How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

 

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So, I was discouraged by reviews and then re-encouraged to finish this story and since this will be my second start in summarizing, I’m going to try a more accessible reading by leaving out the useless technical bits, which seem to bog down the tale. Charles Yu, the author, first shows how using the time box works, he also supplies a “T” graph on Tensed/Tenseless Theory of Time, the two describing different scenes, one including his mother and the other, his father, whilst in interstitial space, questions on both sides are asked about his father, presumably. Then Charles the character confesses to shooting his future self to end the future to come. The first part is a Module “fish” sign.

Charles relays the time box having enough room for one person to live comfortably for as long as needed, he doing so whilst waiting for his ever dwindling jobs from Dispatch, spending his time in Present-Indefinite, he soon seeing his face changing in the mirror into his father’s, he feeling like how his father looked during certain times after coming back from work, dozing over his soup at dinner. After sharing of not leaving his little box often, he introduces his unreal dog, Ed, having saved him from a black hole, the dog leaving a smell in the enclosed space (somehow) and was most likely illegal to keep cooped in there (for some reason, this dog not seeming to have a physical form), but leaves the topic there. Charles has a degree in applied science fiction and was now a mechanic as an independent contractor for Time Warner Time, he taking the position when something happened to his mother, straining the relationship (a guess), and may have done with his father’s disappearance (another guess).

Whilst Charles had goals to follow in his father’s footsteps as an engineer, his split decision to accept this job left him feeling like it was ‘chill’ enough until he started sensing his “Tense Operator” may be malfunctioning. Charles is unsure of when this could’ve happened, since the operator can mess with his sense of time and how it had broken in the first place, making him question his idea of being able to drift for an extensive period. The next part sounds like a nod to the Catholic faith. A red light turns on and Charles reviews an error report, giving his impression of what the machine would be saying as a human, stating of his incapacity of performing his duties properly within the ship, Charles mentioning of not requiring “silicon wafers” to get the idea (Catholic, no?). Then he gives a vague idea of his plumpness versus height and his male reasoning behind choosing TAMMY over TIM as the computer’s personality, he also sharing TAMMY’s attributes and how close he was close to buffing himself over the view, “embarrassment” no longer an issue (obviously), the O.S. apologetic and seeing the worst case scenario (Marvin-style). Charles admits to being lonely and then reveals how he’d not gotten married and her name being Marie, she like Ed, in the not-real department, which Charles was being ‘cute’ about since every woman was the woman he didn’t marry (har-har).

Then he shares a story of how they didn’t meet in Spring in a park whilst she read a book and ate, he not seeing her and making her laugh when he trips over himself, the two not marrying a year later (Yeah, okay). Charles is wakened by TAMMY for her loud crying, he normally the sympathetic sort, but usually becoming angry when someone cried, it heightening his stress of not knowing how to deal, which gave way to guilt (which he should be, since he doesn’t have to feel anything when someone is in pain and cries, for the most part, it’s about ‘being there’; a doofus). Charles then questions whether the tense operator could screw with one’s ability to convey thoughts which matter (or perhaps he doesn’t know how to properly put down his thoughts; What a great writing tool though, he doesn’t even have to own up to saying what he means and have it make sense. Goldstar, sir). So he decides to attempt comforting TAMMY with the age old ‘everything will be alright’, she then stating of how everything being fine the reason she was upset, this making it so they didn’t have to be truthful with their actual emotions, doing nothing, and knowing the end of the universe approached, which would make everything no longer be fine.

Charles then contemplates how he’d send a report to Microsoft explaining TAMMY’s suicide if she ever grew tired of her operational existence (yeah…). Charles goes on to state the obvious of he not having “many” buddies, TAMMY a good one though, due to hella smarts (I should hope an O.S. would…), and not repeating information, Ed there for comfort and body heat (I must not understand what ontological means, and the definition doesn’t help. I thought this ‘dog’ was like a hologram with a computer brain or something. Hm!). He claims not minding being on his own, but for the two techno-buds, he listing how other mechanics spent their time pursuing other hobbies or using the machine as a getaway, but he enjoying the job for the silence.

A complete turnaround occurs when stating the lonesomeness of the place, again, so also filling his time by opening mini-wormholes to snoop at his other selves, he not liking them particularly (I can imagine), which he deduces to mean it made it likely he wasn’t the cream of the crop (at least he’s self-aware). To top it off, he talks himself down more by admitting to not having talent for anything and not good at being himself (well, it’s interesting when it feels like he’s fishing for compliments in a forum where one can’t speak back immediately). Minor Universe 31 is a minimally impaired space the developer had given up on, which made walking through an unforeseeable experience difficult, but manageable, and whilst the machinery left was top-notch, the humans living there seemed to lack a bit.

Charles then receives a call from a client, Skywalker, but he let down when seeing it was Luke’s son, Linus (I think the presentation of attempting to be humorous is what’s killing the likability of this story. Dude has to stop trying, although, it is said it can’t be learned; Hope he learns he can’t learn…), Charles relaying of traveling about twenty years into the past to an ice planet, and as he’s trekking up a hill, notices a fire having caught on Linus’ box, Charles knocking and not ready to see Linus is a young boy and had tried to change the past which crashed the machine, he attempting to give Linus a pep talk which doesn’t do much (surprisingly). He then explains how most of the time he has to tell customers they didn’t break the machine, but they also not able to change the past even if they wanted, the universe not allowing it, and humans incapable of doing so. An explanation of time and how people barely make a blip on it follows, Charles aware people ignore his diatribe, but didn’t mind since he had his ‘9-5’ and every night was the same for discovering his Present-Indefinite spot was reliable for quiet time.

Charles then shares his first memory of his father reading to him before bed, he describing the fuzzy memory of sight and sound including nightshade, leaning on his father, and remembering his voice. He goes back to the subject of why people rent time machines and learn the impossibility of making their pasts different, to areas they accidentally or otherwise shouldn’t have returned, and getting in trouble in some way, Charles going after them, like AAA to lead them out, his job being safe from redundancy due to people attempting to tweak their pasts on a regular basis. Charles then relates how his father had been one of the first who had determined the math to make a time machine, feeling like he’d wasted time whilst hoping to find a means of getting more. Charles is unwilling to calculate how long it had been since he’d seen his father, the man possibly still contemplating how to get more time. Charles makes the excuse of why he’d rather shelter himself from realizing the time lost to bond and his mother fine with reminiscences, he having searched for his father for some time and followed his timeline to have him return, but he also puzzled as to why his father wanted to separate his past from theirs, and what it could signify for the three of them, when they rejoined their timelines.

Charles continues to ponder on whether his father was by himself, more content where he was, and whether he and his mother were on his mind. The first piece of advice he shares, which he learned from his job, was to retreat quickly if noticing oneself exiting from a time machine, this being so important it’s gone over on the first day of training. The second lesson learned is if one stays within the box and ignores the outside, one can make it through half a lifetime without growth in self-awareness. He goes on to share of his mother currently residing in a “sci-fi version of assisted living”, where she lives the same hour repeatedly for however long she chose, which included ten more years for having used the rest of her money to fund the allusion.

Charles has the ability to interrupt whenever he wished to visit, but doesn’t. He then thinks of how he currently lived in a box and how he and his father had worked in the garage, he feeling like his childhood was a concession of boxes (Little Boxes, much?). Charles works with his father on writing upon and drawing boxes then reasons why chronological living was a bit untruthful, it not having ever worked for him, he not seeing the value due to those who do, it having people normally thinking of the past. Universe 31 is then told of being sort of small, but those living there having varying opinions on how small it felt, since it had wavering consistency of “conceptual density”.

Universe 31 has the potential of giving one the sensation of the night closing in, everyone living there unable to sleep for the lights or sounds, but sometimes the night quite black and silent, no one sleeping for feeling isolated even if they physically aren’t. Charles then likens the size of his time box to being a bit larger than a phone booth (Thanks Doctor, for keeping the image relevant), but it still feeling only big enough to fit his body and can get the idea of losing himself within, becoming a part of the machine. He continues to compare the size to other similarly shaped household areas, then mentions how the box has the option of invisibility, as an add-on accessory; afterwards, continuing to talk of how comfortable it was sleeping in, since a certain angle allowed full horizontal lying down, and having all tools necessary to work and live without want.

Exercise was pretty much nonexistent though (I have to wonder if a quantum screwdriver is anything like a sonic), he concluding with the most obnoxious use of a side-note any narrator (I’ve read) has attempted, which is all about he idea of a photon stretched across space-time and the correlation to himself (okay, who the fuck sticks an asterisk mid-sentence at various intervals throughout a paragraph disturbing the flow of reading? Charles Fucking Yu, ha! In a sense, working on two levels, the bastard). Charles then describes the under 20% of reality surface area and volume in Universe 31 and how SF surrounds it, also how the researchers are testing if SF has an imperceptible amount separating reality from something else which isn’t made clear (“strangeness of experience”, perhaps?).

Charles then relates how as children one needed to “call dibs” during play as soon as possibly, or one wouldn’t get the character desired. Charles relates a story where one boy chooses a character easily mocked, the boy so traumatized, he doesn’t join them ever again. He couldn’t figure out why Han Solo was so sought after, guessing it was due to not having royalty in his blood and second nature to the Force. His popularity due to being “basically, a hero because he was funny” (Yeah?), second best was Chewie for his height and hair (he sure does know how to simplify). Charles then puts the eye on himself and shares how it isn’t a possibility of having a mind to become a time machine mechanic (almost doubtful if it were an option) or wanting to repair mechanical-related gadgets, etc. Charles gives information about his cousin working on the Death Star and wanted Charles to apply, at least for the decent cafeteria, also considering a government position involving unexciting aliens, but won’t change anything for lack of motivation, the idea of “day job” now being permanent. He makes himself feel better with the fact of a required weapon available for him in the case of a customer possibly hurting themselves or affecting the space-time illegally.

Then details of Universe 31 residents living as two categories: protagonists, which have a choice of genre, steam punk mentioned having an opening, and back office which gets more choices in retcon, accounting, human resources, time machine repair, or janitorial. To become a protagonist, the attachment coefficient must be a certain level, a hero even higher. The list determining this are: belief, strength of belief, humbleness, okay with looking foolish, accepting being broken-hearted, can believe U31 isn’t dull, and worth helping its survival. Those which have “a negative attachment coefficient” meanwhile, are put on probation until decision is made on whether they will be allowed to continue living among the norms on U31.

Chronodiegetics is then defined confusingly about mainly involving meta and physical dimension of time given a limited spatial history. He goes on by giving an example: a falling man, experiencing “past tense/memory equivalence”, which is further explained by a character or Narrator not being aware of what tense he’s in. Charles then goes to a memory of how his house sounded like the ticking clock in the kitchen on certain afternoons on Sunday. The three maintaining the silence and unable to break it as they each moved from a different room, everyone separate.

Charles worried about whether he was one of his father’s disappointments, being intimidated by his intellect and title as a respectable scientist, he noticing his father’s growing frustrations with his desk job, feeling apart from his wife, the two sleeping in their own rooms, Charles focusing on his father’s Rolodex of people he knew, he regarding the information important, but when he got older, realizing how minimal the amount was. He then also regarding his father’s bookshelf seeming daunting, but now seeing the titles all having a connection. His father would sometimes distract himself from waiting for calls he expected by working in the garage, he consistently getting enjoyment from explaining how to solve problems and giving each step to Charles, the two ending their day by watching TV, Charles wishing he’d asked him where he could find him if he got lost, and everything else left unquestioned.

Charles’ manager is a program called Phil which had minor passive-aggressiveness, which he was glad somebody had allowed him to get. One issue though: Phil thought he was alive, their conversations sounding like the usual guy-talk, with Phil sounding like a wannabe gangster. His wife-program didn’t confess to Phil of their computerness and Charles didn’t want to, either. He learns Phil was checking in because his time machine was due for maintenance, he playing it down like everything was running smoothly so Phil could give the okay, but instead Phil mentions how Charles had been out there for awhile and was uncertain he should stay out. Charles thinks of how he’d messed with the Tense Operator for ten years and had to uncover a way of fixing it if he wanted to keep his job secure. Charles agrees to the maintenance check before Phil crashes.

A call from a customer has Charles in Oakland Chinatown a third quarter into the 20th century, he noting a pot of stew boiling, and then conveying to a young woman of this situation where she was with her grandmother when she passed didn’t happen and they needed to leave before the rift became more of an issue. She eventually understands and whilst he repaired the damage she’d done to her time machine, she expresses her guilt in not coming home when she should have, after finishing the issue, giving her a moment to mourn.

Then Charles mentions the usual destination of females who get a hold of a time machine being to go to their worst moment ever lived, Other “people” only wish to change their lives until it’s something unlike their own, men sometimes becoming their own uncles, one guy becoming his own sister. Most people being normal with their time machines though, and Charles learning quite a bit about people’s most private moments in their lives. Nostalgia is then described being a noticeable exchange between two universes which aren’t casually affiliated and shows in humans as missing a place one hasn’t been to before or wanting to be near other kinds of one’s self one mustn’t be introduced.

Charles recalls when he and his father were still working out the details of the time machine, he sensing his father knew he’d lose his way and explore the origins of his and his ancestors depressions. How Charles had wanted to rid his father of the constant reminder of not moving up in his job by ridding him of the company gift of a letter opener in a hurtfully specific wording of the container it came in also leading to him doing nothing about it in the end. He then relates how he enjoyed watching his father write out graphs and equations, specifically detailing examples of this. Charles shares of he almost hitting the ten year mark in his time machine, making him about thirty-one and (possibly) had a sexual encounter with a humanoid, he hopeful he’d been making out with her. He also no longer interested in the dollar-a-ride sexbots. He continues on about time-melting qualities of being in the time machine, it not being comfortable or otherwise (apparently believing originality stems from double negatives), giving a few more descriptions of the same concept. He thinks of where his father is and how he didn’t miss him as much as he had, time making one continue forward.

Charles admits how maintenance was definitely needed since noting the Tense Operator now essentially being out of service. TAMMY didn’t believe the time machine had enough juice to get back to HQ, Charles realizing how he’d been working the system too roughly, staying in Present-Indefinite too long. P-I is a half-assed way to live, he admits to being a selfish employee and son, but convincing TAMMY she could return them, and she succeeding. He enters HQ, which was sort of New York, seeing a man with a different career path reminding Charles of himself, but the man still dissatisfied with his life, he noting how he could see what the man’s whole life was as a whole, from the outside (which is how I interpret his view of it as a “flipbook”). The capital city is listed as New Angeles/Lost Tokyo-2, but referred to by many other names, most commonly, Loop City. The occurrence of this is related by the convergence of NY/LA, Tokyo then splitting in half soon after to wrap itself around the mess, the other half of it missing, and middle America being absorbed.

Charles gets stuck in traffic before he’s able to reenter time, once able though, Ed and he step into the hangar, a repair bot with mechanic guy personality giving Charles a perceived look after a general inspection of the time machine, but then he admits to being sensitive about the wear on his machine since the chronodiegetic manifold is essentially a diary of someones disquiet and habits. The bot then specifies when to return the next day and Charles takes the subway and is shocked with the dealing of chronological living, until noticing Ed looking chilled, which makes Charles purchase them some food and hot drink, then moving on to see a rerun of the Big Bang. They see a few other sights before going to Charles’ room, he again repeating how much more human he’d be if he could be half the man Ed was.

Then the subject turns to when the owner of Universe 31 let go of the goals for the universe, it stagnating until a new operator stepped in. Eventually when Time Warner Time got a hold of the rights of the place, it built a shopping center and theme park with gift shop in it. The universe became popular as a storage space for failing stock and other simple planets, space-related parts, and “genre system production facilities”. There were some operators using U-31 for “hypothetical mining”, as well, this being the perfect place to experiment with stories and thoughts for projects.

Charles relays a memory of his ten-year-old self of his father driving them home after visiting the park. Their car feels like a boat because of the rocking, and Charles is working on an orange popsicle. He then confesses to knowing and not knowing the coming events. He relates to his father of the kids at his school saying his father was insane. Charles not having wanted to say this to him and wishing he hadn’t done so, but he going on, even knowing he could have touched a subject which may piss him off, and doing so for feeling like he’d gotten his father’s attention like a real person, more than a child or son.

Charles then inquires into whether his father actually believed time travel was realistic, certain his father would be angered by this, but instead he laughs it off and explains how being in the car and moving in it was time traveling and when he parks, Charles wrongly believes he’s about to get a lecture, and instead is confided in with an invention his father was planning. This was the first time Charles was let into his father’s secret aspiration. Charles relates where his father came from was a place where farming utilizing water buffalo and belief in stories were the same as life, seeing the beauty of nature and family psychology.

As Charles’ father’s voice became loud for passion of his idea, Charles was unable to look at him for he being loud was uncommon and shocking, usually soft-spoken since he’d emigrated, and so this different side of him made Charles question the success of his plan, thinking about the movies which made it possible for the protagonist to bend time at his will, then remembering seeing what looked like a genuine ad in a comic book for a “Chrono-Adventurer Survival Kit”, Charles knowing it couldn’t be real, but questioning what the kit could include besides the four pieces shown. This thought was what Charles focused on when his father shared his dream with him and then barely acknowledging his confession, instead asking about whether they were poor, not getting an answer, and his father continuing their drive.

Charles thinks perhaps their environment spurred his father on to follow his passion since not being quite understood by anyone and his agitated feelings due to it, at the same time, it causing a truthful exchange between them. Minor U-31 has three areas also known as neighborhoods, there’s the spots with no genre, which is labeled as “reality”. Upper-class areas stylized their own versions of lack of genre realities with personal satisfaction. The most unfluctuating area is the middle-class areas: science fiction divided sections, and whilst it was legalized for families to come from reality-based areas to a sci-fi zone, the possibility of it being economically sound, wasn’t guaranteed. Most people discovered how difficult it was to become truly accepted. The area wasn’t as comforting and seemed truly balanced in the middle of not getting enough reality or genre.

Charles relates how after ten years of being on the job has affected his mind since it had only been a week since he’d last been to the city, in real time, he now going to where his mother lived at two-thirty in the morning and seeing her through her window. He speaks with her before her loop starts up again, and whilst she retrieves something, relates how he’d learned grammar from her, English being her third language, but how good of a grasp she had of it, and how language had concern woven through it. When his mother returns with a box, she shares how she’d noticed how many comics he had and should sell them. Charles then learns how the loop wasn’t enough for her, and she’d been living there for a year. After he leaves, he gets introspective and existential about a better universe and if the day would come he’d see it, learning he was already there all along. He then goes home to sleep, thinking of an unseen section in the universe. Then services and products the universe contained are listed: ex-girlfriend hologram, Alternate History Booth, False memories of Home, sexbots, drinking buddy bots, and levels of humanness for friendbots.

Charles then admits to what happens again, of shooting his future self. He awakes late the next morning, grabs Ed and the package his mother gave him, returning to the hangar and getting there in the nick, but seeing himself exiting from the machine, his future self having time to say something like, a book being the key, but his firing of his weapon setting off resounding alarms, Ed spooked and running off, whilst Charles attempts escape in his future self’s machine, a Partial Map of CY’s Time Loop shown and explained. CY represents the narrator and what his timeline will be up to by the point of being shot. Module B-on-a-stick then begins with advice on discovering oneself getting stuck in a time loop.

First, understanding the order of the loop, the knowledge of the one stuck inside being most likely the guilty party to have started it, if wanting to continue living in home universe, one must recreate every step to a T, so one doesn’t change the past and enter another universe. Once learning the order of the loop, uncovering the reason it began, as well as discovering as much as possible about oneself, unfortunately has statistics showing nothing usually being gained from the experience and even knowing, leaving the loop could mean death, boredom hitting making one choose to enter a different universe.

Charles attempts to estimate the injury to his leg, whilst getting a pep talk from TAMMY about the issue of his time loop, Charles not comforted much due to knowing how most time loops occurred to interesting people and didn’t begin with a stupid move like blasting oneself. As Charles pulls the time machine away, he sees Ed looking up in bewilderment. Then Phil calls, which is unusual, the speech stilted and mechanical sounding. Phil attempts to get Charles to return to Headquarters, he finally having enough of Phil’s human-like suggestions and screwing the pooch, which he feels guilty for the same way he had when he’d been with his father in his car.

Phil checks for the truth in this statement, and switches to test, stating how he better inform his wife, then realizing she must be a program, as well as their kids, Charles apologizing and asking to bury the memory to return to their old ways, Phil unable to, and asking if it was a pleasant practice, TAMMY looking on with unfavorable features. Charles is left alone, he relating how when he had the chance to be a good person to those close to him, he’d mess it up, the kindness seemingly reserved for those he didn’t know. He then debates the meaning of his future self’s actions as being he’d wanted to be finished with living, Charles wanting to return to before he’d spilled the beans to Phil and then getting shot, instead having to be content in knowing it would happen soon enough. Then he sees a book on his electronic display, it being the one the reader holds (kay…). On page 101, his future self writes of how he’ll write this book at some point (no shit) and to trust himself.

Charles describes the book’s outer attributes, he then noting the sort of book he would write seeming to be autobiography and field manual, aware he’d already written it, but needing to reach the moment of finishing it so he could give it to himself when being shot, Charles wondering the reason he should go through with this fate. Also, he thinks about why he’d want to trust himself when told, this situation being unusual, but also gone over in the course of his training. Charles then reads the message left to himself of needing to read, then write the book, his continued breathing relying on this. TAMMY then instructs him how to use TOAD to read, then record the changes to the text, he reading and copying the book so as to have his version, the list of past, present, and future tenses included, as well as it also being the book he wouldn’t ever write at the same time.

From this point of Charles’ reading, TOAD is slightly changing words, mostly after he’s read them, but occasionally beforehand. He describe’s TOAD’s method being to trace voice, finger, retinal, and facial movements, whilst it acted as keyboard, microphone, and scanned optical movement and the brain. TOAD would accommodate however Charles chose to read the text, if he became tired of one, he also able to choose more than one, or all modes at once. The copy he read was affected somehow, some of the text unreadable, some caused by light affecting it over time, others deliberate. He mentions showing a sentence which had been rubbed out, questioning whether there had even been another part of the starting line at all, also sensing parts of the book being blank (I’m looking forward to this prospect), he testing his ability to stick a random word within the reading, uncertain whether he’d succeeded.

Charles then comes to a break in text (it’s everything I’d imagined it would be), and his “explanatory note” explaining nothing, only his confusion and statements of the sentence he’s currently reading, and how this relates to Libet (1983), another blank proceeding with note. The note gives example of two possible Charles’, one whom first reaches, then thinks of reaching for a cookie of which there are two jars to choose from, another Charles deciding to first choose than act, and which one he was, or whether he was both or neither. Besides this, Charles was attempting to follow along as accurately as possible, the origins of the book being confirmed by TAMMY as being produced through the causal loop, it being an infinite copy of a copy, so as he’s reading and writing it, he’s actively filling in blanks and discovering what happens, Charles allowing himself to be repetitive by stating his awareness of it (again, how clever on letting himself off the hook), and his goal of gathering his father’s history so as to understand his life, Charles almost certain he’s making no sense. The reality of the book is then explained as to how it is given and published, this more stable a concept than memory using the same theory, explained through example of the process of the book’s loop.

Charles doesn’t get why he can’t surrender to his fate by this point, since he knew what would eventually happen, TAMMY informing him this is his first loop ride, Charles not trusting this, but also distinguishing neither of them would be able to tell how many times they’d already looped. He then wonders why he doesn’t skip ahead, TOAD and TAMMY not advising this, but Charles not listening.

Charles soon realizes his misstep with the barely noticeable quivering of the time machine. After he decreases the pressure of the opening to the machine, he views something outside which he doesn’t share, leaving the next page void of text other than stating of the page being left untyped on purpose. Charles then describes of the time machine shaking more distinctly, TAMMY stating of the untraceable route he’d set them on, which made him wonder why he’d bothered to go to the end of his story, not knowing if and how it would have made him change positively. Then he’s aware of what his actions had done with the circuits to TAMMY and TOAD, he kicking himself for not having figured it out earlier. Which is when the covering to the “decoherence module” falls off, the machine susceptible to harm, the data of all current, possible, could, should, would-have-beens, and small undetectable worlds, overloading the system, then Charles passes out.

When Charles awakes, he’s in a Buddhist temple standing in a hall, he viewing slippers near a railing where people had left their shoes to switch, he sliding a pair on his feet. As he does this, he sees some shoes which look familiar, then notes two rooms leading to themed Buddhas, Charles thinking of how the atmosphere, carpets, and slippers seemed to hug him, his usual state at a high anxiety, which upon uncovering, made the feeling dissipate. The silence of thought is temporary when he thinks about the meaning of the quiet, he then hearing a bell ring repeatedly, viewing his mother, and remembering the love/hate feeling he had of her plain requests for love, Charles giving his thoughts on why this was to do with a brother she didn’t get to meet and her mother’s death. Charles sees his mother disposing of an incense stick, he relating his philosophy on how all the previous incense sticks aided the current one’s ability to stand in the past ones ashes, they all needing the others to support it standing up, and the smoke and smell having to do with time, etc. He then refocuses on the mother he was currently looking at was a should-have-been, not a could-have, she obtaining the peace which was searched for by his real-time mother. This woman inquires if they’d met, he then hit with the realization of the shoes he’d seen were his father’s, the feeling of the room changing and making him wonder what sort of environment he was truly experiencing.

Charles then asks this woman if “he” was here, she revealing he’d left some time ago, apologizing for this not being what he actually wanted. Charles books it when she asks if he’d stay, feeling sorry for her, but thinking of his real-time mother, he attempting to open a locked door and speaking to himself, but believing at first a Buddha was talking. He then believes he’d uncovered his way out of this universe was by the book, he patting himself on the back and even thinking the situation was bad-ass in a way, then discovering his time machine hadn’t been located, he deciding he was stupid and this must be “the subjective”. After knocking a couple items over, including a dust cloud which helps him work up a panic, he attempts opening the other door and begins thinking how it wasn’t a real door, this place being made by his father, he wondering if his father had wanted to show this place to him, and after another ram to the door, falling through, it opening by itself, and he plummeting through empty space. When thinking of a question, the answer is given being about his whereabouts currently in “the interstitial matrix””…between stories…”, he learning from the second speaker, of whom was himself, and was being returned to “story space”.

Charles discovers he’s being transported on a space elevator, his request to retrieve Ed being given, the dog showing up a few moments later. He then inquires why he was now a retroactive continuity, he having gone to a place he wasn’t supposed to be, Charles not learning much more. He does see the size of U-31, it larger than he’d suspected, the border of other stories visible. Then Charles the driver, suggests he stop feeling guilty, stating the logistics of the man he’d killed wasn’t necessarily him, when only relying on the fact he looked like him, since the Charles speaking didn’t look like Narrator Charles. Charles explains he was a contradiction, he posing the idea of how he could even know he was truly himself, pressing a button which removed all other seats and making obvious the sounds of the “real world”.

The other Charles then schools him about how versions of himself would attempt to change or mess with previous selves, this Charles being the “perfect version” and Narrator Charles the single him, which he didn’t get. After Perfect Charles releases his seat and Charles is hanging onto the seat in front of him, Perfect Charles demands he state his care for TAMMY, locate his dad, eat with his mom, and marry the girl whom was made up, Marie, so he could have a life, cultivate his heart, and some balls. Then, after Perfect Charles smacks him a few on the face, he lip-locks him, states of this being for the best and pushes him out of the elevator. As Charles falls, he almost remembers a sound from his memory, but lands on his time machine before recognizing it fully, he then having an Interstellar-like moment before landing in one of his own memories.

Module Y begins with TAMMY stating of being in his youth, which makes Charles wonder the reason shuttle-Charles left him there, the view containing different ages and memories in separate ‘pockets’. Charles recognizes one more strongly than the others, TAMMY about to question his actions in the memory, but understanding the scenario mid-way through her inquiry. Young Charles had discovered his father’s naughty magazines, TAMMY declaring how she felt this revealed more of him to her, they then seeing the garage memory, and Charles believing his father and younger self were staring back at him. This thought snowballed into the hope of his father being motivated by seeing and not seeing future Charles and the time machine, he wondering if due to his younger self and his father seeming to smell the time machine, Charles had aided him in leaving his timeline, he knowing his younger self had thought the smell was connected to big moments in life or bad events about to occur. Charles thought of the hope of his father possibly able to help him escape the loop, he noticing as he moved along, certain memories were being highlighted, Charles following.

A memory is related of a summer Charles and his father had put together the first time machine prototype, this also being a time with his parents fighting about lack of money, but not because they didn’t have enough, but the tension from not having more (another contradicting statement, Charles relating they were content with their meager salaries and yet fought because of the small earnings; Sounds like they may have been frustrated due to the inability of living off their current savings and did need more), they attempting to keep this from Charles, but everyone in their family unit knowing what was going on. His mother slowly moves in with her sister, and Charles’ father intimidates him with how loudly he’d spoken to his mother during their arguments, he leaving Charles to his own devices as he worked on the time machine.

Charles stays away from his father during this time, he having supported his mother’s side, they then seeing young Charles making a snack before hearing his parents begin fighting, he having gone back to his room to complete a program which he was debating whether to have an asteroid bounce off the screen or go through to appear on another side, TAMMY commenting on his kid-cuteness level, his younger self ignoring the loud fight and acting like he was immersed in tinkering with his program, Charles recognizing how it was almost as if young Charles was acting this way because he knew he was being watched. A description of the TM-31 Recreational device then relates how whilst it was recreational, it was also re-creational.

Oddly, (as is Charles’ way) a jump to the first (presumably) time travel trip is shared, he stating how quickly it’d been, he then going back to start with fourteen days of not speaking with his father and viewing Star Trek, until he began to watch his father work, this being their schedule since he didn’t know if his father was angered by Charles siding with his mother, but by the third day, his father put him to work, they still quiet, but working together for two months. When summer concluded, the UTM-1 was finished, so they thought, TAMMY commenting on it looking nice aesthetically, but didn’t seem like it would succeed, which she was correct to gauge. Charles elaborates on how he and his father had gone through time, they having only gone through a loop they couldn’t command, and had no way to determine how much time it took, not having known time travel wasn’t an immediate experience, even in a science fictional universe, due to the contraption carrying them through time taking time because of its physicality.

Charles views he and his father’s first discovery of their movement through time, his father inquiring to younger Charles how they could learn to harness the ability to choose where to halt the machine, so they could experience subspace. Charles was seeing his father purely ecstatic for the first time, and he was glad he was there with him. Eventually, they U-turn their way back home automatically, the machine not reaching their goal, they having learned they hadn’t made a mechanism to brake the machine, and on the edge of their turnaround home, during a non-moving moment, they see themselves. The Weinberg-Takayama Radius then explains how both researchers had thought of the same idea, which was a universe having to be a specific size in order to support the building of narrational construction. The two men came from Lost Tokyo 1 & 2, respectively, and they determined if a planet was too big, it would disperse, and those which were littler, had the prospective to creating honest narrations in an emotionally stable area.

Charles’ mom returns from her sister’s as they come back, their machine not making it back in one piece, and his mother looking fearful and on the verge of hysteria due to all the upheaval the launch had caused. When she sees the two exit from the collapsing machine, she gets upset, which young Charles couldn’t understand, but Narrator Charles finally registers the possibility for her upset, sort of. TAMMY puts on her tearful mode in commiseration or as a test, Charles doesn’t know (many things, apparently), Ed tooting and making Charles dry heave, which makes TAMMY crack up.

Charles then gets phoned by Dispatch, which TAMMY suggests to let get picked up by voicemail, he thinking it was only because Phil was being insensitive to his personal time, but TAMMY explaining it was to do with their currently being in a time loop. Charles then notes the next time his father makes headway in his research being when he was sixteen, TAMMY stating the changes in his body type from then to now, he being muscular as a youth. Their prototypes continually failed, and they didn’t know why, only what (had happened, I’m guessing, since Charles Yu wrote it as I’d phrased it). Charles was ready to pack it in whilst his father continued to theorize what had gone wrong, insisting they needed more data. His mother was becoming more upset and despondent, as well, but fluctuated her emotion upon the start of a new week, Charles labeling their coexistence as a doable living situation, but was feeling constrained by it, as well, wanting to ditch his definite future.

The last year they were all together, his father didn’t sound himself, his questions seeming to have a subtle second one within, but Charles saw this as being more authentic. As he was working on a panel, his father asked if he sensed there was anything off about his equation, Charles wanting to help, but frustrated for not knowing how, and upset his father would have to ask him at all, he not being as clever as his father had wished. His father checked his equation, he saying it meant they were running into “objects”, which he believed couldn’t be right, until he had a eureka moment which made him giddy with joy, Charles finally realizing his father’s happiness stemmed from his love of science. When he’d erased his equation and put up his new theory, he explained Charles had been correct in believing they’d been moving into things, they being time machines, and how everyone and everything was a time machine. Then, a list of how to calibrate the TM-31 is shown, which basically says to put sensors on fingertips, goggles on face, and begin watching around oneself, when the machine finishes its upload, it contains the same boundaries as the wearer, the machine only able to travel where the person is willing to be taken.

When Charles is seventeen, and the next week his father turns forty-nine, the current day they’re viewing is the most happiest of his father’s life, they traveling to the good part of town, TAMMY seeing Charles tense, he explaining the importance of the day, meeting with the director of research at the Institute of Conceptual Technology, they handling problems like discovering ways to keep the science fictional world safe from paradoxes, his father dreaming of becoming one of the few who worked there. The “military-industrial-narrative-entertainment complex” having noticed his experiments and phoning to hear his theory, life having started to become better after he’d figured out the new equation (Mr. Yu apparently didn’t have an editor whom could be bothered to put quotation marks around “making it”, in order for it to make sense, which would at least be a check off for one line in this whole schlep to do so; Also, whilst looking for the culprit editor, I noticed how “cutesy” they were trying to be with the original publication date not possible to know because of “the nature of residual objects within closed time-like structures”. Which, in a way, hints of Yu’s idea we are living in U-31, hwonderful.)

Charles’ father’s dream of obtaining success and celebrity must have been shared with Charles, since he relates how his father fantasized his popularity in trade magazines and the regret his coworkers would feel at having underestimated him, and despite Charles knowing how it all turned out, feeling positive at the memory for seeing their wanting everything to go well. The place of the meeting was at a public park, air and atmosphere, all exceptional. TAMMY notices a look on his father’s face she couldn’t communicate, Charles believing she saw his attentiveness to “time-space auto-dislocation”, he believing for one of the few times, his father was actually wholly present, but once arriving, becomes pensive, the two taking the time machine out and into the park, he realizing his father’s humanity for the first time, seeing his attributes, and how he must dye his hair, only happening upon a non-parental moment late one night and seeing him smoking a cigarette, a different look then the one he had as they waited for the director. When he arrives, his manner, whilst respectful, also gave Charles the impression of he doing them a favor, and when he speaks of having plans to augment their idea, Charles felt it would ultimately fail.

Charles then takes the long way around to supplying an example of this requirement of the upper-class being kind toward their underlings due to upbringing, comparing the way the director must make ideas happen as opposed to his father’s way of struggling to the success. So, as Charles sees his father explaining the machine, quite slowly as the director sized-up the prototype and listened, he didn’t sense this ending well, and again mentions his exhilaration despite knowing the outcome, also repeating if one life is thought upon with only a few memories, this was a highlight (was this unnecessary repeat on purpose, I wonder?), he then supposing whether people only have a limited number of times in their lives to act like their true selves (if one loses sight of being themselves so often, I’d imagine one would be a fixture in therapy). Charles is slapped by his own embarrassment and guilt for not being supportive of his father at this moment, noting his youth, but not being, or able to hide behind it when his father had obviously needed his optimism for what they’d accomplished.

So, Charles states of his mixed feelings of looking up to his father and feeling ashamed by these feelings, and guilt for feeling shame of what he believed was being proud before he had a right. The director though, is completely taken in by his father’s defining the finer points dealing with time travel and why humans saw time the way we do, it dealing with the instinct for endurance of life. During his father’s speech regarding the thought process to time travel, TAMMY has discovered how to define the look on Charles’ father’s face, he quieting her for how wonderful everything was progressing, but she blurting of the look being one his father had of being certain the machine would fail. Charles then goes in to detail of how to recognize failure coming, before the day when no one will register whether one had left home in the morning, and how one begins to note the best day happening early in one’s life. Charles then sits through the ride back with his father as he saw him pretending to be upbeat, he then reliving the flashback of his father demonstrating the machine and the minutes which pass as he attempts to get the machine running.

Charles notes how his father hadn’t blamed him even though it would’ve been simple, instead sheltering him from the harsh reality of life. His father’s inability to fix the problem and how he handled it, eats at Charles, his mindset at his young age already being one where the hope of good idyllic days would soon outweigh the fairly constant bad ones. The moment which gave the director a chance to end his father’s unfortunate suffering comes from a little boy hitting a ball loudly into another field, the director making an unassuming excuse to leave, and the two’s high point reaching it’s pinnacle. His father doesn’t come to terms with his epic fail until the morning after, he rising later than normal, after which they eat together, and then his father leaving and not returning until Charles had gone to bed for the night. The next day he returns to work, neither speaking of their meeting again.

Module ‘d’ with a squiggle at the top begins with a confusing hypothesis which Charles believes has merit regarding the previous memory having a size and could be calculated, as well as chronodiegetics being “a theory of regret” and having limits. Charles is then confused by a face TAMMY pulls, she inquiring what Charles had planned to tell his father when he located him, but Charles then hops backwards to inform when his father’s absent-minded problem began and after their meeting, became more prominent, making conversation with him impossible. Charles allows admitting his father’s prototype failing, but his theory having held strong, Charles learning far after of a similar project being done right before them in the neighboring town, this other man’s demonstration the same as theirs, but successful. Charles knew his father would’ve been crushed if he’d been informed of this, he wanting to tell him what he’d come up with being special and would’ve been a helpful asset to fictional science. He also realizes his father happened to naturally be a depressed person, it getting passed through the generations, they not becoming more prudent, but smart and savviness increasing.

Charles then hearkens back to a memory when he was nine, near the end of the year, and his mother designating he inform his father to come eat breakfast, he viewing him in his study, upset and staring at a picture of his dead father, TAMMY blowing him a kiss and saying it was because of his younger self. His father and mother argued more as the weeks go by, his father still publishing articles no one paid attention to, he able to see his father in two different lights when he was a couple years into college. Three years after the meeting, Charles hears his father working on a new project, he now knowing it was the project which would get him to the temple, and his current whereabouts, he not being asked to help with this one, and this being the moment of his father’s escape.

TAMMY is emotional now, Charles stating how unfortunate their experience was so far, he knowing his father’s affections for his family wasn’t as strong as they’d felt for him, supposedly. He then inquires of TAMMY what it would mean if he did locate his father now, a diagram given, and explanation of the possible conversation topics listed upon putting the equation in “the Symbolic Operator”, he also sharing the odds of getting these variables, and how he’d locate the opening to experience them. He’s then disappointedly sharing how time travel was seen as a joyous escapade, instead it being about seeing parts of one’s life without any real control, and the book being nearer the end (thank God!), the loop having a set time, and TAMMY stating how his shot self had been attempting to share some advice, this information being within the book.

When TAMMY shows TOAD was still keeping tabs of the story as it continued along (Charles Yu again covering his ass well), it had been keeping a dialogue by their experiencing the memories (how convenient for the chronodiegetical principle to allow this, at least in Yu’s telling of it), Charles then feeling near the back of the book, and noting a rise from off the page, discovering an envelope (Charles being real thorough and showing what an envelope looks like… For those of us who don’t know or ever have been in a post office or gotten mail which wasn’t digital…), inside it being a key (I have a problem with Charles getting snarky with TAMMY for exclaiming of he holding a key, WHEN HE HAS THE GALL TO DRAW A FUCKING PICTURE OF AN ENVELOPE! SCHMUCK…), then notices the box his mom had given him, TAMMY and he giving Ed credit since he’d been sitting by it. When Charles opens it, he gets kid-like overwhelmed upon seeing it was a Chrono-Adventurer Survival Kit, he checking the list for the items included, and now finally seeing them, knew he’d only have been partially interested as a ten-year-old, but Charles finding the special side being how his father having purchased it for him at all, he considering his father’s possible motives having to do with reminding him of how they used to tinker in the garage, he then comprehending another box inside the box, TAMMY inquiring whether he planned on waiting until it was too late, or open it for more surprises.

The key opens the box and Charles takes out an exact miniature replica of his family’s kitchen, his father making it clear what date he’d been referring and a clock which actually told the time, Charles believing his father was giving him directions, and as he almost commands TAMMY to take them there, they’re already currently descending to his “death”. Then, a theorem of at some time, the next day would have one losing all, indefinitely.

Charles then states how when he does, what occurs is he shoots himself, he stating how his other self was there to do this, he wanting to change it, even though knowing he wasn’t able, the machine returning to dock, and TAMMY showing a melancholic-faced clock, one minute to go. When he asks TAMMY for calculations on their current approach and she not getting what he means, he apologizes for all his misdeeds and treatment of her, getting “mushy”, but TAMMY explaining how she hadn’t been trying to apologize for not understanding. Their next conversation concerns how TAMMY informs Charles of they not having gone anywhere yet, and the people he’d spoken with either not being real or were part of a memory. He then mentions his book, she requesting he look at it, opening it to a time travel page which explains the experience may not equal the length of time by anyone not traveling, and then a more scientific sounding explanation describing how chronodiegetical movement is different for the person traveling opposed to those outside.

TAMMY then poses how the book follows whatever subject they currently talk about, the book itself fictional, but it being as true to life as everything in a science fiction universe, it existing to help decipher the order of events, TAMMY noting the length she rambles being almost a minute, but at the same time wasn’t. Charles considers his choices, he able to ditch his life, give up looking for his father, let the chips fall where they may, or accept his death and become the main character in his story. He decides to accept the moments to come, or make his own moves and be certain of not succeeding, he noting the sameness of the two choices, but one of them containing an assurance of intent, he knowing in order to locate his father, he had to get out of the machine, TAMMY reminding him this would mean getting shot, she seeming to show how she’d been waiting for this moment of truth for him, Charles realizing he hadn’t given her a chance to show her complete use.

She then bawls, Charles having another epiphany of he wanting to be better to all whom he’d encountered in his life, knowing TAMMY was the lady he hadn’t gotten hitched to, she revealing after he’d mentioned how they’d had something, of her program taking pointers from his own personality and she displaying them in her system, after this and Charles readying to leave, she gives herself a time out by shutting down, Charles seeing himself coming toward the box. “Quantum decoherence” is then explained, a chronodiegetic system unchangeable with the surroundings, one possibility of this happening being unconnected to space-time, a “closed time-like curve, or CTC” being the mecca of innovative research of fictional science, a long-named law being the basis for alternate times, a.k.a. remorse, opposite facts, and tension.

When he leaves the machine, this reminds him of the number which is now disconnected where the time could be given by automated voice, Charles noting how terrified his past self looked, and how he was attempting to follow protocols, but his disgust for himself overpowering him, he getting the idea of he needing to get past-Charles to change his perspective, somehow, wondering how many times he’s already done this, not moving in the attempt to figure a way out. Instead, he says exactly the same statement he’d heard himself say about the book. Charles then decides he’s been in the machine for a month, he then continuing to speak of the book being the key, and when he puts his hand to push down the gun, his past self obeys, but then the pain begins, since in the end, he doesn’t ever stop shooting himself, he having shot himself on the down-swing, after which he gets into the machine, bleeding and with a broken leg, and after the cops arrest and let him go upon learning how much time he’d spent in the box, he again explains how he speaks to himself under his breath, and opens the box with the diorama inside.

Shot-Charles then falls back into his machine, having hoped if the moment ever arose, he’d be able to experience the ‘cool-falling, shot hero’, but he knowing his fall fails in the awesome factor, but in the end, he survives his wound (to get to this point took many run-on sentences), he feeling great. After, a short run through of the process it took to get to his dad (theoretical-sounding), his father not having meant to go away, and then gets trapped, since his time machine breaks, Charles mad, but telling himself to be empathetic. When his father sees how sophisticated the new machine is, he advises not to laugh at him, introducing TIM, the new O.S., and not mention TAMMY, hoping whomever gets her, respects her, as well as showing him Ed (now a real dog! Except he didn’t ever have a wooden nose which grew), his official side-kick, and knowing he needed to right his wrongs. Charles plans for he, his mother, and father to all have dinner together, and see if he can run into the girl he would eventually marry, he then instructing himself to read his own book and stretch out finishing it, since he can decide how quick or slow the present can be, due to its malleability.

Anyone in their right mind wouldn’t ever want to extend a read like this. I know one person whom thought it was swell, but FUCK, Charles Yu has made it to the top of my Least Favorite and Most Irritating Protagonist list. Holden Caulfield was a naive brat, yes, but this bitch is self-aware. Not going to seek out more Yu, for sure. Besides this, the plot was alright, but I’d have preferred less exposition on repetitive thoughts, which would definitely have been for the better. Stick to novellas, Yu.

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Jeeves in the Morning

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I regret not keeping the original, “Joy in the Morning”, regardless of it being a hardcover, but alas, it is done. So I begin this movie-scenic story with the easing lightness it throws, with gladness. Bertie relates how he’d only recently gotten out of a dire situation at Steeple Bumpleigh and confided to Jeeves the moments in which he had been close to losing hope. Bertie is then helped to remember the quote of “Joy cometh in the morning…”, he believing it was the most succinct way of describing the Steeple Bumpleigh Horror. He had the foresight to want to avoid Steeple Bumpleigh, but believed the place should’ve had a sign warning those unaware. The surrounding area told of as being idyllic, but what brought it down was Bertie’s Aunt Agatha, her second husband, Lord Percival Worplesdon, his daughter Florence, and another demon, his son Edwin. Those were the reasons Bertie continuously refused the invite of Boko Fittlesworth’s to get together at his home, he living nearby. Bertie also had to swat Jeeves’ suggestion to rent a cottage there for reasons above, Jeeves in for the fishing, but letting Bertie believe he’d let it go.

Bertie therefore, was completely taken off-guard when Steeple Bumpleigh entered his life forcefully, the day beginning quite comfortably. Jeeves informs him of a Miss Hopwood insistent on seeing him, but having been turned away since he’d still been sleeping. Bertie liked Jeeves’ looking out, but also wished to have seen her, Zenobia (Nobby) Hopwood being a good friend and also happens to be Worplesdon’s ward, he taking responsibility for her when a buddy of his left the country. Bertie then learns how long she’d be in the city, her visits infrequent lately, and having come up to see Aunt Agatha, whom was in town for Thomas, her son from her first hubby, the boy having the mumps and still at school.

Bertie regards this with the passing entertainment of Agatha getting infected, then learning Nobby had come by, since they hadn’t seen each other for awhile, Bertie agreeing with the sentiment, but once hearing she’d been hoping he would come see her at Steeple Bumpleigh, he again refusing the idea. Jeeves then mentions of Nobby having dropped by with a fellow called Stilton, whom claimed to know Bertie, he deducing the young man with a pumpkin-shaped head must be a friend from long ago called, G. D’Arcy Cheesewright, his nickname being Stilton. Bertie thinks it strange he was acquainted with Nobby, learning how he also resided at Steeple Bumpleigh, Jeeves then answering a call from Worplesdon, Bertie’s reaction being looked back on with astonishment, since not having felt the bad juju of the call.

Jeeves then relates of Worplesdon having requested to speak with him and more detail given upon his arrival, Bertie sensing the man needed his expertise and bidding him his blessing, offering to pick him up a gift, he asking for the new edition of philosophy by Spinoza (the TV show must having covered this one as well, since I confused having read it already). Bertie makes his way out, thinking about what sort of situation Worplesdon could have needed counseling, he then reveals how Agatha had hooked this new man eighteen months previously, he feeling sorry for him before learning whom it was, due to Agatha’s rough and torturous nature. Then when he found out it was Worplesdon, he realized she had met her violent match, Bertie recalling having a run-in with the man over a cigar he had taken. Worplesdon’s personality only making Bertie wonder of the severity of the situation he could be in, then begins his correspondence of making his book order, and as the shop-keeper goes to uncover the work, Bertie is startled by Florence Cray, Worplesdon’s daughter, whom walked up behind him, he still reeling from the not-so-distant time they’d been engaged, he traumatized from the close call, hence his reaction to her, and attempting to recover with a “hullo”.

Bertie weighs Madeline Bassett and Honoria Glossop against Florence Craye for the most traumatizing, and Florence wins for her attempts at changing Bertie. He provides an example by a book she’d given him, he quoting from the text, it heavy on explanation of ethical theory. Florence then shares why she was in town and inquires whether he was stopping in the shop for brain dead reading material, but upon seeing what he’d been given by the shop-keeper, Bertie is taken aback with her reaction of light tone and blushing. He gets the picture though, when she inscribes the book for him, she now even more impressed when learning what the shop-keeper was looking for, and needing to order for him, Bertie knowing he was too deep to back out, but having terrible fear consume him. He regrets his endorsement of Spinoza and being caught with her work in his hands, realizing his mistake now building him up in Florence’s mind. Bertie saw his main way to escape was to state of a previous engagement, but he not out the door before having to agree to a hang-out sesh, finally dismissed and alighting to a bar. After giving his nerves a bit of a break, he sees outside something which caught his interest.

The area around the Bollinger bar also gave plenty of entertainment, but currently especially across the street, which Bertie was at this moment deciding whether to check in at the jeweler’s for a cigarette case, he normally going upon the whim of wanting to purchase some kind of bijouterie, or collection of jewelry or trinkets. As he looks upon the jeweler’s entrance, he sees a man attempting to cross the threshold a few times, but stopping short. Bertie then places the large figure being his old buddy Stilton, he completely in the dark as to why he’d be bouncing back and forth outside the shop. Bertie plans on inquiring into it, but whilst crossing the street, Stilton had slung himself through the door. Bertie found him poring over some product the assistant was helping him with at the case when Bertie poked his butt with his umbrella, and cordially greeted him, Stilton looking shifty, and Bertie sensing he wasn’t wanted at the mo to reminisce over their youth, Stilton setting him straight when leading him away from the counter to confess he hadn’t enjoyed the booty poke, Bertie apologizing, but couldn’t resist a good opp. knocking.

Bertie attempts to continue their pleasantries which didn’t last long before Stilton was trying to bid him farewell, Bertie surprised he thought he could stop him so simply. He confides his thoughts plainly, then reminds Stilton of his drop-in with Nobby. Bertie getting his quiz since Stilton answered the following questions as monosyllabic as possible. Bertie fails to learn what Stilton did at Steeple Bumpleigh, so decides to try the question which had brought him to his verbal harassment, the reason for Stilton’s dancing about outside, and his buying plans, he relenting and confessing he was getting an engagement ring, Bertie believing he had laughed jovially, but had stopped when Stilton took it as insult, he flashing back to their school days when Bertie had pouted his tummy out whilst being taught to row by Stilton.

As Bertie back-pedaled his insulting laugh, then his terrible explanation of said laugh, only to have to explain his attempting to agree with Stilton on his being allowed to engage a girl, Bertie finally reaches a point where he’s able to wish their happiness together, which doesn’t get met with defensiveness, but also not getting the level of gratitude he had expected. Bertie then receives details of, whilst not Nobby, whom he thought, she being engaged to Boko, but to Florence. Bertie’s reaction brought defensive questioning again, he believing he no longer needed to fear Florence going after him what with Stilton’s hand secured. Bertie tries to veer the questions away with nonchalance, the table having turned, and he not wanting Stilton to know he also had been engaged to his love. Bertie halfway explained his way out with her father having married his aunt, but Stilton’s suspicion stays noticeable as he spoke of how odd it was Florence hadn’t mentioned Bertie regardless of their acquaintanceship, Bertie “pip-pip”-ing on his way out.

Bertie has a spectrum of feelings as he walks home, one in particular to do with Stilton, he at first placated by being off the hook with Florence, but then feeling sorry and fearing for what Stilton was about to put himself through. He then describes Stilton’s character as one whom is all for his immortal betterment, but Bertie looking after the side which would decide he’d grown enough, whilst Florence would still be on the path to further growth. Bertie was on the case though, light-bulbing of writing to Nobby to gently put the chap straight since she’d known Florence since youth.

Bertie added some bullet-points of his own to build from as a back-up for her, if needed, and when satisfied, posted it. When returning to see Jeeves attending to household matters, Bertie goes right in with Cheesewright’s current difficulty and how he’d handled it, then asking Jeeves for an update on his Uncle Percy, his Uncle wanting Jeeves’ opinion, but Bertie unable to coax him into further detail until giving his word it would go no further, the information regarding a sensitive business prospect, which even Jeeves wasn’t confided in knowing, but imagined it was the same one written of in the papers, which was about a unification with an American company.

Jeeves clarifies how a meeting between Percy and the other company man would need to be planned carefully so no one jumped to conclusions before a deal was made and effect both sides of shares in stock, Bertie on his game currently and completely sensing the hardship. Also deducing Percy wanted to buy some shares before the word got out (oooOOO, bad), Jeeves responding with the Latin: “Rem acu tetigisti” – “You have touched the matter with a needle”. Bertie then works out how the two would be seeking a secluded meeting place, Jeeves having supplied the possibility of turning to someone Percy knew to lend them a country cottage to wheel and deal, Bertie sensing a problem with whomever allowed the use of said cottage would come to the same conclusion as Percy, and elbow in to the deal of stocking up on shares, as well.

Jeeves had considered this, so elected Bertie to reside in one of the cottages at Steeple Bumpleigh to be used by the meeting at some point after. Bertie relays his feeling of betrayal, Jeeves apologizing then listing the finer details of the property, he not taken in due to knowing Jeeves’ motives, whom plays none-the-wiser, but once Bertie hears the name of the place, ends the idea promptly, then whilst temporarily side-tracked, gets “back on the res” – the crux of the matter (Thank you, Madame Eulalie, the only one whom could help my quest in finding out what res meant). Jeeves then brings logic to the table as Bertie considers the repercussions he’d be in for by his Aunt Agatha if he backed out now, he then relenting begrudgingly and has Jeeves begin packing.

Then, Bertie is told of being the sort whom preferred looking for the bright side. One aspect which supported this being Agatha not being present for a little while during Bertie’s first moments at Steeple Bumpleigh. He speaks to Jeeves with high hopes of she being away through all of his stay, for Thos’ mumps. Jeeves then saving the good news of a fancy dress ball the next night, Bertie ready to dance better than Fred Astaire, as he puts it, he choosing his costume, then being informed Nobby would be carpooling with him, so Jeeves planned on traveling by train, afterward relaying Agatha had requested Bertie pick up a broach she’d bought, he miffed he’d been chosen to carry out the task, but once learning it was for Florence and he wouldn’t need to supply a gift, as well he was a bit more accepting. Bertie admits being one of a hardy character being difficult, and he didn’t want Florence getting the wrong impression (She was referred to as a beasel, which presumably is meant in the definition of being like a flapper, since she doesn’t seem to have a shaved head and pointed ears). He then states how he would need one for Nobby what with her engagement, Jeeves agreeing to hope good tidings to them, Bertie allowing how it wasn’t usual he’d agreed with the marriage match-ups between his buddies.

Bertie then has breakfast and begins his broach-getting, as well as his party costume acquirement, after which Nobby is discovered waiting for Bertie, everything being put up in the vehicle whilst the two chatted, Bertie then beginning their journey and looking forward to hearing about the finer details in regards to the build-up to the proposal. He brings up how he’d heard and how level-headed she was, he readying to pose his quiz on the subj., she content to answer, the engagement having stemmed from the two’s immediate affection for each other, Bertie a bit in the dark as to how she’d loved the sight of Boko from the first, due to his quite specific look which was cringe-worthy to even Jeeves.

Bertie then becomes more specific about how Boko must’ve gotten to this point in around two months, the matter going from whether he’d wooed her to Nobby believing it may not happen since her Uncle Percy didn’t agree to their union. He is stunned with this development since Percy’s word had clout due to his looking after her, Nobby relaying how even despite Boko’s success as a writer, Percy distrusted his ability to stick to his obligations. The idea also being of Boko’s popularity not lasting him a lifetime and Percy being left to foot their bills. Nobby then describes how Percy saw Boko as a “butterfly”, he having first been engaged to Florence, so this making the wooing impossible.

So those two facts soured Percy’s view of him, Bertie getting the reasoning, he then remembering Nobby would only need to wait for a certain time, once discovering it was only another year, thinking he’d cracked it, but she reminding him of Boko going to Hollywood in a month, she thinking he’d need a wife to keep his head on straight whilst out there, Bertie is unable to accept her line of reasoning and spouting what he believed was a line from Jeeves about trust, she not buying it because of Boko’s simple nature of being easily swayed, Bertie then coming up with a plan of talking Percy into it upon his owing him for his presence at the cottage.

Nobby is immediately warmed by his selfless gesture and starts suggesting ideas to help talk up Boko, Bertie assuring her he had it handled and as they approached, restoring her certainty he would do everything he could. After dropping her off, he goes to Boko’s for a nip, Boko responding to Bertie’s whistle outside his window by issuing forth a little piece of flying dishware. When Bertie calls out in surprise due to how close he’d almost been clipped on the head, Boko has a look out, at first looking annoyed and after recognizing whom it was, couldn’t believe it was the one and only. Bertie guessed he’d interrupted Boko at a difficult juncture in his writing due to his frumpiness, Boko then explains why he’d chucked the china being due to Edwin making a nuisance of dropping in.

Bertie shares his reasons for being there involving the party and Jeeves’ fishing. They then have some dry-throat-quelling drink as they chat of Boko’s marriage halting. Bertie confides how he’d be putting in his word with Percy, Boko warning him his lunch may have made his cause more grueling a task. Bertie then supplies how Boko’s appearance might not be helping his cause. Foregoing further reasoning for this, Boko relates how he’d messed up the lunch by overdoing the happy kindness Nobby had insisted upon. Boko then backtracks to see if Bertie remembered when Freddy Widgeon used to bring his gag toys to the Drones, Bertie reminiscing happily until realizing the implication, especially after learning which gag Boko had used, Bertie deciding to move along, and Boko bidding him farewell as he wrote an apology letter he hoped not to have to send if Bertie worked enough magic on Percy. Bertie wasn’t as keen to get into his request of Percy so much now, he only hoping his assistance with the merger-hosting would lighten Percy’s view. Bertie then hears his name being called as he drove, and upon stopping, seeing Stilton upon bicycle approaching with an unfriendly gaze. Bertie sensed Stilton would have an issue with his presence so close to his love, he seeing the problem of being unable to confess his true reasons for being there. What Bertie was truly stumped by though, was Stilton’s outfit of a policeman.

Bertie inquires after the duds whilst Stilton asks why Bertie was in town, he ignoring the question to repetitiously ask about Stilton’s cop-hood. He realizes why Stilton had kept his position secret, Bertie understanding it was due to his penchant for cheeky statements and he unable to deny this, for already having come up with a few. He instead thinks of how many mates had joined the Force since an academy had been opened, Stilton declaring his drive in becoming a part of Scotland Yard. Bertie’s response colored with doubt, considering Stilton’s interest in college being out of step with his current goal and believing he’d be the sort to make a mockery of the profession like those read about in Sherlock Holmes. Bertie anticipates Stilton returning to his own line of topic, he giving Stilton the easy answer of taking some time from the city and allowing Jeeves to fish. Stilton gets straight into how he wasn’t buying the story since learning from Florence of their engagement, Bertie going on to declare how over they were. Unfortunately, Stilton wasn’t going for it, also having seen the inscription of the book Bertie left in the shop, he maintaining Bertie return to the city, even after hearing Bertie’s explanation of helping Boko and Nobby.

Stilton goes on his way with a half spoken threat before leaving, Florence then riding up and relating of having set some flowers in Bertie’s cottage, her thoughts of Stilton regarding how he’d been acting foolish lately, since his reason for becoming a cop hadn’t struck her as fruitful, especially since his uncle offered to fund him for politics, she leaving after venting. Bertie takes a smoke break for all the new stresses to consider before completing his journey to Wee Nooke. Upon estimating Wee Nooke for himself, he found it to be old, but livable, and once hearing weird sounds, he thought it possible the place haunted, but upon tripping over a bucket, Florence’s younger brother, Edwin comes through a door, he greeting Bertie and quite ready to perform first aid in whatever capacity he could, Bertie resisting resolutely. As Edwin planned on cleaning the chimney, Bertie notices his Aunt Agatha’s present to Florence had fallen from out of his jacket, Edwin first to detect it, and Bertie nimbly swiping it back. When the little mite’s inquiry has Bertie sharing what and whom it was for, he refuses his messenger service, Bertie then concluding their chat amiably and walking back outside, knowing how reacquiring the gift had saved his ass from hearing about it constantly, later. He was then debating repaying Edwin with a present for his keen eye when Wee Nooke burst in flames, giving Bertie a scare.

Bertie watched the blaze with the usual satisfaction of fire-gazing, until remembering Edwin could still be inside, and being the only person able to conduct a rescue mission, he debates the thought of whether to save Edwin, regardless of his kindly thoughts from earlier, since it quite possible Edwin had caused the fiery eruption. When Bertie has decided to attempt the task though, Edwin moseys out looking gratified, minus eyebrows, and explaining how the explosion was caused by gunpowder in the chimney and water-looking petrol when he attempted to douse the flames.

Once Bertie realizes what this meant for him, his General Headquarters well and gone, he felt he needed to impose some violence on the boy, but hadn’t the means nor felt Edwin’s lack of eyebrows warranted a sign of kicking the boy whilst impaired. Bertie was then reminded of why Edwin was obsessed with completing his kindly duties, this being among the tasks given to the ranks of Boy Scouts. He realizes the suitcase containing his costume was currently within the tinderbox, Bertie dashing in without regret, and seeing everything was quite stable at the mo, and so toddles to the case and brings it out unscathed.

Bertie does notice Percy has arrived though, Edwin gone, and Bertie playing calm, collected, and cheerful, he truly none of the above. Percy is in shock whilst Bertie confirms the state of Wee Nooke, then inquires after his uncle, but Percy regains some speech to accuse Bertie of the pyromania and should’ve expected such behavior from him, and when Bertie attempts to set him straight of his son’s good-doings, it doesn’t make a dent in Percy’s bend, he still blaming him for supplying the gunpowder to Edwin, and when Bertie explains further what the boy had used in lieu of water, Percy reacts like Bertie had done this himself, and settles with the idea in the end, of Bertie and Edwin having egged each other on, team-work style.

Percy eventually pushes off after instructing Bertie to direct Jeeves to him when he came, the man doing so not long after by taxi, Bertie ready to unload the woe of Steeple Bumpleigh and hopefully to push Jeeves’ buttons for talking him into the mess. Bertie wastes not a mo to point out the trouble of Steeple Bumpleigh and ends with a poetic question to which Jeeves agrees with, Bertie then making plain the current events (Bertie makes a comment about relating to King Herod in reference to seeing his point on doing away with the first born sons, which had me reminded of an episode of Vicar of Dibley, where Geraldine mentions a similar scenario). Jeeves then confirms having spoken with Percy on his way to Wee Nooke, the man wanting him to settle at the Hall, so his brain could be all the closer.

Bertie rightly assumes he wasn’t invited and likened he and Jeeves to gazelles per the poet Moore, he then speaking Jeeves’ thought of bunking with Boko, he then appraising Jeeves of Boko’s situation with Nobby, and his own scapegoated position with Percy, Jeeves aware of the importance his plan-making skills were to the group. Bertie lastly informs Jeeves of Stilton’s job title, Jeeves’ look making Bertie think he was shocked by the news, and helped Bertie decide he would need to be the model citizen, he then realizing he’d misplaced the brooch, Jeeves noting how worrisome the prospect was, he then retracing his steps to the point of where he’d most likely dropped it whilst retrieving his suitcase in Wee Nooke, the fire now too low to enter, Jeeves taking some time to reflect on the matter.

Bertie took the time to decide whether fleeing was a viable way to handle Agatha, when Jeeves shares a possible easy remedy, which involved he going back to London to order a second identical brooch, Bertie warming to the idea as he spoke of the last situation which Jeeves implemented the switcheroo being the Aberdeen McIntosh. Jeeves then game-plans by allowing first, time to transfer Bertie’s luggage to Boko’s, then going to make the brooch order, whilst Bertie roamed about the area, to double check the grounds on the off-chance it had fallen outdoors. No luck though, so it’s whilst he walked, Nobby rode up upon bicycle, Bertie eager to chat with her about Stilton and his personal affairs.

Nobby had freshened up, which Bertie didn’t understand, what with she meeting a goofy man dressed to the frumpiness. Bertie bids to have a word with her after agreeing he was off to see Boko, as well. Nobby interrupts him with the subj. Bertie was after, so wasn’t as annoyed by her inattentiveness. She mentions of how mad Stilton was, Bertie sharing the reason for this and how Stilton didn’t believe his pure intentions. He then eventually gets to the danger of Stilton’s career having affected Florence’s love which could affect Bertie’s relationship status. Nobby then considers his predicament, and realizes how Florence had seemed attached to Bertie the most out of all her fiancés.

Bertie’s necessity to rectify Florence and Stilton’s lovey-doveyness hits him hard, and in despair, he asks for Nobby to talk to either side and do some convincing for both to see reason. Nobby agrees to do as best she can, and the two then enter Boko’s residence, he letting Bertie know his luggage had arrived safely, and assuring Nobby of his lunch with Percy going fine, but when she heard of Bertie no longer being able to knock home Percy’s acceptance, Boko shares his back-up plan of saving Percy’s home from a burglar to prove his worth. Then, once describing the finer details, Bertie is readying to back out, due to the part he was meant to play, but Boko and Nobby speak of his goodness so much, his resolve dies and turns to reluctant agreement.

The lack of gusto persists until the time was nigh, Bertie’s feeling getting worse as the two reached their destination, Boko intermittently makes comment to the nice qualities of the garden about them, but  Bertie wasn’t feeling it, and preparing to leave his buddy at his time of need. He remembers his terrible experiences with trespassing and policemen interruptions, Bertie relating this possibility to Boko, whom turns down the idea, believing Stilton would already be in the depths of sleepy-time, which Bertie allowed, but the aunt and uncle still being a worry, Boko disregarding this, as well and making certain Bertie had his accouterments ready to break the window, Boko biffing off to give Bertie time to do his part. Bertie at first is satisfying his imagination by contemplating how burglars must discover ways to aid their stress, but then figures Boko could return soon, since he’d wasted a few minutes with this line of fancy, and sets up the treacled paper upon the window. Then, metaphorically dancing about the window in preference to completing his task, Bertie likens the thought to how he saw Stilton outside the jewelers, acting similarly.

As Bertie gathered his nerve, he heard Edwin call from above him, Bertie knowing the boy was baiting him when he’d announced he could see him, so Bertie stayed silent and still, comforted in knowing it was a dark night. When Edwin withdraws, Boko returns, not sympathetic to the necessity of silence, Bertie informing him of their little Boy Scout, Boko showing disapproval with tongue-clicking when Bertie blamed Edwin as the cause of not breaking the window, Bertie now hyper-aware of the noise Boko made (his metaphor bringing a pleasant image to mind), he having Bertie stay focused on how this would help he and Nobby. Boko then leaves Bertie with another ten minutes time frame, Bertie thinking the new tactic of taking a stroll could help his resolve, he doing so, but wasn’t calmed, esp. when viewing a shadowy shape, but then recognizing Jeeves’ voice.

The two greet each other cordially and relate the shock they’d received from the other, Jeeves then moving on to Bertie’s timing for an evening stroll being an ideal one, even poetically speaking of the stars, which is when Bertie attempts to quiet him. Jeeves then informs of acquiring the brooch and had given it to Florence, Bertie glad for it due to his current issue, which he readily shares with Jeeves. Upon finishing, Jeeves speaks of the timing certainly being in their favor to go through with such an idea since Percy had yet renewed his security insurance, he having Jeeves send it in the same day, before Agatha became aware, Bertie quite surprised by Percy’s place in his household not being the top dog.

Bertie was reinforced by this information so he could finish his task, but then Jeeves adds how the real-time timing was a bit off since Percy was about to meet a Chichester Clam at the potting shed, he explaining this was the gentleman Percy was attempting to merge companies with. Bertie felt sympathetic toward the American’s ignorance of Steeple Bumpleigh, he knowing the place most likely wouldn’t let Clam off with a warning. Bertie then became aware of the hour which Percy was to meet Clam was upon them, Jeeves warning of his approach. Bertie wasn’t quite ecstatic with being viewed by the uncle-figure, but greets him as he got closer, scaring him to bits, which helped Bertie’s mood toward the positive, even getting Percy’s usual repetitive response of whatting, whilst Bertie shared how Jeeves and he had been chatting of stars, and during the quotation Jeeves had spoken earlier, Percy “what”-ed his way through the retelling.

Percy then gets a closer look at Bertie, whom has to explain he had only been walking about the premises. Percy demands he be off and away, Bertie catching the clue, and about to do so when Stilton scares him into the air, possibly more so then Uncle. Percy loses his shit by this point and indignantly demands why there’s so many people milling in his garden, expletives included. Stilton didn’t take this outburst without offense, due to Percy’s upper-hand on more than one level, Stilton apologizes and shares his reason for coming was caused by a call from Edwin, Percy momentarily adrenalized upon why Edwin had contacted the Force, but calmed when Jeeves confirms his letter had been sent, Boko next to arrive with pride of detaining a burglar in the potting shed. Bertie realizing Clam must now have the knowledge of Steeple Bumpleigh’s curse.

As Boko reached their little pow-wow, Bertie entertained the idea of Clam’s viewpoint of this oddness, Bertie listing the typical day he presumed the man was used to, Steeple Bumpleigh being a mismatch for such a normal schedule. So, as Boko is readying to lead Percy to his proud find, he reiterates of the troublemaker he’d trapped in the potting shed, in case they hadn’t heard, and was getting too comfortable poking Percy in the chest, which the latter exclaims for the nonsense to end, Boko defending his detection of the thief by relating Bertie’s having stuck the treacled paper to the window. Stilton gives Boko props for his foresight and announces of going off to apprehend the fellow, Percy growing more agitated as they speak, whatting reflexively once more. As Boko attempts to sooth Percy of his feeling of upset, Florence comes out to them, she not at all in pleasant spirit for being awoken by shouting. Boko takes responsibility proudly, not aware of Percy’s disfavor of him, Bertie feeling sad for the rube. As Boko then attempts to answer Florence’s inquiries as to how and why he was there to offer his services in implementing his gloriously selfless task, Percy pipes in with wanting to learn the same, building off of this framework to add his bewilderment for his tromping about his property when Boko had one of his own. Boko is flummoxed by this tirade against him, and when regaining his speech states of how ungrateful Percy was, having Jeeves quote Shakespeare about “ingratitude”.

Percy then decides the man housed in his potting shed was most likely a harmless homeless man, and wouldn’t be pressing charges, then gives Jeeves ten shillings to give to the man for shelter. Boko is properly disgusted, stating how next time he’ll help the intruder succeed getting inside. Boko then stalks off, Bertie accustomed to this behavior since he understood this response could come from even a not so moody sort, what with the circumstances being as they were. Bertie also felt terrible for Boko’s plan being dead in the water, since now the young lovers would remain detached, the odds not in his favor. Bertie then hears an avian-sounding whistle and recognizes Nobby from afar, he meeting her. Nobby was effervescing with fervor in being updated, Bertie reluctant, but giving the unfortunate mishaps of the night, she thinking Bertie must’ve dropped the ball, but he explaining how crowded the place had gotten fairly quickly before execution could fully begin. He describes Boko’s mistake of communicating so insultingly to Percy, Nobby finally aware of the hole Boko had dug, and she now going after him to give him a piece of her mind. Jeeves appears to inform of having let Clam go, but Bertie focuses on Boko, asking Jeeves to help him remedy the issue, and when sending him off after him, Bertie stresses over the situation when Boko pops back.

Boko looks properly put in his place, Bertie thinking Nobby had located him, which Boko confirms after asking if Bertie carried any libation, which he wasn’t, Boko then half explaining how Nobby had truly slapped him about with her words, she declaring they were over and Bertie convincing him not to read too much into it. Boko slowly is convinced Bertie had a point, especially after he quoted Jeeves on the strength of love. Boko was verging on a comeback of confidence when Nobby is heard calling to him, he sobered, and following her command to join her, giving Bertie a moment to think over what had occurred. His thoughts then turn to how common this situation was for his friends who are couples, he believing his estimation of Nobby’s next move being proven correct as he sees Boko’s look of elation upon returning.

Boko relates as much and also shares of Jeeves and Nobby thinking up the next course of action, Bertie stating of the work ahead of them being tough, but Boko explaining how Jeeves had come up with a doozy, Boko needing to have Percy’s back, he then sharing a scenario where he’d defend Percy from Bertie, which the latter was horrified upon hearing the description of what Boko thought he would do, Bertie plainly making clear he didn’t fit well into this plan whatsoever, Boko shocked by his not rallying round, he taking a similar route as some of his other pals when reminding Bertie of their school days, as well as Bertie’s affection for Nobby and how this would upset her, Boko giving him the chance by deciding he hadn’t heard him properly, but Bertie sticks to his guns. Boko makes certain Bertie truly declined to aid him in his plan, Boko stating of his disappointment and not believing the day would ever have arrived to discover Bertie not volunteering his help, his resolve almost breaking when he mentions of hosting him, but the vision of Percy setting him straight. Boko then reminds him of how upset Nobby would be, he then retreating with tsk-tsks, Bertie having then been snuck up on with a hit to the back of his head, sending him grass-ward.

Bertie now has an ouchy on the back of his skull, he hearing Edwin above him, impressed with his handiwork and realizing it was Bertie afterward, the latter demanding why he’d conked him, Edwin focusing on the part of his inquiry to do with his weapon of choice, he getting the confirmation of its validity as a painful piece of artillery, Edwin apologizing and confessing Bertie was the second victim he had mistaken for the thief, the first his pop. When Bertie hears how well Edwin had conked his pater, he relates to his heart jumping for joy, Edwin going on to relate how Florence had stuck up for him when Percy was readying to whoop Edwin good. Then, Bertie shares how his head still hurt and he had a lump, Edwin inquiring after his physical state, and then the former denying him the honor of performing first aid. Edwin changes topics about the reason for Bertie’s presence, and shares how Florence’s engagement could be possibly cancelled since he’d overheard a fight between she and Stilton. Bertie takes intent interest in this, and interrogates Edwin on the details, only learning their exchange was decently serious. Bertie’s soaring heart takes a dive, he knowing Florence’s intellect kept her style of fighting to be reckoned with more soberly than Nobby’s kind. Edwin reveals how he’d been distracted from listening to much by his act of whacking Bertie during their heated back-and-forth. Knowing this gave Bertie slight hope, since the two could’ve winded down their blow up before going too far. Edwin then confirms whether his acts of kindnesses from earlier still counted, despite his back-step, the two debating the day Edwin had reached, until Bertie realized Edwin had located the brooch twice, the second time at Wee Nooke. After stating of Florence’s delight having received the brooch by Edwin’s hand and giving Bertie the credit, he dashes away. Bertie then hears noisy breathing and puts together it was Florence.

Bertie couldn’t read the look on her face, only knowing she was feeling something compelling, she bluntly speaking of Stilton, to which Bertie regards her phrasing quite soberly, noting how she wasn’t seeing Stilton in a pleasant light and her view worried him as to the likelihood of the two working through this. Bertie determines her view would warm her more to his side, which prompted him to speak on Stilton’s behalf, this not succeeding in changing her low opinion, she then sharing how Stilton had insulted Percy when he wasn’t given permission to arrest the man in the shed. Bertie grasped at the straw of Stilton having been kidding about his harsh statements, but Florence states otherwise. Bertie feels for Percy’s plight as much as one could for the sort of his ilk, he having quite a time what with Boko, Edwin, and now Stilton. Bertie again attempts to spin Stilton’s temper in a positive light, Florence denying this by relating how he’d blasted her with his words when she’d voiced supporting her father’s side. Bertie was impressed with Stilton’s courage to stand up to Florence, but also knew it’d be the death of their love. Florence is unable to repeat Stilton’s insult of her reply about the quality of life for those in prison, the thought renewing her anger. She then shares of the fear Bertie’d been thinking of, the cancellation of their wedding, his reaction being to speak of Stilton highly, trying to have her let it go, he then spurring into a well-worded support to Stilton’s actions caused by the lack of crime in Steeple Bumpleigh, he unprepared by Florence’s response not being to take his words logically, but to become enchanted with him, she thinking he’d said all of this with the idea of wanting to get hitched to her. She then explains the brooch had helped her form her opinion, she accepting her title as hubby, sharing the sort of wedding she’d like, and left him to numbly catch up to her plans for him.

Bertie stays frozen to the ground for quite awhile, not moving even when flying pests knocked into his face, nor when other sorts crawled upon his neck. After he finally gets moving and back to Boko’s, he discovers the latter in the living room, Bertie buzzing over to the liquid refreshment, Boko not noticing him until hearing him pour, the man welcoming him, but also shocked he could detect the will to make a drink, after all which had occurred. Boko then eyeballs him as he informs Bertie he’d seen Nobby and she’d been quite upset due to Bertie’s stance, Boko again mentioning how he hadn’t foreseen the day coming when Bertie would fall through, he going on to inquire what had taken so long to return, he starting with Edwin, which pleased Boko, but Bertie pleading with him to save his chill nature for a later time since he required ideas and pity, he revealing his enchainment to Florence. After hearing Bertie’s tale, Boko admits how terrible it was Stilton had screwed up what with his true affection for her being apparent, and if he’d quit being a cop, he would still have a chance at a reunion. Bertie didn’t see the value of thinking about Stilton, he wanting a plan, so Boko asks if he could use the one which had worked the first time, Bertie stating to the negative. Boko then mentions how his style of having Florence break it off was tried and true, but Bertie not worthy for not helping Nobby and he, the former now reconsidering, but only after being reassured Boko’s plan was solid, he agreeing to share after he’d completed the job of angering Percy, Bertie acquiescing and Boko all smiles afterward, he deciding to jot down some ideas for Bertie to implement.

Bertie sleeps terribly, ridden by nightmares of Percy, but morning brought sunny goodness, birds a-twitter, this not helping Bertie’s attitude toward the day, though. He was plagued by his duty, he even having risen earlier for his troubled thoughts. He prepares for a refreshing bath, when he sees a note under his door, and reading of the statements Boko had come up with for him to spout to Percy, which worried him as he read. He brings up his Headmaster and the failed biscuit-stealing again, to relate how Boko had continued from where the Headmaster had left off, Bertie gauging of the estimated six hundred words, six of them acceptable enough for Bertie to muster the courage to speak, only if he were imbibed to the gills. Boko expected Bertie to follow the plan by ten in the A.M., but Bertie learns Percy was currently river swimming, he discovering him happily sloshing about. When Bertie sees Stilton was along for the water fun, he decides his best course was to stay unnoticed, he puttering along the sloping edge and spotting Jeeves fishing, whom he greets aloofly, and explains the reason. Bertie is peeved over what he now had to attempt to say to Percy, he essentially asking if it was worth his head to Jeeves, the reaction from the latter being a slight, quizzical look. Jeeves replies how Bertie could’ve backed out, to which Bertie derisively singly laughs over the idea, relaying the events of the previous night with Edwin, Florence, and ending with Boko and his information withholding on how to detour Florence. Jeeves, not having heard of their couple-hood, couldn’t guess what Boko had done and offers to inquire the house-staff, Bertie all for this.

The two agree to a meeting time and place to speak of Jeeves’ findings, Bertie returning to the house and seeing Boko at breakfast, Bertie inquiring about his knowledge of porpentines, Boko ignoring this and asking after Bertie’s thoughts regarding his list. He confesses the list’s horrifying qualities and confides of possibly deciding to nix going through with the plan, Boko shocked by this being the real Bertie’s feelings, again. Boko takes this badly, and states his displeasure on such cowardice, Bertie not phased by Boko’s retaliative approach by keeping his secret Florence-begone to himself, the former reminding him he hadn’t decided to withdraw yet, and the two leaving each other on good terms, they agreeing to enter the Hall individually. Bertie meets Jeeves, whom he can sense has good news, Jeeves sharing the source of his information coming from the boy whom cleans the silverware and boots, he having seen the happenings first-hand. Edwin had played a part in the events, he tracking something which Florence saw as she tended to a part of the garden, Boko walks up to Edwin and speeds up as he bends over some flowers, Boko then whopping him a kick, Florence not accepting his explanation and ending their engagement. Jeeves then points out Edwin was currently hunched over peering at something the ground.

Bertie caught Jeeves’ point along with the look he gave him to solidify his meaning, but whilst Bertie had the inclination, the circumstances gave him pause. He could also see Boko’s advantage when it came to his enactment, he in mid-question as to Jeeves’ surety of this being his best course, and even adding how Florence’s presence would and should be had, Jeeves offering to give her a reason to meet Bertie outside. His hesitance still holds him, and when confessing this to Jeeves, he posits Hamlet being in a similar boat, but what gets Bertie on-board though, was knowing the time rounding ten, his qualms bothering him no more, and Jeeves informing the length of time necessary to retrieve Florence. Bertie chats up Edwin in the serene atmosphere as he waits, Edwin sharing how close he was to catching up on his kind deeds and his current preoccupation. Edwin goes off on his ant knowledge until remembering Bertie’s bruised head, this having been related to how ants talk to each other, Edwin sharing how much enjoyment he maintained from the memory.

This only helps spur Bertie’s resolve, and as Edwin speaks, gets up to demonstrate or to stretch his legs as Florence finally comes outside, Bertie quickly coming up with a reason for him to bend again, he bringing his attention to a bit of ‘change’ under a shrub, Bertie noting his posture perfect for his swing, and upon execution, Edwin flying, but Florence isn’t furious, she happy has a clam, calling Edwin back, but he wandering off, and Florence explaining her reason for being pleased being in relation to Edwin’s hack job of her clippings being pasted upside down. She leaves Bertie to attend to the issue, he not noticing Nobby had been attempting to engage his attention for a little while, she having come to remind him of his meeting with Percy having arrived. Bertie mentions once more of how adept he was in obtaining those “silver-lining” moments, he declaring to Nobby of having found it in the form of his ability to back out, which Nobby then remembers his letter to her about Florence being a good back-up plan, he realizing the validity in this, and readies his entrance, flying to Percy’s sanctum sanctorum.

Bertie’s description of Percy’s study is everything one would expect a study to exude, the one article missing being Percy, himself. This new situation threw him as to where he should proceed, he deducing by cigar smoke smell he’d been there recently and most likely had gone outside to ponder his Clam troubles, Bertie attempting to decide whether to follow, his fire cooling as he stood, and so upon reluctantly following, he hears the man himself speaking with Boko, Bertie seeing the two walk into his line of sight with a gardener and mutt. As Boko is led away, Percy heads toward Bertie, he realizing there was no point going through with the plan if Boko couldn’t hear, and so goes back to the study to notice what he decided must be a painting of his Aunt Agatha he hadn’t been aware of earlier, but then hears her voice, which fortunately turns out to be only an audial hallucination, but by this point, Percy had caught up to him, he ranting about Boko turning up regardless of the hour.

Percy registers Bertie’s presence and speaks unusually cordially to him, throwing Bertie off, understandably what with their troubled history, he continuing by listing his normal temperament, his look similar to a cricketer turned actor (the picture of whom gives a fair idea what hilarity could come from the comparison), and whom had gone rabid (quite an image). So, to now see Percy looking agreeably at him, he was weak with disbelief, Percy then insisting he have a libation, sharing how he’d tromped on Boko, Bertie empathizing with his bud after imagining what area Percy must have stepped, but then extending his sympathies to Percy, as well. When Percy inquires about Boko’s friendship with Bertie, he sees a return of his old self, he letting this go to inform why the gardener had been pointing a pitchfork at Boko’s rump. Percy then offers a cigar to Bertie, he declining, which gives Percy reason to mention the hunting crop incident, and then giving Bertie the cigar so he could speak of why he’d wanted to chat, this an attempt at getting Bertie to loosen up.

After they have a drink, Percy commends him on his kick of Edwin, he going so far as to shake Bertie by the hand, and then asking him to excuse his aggressive temper due to his son, he then confessing his change of mood toward Bertie was because of his conduct with Edwin, and now wanted Bertie’s opinion about how he should proceed with his meeting with Clam, since the man was so skittish, he now wanting to forget about it and only return home. Percy finally gets around to asking what thoughts Bertie had on where to meet safely, upon his mentioning already having gone to Jeeves and learning he’d been told the man didn’t have a plan surprised Bertie, but when discovering when Percy had been told this, remained hopeful due to this being said the previous night. Bertie goes on to relate there was even better chance, since Jeeves would’ve most likely dined on his catch from this morning, his brain properly stimulated, Percy adopting Bertie’s optimism, and so calling his butler for a refresher on drinks and Jeeves. When the two return and his butler withdraws, Bertie informs Jeeves of what he’d mentioned to Percy about his regiment on producing new ideas, but Jeeves still had nada. Percy didn’t let this keep his spirits down though, and put his hope back on Bertie, whom decides to have a walk around and think, Nobby popping up when he left.

Nobby was close to literally dying to know how it had gone, she describing how little she could hear, but how she’d expected to hear Bertie’s voice more and couldn’t hear Boko at all, which finally gave Bertie the chance once more to dispel her hopefulness, confessing Boko’s absence, and once revealing to her the events, she readying to turn on her beau, but Bertie reminding her of how big Percy’s feet were, Boko’s inability to escape them slim, he being relatively unharmed and Percy’s view of him not positive, still. Bertie was then able to share the new standing he had with Percy though, and how it may yet help them, he sharing how if he succeeded thinking up a stellar meeting spot, he’d be able to help the two. When she attempts to help him with ideas and can’t, she suggests Jeeves be brought in, surprised to learn he couldn’t come through, and having Boko help wasn’t going to help once Bertie told her why it would only complicate matters. Nobby soon biffs off to locate Jeeves for still disbelieving his failure to formulate a plan, Bertie left to think. Jeeves appears, and when Bertie doesn’t see him coming, is reminded of Indians astral projecting, Nobby accompanying him and looking quite happy since stating how Jeeves was no longer blocked, and in fact had pretended to be without plan so Bertie could have the upper hand and could get even more bosomy with Percy, but the plan needed to be handled gently when it came to sharing it with him, and so Jeeves offers to bear the news to him on Bertie’s behalf, his plan being for Clam and Percy to meet at the dress party (TV show pops to mind, once more, possibly in a different episode). Bertie had completely forgotten the party, what with Steeple Bumpleigh’s overpowering effects.

Bertie then brings up his hope of Percy having the attire needed, Nobby having forgotten this requirement, and Jeeves stating how Bertie would need to lend his costume, which struck him with the strength of a mother cat being separated from her babies, but when being assured it was the only way, agrees bravely, Nobby not getting why he’d care, this being after Jeeves had gone off to speak with Percy, Bertie declaring how he’d wanted to show off his Sinbad costume, which he states of Nobby not having experienced life until she had, also now realizing he and Boko both should be in attendance so as to take advantage of Percy’s inevitable good mood once finalizing his deal, and whilst Bertie paces over this, Jeeves returns, he rejoining them, and Jeeves regarding Bertie’s idea which Nobby had related to him, he agreeing; this after stating Percy had accepted the idea and Jeeves planned to next see Clam on the subj., deciding Boko would drive him so he could secure the costumes whilst they were in town, Bertie wondering how safe the costume selection was in Boko’s hands, but Jeeves certain Bertie should stay to ease Percy’s mind, since he had flip-flopped in his agreement every time he saw Agatha’s painting, and would need periodic reassurance, Bertie accepting this what with his own run-in with it, Jeeves then confirming with Nobby of Boko being home and off to begin his journey.

Bertie discovers how time consuming keeping Percy’s spirits up would be, upon viewing the man’s anxious manner whilst sitting in his study and staring at his Aunt’s portrait. Finally, when evening hit, Percy is called by Clam, whom agreed to the scheme, Clam’s costume including a bushy beard. Now everything had been confirmed, Percy opens up to how he used to hit the Ball’s fairly hard in his youth (pun most definitely intended), and if not for an indiscretion at one of them, would’ve had the chance to tie the knot with Agatha thirty years sooner than he had, she having called it off after seeing his negative press in the paper. This episode colored his reason for paranoia she stay in the dark, but then upon stating how he would stealthily get to the party without being spotted by Edwin or Florence, he steps right back into despair, Bertie eventually getting him to calm, and then deciding a good submerging in the river was needed due to his hours long babysit, and once refreshed and drying off, sees Stilton watching him. Bertie knows upon speaking to him, he was definitely sour on his presence, Stilton solidifying this notion with one of his facial expressions of pure hate.

Bertie attempts to lighten his mood with conversation on their surroundings, but Stilton uses it as a way to reference Bertie’s betrayal. To distract Stilton from this, Bertie brings up Boko’s being stepped on by Percy, and Stilton showing confusion why he’d step on Boko rather than Bertie, after which comes silence and then he stating of seeing Florence and a wedding date already having been set, Stilton yearning to have cause to arrest Bertie, he finally giving Bertie the opportunity to leave, but he feeling down for having lost a buddy in such a way. When getting back to Boko’s, whom had already arrived from his mission and was currently sitting with Nobby, quite pleased, Bertie mentions the need for her to present the letter soon, what with the impending engagement date and she relaying of delivering it to Florence next morning if all concluded positively this evening, easing his mind. Although, when Boko mentions the costumes he’d gotten for himself and Bertie, he gets a slap in the face when hearing he’d been stuck with Pierrot, and he wouldn’t fit into the Cavalier outfit for his wonderfully svelte bod. To soothe Bertie, Boko attempts to quiet him with how un-Pierrot-like it truly was, they all getting a shock when seeing it wasn’t Pierrot at all, but a footballer outfit.

It remained quiet for some time before Nobby broke the silence by inquiring if they were all seeing the same outfit, she and Bertie confirming certain areas which drew their eyes, she then exclaiming how Boko had flubbed up again, he denying this, but even Bertie being unable to ignore the obvious. Boko then realizes whom was actually the cause being a chap called Catsmeat, Boko having taken a detour to the Drones where he and Catsmeat chatted about their collective attendance at parties, he leaving first and most likely having picked up the wrong case, Boko hoping this would get him off the hook as being damned. Nobby and Bertie effectively understanding, Boko offers to wear the get-up, Bertie then reminding him of how he still didn’t have anything to wear, the two deflated, but when Jeeves enters, Bertie posing their issue to him.

Jeeves decides a brief walk would be required to push an idea out, the trio discussing the problem as they waited, their optimism “conspicuous by its a[bsence].” they aware of time running short, the possibility of securing a fresh costume not applicable due to the lateness of evening, and Steeple Bumpleigh having naught an offering, Boko’s plan of Bertie slathering boot polish over himself and going as a Zulu chief being the best they could muster. Jeeves enters to state of coming up with an idea, everyone waxing impressed feelings, Boko disagreeing when Bertie suggested Napoleon was anywhere near the level of Jeeves, but when he hears where Jeeves had come upon this outfit, he quakes at whom it must belong “s[uspicion]” having been correctly felt on Bertie’s part. He then attempts to use the mot juste (appropriate expression) to indicate his tone as he commanded Jeeves get the uniform back where he found it, and hastily, shocking both Nobby and Boko from their celebratory backslapping, they attempting to make Bertie see how important it was he use this uniform to everyone’s advantage.

Bertie again describes how thin of ice he was currently standing in regard to Stilton, Boko reminding him he’d only be wearing it at the party, not constantly, but Bertie makes clear he wouldn’t be taking the chance. Until, of course Nobby weighs in with the letter not reaching Florence, Bertie understanding again he was against the wall. The two satisfied, Boko goes over the order of events, then stating of grabbing a raincoat for Stilton, he and Nobby off to bequeath said coat. Bertie rants to Jeeves after, of how he’d helped stick him in this non-helpful situation, Jeeves relaying he was doing his best at getting Bertie through the party properly, Bertie relenting, but maintaining how precarious a spot he was in. Then he complains a bit by how laughable he was going to look in Stilton’s larger-framed uniform, but knew the choice was no longer his own, Jeeves agreeing and quoting Shaw, Bertie gathering courage and requesting Jeeves show him the duds.

Boko decides he and Bertie should carpool in case any pressing issues popped to mind, it being more easily dealt with if they rode together. Bertie wasn’t quite as receptive to this idea, since he’d lived through being shotgun to Boko and had no intention of scaring himself repeatedly, Boko’s tendency to immerse himself in conversation, and gesturing with his hands at less than fruitful moments keeping Bertie from agreeing willingly. Another reason he’d rather drive himself being so he could get out of uniform with speed, Boko most likely tarrying to finalize his needs with Percy. Bertie also learns Boko, upon supplying Stilton with said coat, had learned of his suspicion Bertie had been behind the missing uniform, Boko redirecting his attention to Edwin seeming a better fit, Boko then thinking he’d detoured Stilton sufficiently. The idea only holding so much water when relying on Stilton not ever seeing Bertie in his work attire, otherwise he wouldn’t have a chance with Stilton discovering what he’d done.

Bertie relays his own plan to Boko, it being foiled by his car stalling, but hailing help from a kindly citizen, he getting to the party by midnight. Boko gives him a hard time for being late, he then informing of Percy drinking at the bar, Bertie realizing how serious this could be if he was incapable of comprehension. Once Boko explains how whilst Percy may have met Clam, Bertie still needed to approach him, he pushes him to attend to this immediately. Fortunately, Percy is entertaining a group of revelers, so Bertie has made it in time, and when reaching his uncle, the group scurries off to dance. Bertie greets Percy, the man hesitantly placing him, since the helmet was larger than expected, Bertie being chortled at more than he liked. When he plainly regards Percy’s drinking habits, his uncle doesn’t deny them, and admits he planned on celebrating heartily, being well on his way.

Bertie senses at this rate he’ll be able to mold Percy to his will, he learning Percy and Clam had their meeting, and Percy had made out like a bandit, Bertie buttering his ego for good measure, and Percy quite receptive, but then wishing to hole up somewhere less musical to take his much too small shoes off, which gave Bertie the perfect suggestion of offering Boko’s car as a kick-back spot, Percy agreeing and taking extra restorative along. When Percy’s nice and comfy, Bertie broaches the subj. of Boko, it not going well, since Percy, whilst in a glorious mood to all men, didn’t include Boko among them, he arguing of Nobby’s father entrusting her care to him and wouldn’t overlook a Boko. Bertie stays strong though, and attempts to speak the good of Boko, but what stalls Percy is learning he had also booted Edwin, but still not being convinced, until learning where he’d be heading the next month, the miles leaving him starry-eyed, Bertie using the opportunity to send Boko in to finish the kill, and he awaying home, depositing uniform into the lake, and off to sleep, but not before relinquishing a porpentine from his bed to the wilder outdoors, Bertie then easing into sleepy time.

Bertie had heard upon awaking in the morning, a saw which he attributed to Boko, wanting to shut him up, but deciding to let him rest due to his return being quite late. Bertie was then about to frolic in the lake when Nobby comes a-bicycling, she essentially swimming with happiness. She relates the news from Boko being quite in their favor, she giving him a peck and going to the house. As Bertie splashed about in the water though, he remembers how he forgot to see if Nobby had forwarded his letter to Florence, not stressing too much, he moving on to how Boko was set for marrying quickly for already having stored the license for quick and easy use, then easing his mind about the police uniform carrying no indication Bertie had worn it, regardless if Stilton eyed him accusingly. Bertie goes back to change, ready to get closer to the appetizing smells of breakfast, Nobby and Boko chatting, and Boko including him, detailing how he’d fared with Percy, they now thick as thieves.

When Boko asks about how Bertie had disposed of police get up, he agrees he’d gotten rid of it correctly, Bertie then hearing boots and sensing Stilton was approaching, his thoughts being realized by viewing the man through the window, and Bertie greeting him warmly, Stilton informing him he was arresting him, the three feigning innocence and wondering why he would choose Bertie as his nick-er, Stilton stating how Edwin had his whereabouts corroborated by many, he then detailing why he believed Bertie was his man, Edwin having planted the porcupine, saw Stilton’s uniform, he also hearing an eye-witness at the party see a man in an over-sized cop outfit. Bertie is readying to be taken in, when Boko comes up with he needing a warrant, and since Stilton wasn’t certain, would check with his Sergeant first, Boko quickly relating Bertie would have to leg it overseas whilst he still had a chance, Bertie agreeing this to be best and have Jeeves meet him with his belongings, he then hearing a pissed off Percy in Boko’s garage.

Bertie sharply inhales, stuck to the s[pot], with a look of shock frozen to his face. He understood the issue at hand not being in Boko’s favor any longer, he hearing the inclination for blood in Percy’s voice and oaths, knowing the headway the two had made was now a fond memory of bygone hours. Bertie was then detecting his need for Jeeves, when the man himself makes himself known behind him. Bertie shares the deets, frustrated once more with Jeeves’ calm, unphased, and through the relaying, remembers his own problem with the police, considering how he’d acquire his vehicle with Percy currently lodged there, Bertie likening his feral Uncle to a jungle cat caged, the man would go after Bertie first due to he being within range. Jeeves offers to soothe Percy upon releasing him, though, giving Bertie a chance to retreat, he stating of bringing the car around after, and would later join him with his possessions. As Bertie returns to Boko’s, he hopes his new information would affect Boko in a particularly negative way, due to his absent-minded locking up of Percy.

Bertie doesn’t get the scene he imagined to break with his fate-crushing news, but Boko’s reaction didn’t fail in its serious realization, and as Boko walks through how such a misstep could happen, Nobby is interrupting with cursing insults, Boko responding to her with pet names as he quieted her so he could continue, he having left Percy in his car whilst he joined a couple dances, then to the bar, only then thinking to inform Nobby of the news, so rushing to his ride, not seeing Percy, most likely unconscious and scrunched up on the floor by this point, and off to celebrate he and Nobby’s good fortune. Percy interrupts Boko as he’s forgiving Nobby her rash words, Jeeves following behind, the angered man still attired in his Sinbad the sailor costume, the dead stare enough to get Boko against the wall with intimidation. Percy what’d repeatedly, Boko offering a sardine, Nobby piping in of he feeling better with breakies administered, but Percy not agreeing, asking Bertie for his horse-whip. After Bertie gets confirmation from Boko of he not owning one, Percy sends Jeeves for his, giving instructions as to where he thought it was, and if not found, to have a look about. Jeeves accepts this task, but nonchalantly slips in of Agatha possibly having a helpful perspective, as well. It takes a few moments before Percy registers this, he sitting heavily and holding onto a jam jar like a life-preserver, Jeeves informing him she’d returned without notice last evening.

Bertie regards Percy’s state being similar to Lot’s wife when she was transformed into a salt container, since he’d gone rigid, except for gently twitching whiskers. Jeeves informs of Agatha’s son, Thomas having recovered and her presence no longer necessary. Bertie felt for the Unc, he knowing what Percy’d be in for if Agatha learned of his gussied up night. Nobby oozing sadness for Percy’s situation, stating the obvious of what he’d have to do to go over his reasons for being out all hours, this getting Percy moving again, calling for Jeeves, whom relays Agatha’s state of agitation and quoting the last words he’d heard before leaving, she questioning the housemaid with disbelief in learning Percy hadn’t slept in his bed last night. Percy looks at Bertie helplessly, his suggestion of confessing and hoping she saw reason being shut down, since she’d think he’d have more terrible a motive and females tended to speak with unrelenting speed, he realizing he’d have to take his fate like a man. Even Bertie’s suggestion of Jeeves coming up with a way out seeming impossible to Percy, until Jeeves confirms of working on a plan which had promise, but then retracts it once Percy updates of no longer giving permission to Boko and Nobby’s engagement, which Percy begrudgingly considers when realizing it would be required for this idea to work.

Unfortunately, Percy didn’t see the plan as plausible, since it didn’t include why he was dressed up, but Jeeves has a way out by selling Agatha of he being out to discuss wedding plans later, and then staying over could be supported with a change of clothes lent to him by Bertie. The latter watches Percy’s wilted demeanor flourish into a healthy flower once more, he following Percy out, Boko then blocking them, making certain Percy confirms his b[lessing] of their marriage, he giving the tormented green light, but this time Boko not leaving it to chance of being backed out on, wanting the agreement on paper. Percy’s optimism dips upon realizing he wouldn’t be able to get out from living through a wedding, he relenting to this, and the result tucked away by Nobby. Bertie then is re-consumed by his own dire fate with Stilton’s return, he having acquired his warrant, only requiring a signature from a Justice of the P, he then pleasantly greeting Percy, but getting the man up in arms when noting his outfit, Percy denying knowing of the party, and Stilton back-pedaling and apologizing, but Percy now unleashed, goes on a rampage of indignation, even coming up with a reason for the costume due to Boko and Nobby requesting him to don the frivolity.

Stilton attempts to get back on [res] the crux of the matter, and asks if he’d sign his warrant, Jeeves detailing what Stilton’s reasons were and in the explanation, Percy being Bertie’s alibi. Stilton attempts to argue Edwin’s testimony sealing the truth, but Percy supports Bertie’s scoffing such a witness. Jeeves then tries to give some magnanimous leeway on Stilton’s behalf, Percy unaware of Edwin wanting retribution for Bertie’s kicking him, but he dismissing this, going on his own steam of the police, as a whole having been going downhill due to their blind ambitions for advancement, ending with sympathy for Bertie’s being accused. Stilton doesn’t end it there though, pissed Percy would deny him, he gives him one more chance to sign, Percy making it clear what he thought of Stilton’s state-of-mind and his warrant, the beat-down cop leaving heavy-footed and broken-spirited. Percy hastens them to continue, wanting Bertie’s unwavering support when confronting Agatha, and so Bertie escorts the man to suit and bathroom, returning to be updated by Nobby of she and Boko’s immediate wedding pending upon Boko returning with his car and motoring to London, she concluding by complimenting Jeeves once more.

Bertie interrupts her well-deserved praise to inquire of the letter for Florence, she guiltily having forgotten and Edwin having cleaned out her room, offering the Jeeves remedy, then biffing off. Jeeves however, hadn’t a clue, Bertie dismissing him to the kitchen to get the only protein he remembered being available for his consumptive needs: anchovy paste. Bertie leaves for the garden to brood about his terrible fate, Edwin being “the Fons et origo” (source of origin) of his problems. Bertie then fantasizes of how fortunate being in China would be, able to condemn Edwin with “the Death of the Thousand Cuts”, Stilton then returning, keeping Bertie in place as he had been attempting to step away from him. Stilton updates the score of Bertie no longer in line to marry Florence, since he’d quit being an officer and Florence had taken him back, Bertie surrounded by light and birdsong, Stilton then off and Bertie streaking to the kitchen to inform the empathetic Jeeves of the good news, hastening they leave, then remembering his agreement to support Percy, Jeeves confessing he’d fabricated Agatha’s return, and they should hasten escape before Percy came down, Bertie on board with this train, he half remembering on their journey back of the expression of their experience at Steeple Bumpleigh containing the word “Joy”, realizing he’d gone over this bit at the start.

Satisfying as usual, Wodehouse staying strong. Still love them and I’m glad I acquired as many as I have so far, and will definitely seek out the rest.

Rose Madder

 https://2aughlikecrazy.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/rose-madder/

A woman, Rose, is having trouble breathing as she sees her husband, Norman after he gets home. She’s pregnant and not having felt a pain similar to this in her life, she hoping nothing is wrong, but feeling like there might be, since it is hinted of Norman having punched her a few times in the stomach. She’s close to miscarrying and he’s on the phone, she thinking of his status as a cop, and in the process of calling an ambulance. She wants to scream in pain, but Norman didn’t allow such noise, and when he ends the call, he regards the mess around them, she showing her bloody fingers in response as he picks up the shredded paperback she’d been reading and placing blame on his temper to it, she knowing he would’ve done the same with anything she could’ve been doing, he prickly because some woman was hassling him. As he dumps the trashed novel, she starts cramping and having thoughts of loathing of him without truly registering them.

When Norman returns, he has such a look and demeanor, she thinks he means to murder her, but instead, handsome Norman approaches to pick her up, after having told the emergency dispatcher he wouldn’t, but he needing the story he gave to stick, so places her at the foot of the stairs. She begins bleeding more profusely as he checks the spot in the corner for blood, then goes to the kitchen and comes out with a sandwich and rag, cleaning up the spot in the corner. When they hear the ambulance approach, he makes certain she knows the story and then has her say what would happen if she mentioned anything else. Before he walks away to get the door, she stops him to ask why he’d done it, he looking scared for a moment, then claiming it was an accident and she’d be able to have another baby. The EMT give her something to make her sleep and she drifts into a dream where she’s running away from something she knew would catch her (Rose doesn’t seem quite strong, she wanting a baby by this numbskull). It’s told she stays in Norman’s crazy world for nine more years.

Rose spends fourteen years with him, in all, she able to ignore most of it since she usually only received four beatings per year, but the Wendy Yarrow year brought twelve, Rose having to be taken to the hospital after the miscarriage for coughing up blood, learning her lung was being poked by a broken rib, and even though the staff didn’t seem to believe her “falling” story, they only patch her up and let her go, it being 1985. Norman knew he skirted getting in trouble though, so intended to be more tactful. It’s then shared of what Rose had gone through with Norman and what finally gets her attention being a spot of blood. She debates whether to change the sheets, she wanting to save some work by moving the pillow over it, most anything to do with how she kept house being under scrutiny for a physical reprimand, he normally careful not to clock her in the face, but when his temper flared, she still having to be careful not to make a mess or be loud in any way. After one of the unruly temper flares, he gauges the damage done to her nose, gets her an ice-filled wash cloth to minimize swelling and bleeding, she noting the next morning it had done the job for the most part, with the exception of this errant drop on the sheet. Rose didn’t look forward to remaking the entire bed since Norman’s favorite spot to punch her was her back, which after fourteen years had begun to leave noticeable signs of her kidney’s being hit. She considers how if she kept allowing this, Norman could kill her, but the worst thought being he may not.

To Rose’s surprise, she began to feel rage and considered leaving, but at the same time attempting to abate the feeling and talk herself out of it for Norman being a decent provider, regardless of being a smidgen temperamental. Rose couldn’t let it go though, since not being able to stop staring at the blood, considering how her life would be after fourteen more years, the damage she could live through, she then walking out of the bedroom, grabbing her bag and struggling to open the door, then deciding to grab their ATM card even whilst her beaten side begged her not to, but the drop of blood giving her drive, then hesitating no longer, walking outside, she ready to get the hell out of there. As she passes the store, she thought of how Norman claimed to have developed his sixth sense and whether she needed to be more careful in being seen, she then noticing his car coming down the street, she thinking of a believable reason for being out, but not needing to for having scared herself needlessly, she determined to turn onto the next street so as to avoid his driving route. She walks along a residential neighborhood, she desperately needing a bathroom and was lucky to choose a home of someone who had been away for a couple of days already, relieving herself in the backyard, she lightening physically and mentally by her actions.

Rosie, as she prefers to be called, walks for almost two hours before locating a pay phone and calling a cab, she buys sunglasses and a kerchief for her hair before it comes, she requesting an ATM and bus depot, meanwhile deciding she’d return to her maiden name, only when necessary using Norman’s. When getting to the ATM, she then struggles with the amount to withdraw, she ending up going for a few bills since she may as well, she in for trouble either way by now. She makes it to the bus depot, again having to work up her motivation to continue, she entering the building and trashing the card, it being noticed and fished, after she’d moved on, and once getting to the ticket window, contemplates a name to give, she flubbing up and saying the fake name rather than where she wanted to go, feeling quite out of place for not having socialized outdoors for fourteen years. She gets her ticket, though and once on the bus and out of sight of the police station, she relaxing to the point of dozing and seems to enter the Territories, at first sight tranquil, but then sensing wild creatures, and what ends up jerking her awake is the thought of Norman’s fist coming at her, and whilst relieved to be away from him, she knew she couldn’t slip up from covering her tracks, she not certain he wouldn’t still detect her whereabouts, but ready for whatever she found ahead.

Rosie’s first few weeks were tough, but she didn’t have second thoughts, regardless of being fear-stricken. When she’d gotten to the second bus terminal, she didn’t entertain the thought of walking outside so early in the morning, thinking the worst if she did, so heads for a seat as two cops pass, she hoping they’d leave her alone until dawn broke in a few hours. At four, she gets some cereal and coffee at the cafeteria, she then spotting a customer service desk, and debating whether to ask for assistance, she deciding to go for it, and the man attentive enough to ask about her vague plans, nothing coming of it, and she asking for his opinion, he offering her his card where he wrote the address of a battered women’s shelter on the back, then giving her directions so she could go at daylight. When she walks off the bus in the morning, to continue on foot, she loses her way and the people around didn’t look friendly to ask for directions, she walking in the wrong direction for three hours, then regaining some familiarity when recognizing where she’d started. The first person she asks about directions isn’t accommodating, but at least solidifies the truth of the place being known and when seeing a shop, is told how she was sixteen to eighteen blocks away. When she finally gets to the right street, her second encounter with a citizen in regards to whether she was close to the cross street she was looking for again began badly, she learning nothing, but does eventually get there, turning the wrong way, but righting herself, and reaching the house. When buzzing the door, she is instructed to show the business card given, she finally allowed inside.

As Norman contemplates his first move to locating Rosie, she was being led to Anna, the proprietress, when first arriving, given a meal, allowed to sleep, then another meal before seeing her, whom upon getting Rosie’s name, asks for the details of how she’d left. Anna then informs Rosie how long she could stay, if needed and how Providence had led her there like in a Charles Dickens novel, then she asks about Rosie’s skills which makes her break down for not knowing or able to do much, but Anna taking it lightly and offering her a job at a partnering hotel. She assigns her a counselor to shadow, then making clear Rosie is getting the chance to free herself from Norman, officially welcoming her. Three weeks later, Norman gets a lead from the guy, Ramon, whom Rosie passes in the bus station rummaging for the bank card, he now confronting Norman in the park as he relayed how he’d been instructed to meet him out there, the man having been arrested on a drug charge and the ATM card found on him.

The man was now sensing the trouble he was in with Norman, but getting offered being let go for his help, Norman doing a fairly odd thing after noting Ramon being gay, he feeling him up and talking about how he was going to be his good buddy since being laughed about by some cops he knew and then began squeezing Ramon’s boner in a vice grip. Ramon was glad he was able to answer Norman’s questions of what window and time she was in the station, not saving himself much pain. Norman then plans his next move of tracking her on weekends until he was free, he certain he’d detect her whereabouts easily enough and how he was going to teach her a severe lesson when he did. After being away for a month Rosie was noticing her physical changes for the better, working at the Whitestone Hotel. She liked how she knew what would happen throughout her day, she taking a banana break in the room she was finishing turning down, Pam sticking her head in and scaring Rosie, but asking if she wanted to join forces on the last two rooms, she taking her up on it and treating her to coffee and pie after. Rosie is content with her current set up, but expecting soon not having Norman around will be enough, she readying for the time it’ll be her turn to vacate the shelter as she drifts to sleep at night.

The next Wednesday, Pam leaves Rosie after work for not feeling well, she denying Rosie should accompany her in preference of she going to get coffee independently. Rosie then notices her wedding band, having forgotten she could get rid of it if she chose, but after seeing Pam off, walks to the cafe, but passing it as she became distracted by her memory of the pervert whilst she’d been lost her first day in the city. A young man stops her before she mindlessly walked into a busy street, she then aware how far past the cafe she’d gone, but as she approached the coffee shop, she decides to return home instead, then noticing the pawn shop, carefully deciding to see what her ring would fetch since she had no fond memories nor reservations holding her back, instead thinking about paying for her time at Daughters and Sisters hopefully having enough for herself after. When she guesses it actually wasn’t worth much, her thoughts confirmed by the young man behind the counter, she keeps it as a reminder to not be gullible again. As she makes her way out, a picture seems to grab her attention, of a woman on a hill, which she gravitated to for the new place she was going to get.

Rosie walks back with the painting and asks the young man if he’d be willing to trade for the ring as an older man watched, and when he agrees, Rosie is ecstatic, the two men discussing the odd qualities of the painting, she thinking about when she’d be able to hang it. Then, Rosie wished to complete the transaction so she could leave, the young man agreeable and wrapping it up. The older man follows her outside, introducing himself and asking she read a couple passages from a book, she at first guarded, but after the first paragraph, curious. When she had finished, Rob was delighted with her reading, she shocked when he gave her a job offer. Meanwhile, Norman had cleaned his desk of all unnecessary trash, he having specific thoughts on black people’s abilities when it came to work ethic, which he’d learned from his pappy. His home had switched roles, it looking bomb-blasted with trash whilst is desk at work was clean as a whistle. Norman had apparently been promoted, getting a real office, his bust going perfectly, he considering how his desk being this clean would have only come about if he’d been fired.

Norman then recalls how his assumption Rosie wouldn’t go far from her childhood town had set him back, he unable to know for certain which bus she’d taken, and whilst his job had taken a turn for the better, he was obsessed with the idea it canceled out with Rosie still missing, he having been blind by thinking she wouldn’t leave, the amount she took meaning nothing, only concerned with she having taken something of his, and he owing retribution. He also thought back to the women he’d had sex with since Rosie left, one in particular not living through it, he choking her when she resembled Rosie for a moment, but not being concerned after she’d died since he’d taken care of murders committed before. He then considered if Rosie knew of this, but shrugging it off, instead going through the meticulous process of tracking her down. He enlisted help from a neighboring city’s police station on false pretenses, nothing coming of it. As he readied to move his office belongings to his new office, he gets a call from the bus cashier, he remembering the odd way Rosie had asked for a ticket, Norman now feeling the upper hand returning, and easing him.

Rosie saw Pam sitting whilst watching an overweight, but muscle-y Gert with a punk-looking Cynthia, Gert teaching her self-defense, which she did for anyone who wanted to learn, Rosie having been taught some moves she didn’t expect to use, but appreciating Gert’s kindness and interest in her mentoring. As Rosie sat with Pam and relayed her time after Pam had gone home, Gert flipped Cynthia, whom squealed upon the take-down giddily, bouncing back quickly, Pam wanting to hear more about the younger guy than giving her opinion on the painting Rosie tried to focus her on. Gert was encouraging Cynthia to help flip her in return, Cynthia exhilarated once succeeding, Anna then walking in and sobering her victory with how she had only aided Gert’s body to follow it’s own inertia. Rosie then asked her opinion of the picture when she’d shown interest, there now seven ladies staring and not saying a word until Rosie prompts a response, feeling awkward, receiving the similar opinion of it being strange. Soon, Cynthia is relating a story where she’d had a similar experience to Rosie’s in regards to a picture her mother owned, drawing her in, she not knowing what happened to the painting, but guessing her mother had trashed it. Anna then states Rosie needed to come to the office with her after she told them all about her new job offer, she admitting it may regard what Rosie had been waiting for.

Anna describes the studio Rosie would be getting being one of their better ones, Rosie overcome with happiness in moving forward. Anna then asks after how Rosie was feeling in regards to Norman attempting to locate her, Daughters and Sisters policy being to not discuss where anyone relocated to, with outsiders. Anna prompts Rosie to go through how she’d deal with the possibility he did find her, they moving on to her financial stability to maintain the apartment and her new job’s unknown stability as of yet, until she started, she not knowing, but believing it will pan out, she also knowing she had back ups on the off chance it fell through. Anna lets her know she could move in the next day if she chose and hoped she would attend the upcoming picnic, she continuing to study the painting and noting how the painter hadn’t signed it and the printing of ‘Rose Madder’ on the back seemed much newer than the picture, it looking 40 years or older.

Norman leaves by bus, the day before Rosie begins her new position, he ignoring how much her ditching him had affected him, and needing to infiltrate her mind once more, quickly. He allows himself to blind himself to the fact it was about how he hadn’t sensed her movements and less about the card theft. He attempts to track when she could’ve decided her escape and how long she planned it out. Once on the bus though, trying to sense which seat she’d have chosen, he then going over how much effort telepathy took in practice. As he traveled, he attempts to retrace her steps at the rest stops as well, he repeating his new mantra and eager in imagining he was underneath her bed so he could stab her. When arriving at the final stop, he gauges what her next step would’ve been, distracting himself for a moment with the thought some low-life could’ve killed her before he could, but then getting back on track and after doing a step-for-step of Rosie’s movements, learns the information desk man’s name, then goes to a cab where he’s taken to The Whitestone. Meanwhile, Rosie is slowly becoming overwhelmed by the actual doing of her new job, fear setting in when sitting in the recording booth. Thoughts breaking her self-worth returning as she starts talking herself out of succeeding, worse case scenarios in how she’d survive crashing on her, as well. Then, thought’s of her picture motivated her to sit down as asked, gaining courage by thinking of the woman in the picture, and once talking to allow the sound engineer to level the console, everyone looking pleased with Rosie’s speaking voice. She has one more thought of insecurity before action, but begins her lines like a champ.

When finished for the day, Rosie goes to Daughters and Sisters to update them of her day, she still riding the buzz and even agreeing to ask shop owners in her area  to post their fliers to sell tickets for the picnic and concert, also to remember to mention they weren’t gay and didn’t harbor underage runaways, a couple of the reasons sales were low. Rosie knew she wouldn’t be putting it in those terms, but would talk them up as best she could, she again reveling in being on her own.  She then thinks for a moment, in the painting, the woman’s toga’s creases had changed, but deciding she’d tricked herself, now talking aloud to her like she would a good buddy about how she sensed she had needed to prove to the director she could do the work. When she looked outside, the car she saw pull up didn’t bother her like it normally would, she then distracted by seeing more of one of the two “gods'” faces, thinking then the painting had expanded, but realizing it actually seemed more like she’d gotten a widescreen view and this helped her discovery of new statues in the picture. Rose froze when the light, rapid knocking began, she kicking herself for not locking the door and putting off buying a phone for a better deal, but does remember her groceries containing some cans, and after grabbing the largest, announces of coming.

Norman is then shown on his hotel bed smoking, back-story of when he’d started and how Rosie’s family had died, following. Norman not having felt bad for them since Rose’s father in particular had tended to ask probing questions Norman didn’t deem viable as he was no longer in charge of his daughter. Then it’s told of Norman picking up his two pack a day habit after eleven years, he planning on quelling his stress with smoke and control over his style of divorce. Norman then readied to leave, he feeling charmed in his chances of detecting Rosie, he taking the bus for anonymity and once getting out, uses his map to guide himself to Information desk man, Peter’s home. When he gets to the door, he thinks about how his plan involved the man not speaking to anyone after he was finished, so he not bothering with a face mask, and when Peter answers the door, he senses Norman was bad news, but couldn’t shut his door in time, Norman kicking it closed behind him and similarly threatening to assault him the way he had Ramon. He proceeds to locate oven mitts, then leads Peter to his cellar, Norman satisfied with his results, but needing to dispose of his shirt and mitts later.

Bill Steiner, from the pawn shop waited outside Rose’s door with flowers, she having made such an impression, he was unnerved by attempting to ask her out, and intrigued as well as smitten as he’d been before holding out the flowers as a peace-offering when she opened the door with her raised can of fruit in the air. Rosie ended up agreeing to the date out of relief for not needing to use the fruit-weapon, as he drove, she now paranoid of Norman catching her, but when seeing the warm atmosphere of the restaurant, it receding temporarily, flaring up again when her ‘Norman voice’ begins talking her out of staying, she then visualizing her picture and calming. Rosie confesses of being fine after Bill inquires, adding she was a bit afraid, which once Rosie elaborates of Bill being the second man she’s been out with, he announcing of feeling similarly, they then led to a booth. They first discussed how he’d gotten Rosie’s address, he automatically calling her Rosie to her delight, they then discussing some important topics about Rosie’s marital status and the two vowing to be up front with the other, Bill to Rosie, and the latter to herself in return to Bill. Their chat turns to lighter interests as their night progressed, thoughts of Norman only invading as Bill walked her to her door. She debates asking him in, but when doing so, is declined, he again mentioning how strongly he was affected by her. When he asks for a second date, Rosie is again flattered, but then remembers the picnic, she passing along this revelation, and he offering to drive her back before her t-shirt selling shift, which still made her first instinct to pass up the offer, but the Rose Madder picture making her want to match the imagined bravery of the figure, so instead consents and also has him agree to stay at the concert with her, Bill all for it and suggesting a coat due to chill in the morning, then leaving on a charged excitement.

After she secures the door, she notices another change in the painting, some trees now visible on one side with the statue and a pony with cart and possible other person on the other. As she readied for bed, she thought only of her date, then dreams between sleep and wakefulness about the little girl she doesn’t have and the man, Richie Bender whom had caused all the issues of 1985 in some way, then going deeper into unconsciousness. Norman was also going to sleep, only three miles from Rosie, he also thinking of Richie Bender, the reason being he the one accused of a shooting in Payless. A clerk pointed him out and gave detailed directions to his motel room where Norman and his partner found Wendy Yarrow, they physically and sexually assaulting her and Norman sustaining scratches the two claim she’d made. They close, but not locating Richie Bender’s room, their official reprimand in regards to the excessive force of her broken fingers. Norman then vows to deal with Rose and proceeds to fall asleep. As Rosie was drifting off (one thing I’m getting annoyed with being these overlapped time-frames, also happening in Firestarter), she thinks of the Wendy Yarrow case after she’d found a lawyer, on the course to making more trouble by filing a civil case. She’s discovered murdered in an obvious crime of passion, multiple stab wounds and cut bosom. When Rosie had heard the story, she puts together what had happened, she going deeper into sleep as her thoughts turn to Bill, smelling grass sleepily and thinking it was from the park, but then when thunder and crickets are heard, realizing she’d closed her window and had seen a clear night earlier.

In the late afternoon of a Wednesday, Rosie was on feeling grand as she got a cup of coffee at the cafe, a bit out of her way now, but comfortable with the spot, she reveling in knowing the fact they wanted her for the readings of the other novels in the series. Then she recalls how she’d been told by Rhoda, the director whilst she snuck a smoke in the bathroom, relaying to Rosie of Robbie planning on offering her a contract, but to watch out for herself and not sign only for gratitude, she attempting to make her realize how much talent she had, Rosie halfway believing, but also becoming annoyed by her attempt to instill caution. Rhoda then makes clear what Rosie should ask for, the number shocking her, Rhoda asking how she’d gotten such vocal control without being a singer, Rosie recalling the times she’d had to manager her breathing for pain. Rob calls to set up a lunch meeting with her, afterwards getting similar advice from Curtis, the sound guy, then thinking about her date and bright future as she finished her pastry. Meanwhile, Pam finished her shift and was heading toward the cafe, Norman waiting for the walk sign with her, she feeling an aversion due to his eyes, and Rosie promptly getting a second tea for no particular reason. Norman was looking at Pam’s butt, glancing inside the cafe she’d walked into, seeing Rosie without knowing, she resembling Rose Madder.

Pam doesn’t recognize her at first, either, but yelps when it hits her, and the two take their drinks to their old table, Rosie sharing her good news and accepting another pastry, even though she planned on keeping off the fifteen pounds she’d lost after getting to the city. Pam was still processing Rosie’s new look in shock, her face looking younger and the blonde hair apparently working on her, seeing how Rosie had copied Rose Madder’s style, and deducing Rosie having met someone, she bursting out laughing in reply. When Rosie’d walked home for her energized happiness, she remembered how she’d dreamed she and Bill were riding his bike in the scenery of the painting, she forgetting the magic word which had made them fly, but then undoing the French braid she’d given herself, she hearing a cricket, catching it, and rationalizing how this is the cricket she must’ve heard last night, her inner voice mentioning how it’d sounded like an orchestra of them, then before dumping it out the window, she realized the cricket couldn’t have hitched a ride on Bill, and when the cricket jumps, she discovers two dead ones along with a pink clover, slowly looking at the painting, the pony now seen grazing. It didn’t taker her long to start thinking the evidence she’d collected came from her picture, and whilst she knew it was a mad way to think, she believed it, the idea most likely receding if other people were present, but currently the fantastic supposition sticking.

Rosie examined the picture closely at her kitchen counter, the back where the paper had writing, crinkling more than before when she had touched it. She reached for a knife as her timid conscience urged her to stop, she hesitating a moment longer before carefully cutting it, some dead and one live cricket falling out with a dead leaf, some more clover flowers, and grass. She then continues to trace the outer edge of the backing with her knife, and with removing the paper, detects more dead insects and some gray hairs she deduced was from the pony. Rosie then thinks matter-of-factly to herself of her obvious loss of common sense once more. She decides to separate picture from frame, she probing the naked canvas until her phone’s ring scares the bejesus out of her. She picks up to hear Anna preparing to deliver some news which may or may not involve her. After hearing what she relays, Rosie hangs up before deciding whether she was going to spend her night at Daughters and Sisters, calling Bill to inform him of not being able to see him, not wanting to explain, and after hanging up, revealing her thoughts of belief it was Norman, and he’d murdered Anna’s ex, Peter. Norman was setting himself up with a mild disguise before heading to Daughters and Sisters. He remembered the aches he’d woken up with which stemmed from his fastly regretted time with Peter, it not in the paper yet, but knowing a man like Peter would be looked for soon enough, and then he seeing the paper a day later to note his thoughts  had been realized, the story covered on the front page. Norman also does his research about the Daughters and Sisters organization, learning Anna’s connection to Peter, he sensing the ladies would be quite careful now. Norman reaches the house, walking on the sidewalk across the street from it, getting a good eyeful in small doses, keeping his pace leisurely. He’s briefly noticed by Cynthia, he having to calm himself before returning her wave, he then moving along. He stays deep in thought as he walks away, soon stress-biting his finger until it bled, he then noticing a sign for fresh rolls, and the Daughters and Sisters flier.

Rosie wasn’t having a productive day at work due to her almost sleepless night, Rhoda calling an early lunch and Rosie attempting to make she and Curtis believe she’d do better at noon. When she gets to the lobby, Bill is waiting for her. She’s at first uncertain and scared, but when he confesses of being unable to do as she’d bid, she is overwhelmed with being in unknown territory, but when he gives her an opening for a hug, she takes it automatically. As they walk, she confides how happy she was he’d come to see her, she beginning to share the fear she’d had about Norman being close, but first has him buy them a couple hot dogs before getting down to the grit. After she had a bite, she has a moment to think he’d stop talking to her after this, but decides to dive in, starting with how they’d met. By the end, she’d shared Anna’s information, the police not having released the killer having bitten Peter over thirty six times, she expecting Bill to ask why she’d put up with him for so long, but instead inquiring whether she thought Norman had killed Wendy Yarrow, she thinking it possible, but then having to get back for being five minutes late. As they go, she explains her worry about Anna thinking Norman could be dealt with like any other abusive husband, and why Rosie wouldn’t go to the police like Bill had suggested, she also explaining how another women’s group had gathered intelligence on Norman, and Daughters and Sisters now knew what he looked like. The conversation winds down as they reach her building and are met by Rhoda and Curt outside. Rosie introduces them to Bill and he takes the opportunity to finalize their plans to go out Saturday, Rosie reluctantly agreeing and he walking off, Rhoda remarking on his charming looks.

On Thursday, Rosie calls Anna to make certain she hadn’t heard anything more about Norman, this being so, and relaying the remembrance for Peter happening on the same day as the picnic, then realistically explaining to Rosie about how common it was for battered women to believe their spouse capable of murder, the two moving on to other topics after. Rosie then attempts to sleep, but is distracted by the noise of a baby’s cry, thunder, crickets, and lightning, finally getting to sleep, but being woken by a bright flash and thunder, when looking at her window, seeing a real scene of the painting, her view of the street replaced. Rosie ignored her conscience as she steps into the picture-no-longer-picture. After stepping through and looking back for her bedroom, it wasn’t there, an easel and painting of Rosie in her outfit for the outing with Bill in front of her, she unnerved as she also sees the pony and a woman with it in front of her now, whilst Rose Madder still looked down at the temples. The young woman reassures the pony didn’t mean to startle her when he’d bumped his head into her, she recognizing the lady as Wendy Yarrow, now certain she was dreaming.

When she hears the baby cry for a moment again, Wendy warns Rosie not to look straight at Rose Madder after hearing her call to her, which Rosie then turns to approach, noting something odd about her hairline, Rosie unaware she was meeting her twinner, but getting the gist when she showed Rosie her scar, which she had on the opposite hand. Rose Madder then relates how she would return whatever Rosie did for her, then requesting she bring her baby to her. Rose Madder bids Rosie go to the temple, Wendy accompanying her only so far, since also having what Rose Madder had, only not as bad, yet. Wendy warns her of the bull, Erinyes whom guarded the temple which hurt Rosie’s eyes to look at, Wendy instructing her to rip two strips of her gown, using one to wrap a rock in as the rain began to fall. Wendy cuts herself and soaks a piece of cloth, then instructs Rosie on what she must do with it as she uses the second cloth to cover her wound.

Rosie is urged to walk through the temple and not to stop until through it, it unable to harm her for only containing spirits. She then relates how Rosie would get to the baby and return to Rose Madder, but to be careful of Erinyes. She walks, uncomfortably naked and cold to the temple, the statue’s face is of the perv outside the bar, when she enters, she’s still quite cold, recognizing the details inside to the church she used to attend and against Wendy’s advice, picks up a book, which smelled terrible upon opening. She walks through to the dead garden to the stream where the stepping stones lay, she considering drinking for the thirst and the possibly upside in forgetting all, but thinking of Bill keeping her moving and across, she entering a forest where the trees looked like they had shrieking faces on the trunks, finally seeing the tree in the clearing with the fruit. She collects quite a few as she’s overwhelmed by the wonderful aroma, saving herself in time, she almost licking her fingers. She then walks toward the tunnel with the word “Maze” above it, the baby’s cries now infrequent. After getting down the over 200 steps, she debates which of the four break-offs from the main tunnel she should take, bringing back her extremely loud cry she’d not used since childhood, the baby screaming and the bull hearing, moving as well, but Rosie deciding on which tunnel and starting through.

When Rosie reaches another spot where she must decide which passage to choose, it dawns on her why she had the seeds, she placing one at the next tunnel she tries, but it being a dead end, so replaces it at a different entrance. Rosie had been doing this for some time when she begins to see a heightened brightness, now having only three seeds left. Finally though, she sees the baby, she wondering whom she truly was and whom had left her there, but letting this go as she picks up the child and is readying to leave when Erinyes detects her, it taking Rosie a few moments to figure out what she must do, unwrapping the rock and tossing it away from the tunnel she needed, streaking for it (no pun intended) as Erinyes charged. Rosie makes it a bit away until Erinyes almost catches up, but Rosie continues on with no real trouble, only scaring herself when not seeing a seed she thought she’d put down at first, eventually locating it and going on. She reaches the steps and gets out with only minor aches, retracing her steps to the stones at the stream, what had previously drawn her to drink, not affecting her at all, then seeing what looked like many vultures perched on the temple, moving away as she stared and once out, being urged by Wendy to return the baby, she now hesitating, but reassured by Wendy to follow through, Rose Madder giving Rosie her armlet and stating of she and Norman divorcing, but to be careful outside her realm.

Rosie goes back to her world, sleeping and when awoken by her alarm, unable to remember why she was naked or where her terrible aches came from. She showers, only half remembering the warning of not to taste her red fingers, she thorough in cleaning them and when seeing the painting again, is surprised to see birds in the sky above the temple and the clouds gone, she not willing to pause on what else was missing and storing the painting, at least temporarily in the closet. When she’d met with Robbie, she gets her contract offer which she decides to think over, and as she goes to the studio, she realizes Rose Madder’s armlet had been missing. When she returns home, she discovers the armlet and the piece of her nightie which carried the seeds, with the three seeds still remaining within, under her bed, Rosie then reminded of Rose Madder’s promise. Before she had been transported to the supposed Territories, Norman had been lying in his bed as well, wondering how Rosie had found the balls to run, he then thinking how she was probably whoring herself out for not having experience doing anything else. When he’d woken from an odd dream-filled night, he sees Rosie walking through the temple (Rosie’s feeling of Norman watching her being closer to the truth than she wanted to admit), he thinks about what he’d do if he found her with a guy. After seeing her walk into the maze, he’s visited by Rose Madder and then wakes, thinking of how he’d keep eyes on the park and sensing Rosie wouldn’t be the only one watching out for him. As he’s in the lobby, Pam passes him again with two other maids, talking about the concert, he praising the luck he’d caught when confirming it was Pam whom knew.

Norman’s next move was in hot-wiring a car in the long-term parking of the airport, after getting the car washed, he stops at an army surplus store and purchases a taser, then goes to a barber to get his hair shaved off, afterwards having trouble recognizing himself. He then drives to a secondhand clothing shop, people staring at his head, which didn’t bother him since they wouldn’t remember his face. He buys a motorcycle jacket and plans on immediately returning to his room to sleep, before doing so though, hitting a gift shop at the Women’s Cultural Center and Museum. Once back at the hotel, he has no further motive then to get to his room for the migraine he’d built up. He falls unconscious, his headache following a ways, but then he getting deep enough to ditch the pain, and upon waking refreshed, thinks of Rosie needing to wake up to view the last sunrise she’ll ever witness. Rosie does as she’s told, waking a little after four A.M., scared Norman was in her room, she calming when seeing she was alone, looking at the armlet, not knowing where she’d come to possess it. Eventually, her thoughts turn to getting ready and once seeing Bill parked, goes down to meet him. He gives her his father’s riding jacket since her sweater was estimated not being warm enough, once getting set up with jacket and helmet, the two setting off.

Rosie gradually started with liking to loving the ride, and once getting to the lake, quite impressed with the deserted tranquility. They move the cooler, then Bill leads her to a spot where a vixen and cubs were resting, the two heading back after watching them for a bit. When Bill began setting out their spread, the amount of food brought, made Rosie giggle hysterically, he letting her know he’d wanted to be certain she’d enjoy her meal, he giving some history on his modest love life and how he’d fallen for her, then suggesting they dig in. Afterward, they sit on a rock and fool around for awhile, Bill insisting they walk it off, he not wanting to be interrupted or have it done in such an unromantic way (either a true gentleman or not having a rubber), then returning to the campsite after seeing some flowers and a woodpecker in a meadow. They get to the park on time, foreshadowing of Rosie looking back on her joy-filled moment upon seeing the sign turning into intense fear later, upon reminiscence.

Norman was currently parking the car a good distance away from any traffic which could effect his plans, then preparing the wheelchair he bought with female friendly bumper stickers and his new identity’s back story. He goes over his plan for discovering her and what he’d do when he did (some words not having been caught as the wrong one by a careless editor). Best case scenario, he’d get her after she’d arrived home, he following her, worst, if she spotted him and he ending her on the spot. When he paid his entrance fee and wheeled away, the ticket guy kept calling him back since he’d paid too much, Norman getting on himself for already bringing unwanted attention to himself. He does fairly well after, but gets nervous when not seeing Rosie at noon. Meanwhile, Gert had taken notice of him, but hadn’t placed him, yet. Norman had ridden through the grounds, making himself scarce as the women sat for lunch, his migraine returning with his continual paranoia, his knowledgeable inner voice keeping him calm and supplying a new tactic. Gert was talking herself out of thoughts of whom she’d seen being Norman, but decides to check so she didn’t continue to feel bothered. She attempts to have the ticket guy help her, but he wasn’t feeling particularly welcoming, only getting how the man he’d helped had forgotten what price to pay, she next wanting to locate the ladies she’d seen speaking with him, but none currently within sight.

Norman’s new plan involved staking out the restrooms, he letting himself out of his chair out of view of anyone. He waits for a lady to come to the bathroom by herself, it almost being one of the ladies he’d spoken with earlier, but Gert calling her back, Cynthia now being the target, he catching her before she walked in. Gert’s conversation with Lana shows how she was the first to identify Norman, whilst Cynthia was being sexually assaulted. Gert was then on her way to the restroom when she heard the threat from behind the building. She was readying to knock Norman out when he turned, she catching his face (Grendel being mentioned in regards to Norman’s look). Cynthia doesn’t move for being in shock, Norman now taunting Gert, she estimating her best move was to egg him on, and when she interrupted his constant insults and movement, he goes after her, she gets the upper hand until he is able to wriggle away after she peed on him after having needed to since confronting the ticket guy, Norman charging again, but Cynthia tripping him up. Gert goes after him once he retrieves his taser, she throwing the wheelchair at him to disarm him, Cynthia failing to warn her in time to save her from the taser’s bite, but after, he didn’t have enough time to do much more since security was approaching, he walking toward the rides. Rosie had made her way to the hospital, locating Gert where she updates her of Cynthia being tended to, unaware of the policemen’s presence until Gert introduces her to one. She’s overwhelmed for a moment, then resigns to confiding to the Lieutenant of what she knew.

Norman was struggling to get his head around what Gert had done to him as he walked, remembering his decision to flee having to do with his own pain more than the approach of people, he attempts to quiet his mind as he desperately thought about needing to end her. His mind flitted back and forth between sanity, he noticing the attention he was getting, but after turning between two amusement areas, gets a kid’s mask to cover his face with. After reaching the car again, he begins to hope Gert’s voice won’t be a fixture in his head, now. Once Norman had gotten out of the parking lot, he hears a voice from the mask confide of Rosie’s make out session, he then stating what he planned on doing to her when he found her. He remembers Pam after, and plans on getting the information he wanted this time. Rosie is accompanied by Gert as they are driven by the Lieutenant and his partner to the station, Bill following. Norman has made it back to the parking garage, he deciding on keeping the “lucky” bull mask, the next moment he’s aware, being of getting Pam back into the housekeeping room, but before he can succeed gaining any information, Pam has one helluva nasty accident, Norman finishing her off. After dropping her on a pile of sheets, he notices a key on her bracelet, takes it and looks for her locker, after searching through her purse and detecting her key card and code, he leaves.

Meanwhile, despite the detectives mellow attitudes, Rosie is scared and angry, they repeatedly having Gert go through the events, and once finished, focusing on Rosie. Norman had found himself down the street from Daughters and Sisters, he noticing he’d changed his clothes, still had the mask, but not his gun, then planning what he’d do if coming across residents (which he thinks of handling by shooting with his forgotten revolver…) or police, not thinking about the possibility of all being quiet, which it was. After speaking to Ferdinand the Bull (of whom is shown on the cover), he’s reassured, yet disappointed the ladies hadn’t been more affected by him. Once overcoming his hesitation of it possibly being a set up, he enters, no one bothering him. He looks around and discovers Anna’s office, then seeing a basket of outgoing mail, he sees a letter to Rosie, and whilst he’s reading it, hears the house alarm go off as someone comes in. Anna is then followed before she enters the house, she going over how painstaking the ceremony had been, she having only stayed for knowing her movements would be scrutinized, also not having answered her three pages, deciding to check her answering machine when she got in. She doesn’t notice anything wrong until seeing her door slightly open, and when trying the light and it doesn’t turn on, Norman catches her, biting her after closing the door.

Rosie finishes her interview and the Lieutenant again vows to get Norman, he also informing her of police cars being stationed at and around her home. As Gert was taken back to the park by a police car, Rosie and Bill planned on heading to her place. When they get there and she’s heading for the door, it doesn’t occur to her until she’d unlocked the lobby door, realizing the cop she heard coming up behind them wasn’t the one the Lieutenant had sent. Norman is shown washing off at Daughters and Sisters before his mind jumps ahead again to Rosie’s apartment, he wearing a new coat, and wondering what he’d do about the cops. Once receiving the idea from Ferdinand again, he tricks both cops by getting them to approach after faking a heart attack, taking out the elder one, then the younger, whilst the older cop stumbled off, no one having seen anything, yet. Norman manages to lead the older cop back to the car where he stuffs him in the trunk, then returns to the younger one to strangle him to death before depositing him into the passenger seat. Norman blacks out again and next notes he’d done something to the entrance light, the next time he blacks out, coming to as he’s grasping at Bill, he ready to choke him. As he’s proceeding, Rosie finds courage and strength with the armlet, throwing him off, then attempting to get Bill to her room, Norman stops them with gunshots, which helped him see where they were, then coming at them.

Rosie blocks his way temporarily, getting herself and Bill up the stairs, she even able to kick Norman back down once he’d grabbed her leg. When she gets to her door, Norman catches up and again tries strangling Bill, Rosie turning back to stop him, he biting her hand, but she breaking his jaw. When she gets them both into her apartment, she realizes she hadn’t been wearing the armlet which she thought had lent her strength, but their danger was still close, Norman ramming the door after she’d locked them inside, she pulling Bill to the closet when the painting opened up for them. Norman’s perspective is switched to during his hang up on the stairs with the “coat-tree”, all the way to when Rosie dislocated his jaw, of which he resets. When finally getting into Rosie’s room, he fires twice at the shower before seeing the way they exited. He looks to the other world, he feeling he was seeing through one eye-hole as he wore the mask, and after stepping through, still seeing through a single eye, he realizes he couldn’t remove the mask.

As Bill and she look around, he questions whether what he saw was real, but before being able to answer, Wendy calls to Rosie to bring Bill down to her, informing them how close Norman was and Rosie needing to participate in essential ways. After partially carrying Bill to her, Wendy shares of how much she’d gotten done, which Rosie only half understood, the two then helping Bill move toward the Temple, but around to the back where a similar looking tunic for Rosie hung, she hesitant in dressing, but as Norman closes in, she does as Wendy relays, Rose Madder having made the command for Rosie to fulfill. She knows the part she must play and calls for Norman, Wendy assuring them Rose Madder would handle the rest. Bill is quite confused by their knowing exchange, Rosie leaving him with Wendy as she readied to lure Norman, the two hearing her baiting statements to him, he and Wendy thinking for a moment Norman wouldn’t go through the Temple, but around it, their fears appeased when hearing sounds to prove he was inside. Next, Norman’s perspective shows his terror of being stuck with the mask on his face, but Rosie’s sweater and jacket distracting him from this, especially when hearing her call him. As he follows her voice, it’s shown he’s distracted by the statue outside looking like his father, which Bill and Wendy had been confused by his one-sided statements to, but again, Rosie distracts him, he getting the sensible voice suggesting he go back and await her return at her apartment, Norman ignoring this since anticipating the cops to come and how Rosie was speaking to him with such disrespect; His final decision made once reading the sign above the Temple.

As Norman goes through what looked like Rosie’s hometown church, he kills a bat which comes at him, and Rosie gets his attention by commenting on it, he charging at her as she stood in the dead garden. When Rosie sees him coming, she at first can’t move, but gets herself going by remembering a terrible memory, getting across the stream, but sliding back toward it after she’d made it across. When Norman sees this and her look of panic at getting near the water, he doesn’t think much of it, finding it amusing, but after seeing her make it to the crest of the incline and flip him off, he notes her concern and is careful upon crossing. He sees Rosie watching him and then is caught by the naked boy statue, Norman running to take advantage of his good luck, Rosie becomes angered by the boy’s rude questions and gets him off her by punching him, but now Norman is quite close, he brushing her tunic strap, but Rosie getting a good lead after a short while, and they again meeting at the dead tree, Norman giving her a chance to give in, but she continuing on and when next he hears her, Rosie’s voice sounds slightly different. When she reaches the entrance to the maze, Rose Madder instructs her to go partially down the steps so she didn’t have to witness what would come next, unless she truly wanted.

As Norman neared, he thought he’d heard Rosie speaking, which made him hope Gert were there to be slayed, as well. Rosie currently ached for Norman’s death to come quickly so she could move on with her life, and when Norman sets eyes on Rose Madder, he notices small differences in her body type and attitude, but considers it meant he’d have to refresh her memory of what she needed to act like, her back still turned from him. After he’d commented on the reason she’d dyed her hair and she’d stated of the brown color being the dye job, he is incensed for being opposed, but then wonders where the person she’d spoken to had gone (hopefully, not believing he’d get a rock “chunk”-ed at him). When he demands Rosie turn to him, his gun out, the mask doesn’t feel like a mask anymore and his vision is darkening as Rosie turns and he sees her blackened skin as she states of Erinyes breaking the rule of the bull having exited the maze meaning he’d be put to death. Rosie Madder turns to Norman and what he sees brings terror and shrieking, she biting him (reminding me of American Gods, a bit). Whilst this occurs, Rosie doesn’t watch, but is listening, she not moving until Rose Madder calls for her. She slowly notices the state of Norman’s body lying before her, Rose Madder planting seeds on him and then dumping his body in the maze. Rose Madder then directs her back out where Dorcas/Wendy and Bill waited, she advising Rosie to “Remember the tree”.

Rosie locates them at the top of the hill, Bill meets her to make certain she was okay, the two walking back to Dorcas, Rosie changing her clothes when prompted, then relaying Rose Madder’s message of she having something for her. Dorcas hands her a little corked bottle which Dorcas instructs Rosie to use for Bill when they returned. Afterwards, the three wait silently for Rose Madder, she walks to them in the light of the moon, Dorcas and Rosie instructing Bill to keep his gaze down and not to stop until told, Rosie going along with the idea they were dreaming when he inquires. When Rose Madder stops in front of them, Rosie states of receiving the bottle, Rose Madder then giving her Norman’s police academy ring, she commenting about if she watched Bill’s back, he would do the same for her, Rosie then looking at Rose Madder’s face, it not being the same as what Norman saw, but not wonderful either, she confiding to Rosie she should go back to her natural hair color. Rose Madder then offers her a hug and wishes they’d met sooner, as well as reminding her not to forget the tree, which Rosie asks for clarification to, but not getting an answer. She then inquires whether she was Rose Madder, but not getting confirmation of this either, Rose Madder instead urging them to return home.

Rosie takes Bill’s hands and leads him to the widening view of her apartment. Before they’d gotten through though, Rose Madder starts to lose it, wanting her armlet back, Rosie hastily throwing it near her and getting them both out. When they’d fallen back into reality, Bill noted how it must have all been real, Rosie not attesting this, but apologizing for losing the jacket he’d lent her. They then hear the injured neighbor yelling in pain, Bill off to tend to him, Rosie first calling for an ambulance, then uncorking the tiny bottle, realizing what she’d been given was a few drops of the stream at the Temple of the Bull. She puts one drop in some soda, then calls the police again so she could speak with Detective Hale, whom she informs of Norman having been there and was now gone, Hale planning on meeting her at her place, and she stating she’d wait for him, afterwards Bill coming back, and when coughing, getting him to drink the soda, Bill admitting after a few moments, of having forgotten his own and her name for a second.

As Hale got their stories, he wasn’t sure whether Rosie was withholding some detail, but after he goes over his notes of their confession, Rosie agrees with him. Later, Bill agrees to stay over and passes out quickly, Rosie taking a moment to look at her now, devoid-of-humans painting, this aiding her ability to fall asleep. She awoke them both with her nightmare, but the two moving on to a little fun-time, then much later, when Bill had gone for sustenance, Rosie put away the stream water and discovered Norman’s police academy ring, she ending up placing it with the rediscovered poison seeds, dumping all but one, which she then transfers to her purse. They learn of Anna, and Norman stays in the papers for a week, Rosie deciding to burn the picture in the incinerator and attempting to ignore her memories of Rose Madder’s words.

In October, Bill and she go to the picnic grounds again, and she accepts his proposal, she still wondering about the tree Rose Madder spoke about. After their wedding, Rosie has had to use the ‘forgetful water’ for Bill’s nightmares, the last being used on their honeymoon. In January, Rosie confirms she’s pregnant, she still remembering the tree, but Rose Madder also mentioning to add keeping her temper in check, Rosie unsettled with this thought and demanding Rose Madder leave her alone. When her little girl does arrive, she commemorates her friends instead of the wanted name, Caroline. So, Pamela Gertrude is born, Rosie wanting the middle name to be Anna, but being talked out of it by Bill. When Pamela is two, they move to the suburbs and during their finalizing what house they want, their opinions divert and they begin arguing. When Bill apologizes for raising his voice, Rosie is struggling to suppress her violent anger, which he takes as her not forgiving him, so he withdraws to the other room as she continues preparing dinner. She’s plagued by the disturbing thought of hurting Bill drastically, well into the night as she remembers Rose Madder’s words of, “I repay”.

The next few days bring obsessive awareness to her arms, face, and hands, the latter more so with the unknown idea of whatever she thought would develop would begin there. She takes up going to the batting cages where she develops her skills to the point of impressing all the men and boys with her form: both bodily and technique, who bat there; She even knocks one through the netting due to hitting the ball at such high velocity. A month after, Rosie doesn’t take Rhoda’s suggestion they end early due to Rosie’s voice losing inflection, calmly, she then having a terrible daydream of killing Rhoda, until she’s brought back to reality by Rhoda asking after her. Rosie reminds herself of the tree once more, and agrees to stop for the day, but her rage is masked with difficulty. When she dreams after falling to sleep later at night, she realizes she’d been remembering a different tree, but now knew her next move. She calls out of work the next morning and goes to the picnic grounds alone, to the fallen tree where the fox was, she burying the final seed and Norman’s ring. She dumps everything else out of her purse as well, and on her drive back, chucks the bag out her window. Years pass, Pamela is now a teenager, and Rosie no longer deals with bouts of anger, Bill having sold his bike since he felt he could no longer ride safely. Rosie and he don’t go to the picnic grounds anymore, but Rosie goes alone every year, where a new tree has grown, she believing it has quelled her rage. She worries over the day the tree will start bearing fruit, but doesn’t obsess over the thought, since no signs of people have revealed this spot to be popular, the vixen returns and watches her as she sits and sings Rosie Real.

The ending feels a bit rushed, and whilst I know Gert survived, it seemed odd she decided naming her daughter after those two women, rather than the name she wanted and the middle name to be Anna, it would still sound country, but it seemed like it would have been more true for herself. Otherwise the story moved along nicely, enough, and whilst I have read reviews not interested in the fantasy side of this story, it definitely suits King’s style, and wasn’t clunky compared to the others I’ve read of his, it only not being his strongest and could have done with a bit more fleshing out. Now I’ve read it though, I can continue on to his other Dark Tower-related books.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

Image result for Fantastic beasts book cover

So, straight from the “Belongs To” stamp, we see Ron, Hermione, and Harry scribbling about why Ron is sharing Harry’s copy and the awesomeness of Dungbombs. Ron and Harry have a hangman game going (Acromantula), as well as tic-tac-toe. One of the boys comments about Newton ‘Newt’ Artemis Fido Scamander’s name being “nice” and the author’s love of animals nurtured early in life, and though at first his career with the Ministry of Magic in the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures Department left something to be desired, he eventually transfers to the Beast Division, allowing him to flex his knowledgeable muscles. He created the Werewolf Register and passed the Ban on Experimental Breeding law. This book stems from a collection of notes whilst working with the Dragon Research Bureau and stating of the award he won, where he resides, as well as the names of his wife and pet Kneazles. Then a Foreword by Dumbledore about the book being helpful to students, but versatile to the use in common society, as well.

This edition extra special for being available to Muggles for Comic Relief, the wizarding world joining in helping the funding by mass producing Harry Potter’s copy, where wizards can locate a copy, thieves properly punished by curse, and the warning to never tickle a sleeping dragon. The Introduction has Newt describing his humble beginnings and how far he’d come through his many travels giving him plentiful experiences with all sorts of magical creatures. Newt then gets an answer from Harry to his question of ‘What is a beast?’, but Newt starting by listing three kinds: werewolves, centaurs, and trolls. Newt then clarifies how simply the label was given at its inception, as well as the Chief of the Wizard Council realizing his mistake upon seeing who came forward at the first meeting. The next Chief attempts to amend the restriction, only creatures who could make themselves understood by the Council being invited to attend, but issues were still needing to be handled: ghosts turned away and centaurs not coming, in protest of the Merpeople being excluded. The third, and start of the title of Minister of the Ministry of Magic made more progress with the classifications in divisions: Beast, Being, and Spirit. Some allowances being made in regards to centaurs requesting to stay labeled as beast and some believing Muggles needed to be reclassified as beasts, (I struggle to argue) as well as the tough to place, werewolves.

The next question to be regarded is, why Muggles don’t see these creatures, A Brief History of Muggle Awareness of Fantastic Beasts to follow, Harry noting its briefness being a fallacy. Newt begins by confiding how Muggles used to acknowledge magical creatures, regardless of wizards’ attempt at hiding them, the Middle Ages art and literature showing this. He then mentions how Muggles tended to guess wrongly of what they’d seen or didn’t register seeing the creature at all, he referencing a monk’s manuscript of his own experience with a Jarvey, believing it was a talking ferret. Those being hard times for wizards, A History of Magic being recommended for more detail on the subject, Newt then moves on to how they’d chosen which creatures needed to be hidden along with themselves, some of them being invited to the meeting and when concluded, 27 creatures becoming mythical Muggle (which for some reason brings to mind Good Mythical Morning) history. More beasts become added once they’d gotten comfortable with their camouflaging skills. It becoming a law and being dealt with by whether a community didn’t handle their creature-hiding properly. Incidents including a dragon swooping down on a Muggle beach, yeti sightings becoming far too numerous, and the largest kelpie of Loch Ness reveling in its celebrity.

Newt then lists a few creatures who haven’t yet needed assistance in hiding: Tebo, Demiguise, and Bowtruckle (all covered later), the unicorn, mooncalf, and centaur introverted enough to keep to themselves, and others living in places Muggles couldn’t or wouldn’t visit, like the Acromantula’s home in the jungle and the phoenix on mountain peaks no one could get to unless with magical assistance. Then there’s those who look like “normal” creatures, or are too quick to be identified, like the Chizpurfles, Billywigs, and Crups. Another way of detouring Muggles versus by charming the areas the creatures lived, in special cases, like for the Quitaped, it is made impossible to map the spot where the creature lives. There are also creatures which need to be monitored due to searching outside there territories, like kelpie and pogrebin. The Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures is commented on by Harry about how Hagrid must not have been aware of it, for buying creatures on the list. Newt then answers why magical creatures are protected so strictly, it being so the wizarding world could continue to enjoy them. Seventy-five beasts are listed within and Newt makes clear of the love he has for his work. Afterwards, giving classification explanation, the beasts then listed. (Which I will only name a few).

Acromantula is a spider which Harry marks with nine more x’s than the classification of 5, Harry then writes of confirming the spider’s existence in Scotland.

The Basilisk also gets a comment when Newt claims of no sightings for about 400 years.

Then upon learning the sweet, Fizzing Whizzbees possibly contained a bit of Billywig which is an insect, Harry swears off having them again.

Bowtruckles are tree-guardian creatures which have camouflage like a tree, and would allow bark-stripping for wands only if given woodlice.

Centaurs are classified four as a sign to be respected, like Merpeople and unicorns. They are known to excel in magical healing, divination, archery, and astronomy.

Harry makes another smart comment about Hagrid getting a Chimaera since it was among top non-tradeable creatures.

Chizpurfles are parasites looking crab-like with whopping fangs, they similar to termites.

Crups look like Jack Russell terriers with a forked tail and are not picky eaters, wizards allowed to keep them with proper documentation and proof of careful handling.

A Demiguise has invisibility capabilities, their coats sought after for being used for Invisibility Cloaks.

Diricawls were believed to be extinct by Muggles, they calling it, Dodo, but the bird merely able to relocate “magically”, the phoenix having the same talent.

Dragons are then listed by pure-breeds, there being 10, but I’ll only be listing the ones I remember mentioned or commented on.

The Hungarian Horntail, Harry agrees of it being dangerous, what with having 50 foot range with its fire-breathing.

Then the Norwegian Ridgeback, Harry changes the name to Baby Norbert, it rarer than most, hostile to its own kind, will eat sea “food” unlike other dragons, and able to fire-breathe younger than most, as well: 1-3 months.

Fairies are described as usually bad-tempered unless used for ornamental purposes; conceited little buggers, they speaking in high-buzzing form, starting as larvae and cocooning before going straight into adulthood.

The Flobberworm is mentioned being a vegetarian which are sometimes used for potions.

The African Fwooper bird resembles a Dr. Seuss creation and will drive a human mad with its song.

Harry makes fun of the Glumbumble name which makes a sadness-induced treacle.

The gnome is then mentioned and Ron’s way of ridding a yard of them being most popular, but used to also be gotten rid of by Jarveys.

The Grindylow is a light-green water demon found in lakes, eats fish, is unfriendly to Muggles and wizards, but Merpeople are able to tame them.

Hippogriffs have also been commented on by Harry, wondering if Hagrid had read this book, referencing how, while tameable, it should only be tried by professionals (but Hagrid having taught the class properly). It eats insects and small mammals and hatches within 24 hours of being laid.

The Jarvey looks like a ferret which can talk, is much larger and usually speaks vulgarly, eating gnomes, moles, and rats.

The Kappa is commented on in regards to Snape not knowing their origins being Japanese, it feeding on human blood and can be swayed to not hurt a person by giving it a cucumber with the name carved in it, a wizard’s only way of sapping its power being to sucker it into bowing, pouring the water out of its head.

The Kelpie is a demon which can change shape, but prefers looking like a horse. Its feeding method involving getting the rider to the bottom of the water, but can be made peaceful if able to put a bridle on its head.

A Kneazle is a cat-like creature with spotted fur, intelligent, and can make wonderful pets if bonded, able to sense untrustworthy people and lead the owner home, if lost.

Merpeople have different appearances like humans, of whom know them as sirens; all Selkies/Merrows/Merpeople love music.

Mooncalves live in burrows which they exit from only upon full moons, they known to dance and leave UFO patterns in wheat fields, their poo able to quickly grow plants when used as fertilizer.

The Phoenix has four X classification due to the rarity of it being domesticated. Besides the ability to reappear elsewhere, it eats herbs, its song can give courage or fear depending on the pureness of heart, and it has healing tears.

Pogrebin is a demon from Russia which looks like a rock, they stalking people until the person gives up hope, but besides hexes and Stupefying Charms, good ole-fashioned kicking can put them off.

Quintaped, A.K.A., Hairy MacBoon is a human-eating beast which is steeped in legend of they starting as human and transformed by another family who they were feuding with, but none could be captured so the mystery continues.

The golden Snidget is a rare bird which has an impressive skill of speed, it being replaced in Quidditch with the Snitch, Quidditch through the Ages referenced for more information.

Tebo is a warthog which can go invisible.

Trolls can be up to twelve feet tall, are aggressive and moronic, three types being mentioned: Mountain – largest and most cruel, Forest, and River- known to loiter under bridges.

Unicorns whilst white, are gold when young.

Werewolves are commented on by Harry as not being too bad, they only inflicted by a bite, and whilst no cure has been detected, there is a potion to aid in the symptoms.

And lastly, the Yeti, which is theorized to be related to the troll.

Interesting collection, though I feel more comments from the trio could have been utilized.