Bone Vol. 6: Old Man’s Cave

For the fifth volume. We discover Fone climbing a tree to get bearings as to where they were in the woods, Smiley waiting below. They’d been lost for days already and Fone still wasn’t familiar with the area, meanwhile Smiley is having trouble watching for Fone’s climb down due to a groundhog getting mad at Smiley for stepping on his home’s entrance, Fone having a moment to break his handhold and falling directly onto the groundhog. Ted the bug then finds Smiley as he’s trying to extricate Fone from his fall into the groundhog’s hole (ha ha) and Fone is as happy to see Ted, as well. The groundhog then overhears their happy reunion and who Fone was, getting scared since the rumor was Fone had killed Kingdok, he retreating inside, Ted then catching the Bones up on what had been going on, Fone getting angry with Phoney and they both being led by Ted back to where the village was.

We see Phoney in cover of the trees spying Thorn helping a family escape the burning village, meeting the rest in the brush before two groups of rat creatures approach from two sides of the clearing and everyone hiding in the darkness of the trees hoping not to be seen. The two rat creature group leaders speak of the news about Kingdok, one group leader not knowing the most recent news being of his death. The two group leaders then digress into another language which gives Wendell time to threaten Phoney for being the one with the star mentioned by the rat creatures and wanting to give him hell for getting them in this mess, Phoney cowering and knowing his words bore truth. Thorn then divulges she understood the language the two groups were speaking in, not knowing how but then giving orders as to where to take the new family and getting Wendell and a couple others to do what they had already done before, everyone having their tasks and Phoney surprised Thorn believed in his innocence. When Thorn and company get back, they don’t see the town, she making it clear they were in it already. Wendell gets newly enraged at the thought of everyone’s home being obliterated and chasing imaginary dragons because of Phoney, Thorn having to come to his rescue yet again, but not succeeding so Phoney lets out with Thorn’s secret which at first they have trouble believing.

Thorn then tries to get everyone’s attention on a trail she wanted to follow, with or without the group which she believed may lead to the other Bones. Jon, one of the group then encounters a note Thorn had written to Fone Bone and discovered it wasn’t in the place she left it, Lucius most likely having put it in the known spot for trading messages, the group, other than Thorn and Phoney deciding to check Gran’ma Ben’s farm in the morning. The two then go off in search of Fone, but the men in the group notice hooded figures, the Stick-Eaters heading towards them. When Thorn acknowledges them, one confides a message from her grandmother and where she wished Thorn to meet her, Thorn than asks what they know of Fone and they recount the latest news as to his whereabouts, she still struggling with what to do first, deciding she’ll make her final decision in the morning. We then see a dream Thorn has which shows her looking like Snow White and speaking to her younger looking grandmother who urges her to cut the vines around her, younger Lucius advises her to disobey, another young grandmother coming from behind Thorn, but not being able to see her. The younger “evil” grandmother tries to take Thorn’s sword and Thorn wakens clutching Fone’s spiked club, she walking off into the darkness.

The four left in Thorn’s group, being deserted by her during the night, end up walking in the dark trying to uncover Old Man’s Cave. The biggest in their group is still steaming about Phoney’s trouble-making ways and is about to take it out on him again when Wendell tries to hold him back, enforcing Thorn’s order to leave him alone. Gran’ma Ben soon shows up and enquires where Thorn is, stopping the two from fighting amongst themselves. They escort them back to the cave, Lucius going after Thorn. We then see where Fone and Smiley have gotten to, they soon finding themselves amongst rat creatures and when they begin threatening them with death, Thorn comes out to defend them, but upon seeing the club she brandished and giving to Fone, they truly show fear and run off for believing they were the ones to kill Kingdok. After greeting each other warmly, Thorn then figures out which direction will take them to Old Man’s Cave, then promptly heads in the opposite direction, believing they can’t be helped by anyone there, looking for shelter instead. We then see the Hooded One speaking with the Lord of the Locusts who was concerned with his interest in the one who bears the star, the Lord of the Locusts making it clear if the Hooded One’s idea failed, he’d pay for it.

We then see the Bones and Thorn spitting cherry pits at each other in the tree hollow and they getting so loud as to bring Ted back to inform them to keep it down for having to try and keep them hidden. Thorn then shares their plans to confront and over-power the Hooded One, Ted then voicing his opinion they should be going to Old Man’s Cave. Thorn still denying this to be a suitable plan and the three discussing what more is known of the Hooded One and where the Lord of the Locusts came from. Thorn then confides why the Lord of the Locusts was showing such interest in herself and Phoney and how it will aid his release from bondage, going on to confess why she doesn’t trust Gran’ma Ben at the moment and it having to do with the knowledge of a nursemaid Thorn had come to realize didn’t exist. We then see Roque Ja confronting whomever is in his presence, it turning out to be the Hooded One asking for a favor, Roque Ja turning him down before he can continue, taunting him with how he probably wouldn’t have been able to get the information from Kingdok who is now lacking an important appendage needed to speak, he coming out from the darkness as well and the Hooded One having to hold him back.

The Hooded One goes on to mention needing Roque Ja’s help in capturing the Bones once more and what state he wished the princess to be in, he accepting once he gets an agreed upon reward for his efforts. Then we see Phoney being wakened by Jon, he revealing how long Phoney’s been asleep since he’d been ill and now they all residing in Old Man’s Cave. Jon explains some of the cave’s history and Gran’ma Ben comes to see Phoney as well, he realizing her status and thinking he’s going to pay for his bad behavior, she agreeing to judge him lightly. Gran’ma Ben then takes Phoney to a part of the cave which shows drawings on the walls implying the beginning which started with a dragon queen and how the Lord of the Locusts became involved, including an ancestor of Gran’ma Ben’s and in extension, Thorn. Phoney then learns what role the rat creatures believed he would be playing in all of this, Lucius interrupting by coming to update how he hadn’t found Thorn due to her excellent training from the dragons and how they were getting boxed in by the Hooded One and rat creatures setting up camps around them. Gran’ma Ben then defends Phoney from getting decked by Lucius since he was only worried about the well-being of his cousins and when Lucius departs, he asks Gran’ma Ben who the Hooded One was, she not knowing either, but being able to clarify what would occur if he succeeded in releasing the Lord of the Locusts, the outcome not a good one.

Fone and Smiley meanwhile, are gathering water at the barn to prepare for a bath whilst Thorn was within, looking through her grandmother’s belongings. They continue to discuss what the next item of business will be for their group, they not knowing and figuring Thorn would be the leader. Thorn meanwhile is hearing their conversation and interjects what her plan is and reveals why she hadn’t told them until then. Fone puts in his two cents and Thorn expands on why she doesn’t want to go to Old Man’s Cave, but then Fone with Smiley’s help, convinces her it’s the best idea for now and they head in the same direction instead. Lucius is then shone giving command to the group following him in order to keep the rat creatures from completely surrounding Old Man’s Cave. Lucius then sees a woman who introduces herself as Briar and we learn who she’s related to, he in denial it could be her and Jonathan overseeing their conversation from within the woods, also noticing rat creatures approaching. Jonathan then shouts of their closing in and Lucius breaks away from Briar to help defend the cave. We skip to where Gran’ma Ben is updated on what was happening outside the cave, the scout not learning much and then continuing conversation with Phoney in relation to his soul and as she’s explaining she again gets the “gitchy” feeling and Phoney feels a rumbling around them. When they get outdoors they see the place where the Lord of the Locusts is trapped has a dust cloud rising up around it and then Gran’ma Ben learns of what’s happened to Lucius, he coming to inform what had happened to them, she hoping Thorn is alright. Then Roque Ja comes out from behind Gran’ma Ben’s farmhouse sniffing around and seemingly stalking Thorn and co.

Lucius reports back to Gran’ma Ben of who he’d seen as the Hooded One to which she has trouble believing for the one mentioned was thought to be dead, after only seeming to feel pity for her. Gran’ma Ben goes on to share no one else coming to help them and they would most likely be fighting among their own, alone. Wendell then walks up demanding for Phoney to be given to them since he’s the one the rat creatures are looking for and being in this mess because of him. Gran’ma Ben tries to appeal to Wendell and those with him they shouldn’t hand over the one thing they were after if they believed it would help release the Lord of the Locusts, but whilst they were being held off, Phoney takes off and so Gran’ma Ben spreads everyone out looking for him so he doesn’t get caught by the enemies and lose the war inadvertently because of his absence, she going off in search of him on her own and being seen by Roque Ja. Gran’ma Ben notices Phoney and stops him before he made matters worse, Lucius coming up behind the two and Roque Ja looking ready to act, Lucius warning her and Roque Ja pouncing, getting Gran’ma Ben, Lucius jumping on him and the three falling off the cliff. Gran’ma Ben starts by punching the lion though, showing her strength isn’t only rumors, Phoney continuing his ditching of them.

Roque Ja ignores them after and mentions his targets being Phoney and “the princess”, we then seeing Phoney run straight into Fone, Thorn and Smiley walking close behind. Phoney explain how he’d been to Old Man’s Cave and it not being safe anymore and then of Gran’ma Ben’s run in with Roque Ja, which makes Thorn want to go and defend her, Phoney and Fone trying to stop her, but not getting far since Roque Ja had followed Phoney and swatted Thorn out of the way. Fone gets swatted down some boulders and Roque Ja picks up Thorn and Phoney to finish his mission, Smiley trying to get Fone to wake up, but he’s gone into his dreams and sees the Red Dragon there stating for him to wake up and of Thorn’s condition, needing him to follow her. After the Red Dragon conveys how he won’t be able to go with him, Fone wakes and Smiley tells him which direction they’d gone, the two running after Roque Ja.

We then see Gran’ma Ben tending to Lucius who had been hurt, but advising her to make haste for Roque Ja so she can try and divert the lion from succeeding in catching Thorn or Phoney, he assuring her he’ll be going back to Old Man’s Cave and so Gran’ma Ben follows their trail. Smiley and Fone are then shown running over some rocks to where they witness Kingdok, some rat creatures and the Hooded One, Phoney having been bound on a flat stone, the Hooded One remarking how he may have evaded them for some time, but he was caught now and his mystic powers must not be as strong as he thought, Phoney denying knowing anything about this and admitting it was a big misunderstanding and refusing to take part in the Hooded One’s ritual to release the Lord of the Locusts, but she warning Phoney if he didn’t help her willingly she’d accept him as a sacrifice, Bone trying to reason with her, but the Hooded One then showing how the foretelling of Phoney’s coming had been known, an obvious sign, appearing through the thick smoke behind her.

Phoney then realizes what they’d seen and how Fone would definitely be mad if he knew, Fone and Smiley putting two and two together and the balloon shaped like one of the Bones being the cause of them being run out of Boneville. Gran’ma Ben then tries to stop the Hooded One from continuing the sacrifice, after Bone had tried to explain what the balloon had been for and the message beneath, it having a banner at the bottom which was ripped, partially. Gran’ma Ben then speaks of the mistake the Hooded One had made and how the balloon wasn’t the one needed to free the Lord of Locusts but Thorn, who the Hooded One said was dead. Kingdok then goes on to berate how the Hooded One had disgraced his people with the mistake made and then we see what happens to the Hooded One due to the incompetence allowed to play out. Fone goes to Thorn and gives her the necklace the dragon had given him whilst he’d been unconscious, meanwhile locusts having covered her, but when he gives her the necklace, she awakens and Gran’ma Ben and the Bones all try to make sure she can walk so they can escape the area due to it’s instability. Thorn stops only for a moment to put up her hood, giving the impression they haven’t quite saved her yet and this volume ending. I won’t like pausing in the story, but there’s a side-story to be read: Rose, but this volume and the whole series so far is definitely worth the effort.

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The Man with Two Left Feet and Other Stories

I’ve read the directly-related-to Jeeves and Wooster short stories out of order as well as one of the novels and I’m now starting where first mention of Gussie was made. Due to most of the stories being insulated with only minimal mention to other stories, I’m not stressing much on the order of the series, but still having fun trying to read them in as chronological as possible.

Bill the Bloodhound is the first story in this collection which introduces Henry, a detective, by a narrator not named as of yet. We come to realize how inept Henry is and looked down upon in his department, also learning of where he resides and how he’d met a woman one day called Alice, description of her disposition, and how she reacted differently from the other girls in her line of business when she found out what Henry did for a living. Henry discovers himself trying to ingratiate himself with her despite her thoughts on his profession and when he proposes to her and is promptly turned down for reasonable reasons, he still waits patiently for the right moment of pursuit of her affections, she already seeing him in good light, but resisting further delving. Henry goes to audition for a comedy musical, more along Alice’s line of career and doesn’t seem to have much talent in this respect, being turned away. Henry is then given a job by his boss to shadow a husband on the road, he being an actor, and Henry realizing it’s the same company Alice was in, he knowing he would soon be tortured with the inability to be in her company directly for having to stay undercover. When he begins his “stalking” of the company he becomes conflicted with the feeling of not being able to come out and speak with Alice, but also enjoying his time seeing the actors up close. During his trip he realizes how much he enjoyed his work of following the unsuspecting, what with having to come up with a different disguise periodically so as to stay unnoticed.

Henry didn’t keep to himself though, he making the same friend in each stop they collectively made, the actor not seeming to ever recognize him, but consistently open to and aiding the blossom of friendship. One night Henry gets an invitation from the comedian, Walter to smoke cigars with him, a sign of great respect since the man was fairly popular in general society, anyways. Walter, after getting Henry comfortable, comes right out and asks him who his mark is, everyone in the company knowing he was undercover, but not knowing who the lucky target was. This dose of reality surprised Henry to pieces and we learn how he’d been able to fool himself into believing the people around him could be tricked by his odd disguises. Walter goes on to describe how the company only made bets on what he’d change into next rather than doing more entertaining pastimes and Walter revealing what nickname they’d given Henry, he being taken aback and embarrassed and revealing nothing about who he was following. When Henry gets up to leave, Walter tries to implore him to confess whom he was following and everyone being excitedly awaiting to know who the winner was, but also due to Henry happening to be their best unofficial mascot, Henry not only being invited to stay and socialize amongst them, but to drop the disguises altogether. Henry then figures he may as well stay on at least so he could speak with Alice freely, but still wouldn’t relinquish information on whom he was tailing since he could still do this unhindered.

The next night Henry looked for Alice on stage, finally able to approach her, but having the greetings cut short by her being in the midst of waiting to go on stage for the acting “action”. We are then introduced to another woman whom no one in the company liked due to her snobbery and lack of talent and then being told of what the play the company was performing in was about, Henry vigilant on the look out for Alice, who played shrubbery and a background dancer at times. After his first approach gave no hint to her feelings, Henry plays his only hand, once Alice is back behind the curtain, asking for hers, she not being able to answer for having to go back on stage, he becoming so in need of a response from her, following blindly to the point of tripping and falling on stage with such color during a song normally taken by the crowd soberly, they were brought to their feet with shouts of approval. The same night Walter commends Henry on his fortuitousness due to what his actions had brought, Walter offering him a job with contract to stay on with him in the troupe, Henry at first not certain he could get along, but then thinking of Alice and making his decision. The ending is a bit open, but one can perceive it is a positive outcome for Henry.

Extricating Young Gussie is of course the bud of Gussie’s character being presented as we see with the start by the narrator, presumably Bertie describing Aunt Agatha when he’s awakened by Jeeves to announce of her arrival. Bertie goes in and immediately takes in her grump of a look and how she was seated in his chair. His Aunt begins by asking about his plans for the coming week and Bertie, sensing his answer had value on how she would proceed, stating of having plenty of tasks he must do, but being unable to quantify specifics, is told he will be going to America after Gussie who has holed up in New York and was making a fool of himself, his Aunt being unable to “get at him”. Aunt Agatha describes the goings on of Gussie’s time there and his foolishness stemming from his love of a girl in vaudeville, which ran in Gussie’s blood, his mother being on vaudeville at one point herself. Bertie describes his fascination of heredity and how Gussie seemed to have gotten the love-bug of vaudevillians, but his Aunt poo poo’s his enchantment to unveil to him he’ll be going to New York to stop Gussie.

When Bertie asks for a reason why, his Aunt gives him a laundry list of reasons to make Bertie realize his qualifications for the job and knowing she would make him regret his decision if he declined. So Bertie is sent off to New York, but upon arriving, in the early morning no less, he is unable to detect where Gussie was supposed to be, and discovers a bar. After sharing with one of the waiters what had happened to him and looking for a suggestion of drink, he gets one which the man had come up with and it doing it’s work, Bertie makes his way out and takes a look around the city. As he sight-sees, he gets the feeling New York tends to give to people, the static energy of being in the middle of a live city at no matter the hour. As Bertie walks up and down near Times Square and gives up caring if he sees Gussie, he spots him going into an office. When he catches up to him and realizes the office is occupied by one of the theatrical variety, Gussie surprised, asks what brought Bertie there and when he came in, the return answer and conversation which ensues confiding why Gussie wasn’t registered under his own name and professing of his love of a girl which Bertie was hesitant of ruining and so felicitates his good fortune. Gussie was then going to proceed listing to Bertie why he was in the office when he sees the object of his need and bum rushes Mr. Riesbitter before he could get to anyone else in the cramped waiting room which works out well for Gussie, landing a job and then going on to mention to Bertie why he’d gotten into show business.

This does not calm Bertie’s nerves in the least and decides he must wire back to Gussie’s mother for reinforcements, knowing he isn’t the best player for his Aunt’s relationship-smashing job. When Bertie has the chance to see Gussie rehearse for his first upcoming performance, he believes if he lets nature run its course, he won’t have to do anything to tear the happy couple up, due to how unfortunate Gussie’s acting skills seemed to be. The two get through the rehearsal which occurs for hours on the weekend and when Monday rolls around, Bertie, having planned a wonderful lunch at the time of Gussie’s first performance, couldn’t understand how he would be starting at one in the afternoon, so Bertie gives up his plans in order to give moral support and once getting a seat, which he chooses solely to ogle the pretty girl next to him, Gussie comes bounding and tripping on stage to begin his debut, which he bombs with the atom variety getting himself off-stage, but only temporarily to have to reappear and sing a song which fortunately blended well with his failure to impress with the start of his set list, leaving Bertie with the woe of the lyrics Gussie was singing, up until the young lady seated next to him stands and starts belting out the song which abruptly shuts Gussie up and embarrasses Bertie to no end. When he goes to see Gussie after the two finish the song together, Bertie realizes Gussie had been saved by his fiancée’s good will in keeping Gussie squared through his obviously difficult debut and was then glad he’d sent for help, he being out of his depth, which he is relieved of when his Aunt Julia, Gussie’s mother gets into town, she seeing Bertie in a similar way to his Aunt Agatha, but quietly so.

Bertie’s Aunt asks why he had cabled her and he decides it would be better if she saw firsthand what the issue was, they being seated to a show, which his Aunt looked on, reminiscing of her own youth. Bertie then makes sure his Aunt is aware to pay careful attention when Ray’s turn comes and her opinion of the girl is positive, Bertie then takes her to where Gussie was about to perform, she seeming a bit mystified by the end of it, but Bertie assuring her they would be going to only one other spot for her to meet Ray’s father and then she could decide what would be done about their impending marriage. When they arrive, his Aunt Julia seems to get quite a shock upon seeing Ray’s father, Joe and vice versa, which puts Bertie in a state of disarray. The two are now ignoring Bertie and catching up with delight and Joe reveals how he’d loved Julia since they’d first met and it causing him to leave England, Julia then supporting his daughter marrying her son, which Joe hadn’t put together by this point. The next few moments puts Bertie off so much, he backs his way out the door and hails for a taxi which then brings us back to Bertie’s room and how he was dealing with trying to reply to a more recent wire from his Aunt Agatha when Gussie comes in to break the news he’d been surprised with when he and Ray had gone back to her father’s place, Bertie asking to be left alone to ponder his reply and figuring an extended stay in New York might be in his immediate future. After reading this, it makes me want to go back and read the others which correspond after this one, and one day I’m sure I will.

Wilton’s Holiday has us see from an unknown Narrator’s standpoint how Jack Wilton would not be pegged for someone with any problems in his life, but for one who could be turned to as a rock of stability for others. Spencer Clay is the first to figure out what was going on with Jack and was known for his fact-sharing nature with the town of Marois Bay and used his skill upon Jack when he’d gone to unwind his tale of woe and got a woe-ier tale in return. We then learn  the details of his terrible experience, and boy is it a doozy. The townspeople at first walked on eggshells to not aggravate Jack’s terrible loss, but after realizing he maintained his sunny and lighthearted disposition, reverted back to their normal ways, allowing him to dictate how to treat him with his optimistic and humorous outlook. Everyone had time to get used to these developments when a young lady, Mary Campbell came to town, which our Narrator couldn’t see the attraction to, but Jack apparently was among those who could, albeit he could draw the attention of any girl in Marois Bay for looking like a hunk. We then are told how the Narrator becomes privy to Jack’s other sad story, he describing to our Narrator himself about his asking for Mary’s hand and being turned down, the details of which are given, as well.

Jack then goes on to supply details of his first confession containing fallacy, revealing his reasons which are fairly reasonable upon the relating, this being Jack’s holiday and not wanting to be treated like he was in his home town, but now suffering the consequences of his lie. In return, the Narrator gives unsound advice and the town sees the results of this after Jack confides the truth to Mary, the two no longer speaking to each other, after which the Narrator apprises us of there only being a second-hand account of the details which follow, we learning Jack didn’t take Mary’s release of him well, seeming deflated, whilst Mary didn’t acknowledge his existence from then on, which Jack took by wearing a pensive look in her presence. The Narrator mentions the absurdity of he taking this, but Jack still defended her sensitivity, somehow still taking pleasure in her “perfection”. We move forward to a time when Jack decides to take a walk on the beach and upon realizing he was becoming over-heated, sought some shade from some rocks and once getting comfortable in his misery, falls asleep for the rhythmic sounds of the sea. When he awakens with a cramp in his leg, he then sees Mary had decided to set up a sitting spot nearby, she believing he’d followed her and he, too caught up in his sadness to realize they were there for the same woeful reasons. After she is told it was purely chance they’d both come to the same spot and fall asleep, she walks off and Jack, wanting to leave as well, had to give her time to walk off so it wouldn’t seem he was following her, waiting uncomfortably, for a wind had picked up.

When Jack thinks she would’ve had enough time for him to start walking, he sees her coming back and believes she’s changed her mind about him after all, only to get shot down with her words being about the tide coming in and needing to go another way around, Jack thoroughly freezing through his thin suit now and a little resentful she’d had all this time to walk around whilst he had to wait and continue to ice over. When she comes back again, the two don’t truly realize what her words of being trapped in the cove would mean for them, but once she sits on a rock for not knowing how else to leave and a wave laps at her feet, she starts to understand their danger, hers especially for not knowing how to swim and bringing this to Jack’s attention who stays firm with his chilly and chilled exterior until she sounds so plaintive he melts with her words of fear, he only wanting to know if she’s forgiven him, she not understanding why he’d ask her a question seemingly so insignificant at the moment, but confessing her true feelings and he finally coming out with the knowledge the tide doesn’t go past a certain rock, having been trapped there once before, she emitting a sound which told of surprise, respite and outrage, she starting the questioning every girl has experienced if having dealt with men, deciding to stay mad at him for a few moments before it begins to get quite cold, coming back to ask whether he’d be interested in snuggling due to the worse chill to come, he accepting without words and the story ends sweetly.

The Mixer – I starts with us having a Narrator we learn is a dog, whom gives description of his job, as a newly purchased pup beginning when the Shy Man became his new owner. Our Narrator describes his life before being bought (which had given him a great sense of responsibility) and how he had a predilection of getting under people’s feet and making mischief in the place he was born (being a bar and the owner entitled to both being mentioned), our Narrator giving reason for his impatience to be hereditary. He then describes of his first meeting with the Shy Man, he having a nap with his mother and how she’d begun to growl, he not taking notice of it anymore since she growled at everyone other than their Master. When our Narrator realizes the Shy Man and their Master was talking about him (due to the mention of being ugly, which he was quite aware), he then opened his eyes and took stock of the Shy Man, the Narrator being chummy with all men, a sociable sort. Our Narrator comes to the opinion of the Shy Man being shy by how he didn’t talk much, which doesn’t turn out to be the case, the Shy Man quickly showing what kind of a master he would become, getting the Narrator to calm down through physical remonstrance.

They walk for what seems like a hundred miles to the pup and when the Shy Man is close to home, he’s stopped by a policeman who makes sure the Shy Man will heed his advice in getting out of town, the Shy Man stating of going to the country and the Narrator impressed a policeman would be so concerned with the Shy Man’s health. When they get into his room, our Narrator couldn’t help but ask and talk about all the possessions he’d kept himself until then, the Shy Man again commanding him to be quiet and when our Narrator continues to babble excitedly on, getting another example of why he believed the Shy Man was so shy. They go off to the country during the night and our Narrator is taking in the scenery of finally experiencing the country and asking the Shy Man if he was going to be a caretaker of one of the large homes they were walking past, he demanding the pup to shut up once more and our Narrator acquiescing. They walk to a cottage where the Shy Man greets another man, Bill with familiarity and they discuss why he’d bought a dog, the Shy Man giving a valid reason, for the jobs they were planning and after they enter the cottage and the pup falls asleep, being awakened by a scratching at the door and knowing how a dog is educated to react to such a situation, begins barking.

The man comes in through the window, turns the light on and whacks our Narrator with a stick, this procedure occurring nightly until our Narrator finally decides to try the opposite of his mother’s sound training, believing her views to be narrow and not having dealt with as shy a man he was owned by, the next night staying quiet and getting rewarded for his silence (positively for once). When the pup had learned this, the next phase of the Shy Man’s plan was put in to effect, being of which his approach to a large house and asking if the man needed a watch dog, the old man in question surprised and pleased since he had been, his other having met an untimely death, he paying for our Narrator and the man leaving. The Narrator was at first unaware of the Shy Man’s absence, but soon changed and he began pining like dogs do until he heard a familiar sound from his old life, being a man, Fred’s motor-bike, our Narrator excitedly running outside when the old man opened the door, we learning our Narrator’s nickname at the bar (an uncommon one in today’s society, but acceptable in the times, I presume…). They all go back inside and have supper, the Narrator setting up camp in the other dog’s basket, but not being able to sleep for his excitement of seeing Fred and smelling rats, investigating and then hearing a noise he was used to hearing during his time with the Shy Man and not barking like he normally would, but waiting and listening, unsure and wondering if it could be his old owner and surprised to learn it was.

Our Narrator, being an extrovert he is, was a little underwhelmed by the Shy Man’s welcome and began to think of ways to help him cure his shyness, plotting of how he could get Fred down there so the two could meet without scaring off the Shy Man before being able to do so. Our Narrator comes up with a solid plan and slips away quietly for the Shy Man being preoccupied with grabbing some objects in another area with his back to the pup, our Narrator going off to get Fred quietly and fortunately after successfully waking Fred, he hearing the Shy Man walking around downstairs and grabbing the rifle his father had given him and going downstairs to confront the Shy Man, our Narrator about to introduce the two when Fred shouts and ruins all of the Narrator’s hard work, the Shy Man jumping out the window and our Narrator after him, Fred following and the pup catching the Shy Man’s scent which ended at a tree, he not seeing anything, Fred believing the man had got away, but our Narrator hearing the branches go and making it known he was up there, still wanting the two to meet and getting his wish even though they didn’t turn out to get along as well as our Narrator hoped, the police coming for the Shy Man and Fred and his father giving our Narrator enough treats to ease his mind about his friendship-making skills. The first half of this story reminding me of a funnier Lady: My Life as a Bitch.

The Mixer – II I’ll list like a second story, even though it looks in the book like a chapter more than a story unto itself, which may be a trick, since the Narrator of this one gets knocked down by a chauffeured car and taken in by a young boy, a Master Peter, naming him Fido, our Narrator not having liked the name, but knowing a good situation when it hit him and deciding it must be the bad which came with this good fortune. Peter seemed to have to convince everyone he’d decided on this dog, Fido to be his, the nurse-maid being the first, his mother the second, she revealing to Peter of his father being a stickler for pedigree dogs he may not like his choice, his father then walking in, but in the end accepting Peter’s firm decision on keeping Fido since he’d not been denied before and why start now.

Peter then takes Fido for his bone, given to him by Cook and then going out to the kennels where all of Peter’s father’s prize-winning dogs stayed, Fido knowing it wouldn’t be pleasant and being spot on with his assumption, the two moving off to the stables where he meets a little terrier called Jack who was owned by one of the grooms, he giving Fido sound advice about not wasting time having fun with Peter since the boy seemed to have a short attention span for the items he loved and would be better off getting favor from one of the adults before his two weeks were up. Jack was sure to make it known it wasn’t Peter’s fault, but his parents keeping him cooped up and away from other children and giving him games to idle his time away, making the boy jaded. Fido soon learned Peter certainly did treat him like his only friend and would describe to him fantastical tales of Indians and pirates making homes near and on the lake nearby. Fido finally gets a taste of what he would be in for if he lost Peter’s favor when Peter’s father gets him a toy plane and how Peter didn’t speak with him the whole time until it broke. Fido then tries to put Jack’s words of getting in with the adults into action, but not starting off well when he chases a guest up a tree whom he hadn’t met until the next morning of the man’s visit. He then makes a real enemy when he tries to play with Peter’s father, mixing signals when he was playing golf.

Fido’s final faux pas happens when there were women visitors in the drawing room and Fido was waiting for cake, but then seeing what he thought to be a rat and trying to impress the women, since he knew women hated rats, he decided to capture it, but upon throwing it across the room and it emitting a bark, surprises the dukes out of Fido, he apologizing to the rat dog before being attacked by everyone in the room, Fido taking refuge under the couch with embarrassment, but the damage having been done, Peter’s mother commanding the butler, Weeks to get Fido and tie him in an empty stall in the stables until such a time as a man could be gotten to shoot poor Fido. He stays tied there for such a long time as to believe they could have forgotten about him when he hears steps and realizes it’s Peter, he untying him and deciding they’ll go through the woods to a city of diamonds which he’d told Fido about earlier. Peter takes Fido as far as he can get before collapsing in the dense wood, tired and pretending he wasn’t scared and making up a story where Fido came to rescue him in the woods, the two falling asleep and Fido being woken in the night by sounds and light, he defending the boy until he found his father was there and Peter, half asleep is sharing the story he’d made up earlier, his father believing Fido had saved Peter from kidnappers and from then on Fido being an esteemed guest. This one ending as nicely as the first.

Crowned Heads – Katie’s story starts with her being unaware she’d be the one to be whisked off her feet, due to believing she played a minor role to her friend’s life, other than one time having been complimented on her eyes whilst Genevieve was constantly told of her good looks and receiving advice to get into show business. Genevieve also had a particular way of speaking which gave the impression of royalty rather than her “menial” role as a model at Macy’s which is why Katie was surprised a man had decided to choose her after seeing Genevieve, the situation making it clear the young man had snubbed her friend for herself which angered Genevieve all the more since she was the one whom had spotted he and his friend as proper gentlemen to escort them on their outing to Palisades Park. Genevieve thought they’d be suitable by their looks and personalities, designating whom Katie would socialize. Upon deciding this, Genevieve approaches them, Katie getting uncomfortable, not ever having gotten used to Genevieve’s ease at engaging new people. Katie knew there wasn’t anything wrong with Genevieve’s ways, but couldn’t get used to it, making her more reserved.

The young man she was walking next to lets her know he can read her feelings, she embarrassed, but confirming his supposition, he stating of seeing her difference from Genevieve and Katie regarding his words by mentioning her friend’s goodness, quick to back her up. The young man claiming Genevieve may be too nice which makes Katie inquire further about his reasons for making conversation with Genevieve if he knew he wasn’t interested, he confessing it was to get closer to her. This new knowledge was so outlandish to Katie, she walked on with the young man in silence. She had thought herself unattractive and unnoticeable by the opposite sex and so knowing the young man held interest in her was overpowering. Katie then began considering his liking her must be a mistake somehow, due to the young man’s princely appearance, presumably all in her mind, and this possibility of he being truly attracted to her was scary for her to accept. He makes conversation about whether she’d been to the park or Coney Island before, surprised her answer to the contrary on the latter, advising she should to truly enjoy the park and mentions other festivities she would have to see, realizing she must not take many trips. He then enquires what she did for a living, Katie replying she worked in a second-hand book shop (a dream of mine which has yet come true) which was a family owned business, he learning her last name once hearing what the shop was called. He then asks what they should do, Katie thinking they should go back for their friends, but the young man suggesting  a couple different ideas, Katie settling on ice cream and their walk.

Katie regards her companion more comfortably, but not feeling the need to ask more about him yet, regardless of the looks she’d noticed some boys giving him as they passed. As the day wound down, he shares of having decided to visit her at her work sometime, giving his name finally, Ted Brady, and where he could be found, then upon seeing Genevieve, bids Katie goodbye. When Katie is reunited with her friend, Genevieve wouldn’t speak to her on their way back which didn’t bother her like it usually would, too caught up in her pleasant day. When she arrived back at the shop to see Mr. Murdoch, her grandfather’s board game buddy and a glass-cutter, he confides being glad to see her and confessing he’d upset her grandfather with news of suffragettes in the paper. Katie eases Mr. Murdoch’s mind to not take it seriously and goes to see her grandfather, discovering him still bristling over the news. Katie suggests he write a letter to the government and shares how he could begin which settled her grandfather’s temper greatly. We then get back-story on Katie’s grandfather’s delusions of grandeur and the latest one being the first to last as long as it had. When first dealing with his illness, it had brought her to the end of her ability to cope, but now she knew how to get through it.

Katie set out her grandfather’s breakfast and updated Mr. Murdoch on having handled the situation. We then are told of her grandfather’s pastimes and how he spent his time at the park in good spirits. Katie, now her circumstances having changed, believed herself uniquely lucky, what with being content with her work, liked caring for her grandfather, and had Ted Brady to look forward to adding to her schedule. Ted making good his promise of visiting, was plain and forward with his reasons for doing so, not being smooth at all. Their second meeting consisted of he presenting Katie with flowers, unceremoniously, sharing with her random facts about himself and referring she speak with anyone who knew him for corroboration. He also confides of not having been in a serious relationship nor being interested in anyone until seeing her, his body language conveying honesty of his statement, and the time he visits after, planting a kiss on her and putting a ring on her finger. Katie was then comparing her proposal to the ones she’d heard Genevieve relate when she’d been asked for her hand and noticed Ted had a serious and reserved countenance in comparison, but regardless to his unemotional countenance, Katie was quite happy with it.

Although after sharing the news with her grandfather, she was no longer as happy; It wasn’t caused by Ted’s social standing, job, or personality, and when Mr. Murdoch found out who Katie’s fiancée was, he was surprised a celebrity such as he would choose her as a suitable spouse. He then shares Ted’s position at the Glencoe being more important than Ted had let on. So when she received this news, she believed there wasn’t anything to worry about when approaching her grandfather with her plans, but regardless of Ted’s status, her grandfather believing he was royalty gave him pause to Ted being good enough. Katie didn’t believe his response and knew she wouldn’t be able to change his mind. Katie then taking the information to Ted whom handled the news optimistically well, but Katie clarifying of they needing to get her grandfather’s blessing and couldn’t go behind his back, considering his illness and how much her grandfather needed looking after. Ted believed it shouldn’t be a problem, mapping out their wedding plans and time frame, concluding if her grandfather had issue with their decision, it would be his own concern, but Katie maintaining the shock of her disobeying would be too much for him and continued to try having Ted understand, which once he had, wasn’t pleased at all, thinking of alternatives, one of which being to visit the old man and becoming resolute after Katie attentively agrees, making sure he’d be kind to her grandfather. After they meet, Katie is updated on they not getting any closer to an accord, but Ted having been designated an Earl, they not giving up. Genevieve even tries to help after her wounded pride had time to heal, they struggling to come up with something within the next two weeks.

Ted’s friend had come close to a decent plan which involved getting Katie’s grandfather to Washington Square to stage a fight where Ted comes out the victor and the old man deciding to allow the marriage proceedings because of his show of courage and strength; Ted approved of the plan, but once Katie heard it she thought they would need to give it another thought, believing her grandfather’s ability to handle such a situation could only end badly. Katie then shares with Ted of needing time apart, since only seeming tortured by their suspended status. Katie coming to this painful decision after many sleepless nights. She considered their state of inaction not fair to Ted and he should feel free to look for a girl whom he could get gratification with more ease. He obeys her request unenthusiastically and Katie continues caring for her grandfather who had forgotten this moment in Katie’s life, wondering why she didn’t seem as happy. During this time, Katie was a bit jealous of the girls Ted had access to meet and the ability to help him forget her. The summer comes and goes after which we see Katie sitting on the book shop’s steps in September, feeling the first breeze after the intolerable heat of summer. She finally having stopped thinking of Ted and closing her eyes to listen to the sounds around her when she hears his voice. He conveys wanting to see her grandfather, she reminding him the uselessness, but Ted insisting on speaking with him and when he begins, Katie overhears the start of their conversation, her grandfather then excitedly calling for her. Katie’s grandfather has trouble sharing the good news of Ted’s status, but he now had no objection to their betrothal. Outside Ted confesses what process his plan had gone through, feeling guilty for lying, but seeing no other way. So the plan worked in their favor and the story ends abruptly, but satisfactorily.

At Geisenheimer’s – We begin with a first person Narrative about the lady we follow not being happy and unable to feel content, all usual entertainments and pastimes uninteresting. We learn she’s gone to Geisenheimer’s, a dance club/restaurant and whilst looking for a table, is noticed by a man who comes up to her and identifies her as a Miss Roxborough, he seeming to know her and she realizing he was from the country, confessing she didn’t remember him after he introduced himself as Ferris. He claimed the last time they were there, they had danced together, she learning the time he referred was the year before and being told his first name was Charlie, he wanting to dance with her again and she of the mind she must do so if asked. She relates how the country theme seemed natural for her day starting with like thoughts, after their dance, Ferris exhilarated and asking how common Roxborough came to the restaurant, she not revealing she was paid to dance there and the rules requiring her she not confide the truth, since patrons wouldn’t take the knowledge well in regards to whom won the contest they had every night.

Roxborough and another girl would win a cup for the dance contest every other night, but she claiming it wasn’t technically rigged, considering it was possible anyone could win, it’s only the two girls must be the best dancers each night, so management made the requirement for they to act unknowing. Ferris then states how great New York was and speaks familiarly to her about he wanting to move there, but having responsibilities keeping up his deceased father’s drugstore and making it quite lucrative, he then sharing of having gotten married during their time apart, and Roxborough berating him for acting single and leaving his wife alone, but Ferris replies his wife was in the restaurant, pointing to the balcony and Roxborough having noticed the lady earlier, looking sad, posing the question to Ferris, he thinking she was having a fine time and after being asked why he wasn’t dancing with her, he confessing she didn’t dance much and was good enough in their hometown in Maine, but needed to take a backseat in New York since he believed he was more agile.

This news understandably upset and angered Roxborough, she deciding to pawn him off on some friends for not feeling like dancing anymore. After doing so, Roxborough goes to the balcony, noticing how country-looking the girl seemed and not knowing how to begin speaking with her, decides to announce she’s going to sit by her and after, surprising her by stating the obvious of having been dancing with her husband, she agreeing to have noticed. Roxborough then felt such a renewed anger, she again had violent thoughts toward Ferris for how he was treating his wife and making her feel. Roxborough then offers a friendly ear for the young lady to unload her troubles to, she at first hesitant to do so with a stranger, but Roxborough putting her reluctant mind at ease after asking her a preliminary question of why they’d come to New York with summer about to hit, she revealing of being on their honeymoon and Charlie having been set to going back to New York, she not liking the city because it scared her and sharing a story of a man whom lived in the same town who’d gotten married, come to New York for his honeymoon and his wife comparing the city and men to their hometown which upon returning home, became restless and not being able to settle. One day she runs off and the man is still waiting for her return, even after three years passing, he not thinking of divorce.

The story shocks Roxborough and upsets the young lady, she convinced the man’s fate would soon be hers as well. After getting another eye-full of Charlie, Roxborough considers the good possibility of what the girl thought, the music then stopping and an announcer speaking of the contest about to begin, Roxborough knowing this was her cue to go down on the dance floor since management constantly worried about a night when one of their hired dancers wouldn’t show and someone random winning the cup, which then gives Roxborough an idea, ushering the young woman with her to dance in the contest, Roxborough having to win her over with the idea. After she succeeds, she retrieves her ticket and one for the young lady, Mary, then going to Charlie to inform him he would be dancing in the contest with her, they going on the dance floor which had filled with all the hopefuls, and as everyone started dancing, numbers were called and the dance floor emptied until it was only Mary, her dance partner, Roxborough, and Ferris, unaware for staring at his feet.

Roxborough started to notice Mary was getting applause for her efforts, knowing people were being struck by her look and being reminded of what they missed about the country. The announcer knew he would be in for it since he was going to have to pick the couple who hadn’t won over the crowd, then the last losing number is called and Charlie finally takes a moment to look up, believing his wife was still on the balcony, but being surprised to see her on the dance floor, everyone cheering her on. Charlie is properly flummoxed and Roxborough makes sure to bop him over the head with his stupidity, they getting a drink whilst waiting for Mary to join them. Roxborough then notices the announcer across the room looking distressed by having to inform the boss of the new winner of the cup. Roxborough attempts a look of encouragement toward him before continuing her plan to keep Charlie properly hooked to his wife by mentioning Mary relating the story of the young man whom lost his wife to New York and he needing to get her back home before the same happened to him.

Charlie seemed to have taken the bait and when Mary comes over and says how she wanted to have been dancing with him, he speaks of she being a marvel and suggests they go show the trophy off at home tomorrow, the two voicing how they were over New York and Roxborough excusing herself. She walks to the announcer who was speaking like an African native, but with anger and less comprehension. Roxborough claims to not have remembered which number was for whom and it being accidental Mary had won and to explain to the boss they had made a new couple happy, the trophy being a wedding gift. The announcer was so enraged knowing Roxborough had done it on purpose and would relate to the boss of it, she confessing her plans to resign anyways, having felt unfulfilled for awhile and planning to return to the country to her (big reveal) husband. This one was cute and enjoyable, quaint and some old-timer ideas, but good indeed.

The Making of Mac’s refers to a restaurant which by now no one called MacFarland’s anymore and the place was shrouded in mystery. It is described as an out-of-the-way spot, but somehow was popular among theatre people. So the question is brought to the only waiter who had been there the longest for his opinion, which is detailed next. Henry, the waiter begins with when the place opened, Mr. MacFarland doing so fifteen years prior. His wife had died and he had a son, Andy, and a daughter, Katie, whom was the child of a dead friend and was adopted.

Henry lists Andy’s attributes as being stubborn in those days and how he differed from the typical child’s behavior, which he grew into, rather than out; Katie meanwhile, was the favored. Henry skips forward to MacFarland getting lucky when acquiring our Narrator, Henry and Jules, whom was from Paris and a phenomenal cook. Henry had taken the job which was technically a step down compared to his previous position, but had conflict with the head waiter and had left after insulting the man. MacFarland treated Henry like a brother and would share his dream of sending Andy to Oxford College until he made it come true. Then giving Katie a job as a cashier which must have helped the business for she getting more beautiful in her sixteen years of age, plus Jules’ cooking and Henry’s service rounding off the reason for popularity.

Katie loved to dance which no one knew for she being secretive about the time she’d spend doing so. During those days, Andy was about to go off to college and Katie is seen by Henry later, crying and blaming a toothache. After, during Andy’s second year in college, MacFarland had a stroke which leaves him bedridden indefinitely and so Andy quits college to run the restaurant. Henry shares his empathy for Andy’s situation and tries to look on the bright side, which unfortunately costs him a tip, after which, Andy has to inform him of the man shouting for him, he being told to focus on his work.

Andy soon shows his dedication to his new position and once hiring more servers for the increase of business, proved his worth by how he cracked the whip and the new hires being eager to fall in line. Then Henry shares of a day when it was only he, Andy, and Katie, the two not realizing he was in hearing distance and he learning of they being more than friends and Katie’s plan to leave for show business. Andy though, by this time was actually the boss since his father had died half a year ago and was now Katie’s guardian which didn’t make him prone to allowing her to go, which is when Katie mentions having been attending a school and practicing for years for this opportunity, but Andy being adamant, Henry knowing if Andy had gone about asking her to stay differently, he would’ve had a better chance of her giving in, but Andy was head-strong and so Katie maintained her resolve, the two parting ways.

Henry keeps an eye out for news of Katie, soon discovering articles about she being a hit, but the play falling short; Henry showing one to Andy and he not being receptive. The restaurant stayed open late and one night it was dead until eleven at night when a group of four came in and one of the party was Katie. She greets Henry familiarly and threatens to share a story he’d have chosen to keep in the past unless he didn’t greet her warmly in return, he not wanting to rock the boat. Henry was noticing her uncommon behavior as she introduced her group and realized it was due to she being nervous of the possibility of Andy appearing, he doing so as if by synchronicity, but after he sees her, walking back out and Katie asking Henry if Andy ever mentioned her, repeating how well he looked before and after they were ready to leave, knowing he must still be angry with her.

The next night Katie returns for supper with a bigger party and as MacFarland’s continued to gain notoriety, Henry and the chef, Jules became more excited by the buzz until Henry figured how it happened and confronted Katie about how gratified he was by the foot traffic they were gaining due to her bringing people there. Andy still refused to acknowledge Katie and she still asked Henry if he did, but due to the increase in business, Henry and Andy made sure they didn’t lose the momentum, working harder; even whilst Henry related the story, the restaurant still doing well.

Henry was satisfied with his story-telling abilities until being reminded by the listener of what had become of Katie and Andy, continuing with how Henry had become tired of Andy’s snobbish game of ignoring whom all his good fortune had come and one night it seemed Andy was close to stating his thankfulness to Katie as she was about to start dancing to the piano music playing from the show she was in, Henry overhearing by discovering a spot to clean nearby. What Andy was about to state to Katie though, was she not being allowed to dance there, he “obliged” to her efforts of bringing in business, but not needing her help and wouldn’t have the place turned into a “nightclub”. Katie sits, but one kid in her party starts a ruckus in support of her dancing, Andy walking back over to request he keep his voice down, but the young man had too much to drink and tried to smack Andy, he reacting by depositing him outside and the scene fouling the mood, but for the better, getting an overflow of business which now required reservations, and Katie not returning, Henry noticing little other than considering her response a natural one. Then on Henry’s night off he receives a letter which shocks him.

Katie not knowing Henry would be back before one in the morning and he going off to the room above him which she had rented and told no one until writing her whereabouts in her letter, he making time to save her from her own actions and she breaking down, he suggesting they go to his apartment so she could explain why she was being irrational and helping her due to seeing she was limping. When she sits and relays what had happened to her since Henry hadn’t seen the news in the paper, he makes sure she won’t doing anything rash in his absence and goes to the restaurant to inform Andy of the letter Katie sent him which gets the reaction Henry was hoping it would induce, even after knowing she hadn’t succeeded, Henry making it seem it was still a possibility and the two rushing to Henry’s apartment. When Katie and Andy see each other, they embrace and Henry leaves to give them privacy, attending the latter half of a music-hall which wasn’t interesting due to needing to be in the right state of mind to appreciate them. Another warm, tender love story which has a nice pacing, but makes me yearn for more details.

One Touch of Nature starts with J. Wilmot Birdsey in line to get into the Chelsea Football Ground, he being happily content with life, even whilst he had the darkness of his future in the depths of his mind, he not letting it concern him on this marvelous day. Mr. Birdsey was attending the first baseball game since leaving New York five years previous due to his daughter, Mae marrying the sixth Earl of Carrickstead, Hugo. Mr. Birdsey, wanted to stay close to his daughter, so moves to England, and he being an easy going fellow, was at the whim of his wife and daughter besides being a businessman, wearing these hats for twenty years, but he being quite crushed by the aspect of not seeing a baseball game, presumingly ever again, until two formidable teams had announced their date of a game he could finally partake.

Mr. Birdsey also met two men who he could relate whilst watching, he seeing them as buddies from youth and reuniting on a foreign land, also not wanting their good company to be finished, so deciding to invite the men to dinner. We then learn each man’s attributes and the ways they reacted whilst watching the game. Birdsey decides first to ask the young man, whom agrees, but when trying to get the attention of the elder man, startles him, but still sallies forth to give his invitation. In the end, Birdsey obtains his guests, but realizes the awkwardness to come, regardless of their like-minded interest. Mr. Birdsey was resolute in making the dinner memorable for the good, though and the young man, seeing Birdsey’s look, starts speaking with the older man, whom again responds as oddly as he had before, looking stalked, and responding with a shake of his head. The young man is convinced he recognized him, though and continues questioning, Birdsey figuring midway through introductions were in order, learning the young man was called Watterall and the older, was Johnson he having moved from New York for his health.

Watterall inquires further and explains recognizing faces isn’t only an obsessive hobby, but helpful in his profession. Birdsey could sense Watterall’s explanation wasn’t making Johnson any more at ease and decided to relieve his tension by speaking positively about Algiers, Johnson’s current residence which didn’t go well, but fortunately being saved by the waiter with their champagne, helping Johnson explain his reaction which allowed Birdsey to return sympathy to his discomfort. Birdsey still believed the conversation needed saving caused by the serious content so turned the topic to the game they saw and Watterall confiding his reason for attending were for his job as a journalist. Birdsey than confesses what event he was missing by scheduling this dinner afterward, which then led into a puzzling exchange between Watterall and Johnson.

Watterall reveals Johnson’s real name and where he now remembered recognizing him. Birdsey was sympathetic and in awe of the lengths Johnson had gone, risking being caught only to see another game of baseball. Birdsey then tries to convince Watterall to keep the discovery to himself, failing, and he calling Scotland Yard for someone to claim Johnson. Birdsey is shocked by his lack of camaraderie, and Johnson breaks down knowing he was sunk. Mr. Birdsey was still until seeing Watterall’s body language which to him seemed too self righteous and so literally springs to action, knocking Watterall down and shouting for Johnson to flee, which he does, and when seeing he was safely gone, gets up. Watterall is dumbfounded by Birdsey’s reaction, he explaining fans must stick together, especially those who’ve been “exiled”. Watterall then inquires what he could possibly say to the police when they arrive, Birdsey having put him in an awkward position. Birdsey states they’ll be easy compared to he making up with his wife. This was an odd story, easy read, but underwhelming due to the style of thinking.

Black For Luck brings us into the mind of a black cat (similarly of course to The Mixer) of simple means, but was noticed by Elizabeth which gave him time to play it cool, albeit still suspiciously, the two staring each other down, the cat twitching his tail reprovingly, although changing his attitude by bumping his head against her dress and allowing her to pick him up, she going to the janitor to inquire if he knew whether the cat belonged to anyone in the building, he confirming the cat’s homelessness. Elizabeth then decides to house the cat, the janitor declaring black cats to be lucky, which Elizabeth wasn’t opposed in acquiring. She brings the cat to her apartment thinking it possible he may wish to escape, but upon exploration cried to her and she agreeing he was right to ask for what was wanted, supplying him with sardines and milk, he being of easy disposition.

Elizabeth then decides to call him Joseph and the cat doesn’t wait long to take run of her apartment. Joseph brought normalcy to the place until one day disappearing, Elizabeth looking out her window after searching her place and seeing Joseph sitting on a young man’s balcony, his name being James. She goes to James’ apartment to retrieve Joseph, but James insists the cat inside is his, called Reginald, and once Elizabeth deduces how and when he’d obtained his cat Reginald, insists on his return regardless of bribes of a plentiful amount of cats. James then explains why he’d decided to take in his Reginald, Elizabeth soon agreeing with his “logic”. After, the two began seeing the other’s reasons for wanting the cat, both arguing why the other should keep him. James then suggests she come visit them both since being in a similar situation of not knowing anyone in New York. The two also being writers was another bonding point, she thinking him to be successful with his writing due to he mentioning a play he had written, which was debuting soon and being modest about his success, this quality endearing James to her all the more.

Before the week ended, Elizabeth felt as if she’d known James since youth, but she still feeling James was missing something from his back story, she revealing all the details of where she came from and how she got to New York. When James spoke it was of his college years and Chicago, briefly and then sharing details about his play, leaving Elizabeth to draw the conclusion by the finish of the second week of James being quite destitute and his play being his world. James made this statement so often, Elizabeth started giving it more reverence than the projects she had in her own career, but she thought the play was wonderful and the two were happy, until James had to start attending rehearsals which left him with down spirits which Elizabeth would drop everything to help him regain optimism. The two were nonetheless still satisfied with their relationship until one quiet evening (of which they had many, but more pleasant).

Elizabeth held a grudge this night, having received the news of being given the position of love adviser in a column, but when sharing her good news, is met with barely an acknowledgement and soon hears of all the issues James had to endure at rehearsal, Elizabeth no longer sympathetic and the two sitting silently afterward until James, whom had lost his mind, lunges at her and she at first shocked and then angered, struggling away from him. She leaves his apartment as she barely hears James, probably trying to either explain himself or apologize, she only knowing forgiveness being out of the question. From then on, she avoids James, easily enough and one day opens her door to observe a note and the newspaper. The note is from James, asking for good tidings since his play was finally premiering and the paper showed of his definitive failure, Elizabeth taking a moment to process what she’d read, then dressing and going down to buy the other papers, having beforehand realizing her feelings for James.

Elizabeth rushes back to knock on James’ door, he answering looking drained and she rushing to him, he taking the opportunity to propose, and if her answer was to accept, he would cease to care what the reviews said, she being a dope and agreeing. Joseph then rushes out, smartly, Elizabeth stating they were better rid of him, not believing in the luck of black cats anymore, but James disagrees, sure of Joseph having brought him plenty of luck. Elizabeth sharing on keeping them afloat on her new job’s salary, but James revealing how he had hoped she’d return with him to Chicago where he had a family business to go into, his father the rich sort and James’ writing being an experiment to see if he had the talent as well as the passion. They are then burst in upon by another neighbor whom Joseph had chosen, James sharing the value of Joseph and the neighbor rushing back to be sure the cat didn’t leave. The story ends with James repeating Elizabeth’s thoughts on the horrors of his family business back to her when it came to the dealings of the pigs before being turned into sausage. Once more, this story isn’t as strong as the former half of this collection due to how much it relies on the fantastical view of how females were supposed to react to stupidity. Oh, well.

The Romance of an Ugly Policeman introduces Constable Plimmer and his route for keeping the peace including Battersea Park Road, which was made up of artists and intellectuals, not making it a cesspool for crime and essentially impossible to prove worthiness for promotion. Plimmer saw his time there as a vacation of sorts, which he wasn’t necessarily upset due to the abuse he’d taken in his previous city. Battersea was a welcome, peaceful change, until he began to have the old familiar itch for action and instead receiving a love interest. Plimmer discovers her behind York Mansions where all the liveliness lay; Rich people were fairly boring, obviously. We then are shown an interaction between a goods dealer and kitchen staff in the roles of Romeo and Juliet, but with different temperaments.

Plimmer then meets the girl around noon, she asking the time and inquiring how long Plimmer had worked there, she stating of having arrived three days earlier and Plimmer hoping she thought the town pleasant, she replying the milkman being nice and Plimmer immediately despising him because of the girl’s review. Plimmer was well acquainted with the milkman, and his good looks, he charming all the girls, which the thought of sent Plimmer on his way, seething of his misfortune being caused by a career which shouldn’t have any effect on someone of his status. Plimmer soon realizes Ellen, the girl he spoke with, was in love with Alf, the milkman when she was about to post a letter which Plimmer offered to deliver, noticing to whom it was addressed. Elizabeth doesn’t take his nosiness well and gives him a taste of her wrath, Plimmer deflated by her description of him which he saw the truth in. Elizabeth’s next question was posed for an answer to continue to fuel her anger, and instead was surprised by its simple affirmation of Plimmer truly being jealous and moving along due to silencing her, she continuing on to post her letter and noticing Plimmer’s retreat.

Plimmer wanted nothing more than the drama of his former beat in Whitechapel, he growling to himself until an old lady screams from an upper window for him to come quickly inside. Plimmer welcoming the possibility of a drunk husband to smack around, but when the old woman meets him at her door, notifies of a theft being made by her cook whom was currently locked in her room, the old woman’s husband then stepping forward to admit to taking his wife’s money, but no more than once, the old woman allowing this to be true, but having missed money more than this, as well as a brooch, leading Plimmer to Ellen’s room, the two entering and Ellen giving the brooch back once asked by the old woman, she then denying she hadn’t taken the old woman’s money. The woman then confirms of she making a formal charge, Plimmer escorting Ellen to the station. As they walked in the sunshine, Alf was awaiting Ellen around the corner, she being late and then seeing her with Plimmer, at first thinking it was by choice, then realizing Plimmer was on duty, Alf admitting after the fact of not reacting well, he choosing to walk by her like he didn’t know her.

After a few more steps, Plimmer stops and with difficulty commands she run, to go after Alf, but she, being hurt and surprised by his inaction had changed her view of him, but Plimmer still insisting she leave, knowing what would happen if she was sentenced to prison, the least of which being her hair being cut. Ellen asked him why he would sacrifice his job and freedom for her, he knowing she already knew, but confirming his love for her. She then decides she can’t let him get in trouble for her sake and insists he take her in no matter how hard he argued for her to flee. As they get closer she asks if he’ll be there to greet her when she’s let go, Plimmer making it plain he’d be there no matter what and to think of considering him to be a better suitor than Alf whilst she served her time, she asking what those close to him called him. This one is better than the last couple and ends more nicely than I’m willing to describe only since the best way to do so would be to quote and if readers haven’t yet read the story, they should uncover a copy or search for it in the usual spots online.

A Sea of Troubles brings us directly into Mr. Meggs’ decision of taking his life, letting us know of the struggle he’d gone through to reach the inevitable conclusion. We then learn Meggs had come to this because of terrible stomach pain caused by indigestion and his love for food. He had tried many tonics for the pain to no avail and was the perfect candidate and age type to fall victim to his own hand. When he was younger, his meager salary kept him from the types of food which would give him this pain, until receiving his legacy, from then on living in luxury with no one to warn him where his appetite and lack of exercise would lead. One moment Meggs was feeling fine and the next, pure pain, so one June morning we are seeing Meggs ready to end it all. The day outside was like any other and Mr. Meggs was calm with his resolve as he had checks on his desk which stated all of his wealth. He had gotten joy from the decision of whom would receive them, those of which were some of his office friends. Since he didn’t know whether he had a remote relative alive somewhere, he forewent making a will and instead drew the checks for sending directly to those he deemed worthy. He methodically readied the checks to be sent and then poured a bottle, the liquid we are not privy, into a glass.

Mr. Meggs had also thought considerably on how he would do the deed, most possibilities being too messy. He then calling his stenographer, whom was an uptight steely demeanor-ed soul, and we then discovering the history Mr. Meggs had gone through to obtain her. As she enters, Mr. Meggs is satisfied with himself for remembering her unwavering loyalty. She, ready to take more notes was unexpectedly treated to a smile instead, which she took to mean something other than his intentions. He regarded her years of employment they’d shared whilst giving her the letters to post and dancing around the point of wanting to gift her for she being a long vigilant employee, planting a kiss on her forehead, he again meaning it quite differently than how it was received and paying for it, she going off on a tirade of the unprofessionalism he’d displayed. After, he tries to explain the misunderstanding, only to be interrupted repeatedly, and making him realize the error of his decision to include her among those deserving of his gratitude, demanding she leave, which she does, noting his scale of anger. Once alone and pacing in fury, it hits him how premature his plan to kill himself had been, realizing people shouldn’t be bestowed such a grand offering he’d almost mistakenly given and death by his own hand not being the answer, preferring to endure his periodic pain, but then noticing the letters were gone and he getting them back would require quick action.

Ms. Pillenger was doing her final task for Mr. Meggs by posting the letters, but then hears and sees him straining to catch up to her. Ms. Pillenger immediately believes he is trying to profess his love to her and dashes off, noticing no one on the street to help her. The woman is obviously demented as we learn details of what she thinks would happen and what the headlines would read about her story in the paper. As they continue down the street though, citizens begin to take curious notice of the scene due to the area’s penchant for being boring. Then, when Mr. Meggs finally lays a hand on Ms. Pillenger, townsmen swoop in to her aid, Mr. Meggs tries to wheeze his reasons as Ms. Pillenger has her say of what occurred and a hilarious suggestion from a bystander is given in response (Monty Python-esque). Mr. Meggs finally expresses his want only for the letters’ return, then the constable shows signs of the scene no longer having a possibility of attempted murder, the crowd dispersing, and Ms. Pillenger handing the letters over, also vowing not to return, Mr. Meggs not arguing. The next day Mr. Meggs wakes happily and realizes the running had made him feel better and would continue to add it to his daily regimen, regardless of the slight pain he sometimes felt, knowing he had the upper-hand. Funny one, which I felt worth the time.

The Man With Two Left Feet mentions a myth which is supposed to be known to Americans involving a man called Clarence MacFadden. The man, like Happy Feet, yearned to dance, but didn’t have the correct foot action to support his affinity. Clarence though, detects his opportunity to seek a coach, of whom remarks he’d have to spike the price due to the challenge involved. We then learn Clarence may not have had the most innocent reasons then the love for it would have been. Henry Mills, meanwhile was an incessant reader and had taken up dancing for the love of his wife, but dreamed of coming home from work to read, of all things, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, taking notes and determined to read it in order. Since before meeting her, this is how he liked to spend his time. We then get a flashback of Henry before marriage during a vacation, deciding to go to a bed and breakfast sort in the country (this being the scene of where Henry met his wife, Minnie).

The circumstances were simply being one night as Henry stood at the shore of the lake, believing the bugs he slapped around him couldn’t possibly be mosquitoes for being of the era where taking the word of an ad instilled a loyalty they wouldn’t lie, he sees Minnie walking along the edge of the lake in his direction, the two make eye contact and Henry greeting her. Conversation was slow going at first, but Henry soon found the reason for she looking worn was caused by dancing in the city, Henry having trouble continuing their chat for not having read far enough in the encyclopaedia, but had remembered some facts on Ballet, which impressed her jaw to dropping. She compliments his factual knowledge and admits to wishing she’d had time to read (don’t we all) and confiding of her assessment to his wonderfulness. Henry was flummoxed by being a fascination to the girl for not having been one before, and walking back to his room, he didn’t even notice the non-mosquitoes bleeding him out, as he laid in bed, realizing he was hit by love. They spent the rest of their time together until Henry travels back to New York, relating to a co-worker of his plans to marry the next week, surprising his co-worker greatly.

We learn Henry’s first year of marriage is idyllic, the two’s lives seamlessly meshing, she adapting to his schedule with ease, the only difference being he’d read from the encyclopaedia aloud to her. They had a consistently contented life, Minnie no longer looking pallid and withdrawn. On their anniversary they celebrate at a popular Italian restaurant, see a musical comedy, and end the night at a restaurant near Times Square. Henry having a particularly romantic view when dining in expensive restaurants which reminded him of certain types of novels, which is when we learn of the restaurant being one we’ve been acquainted to before. Henry truly felt at home in the busy music and conversation-filled atmosphere. He then notices and is recognized by a Sidney Mercer whom looked like he was doing well, they chit chatting, and he learning of Henry’s marriage upon hearing the reason Henry was there, and then sharing his own change of career. When asked why Henry wasn’t dancing it brought to his own attention the reason this was so, he not being of the disposition, then when Sidney offered invitation to Minnie, she declining, Henry was convinced it was for his sake, but he tries to show his acceptance and watches the two dance, making him wonder of his true age being thirty-five and no longer feeling twenty-one. Henry then starts to realize the age difference between he and Minnie as she danced, making it more plain how old he was and how bored she must be for only being read to at night and not having dance be a part of her life anymore.

When the song ended and Henry had discovered a jealousy along with his loathing feelings for Sidney, he noticed how youthful Minnie had looked returning to their table, and once they were in a cab returning home, Henry had come to his decision to learn to dance for Minnie before her birthday in a few weeks and by purchasing a book, thinking it would be easier and more convenient in keeping his plan secret, which he soon found to be quite difficult. When he resolved he would need an instructor, he then had the difficulty for figuring out a convenient time for having such a tight and regular schedule, deciding he must resort to deceptiveness which he hesitated upon the thought of due to it being the first time he would be doing so, struggling through with the update he was going to extend his exercise regimen to an hour more of walking, which Minnie accepted complacently. So Henry had some time to dedicate to learning to dance, his teacher not having had a failure other than one whom began lessons and soon after stopping for losing his feet in an odd way. What Henry wasn’t expecting was the pain he would acquire from his practice of dance, as well as the memories associated with this period of his life bringing such terrible and painful accompanying emotions. Henry also felt guilt with the method of instruction including the teacher’s niece, only reminding him how much he would rather be with Minnie. Henry also had trouble taking the criticism the instructor and niece would argue of how slowly his progress was compared to a previous physically handicapped student.

The instructor tries extensively to help him even though the process was painfully embarrassing to him, but he succeeded in slowly making advancement. As he continued he also perceived Minnie’s stagnation of their lives and no longer enjoyed being read to, he glimpsing her look of boredom, but instead of feeling distressed was excited to uncover his ability. Finally her birthday arrived and the first gift he gives is an accessory she’d been wanting , but was met with only a formal appreciation. When he then informs her of the plans he had for them later, she confesses of not being interested, but he being adamant they should celebrate and after he was out of work would meet her at the restaurant, he confirming he’d continue going on his walk after at first saying it didn’t matter, the two saying goodbye. As they take in his plans later, she is still lackluster and wants to end the night short, but Henry tries to maintain her interest for all the work he’d put in the last few weeks, finally making it to the restaurant which would conclude their night. He had a perfect vision of how he hoped his unveiling would play out, which he partly foresaw correctly, but the successful completion playing a bit out of his favor, leaving him a laughing stock. When they returned home Henry was full of remorse and confesses what he had truly been doing with his extra hour per day. Minnie then revealed her side of seeing him exit his instructress’ house one day and why she was so tired when they first met, she not regretting in the least of ever having to dance again and would much rather listen to Henry read, she confirming this by bringing him a volume, not caring it wasn’t in the chronology they had started, the two content once more. Ridiculous and cute; A fine way to finish the collection, and now on to more!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Year One)

My first experience with this story must have been colored by the fact I wasn’t reading it in paperback form, but on my computer at the time; I knew my feelings must have been harsh for a reason since this time around I am reading it in the way I’m most comfortable and it happens to be more enjoyable.

We begin with Mr. and Mrs. Dursley being introduced and how they’re quite normal, then going over Mr. Dursley’s career and Mrs. Dursley’s pastimes of snoopery, as well as their perfect son, Dudley. They also harbored a secret, it being Mrs. Dursley’s sister and her husband, the Potters who were no longer visitors of the Dursley’s and shunned as being family at all. We then learn the day the story truly begins being a normal one, but an owl passes their window and none notice, proving otherwise. Mr. Dursley is the first to notice, but not accepting the oddness of the day, as he’s driving and seeing a cat looking at a map and then reading the street sign, he going along and looking forward to setting drills for himself.

The next thing Mr. Dursley notices was the excess of people in cloaks, which seemed unnatural and invaded his eyes, but when the light turns, he again forgets about it for having arrived at work. He goes to his office where he sits away from the window which helped make his morning quite normal, but if he had looked out the window, he would’ve noticed the surplus of owls swooping down and it wasn’t until he goes off to lunch does he notice the cloaked people again and overhears their conversation of the Potters and specifically of their son, Harry, Mr. Dursely almost pausing to say something to them, but deciding against it and continuing on his way.

Mr. Dursley is ready to call his wife about the hearsay, but again decides against it, knowing his wife would become upset and when leaving work for the day, almost knocks an old man down, who also is in a cloak, the old man not phased and speaking to Mr. Dursley of how he should be happy You-Know-Who has departed and he, as a Muggle, should be glad of it and then getting a quick hug, which completely puts him off and has become so unsettled, he gets home as quickly as he can. When he reaches his drive-way, he notices the same cat on his wall and he tries to shoo it off, it not being bothered by his loudness and so leaves the cat be, entering to be greeted by his wife who’d had a normal day, he watching the news after Dudley is put down to bed.

The news announces of the strange owl behavior and how their seemed to be a meteor shower rather than the rain the weatherman had reported, the man again promising rain, after which Mr. Dursely succumbs to his notion of needing to ask his wife whether she’d heard from her sister recently, she reacting badly as expected. They both then prepare for bed, Mr. Dursley still noticing the cat on the ledge and wondering whether all the strange happenings had anything to do with the Potters. Before he goes to sleep, deciding regardless of the signs proving otherwise, his family couldn’t be affected and we being told of the reality of his belief.

We then see the cat, seemingly waiting for someone, an old man in a robe appearing, he being introduced as Albus Dumbledore and not noticing the cat at first, but being amused upon seeing her, he proceeding to put the lights out of all the nearby lamp lights and then sitting next to the cat and speaking to her presence there, naming Professor McGonagall. She transforms and begins to rant of how obvious some were being as to how they were celebrating and the Muggles noticing, Professor Dumbledore being exceptionally reasonable about it all. Professor McGonagall questions whether You-Know-Who’s disappearance was true, Dumbledore believing it was. As Professor McGonagall tries to continue speaking of him, Dumbledore dissuades her from continuing not saying his true name, Voldemort. Professor McGonagall acquiesces to his familiarity and tries to confirm the rumors of Lily and James Potter being dead, Dumbledore’s reaction to her mention of this proving the rumor to be true.

Professor McGonagall continues to wonder aloud how Voldemort could have been overcome by their son, Harry Potter and being unable to kill him, Dumbledore asserting they may not uncover the answer. Dumbledore then checks his strange watch and declares Hagrid being late and how he planned on leaving Harry with his Aunt and Uncle, Professor McGonagall aghast at such a thought since she’d surveyed them the whole day. Dumbledore insisted, though and told of a letter he’d written to them explaining his reasoning of they being the best placement for Harry and how he must be told of his past when he got older. He going on to explain it would be better for Harry to grow up in an environment which didn’t suggest of his fame at such an early age.

Professor McGonagall accepts his reasoning and wonders why Dumbledore had entrusted Hagrid to spirit Harry to the Dursley’s home, they then hearing a loud noise getting louder until a motorcycle drops from the sky in front of them. Dumbledore makes certain everything had gone accordingly and inquires as to where Hagrid had gotten the hog, he having borrowed it from Sirius Black. Dumbledore then gets down to the business of leaving Harry at the Dursley’s doorstep, Hagrid giving the boy a tearful farewell which scares the bajoolies out of Professor McGonagall and tries to comfort the giant man. We see the trio leave one by one and watch as Harry has a few more hours of blissful sleep, to be woken later by a screaming Mrs. Dursley and unknowing of all the toasts to his survival.

We then go forward ten years, the only signs of time passing being the pictures on the walls, none of which showed Harry existed, he then soon being awoken by Mrs. Dursely’s shrill voice. She wanted Harry to keep an eye on the bacon for Dudley’s birthday, Harry getting ready and going into the kitchen where Mr. Dursley barks at him to fix his hair. When Dudley walks in and counts his presents, he’s on the verge of throwing a fit for not having the amount he thought proper, his mother alleviating the rise to tantrum-mode by bargaining there would be many more later on. After, Mrs. Dursely gets a distressing call which will make it so Harry won’t have a sitter during the time of Dudley’s outing. Dudley tries to get his parents to keep Harry from going, but in the end there isn’t any other choice and Mr. Dursely makes sure the threat of Harry doing anything odd is going to have dire repercussions. Harry was determined to have the day go correctly for wanting to be able to enjoy himself at the zoo, as well.

When they arrive, everything works out fairly well and Harry even gets a few treats inadvertently from the Durselys since Dudley was being a picky brat. After eating, Dudley goes in search for the biggest snake in the reptile room, when it doesn’t move even after the demand of pounding on the glass by Dudley to his father, Harry steps up and communicates, to his surprise with the snake, Dudley’s friend being first to notice the snake was moving and calling Dudley back over, he knocking Harry to the ground and the upcoming incident beginning. Harry is, of course blamed by Mr. Dursley who promptly sends Harry to the cupboard with no meals upon their return home. As Harry waited in the cupboard for the Dursley’s to fall asleep so he could sneak into the kitchen for a meal, he remembered confusing images from his early childhood which he believed must have been part of the car accident his parents were killed in and then he remembers the odd people who would sometimes display respectful gestures in the street, they vanishing before he could get a good look at them.

Harry ended up getting his worst punishment which left him in his cupboard until summer, Dudley then getting ready to go to a private school and Harry going to the local public school. He also wasn’t as tortured at the house of the old lady who had broken her leg since she didn’t suffer him through cat pictures anymore and Harry had a great time seeing Dudley in his school uniform which could make any boy look like one of the characters in Blandings or an eccentric person going fishing. Then Harry is sent to fetch the incoming mail where he notices a letter addressed to him, but dazedly brings them all with him into the kitchen, it being taken from him before he could unfold the paper to read it, Dudley and Harry both getting thrown out of the kitchen where the Dursleys discussed what to do about it, Mr. Dursley deciding nothing being the best policy.

Harry then gets a visit from Mr. Dursely inside his cupboard to inform him he’ll be using Dudley’s second bedroom from then on instead of the cupboard as a sleeping area, Mr. and Mrs. Dursely believing they could be spied somehow due to the specifics of how the addressed letter to Harry had been written. The stakes slowly get higher as the amount of letters increases, finally breaking the record when a torrent rain down the chimney on a Sunday pushes the family packing up and going to a hotel, but even there not being left alone, Mr. Dursley then taking them on a road trip which concluded to a hut on a rock a bit of a ways at sea. Everyone’s asleep but Harry, who is awaiting his birthday-to-be in a few minutes and when he’s on the last second, someone has knocked on the door.

Mr. Dursley soon comes in after the crash of the door, threatening the intruder with his rifle, but Hagrid having entered, decided he would take the rifle out of the game by bending it, he then greeting Harry, introducing himself and giving him a slightly sat-on birthday cake. Hagrid then explaining his job at Hogwarts, surprised to learn Harry hasn’t heard of it. Hagrid then having to confess the story which had made Harry and his parents famous. Hagrid shares how know one knows how Harry had saved himself, but the possibility it had weakened Voldemort somehow has excited conversations amongst the wizarding world since it happened. When Hagrid circles around to Harry going to Hogwarts, Mr. Dursley makes another attempt of stopping Harry, but doesn’t win and withdraws himself and his family from the room. Hagrid then dodges a question from Harry about how he’d gotten expelled from Hogwarts, he giving Harry his coat to keep warm in response.

When Harry is conscious the next morning, he doesn’t want to open his eyes for thinking last night was a dream, but then believes his Aunt was tapping his cupboard door to get him up so when he looks to glimpse an owl at the window, tapping and Hagrid asleep on the couch, Harry is pleased to realize it was all true and goes to open the window for the owl, Hagrid advising him to pay him for bringing the newspaper with coins in his coat. They then get on their way to first stop at Gringotts to pick up something for Dumbledore and some cash for Harry’s supplies for school. When they go through the Leaky Cauldron and are stopped by everyone within so they could greet Harry they also meet one of Harry’s soon-to-be professors, Professor Quirrell, a stuttering man who taught Defense Against the Dark Arts.

Harry and Hagrid move along after everyone had their chance to meet Harry, then going out the back so Hagrid could uncover the archway which connected to Diagon Alley. Harry was fascinated by all the shops, but their first stop still being Gringotts they don’t stop to window-shop, getting to the bank and entering to see a second door with an inscription to any thief and then Hagrid directing Harry to one of the goblins so they could get inside the vaults for Dumbledore and Harry, we not being privy to what Hagrid needed to pick up for Dumbledore. They stop at Harry’s vault first and get enough money to last him two terms, they moving down deeper to Dumbledore’s vault to pick up the package requested, the trip making Hagrid sick.

When they exit Diagon Alley, Hagrid leaves Harry for a revitalizing drink at the Leaky Cauldron whilst Harry got his uniform, his first stop. He meets another student whom he grows to dislike the more he speaks to him and when his fitting is finished, is glad to go out to meet Hagrid who’d brought ice cream. They next pick up his quills, parchment, school books, and all the while Hagrid explaining Quidditch and the school houses, which were brought up by the boy in the uniform shop.

After going to a couple more shops for his supplies, Hagrid decides before they continued on to get Harry’s wand, he’d get a birthday present for him, insisting he’ll buy his animal after which, they go to Ollivander’s, Harry being a bit unnerved by the man’s eyes since he didn’t seem to blink. Once they begin the search for Harry’s wand, though (it taking longer than the movie made it seem) Mr. Ollivander detects Harry’s wand was the brother to the one which gave him his scar. They get burgers before Harry’s train leaves to take him back to the Dursley’s, Hagrid giving Harry some security with the words of being there for him if he needed help with the Dursley’s, giving Harry his ticket for when the start of school begun and Harry watching Hagrid as his train left the station.

Harry is treated differently by the Dursley’s after this, which made Harry’s last month there a conflicting experience for him since the family essentially ignored him, a bit of an improvement, but left him feeling more isolated, as well. The day before Harry is to go to the train station, he asks for his Uncle to give him a ride, which he allows only because they were heading in the same direction to get Dudley’s tail removed. When Mr. Dursley takes Harry inside, he becomes his old dreadful self again and leaves Harry to locate his platform himself, he trying to figure out where his platform was and not getting help from the guard, instead noticing a family talking familiarly and following close enough to hear them, but still couldn’t see how they were getting to the platform desired. He eventually asks the mother of the boys, she informing him how it was done, he surprised after discovering she was right, seeing the platform and the train he would be taking to Hogwarts. As Harry is trying to get his case on the train, the twins who he’d seen go through the barrier to the platform asked if he needed help, he accepting and they noticing his scar and going back to their mother to let her know who they’d all had met.

When the train leaves, Harry is visited by Ron, one of the boys he’d gone through the barrier with and his twin brothers, George and Fred Weasely introducing themselves as well, they going off to see what the hairy animal one of the other boys had brought and Ron sitting with Harry, the two talking of concerns of Harry’s about school and the two then sharing Harry’s newly bought stash of snacks. When Ron is about to test out turning his rat, Scabbers yellow again Hermione walks in with Neville who had already stopped by to ask if they’d seen his toad, she staying to watch Ron try his hand with the spell and it not working again. Ron was in the middle of explaining the game of Quidditch when Draco Malfoy introduces himself with his cronies, he being the boy from the robe shop and disbelieving Harry Potter was in the compartment. Harry makes it clear to Malfoy he knew what kind of people he wanted to be friends with and before the train gets to Hogwarts, Ron and he change into their robes and are escorted with the other first year students by Hagrid to the door of Hogwarts.

Professor McGonagall then takes over, leading the students to a small room where they would soon enter the Great Hall, the place they would dine and be sorted into their houses. All the first years were nervous of this process, but soon found it would be easy enough to take part in, Harry having to wait awhile before his turn came up, but ultimately pleased with the results, Ron soon seated next to him and everyone beginning to make conversation as their dinner plates filled with food. Hermione was conversing with Ron’s older brother Percy who was a prefect, about what they’d start learning in class and others were getting background on who came from a Muggle family. When their meal ended they had a few words from Dumbledore of what was forbidden on the grounds and a warning to stay away from a particular corridor for it being dangerous, then the houses were led to their dorms.

Harry now was dealing with students gawking at him and doubling back to get a good look at him whilst he tried to navigate where his classrooms were, the halls changing and doors not being doors all of the time as well as having certain requirements to open. We then get a background of the kinds of classes Harry had and how Professor McGonagall was impressed with only Hermione’s ability to change her toothpick into a needle-like shape, no one else having succeeded. Harry gets a message from Hagrid setting up tea for later in the afternoon and also learning how Professor Snape hated him when he’d gotten to his Potions class. Harry ended up losing two points for Gryffindor, but Ron saves Harry from making it worse when goaded by Snape, the two then going to Hagrid’s after class. Harry is reassured by Hagrid as well, of Snape not liking most students and Harry then read an article about Gringotts break-in which brings more questions to Harry’s mind.

Harry then likens Malfoy to Dudley with the similarity of they seeming to be equally hated by him, going on to mention how they only shared one class until learning to fly being added, the only other class which Gryffindor and Slytherin both would be learning together. When the class starts, Malfoy gets a sobering taste of reality which Harry and Ron both savor whilst Neville, scared at even trying to fly, is first to get off the ground and come back down quickly with an injury. When their teacher had left with Neville in tow, Malfoy takes the opportunity to make more trouble by going off to throw Neville’s fallen Remembrall into a tree, Harry following with skill he didn’t know he had and Malfoy making it a little more difficult for Harry to retrieve the item, but doing so with grace, tumbling to the ground when he lands, Professor McGonagall calling him out when he does and Malfoy with cronies have a good smirk at his expense as he’s led off by McGonagall, he thinking he’s surely about to be expelled and instead both going to collect another boy from a class to confide to both privately of Harry being perfect as the new Seeker, which confuses him.

When Harry reports the news quietly to Ron and is congratulated by Ron’s brothers a little time after, Malfoy comes to taunt Harry a bit and they both end their conversation with a meeting later which would involve a duel, Hermione showing up to notify how risky it was to be accepting something so blatantly against the rules, Harry and Ron both ignoring her. Later during the night they get caught by Hermione on their way out, she informing them she’d tattle to whomever caught them since she was stuck with them now, the Fat Lady from the painting having wandered off leaving her barred from the dorm with them, Neville turning up also having been locked out for not knowing the new password, the two following Ron and Harry.

When they reach the destination agreed upon and Malfoy not being seen, they do notice Mr. Filch nearby, Hermione taking the opportunity to disclose what Malfoy’s plan must’ve been all along, the group runs off only to be given away by a mischievous ghost, but being saved begrudgingly by Hermione who used magic to open the locked door they’d stopped at and learned after was occupied by a humongous three-headed dog, the bunch running out and not spotting Mr. Filch, he having gone to look for them elsewhere once being strung along by the ghost, everyone making it back to their common room in one peace, Hermione being the only one to notice the dog had been standing on a hidden door in the floor and Harry thinking he’d discovered where the small package Hagrid had withdrawn must be, the group then going off to bed.

We see Malfoy has been watching Ron and Harry, they having stayed at Hagrid’s all night discussing if the secret package which had been stolen was dangerous or valuable in some way. After this, they all agree they desired only to pay revenge upon Malfoy, which comes a week later when the mail arrives with a package and letter for Harry. Ron and Harry ascertain the package held his new broomstick which Malfoy was ready to out Harry for in front of a professor outside their dorm, but is thwarted by the chosen professor for already knowing the circumstances Harry was allowed the broomstick, Harry giving Malfoy the credit for having the opportunity, Ron and he getting a good laugh out of it once walking off. Their good spirits are interrupted by Hermione breaking her vow of silence to question whether Harry believed the outcome of his breaking the rules was a reward, the two essentially ignoring her.

After their classes Harry finally unwraps the Nimbus, Ron and he properly impressed by its awesomeness. Harry prepares for his evening practice and first good look at the Quidditch field. Since Oliver Wood hadn’t shown up yet, Harry gets some flying in and when Wood appears and Harry lands, he then realizes Harry’s talent, they then focusing on the rules of Quidditch which Harry picks up fairly easily, getting an example of how the Bludgers and then the Golden Snitch acted once released from their bonds. When the rules were explained and understood, the two then practice with tennis balls in lieu of the Snitch since darkness was falling, Wood pleased with Harry’s performance, the two calling it a night after they’d finished.

We then go two months into the future when Harry had been practicing Quidditch with the team and not noticing time passing for being so busy, then seeing their Charms professor pairing everyone off to finally try making physical targets fly, the students all excited at the prospect. Hermione and Ron were a bit peeved to get paired with each other though, since she’d not spoken to them since the broomstick debacle and Harry getting paired with another student. Hermione puts Ron in his place when she tries to fix his pronunciation and then demonstrates successfully once he goads her, but after class Ron speaks with Harry loudly enough for Hermione to hear his hurtful words which Harry makes him aware of as Hermione pushes him out of the way, he noticing the look on her face, and Ron ill at ease once he’s told. The two then hear of Hermione crying in the girls restroom from another student, but the boys are distracted by the Halloween decorations to go alleviate the situation yet.

Once they are ready to eat though, Professor Quirrell comes in with unsettling news of a troll in the castle which Dumbledore then orders all Prefects to guide their Houses back to their dormitories and as Harry and Ron are walking back with the others, Harry remembers about Hermione’s whereabouts and informs Ron, the two then going back to warn her. They don’t get far when they hide behind a stone griffin, seeing Snape rushing past and then smelling nastiness and seeing a large shadow heading towards them, the creature moving through a doorway before reaching them and the boys locking the door behind the monstrosity, happy to have the troll trapped until realizing it was in the girls restroom and the boys needing to return and unlock it once hearing Hermione scream.

The two try to distract the troll from Hermione to give her time to escape, but she is by this point too terrified to move, the troll now going after Ron who has trapped himself in a corner which is when Harry goes after the troll and sticks his wand up the troll’s nose, giving Ron a chance to try the levitation charm, it working and having the troll’s club knock himself out, the teachers soon coming to investigate and Hermione taking the blame, they all returning to their dormitory with five more points for Gryffindor and the three, now friends after undergoing such a dangerous fiasco.

We then make it to November when the chill is quite clearly frosting everything including the broomsticks, Quidditch season starting and Harry playing in his first game on Saturday against Slytherin. Hermione was a great help to Harry, for homework and history on Quidditch which he actually found useful and interesting. The trio are seated outside on the benches near the Quidditch field when they see Snape limping past and notice the three huddling together, they trying to hide a jar of flame they’d been using to keep warm, but he looking for a reason to get them in trouble, spotting the library book in Harry’s hands and not only taking points, but confiscating the book as he limps off, Harry not shocked taking a book outside was truly against the rules.

Later, as Hermione checked the boys homework, Harry decides he’s going to try to get the book back, going to the staff room and knocking, then due to not receiving an answer and thinking Snape could have left the book inside, opens the door for a peek, seeing Snape and Filch tending to the former’s wounded leg. Harry tries to shut the door again, but isn’t quick enough before Snape notices him, Harry asking for his book anyways and Snape shouting at him to get out. When Harry informs his buddies of what he sees and his thoughts on what Snape was up to, included his theory of Snape having something to do with the troll getting into the school, Hermione believing he may be getting ahead of himself, but Ron thinking Harry could be on to something.

Harry is riddled with questions which impedes his sleep, but also the look of Snape when he saw Harry, kept him pretty well rattled as well, the next morning bringing only more dread to him in knowing the Quidditch match would begin soon and not having the stomach to eat anything. Next we see Harry and his team-mates prepare to go out on the field, he still plagued with nerves until he sees his friends sign for him and the game starting, Hagrid joining Hermione and Ron once the Gryffindors had scored, wanting a better view of the game. Harry still wasn’t doing much for following the game plan, which was to be inconspicuous so he wouldn’t get attacked, waiting until he saw the Snitch. When another Bludger is followed, Harry then notices the Snitch and goes after it with the other Seeker following, the Slytherin team leader blocking Harry and making him go off course, Gryffindor getting a penalty shot.

Harry then notices something odd was happening with his broom, he realizing not long after, he couldn’t control it and it began to take him higher in to the air and buck him, Hagrid being the first to notice, before the whole crowd sees as well, Hermione taking Hagrid’s binoculars and seeing Snape whispering to himself, she believing him to be the culprit. She goes off to deal with Snape and once her plan is completed, Harry regains control and rides to the ground, spitting up the Snitch and winning Gryffindor the game. When Harry, Hermione and Ron get together after the game with Hagrid and discuss what they’d seen, Hagrid doesn’t believe for a moment Snape would jinx a student, Harry deciding to confide in Hagrid what they’d seen, Hagrid letting the information of “Fluffy” being his pet and accidentally revealing to the three whatever Fluffy was guarding was between Dumbledore and Nicholas Flamel.

Christmas was (Bill) nigh and the snow was getting thick and the hallways at Hogwarts were suffering as well, but Harry was fairly happy, even though Draco had gone back to taunting Harry about having no family since no one seemed to agree with his insults about his obviously skilled playing of Quidditch; Ron and his siblings would be spending Christmas at Hogwarts like Harry since their parents were off to visit one of their brothers in Romania. After their class with Snape in the dungeons and Ron costing Gryffindor five points for becoming exacerbated by Draco mouthing off, Hagrid invites he, Harry and Hermione to the Great Hall to see the progress of the Christmas decorations, they being impressed until Hermione reminds them of their date with the library books, Hagrid getting a surprise by what they were looking up.

After a search leading nowhere, they took a break for lunch, promising Hermione they would continue searching over the holidays. Ron also tries teaching Harry wizards chess, Harry borrowing pieces from another student which made the chessmen distrust him and would shout advice to him during the game for his lack of knowledge. The next morning being Christmas, Harry knew it would be a fun day, but didn’t consider the presents he’d get, they appearing at the end of his bed in the morning.

Ron and Harry opened presents from Ron’s mother and Harry gets a mysterious gift as well as one from his Aunt and Uncle before George and Fred burst in wearing their gifted sweaters and attacking Percy with his sweater when he comes in to investigate the noise, leading him away and talking of how despite Percy’s position as Prefect, he would be sitting with the family for meals, it being the holidays. The dinner was unbelievably impressive, as usual and even the teachers and Hagrid had loosened up for the festivities. Harry also got party favors which included his own wizards chess set which he and Ron, after having a snowball fight, play in the common room and Harry losing, this time blaming the bad advice he was given by Percy.

When everyone was ready for bed, Ron passes out almost immediately, whilst Harry couldn’t sleep for the mysteriously gifted present, realizing this was his chance to try the item out, letting Ron sleep. At first he couldn’t decide where to go until he remembered the library, heading there and getting into the restricted section, but when opening a book getting a terrible scare which got Filch to come, Harry fleeing and not paying attention to where he was going, soon hearing Filch behind him speaking with Snape, the two conversing about whomever had gotten into the library and locating them, Harry moved backward as they came toward him, due to the narrow passage, detecting an open door and being fortunate to not getting noticed, realizing he was in an abandoned classroom.

Harry then noticed a mirror in the corner of the room and made his way over to take a closer look at it, determining not only did he see himself, to his horror and surprise, but a crowd behind him as well, he looking around and observing he was still alone. It took him a few moments to come up with a feasible reason why he was seeing these people, believing perhaps they were invisible, at first. He then came to realize he was staring at his family, unable to tear himself away until hearing a sound which made him remember he couldn’t stay there much longer and promising himself he’d return.

In the morning he catches Ron up on his adventures of the night before and promises he’d be taking Ron along in the evening to see his family, Ron a little peeved Harry hadn’t woken him, but excited to see Harry’s family, then confessing to Harry how peculiar he looked. Later, Harry almost can’t locate the room again, but as Ron is complaining about turning around for literally having cold feet, he discovers the spot and shows Ron the mirror, Ron viewing a different sight from what Harry had seen, the two arguing about who got to look in the mirror after only a short time, then leaving when Mrs. Norris comes in to look around. When Ron sees Harry’s face the next morning he knows what he’s thinking about and tries to dissuade him from going back again, Harry ignoring him and again going to the room, this time Dumbledore there awaiting his arrival and making himself known when Harry goes straight to the mirror and sits in front of it, Dumbledore then confiding to Harry what the mirror actually did and how it wouldn’t be in the classroom anymore, telling Harry not to go seeking it out since he now understood it’s purpose.

Harry made good his promise, not using his invisibility cloak for the rest of the holiday season, but he having nightmares about his parents disappearing due to the experience of having seen them in the mirror. When Hermione comes back from break, she was shocked and disappointed at Harry breaking the rules and the boys not having figured out who Nicholas Flamel was, everyone continuing their search on breaks between classes, Harry having to juggle Quidditch practice on top of everything, which is where he found out the terrible news of Snape refereeing their next game.

After practice, Harry discovers Ron and Hermione playing chess in the Gryffindor common room, one of the only skills Hermione didn’t excel at. After Harry mentions Snape’s new position as referee, Neville joins them due to having been cursed by Malfoy, Harry comforting his looking a fool by giving him a chocolate frog, Neville returning the card, knowing Harry collected them which Harry then realized why he’d remembered seeing Flamel’s name, Hermione running off to get a book where she found an entry with Flamel listed, Harry and Ron reading the details. As the Quidditch match gets closer, Harry gets more nervous of Snape’s role and becomes paranoid of Snape following him and running into him in hallways, waiting for Harry to mess up, class being no picnic either.

Harry makes it to game day in one peace, though and is relieved to learn Dumbledore has decided to watch, knowing Snape wouldn’t do anything to him with the professor there, the game starting and Hermione and Ron sitting next to Neville, the two having practiced a spell in case Snape tried anything on Harry. Malfoy soon joins them and starts poking fun at everyone in his vicinity, getting on Ron’s nerves until he can’t take it anymore and jumps him, this happening right when Harry dives for what is presumably the Snitch. The stands erupt with shouts of happiness, Harry having caught the Snitch in what would seem to be record time, the game lasting barely five minutes.

As Harry was getting ready to leave the locker room, he spots Snape briskly walking toward the Forbidden Forest, Harry not being able to let it go and deciding to follow him on his broomstick. When he uncovers Snape had met Quirrell in the forest, he began overhearing talk of the Sorcerer’s Stone and threats to Quirrell if he didn’t help Snape in getting past Hagrid’s dog. Harry gets Hermione and Ron alone to share the news, they realizing the graveness of Quirrell being the only person between Snape and getting past the dog, regardless of the other enchantments protecting what they assume is the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Meanwhile, Quirrell seemed to be holding it together, but though his outer appearance seemed to show a slowly weakening bravery, he’d surpassed what would’ve been assumed his normal capacity. As this was happening Harry, Hermione, and Ron were checking periodically to be certain Fluffy was still present at his station and Snape was in his usual mood, which was presumed to mean the Stone was safe. Harry now tried to show his support to Quirrell with a smile of support whilst Ron started sticking up for him if someone found amusement in his stutter.

Hermione though, was too busy coordinating schedules and organizing her notes to spare any attention on the Sorcerer’s Stone, which Ron and Harry could have overlooked if she hadn’t been hassling them to follow suit. She maintained the upcoming exams were too important not to have begun studying for them earlier than she already was and the boys believed there was still plenty of time, but the professors were reacting similarly to Hermione, so the boys began to have no other choice, but to fall in line. Ron was the first to break since he protested loudly of the impossibility of remembering all which would be required on one of the first nice days they’d had since winter began.

Harry wasn’t paying attention until Ron acknowledged the presence of Hagrid and why he would be in the library, he hedging an answer and inquiring why the three were studying, thinking it was to do with Flamel, Ron easing his mind by confirming they’d figured the secret out long ago as well as what Fluffy was guarding, Hagrid trying to hush them for speaking too loudly and offering the group to join him later for a possible explanation, Hermione wondering what Hagrid had been trying to hide behind his back. Ron decides to investigate the section Hagrid had come from and comes back with books on dragons. Harry remembers how Hagrid had mentioned wanting one whilst Ron informed it was against the magical world’s law to own one due to the danger and being an obvious eye catcher  which would counteract staying under cover from Muggles as Hermione continues to wonder what Hagrid could be planning.

An hour after they go to Hagrid’s place and are immediately greeted with a fire blazing in the little room on the still warm day, Harry gets straight down to the topic of who else besides Hagrid was helping Professor Dumbledore keep the Sorcerer’s Stone safe, Hermione playing on his ego to get him to share. Harry is then comforted by the fact no one but Hagrid and Dumbledore knew how to get past Fluffy, Harry then noticing the egg near the hearth and after, asking to have a window opened, being shot down forthrightly. The three then began wondering how Hagrid would be able to keep his secret, whilst Hermione was now making homework schedules for the boys besides herself.

The one day Harry receives a message from Hagrid confirming of the egg hatching, Ron wanting to skip class to see, but Hermione keeping them in line regardless of the rarity of it. Harry tries to shut the two up for seeing Malfoy trying to overhear them and not liking their odds of succeeding in keeping their conversation between the three of them. The two continued arguing until agreeing to all go on their break to meet with Hagrid and he greeting them, flushed and excited at the door, updating them on the hatchling’s progress. The four gathered around the table to continue the watch of the dragon’s struggle into the world. The dragon made a quick exit from the egg not long after, Harry unimpressed with its features, but Hagrid gushing like a new mother until noticing a face in the window looking in, then running off.

Harry goes to look and identifies Malfoy, whom has a smug look on his face which makes he, Hermione, and Ron uneasy. Harry then tries to convince Hagrid to set his new little adopted son free, but Hagrid staying strong, believing the dragon was still too small to look after himself. Soon after, Hagrid comes up with a name and Harry continues his campaign to prove to Hagrid he must make a move soon for not knowing when Malfoy will out Hagrid’s (for now little) secret. Harry then remembers Ron’s older brother, Charlie could possibly look after Norbert the dragon until he’d be ready to go back into the wild, Ron excitedly agreeing to set it up with Hagrid’s blessing, he sadly acquiescing.

At night, Harry and Hermione were hanging out in the common room when Ron bursts in to report of his new bite given to him by Norbert, showing off and reporting of Hagrid defending “little” Norbert’s chomp, Hedwig then tapping the window for having brought the return letter from Charlie. They learn Charlie had agreed, but would need to have friends pick up the dragon discreetly due to the legality issues, the three coming up with a plan to deliver Norbert successfully. The next morning, Ron had a problem which he struggled whether to search for help at the nurses office regarding his hand and the possibility of Norbert’s bite being poisonous due to the affect of it changing Ron’s hand drastically, soon not having a choice but to take his chances with the nurse.

When Harry and Hermione go to visit him, Ron remembers through a conversation with Malfoy, he had taken a book from Ron and it had been a book which had the letter from Charlie within, the two now having to figure out how they were going to stop Malfoy from thwarting their plans. The night they planned on implementing their plans started late due to a hiccup with Peeves and his game of tennis on a wall, Hagrid taking his separation from Norbert hard and the two not as sensitive as they usually would be due to the gravity of the situation they were about to willingly walk.

Hagrid had Norbert properly prepared for the trip and the duo couldn’t figure out how they’d made it back to the castle in one piece with the crate between them, when they run into Professor McGonagall dealing with Malfoy in the hall, the group silently retreating toward darkness and once the professor had led Malfoy away, got to the roof without issue and made their hand-off to Charlie’s friends. Harry and Hermione going back down, believing all couldn’t get any better when they see Filch materialize to inform them of their true state, they having left the invisibility cloak on the roof, the goofs.

The two are immediately led to Professor McGonagall’s office where Harry tried to come up with a cover story and failing miserably. Harry realized the magnanimity of their situation and kicked himself for not remembering the one item which would’ve kept them under cover, the professor having every reason to expel them. Professor McGonagall was leading Neville out of her office and Neville, upon seeing the two, burst out with what Malfoy had tried to do, but was stopped due to the way Harry reacted and the professor noticing and stating how she couldn’t believe the story was true and they needing to explain the reasons for their actions for being out of bed at such a late hour, but upon not receiving an answer, trying to fill the blanks and after still not getting a response, gives the four detention as well as taking a significant amount of points from their house, leaving them in last place. Harry didn’t sleep at all as he listened to Neville’s sorrow from his bed and dreading what the other students would make of the terrible news.

It didn’t turn out well with either their classmates nor those from two other houses. Harry was so ashamed he vowed not to interfere in affairs which didn’t concern him and offered to resign from the Quidditch team, but Wood didn’t accept for the possibility of not being able to make up the points without Harry, and due to his terrible part in losing the points, the team was barely acknowledging him, making practice no fun. Hermione and Neville weren’t having an easy time either, but Harry took the brunt due to his celebrity. Meanwhile Harry, Hermione, and Ron instead focused on studying for the upcoming exam, which kept the two’s minds off their new statuses as pariahs.

Harry then had a moment which would test his recent vow to not get involved in situations which didn’t concern him a week before exams. Harry heard Quirrell inside a classroom sounding upset, rushing out and seeing his face was matching his voice, he not noticing Harry, whom looking in the classroom and detecting no one but a slightly ajar door on the other side of the room, had the opportunity to investigate when remembering his resolution and instead going to see Ron and Hermione in the library to express what he’d heard and believed whom Quirrell had been talking. Ron was getting caught up in the possibility of adventure when Hermione suggests the safer route of confiding in Dumbledore, Harry talking down the idea as well as getting involved at all and instead focusing on studying.

The next morning the two received notes detailing the time, place, and person they’d be meeting for their detention. Hermione and Harry go to the designated meeting place and join Neville, Malfoy, and Filch, they being led out into the night and Harry soon realizing Hagrid would be joining their group, thinking his detention may not be as bad, but Filch killing his spark of hope when coming out with where they were headed: the forest. Neville and Malfoy’s reactions were on par with what Filch expected: fear, but Hagrid was now taking over as their detention leader, Filch stating he’d return in the morning. Malfoy then refusing to step into the forest, but Hagrid listing why he would if he wanted to stay at Hogwarts. Hagrid then going into what they’d be doing, which was to spot an injured unicorn, splitting them into two groups to search.

As Hagrid, Harry, and Hermione walked down one path, Neville, Fang, and Malfoy go down another and both follow a trail of unicorn blood, Hagrid soon having Harry and Hermione hiding behind a tree for having heard something slither close by. Hagrid then considers what it could have been and knowing it shouldn’t be in the forest, Harry thinking it could be a werewolf and Hagrid declining this as a possibility, then seeing something come out from the shadows and revealing to be a centaur. Hermione and Harry are properly in awe whilst Hagrid tried to unearth anything about unusual happenings in the forest, Ronan the centaur speaking cryptically. When another centaur comes up and gives similar answers, Hagrid gives in and simply states if anything is seen, for them to let him know, leading the two away from the clearing and explaining how unhelpful centaurs can be. Then Harry notices the sign of trouble and reports what he’s seen to Hagrid who commands the two to stay put whilst he ran to investigate.

When he returns with the other group to announce Malfoy had caused the spark to go up because he’d scared Neville, Hagrid changes the groups so Harry would now be with “the idiot”, Malfoy and Fang, they heading off again and following a trail of blood seemingly getting thicker, both trail as well as the blood. Harry is first to see the unicorn in a clearing, holding Malfoy back to observe, they soon hearing a slithering and then a hooded figure approaching the creature to drink its blood, Malfoy letting out a scream, taking off, Fang doing the same and Harry being left transfixed in fear, the creature approaching him and his scar, searing pain. Harry then noticing a centaur jump over him to fight the hooded figure, the creature having disappeared by the time Harry could see through his pain. The centaur whom saved him didn’t answer Harry’s question as to what the creature was, but instead advised he return to Hagrid and offering Harry a ride, it being the quickest way back and being met by Ronan and the other centaur before taking off, they indignant he’d offered Harry to ride on his back and wondering what he could have told him due to he being a Potter.

After hearing their intolerant words for as long as Firenze, the centaur could handle, he defends his reasons for helping Harry and whisks him away. Harry then inquires about why Bane was angry and what the creature was once more, Firenze not responding until further along and then asking Harry if he knew how unicorn blood could be used, he only learning of how the tail hair and horn could be applied in his Potions class. Firenze then hints to whom could possibly want to drink unicorn blood and what it could do for the user, Harry putting it together and then being approached by Hermione and Hagrid. Harry shares where Hagrid could locate the dead unicorn and Harry and Hermione, once returning to the common room and waking Ron, he listening to Harry’s story of what happened to him. Through his explanation, Harry discovers he’s shaken from the experience and what he believes the centaur’s half answers meant about his fate, making Ron nervous as to Harry repeatedly saying the “V” name. Hermione puts in her logical explanation as to the centaur’s words and when they all retired to bed, light was coming out and Harry found his invisibility cloak folded within his blanket upon his bed with accompanying note.

We learn Harry doesn’t remember how he got through his exams in the future, what with Voldemort looming around every corner and Fluffy being ready at his post. We then learn of how the exams were given, some being the normal way of testing and others being “practical” testing, the student needing to perform the spell requested. Harry, in the mean time, was still having physical pain from the after effects of his experience in the woods, Neville thinking it was jitters caused by their exams, but then revealing Harry was having nightmares related to the hooded figure covered in blood. By the end of the last exam, Harry showed his exultation with the rest of his classmates, knowing they’d have a week to rest before receiving their test results. Harry is still troubled by the pain of his scar and confides in Ron of his worry, Hermione suggesting he should see the school nurse. Ron then tries to talk sense of Harry not having anything to worry about with Hagrid protecting Dumbledore and the Stone being safe after Harry voices what he believes his throbbing scar meant.

Harry then remembered something the group had to go see Hagrid about urgently, since Harry remembered how convenient it was Hagrid had found someone to sell him a dragon’s egg; the trio seeing Hagrid sitting outside his house. Harry gets right down to asking where Hagrid had met the dragon dealer and what he’d looked like, Hagrid being unable to answer due to the stranger wearing a hood, shocking the kids and then goes on to mention how they had spoken about Hogwarts and details of Fluffy which the kids now knew more of, Hagrid trying to make sure they kept their mouths shut about, the group heading off from Hagrid’s and discussing the need of approaching Dumbledore with this new found information.

Harry and Ron stake out the third floor corridor which doesn’t go accordingly, running into Professor McGonagall who by this point loses her patience, threatening to take more points away from Gryffindor if she discovers they’ve gone anywhere near the corridor again. Harry and Ron go back to the common room and run into Hermione who doesn’t have good news either, Snape having confronted her and calling her bluff about she waiting for Professor Flitwick, he going to retrieve him and she taking off, not following Snape as planned. Harry then decides his only course of action is to go after the Stone himself. Hermione and Ron try to dissuade him, but Harry is set and certain if he doesn’t locate the Stone before Snape, it’ll get into Voldemort’s hands and he’d be dead once Voldemort caught up with him, Hermione being the first to relent, then Ron adding they’d have to join him in order to aid his success.

The three sat apart from each other after dinner, Hermione focusing on looking up enchantments and the boys thinking of the night they had ahead of them. Once all their classmates began heading to bed, Ron suggests Harry grab his invisibility cloak and once returning to discuss how they should see if the cloak could cover them all, Neville appears from behind an armchair and calls them out on their plans of sneaking out, Hermione trying to convince him it wasn’t the case and Harry aware of the time they were wasting. Neville was now readying himself to keep them from leaving, threatening to put up a fight against Ron, whom had stepped forward first, Harry asking Hermione to step in, she apologizing to Neville before putting a spell on him and leaving the room, cloaked. Along the way to their destination they run into Mrs. Norris and then Peeves the ghost, whom felt their presence, but couldn’t see them, so Harry pretends to be the Bloody Baron so as to intimidate Peeves from calling Mr. Filch, which seems to work, Peeves leaving the hallway as requested, the group reaching the door to Fluffy, and seeing it slightly open.

The trio go inside to notice Fluffy awake and growling, a harp abandoned on the floor. Harry whips out the flute and immediately tries a tuneless note, they seeing an immediate affect on Fluffy, eyes drooping and dropping to the floor, asleep. They approach the guarded door cautiously, Ron opening it and relaying it was too black to see how far down it was and no steps being seen, Harry motioning he’d go first and ready to give the flute to Hermione to continue playing. They make the switch and Harry makes the drop blind, landing softly and shouting to the others it was safe to jump, Hermione coming last and noticing first the plant which had begun to entangle them all, she escaping safely to a wall, Harry and Ron not so lucky.

As the boys struggled, Hermione identified what the plant was and tried to remember how to kill it, Harry making a suggestion which reminded Hermione and then getting the boys released with another of her handy dandy spells. They continue down a passage, Ron hearing something rustling up ahead, the group approaching carefully and stepping in to a room filled with birds. Harry makes the first attempt across the room to the door on the other side, not being attacked, but discovering the door locked, soon realizing the “birds” were keys and the three having to scan around to detect the right one. After getting the broomsticks leaning against one wall, they searched through the bird-keys more closely, Harry spotting the one they were after and yelling a game plan to the others which is executed sloppily, but works in their favor since Harry did the snatching.

Harry quickly unlocks the door and the three continue onward, being surprised to notice the next room looked like a large chessboard. Ron was first to voice the obvious way they were meant to get to the next door, his thoughts being confirmed by the black knight, whom nodded his agreement. Ron designated where Hermione and Harry would stand and awaited the white pieces move. Seeing what happened to a piece when removed from the board was violent enough to make the others a bit nervous in losing, but Ron expected to lose the piece, although still unnerved about how it played out, having Hermione capture the opposing team’s bishop.

Ron matches the other team in pieces taken until he realizes he had to sacrifice himself so Harry could win the game, insisting if Harry wanted to catch up to Snape this would be the only way. So upon making his move, Ron is bopped on the head (which I found entertaining), leaving Harry able to go on as directed, winning, and the next door cleared for the two to continue forward. Hermione advised what professors spells could be expected ahead and they then go through the next door and perceive a fight had already taken place letting them pass unhindered to a room with a table and bottles lined up.

When the duo reach the table their path is blocked with magical fire, Hermione seeing a paper with hints on how to pass, taking a few more moments to work out the puzzle and after Harry makes sure she’s certain, plans to have her drink the bottle which would allow her to return to Ron so they could send an owl to Dumbledore whilst he continued forward to try and hold Snape off until reinforcements arrived. Hermione complimented his efforts, making him feel awkward, she drinking first as requested and leaving. Harry readies himself for what may be ahead and drinks the bottle, moving to the next room and identifying the person within was neither Snape nor Voldemort.

We then learn Quirrell is the shocking reveal and his demeanor being surprising as well since he completely changed to someone quite sure of himself and didn’t stutter or seemed nervous whatsoever. Harry is in such denial, Quirrell also reveals whom had actually been trying to kill him not being Snape and how Hermione had helped Harry, but not by setting Snape aflame. Quirrell then confides Snape’s true intentions toward Harry and how it had completely backfired on him, then binding Harry with a spell and sharing how he’d be killing him due to his nosiness. Whilst Quirrell proceeded explaining his failed plans (the obvious evil villain mistake), he then notices the Mirror of Erised behind Harry and goes to have a closer look. Harry tries to keep Quirrell talking to distract him from getting any closer to the Stone’s whereabouts, Quirrell not as interested anymore upon examining the mirror more closely.

Harry states how Snape had seemed to dislike him and Quirrell agreed, but it not including Snape wanting him killed. Quirrell partly disclosed his relationship to Voldemort and Harry began remembering the moments he’d seen Quirrell when he was first shown Diagon Alley, then coming up with a plan which involved he thinking of something to have the mirror reveal, but due to his hands and ankles being too tightly bound, fell over, still being ignored by Quirrell, but not for much longer since after Quirrell seemed to be asking for help from Voldemort, Harry heard an answer and it consisted of using him to solve the mirror’s puzzle. Harry steps forward, believing he’d have to lie about what he saw, but the image of himself and then realizing where the Stone was hidden took him off guard, he coming up with a lie which Quirrell believed, but the voice he heard coming nearby stating it was untrue, requesting to speak to Harry directly, Quirrell acquiescing and unwrapping his turban.

The sight Harry saw was horrifying and so overwhelming he couldn’t move nor speak, even upon being greeted by the terrible growth. What gets Harry moving is the statement which disparages his parents, stepping backwards and then dashing away, but not before Quirrell gets a hand on his wrist. Harry feels a searing pain from his scar, Quirrell seeming to be affected by this as well, letting go for a moment until being commanded to kill Harry, Quirrell knocking him down, but again not long enough, for the pain being so great. When Harry realized Quirrell couldn’t stand contact with him, he tried to keep him in his grasp, but passed out before understanding where the other voices he was hearing was coming from.

When Harry regained consciousness, Dumbledore’s face slowly came into focus, Harry was soon getting too excited, believing danger was still near, Dumbledore advising he calm himself or the nurse would kick him out, Harry soon being updated to the happenings after he’d lost consciousness. Harry didn’t realize how close to death he had been, but Dumbledore also assured him of the Stone having been destroyed before being used. Harry inquired after Flamel, Dumbledore sharing the fate of he and his wife, Harry surprised, but Dumbledore rationalizing why they were agreeable to their impending fates. Harry then inquires to what could have happened to Voldemort, Dumbledore predicting the possibilities of Voldemort not succeeding to gain power. Harry then goes on to ask Dumbledore questions concerning areas he still wanted answers to, some being given, others needing to be passed, Dumbledore noting it wasn’t the time to reveal some of them yet.

Harry uncovers why Snape hated him though, Dumbledore shedding some light as to the relationship Snape and Harry’s father had so long ago. By the end of their conversation, Dumbledore decides to try an all-flavored bean, it not working out as well as he’d hoped. Harry then had to plead in order to be allowed five minutes with Hermione and Ron, who upon finally being able to come and visit, immediately began asking what had truly happened with Quirrell.

Hermione and Ron then reported what Harry had missed when they finally made it back to the owlery and then told Harry of the feast to come the next day and he should definitely attend at least for the good food, after which Ron and Hermione are directed to leave for having stayed well over five minutes, leaving Harry to rest and he feeling much better the next day. Madam Pomfrey confirms Harry had been given permission to attend the feast and then informs him of his next visitor, Hagrid, whom upon sitting, bursts in to tears for guilt of almost getting Harry killed. After Harry sets him straight, Hagrid remembers he brought Harry a thoughtful gift, which upon opening, Harry realizing the trouble Hagrid had gone through so he could have an official family album.

We then see Harry walking to the feast and everyone upon seeing him, hush and then go back to normal conversation until Dumbledore enters a few moments later, he starting a speech regarding the past year. He then gives the final total of all the houses points, but then lists last minute points being given to Ron, Hermione, Harry, and Neville the latter’s points pushing Gryffindor ahead of Slytherin for the house cup, each announcement receiving more cheers than the last. After the change in decorations and Harry seeing Snape and knowing their relationship wasn’t going to change, was looking forward to the future “normalcy” of attending Hogwarts next year and the best night of his life being the feast.

Everyone also received their grades for exams, everyone passing and Hermione getting the highest of the first years. The students then prepared for their return to their homes and Ron expecting Harry and Hermione to come over during summer, the three stepping through the gate and first Harry and Ron being greeted by Ron’s family whilst Harry’s Aunt and Uncle stood and looked perplexed at his appearance. After Harry’s Uncle Vernon snubs Mrs. Weasley and begins walking off, expecting Harry to follow, he lets everyone know he would have some fun during summer since his relatives didn’t know he wasn’t allowed to use magic and would be able to use their lack of knowledge on Dudley whilst he was with them.

I quite enjoyed my second reading of this book, which confirms reading on one’s old computer doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience. I’m looking forward to starting the second.

The Hours

I saw the movie awhile back so the story should be read with fresh eyes. I’ll be curious to see if, as the story goes, I’ll recognize any moments. We begin with a woman walking off to a river, loading herself down with stones, a fisherman within visual distance, but not being noticed as she walks into the water, stumbling and being dragged the rest of the way in, she having terrible migraines and voices only distantly within her hearing. We jump to her husband’s perspective, getting news from the maid being of which his wife having gone out for a walk and would return shortly, he then going upstairs to watch the news and locating a letter addressed to him, his wife remarking of her soon-to-be bad times again and not wanting to put him through the trouble. He rushes back downstairs to ask the maid which way she’d gone, heading in the right direction but seeing no one but a fisherman. We then go back to Virginia’s perspective, she floating along briskly, but not far, getting stuck near a bridge, still underwater but feeling the resonance of a little boy and his mother, he throwing down a stick into the water and soldiers waving to him as they pass on a truck.

We’re then introduced to Clarissa who needs to pick up flowers, leaving to return hopefully within a half hour. She’s in New York and content with her errand for a party she will be throwing. We then learn Clarissa is in her early fifties and feeling as young as her eighteen-year-old self. As she’s walking down the street, Richard comes up to her and calls hello to her, referring to her as Mrs. Dalloway for their similarities in fate, apparently (and current tasks). Richard (who shares a name with the Clarissa of Mrs. Dalloways’ husband) is dealing with AIDS and speaking his mind of what he thought of the day in opposition of Clarissa’s view. The narration of the story also somewhat mirrors Mrs. Dalloway, shown with description of what Clarissa thinks of certain objects and people she sees on the street, her plans, and the attempt at flowing other characters thoughts as she passes (which doesn’t have the same smoothness of Woolf).

When Clarissa is walking through the park and meets another friend, we discern she, like “M.D.” Clarissa, also has a daughter, her daughter begrudging her for her conventionalism. Clarissa invites Walter, her friend to the party in the evening if he and his partner will be up to it and also states the reason for her party and how Richard had won an award. We are then told Walter’s invite could possibly upset Richard and their friend Sally, in support of him because of Walter’s profession and possibly due to his personality when it came to his shallowness. When he leaves, we determine Sally and Clarissa live together (seeming to give the Clarissa of “M.D.” a future she could live rather than possibly fantasize about); I’m also recognizing how Cunningham has long run on paragraphs like Woolf, but because his flow differs, it gives me the feeling like I must struggle to get through it rather than flow with it, regrettably.

We then identify Richard not liking Sally because of her personality and he and Clarissa used to having fantastic arguments, but because of his illness this side of their relationship had taken a backseat. Clarissa then goes to a book shop to look for a gift for another friend and also thought of buying a dress for Julia she wouldn’t likely wear. She continues with a memory from her childhood which gives her a feeling she hoped to discover one of the books could embody for the both of them and then thinks of Mary Krull who seemed to have a hold on her daughter (similar to Elizabeth and Doris Kilman). Clarissa then goes to the flower shop and has another childhood memory before greeting the florist, Mary Krull warmly, after which we get some background on Mary and then Clarissa begins choosing flowers leftover from Mary’s busy week of supplying for weddings and whatnot until they hear a crash from the street (straight out of Mrs. Dalloway). They figure the noise came from the “movie people” who have set up camp in the area and then Clarissa sees a woman come out of a trailer she can’t identify, but knows must be a famous star. We get Clarissa’s interpretation of what goes on between the woman and one of the crew before she withdraws once more into her trailer.

We next get Virginia Woolf’s perspective, starting with how she thought Clarissa’s story should begin and then dreaming of being in a vibrantly green park and awaking with the feeling left by the dream, but forgetting the line she wanted to add to her story, not bothered since she was aware of the feeling it gave still. As she washes her face in the bathroom we are given the same quirk Septimus had, but is now showing in Virginia’s personality, which was her avoidance of looking in the mirror for fear of what it would show. When she then gets coffee and heads for the printing room where she discovers Leonard looking over page proofs and greeting Virginia, asking how she’d slept, and she answering with insouciance. We then learn of Leonard’s cheerleader status of Virginia’s work and how he considered her the most intellectual and surprisingly talented woman in England, he attempting to insist breakfast on her, but she maintaining coffee will be enough, he relenting, but making certain she takes a proper lunch, she consenting for wanting to get straight to work, which she does by retiring upstairs to begin. She’s quite self-aware of how she will feel and if she will be able to get into the right state for a fruitful session of writing, we seeing she was beginning her foray into Mrs. Dalloway.

We then continue in California, 1949 and follow a Mrs. Laura Brown who was reading, but shouldn’t have been for whose birthday it was, feeling she should be preparing breakfast for Dan and Richie, but hearing Dan already downstairs with Richie and thinking she should be, as well. She had started her day late, though (7 am) and was consumed by a dream she’d been having and was aware the day wouldn’t be an easy one for it. We then learn she’s given allowances for her lapses in judgement due to being pregnant. She decides she’ll make up for missing breakfast by baking the “perfect” cake and other tasks. She goes on reading to calm herself and we get an excerpt from Mrs. Dalloway, she then expressing how she would spend her whole life reading if she could. We then discover Dan was in a situation where his identity had been mistaken for someone with a similar name and was believed dead for a couple days, but came back unchanged, fortunately from his military service. We then distinguish how the two had known each other and she seeming similar to Clarissa’s daughter, Elizabeth with her foreign-seeming features in comparison with her relatives. We then continue reading with Laura as she reads Virginia Woolf’s novella, Laura wondering how Virginia came to kill herself when she could write such beautiful sentences, she planning on reading all of Woolf’s novels.

Laura hopes she had some touch of brilliance which people noticed, having fantasies about what others would be impressed with, she leaving this thought and readying to go downstairs, feeling unprepared like she was about to go onstage without proper rehearsing. As she pauses before entering the kitchen, we get a feel for her peccadillo about her husband and reaffirming how she’d contribute to her husband’s birthday. He notices how she seemed annoyed at he not waking her, but they both discussing gently in front of their three-year-old of he not wanting to disturb her only because he naturally woke up at dawn, albeit regardless of she wanting to be able to make his breakfast for him. He then promises to do so the next morning and then begins the rituals of getting ready to go off to work, Laura not as sure of herself when being left alone with her son, straining to keep a steady hold on how to unceasingly act a mother’s part. She decides to continue their day by getting him to finish his breakfast, whilst she contemplated whether her reading so late in the night could affect the baby, having an irrational fear of being told she shouldn’t read, deciding she’ll make an effort to go to bed earlier, cutting her reading back. She then shares with Richie their main plan for the day, she deciding she will do all the necessary tasks a mother and wife should.

Clarissa is then shown walking toward the trailer where she saw a crowd of tourists congregating, she with her bouquet of flowers and overhearing two girls argue whether the woman within was Susan Sarandon or Meryl Streep (an interesting choice, now I think of it), Clarissa believing it to be the latter. She uncomfortably awaits the star’s reappearance, but gives up to continue on to Richard’s apartment. When she gets closer to his street she begins to remember way back when on a certain corner where the two had argued over something, she not quite remembering, then reminiscing about the stores, some still from the era referenced being there, but selling items only tourists would be interested in. When she goes into the lobby of Richard’s building, she rates and is repeatedly surprised by the seedy look of it, thinking about how differently the building must have begun. She tries the elevator only to get back out on the ground floor for it not seeming to work properly, climbing the five flights to Richard’s floor, he calling for her to enter and she debating whether or not to bring up the nickname she didn’t feel necessary to continue using, then thinking it wasn’t the right time.

When Clarissa gets in and greets him, opening a blind for more light since his lamps all had low wattage bulbs, she then regards his trashed chair which he refused to get rid of, smelling the rot of it and asking how he felt since he didn’t sleep much those days due to medication induced hallucinations. We then learn a bit more about Richard’s views of life and the people around him, seeing them in a very precise light, Clarissa then making sure he remembers the party and ceremony later, he so fogged he thought it already happened, Clarissa then promising to stay by him the whole night. Richard then voices his embarrassment for what he thinks is a wrongful win of the award he’d be receiving and Clarissa continuing to reassure him, she suggesting he nap before she came back to help him dress, he giving in and she thinking of how their lives would have been if they’d gone a different course than the one they’d lived.

Mrs. Woolf is swallowed by time for two hours and was feeling powerful about what she’d accomplished, also knowing she may not like any of what she’s written by the next day. She reads over what she has, believing it to be acceptable, some parts more-so. She had the hope this would be her finest novel, considering how her main character, Clarissa would die. She then noticing she’d like to write all day, but something stopping her which makes her think she shouldn’t overdo it since it could ruin her progress. She also didn’t like doing anything but write when she could, due to the fear of a “headache” getting in the way. She goes into how all encompassing it is which warrants a better word than “headache” to describe it, but for fear of sounding melodramatic calling it only by this. We learn when the voices are heard during the pain threshold and how once she’s finished with an episode and had rest, she’s ready to continue to write, believing the pain a requirement, but hasn’t made the descent in years, also knowing how swiftly they could return and wanting to be in London if she must return to madness. She then wonders whether to continue writing or break, perpetually being torn by the possibility of being lazy, but she’s reached her goal for the day and considers she should be patient, she having tomorrow to write more.

Virginia walks out of the room and is greeted by Ralph, who was working with Leonard reading proofs and despite the greeting, he not having a good morning. We discover Virginia’s stance to Leonard’s assistants at the printing press and invariably stayed loyal to Leonard regardless of his unfair attitude toward his employees. Virginia indicates needing a walk before helping the two with their project. We then learn of Ralph and Leonard’s traits when it came to their work. Virginia’s next statement taken wrongly by Ralph when it seemed she was coming to his support, she actually boosting Leonard’s spirits, but not correcting his goofy relief.

Meanwhile, Laura Brown is preparing ingredients for the cake whilst admiring a bird passing the window. She then includes Richie in the process, overly proud with his response to her question regarding the number of cups of flour they needed for the cake. Laura is content with her life and family at this moment, making the cake she’ll soon bake feeling on par with those in magazines and other grand contentment which comes from being satisfied with one’s place in the world. She then has Richie play a part in the process of measuring out the flour and depositing it into an empty bowl, the task being performed concisely and uncertainly, but Laura giving him verbal support he’s completing the task successfully. For a moment Laura gives the impression of something going wrong which puts poor Richie on the verge of tears, but she quickly reverses her statement to reassure he’s done his part correctly and asking if he’s ready to repeat the process, he relieved and wanting to try again.  Laura then regains her enduring love for her son and realizes she will want this second child and is glad she’s married (all of this sounding like she’s kidding herself since her life sounds bloody idyllic, the dope. I hope for her sake I’m reading her positive reinforcements for herself incorrectly).

Mrs. Woolf is then shown walking down the street thinking of the details of Clarissa Dalloway’s suicide. She maps out her first love in her youth and her growth into womanhood making her see she shall marry, then considering how to make her inevitable suicide properly heart-rending. She continues her focus on Clarissa’s friend from childhood, deciding to leave the specific details of her death to be worked out more fully, later. As she walks, an old woman brings to her attention she must be speaking aloud to herself again and is prepared to defend herself if necessary upon the old woman passing her, but not getting further reaction she continues her walk. Virginia thinks of her own sister, whom mirrors a habit she’s given to one of her characters and then considers how much she misses London and the reason they had moved to the dull town being for her health, but all the while, wanting to “return to the dangers of city life…”.

Before reentering her home, she readies herself to remember herself properly, not only for her hubby and maids, but mainly for reacclimating herself to her own principles. She then considers the differences between herself and male writers, they seeming to have a particular viewpoint of literature compared to herself and moving her thoughts again back to what will eventually topple Clarissa over the edge. Virginia makes her way down to the kitchen after hanging her coat, in the character she believed “Virginia Woolf” would and learns from the cook what they will be having for lunch, she having the option to request whatever she wishes, but doesn’t, approving of the menu even though she didn’t care for most of what was listed, Virginia mentioning since her sister would be joining them she wanted a specific side with their tea later, the item requested needing to be gotten from London. Nelly, the cook seems to think it may be too late in the morning to go to London if lunch were to be ready on time at four, but Virginia explains the time frame and imagines Nelly is passive-aggressively responding to her. Virginia then relates how Clarissa won’t have these social issues with her servants and their want to go above and beyond her wishes will be affirmed.

Clarissa is then shown meeting Sally at the door of their apartment, the latter sharing of she having a lunch appointment with a “movie star” and had tidied before being off. Clarissa not previously knowing of her meeting, but not holding it against her and wishing her a nice time before the two part. All the while, Clarissa is thinking of how Sally doesn’t look good in yellow and will disclose this to her later. After Clarissa goes inside, she thinks of her ruined plans of she and Richard growing old together and then of how lucky she and Sally were with the apartment they inhabited in New York. She then senses how whilst looking around, she didn’t feel as if her home was hers in this moment. She comes to understand if she were to leave all these bric-a-brac behind, she wouldn’t miss them, nor Sally or Richard, but be able to be comfortable with herself, alone (I can relate).

Clarissa doesn’t seem to necessarily feel repressed, but there is a sense of being content in her apartment by herself, at this moment and then the feeling leaves and she throws away some old flowers and thinks of the plans ahead of her and her contentment in the rituals of her life with her partner. She listens to messages from the caterer they’ve hired, a friend needing to go see a friend who is also ill, and a request from a guest if they could bring a plus-one. Clarissa then thinks of the possibility Sally hadn’t specified her lunch was due to she not being invited (also what happens to Clarissa Dalloway), even though she’s met Oliver and had a personal conversation with him, but she believed her lack of invite was because she may be thought of as only a housewife which didn’t bother her as much as thinking her popularity in the art world and her career were waning; Also realizing Oliver most likely hadn’t passed over inviting her on purpose, but only because he hadn’t thought to extend the invitation.

Clarissa then is aware of the nearby sounds outside as she does some busy work in her apartment. She having a flashback of a time when she was eighteen and believing everything was at her fingertips, but it falling mainly on the house she and her roommates shared (one of them being Richard) and how this had influenced her move to New York. Meanwhile she’s still endeavoring to convince herself she doesn’t care Oliver hadn’t invited her to lunch, then thinking back to her experimental college years with Richard and his boyfriend, Louis. She then considered what her life would have been if she’d returned Richard’s kiss on a significant night, but then realizes to stray too far from one’s principles for love would not be a stable and responsible course of action. Clarissa then shares her memory of the night Richard and she had kissed, along with how they’d spent their time after this day and considering why she’d think back nostalgically to those times was because she was more optimistic and happy then, and the kiss was the only memory which mattered.

Laura Brown is now realizing her cake is well below the standards she’d expected. Nothing was actually wrong with it, but she thought it would be larger and more pretty, the one she looked at seeming unprofessional. At the same time she also tried to ease her own mind, knowing she was being too hard on herself and instead focused on the chores she would be attending to later. She then considers Dan’s responses to the gifts she’ll be giving him and how he consistently showed thankfulness but not ever seeming to truly want something, unfailingly content with what he already had. Laura begins thinking of her comfortable life and pleasant husband, deciding if there was something missing in her life and what it would be. Kitty then knocks at the door and Laura is torn between answering and feeling too frumpy and wanting to wait until she left, but then Richie rushes in and, like an excitable dog shouting about the visitor at the door with happiness and nervousness, she decides.

Laura opens the door and invites Kitty in for coffee after she inquires if Laura would be able to do a favor for her, she seeing Laura’s cake, noticing she continually glancing at it and stating how she thought it was “cute”, completely tearing down Laura’s idea she was indifferent to how crap it looked, the review making her feel her attempt was childish (she must having forgotten, she was making the “monstrosity” with a child; sounds like Laura is riddled with hormones). They make idle conversation and we get background as to how Laura knew Kitty, she treasuring their neighborly friendship, but knowing they wouldn’t have been friends in high school. We then learn about Kitty’s husband and his civil service as well as Laura’s husband in comparison, understanding more as to why Laura had married him, after which, the two making idle chitchat.

Kitty then gets down to why she’s come by, which gives some insight to Laura’s curiosity about why she hadn’t started a family with her husband yet. Laura then began seeing Kitty as someone to be revered and to look up to for her bravery, having customarily blamed Ray as being the issue to her barrenness. Laura then shows her empathy for Kitty’s situation by instigating a hug and then considering how men must feel when comforting women. Kitty then shares of she being fine, but is more worried about her sensitive husband, Laura advising her to let go of this train of thought for the moment. The two then share an intimate moment which Kitty ends first, Laura internally taking the blame and seeing Richie watching. Kitty then confirms the task needing looking after before leaving, Laura stating she’d call her in the hospital. After, noticing her son’s multi-emotional look and wanting to return to bed and book, instead leading Richie to the living room to entertain himself whilst she dealt with making a cake she can be proud of, dumping the last, and planning carefully to avoid another “failure”.

As Virginia helps Leonard and Ralph, Lottie informs them of Mrs. Vanessa Bell having returned with her children, Virginia not expecting them for two more hours. Meanwhile Marjorie is wrapping books up in twine and speaks of wanting to have finished by this time, Virginia hiding her reaction to Marjorie’s voice. Leonard announces of being unable to stop his work at the moment and will meet them at the designated hour if Vanessa waits. Virginia states she’ll handle Vanessa, aware of how unkempt she looked and would have been more prepared if Vanessa had come at the proper time. Virginia resists looking in the mirror, knowing Vanessa would let her know. Virginia greets her warmly and we are described of Vanessa’s features and differences to Virginia, whom is three years younger, but doesn’t look it. Vanessa states how they’d finished earlier than expected in London and had decided to journey to Virginia’s for lack of activities, her sons and daughter in the garden moving a dying bird from the road. As they walk to the children and talk, Virginia notes how Vanessa has the proper air of how one would react to servants and sisters, firm but forgiving.

When they reach Vanessa’s offspring, they begin speaking of how they must save it and Virginia struggling to relate to them, but Vanessa habitually being honest and unyielding when need be, letting them know they wouldn’t be taking the bird indoors and it most likely going to die regardless of their efforts. Vanessa’s daughter thinks of the “brighter” side by spouting the idea of having a funeral for the bird and will sing, Julian reminding her of it still being alive and attending to making a bed for it. Virginia estimates the children’s looks and how they may change when grown, she then offering to pick flowers with Angelica as well as the grass she was collecting. Angelica then was adamant she would locate the nest in case the dying bird had eggs to care for, her brothers getting amused by her belief she would be able to hatch them.

Virginia was suggesting they place the bird in the pallet made, but Angelica insisted they lay the roses in first which Virginia would argue with if her sister and nephews weren’t present. Angelica arranges the flowers, nicely to Virginia’s surprise and then they are ready to have the bird placed in the middle, Quentin undertaking the task as Virginia remembers when Julian had no longer seemed like a child and Angelica getting bored with her game now she’s designed the deathbed. Virginia realizes the bird had died on it’s wait to be placed on its final resting place and the group moves indoors for early tea. As she watches her sister and nephew walk inside, she contemplates wanting to change places with the bird so she could lay in the bed of roses and how the nest looked like it could be a hat, then considering Clarissa’s role as no longer being thought of as the bride of death, but the bed.

We then see Clarissa organizing a vase of flowers and confirming to herself of striving to give the best party she could to Richard and looking out for his comfort at the party. She then hears her apartment buzzer go off and goes to investigate who could be ringing, discovering it was Louis and letting him up. She delightedly awaits he showing up at the door, hoping he brings good news and had named the particular feeling he gave her after him whilst she waited. When he turns up, they greet warmly and he gets emotional as he shares when he had arrived in town and Clarissa updating him as to his good timing for Richard’s upcoming party. As she invites him inside, Louis is noticing how she had finally reached the stage of no longer having retained her youthful look and how it was like a small victory for him considering all the time she had gotten with Richard and how he’d written a novel focusing on a character based on Clarissa, but representing her of only complaining about love, regardless of all the years Richard and he had spent together, seeming a bit bitter about the reference he’d received.

After sitting down and making small talk about where Louis was staying, they voice how appreciative they are to see each other, Clarissa offering him a drink, and he noticing how she still maintained her infuriating qualities, then surveying Clarissa’s home and thinking how unlike her style it was and it must having been caused by her partner, Sally. When Clarissa reenters with the waters in hand, Louis realizes despite her obvious dissent in to old age, she still had her charm and style which drew him to her. She remarks upon sitting, how he could stay away for five years, he not saying he’d actually been back more than a few times during those years, but instead commenting on he deciding to stay in New York and wanting to uncover an “honest” job, teaching not cutting it. He then remarks the oddness of Richard’s book, after Clarissa warns him of Richard’s looks having changed and he needing to prepare himself. After his rash decision of Clarissa seeming to have lost her loveliness, he changes his tune whilst they discuss his opinion of Richard’s book and its surprise ending. Clarissa then notifies Louis to keep in mind of Richard’s condition, he maintaining some part of himself, but being a bit more loopy now.

Clarissa then flashes back to a fond memory she had with Louis and Richard after sharing the spot she wanted her ashes to be scattered. Louis then reminiscing about a day where he’d gone back to their college home before moving to California and how the house remained unchanged, Clarissa admitting she’d like to see the house herself again sometime, Louis agreeing it was a good idea if she wanted her ashes scattered there. Clarissa then confesses she didn’t actually mean what she’d said and the summer was the cause of her morbidity. When Clarissa touches Louis’ shoulder, we are given a strange comparison of the two seeming like gladiators (Michael Cunningham certainly came up with some strange metaphors and fantasies to give voice through his characters). Louis then confides he’d fallen in love with one of his students from the previous year and Clarissa immediately goes into her same reaction of wanting to shake him to his senses, Louis explaining the young man’s talent. After reiterating his declaration of love, he begins to weep, even to his own surprise, and only admitting to himself he didn’t actually love him and wouldn’t miss him when he left. As Clarissa comforts him she considers her own relationship and how they at no time truly fought in their eighteen-year relationship, she longing to be in an exciting and not so stable circumstance.

Louis stands and walks to her window whilst now weeping for not only his infatuation, but also his friends and their misfortunes, his train of thought being interrupted by Julia, Clarissa’s daughter coming in and he exerting to get a hold of himself, she greeting him formally and he noting how she’d consistently had a seriousness and quirky way since her youth. When Louis turns to greet her in return, he evaluates how she’d changed since the last time he’d seen her, she growing into herself and obtaining a measured confidence, not beautiful, but “handsome”. Louis decides to leave at this moment, Clarissa making sure he’ll return to the party (the same way Clarissa Dalloway had) and he agreeing he would. We then perceive he had an attraction to Julia he couldn’t explain and wasn’t in accordance to his sexuality and fantasized how they would flee this place together. As he leaves Clarissa’s building, he notices the variety of people along the street as he remembered the days when he’d been with Richard and how their relationship ended and the freedom he felt after.

Laura is found driving along a highway where a fire had recently started and feeling as if she was driving in a dream. We then get back story as to why she’s driving and how it was due to an unsettled, seemingly depressive state of mind, so she dropped Richie off with a neighbor with the excuse of picking up something needed for her husband’s birthday, then instead, deciding to go driving around (since the book reading wasn’t cutting it). Laura convinced herself since she’d completed all necessary tasks for the upcoming birthday party, she deserved some time alone to pursue reading her copy of Mrs. Dalloway without interruption. She thinks about the new cake (which still disappoints her), but is an improvement from the first and then lingering on the thought of her kiss shared with Kitty and the desire behind her thoughts. It now seems like Laura is suppressing her same-sex inclinations by being devoted and still loving her husband, but she moves on to thoughts about why she believed her cake was still labeled as an amateur attempt. She then considers how much time she’ll have to herself before having to return to her life and then has to decide which direction she wanted to go in, debating where she could ferret out a place to quietly read and deciding she’ll splurge on a hotel only so she could sit and read for a couple of hours in peace.

Laura checks in to a hotel which she knows is populated by businessmen and tourists and comes up with a viable excuse as to the absence of any luggage; lying for the first time to someone she didn’t care about (strangely). The attendant doesn’t suspect anything though and Laura gets her key easily. She makes her way to her room, she noticing the quirks of the hotel environment and not yet losing her nervous energy, it only having been moved to a dissociative level. When she sees her unsurprisingly plain room and looks through her window, she again gets a dream-like quality and so lies on the bed, not reading her book yet, but relating to the character of Clarissa Dalloway and how she had felt. After getting comfortable she begins to read, we getting an excerpt of Mrs. Dalloway where Clarissa remembers a time when she’d made a wish, and her thoughts on death. Reading this then made Laura consider how it could be easy to release herself from her life and how her family would react to her absence and then realizing how she loved life too much to do such a thing to her family or herself and how easy it must have been for Virginia Woolf to come to her decision.

Virginia is shown in the kitchen with her sister drinking tea and discussing Vanessa’s daughter not considering a coat a gift, of which she was referring to one at Harrod’s she thought was perfect for her, but felt bad about getting it for her since there wasn’t anything for the boys, believing she could have given the coat to Angelica for her birthday, but she being too young to accept it as a viable gifting option. Virginia is weighing what advice she’d share with her sister whilst also figuring whom should actually commit suicide in her story, no longer believing Clarissa was the right character to do so, and as she’s about to speak, Nelly walks in with the requested china and sugared ginger requested for their tea, Virginia changing her moment to instead kiss her sister. (It seems moments of intimacy should repeatedly be shown with the possibility of sexuality, this moment no different than the others.)

Meanwhile Julia is voicing empathy for Louis’ situation, Clarissa wanting to be him at this moment for having a particular freedom she didn’t. She then thinks of the possibility of he ruining the night for Richard on top of regretting the invite to Walter Hardy. Clarissa then requesting a hug from her daughter and inquiring after her, hoping it didn’t inspire annoyance like it had with her own mother. We are then given the reasons why Clarissa asks after Julia, she believing Richard would not enjoy the party and believing her daughter would speak ill of her to her buddies. Clarissa then tries to make herself feel better with the thought of helping Julia’s self-esteem. (And again, like Mrs. Dalloway, Mary Krull isn’t liked and was awaiting Julia outside for their shopping outing.)

When Clarissa is informed of this, she asks why she hadn’t come up to say, “Hi.”, Julia then showing she didn’t want to oblige, but would since Clarissa was now declining and “releasing” her to Mary, she fetching Mary and upon Clarissa seeing her, sharing the image of a ragged stray a child would bring home in hopes of adopting, Mary’s appearance being grungy, bald, and over forty years of age. Mary and Clarissa go through the normal pleasantries, Mary letting loose with some true feelings she had toward store clerks and the shopping experience in general, after which Julia decides it’s time to go, we getting an inside look of what’s going on inside Clarissa and Mary’s heads, the two snubbing their noses at one another and their ways of life in the Lesbian community. We are then made sure to be aware of Julia’s sexuality and Clarissa wondering if Julia had befriended Mary in lieu of a father figure. We are then shown Mary’s pain of being permanently in the friend zone as Julia urges her to hurry to their task of boot-hunting.

Vanessa has left and Nelly is unnaturally upbeat in Virginia’s eyes, whilst she thinks and fears her novel won’t evoke the emotion desired. Virginia continues to ventures to convince herself she’s satisfied with the night ahead of her and her work tomorrow. She then tricks herself into thinking a headache was coming, but nothing more occurs to support her paranoia and decides a walk is needed. She’s then hit with the thought of being in the dead bird’s territory and a comforting feeling of death is about her, she then thinking what will soon be done with the bird which still laid in its nest of roses. Virginia thought how death made one smaller and reduced a life’s value once it had left the body, essentially the body being waste and any thoughts otherwise was for the delicate eyes and ears of children. Virginia begins in the direction of town, seeing people along the way before deciding she was going into town and didn’t yet know the reason. Virginia then intermittently overhears a couple whom upon the lady hearing a question which makes her react with delight, Virginia goes off and has the thought of being alone and what this will eventually mean, it being described as the devil and the feeling, like a shadow of the headache haunting her and making her react as one would with undertaking to ignore it by not turning around.

Virginia then makes a split decision to take the train to London since shops were already closing in town and she’d rather be walking the London streets. When she reaches the station, though and realizes she had over twenty minutes to wait, she wonders the conversation she’d have with Leonard and his reasons for she not going to London, Virginia knowing his words would be mostly true, but also knowing she was bored to pieces and this wasn’t helping her either. She makes her decision, buys her ticket, and after waiting as long as she could stand, decides to walk around until her train arrives, on her way, running into Leonard, whom she greets jokingly formally. Leonard revealing his worry of not discovering her and feeling as if something being amiss, Virginia not confessing to him of her extended plan and feeling sorry for him; men being so fragile and all. Virginia then voices her want of the two of them to move back to London, he agreeing to discuss it over dinner and wishing she could accustom herself to small city life, she agreeing, and the two returning home, arms linked.

Sally is then seen having her lunch with Oliver, they drinking coffee and Oliver asking for confirmation of Sally and Walter’s opinions of making his screenplay “come alive”, Walter not speaking and Sally avoiding a straight answer. Oliver takes a different approach by complimenting Walter, and Sally imagining how the two would’ve been in their youths, one forever looking like a star whilst the other having a fat-boy look which would spur his knack to knowing where other kids stood on the social food-chain, Walter’s only hold back being not ever having done a thriller before and Sally noticing the difference between the story Oliver was attempting to express as opposed to the others in the genre. Sally then has conflicting feelings about staying and wanting to leave, noticing Oliver’s taste in styling his apartment is similar to how Clarissa was looking and measuring their own.

Sally is then imagining returning the relics brought to her attention in Oliver’s apartment, wanting to put them back in their places of origin, when Oliver asks whether she supported his idea, she not committing to anything, claiming to not understand Hollywood. Oliver tries to get a more solid answer through flattery, finally insisting she must not be certain, she acquiescing into agreement. They discuss ideas of what would be a part of the story, Oliver including Walter, but he not sure for only having recently agreed and needing time to warm up, apparently. Oliver decides to pick his brain at a later date. Sally is about to change her opinion, but decides to not mention it, leaving. We then see Walter and Sally walking down the street together and get the impression of how they both failed and succeeded at Oliver’s lunch, but instead talk of Richard’s party later and how he was doing, Walter making the proper responses, but seeming fake for knowing of his own celebrity. Sally was going to try and ditch him when he hooks her into joining him inside a store upon seeing a t-shirt his boyfriend would like and she feeling sorry for him. As she browses, she thinks of how Clarissa is so difficult to read when it came to appropriate gift-choosing, she being similar to Dan in they both will show their love of the gift, the gifter only discovering later if the gift will be used once or at all.

Sally then becomes sentimental and wants to see Clarissa, deciding to make an excuse to leave Walter who was checking out, attempting to have her wait for him, but she adamant in leaving and only giving him enough time to provide her agreement on the shirt chosen being a good one. The next part reminding me of Clarissa Dalloway’s husband struggling to detect the perfect gift for Clarissa and working a way to confide he loved her, Sally also striving to come up with a gift, but puzzling to decipher another way of saying “I love you” for regularly saying it plainly. We then get a closer idea into how much Sally cares about Clarissa, she then seeing a flower cart and taking the same route of decision as Mrs. Dalloway’s husband. Sally, upon going inside her home though, considering more intimate matters in plainer terms than Richard Dalloway had. Once hearing Clarissa’s voice though, Sally senses something isn’t right, her feelings going sour. Clarissa doesn’t share Sally’s sense of wrongness in the air, instead recapping about Louis and Julia’s passing through. Clarissa then notices the roses and they share a lighter moment since both then noticed the roses already on the table, realizing their pure happiness at this moment.

Laura is late, but not too late, having gotten halfway through her novel and driving to pick up Richie, still immersed in Mrs. Dalloway’s world and era. She imagines herself being someone inside the novel or the author, she then stopping in the babysitter’s drive, she realizing she needed to get her car checked, she then feeling a dissociation to her life, all due to her hotel visit and being in the driveway and thinking warmly of death. Laura then begins feeling faint, wanting to go to her car and leave, but knowing she needed to claim her son and finish her husband’s birthday dinner. Laura then considers how her time alone would stay secret only since she wouldn’t know how to confess such an unusual, but harmless moment in her typical house-wife existence. She rings the bell and apologizes for her tardiness, the sitter not bothered and Richie rushing to the door, Laura having a moment of paranoid low self-esteem (as is seemingly her usual behavior; this story could be perfect for a psychology major).

As Richie arrives at Laura, he bursts into tears, she apparently having gauged his emotional state correctly, the gist being he had started to believe his sitter’s home would now be where he’d continue to live. As the sitter relays how much fun they had in her absence, we are also made to believe she was resentful and angered by Richie’s reaction since she had thought staying with her was a theme park-like visit to Richie, Laura wondering if people thought she was over protective of him and why he reacted this way consistently. Laura shares how they were an hour late in getting back and needed to have dinner prepared in time for Dan’s return, Laura now feeling like herself and fitting in her life once more. Laura notices Richie staring at her from the back and questions if everything was alright, he loudly professing his love to her, she returning his sentiments as naturally as she could muster whilst deciphering this new look on his face and nervous in knowing he will perpetually be attentive to her every move, she nonchalantly making conversation of how beneficial Dan’s hours were and they orchestrating a great party and she then thinking how Richie will unceasingly be able to sense if anything’s wrong and notice her failures, but she reiterating her love to her son and maintaining a smile as she doesn’t get angry, on their way home. (The emotions we are told about which Laura isn’t feeling are baffling and possibly showing her conviction to wanting to be happy with her life and future.)

Clarissa goes to Richard’s to help him prepare for his party, but doesn’t get a response at his door. She tries once more before using her own key, apprehensive to what she’ll walk in on, seeing the apartment bathed in light for all the shades being opened and the filthiness of the place revealed. Clarissa discovers Richard sitting astride the window, marveling at the beauty of the outside, she demanding he get down from his perch on the window. When Clarissa voices she’s unsettled by how he’s acting, he gives the impression he’s going further out the window and then shares the medicinal cocktail he’d taken to make him feel so good and the difficulty he’d had getting to the spot he was currently sitting, Clarissa requesting he at least put his foot back on the floor, he then confiding he didn’t feel he could come to the party, she stating he didn’t have to go, feeling like she were calm and once again apart from herself.

Clarissa imagined this moment as a memory and asks Richard to come back in once more. Richard looks seriously at her in response and she tries a stern tone, he then nodding, but not moving, confessing his thoughts of coming to the end of his ability to continue his existence further, she attempting to remind him of still having good days and he regarding her statements as nice, but feeling otherwise, Clarissa then inquiring if he was hearing the voices, he responding he was hearing her, but they forever being there; Richard continuing to come back to the beauty of the day and asking Clarissa to call his mother since she didn’t have anyone and finally requesting a story from Clarissa’s day, she describing of her time buying flowers, keeping the description brief and ending with her command of getting inside. Richard is then reminded of when they were young and being in love with her and Louis, circling to his thought of being a failure and she disagreeing, Richard going on to explain of wanting to have his work seen a certain way, she having to deny it being a “foolish” thought. Richard again repeating being unable to attend the party and Clarissa wanting to ease his mind and not to worry about it, offering to have him take her hand. He states his love to her (in a way I believe is from Virginia Woolf’s last letter to her husband) before he slides out the window.

Clarissa’s reaction was screaming in denial and then almost believing it hadn’t happened due to the look of calm on his face, but when she reaches the window, she’s in time to still see his descent, it almost seeming like it could end being only minimally damaging, but as he reaches his inevitable destination, Clarissa calling out softly, questioning, his head covered by his robe, she running out of the apartment still in shock and confused for a moment as to how to reach the spot Richard had fallen. When she gets a closer look she realizes the damage his landing had, then noticing glass and realizing it wasn’t caused by his fall and wanting to move him, but instead moves his robe, but after seeing the state of his face, paining and surprising her, she puts it back, leaving a hand on his shoulder and not wanting to leave him, but also realizing no one had noticed Richard fall, she knowing the police should be called, struggling to come up with an idea of getting the attention of a neighbor, she considering the feelings unexpressed and for not showing and confiding her love for him caused by flimsy excuses.

Laura is now watching Dan blow out the candles on his cake, hyper aware of the moment and Richie following her lead of applause once the candles are no longer lit. After she’s wished him a happy birthday, we are told of her pure anger at his apish ways and her fate of living this life and this role with him indefinitely, but the fury passes and he shows his affection in a way which makes her regret her reaction and noting his good qualities, she feeling the back of his head and again, describing it in a way which shows displeasure of the pure manliness and halfway unpleasant physicality. Dan offers Richie the task of helping cut the cake as Laura retrieves dinnerware for the slices and thinking of Kitty in the hospital whilst they, along with other families on the block set up their dinner tables. Laura then realizes the significance of her life with husband and son plus child on the way as she watches Richie pull out candles and is urged to lick the frosting off.

Virginia is attempting to keep focused on the book she is reading, knowing she and Laura will soon be moving to London. She thinks of all the places she’ll go and activities she’ll do, all of these moments feeding her stories. She then thinks of the kiss she shared with Vanessa and what it represented, then considering Clarissa Dalloway going to have a kiss which she’ll carry with her throughout her life. Virginia closes her book which prompts Leonard to ask if she’s ready to sleep, she declining due to restlessness and he hoping she’ll be ready in an hour, she agreeable since the fight for London was won, thinking again of Clarissa and whom will die being a brilliant, wonderful person.

Laura is getting ready for bed and anticipating her husband’s pose in bed not ever changing, and how she won’t be able to read this night. She puts her toothbrush and accessories away, noticing the recently refilled scrip. of sleeping pills, knowing she couldn’t use them whilst pregnant. She picks up the bottle and imagines the simpleness of ending everything. She goes into her bedroom, Dan greeting her, and she confirming he had a nice birthday, she feeling “like a ghost”, not feeling her body, taking so long to get in bed, Dan asking if she were going to lie down, she confirming, but not moving, hearing a dog bark. Knowing the woman is unhappy with life and is most likely verging on suicidal unless she comes to terms with her same sex inclinations is a bit annoying since we don’t get a determinate answer on how she ends up, only knowing she’s alone.

Clarissa is leading an old woman, Laura (double-take moment when I read this part, but it does come together if one pays attention) into her apartment where Clarissa notices her unarranged flowers once more. Clarissa introduces Laura to her daughter, Julia whom catches Clarissa up on those who had shown up to the party since not receiving the message, Louis being one of those focused on. Julia offers to get Laura a drink after she declines food from Clarissa, but setting an assortment, in case, knowing it had been awhile since she’d eaten.

Clarissa then gives away whom Laura is and why she’s at her apartment and would be staying overnight in the guest room, not the main reason being Laura was from Richard’s poetry, Clarissa then making a statement which she regrets due to they soon would be having enough people stating of Richard’s goodness, but Laura agrees with her and takes it well. Clarissa struggling to make conversation and wondering aloud about the status of Laura’s tea, then inwardly thinking of what Richard’s descent from the window must have been like, deciding to go check, coming into the kitchen to observe the selection of appetizers put out, impressed with the amount and thinking of its shelf-life lasting longer than everyone she knew. Clarissa then gauging the lasting power of Richard’s work and how Richard’s party would now only be entertaining four, Clarissa going back to the living room to fetch Laura.

Well, I certainly don’t remember the movie much since none of the story rang any bells other than a fuzzy image of Meryl Streep playing Clarissa, so I may have to revisit viewing it only to be a completist and having been surprised by Nicole Kidman’s transformation. In knowing the resources Cunningham researched, I suppose I’m less surprised by all the sexual references made, which only makes me wonder about the truth behind his fiction. I may do further research on Woolf, but until then, this was quite an interesting story and held my attention fairly consistently, which makes it worth the read by itself, but moreso if one has read Mrs. Dalloway.

 

Bone Vol. 5: Rock Jaw: Master of the Eastern Border

For the fourth volume. Smiley is shown pointing out Fone’s process of making a sandwich to the cub rat creature whilst Fone sulked. He then assuring Smiley they couldn’t linger in the woods much longer, needing to return to town soon for running out of food. Fone is then privy to Smiley naming the cub rat creature, Bartleby which makes him remind Smiley what they’d gone to the woods to do in the first place, being to set him loose. Smiley then manipulates Fone into talking about Moby Dick so he could teach Bartleby how to nap after lunch, Fone falling right into his ploy. We then see Fone settle into perusing through his book as they are being spied upon by other rat creatures. The two rat creatures sneak up on the Bones and Smiley promptly commands Fone to read from the book to bore them, but when Smiley tries first and believes he’s failed, gets Fone to start reading and it knocking them out as he suspected it would.

Smiley, trying to comfort Fone in their escape by it being possibly Fone himself whom is boring and not the story at all, then noticing Bartleby hadn’t followed and saw he was sniffing around the snoozing rat creatures. Fone gets Smiley to realize this was exactly what they were trying to do anyways and continue up the mountain, we seeing the rat creatures revive and following them. Fone and Smiley are trapped, but Bartleby comes to their rescue and ends up sticking with the Bones. Fone is stumped as to their next step when a humongous mountain lion comes up to tell them they’re trespassing. As the mountain lion tries to figure out what group the Bones belong to, he introduces himself as Roque Ja, the master of the eastern border, he wondering aloud if the Bones knew of the Bone with the star on his chest. Fone then tries to ascertain what side Roque Ja is on, but he dodges the question since they hadn’t answered themselves and when the Bones try to walk away, Roque Ja knocks them off the cliff, they hanging onto the ledge and he requesting them to hand him the rat creature cub first, to turn them all in. They try to resist, but Bartleby is first to comply and we leave them awaiting Roque Ja’s next move.

We then see the Possum kids discovering Smiley’s trail after having lost them once before. One of the kids has a slip of conscience and then they hear something, they all playing dead, but realizing it’s only a raccoon. The raccoon, Roderick tells of not trying to scare them, but was on the trail of his parents killers, getting the kids to follow him. He leads them to where he’d last seen the rat creatures, they all then encountering Roque Ja and the Bones after moving past the rat creatures. The Bones are still arguing with Roque Ja about they not wanting to choose a side and how Roque Ja seemed to be catering to the rat creatures for someone who was supposedly the ruler of the eastern border. The Possum kids then learn which side Roque Ja is on after talking with Roderick about who Roque Ja was and his thoughts on the dragons versus the rat creatures, the kids continuing closer to the Bones.

As the Possum kids are close on their tail, Roque Ja is starting to hear something suspicious, but then gets distracted by continuing his rant about rat creatures. We then see what the rat creatures are doing when the Possum kids show up to use themselves as bait to create a chase for them in the direction of Roque Ja and the Bones. Roque Ja is in the middle of relating the tale of why the valley people thought dragons created the mountains when the Possum kids show up as the rat creatures catch one of them in front of Roque Ja, who jumps at the rat creature for trespassing. The Possum kids and Roderick stop at the end of a precariously hanging log, the rat creature and Roque Ja soon following and then the second rat creature joining them, sealing their fated fall, the kids jumping to the small branch across the way. When the Bones realize the kids are safe, Smiley is first to see Roque Ja is angrily making his way back up the cliff, they needing to book it out of there, the Possum kids calling for Roderick to come along, but he not being able to for the other orphans of the mountain, hoping they could all help each other.

The orphan kids tell of their hiding places, willing to help Fone and his friends out before Roque Ja finished his climb back up, but they don’t get away undiscovered, Roque Ja following close behind them until the Bone crew have jumped into a cave in the ground, he not fitting down the gap, but Roque Ja staring at them through the crevice. Soon the orphan kids are trying to exclude the rat creature cub and the Possum kids try to aid the Bones by defending their trustworthiness of allowing the cub rat creature to accompany them through the tunnel. Soon they’re convinced to its necessity the rat creature cub be able to come along, everyone going through in darkness, until Smiley sparks a light. Soon they’re through the tunnel and walk out into an area with Aztec looking statues. The orphan kids show them how they would next need to climb down a cliff to get to the forest, which would take a moment longer to get to, but once they did, they realizing getting down was going to be tricky, unfortunately before they can even attempt it, the two rat creatures come out and stop them, then being engulfed in bugs which then turns out to be Kingdok. He is not happy to see his cronies here with the Bones, having failed to stay with him and then pushing them off the cliff, but two orphan kids are left on the side with Kingdok, Bartleby then showing how useful he could be, by jumping back over for them and bringing them to everyone else, they all then having to figure out where they’d go next.

Fone comes up with everyone needing to walk along the steep edge of the rock. Kingdok then speaking to them and giving them the option to tell him of Phoney’s whereabouts and he granting them their lives, but Fone decides not to take it and Kingdok collapses some rocks impedes their path. Roderick is almost lost, but is saved by a rat creature for selfish reasons as we observe when they stop to account for everyone’s presence. Fone decides to make a deal with the rat creatures, since the orphans weren’t going to help them, they having to agree to stop trying to eat their group and they, in return would help them get away from Kingdok, the two rat creatures taking up Fone’s offer. As they continue down the ledge though, Kingdok is seen patrolling above and since Roque Ja was back the way they’d come, they would need to go down, but then Kingdok sends his locusts out, it engulfing the bunch and they trying to stay calm as the grasshoppers’ presence thickened. Fone doesn’t make it through the locust shower, getting pushed off the ledge and then being pulled off by the locusts when the hoard clears from Smiley and the rest. Kingdok then shows up, trying to crunch on Smiley, the locusts picking up Fone, but something falling from his bag and scaring the locusts away. They then proceed to look through the items Gran’ma Ben had Fone keep safe, the rat creatures acting squirrel-y around a particular one. The orphan kids then discuss how Kingdok didn’t seem real, especially when he vanished and considered how the temple was built on a ghost circle, which would explain the strange things they were experiencing. Fone then decides they need to check on Thorn so they try to get down the mountain as quickly as possible, hoping nothing else arises.

Smiley voices how the rat creature cub would now be able to stay with them as Roque Ja stalks the group. Fone decides the cub should stay with the dense rat creatures, they taking offense, Smiley then noticing the fire which was seen near the village was out and Fone not wanting to jump to conclusions until they saw for themselves what was going on. They then learn a bit about where the Hooded One came from by the rat creatures when they were asked what they knew about the war. The rat creatures then tell of when their race were a content bunch until the locusts came and threatened them into helping the Hooded One. Fone tries to convince the rat creatures it’s possible for them to be happy without following the Hooded One, but then Roque Ja butts in with his own advice, surprising everyone and he deciding they all would return with him back up the mountain, he explaining as they go what the difference is between power and happiness, they then running into Kingdok and the two rat creatures realizing how much trouble they were in whilst the others contemplated whether Kingdok was real this time, settling with the fact he smelled real enough.

Roque Ja then claims to Kingdok he was taking his prisoners to him after Kingdok commands he release them into his custody, then scaring Roque Ja off and Fone debating escape when he and Smiley are grabbed by the two rat creatures, but the Possum kids bite them and give them their chance to flee, they taking it and jumping down a decline. They plan on splitting up at the woods, but Kingdok jumps down to block them, they then trying to get into a depression in the rocks, Roque Ja coming back to body slam Kingdok giving everyone another chance to get to the trees. When everyone gets covered, the orphan kids seperate from the Possum kids, everyone saying their goodbyes with promises to visit, they following the Bones. Smiley then notices Bartleby hadn’t followed them, they returning to the bottom of the mountain expecting to see the rat creatures, but running in to no one until they look higher on the mountain to see the rat creatures carrying Kingdok away with the two traitors following and Bartleby trying to join them, they all going off together and Smiley uncertain whether Bartleby will be alright amongst them, watching him worriedly as they walk away in the opposite direction. This series is getting better as I go, quite captivating. Here‘s the next volume.

Creepy Susie and 13 Other Tragic Tales for Troubled Children

The first story starts with Helga believing she fits into society and being a source of entertainment for the Debbies which made Helga want to get even with them whilst the Debbies wanted to quash any hope Helga had of believing she could coexist socially with others. Meanwhile Helga goes incognito to learn more about the Debbies habits, interests and whatnot, they soon deciding to have a sleepover and Helga eating all their pizza crusts, in the same night snipping their heads off as they slept.

We then move on to ‘Stupid Betsy’ who did ridiculously dumb acts for no apparent reason, her mother then needing to get her to the hospital to have the items stowed away in her body, removed. We then get a plot twist, being told as much and how it didn’t change how stupid Betsy was, the ending of which is final and her mother being indifferent to the outcome.

We’re then introduced to a boy from Nantucket called Waldo and his sausage dog, Bean. When Waldo excitedly shows his mother what Bean had done, his Mother doesn’t appreciate it the same way he does, due to her drunkenness and it not being impressive, disposing of the dog and making herself sick.

Next on the docket is Little Scooter who had an irresistible head which left him with a “loose brain” which he couldn’t be cured of and getting the medical opinion with the finality one would not be able to come back from easily and still had the same effect on people to harass the little guy.

Little Sammy is then introduced as being happy to a default which he had to be cured of, leaving him normal.

We then meet Milo who sees reality in a different light which permeated his every thought and action, but was cured with the same treatment as Little Sammy also including the same “happy” ending.

The namesake of the collection is then shown, Creepy Susie having odd collection habits and weird objects making her smile; her family was “normal”, if not quirky. One day a boy starts crushing on her, she not knowing how to handle his feelings, even though she had similar feelings for him she didn’t understand and when she tried to do research, romance novel-style, she had an adverse reaction which didn’t work out for her. She decides to ask a three-times-great-grandmother for advice which also didn’t give much solace, so Susie comes up with her own way of dealing with her issue, making her smile and leaving her with two ways which could do the job.

We next visit Emily Amputee who has a short and sweet explanation as to how she lost her limb.

Narcoleptic Scottie was a shorty who had odd dreams and hated his lot in life as a dog, realizing it to be an inelegant existence and preferred dreaming. He began sleeping so much though, the same fate occurred to Sammie as a man from a story called, The Handler, from Bradbury Stories, unfortunately for him.

Sibling Rivalry shows Tommy and Patty being evil toward each other for not liking the other, their terrible pranks become so torturous and traumatizing one of them commits murder.

We then see Rosie’s crazy mother who would go around topless and shaved their cats and proceeded to gluing long-haired classic singers onto them. Her mother’s habits began to worry her early on in life and made her wonder if she’d have the same fate, which we are privy to by the outcome.

We are then shown Siamese quadruplets three of which are named Jenny, the other Babette and how they were such a spectacle, none of the “normal” or deformed children would play with them and their father being intimidated by them and their mother believing them to be an arachnid, so they go off in search of a conventional life. They get a job and vehicle, even getting illegally married and after some time passed, they journey back to their old locale incognito and we see an unfortunate outcome for their parents.

We are introduced to Dick and Muffy after, they playing with each other nicely and having a farm-saturated life-style, we then getting images of them displaying funny, dirty jokes until Dick disappears inexplicably — unless it had something to do with the exploding champagne bottle.

Mary’s chainsaw is in a rhyme which matches Mary had a Little Lamb and left Mary as a butch adult.

These were quite entertaining and I’d gladly read more by Angus Oblong having been a fan of the show The Oblongs and the two being very similar, if for the show being a bit watered down for children viewership, his author’s description concluding the book reminding me of The Dark Backward, with Judd Nelson (also entertaining).

Sideways

We are immediately thrust into the packing of the Narrator to join his buddy, Jack on a road trip to wine country before getting married in ten days and whilst this trip was over the Narrator’s budget, he needed the vacay due to his stressed reactions to living in L.A.; (I can relate), this all happening on a Friday and each Chapter stating the day we are witnessing. Then the Narrator gets a call which doesn’t give Caller I.D., so when he hears the message from his landlord, Roman who is begrudgingly threatening eviction for being late on rent which then prompts the Narrator, Miles to turn down the volume of the playing message since he’d heard this speech before, we learn this is nothing new for him. We also get a display of the first word I have no clue of the meaning to: jeremiad, a long and mournful complaint, which is referring to Roman’s prolonged message.

Miles continues his packing which consisted of an encompassing companion of wine as well as a couple other novels he didn’t plan on reading, then getting a phone call from his agent, Evelyn who was phoning to inform Miles of the potentially good news of an editor liked his book and would be passing it along to other senior editors for perusal and approval, the novel in question being one which had been passed around for the past year to any takers for publishing. Miles wasn’t going to get his hopes up, but then divulges he’s about to go on a trip, she asking where and if he had any writing done, besides. He fibbing about having something epic around the corner, we then learning of his divorce and ex-girlfriend which hadn’t lasted long, she then giving him encouraging words and they hanging up, Miles trying to stay optimistic. He gets on his way to the meeting spot where Jack agreed to find him, it being at a wine-tasting spot they’d been to before, we getting more details on it’s neighboring businesses as well as the place itself and it being the perfect spot to taste the vast selection after the owner went home for the wine connoisseur feeling his salary a sick joke. We then learn Miles’ soft spot for a particular wine.

Miles is then greeted by the regulars, he noticing it was already lively and then giving introductions to those he knew, he then notices three non-regular young females who were conversing in their own little party. After Miles asks some preliminary questions about the wine they’d chosen and if they liked the same wine he did, without saying it was his favorite and getting a unfavorable answer, he leaves them alone and continues his wine-tasting which we are given the facts of their vineyard location and flavor. As Miles talks with Carl, who’d come back from Spain, he’s told one of the dark-haired girl’s friends who hadn’t liked Pinot was staring and smiling at him, but he not actually interested since they didn’t have the same taste in wine, which led him into asking why one of the other regulars, Jerry was schmoozing it up with the dark-headed lady. He getting an answer only horse-shoed back to how he should be acting if he ever wanted to be in a relationship again, the afternoon moving on after and Miles waiting for Jack to arrive. Another regular shows up, Dani, an Australian looker who would go around without a bra, apparently, greeting Miles with a close hug which made him swoon for not being close to a woman for so long. They chat whilst getting more buzzed and Miles shares of the good news of his rep. calling which elicits a request of wanting to read his book from Dani, who apparently has said this before and nothing has ever been done about it, after which Miles misreads her closing in near his face to mean she was going in for a kiss and it actually being a covert whisper about Jerry making his “killer” move.

Not long after when Miles is a little more properly sloshed, he gives the information to Dani if she and her fiancé didn’t work out, she should give him a ring which prompts her to giving him a serious looking kiss in front of the crowd around them, but the two knowing if anything else were to be done, it would ruin their friendship, so they make light of their moment until Miles vaguely hears Jerry, the man who was talking to one of the young new wine-tasters make a comment about Miles he didn’t quite like the sound of and decided to put reality into their world by inquiring of Jerry’s wife. The three ladies, surprised and disgusted all leave after Jerry tries to back-pedal with the comment he wasn’t wearing a ring and Dani finds the whole moment hilarious. Jerry stalks off, but Miles doesn’t let him off the hook easily when they share a look, making another comment involving his wife which gets everyone in the tasting area laughing, egging Jerry to return and get physical with Miles which then gets Graham to come in to angrily disengage the two. Jerry is directed out of the store and then Jack makes his long awaited entrance, getting caught up on the story and how Jerry had a tendency to piggyback dates off of Miles current love interests. Graham then, to help celebrate and start Jack and Miles vacation brought out a personal bottle of “sparkling wine” of the Pinot variety, Dani having a taste and after being invited with the boys on their trip, declining, and leaving them to their group talk.

Graham then mentions how he’d seen Miles’ ex-wife inside the wine store recently, Miles having to pretend he didn’t care and getting the idea she hadn’t been alone and was buying some wine, Jack and he then leaving after making their own purchases and Jack insisting on driving Miles’ vehicle since he was obviously well into the sauce-y side of his drink, his behavior so far in the wine-tasting spurring on  he’d be too far gone to start their drive and it being the vehicle-of-choice for their trip. Jack drives them along a couple of freeways until almost hitting some cars in front of him when he decides to wash Miles’ windshield, then trying to make conversation by asking about what life had going on for Miles, he revealing the optimistic publishing deal, we then learning a bit more about Jack and his fiancée’s up-down relationship and Miles’ inability to get why they were getting married. Jack then goes fishing for a bottle of wine which completely wets Miles eyeballs for its rare and point driven greatness, Jack wanting to open it and being dissuaded by Miles, they going for a less important vintage and toasting to good times to come. Miles then informs Jack of needing to make a slight detour to his mother’s home, it being her birthday and needing to go wish her a happy one since it was relatively on their way, Jack consenting and insisting Miles get her a proper gift of flowers, not only the wine he’d purchased. We then get a rundown of what was going on in his mother’s life, it not being much since his father died, but she living comfortably with her small dog and when they arrive, she not at first recognizing her son, but then surprised he’d gotten her flowers since he hadn’t before, she then inviting them in.

After Jack and he look at some of his old photos his mother had hanging, they join her outside on the patio for drinks. Jack entertains Miles mother with his news of marriage and how Miles was his best man, his mother then confiding a sultry tale from her past, Miles bowing out and letting Jack take the brunt of her flashback, he going back indoors to carry out his true purpose for going to his mother’s, being to get into a safe, but forgetting the year his mother was born stopping his would-be theft and gets Jack’s attention to see if he could weasel the information out of her. Jack is successful and chiding Miles on his inability to remembering the easy number, Miles going back to the study to open the safe and withdrawing the needed amount within whilst Jack entertained his mother for a few more minutes. When Miles is done, they all go inside for dinner and Miles goes to the car for more wine. They eat and drink heartily, his mother digressing into Miles saving his soul and believing he didn’t go to church enough, he assuring her of his stability and then making for the bathroom, overhearing his mother and Jack talking of how he was doing. When he returns, she offers him money in case he needed it, he declining, then thinking her dog is being kind, deciding to try and rub his belly, but gets bit instead and pours himself another drink.

The two wake early in the morning, not realizing at first they are still at Miles’ mother’s home and when they get their bearings, Miles writes a quick note of farewell, debates on raiding his mother’s cash stash once more, figuring once is good enough and they moving out to the car, groping for sunglasses within for the raging hangovers they both sported, Jack wanting breakfast. They stop at a coffee shop and Miles takes the opportunity to wait for the bank nearby to open so he can make the money-order needed to keep him from getting evicted, whilst also discussing why the waitress wasn’t sexy to Miles because of her age, but how Jack didn’t feel the same way, arguing the construction workers she was also waiting on were of the same opinion. After Miles makes his call to his landlord to inform of the incoming money-order, they are on their way to Santa Ynez Valley and when they get there, instead of setting up camp at a motel, they go straight to a vineyard for a tasting, Miles coaching Jack on how he expected him to swirl-air-swallow the wine with each tasting, Jack completely ready to employ his instructions. Miles then purchases a wine which is highly spoken about and they taste it outside with Jack bringing sandwiches, they discussing what Miles was actually looking for to prove he wasn’t picky about the kind of woman he’d get into a relationship with.

They then pick a motel to stay at and head back out once Jack has figured what kind of masseuse he could hire for later, they then getting into a chat about the waitress Jack was eyeing from the bar, Miles confessing how he knew she was married and had found this out from a previous visit, she and her husband having difficulties, but not remembering the specifics. Jack couldn’t let go Miles knew this goddess-of-womanhood and tried to stoke the flames, but failing and they eating their meals and walking back to their motel; I must digress to the facts which there are many minor conversations which move this story along, as well, but my review is already looking beefy, but this plot is quite smooth as it goes along and one should definitely read it if looking for an informative and buddy-buddy themed story. Jack then decides they must continue the night partying and Miles figured the best place for it would be back at the motel bar, Miles getting them some wine and Jack calling his fiancée, he getting mad and needing to call back for having hung up on her, this being when Miles is introduced to another bar-drinker who invites him boar-hunting, but Miles respectfully declines.

When Jack gets back from his phone call which began with voice-mail, Maya comes in and Jack again resumes his role as wing-man. Miles then feels the urge to try karaoke and when returning discovers Jack has talked him up to Maya about being on the verge of publication and wanting to know what their plans were for the night, Miles completely blowing it by saying they’ll be returning to their room to crash, she bowing out quickly enough and the both returning to their room, Jack giving Miles crap for his blatancy and how Maya wasn’t wearing her wedding ring at the bar. When they get into their room, Jack advises Miles to not answer their room phone under any circumstances, it already blinking, Miles then asking again what was up between he and his fiancée, instead of an answer they both call it a night, Miles waking later to relieve himself into a cup on the nightstand since Jack was talking in the bathroom and he being surprised by the contents later on.

They awaken in mid-afternoon to get some lunch and Jack takes the opportunity to lay into Miles for messing up the night for them both. Jack then confides how serious he was to get laid once more before the big ax fell, they finishing their meals and heading to their next vineyard. They realize they’d arrived too early and had to wait an hour, Jack then confessing why he and his fiancée, Babs were having arguments, it being about Miles being the best man, his ex-wife being at the wedding and how she’d gotten remarried the week before, Jack trying to work it out so he wouldn’t have to give Miles up for his best man. When the tasting-room opens, Miles decides on the wine which seems will continue to become tastier as they savored and feels better about the news Jack had unloaded on him, after their picnic, moving to another vineyard. The next place they hit strikes out, but the one after seemed to go better, until the wine-pourer approaches the two for seeming to be getting louder than the rest and having a hilarious time, Miles calling where she was from by how she looked before she began speaking, which confirmed his supposition. Jack took aim, though and made the wine-pourer, Terra, his new mark and being successful at the play, as well whilst Miles stood disgustedly to the side as his conscience, ignored. When Terra moves away for a moment to pour for the only other people in the room, Jack confirms of closing the deal for them both when it came to Terra and Maya, Miles giving up his cause when he saw how much Terra seemed to be interested. They leave after Jack gets Terra’s number, she knowing Maya and helping Jack hook up a double date for them all later, hopefully. Jack laying in on Miles for almost confessing to Terra his impending wedding and not to talk to the ladies of it anymore.

When they go for lunch, Jack gets the confirmation call to their date, Miles surprised it was actually happening. They get back to their room and nap until nightfall, the both getting ready, Jack taking a phone call from Babs and preparing for their date. When they get to the restaurant of choice, Jack gives Miles an uplifting coaching as to the story Miles was to stick with and try to keep him level-headed due to having had a couple drinks before arriving, they go inside and greet the ladies, the night starting well and optimistically. The night begins to wind down for Miles when he goes past the point of no return and gets a bit more sloshed, adjourning to the bathroom when he sees Jack get the moves made on him and he accidentally entering the ladies room, making a call to his ex which doesn’t end well, returning to the table and falling to the floor when trying to sit down, the ladies making a visit to the restroom whilst Jack tried to get Miles back on track. The ladies come back and Terra offers they sojourn to hers for night-caps, etc. She leaving with Maya and giving directions to Jack who was about to be surprised by the hefty bill they’d built. They get to Terra’s in one piece, but the directions being a little mystifying with the darkened roads and once getting in, Miles still in a funk and wanting to be alone, but Jack moving him along until they each had a room with their ladies. Miles talking wine with Maya and Terra and Jack having fun with Tom Jones. After talking for awhile in the kitchen, they hear Terra and Jack move off into the bedroom and they migrate to the couch to be more comfortable and continue their drifting conversation. Maya makes the first move on Miles which he doesn’t want to get too caught up in, but doesn’t ruin, they having a pleasant evening.

Miles wakes in his motel room, with Maya’s bag on a chair and he not smelling anything, but probably a bit of, body odor. He then wonders where Jack is and how thinking about Jack cheating on his fiancée with one of her friends, made him ill. Then Maya knocks on the bathroom door and walks in, offering coffee and croissants, Miles only having the stomach for coffee. She confesses to him she liked him, but they didn’t “get dirty” together, he glad of it since he wouldn’t have been able to remember it anyways, after she leaves, he going to the pancake house. After making his order of the same oatmeal and coffee to the same waitress as last time, Miles then goes over what he was going to do when it came to stepping down as best man, Jack coming in after he began thinking of the messages which had been left at their motel, one being from his ex-wife about what they’d talked about in their last phone call, it making him feel crappy.

Miles then gives Jack his messages, he commanding Jack call her right then, being told to leave the room, which he did willingly they both agreeing the golf course would be their next point of interest, Jack wanting to stop at the next winery for a drink, but Miles not stopping since knowing they would be closed and he not planning on drinking until later. When they get ready to golf, Miles makes the deal with Jack if he didn’t cheat he’d give him “six strokes a side”, which I’m unfamiliar with the meaning of, but will give me a chance to understand these golf terms since I’ll be reading P.G. Wodehouse’s Golf Omnibus. It seems Jack is close to winning until he makes a big mistake which loses him the game, Jack then confessing how he might need to see Terra again which upsets Miles, but in the end having to forgive him for charming him again. Miles then gets mad at Miles again for making a second date for them at the Hitching Post, Miles opting to go to a movie instead, after which driving by the Hitching Post then deciding to head toward Solvang. When he gets back to the motel, Jack still hasn’t come back, but the red light on the phone for messages was flashing and he found out he was pretty popular, having messages from Jack, Maya and Babs for him and Babs for Jack, Miles returning only Maya’s call.

Miles goes for a ride after breakfast since Jack wasn’t at the motel still, but when he returns he discovers Jack in the throes, with Terra, they laughing at being interrupted and Miles quickly moving back out of the room. Jack and Terra then meet Miles in the bar, she leaving not long after they sit and then Miles getting into Jack about his tryst with Terra, he believing he was now in love and may need to postpone the wedding. Jack walks off when Miles goes to the restroom, he then seeing Brad once more who offered again to take him boar hunting, Jack is seen talking on his cell and Miles decides to wait to see if Jack wanted to come, Jack having already made plans for them at Terra’s later. Miles wins this argument though and they prepare by getting some wine and Jack following the boar-hunter’s truck to his shooting spot, complaining the whole way there about wanting to ditch him and go to Terra’s place instead.

When they cut away to another trail and park at a spot overlooking Brad’s truck, they have a few moments of being able to drink and Jack begins to wonder where Brad was, they then getting a good idea when shots are heard and puffs of dirt are unsettled near them, Jack running off and Miles following, the former realizing Brad seems to be shooting at them. Miles isn’t entirely convinced until he goes back to the car and tries to shout at Brad who is hidden in the foliage, getting shot at again and returning to Jack to figure out a game-plan, being to return with Miles to see if they can talk to Brad together, but when they see him near Miles’ jeep, they go with Miles’ plan of Jack waiting for him to shout out a greeting to Brad and then come up behind him with the wine bottle and whack him good with it. Miles gets up to where he can see Brad is rooting around his car, he calling out and Jack coming out to learn Brad was unarmed, he changing his tactic into a body slam getting Brad on the ground and the duo being in charge of the little slime who was claiming he was only trying to scare them. Miles and Jack have their chance to return the favor and Miles then offers Brad a deal which involved taxiing them around on the day of the wine festival, Brad of course being interested by this point. They relieve him of his gun and wallet to motivate him to meet them on the day and time requested, the two going back to the motel and Jack realizing he’d hurt his ribs somehow, Miles still making him laugh and Jack having to beg him to stop, this after Jack tries to have a considerate conversation about Miles thoughts on the ability to love someone for life.

The next day Miles takes Jack to the hospital to get examined for his hurt rib, Miles reading a question and answer section in a women’s magazine to sense how one could determine whether their spouse was having an affair, which Miles rationalized the cause of its commonness. He tries a self-esteem test after assessing the waiting room of its other occupants which told of how dark his emotions might be, then deciding to check his messages which had another from his ex Victoria and various others. Jack returns more pissed off with the news of a fracture to his ribs and a quip from Miles which gets him angrier and once Miles lightens his mood a little he offers they go to Hearst Castle, Miles reserving their spot on a pay phone whilst Jack called Babs and when Miles returns, notices his worried look, asking Miles if he’d talked with Babs and whether he could’ve said something damaging about Jack to Miles’ ex-wife, Victoria, Miles claiming he wouldn’t have done whilst smashed.

They go to a restaurant and discuss some of the reasons why Miles was annoyed with Jack, one being he’d been surprised by Jack getting dirty with Terra on his bed, they ordering their food, neglecting wine as they’d promised, quickly eating and leaving for the castle. When they reach the tour bus, Miles isn’t enchanted with the ride what with the group he was touring with, but when they got out and were led around the grounds and lastly inside, it became surreal as to how someone would actually live in the now historical museum. Jack saw it differently, believing it was the perfect example of American aspiration, wanting something similar for himself and asking Miles why he wouldn’t, upon the answer questioning everyone on the bus if they had a drink for his obviously in-need friend and upon getting no takers, sits down. When they return where they began Miles suggests they go to Babcock Winery, Jack agreeing wholeheartedly. They get there not long before closing, but the pourer indulges them and they thank him by buying a case of wine plus a bottle of another which seemed to make their heads spin.

They hang around outside after the Winery closes, Jack calling Terra to see if she and Maya were interested in hooking up for dinner, Miles walking off and Jack sharing the details after, Miles taking him down with how his opinion seemed to change again even after their run in with the boar-hunter, but trying to stay positive as to Jack’s ultimate fidelity once married. When they go to meet the ladies at the designated restaurant, Miles notices some differences in the ladies’ appearances as he sees them, most likely due to his less severe alcoholic state. When the ladies go to confer, Jack confides in Miles of his decision with Babs to invest a pretty hefty amount toward Miles’ writing career, which he promptly turns down, Jack trying to get him to accept with the knowledge of what he and his future wife stood to gain upon their marriage vows. Terra then comes back to proposition a spa on the boys, Miles being the one to ultimately decide and agreeing they should after he reasoned how Jack and Babs’ generous investment would leave him unfettered and less stressed about paying his mother and creditors back.

They stop at their hotel room after Maya gets off work and grab their bathing suits, Maya showing Miles the wine she’d brought, making him blaspheme God with its rarity. When they arrive at the spa, they swiftly change into their suits and get to cracking open the wine, everyone reveling in its blend. Soon Jack and Terra take command of the cabana reserved and Maya gets herself worked up over Miles who is torn by the dishonesty he had to keep away from Maya, but ultimately falls in line with her way of thinking, especially when she gets a room of their own and he goes about getting down, the way she had for him in the Jacuzzi, we getting a new description for the bean all the guys who strive for it want to bag and then they getting to the dirty with no safety net; which surprises me. When they all reconvene at their car and Miles is dropped off with Maya and Jack stays with Terra, Miles invites Maya inside and they get close, Miles realizing he’s falling for her and deciding to confess Jack’s nasty secret, Maya not taking it well since Jack had severely lied to Terra, she knowing Terra would be exceptionally hurt by this reality. After they go to sleep and Terra wakes up around dawn, she confesses a pretty exceptional deal herself, leaving Miles with his own betrayal to deal with.

When Jack comes into the motel room a bit later, Miles greets him with a kiss from his fist to Jack’s face laying him out on the floor and bewildered as to why Miles would make him bleed so profusely, Miles being quite clear as to the why and wondering what Jack’s explanation could be, he revealing how the idea of paying Maya was Terra’s idea. After he further explains his reasoning, Miles is starting to get it, but not able to move past it, furthermore, Jack is starting to detect his nose may be broken from his tap, Miles driving him once more to the hospital and getting the news from the doctor it well may be broken and getting Jack’s nose x-rayed to be certain. After an hour wait Miles is told Jack is going to need more work on his nose if he didn’t want to have a honker forever, his look in the car when adding his sunglasses making Miles bust into uncontrolled laughter and their friendship on the mend, they both going golfing in preference to another winery and having some fun when a couple of golfers try to mess with them.

When they get back to their motel room, Jack notices Terra’s car and starts freaking out she was in their room, Miles still not having told him he’d spilled the beans to Maya, but trying to get him to go in and talk with her, they both walking closer, but Jack periodically stopping with apprehension which we soon observe is founded when Terra makes her presence felt by shooting off Brad’s rifle and chasing the two away, Jack stopping to plead forgiveness, she too hurt and angered by his betrayal. She leaves him with a couple more injuries before the cops arrive and Jack comes up with a decent enough story to cover up the shooting. When the cops leave, Jack decides to surprise Miles with an impromptu cover story, Miles car needing to match and he getting extremely pissed off in the process even though Jack tried mollifying him with being the one to pay for the damage. They go to eat at a café and Jack tries to amend the situation by letting Miles choose whatever he wanted to drink and then obtaining another woman to sooth his sorrows with for the night, getting Miles to drive him to hers and pick him up for the festival in the morning.

At dawn Miles is awakened by Jack pounding on the door and yelling for him, he too groggy to get why he’d be at the door, getting his story about how he’d had to bolt from the bartender’s home early in the morning because she was married and her husband had walked in, Jack thinking Miles should help him get back over there to retrieve his wallet, left with his clothes in the adulteress’ house, Miles thinking he was Planter’s nuts. He starts the drive after Jack confides he’d had the two wedding rings in his wallet, they being irreplaceable, but unfortunately Miles still being torn about this terrible plan. Miles eventually gets talked into doing Jack’s dirty work of the retrieval of his wallet. He then notices the partially opened sliding glass door and hears odd noises from inside, barely audible, but also noticing what looked like Jack’s jeans draped over a chair. The wallet wasn’t inside though and ended up being in a spot which the husband and wife would both see it being swiped, Miles taking what seemed like the best moment to try to pinch it, but ultimately ending up in the pool out front at the end of his oxygen supply, being put in the position by the angered husband. Jack comes to his rescue and they drive back to Buellton for a celebratory breakfast before the wine festival began. Brad is waiting for them when they finish and Miles checks his messages before they get started to the festival, one message being from his agent, whom he postponed the return call to until he’d had a couple of tastings.

They get on their way, but Jack stops their proceeding when he notices Miles is in an introspective mood, they taking a walk in a field and Miles coming clean as to why he was acting distant, conceding to Jack he didn’t want to be his best man, Jack trying to convince him and failing, Miles finally agreeing after Jack decides he won’t get married unless Miles is present as his best man, the three continuing on their journey to the wine festival. When they finally arrive and realize the crowd they would be contending with at the tasting areas, Miles not only is told of Maya being nearby, but decides to call his agent at last for the news. When he gets off the phone he tries a different wine and Maya is seen speaking with Jack, he getting acknowledgment from Maya. Miles then makes a scene by chugging from the spit bucket since the wine pourer wouldn’t fill his glass and kept him from drinking the one he’d poured himself. Jack comes to his rescue once more and he helps him out where Brad then helps them both get back to his car to take him to the ocean upon request. Miles being completely wasted by now, fought to get into the water, Jack having to drag him back to shore, Miles than throwing up the nasty leftovers of other people’s spit and asking whether it was true Jack had spoken with Maya about accompanying him to the wedding, he confirming and she wanting him to call her for specifics. They get some dinner before making their journey to Los Olivos where the impending wedding would be held, Jack admitting he’d somehow hurt his ankle chasing Miles into the ocean.

When morning arrives, Jack and Miles revisit the hospital once more, now having an awkwardly joke-y rapport with the intern, Jack learning out he’d fractured his ankle and would have to get it set. Jack comes out from his high on Vicodan and before they get all the way to Paso Robles for the wedding Jack surprises Miles with one more piece of damage to his car to fortify their story for his injuries. When they arrive at Babs’ parents place, Miles drops Jack off and checks into a motel as quickly as possible, getting some dinner and retiring to his room, letting Jack know his number when he got back. He gets a call from Jack after he’d gone to sleep, he hoping Miles would dance with Babs at the reception for not being able to himself, Jack professing how grateful he was for the time they’d had and Miles agreeing to his request, he then receiving a call back from Maya, who turns his invitation to be his date down for having to work, she trying to get to the bottom of what Miles actually felt for her and he being honest. She shares him what she believed his true feelings were and then giving him hope by asking the details for the reception, letting him be optimistic she’ll at least think about joining him.

Miles gets through the wedding without cracking up and remembers he promised to dance with Babs otherwise would have split after the vows. At the reception, Miles dances with Babs and uncovers more of her misgivings to their story about how Jack got broken and also finally gets a close-up look of his ex and her new husband, revealing more news which solidified they truly having separate lives now. Maya surprises Miles by showing up after he’d gotten a few drinks in him and she gets him to come with her to a quiet spot to talk privately, outside the wedding party. We’re left with Miles having a moment of clarity and Maya’s thoughts on the newlyweds longevity. This story was so easy to read the plot almost seems inconsequential, but it was funny and worth it overall and I’ll probably end up checking out further works by Rex Pickett.