating how he’d heard from Boolie’s cousin’s wife about wanting to hire him, Hoke bringing it up, since putting the idea of a raise in his head, Boolie agreeing and offering 75 dollars a week, Hoke accepting this sounded right, and mentions how being in demand was a nice feeling.

Daisy, now in her 80s, is shown in her house, walking by candlelight, the lights having gone out, but phones still working. Boolie called to inform her it was the neighborhood and would update her after checking the car radio. Daisy is then startled when hearing her door open, but then Hoke greets her as usual, telling how he’d learned to drive on ice long ago and had stopped to get her coffee, she pleasantly surprised. They then go through their routine of she stating he clean up the water he’d tracked in and he replying of who she thought he was, she then picking up Boolie’s return call and learning of when the ice would melt, she replying he could stay put, since Hoke had come, Boolie giving her a hard time about she complimenting Hoke for the first time he’d heard. Next, Daisy’s in the car, Hoke returning to inform of the major damage up ahead. Daisy states how it was so late she wouldn’t make it to temple anyways, Hoke replying it had been bombed, so she wouldn’t have been able to, regardless. Daisy is in denial, then hoping no one had been hurt, unable to fathom why a reformed temple would be hit, Hoke describing the sort of people who make such destruction didn’t care, he sharing a childhood story of a buddy’s father getting strung up, Daisy not seeing the relation, and then disbelieving the news he’d heard from the cop being a lie. Hoke decides he’d attempt to return her home, she commanding he end the conversation.

Next, Boolie is in his late 50s, walking in to a room whilst being applauded, carrying a silver bowl, and attending due to being elected man of the year by the Atlanta Business Council and preparing to share his speech of thanks and his one-liner jokes about himself, then sharing his family’s origin of their business having been in alignment with the view of the people in their city, due to the success they had, concluding his speech with humble, gratefulness and mention of the upcoming sport’s event on Sunday, and regarding whom he wished to win (football, most like). Daisy is then shown attempting to make a phone call with effort, she becoming more decrepit. She gets a hold of Boolie’s secretary and only has her relay of having acquired the tickets to the honor banquet for Martin Luther King, Jr, then reassures the lady of how late in life her cousin had married.

Later, Boolie joins Daisy, whom is now 90, he inquiring how she was, Daisy not seeing the question as suitable for someone her age, and they moving on to his receiving her message. Daisy suggests Hoke drive them, but then offers Boolie to do so when he states of they needing to discuss these plans further, he broaching the subject by stating of realizing MLK Jr’s accomplishments and progressive acts being many, Daisy stopping him by announcing he should get to the point of whether he’d rather decline attendance. He explains how the ignorant men he worked with may affect his success if they found out, he suggesting she invite Hoke, Boolie then leaving. After Daisy gets ready, Hoke comes in to collect her and help her into the car. They’re on their way before Daisy starts harping on Hoke for being blind, he denying this accusation, and she stating how he’d almost hit a mailbox, the car thoroughly scratched. Hoke contradicts this, again and she repeats her accusation of him being blind, which was unfortunate, since the new car looked so nice. Hoke then states how it was rounding a couple years of she owning it, she replying he was going the wrong way.

The two compete about their length of time in Atlanta until he trumps (bad choice of word) her on she not having driven for 2 decades, she then changing the subject to Boolie, dancing around how he’d mentioned MLK Jr. and how easy it was for Hoke to see him preach at his church, Boolie believing Hoke wanted her to invite him, he then getting worked up with how she’d brought this up whilst he was driving her, she flustered he was over-reacting to how she’d asked, getting out and walking herself to the entrance. Boolie is now shown on the phone with Hoke, the latter having called to discuss Daisy being aggravated, different than normal, she calling to him, Hoke then describing how she thought she was teaching school and talking nonsense, Boolie assuring he was on his way.

Daisy looks unkempt and inquires where he’d left her school work, he denying there was any at all, she certain she put them in a particular spot after grading them. He tells her she’d lost her mind, she ignoring him to state how popular she was with her students for diligently returning their school work a day later after they’d handed them in. She becomes upset when convinced she had ruined everything, Hoke attempting to calm her and convince her she wasn’t a teacher any longer, how lucky she was for being looked after, and if she wanted to see misery, to visit the “state home”. She still doesn’t register the subject and so Hoke instead resorts to stating how Boolie would sic a doctor on her to admit her into a loony bin instead, if she wasn’t careful. She then sobers her tone and asks after the first car he’d bought which she’d previously owned, Hoke updating it would be in a junkyard by now, and she stating, then insisting he was her “best friend”, he convinced by her conviction.

Boolie is shown browsing around Daisy’s living room, he now 65. He pockets his mother’s address book as Hoke, 85 walks in, greeting Boolie. He asks how Hoke had come by, he stating his granddaughter had taken him, she 37 and teaching Biology at a local college. Boolie then inquires if Hoke wanted anything from the house before Goodwill came to clean it out, he already exhausting what he wished to keep from Daisy’s possessions. Hoke declines, Boolie then confessing how odd it was to put Daisy’s house on the market whilst she was still living, Hoke understanding, and Boolie rationalizing the decision, since she hadn’t been there for over a couple years. He then confides of Hoke’s weekly check indefinitely being sent to him, Hoke relating how he was grateful, and he attempting to see Daisy as much as he could without a bus going to the stop necessary, he resorting to cab it over when he could. Boolie acknowledges Daisy most likely was happy when he could come by, then states of they moving along to visit her now, since they both more than likely had plans later for turkey day, and should let his granddaughter know he’d give him a ride back.

Daisy, 97 is shown moving about with a walker, Boolie and Hoke arriving, the two greeting her, and Boolie helping her sit, the two including her in the conversation of what she’d been up to, but she not speaking, acknowledging them at first with a nod and then seeming distant. Boolie provides general chat until Daisy bursts out with Hoke having come to visit her and not him. Hoke notes she was having one of her better days, she then commanding Boolie to go flirt with the nurses, her son stating how she wanted Hoke to herself and she being “a doodle” before leaving. She snoozes lightly and then sees Hoke, asking if he was still getting paid by Boolie, he admitting this and still wouldn’t divulge the amount, the two agreeing they were living life as well as they could. When Hoke notices she’d left her turkey day pie and sees her struggling with the fork, he offers to accommodate, proceeding to cut easy bite-size pieces for her.

I didn’t expect how sweet the characters were with only my knowledge from the film (which was fine from my recollection), but this being quaint and engaging. Quite enjoyable story, and it’s so short it won’t take any time to read it, so if it’s a nice, lazy story one’s after, this’ll do.

The Mating Season

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Bertie states his overall pep had plummeted upon beginning his sentence at Deverill Hall, he having been summoned by Agatha to look after Thos for a few days. Jeeves admits his circumstances could’ve been better, Bertie attempting optimism of at least this being preferred to other options. He then backtracks to allow explanation of what had happened, Agatha coming to him to state of he putting Thos up in his flat whilst he went to doctors and shows before Bertie was sent to Deverill Hall where buddies of hers would house him whilst he pitched in at a village concert, he having gotten a good word from a vicar’s niece. So, he knowing his fate was sealed, was in no way comforted to learn Gussie would also be at Deverill Hall, as well. Bertie then mentions being calmed if he knew more about those who would be surrounding him, Jeeves supplying his host called Esmond Haddock, Bertie recognizing the handle and Jeeves informing him it was because he was related to the owner of a popular morning-after remedy, his father marrying a Deverill, their marriage thought of as a mésalliance – inferior social class marrying above their station, Deverill having needed the dough. Bertie mentions how well informed Jeeves was, he confessing to having a family member working for Deverill Hall, his Uncle Charlie Silversmith. Bertie then learning Esmond was single and lived with five aunts, Bertie considering Gussie’s presence may be a blessing with so many females about.

Bertie inquires why Gussie was also attending, Jeeves having heard from the man himself, whom had dropped in whilst Bertie was oot and aboot. Bertie asks how he’d been, and Jeeves noting of his seeming down, since he’d decided to go to Deverill Hall when Madeline had been going, but she having changed her plans to support a friend whom had love trouble. Bertie gets a bit colorfully mean when describing how Madeline’s idea of pepping up wouldn’t help any soul due to she being the one “God forgot”, but understood why Gussie’d be miffed. Also, Gussie confessed to Jeeves of their relationship currently simmering, this prospect putting Bertie on understandable edge. His attitude clearly showed his worry wouldn’t ease until ‘proof-of-purchase’ between the two was official. Bertie attempts feeling the bright-side by down-playing the chill between the two as temporary, and when hearing the doorbell, presumes it’s Thos, instructing Jeeves as to when the boy was expected to be ready to attend a show at the Old Vic, but Jeeves revealing it was more likely Pirbright, or Catsmeat, as Bertie likes to say, whom currently awaited entry. Jeeves relays of he and his sis, Corky also having called earlier, Bertie surprised since he expected Corky would be in Hollywood, Jeeves relaying she was currently vacationing, and earlier went to a film with Thos after they’d had tea. Bertie then inquires after the two sibs: Corky doing fine, but Catsmeat on the rocky side. Bertie decides to have Jeeves let the man in, and confirms Catsmeat’s look of woe.

Bertie mentions how uncommon Catsmeat being a negative sort was, then mentions his fam having an entertainment background, Corky also in the biz since teenage-dom, she having dynamism and (espièglerie – roguishness). Catsmeat, usually the best friend player on stage, keeps his temperament the same as when not working, friends at the Drones who have done his play, saying he’s a “Groucho Marx” type. Currently, Catsmeat was looking so down as to be as depressed as a character from “a Russian drama”, Bertie then apologizing for having missed he and Corky earlier. Catsmeat explains Corky was the niece whom had spoken on Bertie’s behalf, he telling of their religious relation. Bertie thinks the country life would drive her nuts, but Catsmeat relates how she was in her element, then informs him of doing a two-man act from his play, Bertie now warming to the idea of having to perform, but wondering and learning why Catsmeat hadn’t gotten the part, it being due to his bad standing with the females at Deverill Hall, Bertie wanting his opinion of what he was in for, but Catsmeat revealing he didn’t know them, they only disliking him because he was getting hitched to their niece, which brought him to his purpose of coming, Bertie supplying restorative which did its duty.

Catsmeat begins by declaring his pure affection for Gertrude, the two head-over-heels, but of course, upon her mother and aunts hearing of this, it going terribly, since they had a discriminative view of actors, and Gertrude unable to go against her mother. On top of this, Catsmeat would soon be on his way to Hollywood for a job and didn’t want to leave before attaching the ole ball and chain (like Joy in the Morning), this because of Esmond, Gertrude’s fam preferring she marry Moneybags, he also a charmer whom had already attempted to go after Corky. Catsmeat then comes to how he planned for Bertie to help, which was to Siamese twin himself to Gertrude to dissuade any alone romantic time with Esmond, Bertie allowing he must rally round due to their vast school history, Catsmeat quite pleased, and offering his services to any favor Bertie may have, which made him recall Gussie (poulet rôti au cresson – roast chicken with watercress– yum) and didn’t want him talking himself out of his union with Madeline, Bertie believing Catsmeat could charm the gloom away. He at first hesitates, but agrees when learning Bertie’s plans tied him, the latter now calmed and unknowing how the next day would find him.

Apparently, the next day brought positive attitudes, Bertie sending Thos off to Borstal, and he in grand ole mood, going through his day with ease, his suspicions perking when coming home to certain noises of dog and lady, Bertie curious what this could mean, and walking in to be brought down by a mixed breed dog as Corky watched with affection. Bertie describes her looks being finer than before, but they being great at the start, as well. He tells how she’d be high on the list of beauties if considered for the cast in a desert island role. She then introduces her pup, and inquires after Bertie’s health, etc and vice versa, they going through the motions, and catching up on the deets of missing each other the day before, as well as being certain he’d gotten the Pat and Mike script, and Bertie confirming he’d been studying it, then inquiring whom had gotten the opposite role, Corky sharing it was a Constable Dobbs. She makes clear when Bertie is to whack Dobbs with the umbrella in the play, he was to do so with gusto, she defending her uncle on his behalf, since Dobbs was an atheist, he shoving it in her uncle’s face whenever he could.

Bertie steps up to the challenge proudly, Corky thanking him. She then shares how the town expected his comic stylings to be top billing, the rest of the show-runners being residents of the area, and Esmond even singing a ditty, her tone changing upon voicing the name. Bertie catches on, and broaches the subj. sensitively, Corky confiding what had occurred when Bertie relayed what he’d heard. After stating of dropping Esmond due to being a coward at standing up to his aunts, Bertie defends the act, but notes of Corky ignoring his words, a common act for the females in regard to Bertie. Corky confesses how despite calling off their wedding due to he not having the courage to share their plans with his aunts, she was still gaga for him. Bertie was aware of the emotion this brought up in her, but doesn’t get too mushy with sentiments, he moving on to the aunts and Corky believing he’d dislike them, calling them “bitches”, Bertie gladly distracted by her dog again, since knowing Corky’s family had difficulty in solidifying their plans of marriage, she stating similarly in Catsmeat’s regard with Gertrude, the man himself interrupting them as they start to speak of his best options. The two greet him and note his deflated manner wordlessly. Bertie senses Catsmeat was also dealing with the aftermath of a night of drinking so has Jeeves respond in kind by a request for his elixir. When Bertie sees Catsmeat’s attempt to nod off, he’d been readying to allow it, but Corky shakes him up to inquire why he’d broken his promise to stay sober, Catsmeat blaming Gussie’s company made it impossible. He then proceeds to relate of Gussie getting sentenced to fourteen days for being threatened by Catsmeat to swim in the Trafalgar fountain and a cop catching him, Jeeves then returning with drink.

Bertie recalls a memory of his twelfth year whilst at Malvern House, a private educational institution where a Reverend Upjohn relayed a story about a soldier, whom did an unselfish act, and upon completing the moral of the story, getting on Bertie’s case for having an absent-minded look on his face. Bertie resists taking Jeeves’ remedy himself, Catsmeat’s health looking much restored, he then peeved about Jeeves’ reaction to his remembering when Gussie was expected at Deverill, and his current jail-birdery. The only fortunate part so far was Catsmeat revealing Gussie had been quick enough to not give his real name, Jeeves then decides to deposit the currently teething mutt in the kitchen, he unable to focus on Bertie’s important issues. Corky then inquires why Bertie was so invested, he confessing he and Madeline’s difficult history, going through where it’d begun with Gussie being too shy to begin the pourparlers (preliminary discussion) and Bertie offering to relay Gussie’s feelings, and Madeline keeping him as back-up fiancé if needs arise, Corky seeing his point.

Bertie then describes his worst fear would be realized if he had to attend his own wedding, revealing his middle name: B.W.W. (only initials will I supply). Corky had seen a picture of Madeline and hadn’t met her, not knowing her looks, whilst having much, didn’t compensate for her personality, which she had daisies and fairies filling the mold. She also admits to not knowing Gussie, Bertie suggesting she ask around to confirm his thoughts on the couple being two peas, etc. She then confirms Bertie’s worry on flapping in the wind if Madeline decided to look elsewhere for marriage, he making clear his only option, if Madeline changed her plans in order to become his little wife, he’d have no option other than to agree, she then wondering how Bertie would be able to leave Madeline ignorant to Gussie’s current whereabouts, Bertie relying on Jeeves. The man himself walks in and determines there is a way out, but questioned whether Bertie would accept it, he describing someone would need to pretend to be Gussie, and if Bertie couldn’t get a buddy to do it, would need to take on the personality himself.

Bertie definitely soured on the idea, and then recalls Catsmeat, he yelling for him, waking him, and then has Jeeves repeat his plan to him, Catsmeat agreeing it was a great idea when thinking Bertie would be playing the role (Bertie’s gentle coaxing being a hilarious moment), but Bertie sharing of they preferring he did it, Catsmeat backing out immediately. Bertie empathizes with Catsmeat’s negative memory of the fellow, he resorting to the same go-to as his buddies do on his behalf, he beginning with Catsmeat being within range of Gertrude, Corky supporting this, but Catsmeat piling on reasons for Gussie being characteristically at odds with himself, he being a schmo of maximum degree whilst Catsmeat was seen as a prized specimen, concluding how no one would be fooled, but Bertie being able to pull off the deception in spades.

Bertie immediately is taken aback, Corky giving Catsmeat a hard time, since he was giving up the opportunity to sway Esmond’s interest, but Catsmeat content to let Bertie handle the situation the way they agreed. Bertie then steps up to the dirty job with grace, Catsmeat satisfied, bows out to Bertie’s room for more uninterrupted z’s, Corky also leaving due to other plans, she informing how devastated the townsfolk would be when updated Bertie would be subbed with Gussie. Bertie stops her before she leaves without her dog, she detailing how she hoped to have Bertie bring him with him to Deverill in order to warm her Uncle to the idea, Bertie having reservations on how a canine like him would make him look. Corky reminds him it’d be Gussie whom they all would believe had brought the pup and would most likely be happier it was a mutt than lizards. After she’d hastened out, Jeeves lets on how he understood Bertie’s unfair circumstance, then quotes Marcus Aurelius, Bertie unimpressed and ready to get a move on before it became too late.

Bertie notes how whilst he hadn’t arrived at the witching hour, he had been terribly late, his car not helping his timing, and once he’d gotten to the doorbell, it was twenty after eight. On a previous occasion, Bertie is reminded of a moment with Jeeves where he’d quoted something from the Middle Ages which gave impression to being suspicious of the surroundings (Roland going to the Dark Tower, which I had been unaware was something before Stephen King, but now I’ve researched further, it makes more sense), Bertie understanding this sentiment, since he admired the aesthetic greatness of the property, but also couldn’t ignore the aunts soon to be in his midst and Esmond’s eventual loathing for him due to his mission. When Bertie is greeted by an impressively large butler, he makes certain to correct his presumption of being himself and claims Gussie’s name. Charlie Silversmith made Bertie feel like a blushing young idler (flâneur), Jeeves’ Uncle Charlie an imposing fellow, the dog reacting with unrest, Bertie feeling for the pup, and Charlie stating he’d have the dog led to the stables, then pointing Bertie to a sink, since dinner had begun without him and he wouldn’t be able to change clothes, Bertie quite rattled by this, but hanging in there, he then thrown to the dogs, aunts all around him, he lastly noting Esmond and Gertrude at the end of the table.

Bertie understood Catsmeat’s point of view of the girl’s charm, he pondering the young lovers’ fates as the aunts continued their mystifying choice of discussion, but then another aunt brings conversation around to having met the vicar, and if Augustus could explain the nature of the “cross-talk act”, Bertie alright with this, since he hadn’t wanted to allow Gussie to get a bad rap for not joining the chat and then having Madeline learn of this. Bertie describes the skit, it getting an all around thumbs-down from the aunts, they supporting Gussie not being in the play and how Madeline would’ve disapproved, anyways. This news froze Bertie to the core, he not considering Madeline’s posish on the subj, he realizing he’d have to warn Corky she’d need to discover a new Pat. The aunts then move on to how they’d heard Bertie was the right sort for acts of this kind, wondering where he could be, the chap must being the eccentric sort. Dame Daphne, lead aunt, declares how Agatha had mentioned debating whether Bertie would be better off “in a home”, these words souring Bertie a bit, he believing some kinder words should’ve been on the docket what with relenting to leading Thos about for the last few days; “a thankless aunt”, indeed. Bertie would’ve been glad for a proper drink, but was getting the Gussie treatment (definitely covered in the TV show). Then an aunt mentions Bertie’s escapade with cop helmet, Bertie sharing the actual story for them, but moving on when realizing it wasn’t helping his case for lightening the mood, he telling a tale of two deaf men on a train, one aunt stating and relaying this to the deaf aunt in their presence. Bertie, unfortunately now having to relate the not so nice joke, goes as expected, the deaf aunt getting a more friendly version, the aunts eventually bowing out and Bertie moving toward Esmond to have a chat and hopefully a nightcap.

As Bertie got a better view of Esmond, he again could relate why Catsmeat would be up in arms of a man of this caliber after his lady love. Esmond looks the sort to be a sensitive, handsome soul with the body of a broad fighter. Bertie waits patiently whilst Esmond took his time starting a conversation, Bertie drinking in the well-filled wine carafe, until Esmond spoke of not having quite understood his story, Bertie relaying it with confusion after Esmond spoke of hearing “Woking”, but he stating he got it before Bertie could correct himself. Esmond then notices Bertie’s bothered look when he refills his glass, Esmond offering him some, which Bertie snaps for with innocence of “trying it”. The two get on rather well as they continue their wining together, Esmond taking a leap at confiding his feelings to Gussie, Bertie having forgotten, but bedazzled by Esmond’s top-notch hosting skills, saying so, and the two side-tracking with compliments to each other, Esmond noting how he felt comfortable enough with Gussie to reveal why he was down, he head-over-heels for Corky.

Then Esmond explains how the nonsense of he loving his cousin, Gertrude had come from a film, he testing the idea in order to make Corky jealous after she’d ended their courting, Bertie properly lightened in knowing Catsmeat’s girl was safe, Bertie wanting to reassure Esmond of Corky still having loads of affection for him, but satisfies with moral support, Esmond allowing his will still being strong, especially after Corky had enlisted his singing talents for the concert, he only plagued by nerves, regardless of his being beloved by townsfolk, but betting on the good feedback to warm Corky further, he sharing the song he planned to sing being a little ditty written by two of his aunts. This worries Bertie a bit, Esmond offering to sing it for his opinion, and starting at the chorus, Bertie halting him for thinking it was he relaying being on a phone, Esmond clarifying it was a hunting tune (the next few beats had me laughing out loud for the absurdity, great stuff!), Bertie having to suggest he leave out adding Gussie’s name at the end of a line, Esmond taking it one more time, Bertie then suggesting he may want to flesh out the chorus due to the repeating words, he giving a fair substitute, and then laying on a few more adds for safety measures, Esmond properly thankful and in awe at his cleverness.

The two continue working on the lyrics, Bertie taking his gusto a bit too far, Dame Daphne walking in and huffing about the state of them, Bertie getting his first glimpse of a put-down Esmond, he losing respect for the fellow as he explained the need for practice. She informs and commands he join Gertrude for a game of backgammon, he leaving heavy-footed, and then turning her attention to Bertie and inquiring whether he was responsible for the pup in the stable, Bertie having forgotten the mutt, then relaying he’d been keeping him for Corky, her attitude darkening, as he shared of Corky’s reasons for this, Daphne then informing him, dog had broken out and was amongst those in “the drawing-room”.

Bertie finds himself sticking up for Sam Goldwyn, (Mr. dog-sir) he usually composed “compos.”, but his current mood stemming from his bond to Bertie, which he found sweet. Daphne told of seeing it in a more serious light, since Charlotte was currently overcoming her trauma of giving the animal a piggy-back ride, of which was forced upon her, Bertie seeing this as just desserts for writing such a sub-par tune. Daphne then informs how Charlie had sustained injury, but getting the dog into a closet, the next move being to ship him to the vicarage, which upon Bertie offering to take care of, is instead told to call it a night. Bertie was satisfied with this suggestion, since the going rate usually had a guest sitting through many dull entertainments, Bertie ready to contact Jeeves. Charlie appears out of nowhere when Daphne mentions his name, Bertie thinking the talent must be genetic, and before the man leaves him, Bertie asks him to send for his man, not expecting Catsmeat, but getting him.

Bertie considers how he’d have reacted in Childe Roland’s era where peeps were getting transformed left and right, the idea of Jeeves being turned into Catsmeat handled with ease and grace, but he having a shock making him look like the lovesick wolf, eyes a-pop (this being where I would normally supply an image, but nothing up to par, so for those who haven’t seen The Mask, watch it, laugh, and know to what I refer). Bertie mistakenly refers to Catsmeat by his name, he reminding him he was his butler, Meadowes, and informs him Jeeves wouldn’t be able to attend, Bertie looking to the wall and inquiring why he hadn’t joined him. Catsmeat explains it was due to his Uncle figuring something was amiss if he saw Jeeves was suddenly employed by Gussie. Whilst Bertie allowed this, he wondered why Jeeves hadn’t confided this to him, Catsmeat relaying how it had dawned on him after Bertie had gone and the idea of bringing Charlie in on the deets wouldn’t have worked due to the man’s strict morals.

Catsmeat then shares how he’d required fortification after meeting the man, he afterward going off on a tangent about the cooking sherry he’d tasted and the parlour maid whom gave it to him, she engaged to the local law enforcement, Dobbs, and when Bertie brings them back on topic about why Catsmeat had decided to come as his butler, he expands on how it would be his reason to shadow Gertrude, but when Bertie isn’t behind his cause, Catsmeat immediately gets chilly, then talking Bertie out of all of his ideas of any other place about town he could’ve stayed, moving on to whether he’d approached Gertrude, yet, she having received a moment to see him, and in complete shock when recognizing him. The two hadn’t spoken though, Bertie then sharing Esmond’s words, which were quite a comfort to Catsmeat, he then deciding to go, but Bertie informing him to relay to Corky of he having to decline the role of Pat, Catsmeat agreeing, Bertie’s good news for him not keeping his emotions on the high side. Bertie was able to remedy this with a good novel of “Murder at Greystone Grange“, this lulling him to unconsciousness, but right before nodding off, believing he’d heard the commotion of another guest downstairs, and upon the morn, his tea being brought by Charlie, whom still seemed frazzled about the dog, Bertie inquires if he’d heard rightly of a late guest, Charlie not denying this and stating it was Wooster, he then leaving him with the confusion of his name, Jeeves then coming in with his breakfast.

Bertie was in such a state, fresh off his reading about supernatural subjects, he at first believed Jeeves was an apparition, but when smelling the bacon, comes to his senses, Jeeves greeting him and stating how he’d rightly supposed Bertie would want to take breakfast solitarily. He comments on his Uncle Charlie’s seriousness, Jeeves agreeing to this and Bertie in awe he’d called the man Charlie, what with his personality not seeming friendly enough for it. He then gives opinion on the yumminess of the bacon, the two chatting of the goodness of kippers and ham also aiding the positivity in starting the day. Bertie then remembers a question needing asking, he wanting to learn the meaning of Jeeves’ presence, the man supplying he’d come with Gussie, Bertie quite shocked with the news. They then get to the thick of how Gussie had gotten released, a palm getting greased, and Esmond not knowing the meaning of trying times. Jeeves then explains how Gussie needed to be present at the Hall in order to write daily to Madeline, Bertie realizing this logic, and Jeeves then explaining on Gussie not being happy because of having to fill in for him in the stage act, as well as how Bertie had been handling Gussie’s doings at the Hall thus far, he knowing if Madeline was apprised he’d be in trouble.

Then, turning to Catsmeat’s matter of love, Jeeves reveals he having confided in him, Bertie marveling at how common it was, and Jeeves enjoying his ability to aid the lovesick, and this need having brought on the idea of he going in Jeeves’ place. Bertie shares how it would’ve been nice if they’d thought to warn him, he then making certain Jeeves had learned Catsmeat’s trouble was fairly fixed, but Esmond still having a time in front of him, Bertie catching Jeeves up on how Esmond planned to win Corky’s love publicly, but Corky not flipping for anything short of a rebellion against his aunts, Jeeves considering the request possible, since if Esmond did get good ratings from the crowd, he may well find the courage to stand up to aunts, Bertie reminded of Bingo’s situation being similar, he then giving Jeeves the task of getting those about town to lend their cheers to Esmond, also making certain Jeeves set up a meeting place for he and Gussie to catch up, the post office being decided on in an hour, Bertie then requesting the start for a dip in the tub.

Bertie gets caught up in his bathing due to a bout of crooning to himself, and so discovers Gussie waiting for him at the place of government shipping of products, he noticing his bad mood, and learning he would have preferred prison what with having to put up with being Bertie being quite a nuisance, also realizing how Deverill would forever relate his person to Gussie’s appearance. Gussie proceeds with how the aunts of Deverill Hall were treating him as if a leper and brought up how Bertie was bringing his name down, as well, what with his drunken singing. Bertie explains how Esmond had required this and he hadn’t actually been drunk, but toasty, suggesting Gussie deny everything should Madeline hear anything, elaborating how the scene could be open for interpretation, which Gussie allows, but hopes Bertie can be mindful of his actions moving forward, and when Bertie brings up Catsmeat as a segue, Gussie is fired up by the new subj., since Catsmeat had been the cause of his jail time. Gussie then inquires about the two-man act, Bertie proceeding with care, he handing the script over to him as explanation.

As Gussie reads, he has a look of non-acceptance, and once learning Catsmeat was the author, sextuple-snorts his derision and speaks of not being surprised, then continues how misinformed Catsmeat sounded when it came to his characterization of Irishmen, and then has to be told the play had jokes sprinkled throughout, of which he had been unaware, and on top of this, learns the other player would be a police officer, halting him completely, since he’d be expected to hit the man with an umbrella and he’d already done this in Trafalgar Square, outright refusing, even deciding to let Corky know his decision firsthand, but promptly shuts up on sight of her, she coming toward them, along with her pup, Bertie deciding Corky’s ability to sway was definitely in order, and once greeting her and introducing her to Gussie, informs her of his being on-the-fence, and left her to her abilities. Bertie gets to his room un-harassed by aunts, and some time later Gussie reappears at his door looking quite pleased, explaining how after speaking with Corky, she’d made everything seem much more palatable. Gussie goes on to state how Bertie not performing was most likely best, since he wasn’t right for the role, the former defending his abilities. Gussie goes on to tell what Corky had said on the matter, which had himself looking perfect for the act.

Bertie sees the futility in arguing and lets him be, deciding to mention, regardless, Madeline would be opposed, so wouldn’t be able to prove himself anyways, then attempting to knock Gussie down by bringing up his issues with hitting Dobbs the cop, Gussie updating how Dobbs had been replaced, he arguing with Corky and then Sam Goldwyn biting him, the cop detaining the pup until learning whether he had a history of attacks, Gussie happy Catsmeat would be his new partner, and then gave Bertie the poems he needed to memorize for the performance, Madeline having requested this of Gussie, but he now quite happy to pass the task on, Bertie not feeling well with his new discomfiture.

Bertie’s V-shaped (possibly verse) melancholic days don’t become brighter, and when the second day of the week finds him, he’s ever closer to needing a variety of booze, his situation crying out for relief. What was truly bothering him most, though was how Gussie was acting, and the start stemming from their post-post office discussion, Gussie’s words tipping Bertie off and then laying its eggs in his brain until certainty of Gussie’s new love for Corky was plain, the aunts of Deverill Hall noticing the same and their comments not conducive to an Aunt Agatha report, Gussie practically Corky’s accessory since first meeting, and Bertie not wanting to fathom how Agatha would react. When he decides to share his woes with Jeeves, he learns Gussie had allowed him to go to a lecture back in London, so Bertie would have to seriously consider his problem, singly and deciding he’d have to press upon Corky how she could ease his mind by pushing Gussie away. So he biffs off to locate her when he’s called to by Dame Daphne, whom was poisoning some bugs in her rose garden, Bertie wary of her needle-carrying hand, what with the serious look on her face, he learning Gussie had apparently not sent a line to Madeline, she having sent a telegram, and Dame Daphne for-shaming Gussie on his insensitive conduct, Bertie wobbly with the news, he likening it to a Drones lad, Widgeon taking him by surprise on the street with an earful of horn.

Bertie again had bad imaginings of Madeline’s curiosity getting the best of her if Gussie didn’t write soon, he overcome by this for a little while before getting himself to walk again, and then ponders on how Corky, the fons et origo (origin) had doomed him. There was a time in their dancing days when Bertie had retaliated against Corky via wooden dumb-bell, which he’d regretted up to this point, but now hoped he’d get a second chance. As he practiced his lead-in to the conversation, he sees Corky in her car, but she busy about to attend to her uncle’s duties and having to rain-check his chat, she then sharing how Gussie was currently grabbing the soup required for her stop and after, the old lady she was visiting would keep her regaling Hollywood stories, she also sharing how handy Gussie had been for her lately, and also relating how Bertie’s cousin, Thos had gotten in touch with her about the autographed pictures she’d given him being a hit at his school, the boys normally not paying over 9p, but he getting 12p, she sharing how she’d also given him permission to visit on his mid-term break, then Gussie returns, puppy dog agog, until Corky drives off and Bertie pokes him between the ribs, and asks why he wasn’t writing Madeline, he giving the excuse of being booked solid for time because of the two-man act, Bertie demanding he drop her a line today, regardless, he looking put upon and then deciding he wouldn’t do it, to punish her for leaving him alone there, and when Bertie gives him ‘one last chance’, he sticks to his inaction and walks away, Bertie returning to see Catsmeat smoking one of his ciggies and looking like he was blissfully thinking of Gertrude.

Seeing Bertie helps him resurface, he having planned to discuss something in particular, Bertie replying with stink for having gotten tired of him, he believing Catsmeat had taken the job as his butler flippantly and hadn’t done anything to prove his loyalty to the position. Catsmeat updates how his letters via Jeeves to Gertrude was going quite well, and Bertie agrees it was bully for him, but Gussie was becoming an issue with his resistance in writing Madeline. Catsmeat sees the issue stemming from Gussie heart-ing Corky, and explaining why Corky was keeping Gussie strung being to do with proving to Esmond she was desired. Catsmeat then suggests Bertie confess to Corky Esmond’s true feelings, Bertie thinking the time may have passed what with Madeline’s last telegram, but Catsmeat holding out everything could be fixed. He gives the opinion Bertie should write Madeline in the guise of Gussie, he even supplying the note for him to copy, then informing him he had plans with Queenie, whom was having trouble with her fiance’ Dobbs, Queenie unable to get over his Atheism. So, Bertie writes out the letter, of which was to be envied for its perfect tone, and after dropping it off, hears Corky a-calling.

Bertie makes it so Corky can’t escape him like she’d done earlier, she making certain she wasn’t in for more Hollywood chat, then going off on how long-winded the old lady she’d visited had been, Bertie again having to wait until she remembered whom had started this conversation. When he mentions the subject of Gussie, and was explaining how he’d spoken with Catsmeat, she again interrupts to make sure they were both on the same page of knowledge regarding his plan to convince Gertrude to run off and marry him, Corky’s investment in this being how Esmond would handle the news. Bertie realizes her ploy in relation to Gussie was on point and jumps into setting Corky on the true path, she exceptionally pleased by the update, he then cluing her in on Jeeves contribution for when Esmond performed at the show, she realizing with the proper reception, he could grow some balls. Bertie then compares a similar scenario regarding Bingo Little, his wife, the novelist Rosie M. Banks, they now also with baby, and Bingo’s issue with acquiring a raise, and after his tot won a contest, had the courage to demand his raid, and receives it. Corky was readying to implement her part like Jeeves, getting an amenable crowd ready, but Bertie is adamant in finishing his request by making certain she was on-board with his Save Bertie’s Bachelorhood (WordPress gives me Bachelorhood, but so many other real words get the red-line?! Poppycock!), she agreeing without a fight. Bertie’s fresh relaxation was not to be kept, for upon returning to his room, Catsmeat places the news of Agatha soon to be in their midst, as an added bonus.

Bertie took the news soberly, he visibly stricken, but biding his time until Catsmeat had more information, he making the trip to London for Jeeves’ help. Catsmeat returns in the late afternoon to Bertie’s now supposedly masked anticipation, he retelling his experience thoroughly and ending with Jeeves’ idea involving Aunt Agatha leaving right quick when discovering ‘Young Thos’ was missing from school. The idea was to lure the boy into escape upon learning a favorite movie star was within meeting distance, a back up to the 5 quid also in reserve to sweeten the deal. Bertie believed the celeb would be plenty, though. Catsmeat thought he’d reward the lad regardless, since knowing Aunt Agatha would surely give him hell for bouncing out of school, Bertie commending him. As they discuss Corky and how easily she’d taken Catsmeat’s plan, they receive telegrams and Catsmeat urges Bertie to open them despite being addressed to Gussie. Catsmeat leaves Gussie to cheer up Queenie, Bertie’s resolve to wait for Real Gussie weakening. He submits, and opens one, it from Jeeves confirming all had gone accordingly, but instead of leaving the second letter alone, he learns it’s from Madeline and she on her way to Deverill Hall.

Bertie takes the news with grace, ‘hands holding head’. He waits for Catsmeat to return, waylaying him along with Queenie, whom had an unpleasant film-watching experience. Bertie didn’t have patience to ‘tut tut’ her misfortune, though, handing Catsmeat the note from Madeline. He makes a joke at Bertie’s expense for having caved on his morals and then admits they needed a plan, Bertie reminding him of how he’d helped this mess by getting Gussie into trouble in the first. Catsmeat makes valid claims of Bertie’s part in the matter, which in turn allows him to let sleeping dogs, etc. They then plan on discussing a new ruse to keep Madeline in the dark. The evening doesn’t end early, unfortunately, guests from around a 20 mile radius attending, so when Bertie saw his room it was nearly midnight, Catsmeat having left a note revealing he was off to implement his cracker jack of a plan the next day, with Bertie’s car to carry him. Knowing this partially eased Bertie’s anxiety, but knew it could be hit or miss with Catsmeat due to years before, seeing a comment written about him by their principal as he’d been questing for biscuits. Bertie prepares for sleep with a smoke when Gussie presents himself, complaining about the waste of time din din was, due to the guests and Corky not being present. Gussie then reveals he was there to borrow a tie from Bertie, whom hoped Gussie’s upcoming visit with Corky would knock him out of the sky with haste. Gussie then admits to finally having written to Madeline, Bertie realizing his earlier letter to her would now be suspicious. Gussie wasn’t pleased he’d gone rogue, but also not sweating it, since he’d broken off their engagement.

The Larches is described with the locals receiving the company’s ‘h’ and ‘c’ water (pff). Bertie was off to retrieve the letter of Doom before Madeline got hold of it and was considering the repercussions for his actions if the Constabulary found him out, but believed the felony justified his reasons. So, Bertie secreted himself in a bush at the address expecting the letter, including the pacing being mot juste to strolling. He then muses on how Nature turns her back on lurv as he’s accosted by the bright and warm weather along with a friendly multi-legged creature walking upon his person. As he deals with this, more worrisome is whether the proper requirements for his plan to work will be given to him. As he’s surprised by a ginger cat, someone opens a window nearby and a maid pops out the front door to dust a mat. Bertie sees to the dining room and thinks Madeline could very well come down for breakies when the mailman arrives and Bertie’s hopes are dropped, since Mr. Mailman was a young flirt and would be taking his time. Bertie readies himself to pounce when postman biffs off and the maid does as he thought and sets the mail at the table. This doesn’t gladden Bertie for long, since now the maid didn’t leave as he’d hoped, taking a smoke until scurrying off upon hearing something (Madeline). Bertie gets his dash of luck though, since she heads for the garden. The moment is of course marred by Bertie’s flowering cowardice, but also someone walking in with a dog which would’ve effected Bertie’s mission, as well, this being Madeline’s buddy. Bertie realizes this pup would definitely blow his cover, but kitty then took the opportunity to flee, the dog going after, and Madeline’s friend bringing up the tail-end. When he saw the trio turn the corner, Bertie fetches the letter. Unfortunately, he sees the girl and dog heading back toward him as he was in mid-getaway, so he multiple “nipped” his way to a room across the hall.

Bertie discovers he may have located Madeline’s buddy, Hilda’s room, due to the feminine quality and sports equipment strewn about. Bertie leaves this be in preference to the window of Freedom, but a red-faced gardener blocks his want of an unnoticed escape. So, like Bertie’s ill will to the lazy maid, he loathed this stand-about man. As he saves a framed photo of Madeline from falling as he was pacing, he had a light bulb mo. Gussie needed to have  a reminder of whom he was dumping, in Bertie’s fevered brain, so swiping the picture for Gussie as a possibility for his love to rekindle seemed like a good bet (supporting his optimism with other unlikely scenarios). Then, he is interrupted by an approaching maid, so thinking a bit less slowly, he ends up behind a sofa. The maid is called away from her hovering by Hilda, Madeline soon joining her. Whilst listening to them, Bertie felt empathy for her, believing she was emo about lurv. Madeline talks to her chum about the “happy flowers”, then shares her worry over Gussie’s lack of letters and wanting to see him sooner, Hilda not giving a toss.

As they talk, Bertie is brought up in regards to his yearning love for Madeline and how difficult for him it must be to write dictated letters to sweet, sweet Madeline. Hilda then becomes suicidally dark when admitting to having a firearm secreted away in her room, but backhandedly assures she wasn’t in danger of going through with it. She then puts her 2 cents in on how Madeline should handle Gussie, thinking Bertie a better option, since he had money. Madeline wasn’t amused and neither was Bertie, she then starts, seeing her picture wasn’t where it used to be, on the table. Hilda suggests she ask the maid and as Madeline checks, Hilda allows her big pup to wander off the couch, where he immediately snuffles around Bertie, surprised by what his nose leads him to, backing off and sound the doggy alarm. Madeline returns, shocked to see Hilda with her pistol and leaving Bertie with questions as to Hilda’s plan of action. As Hilda explains to Madeline what she had in mind, she speaks at the mystery man to reveal himself.  Madeline screams upon seeing Bertie as Hilda contemplates a good frisking to see if Bertie had more stolen goods on him. Madeline shares Bertie’s identity with Hilda, she leaving them to talk out Bertie’s issue of obv. love with Madeline. Bertie meanwhile, wasn’t looking forward to the experience.

Bertie attempts to relieve the silence with a general statement about the weather and his reason for being there only to pop by and update Madeline of Gussie’s health, as well as why he had Madeline’s portrait being for Gussie’s use, ofc! Bertie doesn’t receive the calming response his words deserved, though. Instead Madeline looks saddened, asking Bertie if he’d read a particular Rosie Banks novel, she giving him the plot, and he commenting as she goes (hilariously). When she finishes, Bertie couldn’t believe the reason Banks’ crap was so popular. Madeline then likens Bertie to the protagonist who’s love was spurned and dies before getting a happily ever after. Madeline shares why Hilda was being emo was caused by a man called Harold hogging the tennis ball they were on the same team to swat. She ended their engagement because of this turd thinking he was more talented and should shoulder the game. Madeline finished by how torn up she was, when Hilda reenters with a tune on her lips, she having received a letter from the oaf and would forgive him in a couple of days.

Hilda then relays how Claude Pirbright had dropped by to see Madeline and before she goes, gives Bertie a kind word about the “predicament of unrequited nonsense” she found the two of them in and how they’d laugh about it in their grey years, perhaps a bit mistily. Hilda returns back inside after an encouraging word for the gardener outside, she learning how Bertie also knew “Beefy” Harold Anstruther and her plans to return Bertie where he belonged, beside Madeline. She invites him to breakies, but he declines since he wanted to catch Catsmeat for any news, he withering at the thought of her influence on Madeline as he goes. When he sees Catsmeat coming though, he was speed-racing to the point of missing Bertie’s attempts at flagging him down, so returns for nourishment and then Deverill Hall.

So, the ride back wasn’t the most convenient and the first person Bertie recognizes is his cuz, “young Thos”, whom immediately calls attention to Bertie’s drabness, he swatting him as he passed. Corky then greets him from her car, mentioning how Sidney, her unc. had taken to Thos and she thought of him fondly, Bertie of course surprised by any sort of goodwill in relation to his cousin seeming out of place. She explains how Thos offered to bludgeon the local cop for nicking Sam Goldwyn and saw his invitation as sweet. As Bertie struggled with this news, Corky goes on to speak of Catsmeat whom received news from his love, Gertrude about her eagerness to run off with him. Bertie’s response makes her realize he was distrait and had taken a side-trip to hell before getting back to Deverill. Corky listens to his tale attentively, Bertie quite pleased she didn’t interrupt and even gasped at appropriate deets. After which, Bertie couldn’t help but think, due to all his vibrant living, Death coming a-knocking didn’t sound terrible.

Corky did supply some decent information in return, though; Catsmeat had been able to redirect the Bassett away from Deverill, Bertie responding with praise to the above. Corky though, hadn’t shared his uplifted feeling quite as much, she expounding how Bertie’s news about the portrait and Mervyn Keene made her wonder if perhaps more should’ve been done. This stops Bertie cold, metaphor of what Catsmeat’s attempt to help looked like being closer to inadvertent torture ensuing. Upon hearing what he had said of Bertie to dissuade Madeline distressed him to his core. Madeline’s reaction of course, containing the flowery response one expects. Corky supported the idea of seeing the bright side and at how the knowledge had stopped Madeline for now. Bertie made use of this supportive realization, minimizing the fear, she supportive of he seeing the ‘correct’ view. Bertie learns she planned on working on Gussie upon finishing a job for her. Bertie catches the implication immediately and wasn’t detoured by Thos tipping him as he entered the car, Corky avoiding providing any more information about this ‘job’, to Bertie’s animal instinctive fear, but learned Esmond Haddock had found his way to Deverill upon returning from his walkabout.

Dame Daphne had made a new rule about port not concluding supper anymore and Bertie had yet to find time to speak with Esmond, since his arrival. His chance is given, though when meeting him in some area of the estate, the two starting with pleasantries until Bertie mentions seeing Corky outside. Esmond attempts to inquire more, but has a swallowing attack (similar to ‘whatting’), before asking Wooster if ‘Wooster’ was with her, Bertie confirming her solo ‘flying’ and Esmond showing heat over how often Gussie (Wooster) did seem to hang about her as of late. Bertie doesn’t help his emotion by supplying how long he/Gussie had known Corky since childhood and leaving thoughts of youthful dance class and passing time together wasn’t leaving Esmond with a soothing head-space.

Esmond asks about Bertie and Gussie’s history, as well, he relating how popular he’d been as a school boy and his general likability, Esmond focusing on perceived character flaws and not having gotten good vibes from Gussie’s Wooster persona, giving the metaphor of Gorgonzola cheese being his home of origin. Bertie attempts to soften Esmond’s view, but is rebuffed by how Aunt Daphne had only just mentioned Bertie’s bad behavior with the policeman helmet snatching. When Bertie explains the reasoning for said transgression, Esmond regards Bertie’s view with distaste. He states how this tom foolery wasn’t an isolated incident. Bertie this time letting this be and Esmond continuing about how they’d be ready for any Wooster mischief since the local fuzz was on board to capturing him for any misstep and Esmond would be able to throw the 30 day book at him. Bertie felt the possible heat as he and Esmond split off, talking aloud of Jeeves being handy, now. The man himself appears looking quite rejuvenated, his usual mysterious poofing out of nowhere, alive and well.

Jeeves begins cordially, asking if allowed to provide an opinion, Bertie eager to hear his wisdom. Even after clarifying, it was on the topic of attire, Bertie welcoming the dig and even supplies one to Jeeves to see if he determined the issue correctly. Jeeves believed he overshot a bit, but decided he’d certainly been better put together before (soine), Bertie immediately word relation-popping a half thought through song involving ‘Swanee River’, but leaves it be. As Jeeves states his intention of cleaning Bertie’s suit, it is noticed the not-so-foolish young sir was preoccupied with anxiety. Jeeves put forth how he’d thought how Thos was in place and Aunt Agatha not being, was going accordingly. Bertie agrees, but clarifies the main course of issues sprung from Gussie because of he being targeted by fuzz, as well of course the mysterious errand Corky had in store for Gussie. Which reminds Jeeves how Esmond would be set for a friendly audience, Bertie continuing on the topic of Corky and how she required revenge for her dog’s arrest and knew she’d be planning something for fuzz Dobbs. Which meant, if she planned on using Gussie in relation to illegal activities, he’d definitely be clinked. Before Jeeves can reply, Bertie concludes with a statement which he notes was Jeeves-like and had expected his reply to cover the range mentioned, being Gussie wouldn’t intentionally break the law due to his upbringing and nature, but also knew how impressionable he was, especially with Corky involved. So all of this was putting Bertie on edge, but was buoyed by Jeeves offering to speak to him in order to provide reason. The topic turns to Catsmeat’s happiness and back to Esmond’s warm public, before Bertie mentions Gussie’s possible whereabouts and to acquire Thos’ bludgeon. They end their conversation to begin their tasks for the day, when Bertie sees Gussie exiting a cottage, this being the Police HQ, and he being accompanied by Dobbs.

Bertie marveled at the officer and his particular body type: Robust, but petite horizontally. He was noted to also look quite steely in strength. Currently, he seemed to be experiencing a trying situation what with the look he was sporting. Gussie greets the officer as he passes to enter the office and as soon as he’s out of sight, Bertie accosts Gussie with need for explanation. Officer Dobbs comes back out with a shovel before Gussie can answer, scattering frogs which had been sitting upon it, Gussie then suggests Bertie and he move along, afterward wasting time with declaring whom Dobbs was, the two confirming this for a moment. Gussie repeats his agreement several times as he gathered his thoughts, then he relates to Bertie’s single run-in with the law and how unpleasant it is. Bertie asks the obvious question then, what had Gussie done, the man stating he’d been “strewing frogs” about. Specifically, in Dobbs’ boudoir, our Vicar Catsmeat having thought of the ruse.

Corky was whom had put the idea to action though, she becoming irate over Dobbs’ dislike of her pooch, she thinking one of God’s plagues may lighten his heart toward Sam Goldwyn, she enlisting Gussie’s help, since he was so willing. Bertie was in shrieking agony within at how Gussie had gone so far in life without a stint in a mental institution. Upon hearing how Gussie had been caught, he’d only just been able to make out like a proper bandit, since Dobbs hadn’t caught him in the act and there wasn’t any proof, Gussie having straight up lied when Dobbs asked if he’d brought them in, he then announcing abruptly how he’d best let Corky know Sam Goldwyn would be stuck, what with the ole boy now having a history as a snapper, this being when Gussie was making his way out, being trailed by Dobbs, Bertie hoping nothing and no one worse would cross his path.

Bertie stealthily continued on, believing he could hear Aunts echoing voices in the distance, and thinking he’d bypassed them successfully, then sees the one Aunt he’d wanted to avoid: Dame Daphne. Unlike some who had the power to acknowledge monsters and retreat quickly, Bertie became stuck there, he responding to her inquiry as to whether he’d written Madeline and he also supplying carefully why he looked frumpy being due to going to visit Madeline, Dame Daphne horrifyingly pleased and sending for some OJ. Uncle Charlie, finally turns up after a couple jangles from the bell, explaining his delay was caused by his daughter becoming engaged. Bertie was surprised because Silversmith was related to the girl, Queenie and then trying to remember why he recognized the fiance’s name of Meadowes. Silversmith admits Meadowes was Fink-Nottle’s ‘personal attendant’, his look implying to Bertie, the man saw him as a family style equal. Bertie is now worried, Dame Daphne orders OJ for Bertie and insists he change. Bertie requests Meadowes bring his drink so he could congratulate him. When Catsmeat finally appears, Bertie gauges he looked a bit cloudy-eyed from his new status.

The first thing to pass Catsmeat’s lips is his misfortune. Bertie immediately enlisting Jeeves’ help when Catsmeat asks for his suggestion on how to fix his upcoming event. Catsmeat is led into describing how he’d gotten to this point. He begins with how he’d been in such a dreamy mood from Gussie’s message, he’d found himself in the servant’s hall where he came across Queenie crying. In an attempt to comfort her, he’d cooed encouraging words and then began kissing her better; like a sibling, according to him. Which is how Silversmith found them, she setting upon his knee, his arm about her waist and Silversmith, accompanied by Gussie, (Dun, Dun, DUN!). Silversmith’s reaction was at first potentially damaging for Catsmeat, Queenie deciding their engagement was the simplest solution. This being cause for Gussie to send a new message for their plans being open once more, with the exception of Catsmeat still having to do his cross-talk act, Bertie countering with he being stuck with a Christopher Robin poem, Catsmeat shooting back at least it wasn’t Pooh poems, Bertie relenting.

The show was to begin at 8:15 pm, Bertie sitting among the crowd for the start, he now understanding why Corky had been annoyed with the talent, but the audience, of course not being concerned with the quality. These talents were the Kegley-Bassington brood. As Bertie peered at the unyielding faces of the men about him regarding the show thus far, Bertie didn’t feel hopeful of his chances, and to top it off with Reverend Pirbright opening the show with a speech, gave Bertie insight as to the type of host he was, it not being the high energy jokester sort, but Bertie listing his collection of reasons for being somber having to do with Corky, Gussie, and young Thos staying in the spare room. Pirbright focuses his introduction on the Church Organ he then introducing the first act, an unimpressive violinist, before Kegley-Bassingtons began, the first of them escaping jabs, Bertie thinking he may survive, each girl getting fair enough reaction.

George K-B was up next, he reciting a poem which didn’t suit his nature and his family from the wings starting the poem for him when they thought he’d forgotten, he begrudgingly and quickly saying the words and the masses being acceptant, Bertie hoping this boded well for his odds. The act after got the crowd in a decent mood, but then Catsmeat and Gussie fuck it up with their lackluster performance, the two each looking and sounding foully sad and moody. This makes the dialogue sound darker and the punch lines failing to hit. Then Gussie stops speaking his responses and Catsmeat does both sides of the conversation, which by the end, the two retreat with bowed heads, Esmond up next and singing a-hunting, etc. The young man had prepared properly with booze, he getting the wildest response, and giving 4 encores and the crowd still staying receptive. The next act was an odd dance, the crowd after she’d finished, began chanting for Esmond’s return to stage. They winning their wish, Intermission dropping after, Bertie going out for a smoke quite pleased and then chilled with the realization Christopher Robin was no longer available in his brain, he reminded of the idea of drink, immediately awaying to the bar.

As he has a look-see about the place, he spots Jeeves at a table, having a “meditative” beer. Jeeves greets him per his usual way and confirms his mission was a success, regarding retrieval of the cosh from Master Thomas, but Bertie must attempt twice to steer Jeeves toward the subject of his being quite up the hole. Jeeves listens as he describes the depths of his being through the wood, Jeeves probing over Bertie’s used memory methods, he relaying the bar was the attempt, Jeeves immediately suggesting a double brandy, which Bertie doubles. As he begins, he only vaguely recalls the poem included a “hoppity hoppity hop”, but completely recalled ‘”Ben Battle”‘ Jeeves being of the opinion George Kegley-Bassington “barely” performed well enough to pass. Bertie clarifies his reason for mentioning it was because he no longer had any leftover space for Christopher Robin, the liquid memory booster not boosting. Jeeves suggests they hand over the responsibility to Esmond, whom should welcome another chance to impress his fans, he having a book which would’ve been to prompt Bertie with the lines if need be. He contemplates whether to allow Jeeves to ask, reasoning how well-liked Esmond currently was, which was his deciding factor.

As he awaits outside the bar looking at the stars, he’s interrupted by Gussie in costume inquiring if he’d acquire some brandy for him. Bertie provides without a third-degree to his buddy’s non-milky request and watches as he gulps half and describes the flavor as appalling which then gives Bertie the chance to ask why he’d wanted it, since he’d already finished his performance shittily. Gussie acknowledges how most would be if they had the task of breaking out a dog from the clink, as well. Bertie now wished for brandy and confesses how Gussie should reconsider what with Esmond wanting a reason to put Gussie away and Dobbs was waiting for his chance, too. Gussie gains confidence with the fact of Dobbs being busy watching the show, Bertie feeling slightly better for him, and Gussie not caring since he was all about impressing Corky, biffing off thusly. Jeeves then arrives stating his success, Bertie noting he must’ve needed some buttering what with the length of time passing. Jeeves informs it was actually caused by Dobbs, whom had mentioned having decided to skip the remainder of the concert in preference of a good book at his cottage. Bertie’s face shows his shock, he revealing why he was frazzled. Jeeves inquires if Bertie would want to attempt in helping Gussie escape. Bertie didn’t see hope in this, but agrees, and as they make their way to Dobbs, Bertie wonders what would make Jeeves exclaim with a “coo!” or “crumbs!” and learns Jeeves hope doesn’t waiver if there be breath left (decent rule of thumb). Bertie disagrees with his philosophy and fantasizes Gussie has already been caught by Dobbs.

As Jeeves disagrees, they are overcome by Corky, whom had seen Gussie pass not long before. As Bertie is unloading the most recent information regarding Dobbs’ whereabouts, they hear a barking increase in volume as it approaches closer, Corky berating Bertie for almost scaring her, Sam Goldwyn belting his way at them happily. After Corky secures pup in car, she mentions crashing the Hall later, then leaves hastily. Not long do the two stand before hearing a tapping noise, Jeeves veering Bertie to darkness before they see Gussie and Dobbs running by, Bertie impressed with Gussie’s green be-bearded skill. It wasn’t long before Gussie’s instincts fail him though, since if he’d kept running, he’d have been free as a bird, but instead, like a bird, shimmies up a tree, instead.

Dobbs, now caught up, suggests he climb down, Jeeves saving the simpleton with his recently acquired cosher. Jeeves also offers to remove the green gummed-on beard for Gussie, whom is quite dazed himself at this point. Bertie aways back to the bar for another restorative before going back to the Hall for snacks and a change of wardrobe. Bertie also gave fancy to the ease with which Jeeves seemed to have comfortably resorted to violence and whether it could ever be turnt upon himself, but settled with knowing Jeeves would have to forget etiquette completely. He is encompassed by stray thoughts as Gussie appears without beard and cleaned up, reminding Bertie of his need to change, what with buffet snacks downstairs to look forward to, he also noticing Gussie’s nervous energy.

Bertie focused on dressing until a groan escapes Gussie’s throat as he stares at a picture of a woman being stared at by a gentleman, Gussie inquiring if Bertie had ever had reality shine blatantly upon him, he describing his mo. had arrived when Dobbs had been standing under the tree reasoning for Gussie to give up, he realizing his lurv had been killed. Corky was a solid gal, but brought too much liveliness to Gussie’s existence. Bertie was so happy, his delayed reaction of whoopying scared Gussie into biting his tongue, Bertie apologizing, but also explaining how the news deserved it, since Madeline was so obviously his boo, and he would sing gustily with everyone for the newlyweds upon their wedding day.

It’s by this point Bertie notices Gussie’s visible discomfort, since he was in a new mess and he wished Bertie would end the love story he imagined for him with Madeline, since he was still operating under the notion of his final letter to her having been to end things. Bertie sets him straight, Gussie still believing Bertie to be a dumb ass, but belied his nature when succeeding with this, Gussie planning to visit Madeline immediately. Bertie, in the mo. of “bien être”  = well being, reminds himself to slow down with his congratulatory whimsy, since other lovers were still pending. As he was preparing to leave for his sammie, Esmond comes in, but like a horse “curvetting”: a series of jumps on the ‘hind legs’.

After Bertie greets and invites him to sit, he’s met with a look of disbelief. Esmond can’t imagine how he’d be able to sit and after “loo loo looing” awhile Bertie mentions how much he appreciated Esmond taking over the poems, which had gone fine for him. Bertie reminds Esmond he hadn’t shared why he was in such a good mood had been due to Corky, and as he was revving up his explanation, Bertie blew his bubble in the telling a of couple times, since he could sense where Esmond was heading, he getting him back by admitting Bertie didn’t look like he’d have been a deep thinker from the time of boyhood. Regardless, Bertie states what Esmond must’ve done to impress Corky, Esmond confirming, but one small thing still being in the way, he having to stand up to his aunts to prove he wasn’t being pushed over by them.

Bertie agrees this should be done, but Esmond is peeved by this, since he doesn’t know how he’d go about it, Bertie again suggesting the answer lies with Jeeves. Esmond takes his word and goes off in search of the man, Bertie having a celebratory ciggie, due to every lover being in order, minus Catsmeat. Bertie then sees Jeeves arrive, the two catching up in regards to Gussie’s most recent London plan, Corky’s tentative engagement and Esmond requesting his assistance. Jeeves accepts, but currently was helping his Uncle Charlie serve refreshment. Esmond then returns, Bertie mentioning where Jeeves had gone and Esmond replying, they need follow, due to being late themselves. Dame Daphne appears to ask where he’d been, he for once being a smart ass in reply. she heading upstairs and he leading Bertie to the drawing room, where it wasn’t long before Uncle Charlie announced Dobbs’ arrival.

The upper class guests and homeowners had varying displays of curiosity. Dobbs announces having a couple reasons for showing up, the first having to do with speaking with Reverend Sidney about being struck by a thunderbolt, and before Sidney could respond, Dobbs is body checked by Queenie, whom had forgiven him and obviously expected her engagement ring returned. Again, varying emotions are viewed, Uncle Charlie not drawn in, but drawing out Queenie from Dobbs’ arms, he coming back to himself and scheduling a talk with the Reverend for tomorrow. Bertie remembers the other task Dobbs had come about. Dobbs asks for Wooster, which upon hearing, Esmond becomes serious with the judgement of the Justice of the Peace. Dobbs goes through his story and Jeeves pipes up when Esmond inquires where he was now, and when learning he had gone to London and Jeeves was his attendant, he states wanting to speak with him in the near future, for previously discussed reasons. In the meantime, Jeeves gives Wooster an alibi so as to sully Dobbs’ story, also disappointing Esmond.

Then, Dobbs realizes Catsmeat was the only leftover culprit, which surprises everyone including Bertie, since he couldn’t believe Jeeves would overlook screwing Catsmeat over. Esmond calls for Meadowes to be brought, Jeeves obliging. Once presented, they catch him up to his predicament, and Gertrude overcome with the prospect of missing Catsmeat for 30 days, the two embrace and kiss with passion, disturbing the aunts. Once Esmond learns from Corky Meadowes was actually her brother, Catsmeat, he lightens his mood, especially when he reveals his plans to marry Gertrude once getting back to London. Esmond quiets the “banshee”-like aunts, and after setting the two on the path to using his car, suggests Dobbs go look in on Gertrude, Corky bringing Esmond’s attention to how his Aunts had been in uproar this whole time and Dame Daphne had been disturbed enough to come see what had occurred.

The four Aunts catch her up and she asks for confirmation in a way which would intimidate Bertie, but Esmond makes like he’s shooing flies, acting the most in charge of Aunts as Santa is of reindeer. Esmond states he’d approved of Gertrude and Catsmeat’s marriage, since he’d be marrying Corky, whom was starry-eyed with acceptance and adoration of he growing a pair. Esmond goes for a stroll with her and Bertie retires to his room. Upon doing so, he finds all of the troubled lovers had been handled, he readying for sleepy-time as Jeeves appears. Bertie gives him props and learns Thos had written his mother about how well he’d been getting on, leading to her arrival and knowing Bertie was there. Jeeves already had an escape plan ready for him, but Bertie at first shows his instinctual fear, and then takes a lesson from Esmond, deciding he’ll face Aunt Agatha, with the back up of the cosher being available, he strolling out with purpose.

I continue enthusiastically!

The Martian

Image result for the martian book cover

 

I saw the film first, so I’ll be looking forward to recognizing any similarities, and whether I agree with the back-of-book reviews comparing this to Robinson Crusoe (hopefully not) or Mysterious Island.

Log Entry: Sol 6 – Mark has lost hope, after almost a week into a couple months start of what should’ve been a wonderful trip, having turned south. He supposes who would even get his journal, perhaps a century into the future someone would get the chance to read it. Mark then declares, despite what the crew had believed, he hadn’t died on Sol 6, he going back to describe the Ares Program, the first crew having completed their mission successfully and returning as courageous celebrities. Same for Ares 2, and Ares 3 was the assignment Mark had been a part of, he the lowest ranked. He considers whether anyone would discover his log before the crew died of octeganarianism and doesn’t hold a grudge against them. He goes into details of how missions to Mars are done, the crew arriving by a ship called Hermes, and when they were on the ship, care packages being sent to them by auto-piloted mini-ships, they arriving at Mars in time, Hermes only getting slight speed, a nuclear reactor helping them get there, so they reach Mars after a little over four months, then taking a specialized vehicle to go to the surface, the crew’s belongings already waiting for them. Fourteen auto-piloted ships deliver all items required for their task, then sends the crew when it’s confirmed all had arrived safely, this taking nearly three years.

When the second crew had been on their way back, supplies for the third crew had already been sent out, he then going on about how awesome the MAV (Mars ascent vehicle) was, and how let down he was when it wasn’t there when he’d woken. Mark states how his almost being killed and his subsequent survival had occurred through absurd circumstances. The mission is made to withstand sandstorms up to a 150 kph degree, but they’d gotten hit with 175 wind speed. After they’d taken shelter for an hour with no decreased change, they receive word from NASA to pack it in, everyone having to leave for the MAV before the wind destroyed it, Mark getting stabbed in the side when an antenna array came loose and hit him, one of his crew-mates reaching for him helplessly (this part, sensibly was, of course in the film). He survives because he’d landed face down, and his blood had helped seal the hole in his suit, and then being awoken by the incessant beeping of the oxygen alarm in his suit being tripped. He explains how his suit had used the CO2 to equalize his breathable air, but when it ran out, the suit switched to using oxygen, he now risking death of breathing too much (having to love the unusual possibility due to being on an oxygen-less planet).

Fortunately, his copious amount of training left him with how to handle this, he needing to remove the antenna before sealing the tear, which pained him, but was able to slap the breach kit successfully, now having to return to shelter the Hab, since his suits oxygen level being at a hefty 85%, he glad to see the Hab was whole, but the MAV no longer on planet, quite a blow. Which was when he realizes his situation being hopeless, but soldiering on, getting to the Hab and removing his suit, and inspecting the damage he’d taken. It wasn’t pretty, but the Hab had exceptional medical supplies, so he applies anesthetic, cleans the puncture, sews 9 stitches, and voila! Healed-a-roony. He even had the antibiotics necessary for definite recovery. After this, he checks to make certain he didn’t have any means of contact, he relating how due to each suit showing the status of all crew members bio levels, he understood why they hadn’t recovered him. Considering all of this, the summation of Mark’s problems included: no communicado, no one knowing his status of life, the Hab being built to last about a month, and if the machine which made oxygen failed, or his water supplier malfunctioned, or if the Hab received a tear, Mark be daid; which he would be anyways when his food ran out.

Log Entry: Sol 7 – After Mark wakes, his mood has improved, he goes over his inventory, the food available reasonably lasting him almost a year, he still having plenty of EVA suits, and whilst the satellite had been wind-swept, the Hab had stood strong. The MDV had been knocked about, but had potential use for scrapping parts, he also still had two rovers, only needing to be unearthed, and the use of the solar power cells needing only minimal easy maintenance. He also had a temporary back up to the oxygenator, both working properly, as well as the water source, but no back up available, he also having plenty of vitamins (Yay!), morphine his back up plan if escaping becomes improbable. The next mission, if not postponed would happen in four years, he needing to discover a way to transmit a message, his main goal being to repair the radio.

Log Entry: Sol 10 – Mark has attempted to locate the satellite dish three times with no luck, and the dish was hopelessly messed up. Fortunately, he still had plenty of CO2 filters, but needed to use them wisely as he cleaned up the solar array. Besides this, he also began considering starting his attempt at growing plants, the seeds brought not edible, but the Earth soil possible to use with the dirt on Mars.

Log Entry: Sol 14 – Mark mentions where he’d acquired his botany degree, interested because of the science, as opposed to the “hippies” around him, he stating of now saving and recovering all bowel movements and leftover uneaten food for future use, already concocting his manure, he then planning how he’d make more usable soil, and dedicating all floor space to the garden.

Log Entry: Sol 15 – Mark is realizing what a task he’s set for himself, making small progress, but not bothered by the time involved. His next goal is to begin joining the bacteria to the dirt, treating himself to a full meal for his hard work.

Log Entry: Sol 16 – Mark has now remembered the need for water, and the amount necessary not quite equaling the amount he had available, but decides to relinquish with some to test. Upon mixing the manure was the difficult part, it massively stinky business. Changing the subject, he relates of this being Turkey day, and how his family had most likely gotten through his funeral recently and must not be having a great time, he realizing they were his reason to get through, to make up for the mourning they were dealing with.

Log Entry: Sol 22 – Mark has made ample progress with the soil, but his mood takes a dive after his meal and listening to his crew mate’s Beatles collection. He’d calculated his work not alleviating his starvation, figuring the potatoes would be his salvation, but the work not leaving him with too many days of healthy caloric intake. He’d make it to Sol 490, but had to reach 1,420 when the next crew would arrive. So, now he was without ideas for how to cover the food needed to survive throughout the time necessary.

Log Entry: Sol 25 – Mark relays how the old math word problems was exactly how he planned to survive. He states how he was attempting to discover enough ways to get calories for 1,425 days, a sol being 39 minutes longer, and he having to figure out how to make at least 1100 calories daily. He walks through how much all extra space could give him for planting purposes, besides all of the Hab, he calculating he’d nearly survive the time needed, but he still also requiring water he didn’t have.

Log Entry: Sol 26 – To keep from over thinking, Mark shovels more dirt inside, he then having to go back out to clean off the solar cells due to a sandstorm passing through, and then afterward bringing more dirt in rather than wait, deciding after, a portion of his real estate was ready for an attempt at planting, readying the potatoes for submersion, and comforted in knowing the project should have him working with more potatoes in 40 days, he then treating himself to a full meal and having exhausted the Beatles collection, moving on to another crew-mate’s entertainment, reluctantly choosing Three’s Company (not a terrible choice).

Log Entry: Sol 29 – A new problem came in the form of the pop tents airlocks being a different size from the ones for the Hab, and if he wanted the plants he planned on putting inside the tents to grow, he needed to uncover a way of getting to them which would save as much air as possible, but decides he had to risk it, setting up the dirt within them both. He shares of having used to be a Dungeons and Dragons player in high school, fessing up to his nerdy roots, and not having used a magic power involving water which would be perfect in his situation, now. Then he gives up the issue for the evening to finish an episode where the landlord misconstrues a situation (the formula).

Log Entry: Sol 30 – Mark considers a life-threatening plan to obtain water he required, but the time coming where he’d be applying new soil, and if he didn’t water his crop, the plant’s would die. What he debated to remedy the problem, was to make the water himself, first stating how using the O2 tanks wouldn’t be great if he required them later as a back up in some way, he then describing the MAV platform which was able to gather CO2 in the atmosphere, the real problem stemming from the hydrogen, which the fuel cells had a bit of, but they giving so much more as they were as opposed to how little water it would make, he then bringing up the MDV and how their pilot had left him with plenty of fuel to get the hydrogen for the water, the problem laying with how to get it out safely, and if he did, how he’d contain the hydrogen, he moving on to how Three’s Company would survive with the replacement of Chrissy.

Log Entry: Sol 32 – Mark has discovered many problems with how he was going to synthesize more water, he walking through what he’d have to do to make it happen. For instance, the process of acquiring O2 and waiting for it to be turned into H2O would take a little under a month, which is a bit of a wait. The space needed to keep the hydrogen was also an issue, so he decided to skip the little steps and go straight to discovering a way to store it as water (first editing issue “what’s what” should’ve been ‘that’s what’, tsk! Hopefully it was addressed in a newer edition I’m unaware of and don’t care to research), the way he had to proceed being delicate, the chances of explosive death, quite probable, but if successful, all he’d have to be aware of is making certain not to use up all the O2. So, to end his day of brainstorming, he sets up the MAV to have available CO2, prepared himself a half ration meal, and finished Three’s Company, he preferring Mr. Furley to the Ropers (which, if I remember correctly, I agree with).

Log Entry: Sol 33 – Mark is writing as if this could be his last time to journal, he starting the hydrazine releasing process, taking them all into the Hab, he ending the entry and then restarting another as Sol 33(2) to inform of still kicking, he explaining how he dressed and the steps he took to slowly extract the hydrazine, he then building a small, make-shift tent with NASA expensive bags and duct tape, to keep his science project safe, the bag see-through for more convenient looky-loo ability, then attaching a space-suit hose to it, which he rigged with string from some clothing to attach near the top of the Hab, so he’d have a flue for smoke. He then had to discover a way to ignite fire in his fire-retardant environment, he locating a wooden cross among one of his crew-mates possessions, he using oxygen to ignite it with an electrical spark, he then able to burn up the hydrazine which escaped, Mark now able to add fifty more liters of water to his reserve.

Log Entry: Sol 34 – Mark updates of the hydrazine process consuming his night, but the task now complete, he commenting on erring on the side of carefulness rather than speed. The humidity jumped up quite a bit, and the constant alarms for fire, oxygen level, and humidity were becoming a normal background noise for him, the fire alarm stopping first, and he expecting the humidity alarm to take the longest to cease its song. Mark also had the good news of his water tank being full, he depositing some in a space-suit, readying to pass out, and stating of this being the first time since Sol 6, of being in great spirits, his hope for survival being uplifted.

Log Entry: Sol 37 – …And then dropped as he states of how screwed he was, currently transcribing from Rover 2, he having escaped the Hab. He details of having gone through his conversion of hydrogen a few times, and then realizing he hadn’t been able to burn up the extra inside the Hab, and after analyzing how much was inside by containing some of the air in a plastic bag and going to a rover to list what was most prevalent in his air, hydrogen being way too high. So, he stays in the rover where he would remain for a couple of days and attempt to plan out how to de-bomb the Hab.

Log Entry: Sol 38 still has Mark within the rover, except he’s calmed enough to figure out how to dissipate the hydrogen. He explains his plan involving the atmospheric regulator upon messing with its ability to gauge when to stop accumulating oxygen, this way the hydrogen on its own was as dangerous as an eraser. Mark describes how he’d slowly burn the hydrogen until it was gone, the only problem being his dirt would be useless, he partially satisfied with his plan, and giving his brain a rest, discovering the commander’s USB and protein bar in the rover, Mark having made a second part to Sol 38 to complain of the music she’d brought, not saying what it was (most likely disco).

Log Entry: Sol 39 brings Mark’s eureka moment, he saving the bacteria through forced hibernation, which happens on Earth at winter, but this requiring he bag up the potato plants and settle them in a rover temporarily. Then, he runs through the order in which he’d go about his plan: plants moving first, the 1°C temperature in the Hab next, after which getting the O2 to 1%, then whipping up some fire for the hydrogen to die. Mark ends by not feeling quite satisfied with his plan, but off he would go to try it!

Log Entry: Sol 40 shows he wasn’t entirely able to pull it off, the first hiccup coming from the regulator’s programming withstanding Mark’s tinkering to unhinge its ability to replenish the O2, it only gong down to 15%, so he turns to some vents to tape all but one so he could finish tricking the regulator to pull out more O2, and then shuts down the regulator when it reached his goal. He even was able to begin forcing out the hydrogen, up until blowing himself across the room and knocking his oxygen mask off, fortunately a spacesuit was close by and he was able to put on the helmet before losing consciousness, he then determining he’d forgotten to release the air vents again upon burning the hydrogen. He then turns the regulator back on and notices he’d been smart to triple layer his clothes, the top layer gone, second layer holey, and bottom layer in fair quality, he not able to come up with the cause for the explosion, so spends the night in the rover again, eating well, and listening to music, the next day filled with equipment checks.

Log Entry: Sol 41 – Mark begrudgingly goes about testing all the systems to decipher how the explosion came about, and from where. The first handful he tested bolstered his hope, he then testing his dirt, which luckily survived, as well. As he tidied the place, he considered how the explosion occurred, his idea involving oxygen having somehow gotten in, believing it had been because of his decision not to wear a spacesuit, and the mask he’d been breathing through had been the culprit, since he was blowing out the oxygen. He gives himself a hard time for not realizing this sooner, but besides his nearly fatal breath taking, his water production was right on schedule. He rewarded his day of hard labor with a full meal and began the TV show, Dukes of Hazzard.

Log Entry: Sol 42 has Mark relating how he’d also decided to give himself some sleep-in time, what with almost a handful of crap nights in the rover. When he did get up, he finished more clean-up work and re-planted the potatoes. His days playing with hydrazine also being decided in not being quite over, since he still had a ways to go before reaching his required water goal, he having a safer idea so he wouldn’t have to relive, or possibly die in another explosion. Mark states of watching TV whilst he waited for the process to complete, he already believing General Lee can totally run faster than a cop car, and also wondered why Rosco didn’t arrest the guys when they were on their farm? (Fair idea.)

Venkat Kapoor is then followed to his office in the Johnson Space Center, seeing he had almost fifty emails to wade through, but wouldn’t deal with yet, for this day being Mark’s memorial service, the President making a speech, his crew-mates each saying a few words from the space ship, they still ten months from getting back, and Venkat, the director of Mars operations, having passed. He is then visited by Teddy Sanders, Venkat wanting approval for satellite images to estimate the damage from the storm, thinking a new mission could still be planned for what remained on Mars. Teddy understood his reasons, but didn’t want to give permission because the pictures would be viewable to the public, Mark’s body still possible to see, Teddy informing they would have to bide their time for twelve months, Venkat suggesting they put out a statement where the next mission sent out would also be to retrieve the body, this making the satellite images more palatable and possibly allowed sooner.

Mindy Park keeps tabs on satellite images and sends them off, this time she getting a request from Venkat, when she realized what the images would be for, she looks through them to satisfy her interest, she then seeing something which gave her pause, immediately calling security to send her the emergency number for Venkat. He arrives dressed casually, due to the early hour, Mindy stuttering and pointing out the image she was viewing, Venkat not understanding, she explaining how the pop-tents were up, how they were placed and the logs not mentioning them, she then becoming upset when she asks about the solar cells and how they weren’t covered in sand, she concluding by confiding not having noticed a body, fully breaking down, and Venkat shocked. He then shares the findings with Teddy and the director of media relations, Annie, she freaking out. Teddy goes through all the same motions of denial Venkat had, but the clincher being how the rover had been found along with the damage done to the MAV, Teddy then deciding they’d hold back the images for twenty-four hours so Annie could work on a statement to accompany the pictures, he then giving Venkat full reign of who he wanted to help get communication to Mark, this now his main duty, Teddy readying for a personal trip to Mark’s parents, needing to deliver the news in person, Annie being informed of the chat being a bittersweet one, since Mark had a good chance of dying on his wait for a rescue.

Venkat’s task wasn’t starting off well, the two workers he was speaking with unable to discover a way to talk with Mark, his only means of doing so having blown away, or was on the MAV. Annie was hyper-aware of how she’d from then on be perceived in the footage of this ground-breaking news speech, and believed her face betrayed nothing, the media dead silent and then fully cacophonous upon hearing the news. A week later still had NASA bombarded by media frenzy daily, Teddy speaking at the most recent one about how willing all who could, did offer to help, he assuring NASA would be focusing their energies on Mark until he was brought back, dead or alive, and no footage had been caught of him, yet. Venkat goes to Teddy’s office to give positive feedback on the speech and inform of the plan the Ares 4 crew truly wanted to implement, but would be risking six lives in the process, Teddy of course denying the go-ahead, Venkat also updating on not having any ideas to assist Mark’s survival as of yet, they discussing how someone got along all by themselves whilst believing no one was attempting rescue, Teddy wondering what Mark must be thinking of at this moment.

Log Entry: Sol 61 – Mark is pondering how Aquaman could command whales, since they were mammals, this being illogical!

Log Entry: Sol 63 – Everything is working out well for Mark now, he’s acquired enough water and ’70s shows are keeping him content. His concern now involved contacting NASA by getting to Ares 4 and in essence, the MAV. He isn’t in a hurry to think of a solid idea to get there though, due to how many years he had as it was. His preliminary list of what he’d need on the long trip kept him busy, but his main thinker was the power supply required. He planned on adding the power supply from the other rover, and to preserve the power, he’d need to dress in layers, then calculate how much distance and time it’d take to drive to Ares 4, as well as the amount of solar cells he’d have to acquire, he then considering how dull the wait would be for them to soak up the power necessary, he worrying about this when the resolution came to him, and was then able to focus on retrieving the battery for the rover he was taking.

Log Entry: Sol 64 – Mark learns the trouble from the battery didn’t stem from the detaching, but where he’d place it on the other rover. His idea to remedy this came by way of the resin he’d used to patch his suit, and making make-shift “saddlebags” for the rover, and after, testing the durability, which upon satisfaction with his handiwork, decides having both power cells plugged being unnecessary and would attach the fresh one as needed.

Log Entry: Sol 65 – After finishing placing the solar cells on the roof of the rover, he had lunch and readied to gather his potatoes and replant the next bunch, this being about forty Earth days since he’d planted them. The ones he’d grown were mini in comparison to the usual, but would do well as his new potato-plant-growers, he figuring if he could keep this up, he’d survive quite awhile. His next choice of pastime would be some Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot.

Log Entry: Sol 66 – Mark names his rover mission “Sirius” and will be gauging how far a single solar cell will get him, but only as a test, so would be driving a certain distance and then turning back, until the cell dies and would still be in reasonable distance to the Hab, he also preparing with triple layer of clothes.

Log Entry: Sol 67 – With the first mission done, Mark deems it a fail, he at first driving the same route until flattening his ‘road’, then feeling too chilled, the insulation not doing the job after awhile. Mark is bummed and has to consider a better save on cells, he hoping inspiration may come from Poirot, more thinking needing done.

Log Entry: Sol 68 – Mark isn’t proud of his new plan, since it would be putting him in more danger than he’d done so far. His idea involved the “RTG (radioisotope thermoelectric generator)”, which = plutonium – 238 (BttF ref, here), this junk more dangerous then the ‘normal’ kind, it radiating enough heat to cook off of all by its lonesome, so the heat isn’t rescuable, and is used for the MAV whilst there wasn’t a crew to keep it running. So, when the Commander drove off to bury it, Mark had seen the direction she’d taken, and would be able to detect it with the flag she’d planted to keep anyone from accidentally getting close. New task, now was to simultaneously test his hybrid rover and look for the flag, Sirius 2 mission to follow.

Log Entry: Sol 69 – A new realization hits Mark once out of sight of the Hab, his surroundings helping to sober his reality of total isolation, the fact the Hab was his only connection to society making him uneasy, but fortunately, locating the RTG was quite simple, the unnerving bit occurring when picking up the well-encased radiation-supplier. Mark learns with RTG riding shotgun, and without the heater on, kept the interior at 98.6 degrees, mission accomplished. He then tore out the insulation of the rover until the RTG was the main heating source, leaving himself a patch-up amount in case it got too cold, then declaring Sirius 3 would commence the next day.

Log Entry: Sol 70 – This entry is written during the mission and so far going fine, the end amount driven being a little over 50 miles in almost three and a half hours. The time was good, but obviously had much potential for change when he actually got out to the rocky bits, he then setting up the solar cells for recharge and was settling for some Poirot reading during his twelve hour wait, then considering how NASA would’ve reacted to his RTG usage, believing cowering for fear being on the docket.

Log Entry: Sol 71 – The time to recharge was estimated correctly, Mark returning to Hab when done, he then organizing his plan for Sirius 4, thinking it’d be definitely more than one day to accomplish. He goes about acquiring everything necessary for an almost three week outing, then figures the best way to keep his potatoes alive before readying to embark on his journey the next day.

Venkat takes an interview about how they took every opportunity to obtain pictures of Mark’s living area, they receiving help in Europe, as well, he sharing how often they were able to get pictures, and then details his movements so far, regarding his test drives and the possibility of his plan to get to Ares 4, which Venkat hoped Mark would put off what with JPL testing new additions to the MDV, so it could fly after its initial landing, the idea having developed enough to not put everyone at risk. The interviewer asks whether the tests would truly be useful with their current time-frame, Venkat basically alluding to how they’ve surprised themselves before, and whilst they couldn’t speculate on Mark’s likelihood of survival, they aimed to do all they could to get him back whilst breathing and consciousness were intact.

Mindy is then shown feeling quite overwhelmed with all the main leaders of the project in the room, Venkat, Bruce, from JPL, Mitch, flight director for Ares 3, and Annie then joining them, Mindy looking up to her. Venkat asks about how she thought he’d done on his interview as she sits, she informing how he could’ve left out the bit of getting Mark back whilst living, the other possibility occurring to people. She then essentially relays he could fuck off if he couldn’t take the truth when he gets defensive. Bruce then inquires if Teddy was joining them or not, Annie not answering, Mitch then asking whom Mindy was and couldn’t get over how she wasn’t a head of department, Venkat sticking up for her before Teddy walks in asking for updates on Mark, Venkat informing it was unchanged and Annie interjecting with the news of no one having caught on to the RTG when Teddy brings it up.

Venkat describes how Mark would be safe from death as long as it didn’t crack open, Bruce then supplying news on the MDV project, he noting how Teddy hadn’t signed off on their original plan, and Teddy saying his name warningly, Bruce continuing with details on how they planned on making the MDV lighter and were finalizing their data, Teddy then welcoming Mindy, she answering his question about the orbit gaps, and then is instructed to bring it down to under five minutes, she agreeing without knowing how she’d accomplish this. When Teddy brings up Mitch’s email, the man inquires of when they should share with Ares 4 crew of Mark’s survival, he pushing to let them know, but Teddy making final call and believing they should wait until they had a solid plan for his rescue, Mitch not liking the outcome.

Teddy then inquires of how Mark would survive until Ares 4 came, Venkat detailing the main problem being lack of food, and they usually requiring nine months, Mark needing it in three, Bruce then agreeing it would be handled and Teddy assuring they’d get the funding necessary, Venkat then mentioning how they’d have to borrow a booster from another mission in order to get the fuel required for the trip, since the planets weren’t aligned in such a way to make it easy, Teddy agreeing to it and Bruce reiterating they’d get on it, Teddy replying how Mark’s diet depended on it. Venkat absorbed his early evening caffeine high what with the crazy hours he was pulling, along with all the borrowing he was doing for this project, and was currently typing up a letter to a congressman in regards to his needing to get the votes so they could receive more cash.

Mindy interrupts with news of Mark having driven off with purpose, Venkat staying hopeful it was a test again, but Mindy clarifying how his movements told another story, Venkat becoming serious when thinking how Mark didn’t have a chance making it to Ares 4, Mindy then sharing he wasn’t going in the direction for it anyways and wanted to head home for some shut eye when stating how Mark was charging up the solar cells and how long it normally took, Venkat accepting this. Next, the same interviewer is speaking with a post office worker about the stamps made for Mark and how these would be the first made for someone still alive, the post office attempting to recall them and how due to the amount already sold, wouldn’t become very lucrative, the interviewer then speaking with a psychologist for the Ares missions, the woman describing Mark’s personality which would help his survival, but also how his humor helped his team, which led to discussions of how the crew still didn’t know about Mark, the interviewer then discussing Mark’s current movements suggesting he hadn’t given up, yet, the psychologist posing both possibilities if Mark did decide to give up, as well.

Venkat is then seen typing still, and Bruce on speakerphone, the two talking of how they planned on getting Mark’s attention if getting the food supply there, Bruce stating their idea to use the comm system sent with it to auto broadcast to the Hab and or rovers, as well as a way to get Mark to turn on his comm in the first place, Venkat liking the idea and not stressing at all of this possibly being unnecessary if Mark drives to Ares 4, the two getting off the line and Venkat reading an email from Mindy about Mark moving. When he goes to see her and how Mark was traveling, Venkat has an idea dawn on him, she relaying the latitude and longitude of where he was and of the Hab, he leading her to the map of Mars in their break room and drawing where the two points were and the two deducing he was aiming for Pathfinder, Venkat realizing what Mark had in mind for his attempt to communicate, immediately calling Bruce to update him on the new hope, he designating Bruce the task of rounding up all who worked on the 1997 mission, then giving Mark mad props.

Log Entry: Sol 79 – Mark is now a little over a week on his outing, his regiment for the day falling into a normal schedule, his waste is saved for when he returned, and after doing his ‘bidness’ he checks the solar cells, and then gathers them, continuing to drive almost two hours at 25 kph and switches out the first cell, driving a couple more hours and using the RTG until becoming too hot, switching between it and the duct-taped hole in the rover, so to keep from overheating and becoming too chilled. When he uses up the cells, he’d taken to dumping them closely around the rover instead of setting them up, since doing so became tedious work, but what truly sucked is his twelve hour wait, he now wishing he was back at the Hab looking after his taters, realizing how messed up it was to want to be ‘home’ in the Hab. During his long idle time, he’s plagued with the questions of how he’d get the required gear to make the long trip to Ares 4, the ’70s music and TV along with Poirot, helping and when sleepy, bunking down amongst his shit, literally and passing out.

Log Entry: Sol 80 – 100 km from Pathfinder or Carl Sagan Memorial Station, Mark notes how due to his status as “King of Mars”, he could refer to it however he so pleased, he was still in the thick of the trip, and his directions were a challenge, his idea to use the maps available to determine landmarks had failed, since not recognizing any marks, so he follows Phobos, which circles Mars twice daily, it being good enough as a guide. By Sol 75, his route had become more simple, he naming the valley after his commander, since she loved geology. After passing the valley though, he was back to following Phobos, reading into the god it was named after and considering it could be bad juju, but then he recognized a small depression in the land letting him know how close he was to his destination, stopping there, and knowing where he’d be hitting next and getting settled for his twelve hour break.

Log Entry: Sol 81 – Quite close to Pathfinder, but ran out of charge with 22 km left, his route easily recognizable now and once making it, due to clear weather, he believed he could follow his own tracks back, then lying out the cells, and deciding to take a stroll to stave off the crazies of cramped quarters, thinking about how many firsts he was accumulating by his actions, he going on to admit how much he wanted to talk to anyone about whatever, so he’d be acquiring another first the next day when reclaiming a “Mars probe”.

Log Entry: Sol 82 – And then, success, Pathfinder exactly in the spot it should’ve been, he then also locating Sojourner, which he put in the rover, then going to work to retrieve the probe, he making a rope so he could detach the central panel, and then getting it to the rover, but saving the hoisting until the next day, he already planning on cutting in half the amount of solar panels he would use on the return trip, and also considered if getting Sojourner up and running, how he’d speak to, and how NASA would talk back through Sojourner.

Log Entry: Sol 83 – Mark did some hard labor to get the panel on the roof, he making a ramp, but with a 20 kg suit to drag around, as well, he having quite a time hauling rocks necessary for the building of the ramp, but once securing the panel and solar cells, realizing he needed to collapse the ramp carefully before driving off so it didn’t damage the rover, but upon doing so, it only taking an hour, he could now safely return with his broken 200 kg radio.

Log Entry: Sol 90 – A week after going to Pathfinder, he’d been keeping to his own tracks, but it only getting him so far, so when there were no more tracks to follow, he started using Phobos again, only requiring to get 40 km in range of the Hab to pick up the signal, now optimistic of survival and upon each stop, collecting rock and soil samples, which he began to enjoy. (The story is picking up with interesting little plot points.)

Log Entry: Sol 92 – Mark receives a couple seconds from the Hab signal, weather being clear, since he knew he was at least 100 km away, he then beginning to watch The Six Million Dollar Man, relating to one of the episodes about a space probe from Venus accidentally landing on Earth and fighting humans, Mark wary of Pathfinder, in case it decided to turn on him.

Log Entry: Sol 93 – Mark was now in range of the Hab signal, 24,718 meters to go, he expecting to make it by the next day, but would be able to walk it if necessary, he thinking how his inactivity had messed up his back and missing Beck, the guy you go to for back cracking. Mark thought about how he wouldn’t even have cared if Beck gave him shit about the importance of stretching, he then recalling a sardine-like training session with all of them which he’d prefer about now, and crossed his fingers he could fix Pathfinder.

Log Entry: Sol 94 – Back at the Hab and ecstatic, taking advantage of its ginormous size and spazzing out expansively, turning on the required machines, and checking the plants, everything good, he then adds his waste to the designated areas, does a system check, and kicks back for a little bit, then reattaches the solar panels to the Hab, and has a much easier time getting Pathfinder down. Afterward, reluctantly driving the rover once more to bury the RTG, then off to beddy-bye in a proper camp bed, content to know he had a proper shitter to use in the morning.

Log Entry: Sol 95 – Mark was a repair fiend today, he first cleaning the solar panels of Sojourner, then having a looky loo at Pathfinder, setting up a work space outside the Hab for it, and detaches the seriously dead battery, hooking up Pathfinder to a power line. As for the heating implements, he guts more from the other rover, doing all he could, and now had to see if it would do the trick.

Log Entry: Sol 96 – Nothing’s changed with Pathfinder, Mark able to tell by lack of antenna movement, obviously JPL’s Pathfinder team wouldn’t be hanging around attempting to make contact (), but he knew if a signal was noticed by SETI and The Deep Space Network, they’d give word to the proper peeps, but Mark staying positive, since knowing it could only require more time to heat, Sojourner also still unmoving, he having to stop thinking about it for now. Then, Pathfinder does a system check after booting up, looks for a signal, and locks on. Venkat and all present freak out when Pathfinder comes online, Bruce also elated, a quickly put together team having been working to get the old system compatible with the new one, Venkat then getting more details on how long it’d take for the communication to hit Pathfinder and how many systems were running, they able to receive image in about twenty minutes.

Log Entry: Sol 97 – Mark has now noticed Pathfinder doing its thang, in shock, but happy to know Earth knew he’d survived, also aware his idea had been a long shot, but would soon be chatting with people again, regardless of whether he made it until rescue, and once returning to the Hab, has an emotional moment, thinking how he’d now have to figure out how to delete the more cringe-worthy entries he’d made, but first, to talk to peeps. Venkat is then in a press conference updating them on receiving transmission, how Sojourner couldn’t be contacted, yet and Mark would have to let them know how to communicate, another dead obvious question answered before Venkat returns for updates on the imagery, nothing so far, but soon they getting image slowly, as the view took in more, they getting two notes from Mark.

Log Entry: Sol 97 (2) – Mark excitedly relays how he’d gotten a yes, then coming up with a way for them to speak to him by using ASCII, he telling them about the state of the Hab, his crops, how he survived, then grabbing Sojourner, but the little bastard still not getting signal, and NASA would be working on a better way to communicate, Mark ending by leaving a message for his family and relaying to the commander, “disco sucks”. Meanwhile, Venkat is running out of steam and working in his ‘new’ break room office, an engineer coming in and sharing painfully slowly of how his team had come up with a way Mark could hack his rover so they could message chat, he then getting a call from Annie about the pressure she was getting from the press for still not having a photo of Mark after 24 hours of communication, Venkat irritated, but willing to attempt it the next time.

Log Entry: Sol 98 – Mark is giddy to start chatting again, he rising early and waiting, then getting the first message which warned of a longer message to come for the hack, he preparing appropriately and receiving his first instructions, as well as the need for a picture, so Mark writes a note, and poses ’70s style.
Annie is now annoyed with Mark’s note, but Venkat not caring and hanging up on her, then he speaks with the engineer about a quicker way of getting their directions across, but would involve Mark’s team, Venkat denying this, so onward with snail pace. Log Entry: Sol 98 (2) – So, attempting to get all the text down became tricky, Mark learning laptops no work in Mars atmosphere, he resorting to taking a picture of the messages as he wrote them, he then rewriting them inside, and planning on inputting them in the morning.

Venkat and crew awaited for the system update, Mark having already put the data in, and Tim, the smart-aleck computer guy, nonchalantly relaying it had come online as they’d been chatting, Venkat then begins his messages to Mark by introducing himself and letting him know how long they’d been tracking him, their plan to replenish his supplies and the rescue mission. Mark returns with the news making him happy, inquiring how the crew took his survival and a shout out to his mom. Venkat responds by asking about his crops, then informs him of the crew being in the dark for now. Mark replies about how he’d planted the crops and how long they’d last him, then berating in colorful phrasing for not informing the crew, yet. Venkat mentions of having botanists check his work, in case of error, and to refrain from cursing since they were live, Mark responding with text: (.Y.).

Teddy finishes speaking with the President, Mitch enters for a word, and the update being positive, finally. He then determining Teddy must know why he’d dropped in, and his guess being correct, Mitch sharing how he should’ve had the call to tell the crew from the start, but had allowed Venkat and he to take the shots, so Teddy share’s his agreement, and Mitch gratefully leaves to do so.

Mark had been working hard on Hab tasks, so he was now sleeping extra soundly, having sweet dreams. A memory of the commander getting everyone up when they’d first arrived, proceeding, Mark resisting, but giving in upon threat of being turned out of bed. He gets himself and some of the other crew breakfast packets, one of them only wanting coffee, the commander then relaying their assignments before a storm hit. Three of the crew view the storm’s progress being quicker than having sounded, but they getting as much samples as possible before hearing how much time they had before the storm hit them, heading back to the Hab. The crew are in the Hab again, feeling the speed of the wind outside as one of the crew members relays the messages from Houston, the commander then making the order to gear up and wait at the MAV. As Mark and crew walk, he gets hit by debris as he’s talking with one of his crewmates about how to keep the MAV steady, they then searching for him as the pilot turns on the MAV and relays they’d been called back, officially, the team searching a little longer, before the commander orders them to go to the MAV as she looks around a bit longer, she attempting anything which could locate Mark, the pilot then deals with the MAV being tipped and using fuel to return it back to place, the commander then agreeing reluctantly to return, she giving the order to launch and they making it to space.

Four months after this, Beck is noting plant growth and returning to the crew, now waiting for emails, and when they arrive, it was noticed there was a voicemail to them all, everyone shocked by the news of Mark and it coming directly from Mitch, everyone slowly having their spirits lifted until Commander Lewis speaks of how she’d left him. Meanwhile, the Ares 3 Hab was being made extra durable, and everyone okay working overtime for the pay being exceptionally noice.

Log Entry: Sol 114 – Mark has now had time to come down from his honeymoon phase with speaking to NASA, since they now were giving Mark advice on how to grow his crops. Fortunately, he can take it or leave it, the main upside being the emails, he also now knowing how he’d get picked up by Ares 4 and his duties afterward, also learning Morse code as backup to Pathfinder crapping out. Next, the Hab material goes through inspection after setting, then being approved for use.

Log Entry: Sol 115 – He receives word he’d correctly figured the amount of food would last him until Sol 900, he expecting to be replenished by Sol 856, also he’d finally received a message from Lewis, she detailing how she felt responsible and Mark’s reply supporting her decision, but accepting the beer offer. Then, details on the shipping of the Hab material, and when arriving at the destination, how they added the necessary items to go with it.

Log Entry: Sol 116 – Mark is now readying for his second harvest, giving him 400 taters and in a little under two weeks; they’d be ripe for the pickin’. His plan on storing them is to chuck them outside, he then sharing an email from Venkat regarding of not sharing his message with the Botany Team to essentially, fuck off, he believing Mark should consider their input, and he letting Mark know how the Cubbies did, and wouldn’t be getting new tunes. Venkat also states he should be aware of a meeting coming up to make sure he hadn’t made any foreseeable bad moves to get himself left behind. Mark’s reply was to inform the group they’d have to set up their “witch hunt” without him, and he’d deny any wrong doing they came up with in pointing the finger at Lewis, as well as ending with every one of this group’s female family members being hoes. “The presupply probes for Ares 3” were sent up and landed on Mars with no issue, it now sitting for its almost two year wait.

Log Entry: Sol 117 – Mark is having a hiccup with the water reclaimer not working properly, the amount of water being made lower than usual, so NASA is having a fit trying to get him to help them figure out what’s up. Then, the Hab is set up by Lewis and Beck, it holding the air they put into it.

Log Entry: Sol 118 – Mark short-hands the conversation between NASA and he about why the reclaimer won’t work and he suggests he check it out, NASA having an hours long meeting about it, and denying he allowed to touch it, so Mark touches it. He’d determined rightly what had happened having to do with a clogged tube from mineral build up, he then getting it working again, informing NASA, and they begrudgingly accepting this. Then, description of how the Hab survived the wind, but a weak area of the canvas having yet to be noticed.

Log Entry: Sol 119 – Mark is awoken by a fairly mini storm, he now deciding to check Pathfinder to make sure it was still working properly, then the cleaning of the solar cells (insert nth Martian joke here, all of which are entertaining), as well as requiring the building of a storage unit for chucked taters, so they didn’t migrate in high wind. Now Mark had all of the tasks which needed handling, he set about getting it done. As he depressurized the Hab, it had finally seen its last ability to stretch, it ripping all the way around and the airlock shooting off with Mark still in it, he barely conscious as he hits ground, and when he comes to enough to realize his face plate had cracked, as well as the airlock, then seeing the torn Hab, he responds with disbelief.

Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 – Mark has angrily given up, his air now close to gone, he readying for death, since having reached the point where solving issues was no longer desired.

Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (2) – He has calmed down and attempts to discover another way out of his predicament. The airlock not being a part of the Hab anymore one issue, it leaking, and his broken face plate also unhelpful, he deciding a good ponder was in order.

Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (3) – He discovers he’s in deep shit, but the shit ain’t as deep as it could be. Now, he was out of his suit, could hear the leak, but couldn’t see it, so good ole fire-making plan returns for a comeback show. He uses a bunch of shaved arm hair as his burning material, then tests out his idea.

Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (4) – It takes four tries, but he locates the crack, now though, he having to decide how to use his patch-up kit. So, first he uses the duct-tape on the airlock and it works.

Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (5) -It’s still stable, so now it’s the matter of fixing the EVA suit, he concluding he’d have to use some fabric from the suit to cover the crack and then press the leftover fabric against his body until he located a safe spot.

Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (6) – Mark’s idea works well, he sealing both openings, but also succeeding in getting his hand stuck to his helmet, fortunately he being able to get loose without losing a lot of skin, only problem was, after seeing if the air would hold, he’d wasted so much oxygen, he’d only left himself four minutes worth to work with.

Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (7) – So, Mark knows he had to repair the Hab and going to a rover still meant eventual death, he remembering placing the suit he’d taken with him back in the Hab, so now he had to decide out of the three suits, which would fit him, which to choose, and where would they be found after the blast. Another issue was how far he currently was from the Hab, the time he’d waste getting there being an issue which needed remedying.

Audio Log Transcript: Sol 119 (8) – Mark discovers he had to get the airlock to roll, the third time, the charm and he getting it to tip and slide, but he now having to do the same thing many times to make a difference.

Audio Log Transcript: Sol 120 – Mark was sore (achy, not mad, necessarily), but he got it done. The main issue stemmed from how each body slam didn’t guarantee a knock over, he continuing throughout the night and getting ten meters away, he now having been stuck in the airlock for 24 hours, so running though his plan and back up plan, and hoping for the best.

Log Entry: Sol 120 – Mark reaches the rover, plan not totally working out, being one-armed and all, so his search took more time, he locating one suit, but it being stuck under a table, and he couldn’t pull it free one-handed, but he was able to grab another patch kit and helmet, so high-tailed it to the rover in the nick. When he figures out Pathfinder wasn’t online what with it getting power from the Hab, he isn’t too worried, since it had been far enough from the blast radius to still work, so with fixing his suit a bit more and being out of immediate danger, it was time for some sleep.

Log Entry: Sol 121 – Mark fixes his leakage problem, he then able to get the EVA suit free, worrying about the Hab the next day.

Log Entry: Sol 122 – Mark writes a message to NASA with rocks, then gauged the damage to the Hab, support poles still usable, and the airlock hole, a big one, but manageable, the main issue his plants being unsalvageable, and the math giving the conclusion of if he had to wait until Sol 856, he wouldn’t need a rescue mission, it’d be about recovery.

Mark gets his test message to NASA, Venkat responding and getting the updates on damage and how much food Mark had, Venkat then giving the estimate of what had occurred and to vary his comings and goings between the two remaining airlocks, Mark requesting updates for solving his food problem. Bruce gives the low down to his team, since they didn’t have much time, they nixing the plan to send any other items and only focus on food, the landing also able to take some impact, as long as the distance to Mark was reasonable.

Next message from Venkat let Mark know they’d send the foodstuffs right before deadly starvation hit, Mark alright with not receiving back up oxygenator or reclaimer, he still having the ones there working properly, the amount of water he had still workable, Venkat then sharing the name of the probe: Iris and the goddess traveling quickly and responsible for rainbows, Mark open for smart-ass remark, and taking it.

An astrodynamicist has finished plotting the orbital path for the probe for 25 days, it taking almost until four a.m. to finish, he then emailing his manager about the details and slight differences between days, but began a sentence after which he didn’t dare finish and instead got some coffee. Teddy readies to make a speech to high-positioned people of NASA, he having Venkat begin with status updates, he sharing how Ares 3 and 4 fought for who would run the supplies, Venkat letting Ares 3 win, acknowledging Ares 4 was upset, but would have plenty coming up to keep them busy. Teddy moves to Mitch about launch updates, he stating the plan, and how Venkat would take over after initial launch. Annie’s up next with daily updates on Mark going strong to the press and a CNN show designated to him was most popular for a couple weeks running.

Teddy then introduces the man whom was responsible for helping launch, and giving information on the booster, it being a little needy, but testing continual every few days. Teddy then gets to Bruce, he updating about the probe, his team behind schedule by a couple weeks, and estimated requiring a little over a couple more to finish, so Teddy then brainstorming where the extra time could come from, they discussing if it could be squeezed from Mark’s food saving, the doctor claiming he was already going well below the amount needed. Teddy then turns to shortening inspection time, getting percents on how often it detected issues and whether those problems resulted in a failed mission, he then has the doctor have Mark ration for four extra days in case they needed it. Meanwhile, the astrodynamicist, Rich decides after speaking with his boss, Mike, he’d rather take a vacation for a personal project then finish the satellite adjustments he’d been asked to complete a couple weeks before, Mike having verbally signed off before having Rick get him his work.

Then, Mark is updated on the state of his care package, and they working on a busy work list, since Mark was essentially twiddling his thumbs, so a schedule soon to be forwarded. Iris was getting packed up for shipping after two solid months of work, everyone tired and happy. Annie is then shown giving information on launch date and how long it’d take to arrive being a little over half a year and what would be sent with the food including music and letters, Annie then having to remind them whilst money may be getting spent, they were also logging many experiment hours on Mars which wouldn’t have been obtained with only their assigned missions.

Mitch then makes certain Venkat is praying to all his gods everything goes accordingly as they ready the launch, Venkat doing his part and then trying to stay positive the launch would go smoothly, the checks continuing as Teddy watched from his private observation room, Annie walking back and forth in her office surrounded by TV screens, Bruce sitting among his colleagues in the cafeteria, all the engineers hopeful. Even Mark’s crew was listening in, then Mitch states Flight was go for launch and the countdown begins, Rich not noticing as he continued his project, Iris lifting off with only some slight shaking where it was kept on course. Then it’s learned what the shaking had caused to happen, Mark’s protein cubes having been shaken free, and they melting and moving to a spot within, to intensify the shakiness.

This is noted by the flight director, they keeping tabs on it, meanwhile, the protein liquid has a chance to solidify if given enough time, but it didn’t, the whole mess getting thrown against a bolted area which broke on impact, it quickly going to shit from there, the probe failing, and Teddy readying his second speech upon conference of the press. Venkat sat in his office, not answering calls, then getting a message from Mark inquiring about the launch.

Mark writes to Martinez because his doctor prescribed him to do so, he soberly asking for him to speak with his parents on the off-chance he croaks, but he wasn’t giving up, only planning ahead. Meanwhile, Guo Ming, a China National Space admin is chatting to his boss about Mark and the likelihood he would starve than be saved. He confesses they could intervene, the two discussing how to make it happen and deciding it’d have to be by communication through agency first, then share with their respective governments. Teddy’s reaction to what he’d heard suggested over the phone, only met with a short silence before agreement.

Mark spends most of his letter to Johanssen calling her a hot nerd, essentially. Bruce is explaining to the team of having 28 days til China’s gifted launch and how they needed a certain amount of the probe to be food and how much would be available as buffer for the high speed impact due to pairing down the build so as to make deadline. After, Venkat gets a visit from Rich at astrodynamics, whom wanted to share an idea, since he believed their current plan would fail, Venkat impressed after reading his work.

Mark’s letter to Vogel was partial blame for how he was now having to do boring experiments and he being a “super-villain”, since he’s German and had a base on Mars. Venkat is now sharing the news with a few associates at their Project Elrond meeting (LOTR), he revealing how Rich’s idea would have them helping Mark 39 sols earlier than their projected time. Bruce comes up with the issue of this plan being a flyby rather than a pick up. As the group continues to discuss, they are faced with 2 options to save Mark, and Venkat believed they should decide rather than go to Commander Lewis. As they talk, Venkat relates how if they decided to send Hermes instead, it had a better chance of success. So, they could go with the idea where there’d be a greater chance of killing a single person or an idea with a lower probability of killing 6 people and after they figured it out, let Teddy make the deciding vote, Mitch piping in about having Lewis decide, but Venkat dismissing this.

They end with allowing for 39 hours of research and not to speak or email anyone and only discuss with those present. Mark next writes to Beck, he advising he should confess how he feels to Johanssen, but wait until they finish the mission, plus Lewis killing them if she found out. When Venkat and team get together again, Teddy decides to go with the Rich Purnell Maneuver, which pisses Mitch off, since the best option seemed like the previously mentioned and Mitch berated Teddy for it. He continues to insult him until storming out, the one lady present interrupting Teddy’s apology on Mitch’s behavior to admit she’d been hoping he’d kick his ass for being a coward.

Mark’s letter to Lewis is formal, but forgiving her, since he suspected she’d still be blaming herself for his situation and then segues into her baffling love of disco. Next, Vogel is checking email when he gets a file in jpeg form and when it doesn’t open, takes a walk to see if Johanssen can assist, she figuring out it was a different format and was a math formulae, Vogel surprised by the ETA using the Rich Purnell Maneuver. Later, Vogel shares the gravity of what he’d been sent to the rest of the crew to decide whether they’d rather go rogue, everyone taking time to think it over than jumping in like Martinez. Lewis then inquires whether Johanssen would be able to get around the manual override, she considering it’d be fairly easy. Lewis ended the meeting with a 24 hour window where anyone could change their minds, but the smiles she saw on all their faces told her they would stick with their vote. Brendan, from Mission Control gets a headset communication from CAPCOM regarding an odd message about Hermes changing course and Rich Purnell’s name being mentioned, Brendan adamant to learn whom he was.

Meanwhile, Mitch has been called by Teddy to explain why he’d given the Rich Purnell Maneuver to the crew, admitting they hadn’t any proof, but it being obvious Mitch was the culprit. Mitch uses similarly said words from the meeting in response: How they should focus on the massive amount of work needing to be done. Teddy confirms Annie the media rep wouldn’t be including how the decision had been made. Teddy is continuing to stress how serious of a situation Mitch had put them in and himself if the crew died, Mitch noting how whomever had done it, hadn’t forced anyone’s hand and Lewis wasn’t a shit commander, so would’ve decided with sound mind and not emotionally. Teddy ends with stating how he’d let go of Mitch if he discovered proof he’d been responsible, Mitch saying he’d rather take a hail Mary to “save lives” otherwise, he’d be Teddy (ooOOOHH!!).

Log Entry: Sol 192 – Mark’s in shock to learn the crew was coming for him, he absorbing the load of work ahead for the process of travel and modifications estimated at 95 sols, proceeding to describe the few complicated steps he’d be dealing with at the start, leaving Venkat’s instructions to be listed in his hand when concerning how he would be able to cut a hole in one of the rovers. He’d have fun with extreme voltage power in the near future.

Log Entry: Sol 193 – The project ended up being fairly safe, since he’d be disconnecting power before working on it, but Venkat’s next instructions seemingly simple normally, being semi-tricky on Mars: to draw the outline before cutting. Mark gets clever again and uses duct tape. He was able to get 75 hole punches done and gave himself a full ration, since he’d have to be rescued after a certain amount of sols and he could spare some extra rations if death were coming anyways.

Log Entry: Sol 194 – It would take 4 more sols to complete the drilling, he also picking “Stayin’ Alive” by the Beegees as his theme tune.

Log Entry: Sol 195 – Mark gives an update on how many holes he’d drilled, Venkat’s response being one of an arrogant prat, they thinking he’d have more done by now. He’d also discovered the bacteria rich soil he’d left had survived the extreme cold temps.

Log Entry: Sol 196 – A big life-taking boo-boo has been made, he having started drilling for the day, the drill power malfunctioning and fixed, not making anything of it. He goes through a full day’s work and reports getting 131 more holes done, awaiting the usual half hour for a reply, he sending another message, then beginning to dread, he troubleshooting the problem. Eventually, he realizes a lead had become detached and a short may have occurred, noticing the massive poop: he’d fried Pathfinder’s “delicate electronics” and wouldn’t have contact with Earth.

Log Entry: Sol 197 – Mark takes a breath for some self-pity then moves on, since he was still going to receive a visit from Hermes and whilst difficulty had increased, he could still succeed. He leaves a Morse message about what happened and then sets to planning a way to get to Schiaparelli, making up a new scientific unit name: pirate-ninjas, he also coming up with a way of saving 3.6 pirate-ninjas (kilowatt – hours per sol) by dumping his wee-wee and poops on Mars’ surface, it a punishment for trying to kill him all those times.

Log Entry: Sol 198 – Mark does some more clever-making and calculates not actually requiring as much CO2 being used, having 44.1 pirate-ninjas and he using 7.35. He did have to continue researching how to power the regulator (1 of the Big Three).

Log Entry: Sol 199 – Mark discovers a new dangerous way to work things, he only using the oxygenator when actually using it and would reheat his return air with his trusty radioactive plutonium, saving him 21.5 pirate-ninjas. After double-checking his calculations, he warms to the idea of this working.

Log Entry: Sol 200 – Today was filled with rock redistribution into the rover to test the weight he’d be hauling. It didn’t amount to much, unfortunately. He’d probably take about 92 days with recharging stops (ick). Mark decides to break for the rest of the day, having ached his back from rock shifting.

Log Entry: Sol 201- Mark learns he actually had significantly ached out his back, so medication and radiation play-day! He sets up a rig to bathe in, since he hadn’t had one since Earth and back pain needed handling. It was mm-mm, necessary.

Log Entry: Sol 207 – He took a week off to recover from his back pain, spending his free time between hot bathing twice daily, 70s reruns, and planning how to get more solar panels atop the rovers to extend his drive time. Since he hadn’t attempted any Morse messages for 6 days, he updates NASA then takes a bath.

Log Entry: Sol 208 – Solar panels experimentation placement was today’s goal. The result looked similar to Beverly Hillbillies truck and wasn’t a success. He did come up with a shelving alternative though, which he’d implement the next day.

Log Entry: Sol 209 – Mark puts a fire under his booty to finish his plan, since he’d left the panels detached and woke up to a fairly chilly atmosphere, tolerable, but motivational. He got a strut off of the MAV to tinker with for his shelf. After working and installing, he’s pleased with the result and tests durability by chucking rocks at his handy work. The shelving was stable, he adding the solar panels and did a test drive, success abounding and fist pumps excessively exercised, he then reattaching cells for warm morning in the Hab.

Log Entry: Sol 211 – Happy clam-like mood what with not breaking his vehicle began his day, and so could focus on chucking all unnecessary items, so he could fit himself and more supplies, he even making room for 2 huge batteries from the Hab inside his gutted trailer-rover. With this done, he’ll now be able to travel 100 kilometers per day (4 out of 5 days, that is). Since he knew the China launch was happening in a couple days, he was feeling nervous for his crew-mates and everyone’s well-being again, he knowing in order to learn how it went, would happen upon his arrival at Schiaparelli.

Lewis is seen having a conversation with her hubby about their docking with the China probe in a few days and his acquire of an original print of Abba’s greatest hits album. Meanwhile, Venkat and Teddy have traveled to China and were still looking forward to Customs after their 14 hour flight. As they’re queuing, a man from the China Space admin locates and shares how they’d be able to get directly to their rooms due to having been given authorization to bypass Customs as guests of the country. Vogel also gets the chance to catch up with his wife, updates of their children and his mother, and how his wife had gotten a free trip to Houston to make their communication easier. Teddy has a moment to communicate to another Chinese Space admin official about Mitch’s job ethic, Teddy confessing how trying he could be, the official, Guo Ming noting the statement with a laugh. Beck is catching up with his sister about why he’d have to be the one to manually drive the Hermes in case anything went awry with the docking procedure and how each member of the crew had multiple duties. Venkat was working on spreadsheets when Mitch enters and gives updates about the probe attachment going perfectly, Mitch admits he was alright with being seen as a dick by everyone if the Hermes succeeded on its mission – this stemming from how he’d suspected his meal the night before contained an eyeball.

Martinez was speaking with his wife, whom was having their young son wave at the camera, he noting he could tell she was angered, due to the length of extended time he’d be away, but the two, of course being able to move forward. Venkat was interviewing an update to CNN from China regarding the process and why they were launching from China, as well as what would happen if the probe required being handled manually. Johanssen is having an unfortunate conversation with her father about the stress she’s putting on he and her mother. Johanssen then reveals, after much prodding why she was so certain she’d for sure survive the trip and what she’d be consuming on the latter half of her journey to do so, but to only reveal to her mother the food supply would last her. The launch goes perfectly and through a conversation Venkat has with Zhu Tao, whom had fought for their probe to launch with his government, it’d never be done. Venkat sensitively notes Mark would have a chance now, but Zhu Tao pointing out the Chinese were still coming out as a loss more than a gain for being a pioneer in one area of space travel. Meanwhile, the crew was now readying to dock and succeed with no complications. Lewis helps the 2 dock crew unsuit whilst Johanssen and Martinez start inventory of the supplies, he joking about whom Johanssen would’ve chosen to eat first, he cracking about how he was “corn-fed” and had prime muscles, she ignoring him.

Log Entry: Sol 376 – Mark completes rover mods and specifies life support staying constant being the difficult bit, everything else being only a ton of work, which he briefly goes over, since he’d been neglecting the log. He wasn’t quite ready to move, but since he knew rescue was coming, he’d take it easier what with not wanting to further injure himself, and also being more diligent with logs, since they may be read one day (…Hi).

Log Entry: Sol 381 – He takes a mo. to contemplate laws on Mars and figures out the law would fall under the category of “International waters”. He goes on to note how only whilst using and inhabiting NASA property does American laws apply, so when he reaches the new base and enters Ares 4, he’ll be a space pirate until receiving permission from NASA once contact is made.

Log Entry: Sol 383 – Free time usually contained TV watching, but also trip planning, it being an eclectic terrain, but hopefully still manageable, attempting to stay positive about the easier bits.

Log Entry: Sol 385 – Today included planning and making a tent so he didn’t cramp himself on the longer trip. He decides to use one of his pop-tents which had once been re-purposed for his potato farm and was a lifeboat for the rover originally. He planned for it to easily attach to the rover so he’d have access to the computer and then expand the space so he’d be able to move about with all the comfort of an upright walker. Glue will be its main adhesive necessity.

Log Entry: Sol 387 – Exact measurements of how much material being needed was a must, since he no longer had much spare fabric, deciding he’d have to cut the Hab and reattach it a little bit lopsided and smaller, but still usable for 62 sols. He triple checks his calculations and outline before dinner. He had saved the last few food packs for special occasions, naming them accordingly and considering changing the label of his final meal of his stay from “Last Meal”, for obvious connotations, he back to eating potatoes, which apparently was getting tired, but also gladly he being isolated what with what could be eking back out of him.

Log Entry: Sol 388 – Breakies was a tater with hot water and a caffeine pill, since real coffee had been consumed long ago. Inventory of Hab and moving anything which wouldn’t depressurize well was next on the docket, and upon completion, would be ready to art-project the Hab canvas. Upon getting the pieces he required, he then went about resealing and finding all the leaks. When done, he wanted to sleep, but was paranoid with any noise he heard being one of a leak, so sleeping pill city, tonight!

Log Entry: Sol 389 – Survival occurred and had helped the decision of no more sleepy pill consumption in his future, since he’d woken at mid-day, his project being to set up his bedroom. 1st test succeeds, but only an hour, the first overnight use being when he’d actually need it, since he had no way of exiting through the bedroom.

Log Entry: Sol 390 – Mark finishes preparing, but still feels like more needed doing. He’d be driving off on Sol 449, which gave him 59 sols to fix any issues and test everything, after which deciding what would remain behind. Then, he’d be mapping his route with a not-so-clear satellite map, and continued to make certain nothing was forgotten. He’d been dreaming of getting off Mars since Sol 6, but ditching the Hab terrified him so, WWaAAD? = What Would an Apollo Astronaut Do? Fool would drink 3 whiskey sours, drive his Corvette to the launchpad, and fly to the moon in a smaller space than Mark’s rover. H’what bad-asses.

Log Entry: Sol 431 – Mark is game-planning the best way to pack, making sure anything which is freeze-safe would be stored in the trailer. Most of his taters would be stored outside the rover, and the rest inside for convenient consumption. The rest of the items he’d leave in the rover would be reserved for emergency materials and tools, as well as a box and lid for toilet accessories. Meanwhile, Venkat has visited Mindy and asks for updates regarding Mark’s movements being caught. He also reveals she’d be solely tracking Mark for the time being, since she was most familiar on what to look for in doing so. She remarks how this project was a useless one, since they’d not be able to interfere even if Mark required it, Venkat responding by inquiring how long she’d been working for the government. (Yeah…)

Log Entry: Sol 434 – The dry run would be occurring, the tricky bit being to keep carbon dioxide low during the detachment from the Hab. After, he tests it to make sure it was working, which it was, so he returns to the Hab for it to have an overnight test.

Log Entry: Sol 435 – Mark awakes to good read outs, he then checking his bedroom, but this time, upon opening, it pops like a pimple. He reinforces the weak seam and saves another test for the following day.

Log Entry: Sol 436 – Caffeine is gone, headache took over after slow upsy daisy, O2 helping disappear the symptom. Then, 2nd bedroom test, which he decides to allow an 8 hour period for the bedroom to stay inflated, he plans his trip more fully and his route, which he knows could change what with he not having all mapping specifics. Venkat and group have joined a meeting with Mindy and another fella, Mindy updating all about Mark’s mysterious room and the work he’d been doing with the Hab and AREC. The mystery man, Randall then shares how low grade dust storms were approaching Mark’s route area which lasts for months at a time. The issue being, sunlight would be limited, making Mark’s solar panels less effective and NASA not being able to monitor him until he exits the dust storm.

Log Entry: Sol 439 – Today would be full test day, to make certain everything worked in tandem. He’d also be leaving life support in the rover on overnight to determine how much power was used. The Hermes crew have a meeting regarding status of degradation of the craft, everyone keeping on top of the so far, minor repairs, except for Martinez’s room baking him and he not able to move into Mark’s room since it had the same issue, due to being next door, so Lewis moves Beck in with Johanssen, and didn’t care they’d started “a thing”, due to this being an out of the ordinary mission, as long as duties were kept up, Martinez cracking a “Million-mile-high club” line.

Log Entry: Sol 444 – So, Mark tests the driving for 5 sols and he loves his bedroom. He fixes it to receive proper heat and even rigged a mini microwave to heat taters, the room making his cramped quarters much more agreeable. After completing his other dry run tests and nothing going wrong, he’s on schedule for departure date.

Log Entry: Sol 449 – Mark’s day has come, the taters all cooked now and ready for meal times. He checks everything including motors, also having gutted the Hab, likening it to the Giving Tree. He then shuts it all down for the last time, even though he knew the shut down didn’t matter much, but felt since it was a part of the original mission procedure, he may as well in tribute. Mark then has a mo. to listen to how silent it was in the Hab without all the attachments on. After, he is ready as he can be for the 45 sols of driving ahead.

Log Entry: Sol 458 – He reaches Mawrth Vallis after 10 sols and his driving and living space are working well enough. He hadn’t actually noticed his reaching Mawrth Vallis until a day after, since the valley was too wide to see the walls. Meanwhile, Venkat is again speaking with CNN about Mark’s approach in 12 days  to the dust storm and he won’t notice he’s entered it until he slowly makes progress through it, only dimly realizing visibility will change daily along with lower solar panel charging. Venkat does allow Mark may sense an issue sooner than they calculate, he being best to work through it due to his having lived there for so long.

Log Entry: Sol 462 – Nothing interesting happened today, and tomorrow would be chill recharge day. This trip, Mark was using latitude and longitude to plot his course, he fashioning his from a tube, string, weight, and some object with degree marks, then checking the sky for Deneb. He then mentions how in the process of possibly calculating incorrectly, he’d be lost on Venus because of his mistake (Roronoa Zoro-style). Mindy, tracking Mark’s trail and cc-ing everyone who wanted his Morse messages sent, also adds 5 sols until he entered the dust storm. Mark’s message stated he was calculating arrival at Sol 494.

Log Entry: Sol 466 – Mark states his arrival in Arabia Terra, if he’s done his math proper, going into detail about how he figured it out without a sea level to go by. He goes on to include how he’d need to keep his peepers wary of going up a crater in this area.

Log Entry: Sol 468 – He got between two craters safely and deciphered how far he’d gone, as well as being almost halfway through his journey, this being 20 sols in. As he moves along he also collects rock samples on the possibility he’d have weight clearance to bring them. For the next few days he’d have to negotiate around Marth Crater. Lewis chats with Martinez about Mark having entered the dust storm the previous day and how they must consider he may not be able to meet them, Martinez being fairly positive, Mark would find a way, he being a crafty boy, Lewis playing devil’s advocate and Martinez being a smarty, offering to bet a bill, she declining because it was life and death, but he knowing it was due to she knowing Mark’s chances were still positive.

Log Entry: Sol 473 – Mark’s on his 5th “Air Day”, everything going accordingly, and would soon get better once he was parallel to Marth Crater. He was currently in Crater Cuntry forming a triangle around him, he declaring it shall thenceforth be titled the Watney Triangle. He’s got 1,435 kilometers before Schiaparelli and he already knew what landmark to look for upon passing the remainder of craters. Mark had also begun noticing the recharge had been taking more time, believing it to be an age issue for the batteries.

Log Entry: Sol 474 – Mark boo-booed and came to the edge of Marth Crater, so would wait until nightfall to calculate his posish, he also allowing this early stop to aid the solar cells in charging longer.

Log Entry: Sol 475 – He saw poops, Marth Crater being directly ahead of him. So, in order to make a more educated decision on whether to go north or south, he walked to the peak, which was a bitch in the EVA suit, he fantasizing the a-typical mo. with grand-kids about how HE had it more difficult in his younger days, on Mars. He reaches the rim of Marth and noticed the extra amount of dust, he comparing each direction, behind him still clear. As he continues to suspect, he realizes the shit be deep. He quickly concludes he’d need to decide a direction to flee. He also realized NASA must be pulling their hair out, and he had no plan coming to mind, yet. Mindy begins her shift, she mirroring Mark’s sleep patterns for convenience. She immediately notices Mark wasn’t doing his normal driving, and reading his message, calls Venkat’s personal line.

Log Entry: Sol 476 – Mark is confident he can figure a plan, so far gauging the severity of the storm by how much charge had been lost, it being 3%. So, he knew as long as the percentage stayed small, he’d have a decent chance of not getting deathly stuck. He had to discover how quickly the storm was progressing, so he’d sit for a day and compare the wattage charge. The plan was to set power cells 40 kilometers apart and compare each wattage to decide which best way to move. Hopefully south would be clearer, since it’d be quickest to reach base, and in the meantime he’d allow the cells to charge, what with the impromptu free day.

Log Entry: Sol 477 – Mark decides his 2nd EVA suit would be the timestamp he’d track the solar cells with. After testing, he notes which direction the storm was going, seeming to be east to west.

Log Entry: Sol 478 – He can’t determine whether it looked dustier, but the risk of testing the power cells was worth it in the grand scheme. He also reiterates his being done with potatoes, deciding Western Australia would be the spot for him, due to it’s extreme farthest position from Idaho.

Log Entry: Sol 479 – Mark feels time being wasted, since he’d be backtracking where he’d been yesterday to collect the power cells. Fortunately, the readings made it clear he’d need to travel the better way, so as to be wasting less time as the storm drifted away. Only downside was having to follow his same path tomorrow.

Log Entry: Sol 480 – He sensed he was getting past the storm and hoped the shape of it was a circle, which means he’d soon notice his percentage returning to normal, otherwise, he fucked. He also knew the ETA for Sol 494 was not applicable and the crew would be there by Sol 549, plus he had the MAV mods to complete.

Log Entry: Sol 482 – Today was an Air Day and relaxation was Agatha Christie’s: Evil Under the Sun, with speculation of Linda Marshall being whodunit. The annoyance of not knowing how quickly he could get through this was occupying his mind, as well, but at least he was still in the lead to the storm, only managing 37 kilometers the the full 90. He still would take the Air Day, due to being so far ahead and since he couldn’t tell how much difference it’d make what with the possible storm size. He then also considers how many Earthlings must know all these facts except him.

Log Entry: Sol 484 – The storm was past now, he still hoping it was round, otherwise, buh-bye. Only bitch is he’s majorly in the wrong area, Terra Meridiani, and had to travel 1,030 kilometers projected sol being 498 to arrival, which would make a 4 sol waste due to “The Nearly-Mark-Killin’ storm” and left him 44 sols for mods.

Log Entry: Sol 487 – Mark discovers if he wants to waste 4 sols, he could get to the rover, Opportunity. There was a radio, which he wanted to use because he’d become fond of speaking to Earth. He knew it was dumb though, he only 11 sols away from the MAV.

Log Entry: Sol 492 – The bedroom would need to be modified upon getting to the MAV, he recognizing he now believed he could actually make it. He also decides he’d make the trailer his bedroom and the tent would be used for The Big Three (Two of the three, anyways).

Log Entry: Sol 497 – Tomorrow Mark will be at the entrance to Schiaparelli, today being an Air Day, he well ready to be there, it going to take 3 more sols to reach the MAV and Mark couldn’t wait to “be in Giovanni Schiaparelli’s favorite hole!”. The crater had been under a barrage of wind 4 million years, dust and sand particles collecting at the bottom of the basin, the sand spilling outward, making the Entrance Ramp. Due to weather, gravity made the ramp become pressed in varying degrees, some spots hard and others the opposite, leaving the basin savagely unsmooth. So, as Mark approaches carefully, it’s all for naught, since he drove into a soft area, which rolled his rover, scattered the solar cells, the trailer breaking free and toppling, as well. Meanwhile, Mark’s rover slides bumpingly 20 meters before hitting more rough sand, stopping him. The pressure seal saves him for the time being. All the Department leads are being informed by Mindy what she thought happened at Mark’s crash area. In 9 minutes they’d receive another shot of the site, Venkat requesting she keep him updated.

Log Entry: Sol 498 – Mark relates how he was currently typing this entry whilst the rover was turned on its side. Fortunately Mark had emergency-balled himself and wasn’t injured, everything seeming functional with only the bedroom coming loose. Mark’s concern was the state of the solar cells, he also considering the damage to the trailer what with his vital life support was housed there, hopefully still within it. He then calculates having enough time to get everything up and going at some point. He figured he had 220 kilometers left to the MAV, so he only had to get the life support to remain functional for 51 more sols. So, he EVAs and things weren’t stellar, but not bad either. Three solar cells were kaput, maybe being able to get a few watts out with luck. The trailer seemed fine other than being turned over and the time constraint of flipping it right, before the balloon on the roof popped. So, he had his tasks ahead of him and remembered to write to NASA. Mindy reports the short message to Venkat, whom asks rhetorical questions he expected to be answered, so Mindy replies with sarcasm, Venkat attempting to throw his position power at her and she not giving a shit due to her now “paparazzi” status and it going hand-in-hand with smart-assery.

Log Entry: Sol 499 – Sleeping on the toppled rover wasn’t a blast, but the Vicodin helped, he then dedicates his time to turning the rover over, since he’d be able to use it as lever for the trailer after. He had cabling he could use as rope, which he would then tie to a drilled bit in the harder ground. This rights the rover and he performs a system check. It works, and had been ready to fix the trailer next, but daylight was lost due to his position in the crater. So, he’d have to hope the balloon would last another night, he at least having his bedroom.

Log Entry: Sol 500 – Unpopped trailer still and a larger task of righting it, since digging was involved. He’d be attaching the rover and have the trailer tip and right itself, which works. He did have to spend another night waiting to check if the equipment inside still worked, though. His meal of a tater being loathed with the venom of people-murdering level.

Log Entry: Sol 501 – Entrance into the trailer was quite heated, but both oxygenator and regulator were in proper condition. Fixing and reconnecting was simpler after this, so now he only had to figure a way to warn himself of powdery drops until reaching Schiaparelli Basin proper. He decides, with a short segue into a fantasy about a Mars lady romance, he’ll drive slow enough to prepare for a tire going into one and would also maintain more traction. He’d be able to begin the next day, hoping to finish the process in 8 hours. He concludes how being a heroic astronaut could make him popular with the ladies, which in turn was quite a good motivator to survive. Mindy relates Mark’s most recent positive message of fixes being done, Bruce relating there were a few issues on their mod procedures, but would share in a couple days when he returned. Venkat okays Annie to share with the media Mark’s good news.

Log Entry: Sol 502 – Today, Mark drove at a snail’s crawl, like his pappy did when he’d drive the family 8 hours to his aunt’s house. His slow progress didn’t turn up any pitfalls, though and he was able to eat another food packet.

Log Entry: Sol 503 – He hadn’t been able to get full recharge, but he was 148 kilometers away from the MAV, so he wasn’t too worried.

Log Entry: Sol 504 – Mark is about 50 kilometers away now, tomorrow he could finally get there. He also discovers NASA had turned on the MAV’s homing signal, so his rover could be directed right to it. He reports receiving signal to NASA. Mark reaches the MAV next day as expected, the celebratory fist-pumping and ramp hugging preceding his entrance into the airlock.

Log Entry: Sol 505 – Currently Mark awaited inside the rover until the MAV finished its system check and was pumped with air. The only mind-numbing bit being the wait time between communication with NASA. Houston congratulates Mark and he updates them more, they requesting he store his urine from here on. Bruce returns sleeplessly to Venkat’s office stating procedures were complete, but Venkat wouldn’t be pleased. It takes a bit of time before Venkat becomes more surprised and worried by what Bruce was suggesting would be removed, he not having gotten to the worst of it. Everything included, they also would be removing the front of the MAV and it would be covered by Hab tarp and an engine would be removed, on top of it. After all the sims and testing it was thought to be able to work, Venkat absorbing this. Mark’s reaction to receiving the same news, conveyed much more incredulity.

Log Entry: Sol 506 – So, Mark decides to use the MAV as his work space, his previous plan not serving him as well. Meanwhile, Lewis states Martinez had killed Mark, Johanssen having set a sim with near impossible success rate. Lewis gives him encouragement and they reset to a new scenario, he having 3 weeks to practice. She checks with Vogel on their course being on track and Beck on his connecting with Mark when the time came, everything in order.

Log Entry: Sol 526 – Mark starts disabling everything, only semi-nostalgic for his pirating days of doing as he pleased. He was currently littering the remains outside the MAV, turning it into a Sanford & Son dump, noting Lewis truly needed help with her 70s issue.

Log Entry: Sol 529 – He was converting water into fuel for his rocket, he soon having opportunity to admit he’d pissed “rocket fuel”. Johanssen gets the chance to contact Mark, to his surprise. The two joke and Mark thanks them for returning for him. At one point, Martinez gets a hold of the keyboard to message Mark to prepare for crazy lovemaking, Mark stating how much he’d missed them all.

Log Entry: Sol 543 – Mark believes he’s completed all the mods properly and won’t know if it’ll launch until he actually does. He notes how the Ruskies had safer craft and they “were death traps”. Lewis goes over their plan since the next day would be Thundercats, go. She gets updates on everyone’s tasks being done and ready for use. After, she goes over what everyone would do upon Mark’s progress upward. Everyone had the night off to rest up. Mitch gets the count to when MAV will launch being in 16 hours and some odd minutes and seconds, he preparing for change of shift. Venkat and Annie watch, she revealing the camp out of reporters outside from around the world. Venkat reveals Mission Control would lack control if anything went wrong.

Log Entry: Sol 549 – Mark was feeling righteous fear about his ass soon to be projectiled in four hours into space. He was currently suited inside the MAV, he also having eaten the last meal pack and leaving 41 potatoes. He leaves his rock samples in an easy to recover area in case NASA one day found the notion. Mark’s plan on killing himself in case he didn’t go quick, involved breathing nitrogen. He was still not connecting to the fact he was truly leaving, what with his simple routine over this one and a half years. He was ready to fuck off, already.

Everyone on Earth was watching. Mark’s parents were on the edge of their seats, a NASA rep ready to answer their questions. Johanssen’s voice is heard through the TV as she confirms preflight checklist was ready to be gone through. Mitch was watching in Mission Control and was confirmed their clocks were synced with Hermes. Mark requests Martinez to refrain from rolling the rocket, Johanssen reminding Martinez how odd it’d be handling the ship without being smushed against her seat. Beck, meanwhile is giving Vogel permission to release his tether if need be, Vogel not confirming he would, since Lewis hadn’t okayed it. When Mark feels the lift off, it’s so abrasive he can’t breathe. He also notices the Hab canvas whipping back and forth, probably not good. Martinez is noticing the rocket is flying drunkenly for some reason, Lewis attempting to contact Mark. He heard her, but couldn’t decipher her words, he seeing the rip in the canvas get bigger quickly. He then sees how beautiful the red sky is before turning black, which was also cool.

Once Mark hits space, Martinez gets more control, Lewis still not able to reach Mark, so asks Johanssen if she’s figured his orbit, they soon realizing he’d be short 68 kilometers. They adjust fuel accordingly. Annie is now asking Venkat to tell her what had occurred due to how quickly it had gone down. Venkat details how the team had used the fuel to meet Mark, but wouldn’t be able to slow down to catch him. Meanwhile, Lewis and team learn Mark’s vitals were steady. Mark regains consciousness and updates Lewis on his possible broken rib, she telling him the shit they were up and he seeing the shite, indeed. Mark comes up with an idea to use a cut in the arm of his suit like Iron Man, but they continue thinking. Lewis jumps on Mark’s idea and instead applies it to Hermes, they having a better chance of catching Mark. As Mitch and Venkat hear what’s happening Venkat states numbly how the team was planning to rupture the craft on purpose, Annie quickly leaving to report this to the press. Lewis requests Vogel cook up a little bomb to open an airlock.

After Lewis conveys this to Mark, Vogel quickly makes a pipe bomb with a beaker and sugar. Johanssen is setting up the airlock and has a sweet moment with Beck before he goes through, Vogel turning up with the bomb a minute later. Everyone is ready and in position with 28 seconds left, Lewis, Martinez, and Johanssen strapping themselves in. Venkat, Mitch, and Teddy are all feeling the pressure as they wait. When Johanssen flips the switch, the quick bomb tears the inner airlock door open. After, everything is still working and they receive better propelling than projected, Beck readies to collect the Asset. He jumps out, Vogel spotting him with the tether in hand and secured to the wall. Beck makes it to MAV, connects tethers to Mark and they fly through space together like butterflies making sweet, sweet love, Vogel keeping the tether taut. They make it inside without issue and Lewis relays everyone is back on Hermes to Houston and the rest of the world. Whilst everyone exalted at the news, Teddy takes his speech from the blue folder to join Annie to address the press, he stating to Venkat he hadn’t prepared a red folder speech, and ordering him to get the crew home.

Log Entry: Mission Day 687 – Mark is still coming to terms with not being on Mars anymore. He’d broken a couple ribs on his ride, being pulled into the Hermes being quite painful, but he screaming like a shrilly baby off mic. After, Beck gets him to the makeshift sick bay and the 2 wait for decompression. When Beck first removes Mark’s helmet, he’s hit with his gnarly stank, everyone high-fiving, for other reasons, as well most like. As he waited for his painkillers to hit, so he could shower, he continues to process how many organizations and people helped to save his ass, giving humanity the benefit of when a fellow was in danger, instinct would make us come to aid, regardless of how humanity seems like 99% of the time… (raised eyebrow). He ends with the list of ways this supports his previous statement and whilst he was recovering and smelled “like a skunk took a shit on some sweat socks”, he was hella happy, even with 211 days left til Erf.

Worth it, ended abruptly since my last comment upon finish was, “That’s it?!”, but there were some funny lines which should’ve been used more in the film. This book definitely gets exciting throughout and filled me with adrenaline because of how well it’s written. I will read more by Weir.

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower 1)

Image result for gunslinger book cover

 

King’s introduction tells of how prevalent hobbits were when he was nineteen, hippies galore dressed like Lord of the Rings characters at Woodstock and whatnot. He was fond of the novels to the point of certainty he’d be writing his own version when it came to him and then shares how the age of nineteen brought with it a prideful manner of seeing life bending to one’s will, and how one is supposed to think big, so later in life it can be made true. He describes the two types of novelist after this, the “serious” and “popular”, both of which being selfish in nature. He relates of his realization after watching The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, he wanted to marry Tolkien’s quest and magic with this Western sensibility. He couldn’t answer why he wanted to write an epic tome, but believed he mostly succeeded in doing so. Then he alludes to his car accident and how after a fan spoke of if he hadn’t survived, the Tower would forever have remained a mystery, he knowing he had to complete it, and glad he now has.

The Foreword explains why he’d changed The Gunslinger and what he’d added, he comparing this to when he’d expanded The Stand, he then going back to sharing how his accident had spurred him to finish the Tower series, regardless of how many readers had been interested in it (around the halfway mark when it came to those who attended readings). He describes how the start of the series hadn’t matched up with the end, he then sharing his writing process being to get it all out and let it simmer for six months or longer before the first revision, he stating how he’d cleaned up some unnecessary verbosity and attempted to have the story more clearly understood to first time readers.

19, Resumption (which is explained later, I suppose) titles the first two pages before chapter one. The gunslinger is following the running man in black, Walter o’Dim and was currently gauging his fairly full water bag which if he’d been a holy man, may have been able to more closely estimate when drinking was necessary, but didn’t follow Jesus or was a Manni, after which his guns are depicted, and where he’d gotten them. He no longer had his horn or hat, but wished he did, he then noticing a burnt out campfire, which he salvaged the leftover bacon and shared how he had so far only been discovering Walter’s campsites, knowing he’d track the man as long as it took to finally catch up to him, but also sensing he’d gotten a bit closer, regardless of only ever detecting dead camps with no signs of waste. He watches the slowly dimming horizon for a sign of a camp, none being viewed, so sets his own fire atop the old camp and rests for the night.

The gunslinger now had a mule after having passed through a town a few weeks previously, he seeing crazy men and lepers, and acquiring a compass he could make use of until Jesus showed himself; a crazy man’s terms of agreement. The gunslinger is surprised when coming across another hut with a young man attending his corn, the two greeting each other formally, and the young man offering corn to eat, the gunslinger noting the young man sounded like Manni, which he agreed he’d been with, but left, the young man introducing himself as Brown, the gunslinger sharing his own (we not privy, but I’ll be using from here on out).

Brown then shares his raven’s name as Zoltan, noticing Roland as a gunslinger, believing his type were no more, Roland confirming he’d come from In-World some time ago, and then vaguely asking of Walter’s passing by, Brown unable to determine with certainty how long ago it’d been, time being wonky out there. Brown then offers what Walter had spoken of, he having inquired after the weather, his wife, and her origins. Brown asks if he was a wizard, which Roland confirms of and he being more, as well. Brown declares Roland wouldn’t overtake him, but he states otherwise, Brown then going inside to prepare their meal whilst Roland filled his water-skins in the well at the back. When he joins Brown inside and rests whilst the man boils the beans, he thinks of how many hours he’d been traveling without rest, also thinking of how impossible Mid-World’s greenery seemed, Roland not bothered by Walter’s distance since he’d gotten an estimate in the most recent town he’d gone, though he not looking forward to the forthcoming desert.

When Brown wakes him, an hour’s gone by and his mule has died, upside being the food was done. Upon inquiry, Brown estimates the mule had perished due to age, and after setting out the food, prays, Roland learning Brown thought they were already in the hereafter. As the weather became rougher with the dark, Roland hungrily ate the tough corn and beans, he wondering why Brown didn’t eat Zoltan, talking animals being more difficult to decide to consume, apparently. When they’d finished their meal, Roland offers a smoke, he having a moment of paranoia when thinking of Walter having conjured these moments, Roland asking if Brown had been to Tull, he stating the last time he’d been to the town was to sell corn, Roland sharing how Walter had set up a trap for him when he’d passed through, the town now killed by Roland, in his own words. Roland then takes a moment to piss on Brown’s corn, as requested, he deciding whether Brown was Walter, and when he returns back inside, is called out by these thoughts from Brown, Roland debating if he needed to take him out, his morals holding his hand, Brown then offering to listen, if Roland still needed to unload his troubles. Brown makes it easier by plainly asking about Tull, and Roland lets it out.

Roland’s description of where he’d purchased the now dead mule, as well as his cross-country trudge follows, until getting to Tull. As he drew closer, hearing “Hey, Jude” being played, the inhabitants the usual slightly off country-folk, Roland approaches an old man pitching some hay in a barn, getting him to agree to look after his mule once tossing a gold piece in his direction. When Roland then attempts to get one of the boys playing marbles to inform him of whether there was a cafe in town, none answering until the youngest replies, he paying for it after Roland leaves, he views the inside of the bar mentioned before heading in. The people inside stare until he gets to the bar, he then ordering three burgers, attention called back to him as they cooked, he having to dissuade a man with a big knife to end his approach toward him. When he was nearly done eating another man puts a hand on his shoulder, Roland realizing Walter had made the man crazy, he already deceased. Roland, taken aback when he spoke the High Speech to him, gives him a gold piece as requested, from shock, the man returning to his table gladly. The bar quickly empties after this, even the piano player leaving, the bar-maid angry he’d gotten her customers to exit, Roland asking whom the man at the table was, then inquiring of Walter, she agreeing to tell for the price of getting laid. Afterward, she tells of how the man downstairs, Nort had died, then he asking once more about Walter.

Walter had arrived near sundown the same day Nort had passed, a fast wind having risen, people closing down windows, one man whom had seen him enter, not wanting to make his acquaintance. Walter heads for Sheb’s Bar, most within paying him no mind what with the storm and they involved in their own activities, only Alice, the barmaid the only interested eye-witness, he heading for the bar and requesting some good whiskey, Nort’s body lying on tables in the middle of the room. Alice leaves the bar a moment to open a keg, Walter stating of seeing the dead man, and Alice launching into how those in attendance weren’t real mourners, but seemed to mock him, as they had during his life, Walter putting back his shot, showing his money, as requested, she then consenting to pour his second drink. When Alice attempts to ask how long his stay would be, Walter turns the conversation on her, about how she had affection for Nort, she sensing a bad vibe and commanding he leave, but then Walter shows his eyes and she feels drugged, he laughing loudly and the ruckus around them quieting, people watching him.

No one was affected by his laugh to join him, he approaching a lady whom had been singing and whapping her tummy, she forced to laugh a couple times until fleeing and crying, Walter starting his little show with Nort, spitting on him with precision, more people starting to leave, and those still there gathering around, he continuing his resurrection, and as people saw Nort’s first breaths, more heading out, and upon opening his eyes, Alice running upstairs. Walter yells after her of this being for her, it impossible to undo, and its hilarity, she locking her door. Nort goes out for weed, Walter having gone when Alice returns downstairs, Nort taking his table by the door, he greeting her and sharing what Walter had told him, stating of his desire to stop using, but how he was addicted and it giving him tremors, which made him unable to, he saddened by this. She then finishes lighting the bar, only one other patron coming in, Nort then remembering to give her a message from Walter, revealing 19 being the number to say to Nort if she wanted him to reveal the truth of Death and the next world, he certain she wouldn’t be able to resist forever. Alice is sickened by realizing this truth, but by the next day, life already normalized, and by the day after, all the same as usual, Alice still struggling with the word she attempted to keep to herself, she dipping into the whiskey to help her ignore the urge.

This ended her recollection, she believing he’d dozed off, and was doing so herself when he inquires of this being all which had occurred, she agreeing, then he stating he shouldn’t linger there too long, since there was most likely a trap awaiting him, as well. He advises she do her best to forget the number, and if she gets an overwhelming urge, to retreat upstairs and say it as many times as necessary. She is comforted in knowing he wouldn’t leave yet, and next morning when she feeds him, he inquires of whether she had a map of the southeast, she stating of it only being desert, he then going off to see the hostler, Kennerly to see if he knew more, Allie warning him he tended to make up ‘facts’ if he didn’t know, she touched when he thanks her.

When he’d gotten to Kennerly, his daughters were roaming the grounds, his eldest, a horny teen, whom he kept having to threaten to get inside the house. Roland inquires what he knew about the desert and what lay beyond, he uncertain, Roland paying him another coin to continue watching the mule, he deciding he’d remain in town for a little while longer. Four days pass, Roland’s resolve to leave fading, he aware this could be the snare Walter had left him, Sheb busting in with raised knife and sounding nuts, claiming Allie was his, Roland then recognizing him from his past. Allie calms him as he cries and sets his broken wrists. Roland asks if Sheb remembers the time they’d met before, he then commanding him to leave, Sheb then spouting of Roland only having been a kid, but quickly obeying his demand. Allie then attempts to continue where they’d been interrupted, but Roland isn’t interested any longer, she considering the situation Sheb and he must have been in involving a girl he’d cared for, she trying to have him acquiesce to her desire, but failing.

The next evening, the bar is shut, this being a similar day to the Sabbath. Allie cleans shop, Roland walking to the church and watching the congregation sing, the preacher-woman massive and insane. Once the song finishes, the woman begins speaking, Roland getting the feeling he’d been there before, her subject for tonight being “The Interloper”, she describing how she knew most of the characters in the Bible and loved them, the only one she didn’t know, being The Interloper, she afraid because she wasn’t familiar with his inner thoughts, she clearly referring to Satan, warning her followers to be wary, bringing their hysteria to a climax and spouting of the apocalypse, the lady also including a name Roland vaguely had heard of before, realizing Walter had also infected her after witnessing the questions she asked the people, everyone in moaning agony, Roland uneasy. When the preacher-woman singles out a man whom was particularly affected, she gives him solace with Jesus’ forgiveness. She then makes certain they would all attack Satan if they saw him, Roland leaving and noting his time to move on almost arriving.

Allie next states how the preacher-woman wouldn’t entertain his presence, she secluding herself if it wasn’t a Sunday. When Roland asks when she’d come to town, Allie relays it could have been two or twelve year’s, she then being dishonest when he asks which way she’d walked from, she eventually relenting and confessing it was from the desert, where the dwellers made their homes, this news easing Roland a bit, since it was where he was heading, his final question of where she currently resided reluctantly answered. Roland senses his last day had arrived, Allie feeling this moment, as well, she feeding him, and their farewell abrupt. Roland mentions after this, seeing her again one more time before her death. When he’d gotten to the preacher-woman, Sylvia Pittston’s home, everything had become silent, the wind having dissipated, knowing it would come back with force the longer it was away. A strange light was tinting the view, and Roland knocked a few times, busting his way in to see her rocking in a chair, neither of them speaking for a moment, until she declares he wouldn’t get Walter, since Roland was with the dark side, he stating how Walter had gone to her, she admitting she’d slept with him, speaking the High Speech to her.

Roland informs her Walter had fucked her in more ways than one, she continuing to state Roland being on the side of the devil and having seen him lurking in the church. He asks her why Walter had brought back Nort, she stating Walter had informed her he was working with God and how Roland would want to sleep with her, but she wouldn’t allow this since Walter had made her pregnant, telling her it was royalty, Roland sharing what she truly had was a devil and he would be able to get it out of her, she reacting by drawing back. Roland asks what was beyond the desert, her answer being he wouldn’t get Walter, but “burn”, Walter giving her this information. Roland threatens the details out of her by making like he would begin removing her child, she finally relenting and confessing of Walter going to the mountains and stopping on the other end to regain his power, she stating Roland had murdered her child and he’d get his, demanding he leave. He states she didn’t have a baby, demon, or otherwise, then doing as she bid.

When Roland had gotten to Kennerly’s, he could see a dust storm on the way, but hadn’t reached them yet. Kennerly inquires if he was leaving today, Roland agreeing, and Kennerly informing his idea of moving on before the storm not giving him enough of a head start, stating it would be his death if he got caught in it. Kennerly’s eye movement gives away an attack by his daughter, Soobie, Roland missing most of the hit, it barely getting his elbow. Roland again insists for his mule, Kennerly acquiescing, he leaving the two in the barn and walking into the hot air. Roland makes a stop to see Allie, but she wasn’t working, and no one was inside, he getting some provisions and leaving payment, considering whether he’d be able to bypass Walter’s trap, but not holding onto hope. Walter pretended to be divine, spouting of royalty’s spawn, a crimson youth, and it made him wonder if he had been fooling around the whole time, the answer essential.

Then a shriek has townspeople pouring out from behind closed doors, all carrying weapons, Sheb using Allie as a hostage, stepping forward first, she begging to be put out of her misery for having said the number, Roland reacting automatically and putting them both down, all the others being fended off as they came, he locating temporary shelter in the general store/barber’s, reloading and shooting more as they attempted entry, and as he exits through the back, puts down more who meet him there, he backing into the desert, still shooting and yelling, getting them all as they closed in. As they became fewer, he’d only gotten minor scrapes, someone then catching him in the face with the butt of a knife, which puts him on the ground, he now getting stabbed in different spots, the worst one on his leg, Roland catching them all in the end, even those attempting to escape. As he retraces his steps back to where they’d ambushed him, he counts how many were dead, Tull’s fifty-eight residents no more. He saw what had become of Nort, located his mule, and led it back to the stable. After attending to Nort, he goes to Sheb’s bar, eats some burgers with beer, then spends the night in Allie’s bed. By morning, the sky was clear, he finished tending to his cuts, and starts through the desert.

Roland believed Brown had passed out, Zoltan even showing he’d been resting during the story, Roland ready to prepare a place for himself to sleep when Brown inquires if this retelling had helped him get a load off, Roland questioning why he’d feel negatively, and he stating of Roland being human, unless he hadn’t been honest, Roland denying he had misspoken, detecting his favor for Brown, asking whom he actually was, and he responding of being himself, and why Roland thought there was anything hidden. Brown believes Roland is close to catching Walter, he uncertain whether Walter would feel hopeless when Brown asks, and Roland not having reached this point himself, declaring of going and doing what’s necessary, Brown accepting this and rolling over to sleep. In the morning, Brown prepares him a final meal and gets him going, they parting with kind words. When the sun had set, Roland dreamt, the mountains near, but unseen, he having Cort repeatedly returning to his thoughts, the man showing him how to shoot and his morals. When he regains consciousness, he notes of his “romantic” nature only having been known by few, Susan from Mejis being one, and then reminding himself again of Cort and how he now was the last to survive, packing up and continuing his walk.

Roland gets a children’s rhyme stuck in his mind, his mother having sung it to him during nap time. He was now devoid of water and had been walking for a little over two weeks, the mountains not looking any nearer. When he scraped his hands after tripping and had maddened thoughts of the blood as it fell, he became aware of his sanity taking a break. He then notices a couple of buildings which caught his attention earlier upon checking the distance of the mountains, they much closer now. He makes out one as a stable and the other a motel or home, this “a way station” for coaches. There was a person propped against the building Roland recognizing as Walter once walking closer, exhausted he still prompts himself to run as he pulls his gun and declares of having him in his sights, but when the figure gets up, he sees he’s facing a blonde boy, the two staring and Roland not believing his eyes, heading toward the stable, a buzzing persistence in his head. When he reaches the black heat inside, he turns to see the kid had followed, he then falling face-down.

Roland resurfaces with light in his face and straw under his head, the boy having attempted to keep him at ease, the boy also giving him water, then offering food, but Roland taking it slow for knowing he’d gotten sunstroke, the boy then introducing himself as John, preferring to be called Jake Chambers. Roland senses he was ten or eleven, his slight look of intimidation letting Roland know he could rely on him. When Jake returns with more water, Roland admits he’d mistaken Jake for Walter at first, Jake revealing a man in black, a holy man had passed through, Jake not liking him, and when Roland insists he attempt a guess of how long ago he’d left, Jake hesitates between one to two weeks, but certain it was “three poops ago”, then reminded of a film he’d seen in Times Square, Roland not understanding this. When Jake goes off to acquire some meat for him, Roland knows the boy wasn’t from around there, and when he’d returned, Roland inquires into it, Jake no longer knowing, but mentioning someone from his past stating it was due to too much TV.

Roland asks what he’d meant by “Channel 11”, thinking it was a “beam”, Jake then becoming upset with the continued questioning, since he knew his memory was going and he may not remember what his own name was soon, and Roland would be leaving him. Roland essentially tells him to bite the bullet (a phrase I despise), but then requests Jake tell him what he could of his past. Jake only relented when Roland insists so he could decide whether he may be able to puzzle through the leftovers Jake couldn’t put together any longer, the boy describing New York City, the Statue of Liberty, cabs, buses, how he got to, what he brought with him, and what he wore to school, he only using half remembered details. Roland then inquires if Jake would like for him to put him to sleep, to help him regain his memories, he showing Jake what he meant, a similar trick to watching a pendulum swing, Jake quickly lulled, and Roland then thinking of another song his mother had sung to him. Roland disgustedly acknowledges his hands own talents for destruction before inquiring where Jake was. Jake is heading out, detailing what was in his packed lunch the cook had made him and what subjects he had at school, as well as how all the adults treated him cordially, he not experiencing any exceptional warmth from even his parents, and at school, he’s left alone, but has no buddies, girls attracted to him, but his stately manner throwing them off. When he gets to a corner, Walter is there, causing him to get run over by a car, the last he sees is Walter approaching and his own hand.

Roland is troubled by the boy’s story, he not having heard of a place like this before, the closest possibility being Lud, he then giving Jake the option to remember, but he choosing not to, Roland letting him go to sleep. He decides how fond of Jake he was, as he sipped water and looked through the stable, seeing the machine Jake had gotten the water from, Roland then sitting near him and debating whether Walter was allowing him to catch up on purpose. Next, when thinking of the children’s rhyme, Cort comes to mind, as well as others which circle back to Susan, he then entertaining himself with an old tune as he’s comforted in knowing Walter was drawing nearer, Roland then beginning to drowse. He regains consciousness near nightfall, Jake no longer there, Roland locating him outside on the porch of the house, he having made a fire. Roland sits nearby and discusses how he’d be continuing his chase of Walter, uncertain whether he’d end his life or would need him to lead him somewhere, when Jake asks his plan. Roland confides it was whether Walter could lead him to a tower, and then states Jake would need to accompany him, asking about how much food they had, and Jake sharing of a smelly cellar, but not going down, since it seemed unstable. After Jake shares how he was glad he hadn’t murdered Roland in his sleep, he asks if he could share the stable with him when they go to sleep, Roland gives permission, and thinks of his past before calling it a night.

Roland looks in the cellar the next morning, Jake correct in stating the stench being strong from rotten vegetables, he detecting some canned food, but upon the third round, the foundation beginning to creak loudly, Roland calling for Jake to exit, he then hearing Allie’s voice caution him about “the Drawers” and Walter, he then going to the wall he’d heard the voice at and punching through it, grabbing a jaw bone before returning upstairs and out. Jake is hysterical, and hugs him when he sees him exit. Roland realizes Walter may have counted on his affection for Jake, Roland then suggesting they leave, giving a water-bag for him to carry, and Roland taking the last two along with his possessions and the food. After walking a little ways, Jake waves goodbye to the way station, stating how he felt they were being watched and glad to be reassured they wouldn’t return, soon the way station no longer in sight, and they heading for the mountains.

The mountains became more distinct a few days later, Roland able to make out the colors and type of terrain was ahead, Jake watching the lightning ‘show’ which would occur nightly, lulling him to sleep. Roland considers the possibilities of what could be in store for him by Walter, since the boy was an exceptional travel companion, staying out of his way and not slowing him down, no questions being raised on Roland’s actions, he knowing Walter had some reason for putting Jake in his path, and it most likely a doozy if everything was going as well as it was. Walter’s nightly burned campsites were also becoming more recently abandoned, Roland wary upon soon confronting him. At noon on the fourth day, Jake was commanded to stop after he’d stumbled, Roland insisting he drink some water, he then stating from this point forward, they’d be taking breaks daily at this hour, Roland distracting Jake from his guilt by pulling his bullet trick and speaking of where he grew up, as well as Merlin, the boy then going to sleep.

Roland prepares a smoke for himself as he realizes he was no longer urgently desiring to catch up with Walter, thinking of how he may attempt to trick Roland. He imagines men from his past and the varying humors, as well as natures they had, concluding his thoughts of a bird he related to because of its unrelenting nature to kill, Roland affected negatively for a moment before letting the thought go. Another place and time is shown, spring being the season, Cort, David, the falcon, and Cuthbert or Bert were in a spot where a game would soon be started. Roland then makes certain all were prepared, none of them yet allowed to speak the High Speech, Cort letting a dove out of it’s cage, David following soon after, Bert then getting punished for not releasing the dove on time, Roland distracting them by yelling of seeing the dove and David’s progress, the falcon dropping the dove, Roland running at the fallen bird, as David tore into it, he distracting the falcon with a piece of rabbit, and when he tried putting David’s leash back on, was rewarded with a cut to his arm, David resumes consuming the dove until Roland succeeded with getting the falcon leashed, giving him another slice of meat, and hooding him so he’d set upon his arm, Cort regards how Roland had been cut because the falcon didn’t respect him, and wouldn’t ever do so.

Cort releases them for the evening and reminds Bert of his punishment for later and the next morning, but whacking Bert once more for seeing his insolence in the reflection of Roland’s eyes. When they are returning, Roland offers they both eat in a different kitchen which would possibly allow more safety for Bert to get away with eating dinner, Roland regarding how it shouldn’t matter if Cort learned of this or not. The kitchen cook was called Hax, he of mixed origins and a pleasant acquaintance to all of the children he encountered, even the wild ones becoming gunslingers, he giving the two meat scraps as work was quickly done around them. Hax is then approached by a scullery boy leading someone from the Guards to announce the Guard wanted to speak with him. Hax instructs the two to go get some pie and leave after so he didn’t receive backlash, the two eating under the stairs. When they were ready to go, Hax and the Guard make their way near the stairs, making it impossible for the boys to exit undetected, the two hearing something about a get-together for a job in a few weeks and poisoned meat. The men then agree how loyal they were to someone, Hax then inquiring about whether kids would be poisoned in the town and if it’d be painful, the Guard assuring it was mild.

The two speak more of how the Guard planned to make his leaving look normal as Roland notes how he’d had the chance to end the two where they’d stood, Bert and he digesting all they’d heard, Roland seeing Hax’s death in Bert’s eyes. When Roland’s father had returned home, he didn’t waste any time to inform him, the man surprised, wondering about Roland’s reasons for coming forward, he stating it was because they had tricked him, then declaring wanting to be present when he was hanged, his father deciding to allow it. As Roland inquires whether his father knew whom Hax and the Guard had referred to as a “good man”, and why, if caught, it wouldn’t satisfy the public, Roland’s father dismisses him instead of answering. Roland remembers how his mother, father, and Marten, the good man, had been found in the end, and debated how it could technically include himself among them, as well (mysterious).

Roland notes how Bert would’ve found where the gallows were, being quite a suitable relation to the information they’d overheard, the notes from each of their fathers letting them out of Cort’s lessons early, and he instructing the two to set half a loaf of bread under each of Hax’s feet once dead, which he supplied and threatened them to complete correctly. When the boys had arrived a couple hours before everyone else and realized what the bread was for, Bert was chickening out, but Roland saw the value of why they’d been given permission, although not forcing Bert and himself to climb the gallows as Roland had suggested, knowing Cort would’ve forced them both, he discovering how dissatisfied he was with the state of his childhood by this point, then retrieving a splinter of wood from the platform and replying it would be a reminder. They then sit down across the way and view the people as they arrived, Roland hoping there was a good reason behind betraying Hax, he apprehensive and Bert showing no emotion.

Roland was reassured by how the hanging had gone, Hax’s arrival not eliciting too much response from the gathered group, a gunslinger leading Hax to his rope and inquiring if he’d care to make confession, Hax denying the need, Roland planning on speaking with his father about what look he’d seen pass over the crowd as Hax spoke. Right before the deed was done, the gunslinger states his charges and pulls the trap door open as Hax is readying to deny it was true. Roland had stayed impressed with how Hax had continued to attempt speaking after he was hanging, after this everyone made their way off, the two boys approaching the body and Bert discussing how Hax didn’t look himself anymore, Roland disagreeing. The two then spread the bread under Hax’s hanging body, Bert declaring he’d enjoyed the show, Roland not denying this, but replying it was definitely an event. A few years after this, Roland had become a gunslinger, his father was already dead, and he’d killed his mother, his travels then starting.

Jake then brings Roland’s attention to the barely visible figure of Walter climbing high above them supernaturally jumping large areas, it seemed, this being a couple days at the bottom of the mountains for the two. Jake questions Roland of whether this was whom he was searching, whether they’d catch up, and what was beyond the mountains, Roland confirming it was the man he was chasing, believed perhaps they’d reach him on the other side, and couldn’t determine what they’d discover there, he hastening they continue. When they make camp later on, Roland wonders if Jake felt the gravity of their chase and eventual conclusion, however it may involve the Tower, as well, Jake then referred to as a “sacrifice” as Roland covers him as he slept.

Cryptically, Jake discovers “the oracle”, and it had nearly killed him, the days torturous, and Jake’s steadfastness making Roland look on him with pride, despite the crazed look in his eyes, but as they hiked further up, Roland was able to shoot a rabbit, he then ordering Jake to sit whilst he gathered wood, the boy asleep by the time he’d returned. When he’d gone to top off their water-skins, he’s reminded of Allie (King talks like she’d been completely forgotten by now, but possibly putting it like this because of how long it seemed for Roland walking through the desert), he returning to make the rabbit stew with the remainder of their veggies, and after waking Jake, informs him they were staying put the next day, sensing it wouldn’t hurt, but also not having a good feeling about it. As Roland nods off, Jake already back to sleep, he is reminded of Bert again as he throws his cigarette in the campfire, the night pleasant, he dreaming. Next, Susan is about to die, Roland’s love, he being held by a couple of townspeople, but in reality not having witnessed her death. People were chucking corn at her, the husks aflame before even hitting her, the witch, Rhea definitely amused, wherever she was, Roland’s attention then brought to Susan’s window when she’d shrieked about a boy, Roland viewing Jake with a sharp object in his head. Roland wakes when he begins feeling coals from the fire burning his hand, he still hearing a sound he thought had come from his dream, then seeing Jake wasn’t there, he up and after him. Jake had gone further up a ways, Roland smelling his scent, and when entering between some stones, understood what the boy was going through mentally, and physically, the oracle, or succubus emanating a feeling hard to ignore, Roland whipping out the jawbone in his pocket and putting it in front of his face, doing the same for Jake, he having more trouble coming around, but passes out, which allowed Roland to get them both back to the camp, the energy seeming upset, Roland aware now how deeply he cared for Jake, certain he could sense Walter laughing at him.

Roland wakes by Jake yelling at him, he having bound Jake before going back to sleep, he now hungry and angry, Roland explaining he had wandered off, showing him the jawbone, which reminded him, Roland then informing him he was to stay at the camp whilst he took care of something, stating if Jake believed for any reason he had to desert the camp, to look at the jawbone, Jake resisting his ability to do this, due to his revulsion to it. Roland instructs how he should use it when necessary, he relating Jake to another childhood buddy of his, Alain, Jake then relenting with sad resignation, Roland considering how dangerous his task was, but he needing to learn more about the oracle, and attempt to defeat it. Roland then takes out a pill of mescaline, explaining to Jake of what it did, Jake describing its similarity to LSD, which he couldn’t remember the reason for it being similar, Roland then taking the pill and cleaning his weapons whilst he waited. After, he sewed a tear in Jake’s shirt, he then noticing the physical affects of the drug kicking in. Roland announces it was time he go, Jake wishing him luck and safety, Roland rumpling his hair as he walked past him.

Roland heads for the rocks, he taking a moment to sip some water from the stream he would be crossing, looking at his reflection curiously. Roland realized his thoughts were becoming heavier and felt like it was slowing his actions, but  he moved himself onward, fortunately still peaceful in mind, the drug usually irritating him, and as he entered the circle, not feeling the way he had before, he lying on the altar and thinking of a line of Manni poetry, seeing faces in the trees, finally feeling a presence and requesting it to share what needed to be passed on to him. He now was forced to envision Susan, as the oracle mourned and pled for Roland to be warm toward her, since it was already frigid there, the oracle denying of hearing about Jake when Roland brought him up, and continued to go after Roland’s lust with desperation, he negotiating to give what the oracle desired after he received honest information, he withholding and realizing the oracle was moving off sadly, he insisting being told, the oracle then stating he sleep, but when being denied, suggests half sleep, Roland debating this due to the serious nature of what was being asked of him, he also considering its necessity, and then succumbing to half sleep.

The first item he learns is the number three being his fate, another number to show up later, Roland then asking for this to be elaborated, he told of a “young, dark-haired…demon” called, Heroin, the oracle then warning of unfound “doorways”. The second piece of knowledge is brief, a female arriving on “wheels”, and the third about someone else’s end, Roland then inquiring of Walter and learning they’d be chatting of the Tower soon, he afterward insisting to hear about Jake, whom was his ticket to Walter, and in turn he leading him to the three, and this getting him to the Dark Tower, the oracle unable to explain, to Roland’s aggravation. He learns Jake could be saved though, which would have him turn back, he unable for Marten deceiving his father, the oracle stating Walter had consumed Marten’s essence and wasn’t accessible any longer, as Roland was aware, but he not able to give up, the oracle replying of he being cursed in this case, and Roland allowing the oracle then to do as she willed.

The oracle does her ‘bidness’, Roland having to stop her when he’d finished, she persisting, so he being more aggressive to leaving, then considering how long her next wait could last, time being an overpowering hindrance. Jake goes toward him when he approaches the camp, looking worried, Roland clarifying he wasn’t ill, and Jake could leave the jawbone he carried with him, Jake tossing it with loathing, Roland so exhausted he had been ready to share his problems (dan-dinh, also a gamer, apparently), and update him of what he’d experienced, but immediately turns away from the idea, and wondered if he was losing his mind by even having thought to attempt it. He instead shares of their plans for later and right then he would sleep. Jake uses an idiom which confuses Roland until rephrased, and when he’d resurfaced, he designated the task of rekindling the fire to the boy, he shocked to hear a rhyme he hadn’t remembered saying in front of him. Jake is proud of himself when succeeding with using the tools required to restart the fire, Roland walking off to hunt, he returning with three rabbits ready for boiling, and praising Jake on having prepared the water for them, the boy blushing. As the stew boiled, Roland gathers vines as possible rope for later, but sensing “ka” was with them. They break camp at sunrise, their food supply quite light, and as they hiked, Jake and Roland discuss the boy’s views on their upcoming hike up the mountain being strenuous or not, Jake believing the latter.

Jake guesses correctly about the start of their hike up, it not terribly taxing, and when they viewed their progress, Roland was struck by how non-threatening the desert looked from this height, and how it had almost been the end of him. As they continue forward, their path getting steeper, Roland hears the sounds of a storm, but they being safe for now, since it was on the other side of the mountain currently. At sunset, the two set up camp, Roland supplying them a blanket tied up to cover them from wind, Jake being reminded of his mother when remembering a descriptive phrase she used in reference to how deeply he slept, he fighting the urge to get upset. Roland is reminded of a phrase Cort would use when he’d ask useless questions, then Jake wonders how he’d gotten there and the reason for his memory loss, Roland stating it was caused by Walter and the Tower. When Jake confesses confusion, Roland agrees with the sentiment, Jake then asking where he was from, Roland sharing the place was called New Canaan and wasn’t there anymore.

Roland then reminisces to himself of a time when his parents had set him up with a suitable girl for a party, and how the surroundings had begun to lose its luster when he had been about to leave to follow Walter, he saddened by the state of its decline compared to his earlier memories. After he and Jake speak of how the place had turned to ruins, Jake shares how he’d want to have lived there, he then lying down to sleep. Roland considers the unfortunate situation to come for Jake, but this only asserting itself temporarily before he came back to himself and slept. The further on they arose, the more treacherous it became, but Jake stayed useful with his agility in small rock faces, he able to help Roland with a few narrow spots with the ropes they’d brought. The next day, they were trudging through an icy spot of the mountain caused by a cloud, they detecting a footprint in the ice, making camp later upon sunset, and Roland believing Jake may start asking questions, but instead goes to sleep quite quickly. Roland follows suit, but wakes with a similar nightmare as before with Jake and the object in his head, he waking and seeing Jake wasn’t soundly sleeping either, Roland then attempting again to sleep.

One week after the footprint, they were in Walter’s presence for a short moment. Before this happens, they reach a point where they begin going downhill, and when they stop at a stream, they smell Walter on the air and continue on until approaching a bend, Jake wanting to stop and looking terrified, he pleading they turn around, and when Roland refuses, Jake is dazed with the knowledge of he going to be murdered, and this time by Roland, the latter attempting to not straight up lie and only saying he’ll be wary, Jake resigning and holding Roland’s hand as he leads him forward. The two see Walter and the wall of granite he was already climbing, he greeting Roland magnanimously, but with sarcastic quality. Roland fires three shots before controlling himself, Walter amused and inquiring if Roland would deny himself the answers he was chasing. Roland suggests he return to eye level to discuss it, but Walter thinking a good chat on the other side of the mountain a better plan, he regarding Jake and adding he wouldn’t be present, this making him emit a noise of fear. Walter then leaves them through a crack in the face of the granite. Roland watches Jake and thinks how with training he could’ve become a gunslinger, he now able to separate any emotion he’d had for Jake, he bluntly stating of he having the option to join him or not, Jake knowing he’d starve if he stayed, so continued forward, they reaching the point Walter had been and following his route.

Roland next confides to Jake, speaking as if dreaming, of he, Alain, and Bert going somewhere they weren’t supposed to, he having been speaking nonstop since leaving the outside. When night fell, they walk a bit longer before making camp, no longer hearing Walter. Roland had continued his recollection of a particular Ball and how the three had snuck in by balcony, seeing gunslingers with their ladies and elders being entertained, at one point Roland’s mother dancing with Marten until his father motioned for her, everyone by this time knowing his father would become Dinh of Gilead, at the least, but only one person, Gabrielle Veriss not being aware, Jake asking of her being his mother, and Roland confirming. He then tells of Marten having been the gunslingers’ counselor, but soon started repeating himself, so Jake lies down as Roland makes a cigarette, and notes how the memory pained him because of his father’s betrayal. Roland then sleeps, this time Jake looking at him with affection before also sleeping.

Roland’s ability to understand time had been partially effected by the desert’s sameness and completely wiped by the mountain consistently dark. The days which could have been weeks or hours passed, at one point Jake wandering off a ways and Roland hearing him state of having found what felt like a railroad track, Roland following to investigate, and upon seeing for himself by striking a light, couldn’t imagine what the metal conduits could’ve been meant for, but deciding they’d see where they led when waking again, the two bedding down. When Roland woke, Jake was already up and waiting by a rail, they following this for three sleeps, and after the fourth, bump into a car, Jake recognizing it for what it was because of cartoons, he demonstrating how it worked, a strange electronic voice encouraging the continuation of pushing it, Roland then helping.  He locates the button to end the electronic voice, thankfully since it would speak every time it was pushed and they move on in silence.

The river they traveled by was sometimes close and at others almost inaudible, the workout for Roland of mostly pumping the car by himself helped his ability to pass out when they stopped, Jake eventually asking about his fight with his teacher after a long period of no conversation, and this not long before the ambush by the Slow Mutants. Roland explains how an unseen man had been hung for rape, Jake supplying he’d been “invisible”, Roland deciding not to share how the man had been captured right then. He continues with how a couple years later he had ditched a girl which he wished he hadn’t, but Jake knowing his sentiment wasn’t true, Roland fessing up to start his story of how he truly grew up. It took place in Gilead, the seriousness of war beginning, this is a few years after Hax’s death, Roland now fourteen and feeling like a horny teen, passes by his mother’s quarters on his way to the roof for some self-love, Marten calling to him of his mother wishing to speak with him. When he comes in to see she sitting there impassively, asking of his schoolwork and training, he notes Marten next to her seeming to have some control of her, the man stating he could leave, but Roland replying of his mother being the one to give this permission, Marten again excusing him and mentioning knowing where he’d been headed and the reason, Roland leaving and shockingly hearing Marten smack his mother and addressing her inappropriately.

Roland’s other buddy, Jamie was passing by and was deciding whether to update him on the most recent news of war, but upon seeing the look on Roland’s face, instead goes off to grab the other kids, Roland continuing on to Cort’s cabin where he rested and ended his schooling when awaking him, the man giving him a chance to change his mind, speaking of how bright a possibility he’d had if he had patience, but Roland’s mind was set, he being sent away to prepare for his probable expulsion. Roland gets David from the barn, the bird quite old now, but also allowing Roland to take him outside to the area the fight to adulthood would ceremoniously be won or lost, normally the spectators surrounding the spot being with friends and family, but today was only filled with Roland’s fellows, looking on with fear. When Bert mentions where Roland’s weapon was, he confirms he had it with him, Cort then entering and asking the traditional questions. Roland thought of his mother and father, the former somewhere currently inside the castle and the latter away on a hunt. When Roland announces his weapon was David, it only pauses Cort for a moment before they begin. When Roland uncovers David’s eyes, Cort speaks with contempt of Roland’s choice, fortunately David flying true, right at Cort’s face, he doing the first thing which could save the battle, the result leaving David on the ground, Roland attacking whilst the timing was right, but Cort still quick and grabbing at him, which tripped him, his possibility for success dwindling, until he felt David pecking at him, not able to see, so as Cort comes at him, Roland throws the broken bird at Cort, commanding David to “kill”, Cort landing on Roland.

Cort was still fighting him when he landed, Roland fending him off, David still inflicting damage, but he finally freeing himself of the bird, Roland breaking his nose and moving away before Cort could retaliate, grabbing the man’s weapon and standing over him. Cort makes a final play and Roland squarely hits him, Cort then gladly giving in, naming Roland a gunslinger, his recovery including a week in a coma. Before allowing Cort to fully pass out, he requests the key to where his guns would be, Cort leaving him with one final piece of advice, Roland acknowledging his words, stating he’d speak to the whores in town to not expect him for awhile, then designates his buddies to build a stretcher and instruct two nurses to attend to Cort. Roland comes to terms with now being the youngest gunslinger and the first of his group to ‘graduate’. This was also to be the night he lost his virginity, and whilst Roland hadn’t confided every detail, he believed Jake could deduce most of it, the boy’s reaction defensive and arrogant which was making Roland mad, especially when he mentions how the “game” he’d played may have been his foray into adulthood, but wondered if men ever truly matured, stating how he knew Roland was planning on using him as a bargaining “chip”, Roland then telling him to sleep.

When they’d moved on again, Jake saw the Slow Mutant first, they passing unharmed, but the three more ahead of them, standing in the way, Roland not expecting to be attacked, but shoots the first which heads for them. When they’re again lunged at, Jake is being pulled off the car, even after Roland shoots the creature, but after a bit more struggle, gets Jake loose, having him hang on by his belt (this calling back to the day I learned what this meant in prison, ha ha), they moving forward until again halted, this time by rocks on the track, Roland informing Jake he’d have to move them whilst he held them off with his guns, Jake not wanting to, but making a quick job of it, every “mutie” which made for him, Roland shooting. As more headed for them, Roland calls to Jake to return, they barreling over the rest, he keeping their fast pace well after he didn’t need to, they moving on for a few more days without any surprises. On their fourth waking, they approach a light source, Jake thinking the end was close, but Roland sensing otherwise.

As the light gets brighter, they see more stopped train cars of varying sorts, as well as more rail lines, many entrance ways ahead of them, and one of the signs in a language Roland could read, the two eventually getting off the car to walk, Jake reminded of this place looking like a “subway” station, but unable to define it, Roland seeing and taking a bow with arrows from a “weapon shop”. Jake points out a mummified body, the two supposing what had occurred and began seeing a few more as they proceeded. Roland instructs they return to the push car, but Jake deciding to stay, Roland feigning this was fine as Jake shouts after him of he believing Roland had made an agreement about him with someone, Roland then thinking how if he could wait until Jake matured a bit more, they both would be able to deal with Walter more easily, but turned from this idea, knowing they’d both be killed if they turned back, so Roland began moving the car, but Jake comes after him anyways, Roland sensing now the end was near.

Jake pumps the car for awhile so Roland could test the bow and arrows, which weren’t in good shape and couldn’t be repaired. The river becomes louder as they traveled, and after a few sleeps a new light begins to grow, it heading to an eventual crossing over the river. As well as this, natural sunshine was ahead, barely a pinprick, Jake halting them for a moment to inquire whether Roland thought Walter wanted them to cross the river to fall in the middle, Roland knowing this wasn’t probable, but stating ignorance, Roland then after inspecting the drop, suggests they walk across, Jake leading and Roland ready to help him should he stumble, the beams settling audibly as Roland walked across them, Jake almost taking a tumble when losing his balance for a moment before recovering, warning of a pot-hole and speaking of it like the game Simon Says, Roland knowing it as “Mother Says”. Roland feels like the walk was taking much more time than it truly was, also imagining how he’d react if he fell, he attempting to keep his thoughts from wandering to the boy’s future and how close the agreement was to completing.

Jake announces of planning to jump across the remaining distance, he stating Roland’s weight wouldn’t hold where he’d been standing and should head back without him, Roland noticing the underlying terror in his voice despite the attempt to sound calm. Roland takes a large step forward, Jake repeating for Roland to return the way he’d come and not wishing to die by Roland’s hand, the gunslinger demanding Jake continue on so both wouldn’t plummet into the river, and upon walking on, they inclined toward the sunshine, it then blocked by Walter, he greeting them mockingly. Roland reaches for the jawbone, but he no longer had it, and as Walter laughed, Jake lost his footing and hung to the side, Walter stating Roland approach, or not see him again, as Jake requested aid. Walter threatens to go as Roland debated, but he jumps forward with his goal of the Tower in his mind. Jake relents to his fate and speaks of accepting Roland ditching him as he grasped the ledge, the whole railing giving way and falling as he clung to it, Jake not making a sound. Roland knows he would be thinking of Jake and this moment long into the future, and as he approached Walter, the man in black envies his moving to the next step, Roland taking some shots at him, as Walter leads him to where they’d speak.

Walter takes him to an ages old murder circle with different animal skulls surrounding them, Roland noting how Mid-World must be near, if he hadn’t already arrived. Walter suggests Roland gather wood, since the cold would still bite, afterward he building and lighting a fire, he then designating Roland to make their food, he giving him a dead rabbit. Roland cooks it and hands the whole body back to him when done, he taking out the leftover jerky he had, Walter seeming annoyed Roland would think he’d hex the food. Roland states of Walter’s looks being younger than he’d thought, Walter confessing he’d wanted to show his real one, he then bringing Roland’s attention to the sunset which he believed Roland should view for the idea he may feel like he won’t again see it for quite some time, Roland stating his indifference by this point.

Walter prepares to read Roland’s future with his extended Tarot deck, the first card drawn being told of signifying “strength”, and by the second card turned, Walter having mentioned Jake both times, then by the fourth, Roland wanting to know why Walter was having him view the cards at all, he answering by commanding he only sit through it like one would at a religious service, and upon continuing, pulls the reaper and the Tower (it reminding me of the oracle’s prophecy), then upon getting to his seventh card, Walter states of it meaning life, but not in regards to Roland, he sharing how he wasn’t the man he was searching for, he only working for him. Walter then commands Roland sleep, he lunging for Walter, but not connecting, and when next conscious, Walter has light come on when announcing wanting some, and expanding the scenery as he spoke of it.

Roland sees earth made and animals crawling on it, also seeing moons revolve, and other planets. Walter continues to demand “light”, Roland now requesting him to stop, and Walter telling him he’d have to end his quest for the Tower, but when Roland refuses, Walter continues his command for light, and before protecting himself from it, Roland views something highly significant before returning to a safety within. When Roland gets up, Walter isn’t in sight, but speaks from behind him, confessing of being impressed with how he’d handled what he’d shown him, sharing of what he’d seen, and Roland not understanding, then bluntly stating how the Tower would remain beyond his reach. Roland defends himself by stating of Walter not understanding him enough to make such an assumption, Walter becoming serious and relating how he had been Marten, which he knew Roland believed and he’s the farthest traveled servant of the red ruler of the Dark Tower, Roland inquiring about Walter’s words of why he’d mentioned “red”, but he not delving further, only stating how Roland wouldn’t learn anything new and wouldn’t ever do so, then asking him to describe the last thing he’d seen, Roland detailing of it being a single purple “blade of grass”, Walter then requesting Roland listen.

Walter begins with the universe being “the Great All”, going further to explain how a mind couldn’t “grasp the infinite”, and one company “or cabal” had gotten closest, “the North Central Positronics”. When Walter goes on to confess how many accomplishments had been made, regarding disease, space travel, and the closeness of curing old age, Roland interrupts by declaring disbelief, Walter allowing he didn’t need to believe it, but even with all of this headway, no one seeming impressed with the knowledge, nor understood it, the reason he mentioned this was how the universe didn’t offer “life”, but the vastness of everything, claiming there was an “end” to anything would be presumptuous. After giving many examples of what he meant about universes being right out of reach or stacked on, or beside each other, he brings in the idea of the Tower being connected to another place, and rhetorically asks if he’d go to the top and see what was in the “Room”, he believing he wouldn’t do so.

Roland suggests God would go, or Walter’s king, then inquires if the room contained anything, Walter uncertain and wary of what would happen should he look, Roland then napping after stoking the fire. When he notices Walter looking at him, he demands he stop, checking for the dawn, which Walter sees and states of they having more to discuss, as his king had informed him, before the sun was meant to rise again. Walter makes certain, after Roland asks about the king again, whether he truly saw him as an equal, this being the only way honesty could be had, Roland beginning with what Walter had meant when mentioning a “glammer” (which I don’t remember reading…), Walter defining this in how it stayed dark, the king responsible for this. Walter then states their discussion would take quite some time and the specific amount unknown. Roland then is given his chance to ask whatever he wished, Walter stating how he’d not met his king before and Roland would locate “the Ageless Stranger”, and kill him first before he did.

Walter describes how his king visited him through his dreams, he working for him since he was a child, Roland being the end of his tasks. Upon being asked the name of the Stranger, Walter shares it was Legion, Roland inquiring whom was the one which was worse, when Walter mentions this, but he denying to answer, mentioning anything of End-World being the killer of souls. Roland approaches the subject differently, asking whether after Legion was the Tower, Walter confirming, but again knowing this wasn’t what Roland wanted to know. When he asks, Walter states how if he gave him the answer, he’d surely shoot him, Roland agreeing, so instead inquires where he would next need to go, Walter going off tangent about how Marten had not left, and Roland coming to terms with how the man had only changed form, Walter then stating how he’d share stories of Roland so he could learn more, he stating how he knew his mission was to locate the Tower, Walter informing him it was more about his mind, he being an original kind, he then offering Roland tobacco, making sure he was satisfied with it, since it could be the final smoke he had for quite awhile, he then going into the Tower being sought after, since it had come to be, and it had been standing an infinite amount of time.

Roland didn’t absorb much of their long conversation, the important bit being his heading for the ocean, which was twenty miles away and would gain “the power of drawing”. Walter clarifies Roland already had this power and would draw three, Walter readying to leave and before doing so, again brings light, this time Roland glad to see it. He wakes ten years older, Walter now a skeleton, which Roland is suspicious to believe was truly Walter, he taking the jawbone, and making it to the coast. He then waits for the moment of the drawing, imagining the day he’d reach the Tower and the fight which would come.

And immediately I want to know more, but I’ll be continuing with The Eyes of the Dragon before I do. This was a quick and interesting official start into the series, and I’m exhilarated in my foray into King reading. I also wonder if this will be covered in the movie, or if it truly is a continuation after the 7th book… We shall see!