The Little Sisters of Eluria (The Dark Tower 0.5)

Image result for little sisters of eluria book cover

A scorching day has Roland of Gilead approaching a town’s gate in the Desatoya Mountains. His horse was on his last legs and Roland noted decayed flowers attached to the gate, which signified a festival of some kind, and the quiet within erroneous. The few sounds heard coming from a bug which made a deep buzz, a rap on wood, and little bells. Roland dismounts the slowly dying horse, and respectfully grooms him a bit as he notes the sounds and enters through the gate, the only other defining mark being an odd looking cross, he having seen the typical style of this in other towns he’d seen in the ten months he’d been travelling, the norm being a large cross at the entrance, a smaller one upon exiting. He views the usual businesses within, two bars, a motel, a trade shop, town hall, and a metal-smith, he also viewing a church the further into town he got, the god of choice being Jesus, which wan’t a common deity in Mid-World, but still having a following. He then is pulled back into the only sounds described, he wary of the meaning of this involving death. As Roland led his horse through the gates, he saw a forgotten cob pipe in front of the trade shop, and the swinging doors of The Bustling Pig bar were in disrepair, one hanging open, the other leaning on the building, and what looked like blood on the door still attached. A fire had taken out a barn behind a stable, and as he gets ever closer to the church, he estimates the town’s current condition would’ve occurred possibly two weeks ago due to the flowers not being completely dead in front of the church.

Roland learns where the bells he heard came from, the cross on the church door having bells strung up, he then shouting out a greeting to the town, no reply being heard. He sensed he was being monitored though, he continuing his trek to the front of the Sheriff’s office, a billow of trapped heat consuming him upon opening the door. Roland sees a blood stain in the cell, flies getting a snack from the spatter, he discovering a notebook revealing the town’s name of Eluria. He then reads some of the entries, the last leaving him to suppose the criminal may have escaped. Roland continues toward the center of town, he identifying the wooden tapping to a lame dog chewing at the boot upon a dead body in a trough. When the dog notices him and doesn’t move along after Roland shoos him, he fires a warning shot which gets the dog limping away, and mournfully howling as he headed toward the back exit of the town. When he takes a look at the body, it’s of a teenager, he noticing a trinket around the boy’s neck, which he retrieves, the engraving including the name, James. Roland was pleased he’d gotten the necklace since he now could save it on the chance he met anyone knowing the boy, realizing ka could make the possibility more certain. He debated whether to bury the lad when his horse finally drops, he catching a glimpse of eight green-tinged people walking in his direction, their gender uncertain and approaching like zombies. The group carried wooden sticks off of furniture, one of them falling as they got closer.

Roland finally fires a warning shot after another pitches a stick at him, but not far enough, and his verbal warnings go unnoticed; the shot has the desired effect of pausing their progress. As he begins instructing them to keep still as he backs away, another of the green men shoots forward, making odd noises as he came (Roland beginning to identify their sexes as they got closer). Roland shoots him squarely, the man’s reaction being to step backwards at his same quick momentum, scratching at the bullet wound, he finally tripping and staying down. The dead(-er?) bodies reaction to the sun, bullet, or both, has Roland believing there wouldn’t be a corpse to think of an excuse for soon enough. The others stay put, until “Bowler Hat” takes another step after Roland had gotten behind the trough, he blasting a final warning shot, and sharing his plans of leaving unhindered, when another greenie is heard from behind him, this one hidden by a toppled wagon, the man-thing whacking Roland on the shoulder, and he missing his aim at the greenie, the gang he’d kept still, now speeding closer. The greenie whom hit him was a whopper of a fella with two heads, Roland putting him down with a head shot as he was readying to club him again, he now having to deal with the gang finally upon him, more club hits to contend with. Roland is able to send a few back, and hopes he’s able to get the buffer of the wagon so he could finish them off, he wanting to believe ka wouldn’t have his search end so early before locating the Dark Tower. Roland gets whacked hard enough to hit the wagon, he still working on escape, now aware of more greenies coming, perhaps thirty strong. As he’s losing consciousness, he still plans to shoot, but the gun is knocked away from him, he being consumed by darkness as the previously mentioned sounds, plus the dog’s barks, lull him into unconsciousness.

When Roland ascends to wakefulness, which he hadn’t experienced before, he believes he was no longer living, but as his sight came back slowly, he no longer thought he was dead, the singing he heard changing his mind, similar buzzing bugs being heard, he opening his eyes again and being tested whether he was actually living, noting he was hovering in a white, majestic place, thinking he was inside a cloud at first, hearing the buzzing and bells. Then, upon an attempt to turn, he felt straps holding him in place, feeling a hurt sensation climb up his back, another more terrible one in one of his legs. He realizes these pains came from the club with the nails in it, his head feeling terrible, as well. When he tries to call out, he’s having trouble convincing himself he was hearing his own voice, which sounded crow-like. He believed he imagined hearing the dog bark again, and then felt a hand on his face, comforting him at first, before thinking it could be a greenie, but then she spoke, attempting to keep him quiet so he could rest longer, he thinking of how he must be hanging above a bed, too wounded to be lain prostrate.

Roland, soon after this thought, falls into unconsciousness, only this time not as deeply as before. Some time later, he hears the girl angrily protesting to someone seeming to want to acquire something he had. When he awakes again, the “white beauty” place still charmed him, he recognizing it was a long, high, narrow space, he estimating it was about two hundred yards in length, he feeling it was a bit like being inside a large tent, silk above him giving the impression of being inside a cloud, from each section of silk having a rope with little bells attached, wind making them sound pleasantly. Roland saw two rows of forty beds, and two more were in use next to him, one Roland was suspicious in believing was truly the boy in the trough, now alive and sleeping, the necklace Roland had taken from him, on the neck of this one, supporting his disbelieved notion. The other man he saw was further away from the two, and much older, hanging above his bed, and Roland thinking his eyes were tricking him when he viewed the unconscious man’s multiple fractured legs in motion, dark impressions surrounding them, as well as one on his cheek; his back feeling the same, he attempting to ignore his curiosity to learn why. He then notices a cotton cloth on his chest, he recognizing he was wearing the same gown as the old man, and when grabbing and inspecting a chain he wore, realized he had the dead boy’s chain still. When he took a last look at the old man, the black line on the man’s cheek was gone, a wound still healing there, Roland confused by this, but able to fall asleep with the bells chiming and the bugs buzzing.

Roland next wakes and believes he must be having a night terror, seeing the first witch he’d ever met as more than a single woman, but five, and they were dressed in uniform, their faces heavily lined, small bells on the silk upon their heads. When Roland saw the sign of the Dark Tower on the front of their habits, he realized he was actually awake, then they noticing he is conscious, and when they approach, the age of their faces become a bit younger. When he inquires who they are, the one whom had spoken to him first introduces them as the Little Sisters of Eluria, and she was called Sister Mary, she revealing the others as Sister Louise, Sister Michela, and Sister Coquina, the final one sharing her name was Sister Tamra, her face changing quickly into quite an old crone’s, the group moving closer to him, and he bringing pain when cringing away, they curious by his pain, and as Michela readies to touch him, Mary warns of not doing so, Roland thinking it had to do with the medallion which had fallen out. A sixth, Jenna also bids them to go away, the Sisters teasing her of having fallen for him, she ignoring them and insisting they move along so Roland could rest, Jenna easing her tone with Mary’s sober reply of they not ever kidding around, after stating this, she deciding they’d visit the other needy souls.

Jenna attempts to soothe him with the fact of they not wanting to hurt him, but Roland knows this wasn’t the case. He then asks whether they followed Jesus, she amusedly denying this, which prompts him to inquire where the doctors were, Jenna debating sharing and finally warning him not to yell in panic with the boy right next to him, to which he agrees. So, she moves to where the old man hung, Jenna ringing the bells on her head as she leaned over him, the bugs he heard buzzing, going down his legs, Roland realizing this was what he was feeling on his back, securing his wounds. Roland definitely felt the urge to shriek as the bugs jumped off the man on to the floor. When Jenna rejoins him, she informs him how he was discovered, he grateful to her and sharing his name as requested, he sensing she wasn’t being truthful when she shares of not knowing where his weapons were, but didn’t hold this against her, believing she could be declaring this dishonesty for being scared. When she’s called by Sister Mary, she has him promise not to make known she’d shown him the doctors, and before going, has him stick to the story of he being James, the young man next to him his brother, otherwise she’d be in great danger. Roland considers the reason Jenna had moved the medallion to encircle his neck, thinking the Little Sisters may murder Jenna if they learned of this, Roland then drifting to sleep.

Roland is sleepily imagining a bug which could be one of the doctors, irritatingly bumping his face and chuckling whilst he uncoordinatedly attempted to swat it away. When the nightmare turns to a large greenie sneaking up on him, he jolts to consciousness to see Coquina had been happily tapping his face with a wooden spoon, and made her drop the bowl she had been holding with his sudden movement. Roland snatches the bowl before it drops out of reach, which impresses Coquina, he then gesturing for the spoon which she gives him, but he soon realizes isn’t necessary, drinking from the bowl directly, whilst warning Coquina to remember his agility. The two then get into discussing the pull each had on the other: if Roland mentioned Coquina’s teasing to Mary, and she making Jenna’s life difficult if he did. The two agree to stay silent about their exchange, Coquina confiding Jenna was currently on a ‘time out’, she then inquiring if he knew the no-longer-sleeping boy, he watching them, Roland not missing a beat to claim him as his brother, the boy supplying his own name to Coquina and Tamra, whom walked up, John also referring to Roland as Jimmy.

After the two Sisters leave, they speak of James’ fate, Jenna’s uniqueness, the non-mortal state of the nurses, and how John had gotten there, he deducing why James hadn’t been saved. As they spoke, Roland isn’t aware the soup he’d drank had been spiked, he becoming tired, John describing how many beds had been occupied before he’d gotten there, and how they didn’t return when healed, and as Roland became more deeply affected by the drug, John confesses what had happened to Roland to make him feel sluggish, the boy also questioning Roland’s thoughts on his presence when he was pretty much healed now, and his belief neither of them would see daylight again. When Roland wakes up in the night to laughter, he struggles to turn his head to see all of the Sisters except Jenna surrounding the old man, Mary speaking words he didn’t understand. When the room is thrown into pitch black, Roland hears the sounds of slurping, and when they’re done, he moves his head the other way. As they get closer to him and speak of their wanting to kiss him, but the medallion keeping them away, this doesn’t stop one of them from grabbing his boner until he quickly finds release, he seeing two faces bewhiskered with blood, and Roland’s assurance of not ever sleeping again. (Liar.)

When next Roland woke, it is brightly day, John asleep, and the old man removed, Sister Mary soon arrives with Louise, she speaking of not being grateful to him and revealing his ways had brought about Jenna’s revolt, she demanding he show his hand, the bowl of soup they’d brought with them making his stomach growl, Mary annoyed with how well he stuck to his story of being Jim, even after threatening Jenna, Roland stating of ending her if Jenna was harmed. Then, after refusing the soup unless given to him by Jenna, Mary informs whilst she had been released from time-out, she was bound to extra meditation, Roland having no choice, but to acquiesce, Mary’s threat of whipping Jenna keeping him trapped. When he sleeps once more, he believes he’s visited by Jenna, whom advises him to check beneath his pillow later, and when he’s finally able to, sees six stems of reed heads with instructions, and once finishing reading, realizes the importance of following the words carefully. The last time Roland speaks with John, they regret the circumstances they’d met, John unable to move well, and next heard from him, being a shriek. Michela comes with his soup next, along with bread, her words of his leaving soon giving him the impression of this being otherwise, what with her wolfish looks of hunger.

Roland eats another reed upon waking after his dose of soup, believing he’d overdone it with feeling ill, and having to stay still as all the Sisters, except Jenna had another person with them to obtain his and John’s necklaces. When Roland sees Mary with one of his guns, he vows she’ll regret having been so bold. The Sisters bribed Bowler Hat to relieve the two of their protection, he giving the impression he was about to obey their orders with John first, but then taunting them with leaving it on, he knowing their threats didn’t hold much water, other than the firearm, which after another threat from Mary, gives him pause. When he does finally go through with his task, he does a bit extra by killing John quickly after. The Sisters properly preoccupied, Bowler Hat escapes, the Sisters feeding, and when they’d gone, Roland taken over by the soup drug again, a nightmare hitting for the first time since his arrival, it foreboding the spread of the Sisters to surrounding towns, Bowler Hat’s presence in his dream waking him, he seeing John’s bed now empty, Roland being the last man swinging. He had some of the reed before Mary came with porridge, her youthful image strong due to her feast. Roland mentions his idea they’d been drugging him, but Mary denies this gleefully, she then turning to his lie about John being his brother when he asks after him, he then attempting to bribe the truth he kept by seeing Jenna, Mary angered and threatening his willingness to confess would come regardless.

 It ended up being quite a drawn out day, he fitfully napping and maintaining optimism of being able to survive this due to Jenna’s aid. He then bides his time with reminiscences of the past, he periodically chewing some reed, and noting they seemed to be overpowering the Sisters’ drug, and when evening came, Sister Tamra delivers his supper of soup, as well as a desert lily from Jenna, which Tamra asks of the topic being promised to Roland, he making up she’d told him they’d speak again, Tamra getting a kick out of this and sharing how Mary had chosen to deny this possibility already, she then asking why he didn’t take his necklace off, pointing out how John had, and when her words to convince him to do the same fail, she leaves, indifferent. Roland then plans on getting both necklaces to the Norman brothers’ family, as he chews another reed and feels actual endurance in him, he then drowsing easily, he awaking at true nightfall, and hearing the loud bugs, he chewing a reed. He hears a voice which turns out to be Coquina, she revealing herself, then Jenna walks toward them to confess she’d supplied the reeds to Roland, he thrusting the medallion toward Coquina to keep her away from him, Jenna having brought Roland’s firearms as he thought she would, but he still caught in the slings after attempting to break loose.

Jenna then uses the bells around her head to call the bugs, they swarming, and Jenna getting Roland loose, the two walking out of the tent, which is when Roland realizes he’d forgotten John’s necklace with regret, but Jenna revealing she’d picked it up, requesting he take it quickly because it was burning her. Then, three of the four Sisters approach, teasing Jenna as they get closer, she responding by speaking of leaving with Roland, the three surprised into silence, they warning her of what would occur if she tried, but Jenna stating how none of them truly knew whether there were consequences, she then threatening the bugs on them if they didn’t let she and Roland pass, but they standing aside willingly, Jenna leading Roland up a road, away from Eluria, not liking how Mary hadn’t shown herself, yet. They discuss how they were both in agreement in keeping each other company when Mary interrupts, she looking properly death-like. Jenna attempting and failing to summon the bugs, and Mary coming closer, Roland deciding he’d try choking her out, her flesh disgusting to the touch, and she thrusting him away with her power. Jenna then tries her bells again, this time getting a dog to answer the call, it going after Mary with gusto, as Roland pulls Jenna along.

When they stop to catch their breath, Roland considers why the dog had been immune to the Sisters’ powers when Jenna senses he must know something about it, which he responds by relating his theory, and then suggests they cover some ground before daylight. They cover a few miles, but not too many because of Roland still flushing out the Sisters’ drug, they locating a decent spot to spend the day, the two sharing a kiss before he passes out, dreaming of the dog discovering the Dark Tower, he then hearing bells and a scream which doesn’t fade with his dream, he waking to see he was alone, detecting Jenna’s clothes and then hearing the bugs, he ringing the dropped bells and the bugs making a sign which seemed to confirm his thoughts, Roland then tracking Walter once more, he troubled with the imagined ringing bells as he traveled on by himself. I liked this story, but I’m also annoyed I won’t be getting my hands on the comics any time soon, alas. At least I’ll be on to the next soon enough though, which isn’t actually soon enough.

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Black House (The Talisman #2)

I realize this is a sequel, but I’m ignoring my usual way of going in order in preference of the chronology of The Dark Tower, which may not even matter in the long run, since this book contains only the relation to the setting of The Dark Tower series, but I’ve been reading some negative reviews which make it seem this could be “weaker” than The Talisman and I may end up preferring the order I’ve chosen, time will tell.

Wisconsin is our setting on a Friday in mid-July, a few minutes past six a.m., possibly right before the year 2000, this being Coulee County, the freshness of the air bringing to mind a small town near or around the country. Background of the town’s history and how the pleasant environment may have darkened since the town’s conception is described, a motorcycle gang being hinted at, along with their shady appearances. Introduction’s to the Thunder Five, who call themselves the Hegelium Scum (not mentioned again) are lightly touched on, the promise of learning more, later. Suffice it for now they being university undergrads, most majoring in English and Philosophy, and one in residency in the surgery department. An odd sign threatening a fisherman to conclude the town environment. A flood hit the town decades before and is touched on due to the watermarks left on buildings. A map of the town and what surrounds it, fleshes out the location, finally landing on the first person being followed as Bobby Dulac, a police officer whom is fleshed out as being tall, dark, and delicate with his newspaper handling which was delivered moments before (this reading like one is watching a movie).

Following as Bobby walks back into the station, the layout given, Bobby goes to a room with a non-descriptive door, seemingly Bobby’s office space, another door leading to the Chief of Police, Dale Gilbertson’s office, he not in for a half hour or more. Then Tom Lund, Bobby’s partner is shown at the second desk, he noticing how Bobby was holding the paper, then two conversations are followed as Bobby chats with Tom about Wendell, a journalist, and the radio talk show host fielding calls about the game distracting from the first. Then they’re talking about the talk show host, they bagging on each other’s musical taste, Bobby believing Tom was stalling, he acting innocent, and as they listen to the talk radio D.J. calling shots about the game, it’s made known both are procrastinating, then Tom opens the paper and hints at bad news on the headline, Tom bringing up how incremental he was to a case, but Bobby thinking how one piece of information supplied didn’t make him the better cop of the two, he instead voicing his notice of the conversation having been turned to Tom’s heroism.

A flashback of the night before of Tom and Bobby’s confrontation with the Thunder Five given, they asking about a missing child (which isn’t immediately made clear), Irma Freneau. The Thunder Five leave when realizing the police had no new leads, the morning paper article being referred to, by Wendell whom wrote of the police stumped over a serial psychopath, called the Fisherman, at large. Then a portion of the article is quoted about children missing, some found killed and partially consumed, the reporter playing off on the lives the kids could have lived and how play groups around the county on indefinite hiatus. Irma is the latest, and a rash of men taking the law into their own hands, have left two men, so far, needing medical assistance, it being assumed, the next victim may lose his life. Tom shares the conclusion of the article, Bobby flustered since it calls out the police chief about doing his job properly, he vowing to take the Fisherman down. Tom suggests he speak with a man called Hollywood, since Dale didn’t have luck getting any information from him. Hollywood is a retired cop (again, not made clear), Bobby nixing the idea of going to him since he believed he, Tom, and Dale had the case handled, Tom making a joke about how wet behind the ears Bobby was, they sharing a laugh.

Moving on to Queen street and to a “school” where the same D.J. is heard and a lady putting up a flyer regarding a strawberry festival is followed. It is then made clear this place is a nursing home, the big boss being one William “Chipper” Maxton, he having dreamt of making money at the government’s expense, but once learning useful loopholes, noticed it still wasn’t lucrative at his father’s nursing home, he taking over at his father’s behest. (It’s funny, odd how as I’m planning to edit my previous posts to take out as many ‘we’/’us”s as I can manage, I have thrust into my face how the authors use it a-plenty as a writing technique, hm!) Following Rebecca, the secretary back into the office, her position going far beyond the normal duties required, she being thanked with gifts, one being a ring, Chipper is shown withdrawing some cash from a stuffed safe, the two talking about the strawberry festival and how Chipper despised it because of the families visiting the resident “zombies”. Chipper apparently had Rebecca come in earlier to deposit the stolen money in a bank more than a few miles away, and we (I caved) being told of his wife and two kids he must support (the dog). As Chipper attempts to flirt and get handsy, a new scene is shown of the facilities, only expensive rooms having the luxury of (what I hope I’m understanding correctly) more than a sink, the other wings sharing facilities.

Some general knowledge of a few of the sleeping residents are shared to give contrast to the one being the main draw, Charles ‘Burny’ Burnside, whom doesn’t clean up after himself, has no personal family items lying about, dust accumulating over every surface, and stinks like the dickens. Alice, one of the resident’s visited, is then mentioned to entail further of her family and how she came to the Home, but Burny, whom is lying on his metal bed, isn’t all there, he one of the few still awake, having gone to the bathroom in his bed, his aggressive Alzheimer’s aiding his not minding his current state. Whilst this was an off-day for him, he had lucid moments, but wasn’t a pleasant man to encounter, making some employees question whether he truly had the illness due to his uncommon periodic remissions.

In ’96, he’d been taken from the hospital to the Home due to his incoherence, but relaying a story of having walked a changing amount upon repeating of the story, of miles to get to the hospital, his smell determining the probable truth of this, they caring for him and attempting to learn more about him, he sharing of having an Aunt whom he’d lived with, but nothing else much useful. When looking into the relative’s whereabouts, they found no listings in the surrounding towns, the Social Worker assigned to him also unable to uncover more information about Burny, and was sent to Maxton’s until a place opened at the state hospital, but when Chipper receives a check from the ‘Aunt’, decides to keep Burny on. Then the Summer before the serial killings, Burny snapped back into the world, and now he’d fade in and out in the same day, normally, the man looking worse with time, and sinister in demeanor. Burny’s true identity revealed, as well as the dark secret of his early adulthood of pastimes he still got sick delight from. Burny starts muttering nonsense and getting excited, he staring at the woods, and muttering more weirdness, then Burny is left to it and a neighborhood is shown with children’s playthings in the yards, all asleep, the children dreaming peacefully, and the parents, restless, soon to get worse with the article by Wendell.

A sign off the highway to a concealed dirt road is mentioned, a no trespassing sign giving the impression something is being hidden at great expense. A crumbling house is shown, along with a second sign, adding the sense of being a place to detour, the house all black, but faded, it seeming lifeless, most people not noticing the sign, but the possibility of children exploring near their homes giving the suggestion of if they’d seen it, they would high-tail away from it. This house sticks out unnoticeably in the quiet town, leading into explanation of borderlands, an example given where a bad feeling and scenery seem foreign in a place which was normal a moment before, but then goes back to a feeling of ease when the destination is reached. Slippage being the definition, the main one being the black house. More descriptions of people soon to be heard back from later are related, and then an ancient gas pump is looked at more closely, the comparison between what lay here, to the bad vibes of the black house assuring this was for the win. Before showing what was hidden, a secondary definition of slippage is shared where a feeling of everything has gotten, or will soon be much worse. Then a back story of Dale Gilbertson’s uncle is shared, he long dead, and his most definitely F-grade little restaurant being indiscriminately popular amongst the young people in the town. When the man had finally died of a heart attack (he, a big fella), the shack wasn’t torn down like one would suppose, instead still popular with the young folk for teenage couples or drunken experiments. Unfortunately what’s shown isn’t something so easily witnessed, since behind the counter, a dog was attempting to gnaw out a severed foot from its shoe, then showing Irma’s body, Dale discovering her a bit over a day from this point.

A recap of possible events of the Fisherman’s process in removing Irma’s leg, and how he got her to the shack are detailed, another example of slippage. In an attempt to ‘lighten’ the mood, next stop is in Libertyville, to follow Fred Marshall getting ready for his morning run, reading an article by Wendell which only makes him hope he’ll not have to experience what select parents about town are living through with their missing children being found in pieces. Fred read as far as he could until the article mentions how the child victim was found, Fred preparing to instruct his son, Tyler of abiding the Buddy system until further notice, his wife also showing signs of being affected by these developments, Tyler aware of the odd behavior. Fred begins his jog and thinks about how long his wife had been showing these signs of neuroses, which worried him all the more since she wasn’t prone to such sensitivities and they began before the first victim was found, a flashback of Fred and his wife, Judy, when they’d started dating, of they walking back from a Jazz show and hearing a car accident, Judy going off to defend the man at fault since he was about to get a severe beating, Judy not ruled by fear, only wanting to help settle the situation for the better, Fred in reverie over her unshakeable demeanor. So as he runs, he gets optimistic about Judy regaining herself, and more intent on speaking with Tyler about not roaming around without a friend.

Fred is left, and focus goes to Judy, whom hadn’t slept since three in the morning, and was talking to herself about seeing a crimson “Eye of the King”, she repeating some of the ‘nonsense’ seen of Burny. She also envisions a tower in a field of blood, and then writes some of the thoughts down to enforce denying them, but dreads the possibility of they making sense at some point. She then chews and swallows the note, easing back to sleep, before drifting completely, mentioning Burnside. Tyler’s room is viewed, a poster on the wall of a dark castle in a foggy meadow, to Tyler, “the Kingdom of Entirely Else”, it being a comforting picture of a foreign wonderment, the buildup of Tyler being the fourth victim, repeated. When Tyler awakens to George Rathbun, the popular radio D.J.’s show, he’s kicking himself for having forgotten to enter a contest he was hoping his father had remembered to enter him into, since it was the chance to be a bat boy for the Brewer’s for the Cincinnati series, but mostly because of a baseball celebrity’s bat awarded, as well. His father also didn’t get why Tyler woke up so early due to it being Summer vacation, Tyler not making him get he wanting to take advantage of the pleasant weather as much as he could. One piece of talk pauses Tyler’s getting ready, and it’s of the Fisherman, he not sure whether to believe the gossip of the bigger kids, Rathbun calming Tyler’s unease with playing down the Fisherman’s seriousness, Tyler admiring the commentator.

Then going to Rathbun, himself, he near Nailhouse Row where the radio tower stood, a man exiting the station, in khaki, white button-up, thin, verging on pure-white hair, and stylish straw fedora, this being Rathbun (his real name mentioned later, as well as how many other identities he assumed), the man blind, and when an intern, Morris comes out, the station manager, Tom, is mentioned having loved free workers (the reference to Smaug reinforcing my need to read The Lord of the Rings). Morris gives Rathbun a c.d. he hopes he’ll play a certain track of on his show later, his helpful hint to why being of he knowing Rathbun was moonlighting on another popular station with only two people now apparently, knowing. Rathbun scares Morris a bit with the thought of he potentially being the Fisherman, but when Morris insists he won’t say anything, they move on to what the track was Morris wanted to be played so badly, he then going off to leave the c.d. in Rathbun’s locker, as requested, then a list of Rathbun’s other ‘personalities’, the last to be described further on, Rathbun had a long day ahead, one which included the Strawberry Fest!, which is related like torture when it came to coming in contact with Chipper, he hoping he’d have time for a reading of Bleak House with a buddy.

As Rathbun finishes his cigarette before doing his show, the drift to Dale’s home occurs, where he sits in the kitchen, reeled in by the Fisherman article (no pun intended), and how these killings are similar to another, down to letters written to the parents. The first murders in the late 1920s. The comparison between old and new letters are perused through with Dale, he interrupted by his wife calling to him from the stairs, they having general chat until she shares their son’s worry of Dale losing his job, he agreeing her response being the correct one by denying this possibility, at least unless he didn’t catch the culprit. He had an FBI agent and two state police who weren’t much of a comfort to him due to they taking minor roles in helping, Dale truly wanting Jack ‘Hollywood’ to enlist his instinctive expertise. An example of his police work related when questioning a lead, he getting his collar, and had gone back to L.A., until Dale had hooked him up with knowledge of a place being on the market, Jack didn’t want to accept this case though, regardless of whether he owed Dale, he seemed apprehensive to do so. Dale is readying to water the flowers out front and becoming stubborn about getting Jack to agree to help when a change of scenery is shared, focusing in on the Thunder Five’s hangout and why they first came to town, then refocusing on the ‘hero’ of a previous story.

Some detail about the property Dale offered to Jack was it being a farm owned by his father and he feeling proud to let Jack buy it cheap if he wanted it. Jack overcome with emotion on his first visit, a mention to the first introduction of Jack with The Talisman, then moving in on Jack preparing breakfast and listening to Rathbun. A flashback of Jack settling in is given, as well as Dale’s introduction to his uncle, Henry whom had as an eclectic a taste in music as Jack. Next Dale has a look at his childhood home in mid-transformation when he comes to help Jack hang some pictures. The new look surprises him, but suited the place. On further mentioning of his Uncle, it impresses on being one of Rathbun’s many identities. As the night settles in, Dale learns the bare minimum of Jack’s history. Back to real time, Jack is in thought as he’s preparing an omelette, the detail of his character and charm belying his age, but loneliness permeating his attributes. Then another flashback of a case he became involved with about the death of a black man is related. After which a vague reason why Jack refused to get involved with the Fisherman case going through his mind. He then thinks of Rathbun’s other identity whom knew of obscure Jazz musicians. Jack attempts to ignore the Wendell article, but glances at it a couple times, unable to read it all. Then his impression of Wendell’s integrity is measured, the man portrayed as a class act of scum. (A little snafu of working in a flashback conversation between Jack and Wendell, tsk tsk, editor.)

The encounter described, mentions Jack sharing with Wendell of the Fish case in the 1920s, Jack not having any idea he’d decided to give Wendell anything. (Cripes, then another, pluralizing Jack’s name with no punctuation, and apparently no reason. I suppose harder to catch since it was placed among Jack’s overuse of the word opopanax). Jack then gets a bit sideways with word obsession and questioning the amount of eggs he had left due to ruining his omelette, then thinking of a bald man’s face, unwillingly. He believes the only egg left is a robin’s blue egg, he dumping it, then thinking to call his mother, he forgetting he couldn’t. Fortunately the drive, and seeing his good buddy, Henry helped him move past this rocky start to the morning. As Henry walks to his truck, Jack realizes the “luv” he had for the man, albeit more of a platonic bromance sort. (Then a flashback where a short-style conversation where a “-” precedes each man’s dialogue is stunted with a “Jack said” in the middle of one…confusion as to why if we are already following the one, two, of the conversation…grr.)

Back to the present, as Jack drives, Harry dictates the track from the c.d. given by Morris, Henry agreeing it was the “Wisconsin Rat’s” style, he then mentioning another persona, Symphonic Stan being hired for the Strawberry Fest!, Jack confessing he was glad Rathbun had mentioned the Fisherman on his show, which led to Henry confiding his thoughts on Jack stepping in to help his nephew, Dale. After letting the subject drop, Henry brings up a paranoia, Jack having been debating earlier about whether to confide his weird waking dreams to him, Henry confessing a few times having occurred when he’d thought he’d heard his dead wife walking around downstairs. Jack gives him a comforting and reasonable response and the two part ways, but plans of meeting up later to start their book is made. When he gets home, he’d been hearing a clinking in the ashtray, when checking, an “almond M&Ms-sized” robin egg appears, he taking it, and destroying it again before going inside. (Also, when mentioning authors characters read is always fun. To-reads of authors for Henry and Jack are Chester Himes, Charles Willeford, S.J. Perelman, James Thurber, Ford Maddox Ford, Vladimir Nabokov, and Marcel Proust.)

The janitor, Pete is briefly mentioned once more to detail his sadistic attitude toward the residents. He was currently deciding whether he wanted to be the messenger for Burny’s latest mess or let Butch discover it in his own time, when he’s interrupted by Rebecca whom reminded him he was supposed to be in the common room in preparation for Strawberry Fest! As the two leave, Burny regains clarity and swipes Butch’s pet rock before heading to the bathroom, he recovering his old self, as well as a little dark something extra. Then back to Rebecca and Pete setting up the room, Pete getting a moment to view sweet undies when Rebecca must point out the hook he was to hang the lights from, she on the ladder and once noticing where his gaze was aimed, takes his wandering eyes in stride, apparently used to the behavior (when one’s skirt is so short, one would hope so). Then a switch over to Tyler attempting to keep up with his buddies, all on bikes, he deciding it wasn’t worth it, knowing where they’d end up anyways, viewing the sign for Strawberry Fest! outside the old folks home, then readying to ride on. Burny sees Tyler from the bathroom, he having a salivatory reaction, then goes to a stall after commenting to “Gorg”.

Tyler is then distracted from riding off when a crow appears saying his name, he uncertain of what he heard, but happily curious to see if he heard right, getting closer to the bird as it lured him to a bush. Meanwhile, one of his ‘buddies’, Ebbie, Pete’s son, commands one of the other boys to fetch Tyler, since he usually had cash, but the boy didn’t immediately see Tyler, so goes faster. Then we see Burny still sitting in a stall when all of the toilets and urinals flush, he disappearing and slippage being heard. Tyler is still enthralled by the bird as it enters the bush, he getting grabbed and losing a shoe on his forced entry, it’s alluded he’s hit on the head, but his disappearance, a certainty. The boy whom was sent for Tyler, sees his bike, then his shoe, at first giving the benefit of Tyler messing around, but then senses the seriousness, getting spooked and quickly biking away. Tyler’s mother, Judy meanwhile, is groggily waking from a nightmare, and also defines “Gorg”, she then noticing the creel, a wicker box used by fisherman, on the table, she seeing the note atop it addressed to her with a nickname she hated. She finally opens the note and box, neither being good news. Judy has then jumped off the cliff of sanity.

Butch is then shown coming back from his smoke break to see a shit and red-face smeared Burny with his hand over the pet rock, he knowing Burny had his mind for now, they going back to the bathroom. Ebbie is listening to T.J. relay what he’d seen, Ebbie deciding their plan would remain unchanged, and if asked, would doctor the time and place a bit for when Tyler rode off by himself. Ebbie convinces himself Tyler would show up later, the three going to the park. Fred, whilst at work, receives a call from a neighbor about his Judy. He leaves to be sure she was alright as a flashback of the neighbor’s interaction with Judy is shared. When Fred gets home, he at first doesn’t know where she is until he hears her singing, Rock-a-bye, baby from upstairs, he noting the odd aftermath of pictures taken off the walls and the wallpaper torn behind where the frames had been. He locates her in Tyler’s room, her legs covered in blood, sitting on his bed, with most everything from his closet and drawers dumped on the floor, the oddly comforting scenic picture still hanging on the wall. She explains how after stating of Tyler missing, she thought he’d be behind one of the pictures, especially the Ireland one, then describes how he was taken, Gorg luring him and the Abbalah snatching him, Fred not believing it, yet. He carries her to their room, she having left it alone, then passing out whilst he was searching for her sleeping pills. Fred had a moment to consider how he could contact Tyler or learn where he was. Fred decides since it was close to lunchtime, he’d wait, then changing his mind about calling two of the boys’ mothers, he then remembering their hangout at 7/11, calling the store, but only learning three boys had come in earlier, the number bothering him. He decides to clean up the glass, move Tyler’s dresser to block the scratch marks on the wall, then laid down and surprised himself by sleeping, Judy thinking of the Crimson King, the two other usual’s, and the name Sophie.

Bobby Dulac receives a call from an on-solo cop whom had come across Tyler’s bike and shoe, after hearing all the details, he puts him on hold to inform Dale. One of the missing children’s mothers had exited from Dale’s office, the woman not having received a letter, but it potentially being a matter of time, Bobby then walks in to have him take the call from the officer. Henry is sent for and arrives an hour and a half before showtime, Pete designated to generally set up Henry’s equipment and hang his suit. Henry inquires about the police having been there, surprising Pete on how he could know, but gives the supposition on another child missing, the cops not having said much. Meanwhile Fred is dreaming of he and his wife fishing, the creel between them, he getting a bite as he was going to look inside. The fish he pulls up has Tyler’s face and is choking, he unable to unhook him and throw him back, then waking, he realizing Judy was no longer beside him, but he hearing choking still, she in a corner with paper and what looks like a sausage protruding from her mouth, Fred gets the three papers out, then Heimlich’s two more papers loose, he dropping her on the bed, mad at how she’s broken. He looks at one paper with ‘meaningless’ scribbles, notices the hour, and checks Tyler’s room even whilst knowing he wasn’t there. He goes back to his bedroom, calls 9-1-1, and asks for Dale, Bobby unable to put him through since he was meeting with some officials and an FBI agent, Fred mentions his wife going crazy and his son gone, Bobby not thinking and asking if Tyler owned the bike they found, giving the details, Fred snapping and demanding to speak with Dale, when Dale picks up, Fred having broken down.

Where Henry found his one-of-a-kind suit is debated upon, the most being hinted at was it having been tailored by one of four of the era, and unknown how Henry had gotten his hands on it. Then as the trio are walking to the common room, after a brief mention of Henry’s suit by Rebecca, the conversation gets turned to Pete’s information about the cop he saw picking up the bike, Henry supposing Maxton’s wouldn’t be affected as long as no one there was involved, per Rebecca’s worry. They finish their walk to the common room, Henry familiarizing himself with the setup. Meanwhile, Chipper is outside attempting to corral the old folks in and get handouts from their families on their way out. As the elderly are brought in, Henry wows them with his slick Symphony Stan act and starts the music (Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey “How Am I to Know You“, Artie Shaw “Begin the Beguine“, Woody Herman “Wild Root” and “Lady Magowan’s Dream” (which was only mentioned), Benny Goodman “Moonglow“, Bunny Berigan “I Can’t Get Started“). Most everyone is affected by Henry’s performance, and most of the room is dancing, Rebecca also getting caught up in the fray, her dance partner taking them to the front, where Alice, a resident was in mid-request of a song when Burny interrupts loudly, claiming to have been there first.  In the end, Henry puts on a song they both agree on, Burny seeming to withdraw into his particular sort of dementia once more, Rebecca seeing him in the hall on her way out, Burny speaking some unsettling nonsense to her, and she retreating after suggesting he rest in his room before dinner if he wanted to join later. When she makes a note of a name Burny had mentioned and depositing it in her bag, Chipper calls to her from his office, he reminding her of something else Burny had babbled of, which made it seem like he was referring to Chipper, she also reminded of the Fisherman by one of his other statements during his mysterious gibbering.

Jack is pulled from his slowly receding, forced tranquility for multiple reasons: One – Henry had called to insist he stop being stubborn, due to another missing child, then he receives a call from Dale, confirming this, and of the state of Tyler’s parents, his father, Fred, at the station and persistently asking to see Jack. Fred having taken Judy to the hospital where she was immediately admitted to the psychiatric wing. The second other, minor reason – Jack agreed to get out of his house, so he wouldn’t have to deal with the possibility of robin eggs being found in any more enclosed compartments. Jack is shown into Dale’s office as soon as he arrives, where Fred and Dale wait. Fred starts his story of the day’s events, Dale adding a small bit, and Jack realizing he’d seen all four boys riding their bikes earlier, after sharing this, wanting to speak with the three, who were currently being questioned. Jack notices how he’s going to have to instill some apprehension in them since they’d been questioned together, he doing well by striking at Ebbie first, he taken outside the room. The two boys confess more, and when he has the last boy alone, he learns of the black feathers, one in Tyler’s shoe. After releasing the boys, Jack relates the small amount he’d learned. He then scheduling a time the next day to speak with Judy. He discusses his motives for helping with Henry, later on, as he cooked food in Henry’s home. Jack then confides all he learned at the station, and why he was planning on seeing Judy. After, they begin Bleak House, then upon reaching their fill, part ways and end the night.

Next Jack has an old memory of a theme park during a time with his mother, he unsettled, and they running from Sloat, or Uncle Morgan. Then he has a chat with Speedy as a twelve-year-old, the man stating how Jacky had more traveling to do, and all the signs (robin eggs and feathers) he’d sent as confirmation of this. Speedy goes on to mention of Jack needing to find the latest missing boy, for he being a Breaker, and could be the source the Crimson King needed to gain enough power to become free. Jack had been up since four and was watching the sky turn light, when he gets a call from Fred, he then spotting a note he must have written, but in his mother’s hand, meanwhile Fred sounded near the end of sanity, Jack learning the time would need to be pushed to late afternoon for Judy having had a bad night. Jack confirms the new plans, he offering to drive due to Fred’s loss of composure, the two hanging up.

Jack is readying to take a walk to get the bad dream and uncomfortable phone call with Fred out of his mind, when he notices a package outside his door, the only address being the name, “Jacky”, Jack voicing his apprehension of the odd looking box. When he opens the child’s shoe box, he sees it packed with crow feathers and a shoe with a foot still inside. As he slowly gains speed to a run off his porch and failing to convince himself of having a “calm” mind, he goes and gets on his hands and knees, breaking down since he realizes he’s entered the Territories, again. When Jack hears Richard Sloat’s voice, he finally regains composure. Richard’s voice, which was in Jack’s head, logically explains what had occurred, in place of his conscience, even though Jack knows this new reality was actually around him, Richard’s logic helps him maintain true calm. As he looks around, he remembers the first time he’d “flipped” with Richard to the Territories, then hearing a whistle, and realizing his location was near the Mississippi River (at least the name used in the accepted reality, Jack not knowing what they called it in the Territories).

Jack walks toward a dirt road from the Doppelganger version of where his house and garage was, it replaced by a barn and windmill, he soon realizes a terrible vibration coming from a particular direction, along with smoke. When he continues on, the vibration fades and he sees animals which look like a cross between a rabbit and kangaroo pass him, he closer to a village as the sun sets. Jack then views an out of place baseball cap, upon picking it up, seeing Tyler’s name marked on the inside, Jack supposing the Fisherman had done this on purpose. He unknowingly flips back and almost gets hit by a car. Jack calculates the distance walked in the Territories was an extra three miles to where he currently was, then bringing back memories of when he’d first heard about the Territories hinted at when overhearing his father speaking with Richard’s father. Before entertaining any further chat with his imaginary version of his buddy, Henry’s maid sees and pulls over to see if Jack needed a ride, he accepting and deciding during the drive to investigate the shoe box and all other evidence more closely once arriving home. Once he does so, also using plastic baggies for each item, Jack discovers another message at the bottom of the show box, referencing the child Jack had been. He then calls Henry about where Ed’s Eats was, confiding what he’d found, Henry offering to help him get to the place, and Jack relieved to have him. Then back-story of an officer called Arnold Hrabowski, AKA The Mad Hungarian is detailed, learning he’d taken an emergency call from the Fisherman. He plays it back for Dale, whom wants to call Jack, but knowing his plans, instead pairing officers to go to Ed’s Eats, even agreeing to let Arnold come if he can get someone to cover him at the station. Arnold makes the mistake of sharing with his blabby wife about his phone call, to make himself feel better, his wife immediately confiding in her two best buddies, the word getting out even after getting them to promise to keep the news to themselves, French Landing having a Telephone-style game of information about what the police would discover at Ed’s Eats before they even arrived.

Dale, whilst Tom drove, rifled through his wallet, then calling Jack’s cell number only to realize his uncle was answering. Then from Henry’s view, the rest of the chat is shown as Henry hands the cell back to Jack to speak with Dale, he sharing what he and his officers were doing and wanting Jack to meet them, Jack revealing he was already on his way and how he’d gotten on the trail, not pleased to learn Arnold Hrabowski was going to show. The train of events on whom called whom to pass on the news of the location and how many dead bodies would be found is gone over. as well as one of the Thunder Five being notified. Dale and Jack then plan how to go about blocking off the road to Ed’s, Dale sending two officers to check the telephone for prints, Dale then suggesting Jack plant the foot with the rest of the body, to save Jack trouble being questioned by agents or detectives on why it was sent to him, and to save Tyler’s hat for when the boy was found. Jack goes in and sees the body along with another message, he taken by surprise by Dale, whom followed him in. Two officers were on their way back down the road when a truck nearly hits them, another not far behind, with questions about what had been discovered within. The two manage to get them to back off, but don’t remember the back road needing to be blocked, plenty of civilians becoming aware of it, and ready to utilize their knowledge.

Richie Bumstead is then introduced, speaking with one of the telephone gossipers, he then relating his experience with the Thunder Five (and a better understanding of their work). The men had gone to college (smart), worked at a brewery, one man being a head brew-master of a special division, and drank like they needed beer as much as oxygen. Beezer, one of the Thunder Five, is whom Richie calls about Irma’s body being found. Beezer prepares to go, shouting out to his buddies who lived nearby of the news, all waiting for Beezer’s signal of being off. As they get closer to Ed’s Eats, Beezer notices the unusual traffic the closer they get to their destination, perceiving the cops would be having trouble keeping the rubbernecks at bay by this time. Beezer considers how he’ll keep his cool with all the morons about, but then thinks of the best way to get on Dale’s good side is by helpful cooperation. Wendell is then followed as Beezer and crew close in on him as they both race to Ed’s, Wendell recording what he planned to write as he drove like an asshole.

Once Wendell sees who was behind him, a rush of fear enters him due to the threats he’d received by Beezer when he’d indelicately came to interview him after his daughter had been killed. As he allows the Thunder Five to pass him, and they all get closer to the turn off to Ed’s, Wendell is unbothered by the police turning everyone away since he’d surely be treated differently for being press. Though, his resolve dissolves once seeing who was guarding the entrance, Wendell not having made friends with the two, but then noticing, as Beezer and crew U-turn, sensing they must be going to a back entrance, Wendell trailing them. When they turn off the main road and Wendell reaches Goltz’s driveway, he parks and follows on foot due to the run down road, Wendell dreams of getting a morbid shot of Irma’s body and willing to bribe whoever necessary to get the dirty, ugly mess. When he no longer hears the motorcycles ahead, he catches the noise of an old truck behind him, he deciding he’d stop their attempt of following him there, but as he talks with them, decides a bribe may serve him better, he sharing his idea for them to implement. Wendell’s plan was to join the group in the truck, they catching up to the Thunder Five, Wendell hearing Beezer speaking quietly as he readies his camera, he then noticing as Beezer is talking with Dale, Jack is looking anxious to put a baggie back in his truck, Wendell believing he’s seen Jack tamper with evidence. When the newcomer policemen go into the shack, Wendell takes a shot of Henry, whom he thinks is running the show, but Henry hears him, which makes Wendell give the signal to his truck posse to charge.

The two officers are feeling the pressure as more people come, whilst the last turns around, everyone spoken to as kooky as the last. The two see the Thunder Five coming, and Wendell waits his turn, when Tcheda continues turning people way, those waiting begin honking their horns and pointing, the two seeing nothing and waiting awhile longer after the road had cleared to return to Ed’s. They soon see a new group parking and heading at them with banners. When Dale approaches with the Thunder Five in tow, he informs the two of they now having more backup for crowd control. Two more officers arrive, then the agents Brown and Black, as well as the Arnie, they then hearing a haunting scream. Meanwhile, Jack suggests to Dale to have Henry listen to the emergency call, to see if he hears something they hadn’t. Jack also thinking about the connection with the Territories and the Fisherman, the scream mentioned earlier being heard by those up top. When they chase down the hicks, Beezer’s point of view is given as he follows Wendell, whom was taking pictures, but stops when he sees Beezer coming. Wendell attempts to play like he didn’t know of the hicks making a ruckus, but Beezer deduces the reasoning behind the noise correctly, he then keeping Wendell distracted enough to grab his camera and taking out the film. Jack is then shown partially glad the case would be taken over, but also hoping Dale isn’t too slapped down for the mess the agents had walked into. Jack then realizes Arnie was the loose-lipped reason the town was there, he convincing him to confess to Dale, Jack then joining Beezer and Wendell, the latter threatening, then attempting to bribe Jack, he punching Wendell in the stomach, after he leaves, Beezer and Jack acquaint themselves with each other, Beezer offering his help if Jack ever desired.

Fred and Jack are driving when Fred pulls over to show and tell Jack of the view being a place his wife liked to stop to “smell the roses” before getting back ‘into life”, Jack lets Fred talk since sensing he was working up to confide something deeper. Fred goes on to mention his ability to have some normal conversations with his wife, attempting to confess his theory of how his wife actually was doing, reminding Jack of when she’d foretold of their son’s disappearing, and now she acting much calmer, claiming to know Tyler wasn’t dead and Jack was the only one whom could help, he revealing the names Jack recognized from the Territories, and then suggesting they go see his wife. When inside the hospital, they are escorted part of the way by a large female nurse, Fred leading Jack to the bench where she sat. They speak formally of Judy’s awareness of how she’s changed as a mother and the view Fred showed Jack earlier. She shares of her childhood memory of Faraway and how she had sensed Jack had knowledge of the place, as well. He admits to having his own name for the land, she admitting to feeling her son was being held captive there, and whether Jack believed this were possible, he agreeing he was on the case for this reason, they having to leave her since the warden had arrived. When they go back to Judy’s favorite spot, Jack shows Fred, Tyler’s cap, he revealing where he’d found it, he then promising to do all he could to recover Tyler.

Arnold Hrabowski has been suspended and not looking forward to the obvious truth his wife played in his getting in trouble, and Dale had gone home with the plan of spending the evening with his family, but Agent Black had called, and left Dale with a vibe he needed to go there. He then has a scare his son had disappeared from coloring to swing in the thickening fog. Jack and Fred part ways, the latter keeping Tyler’s cap, eating a microwaveable, and turning off the news for feeling sympathy for the reporters stalking Irma’s grieving mother. He thinks of how impossible Jack’s view was, and feeling ridiculous for hoping it was true. Beezer is struggling with whether to score crank, as he’s had since his daughter’s death, but eventually vengeance on the Fisherman wins preference. Henry’s listening to Warren Vaché, John Bunch, and Phil Flanagan sing, “I Remember April“, whilst smelling the fog and wondering how Jack’s visit had gone, then thinking of his wife. Whilst most of “our friends” are available to check up on, Burny has disappeared for the moment, a yellow bee-style slipper in the bathroom being the only sign he’d been there. Then it’s shown he’s appeared on the third floor of the Nelson Hotel, where he’s been spotted testing doorknobs by a resident, away from the old man’s view. He’s wary of him, sensing possible danger, but then Burny turns the corner and is out of the man’s view, he debating his options, glancing around the corner since he didn’t have a phone in his room to call the front desk. He supposes Burny could currently be inside a fellow resident’s room, and has the thought cross of he possibly being a lost head-case from Maxton’s, but when he checks the ajar room, no one’s there, he investigating the room’s only hiding places, discovering something in the closet which freezes him, and knows the owner would kill to keep secret.

Meanwhile, Burny has reappeared at the home, spotted by the lady at the front desk, stopping him to claim the slippers which belong to another resident, Burny amusing himself by whipping out his ding-dong to consider showering her, but decides against it, put himself away, all before she looked back up from taking the slippers from his feet, he having one more errand to run. When Burny returns to his room, it’s learned he had been searching for the man of the room he’d entered, George Potter, he having messed up a deal for Burny in the 70s. Burny had been exacting his revenge on George, and glad the old fella had followed him, since he was tired of doing all of his mischievous work, knowing a terrified call would be made about what had been seen. Then, before Burny drifts off, a translation of his “nonsense” talk is shown, regarding Irma’s mother. The old man at the Nelson bursting into the manager’s office and convincing him to call the police for seeing horrible pictures of children in Potter’s closet, believing he’s discovered the Fisherman. Tansy, Irma’s mother is currently quite high, staving off her grief and reminiscing of her daughter through scrapbook. She then remembers “The Raven”, quoting the beginning, hearing a tapping at her door after saying it, and when opening the door, seeing a ‘raven’ on her doormat, she thinking she’s imagining it, Gorg entering the trailer and unnerving her, she eventually asking why he’d come, Gorg repeating two key words, then upon her further questioning says her name, and to come. When Tansy falls, Gorg whispers in her ear, it then known Tansy will not be returning to sanity (quite quickly, anyways).

At six in the evening, Chipper is doing overtime by allowing Rebecca to “work” on his boner with her face. The residents are watching The Sound of Music, all except for Burny, whom is quite asleep, the demon which controls him having worked him extra hard this week, but he being a willing host. Meanwhile, Jack has driven to Henry’s for more reading of Bleak House, but will first listen to the track Henry had chosen for the Wisconsin Rat. Fred is distraught and cleaning whilst wearing Tyler’s cap, Tansy’s still listening to Gorg, and Dale is readying to leave when getting another call, this one from the station, and it having to do with the pictures in George Potter’s room, Ernie, a retired cop helping, has Doc, from the Thunder Five with him, and the two are about to enter the station, it switching back to Dale, whom had been connected by the station to the old man at the Nelson, Andy Railsback’s call, Dale reassuring him backup was coming and to wait outside for Potter’s return and report back to him. Dale then requests to speak with Doc, he and Ernie then walking in, Dale instructing him to ask for a cell in evidence and to walk to Lucky’s Tavern to see if he can spot Potter, and if he does, to call back. Dale then starts moving, planning on calling Jack from the car. Doc has made it inside the bar, seeing the man depicted, leaves to make the call, and is told to come back to the station, before doing so, making a final call to Beezer, he relaying the particulars of whom he may have seen, instructing him to get the boys and meet him at the station since going straight to the bar may not be the best decision in Beezer’s case, plus Doc not being certain of the man’s role concerning the Fisherman, yet.

Dale is then shown trying Jack’s number and getting voicemail, then Henry’s, whom answers, Dale making it clear it was urgent he get Jack on the line, upon doing so, Dale feeling Jack’s appreciation is a bit understated, he more interested in whom Andy had followed prowling around his floor (someone forgot a ‘whom’ in their sentence, tsk tsk, bad editor! Only a couple minor missing words so far.), the two hanging up after Jack agreed to meet them there, Dale reaching the station, and upon walking to the door, hears bikes approaching, accusing Doc of letting his crew know, he not denying this, and Dale not blaming him. Henry and Jack are on their way as they discuss the likelihood of Potter being the right man, the two agreeing it was most likely the man Railsback had seen in the hall, the two then sharing favorite record and song, Jack sharing his and getting emotional after Henry confides his own. Everything begins to converge as Dale and two officers set up at Nelson’s Hotel, Jack and Henry arriving to see the Thunder Five and the rest of the force in the parking lot of the station, and Tansy trying to organize the high drunks at the bar to do something drastic since knowing the police were about to make a Fisherman-related arrest. Meanwhile Wendell is also drowning his sorrows in his Inn’s bar when getting a call, it being one of the cops whom picked up the evidence cell Doc had returned, the caller informing Wendell of their collar, letting him know the possibility of he getting first picture before hanging up.

Dale and the two are then shown taking Potter into custody, Jack and Henry hearing the car on its way back from its pick up, Andy and Morty, the manager also being brought, as well as Wendell showing his ugly mug, the Mad Hungarian bringing up the rear. Jack is then shown making conversation with Beezer whom isn’t regarding him other than to state how everyone will see if Potter’s processing goes without a hitch, he showing what he preferred, by blocking Potter’s entrance into the building. He asks a simple question of Potter though, whether he’d killed his daughter, Potter giving the simple, “quiet” answer in return of not having killed anyone, Jack then urging Beezer to move, he doing so, for now being uncertain of the man’s guilt. Wendell is whom gets everyone moving indoors when he shouts for a good shot of Potter, after which, Henry is escorted from the truck and into Dale’s office with Jack. Dale has sobered from his detainment high after Potter had been booked, asking Jack his opinion of whether Potter was the right guy, Jack confessing his thoughts, wanting to speak with Railsback about what he’d seen, and probably needing to question Potter closely after deducing the Fisherman may have set him up in revenge, an officer coming in after Henry reports of the sounds they were hearing being many engines, and a bartender having called with the news of dozens of people heading for the station, at the head being Tansy.

Dale leaves to begin dealing with the approaching situation, whilst Jack handles a call he recognizes as Speedy, he suggesting Jack get to Dale’s private lavatory, Jack about to decline for the urgency of asking Potter about the details he was curious about, what with Brown and Black coming, but Speedy brings clarity about the importance of being able to use what’s there twice, he having to take the first opportunity or Potter being fucked, the call ending. Tansy is then shown leading the bar’s customers out, she having shared Gorg’s poison with them, half a dozen immune, but those who had gone, connected to Tansy like she was a queen bee, one woman fashioning a noose on the ride and giving it to Tansy, whom holds it up in the air and leads the crowd to the station. The Thunder Five are outside, Beezer announcing he wouldn’t move, and wasn’t going to fight for seeing the pointlessness, but Tansy stopping short and instead, yelling for Potter to be brought out in an unnatural volume, the swarm taking up the chant, Beezer advising his crew to stay complacent if approached.

Jack comes out carrying a bouquet of flowers he’d discovered from the Territories, walking toward Tansy and when she smells them, she and the group slowly come around, she mentioning what Gorg had told her, Jack noting the feather in her belt and getting it away from her, sharing of Gorg’s untrustworthiness. Jack then confessing of Potter not being the one they wanted, vowing he’d catch him, this calming her, but still seeing the madness hadn’t left, hoping it would with the Fisherman’s defeat. Jack had gotten someone to volunteer to give Tansy a ride home when another chant starts at the back. Meanwhile inside, the cops are looking on with interest, Bobby relating to Henry what was happening, as requested, Henry then hearing Wendell take up the cry after Jack had diffused the situation and the news trucks coming in. Wendell gets pumped with leading the new charge, when Arnold clocks him and he passes out. This receives a big cheer from the officers, Henry happy, but also apprehensive for them all. Dale meets Jack outside the door and brings him back in, the two discussing how Brown and Black had arrived and Jack hoping Dale could stall them for awhile, Dale sure he could. Jack remembering the flowers he’d given Tansy were still good for a second time after he’d given them to her, but realizing they could still be available to him for whiffing them inside the station.

When Jack sees Potter, he can immediately sense his innocence, he believing the Territories affecting his senses having to do with it, then starting his questioning, Potter speaks of being ill, then of his career and how he ended up in French Landing, Jack building rapport until a phrase hits Potter in the right way, Jack asking about the murder, and once Potter hears how Railsback had instigated the events, Potter rants about him and a couple others before Jack has him refocus on Railsback having followed someone to his room. At first Potter can’t imagine, but as Jack keeps him talking, he gets on the subject of a man sounding like Burny, Potter realizing later this could be whom Jack meant, he speaking of their last encounter in town and how he’d been building his own house, men getting hurt during the construction. After Potter admits to remembering no more, Jack thrusts his hands in his face for a whiff of the flowers, it doing enough to get Potter to remember Burny’s name and what the house was called. Brown and Black then walk in, ending the chat, but Potter asking for Jack to give Burny his hello if he locates him.

When Black handles Potter too roughly, Jack threatens the two men’s careers, it affecting them, and they leaving with Potter. Jack then inquiring of Dale about the two names, Burny ringing a bell, slightly, but Black House not familiar at all. Jack seeing a flutter in his eyes which proved Dale was holding something back, also sensing he didn’t know he knew, Jack planning on extracting the information delicately. He doesn’t succeed in getting more details in this meeting, though, since Dale was unconsciously acting squirrelly and Jack didn’t want Dale going over the edge, the two going back to where everyone was waiting, they giving Jack a round of applause. Jack and Henry leave about an hour later, Beezer and crew still outside, Jack hooking up a time next day for them to meet up and look for Black House. On the ride, Henry is quiet, and when informing Jack of no reading for being beat, Jack agrees for feeling the same, deciding to ask him about Black House tomorrow, giving him time to get back to himself. Jack goes home, attempts to sleep and fails, going outside with a pillow and lying down in his field, flipping to the Territories where his pillow was now filled with goose-down and his undies changing fabric, as well, he going to sleep and waking in his own field, noting his undies were mostly dry for not being on him for most of the night whilst the rest of him was wet from dew, he returning inside for a few more hours unconsciousness time and when waking again, the flipping seeming like a dream, but knowing its reality.

The next day, the news was fairly completely covered with Arnold’s clocking of Wendell, Jack watching the footage and reflecting how this act of Arnold’s will most assuredly frame his grovelling to end his suspension, Dale being too kind to deny him, and Wendell most likely getting leniency for his unprofessional behavior through pure fabrication. He then muses over Railsback’s story of the Fisherman and his outfit, Jack believing the man’s idea of he being at Maxton’s a good spot for hiding in plain sight. Wendell also watches the news, angered and embarrassed by what Arnold had done to him, boosting himself with how he’d had a hand in the naming of the Fisherman and getting the most information, at the earliest point, he already organizing how he’d win his editor over again, and then go see Fred. Arnold’s wife is convinced she’s right in thinking Arnold should call about canceling his suspension after watching the news, even Dale thinks so since it made him happy to watch. Wanda Kinderling is listening to the news, thinking of how Jack had ruined her life caused by his accusations of illegal activity by her husband whom was now in jail, she not believing he could kill hookers for not having a sex drive, and a winky which didn’t grow up (wah-wah-wah). Burny was dreaming, compliments of Mr. Munshun, whom had him see children working on wheels and demon lizards whipping them on. Then Chipper is brainstorming on how he’s going to pay his bookie with six thousand short of paying in full, he knowing it’ll have to be one hell of an explainable skim.

Jack is then shown debating his reasoning for wanting to visit Tansy, he convincing himself, and when she opens the door and ushers him in quickly, he realizing she’s definitely not all there still, she making sure the door is locked before sitting down, Jack asking about whom she was keeping out, his guess of Gorg being correct, she pointing out the flowers he’d given her and he considering how once they died, she would be overcome by madness. Jack asks her about Gorg which she doesn’t wish to get into, but shares of what it looks like, speaking of Poe, the similarities of conversation between she and Judy making him want to see her, knowing she’s special, but Jack also sympathizing with Tansy’s state. She then shares of how Gorg described his world to her and the letter the Fisherman sent her, after deciding it was time for Jack to leave, he still feeling an urge to see Judy. Once on the road though, he remembers the Sand Bar, upon entering, deciding he’d order lunch, the bartender, Tansy’s boyfriend, Stinky Cheese, making Jack feel foolish when not noticing the menu on the wall and when lunch started, he taking his order anyways to be made when his mother was ready. Stinky then switches the TV over to a movie with Jack’s mother, he flashing back to when his mother explained a funny scene involving a fly. As he watches, his food soon arrives and he’s then distracted by tasty burger and figuring where Tansy had meant Gorg’s world was and the location he’d shown her, Jack not knowing the area, but considering how she could’ve been talking about a tower, the description unfamiliar to him, he thinking it had to do with the smoke he’d seen in the Territories.

Jack’s train of thought is interrupted by the Thunder Five’s bikes approaching, Stinky warning Jack about them, but he easing his mind, sort of, by knowing and expecting them, Beezer commanding Stinky to the kitchen, Jack asking them if they’d heard of George Potter before yesterday. Jack goes over the information with them and Burny’s name, Beezer inquiring of Jack’s certainty this is the guy, Jack 99% definite. The boys didn’t know of Black House though, making Jack wonder how people could forget a weird house. As they talk out its history and where it could be, Mouse begins to remember having seen it, talking himself through his day with a girl the couple years back he’d viewed it on acid, he mentioning the no trespassing sign and getting the feeling he shouldn’t go in, seeing things in the darkness and believing he saw another girl the Thunder Five used to hang with before she died, standing in front of him. He rides on though, only stopping when seeing the house and his girl telling him to stop so she can vomit, he hearing what sounds like many dogs growling around them. The house looks intimidating and after seeing the second sign, he heads back with his girl, whom is ill for three days, not quite getting better, and dying a month or so later. After the recounting Beezer is ready for Mouse to try and find it, Jack letting them know his plans of going to see Judy, and if locating the house, not to go in without him, Beezer reluctantly agreeing, calling Stinky to allow him back in the front.

As Jack goes, the Thunder Five is followed, it being told of how they reacted to fear being out of the ordinary, but they also knowing someone always had their backs. Mouse fairly easily senses the road again, he thinking about how proud he had been to have the details resurface, but now heading toward the spot, overcome with more realization of Black House being responsible for his girl’s death, and the repulsion to stay away at the surface, but then the feeling fading. Sonny motions the crew to the side of the road since believing Mouse missed the turnoff, they close to riding back into town, Mouse confirming it may be back the way they came somewhere and hadn’t seen it, the place not keen on being rediscovered. Beezer makes the executive decision on they giving it one more ride through before checking another highway.

This time Mouse leads then at a much slower pace to allow a more thorough view, Sonny then flashing back to a moment he had felt unsettled over a certain environment, the experience leaving one of his buddies dead and the other dazed and losing his mind for not knowing what had occurred overnight, Sonny having slept outside. He comes back to reality, then gets a shine to the face, helping him spot the sign, Doc and Kaiser Bill pulling up, not seeing it, but also not going after Beezer and Mouse to inform them, instead getting caught up attempting to see the sign for themselves, and then where the road led. Kaiser Bill then decides he’ll go get the two, and they all return to Sonny and Doc. Beezer game planning by having all the boys make their weapons readily available and riding in fast, he stating of capturing the Fisherman regardless of his promise to Jack, if he sensed he was in the house. As they ready to take off, Sonny locks eyes with a crow, which hops backward into the forest (as if making the hand sign meaning, “I’m watching you”), he convincing himself the crow must’ve been looking at them all, Beezer then shouting for them to ride.

Mouse is again plagued with his girl’s rotting corpse hanging on his back, making him physically attempt to shake her off, the sensation only getting worse, he not only now feeling like he was going slower, but also seeing his girl as if she were flesh and bone. When he takes the curve into the woods, he overturns his bike, it skidding over his leg, and the girl covering his eyes after seeing the house, Mouse letting out a shriek, hearing the growling dog get closer. Beezer gets affected as well, he having a blossoming headache and also hearing the big dog. As he sees Mouse approach the curve, his headache gets worse, bursting blood vessels in his eyes, his vision darkening and hearing terrible things about his daughter, seeing a figure for a flash then falling, his bike landing on top of him. When he looks over at Mouse, seeing everything in red, he views the large dog coming at him as he screams. Beezer runs at Doc, whom keeps going, he not feeling well either, his head feeling heavy to the point of him wanting to drop it down to his chest, seeing Beezer whipping out his gun, knowing he should follow suit, but overcome with a memory which stops him, it involving the end of his medical career. He then pukes on his shoulder, his pain worsening, seeing Beezer’s crash, but making the curve himself, and deciding what he should shoot, he then hearing and seeing the dog running at Mouse, aiming for it, only making it turn to him for a moment, the shape fuzzy, before it going forward again at Mouse.

Doc shoots a second time which he knows connects, his arms heavy. Doc then hears Sonny before a loud noise, then silence. Sonny’s perspective shows he’d been hit with pain and darkness simultaneously, but does see the Kaiser grab his head and start to faint, blood bursting from his nose, Sonny grabbing hold of his handlebars, the man falling off and getting dragged a little ways. Sonny stops for a second before continuing on after another good vomit, he hearing the dog and ready to defend his friends. Sonny sees the aftermath of Beezer and Doc, he getting off his bike to see what Doc was shooting at, then running ahead, shooting at the same target. The bullet connects as it bites Mouse’s leg, but again, only knocking it off-course for a moment, it giving him a look suggesting if he didn’t back off, it would come for him next. This doesn’t put Sonny off though, shooting again at its head, nothing happens other than a clearer view of the thing, he shooting again, the first sign of blood from the creature bursting forth, another shot coming from behind him, he seeing Beezer, whom commands he keep shooting. Finally, whilst all three shot at it, the thing runs into the woods, the three conferring a moment, discussing how many hits the creature took before hearing Mouse yelling for them, they helping him up, and everyone estimating the damage they’d endured. They all return to their bikes before checking on Kaiser Bill. Beezer determines to hear all about this weird shit from Jack when he returned. None of the others admitted to the psychological side of their experiences when asked by Beezer, which was answer enough. They waking Kaiser Bill, and heading out of the forest, Doc noting Mouse’s injury not being a normal dog bite, but he refusing to go to the hospital, allowing Doc to needle him with antibiotics at Beezer’s.

Meanwhile, Jack is driving and contemplating getting off the call of anyone, but Henry’s until speaking with Fred. He relays of Judy having a meltdown over a tape given to her and wanted Jack to go with him to see her, he letting Fred know he was already en-route, having to lie about why, but Fred too distraught to get further into it, and instead sharing of what the doctor said the tape had on it being of the Fisherman and Tyler’s voices, Jack willing to give him any information learned once getting to the hospital, Fred then confessing he’d spoken to Wendell. After getting off the line, Jack speaks with Henry about the new tape, he not having listened to the first, yet and would wait for the second until doing so, he getting prepared for a George Rathbun show, Jack making plans with him for after. When he arrives at the hospital he has a few epiphanies about Judy’s twinner, the Fisherman, and Gorg, after which he gets as far as the proper ward, but is stopped by the attendant whom didn’t know Jack and due to Nurse Bond not being in, was hard-pressed to allow a non-family member or doctor to see Judy. Jack runs into more resistance until insisting the young man call to see if the doctor was in, he getting a shock when learning whom Jack was, and once off the phone, the two speaking of the Kinderling case and how the man’s wife was this schmo’s Sunday school teacher, he sharing how “townspeople” couldn’t believe Kinderling’s guilt and how confessions can be bullied from people, the doctor then coming in, and Wendell tailing him.

Jack and Wendell soon begin debating the circumstances and reasoning behind his being physically abused as of late, the doctor then speaking with Jack about how he wanted to conduct his interview, Wendell being told to wait with the disgruntled attendant. As Jack and the doctor walk away, Wendell makes a deal with the attendant to hook him up with a spot to listen to Jack and Judy’s conversation. The doctor is then explaining to Jack how Judy had heard the Fisherman’s tape, they also discussing the accent of the man on the tape, as well as Jack’s stance on the other world Judy spoke of being a clever interpretation of the truth, the doctor giving in and showing Jack to his office whilst he prepared Judy to meet him. Wendell is currently nestled in the closet, Jack getting an urgent call from Beezer about Mouse, Jack relaying how long his interview would last, having them hang in there, and hanging up. Judy then brought in, Wendell certain they were about to get sordid for how they spoke to each other, the two speaking of what Jack had to do and Judy hearing her twinner, they readying themselves so Jack could flip to where Sophie, her twinner was waiting, Jack unaware of Wendell being sucked in, too.

Jack is breathless as he attempts to say Sophie’s name in a normal tone after flipping. He repeats it a few times, she confirming each utterance, he feeling off and asking whether he was still speaking English, she affirming he wasn’t. He’s totally taken with her beauty, she asking if he was aware of how he arrived and he actually being in the Territories, he confirming this and also notes some of the doctor’s belongings having been brought with him, she then confessing how she needed a minute herself to catch her breath, the two properly overcome by the other. He gauges her features more thoroughly, the same and slightly different from Judy. Sophie shares of how she and Judy used to talk and now it occurring in dreams, she becoming upset with the thought she’d driven Judy crazy because of their more recent conversations, Jack denying this. Sophie relates how Tyler must be returned to her twinner, Sophie unable to have children because of Morgan Sloat’s twinner (a character I’ll obviously run into in The Talisman), Morgan of Orris, this happening when she was twelve and Jacky preoccupied with saving his mother, he visibly furious with her confession, and she allowing him a few more questions involving their past, the two possibly having met when they were younger, Jack then deducing how Judy and she communicated with each other through the picture in Tyler’s room, Sophie confiding how important it was to return Judy’s son, but also other matters riding on this. Sophie wouldn’t divulge much since Jack would be hearing from someone more suited with the information. He then asks where they were, it being an old tent, which apparently was a traveling hospital, it run by the Little Sisters, vampires, Sophie showing him around as they waited for the man whom would inform Jack. Jeez, King and Straub even allude to themselves when mentioning not glossing over Jack’s love story due to this being bad story-telling etiquette. 

The view goes outside the tent where more Earth-debris is found from the office, then settling on Wendell, in robe, and unable to allow himself to move on from the reality of his recorder now being paper. Wendell speaks to himself with effort, attempting to shove batteries into the paper, a man approaches him, and he refuses to acknowledge the presence. The man, Parkus, stops and coaxes Wendell to speak with him though, due to his position of law enforcement, his parrot with two heads intimidating Wendell with their talk, he resuming his thrusting batteries into the paper, Jack and Sophie interrupting Parkus’ conversation, Jack revealing this was Speedy. The three make their way to the top of a hill, inviting Wendell to join them if he wished, Speedy preparing food, Sophie and he making certain to move him before dark (aww, I was looking forward to Wendell getting drained!), they continuing to the spot which was unsettling for both Jack and Sophie, but the place harmless and good for sharing stories, according to Speedy. Upon entering, Jack hears the weird voice of the Fisherman speak of Munshun, he also confirming the Black House being close by, as well by Speedy. The group then begin speaking of Burny and how he wasn’t the main threat, the creature, Mr Munshun/Mr. Monday, by Albert Fish, Speedy confiding how all of this concerned the Dark Tower and Ram Abbalah wishing to stop its work as in-between to the worlds. Abbalah, the Crimson King, having another entity of himself trapped within the tower and if set free, able to wreak havoc everywhere.

The Crimson King has been using precognates, teleports, and telekinetics to aid him in his plan, they called Breakers, and the Beams, holding the Tower in place, crumbling, the gunslingers the ones to protect the Beams, only one left, but Roland having made other gunslingers. Jack then learns how the gunslingers were supposed to be coming to defend the Tower, Jack deducing Tyler must be a Breaker. Speedy continues to explain the sorts who found Breakers and they being rewarded well according to the talent they had. As for Burny’s deal, he’s allowed as many children as he can eat as long as they have no talent, otherwise they are to be turned over. Tyler being similar to a guided missile, Jack then thinking over how he could help, he going over the scenarios and which was best. Jack then figures the two must’ve realized what was coming since Judy knew months before, he then considering Sophie must be his mother’s successor and Sophie knowing of Tyler’s importance, he being the closest to a son she’d ever get. Jack then asks if the Talisman he’d touched would take out the Crimson King, Speedy relaying it wouldn’t, but would be enough for Munshun and to retrieve Tyler. (This also being where the editor didn’t catch ‘Transy’ Freneau.) Speedy then allows of Black House being the key to locating Munshun and Tyler, discovering Burny depending on Jack using his sources, including Henry. Their meeting ends, Jack and Sophie heading back toward the tent, the two departing with hopes of meeting again, he professing his love before flipping with Wendell.

Jack has a flashback and then is slowly brought back to reality after having lost Wendell in the return trip. Once he realizes he’s with Judy and how close to his face she was, he steals a kiss which she returns. The two are getting hot and heavy when they’re interrupted by the attendant, alarms having been ringing during all of this, another door thrust open to reveal Wendell in a worse unkempt state than Jack, his clothing only hanging off of him whilst Wendell’s was ripped. Upon seeing the close proximity and state of Jack and Judy, Wendell still takes the opportunity to shout, “RAPE!”, he not seeming to register the panic already occurring outside the room in the common area, and as he takes preemptive steps to distance himself from Jack, he steps on some glass and his hanging pants trip him up, falling into a chair and giving Jack the chance to approach as he starts his rape claim again, then Jack popping him in the face only hard enough to knock him out. A worker comes in and informs them they needed to leave for what was believed to have been an earthquake. The girl leaves, Jack and Judy catching up on how much time had passed and Tyler’s living status, Jack then noticing the wrapping paper of the note from Burny in the doctor’s desk, as well as a cassette tape, which he takes, telling Judy to stay strong and leaving the hospital. He then sees the attendant shaking an old woman and yelling in her face, Jack knocking him on the side of the head, putting the young man in a daze. Jack vows he’d get worse if ever seen doing anything similar to someone again.

Ten minutes after, a doctor announces of the emergency concluding and all staff required to escort the patients to their floor’s common room, Wendell and the attendant bonding over their bruises and Wendell declaring of needing to out Jack as a rapist, the attendant indifferently agreeing. Meanwhile, Jack is speeding down the highway and passing firetrucks heading in the opposite direction, he then picking up his cell when hearing a call coming in, Beezer desperately conveying Jack needed to get to his place quickly, Mouse asking for him between raving, he stepping on the gas and informing Beezer where he was and an E.T.A., Beezer then giving Mouse the cell, he sharing with Jack how he was the last one to remember what the gang had gone through, but the poison getting at him, Jack going faster still. Soon he’s close to home and Henry, debating whether to drop off the cassette, he then thinking of Abbalah and where his outside self currently was, thinking of how he, Mr. Munshun, or the Fisherman could try to mess with his buddies since they must now know his involvement, which made him want to check on Henry, he deciding to employ the buddy system until things settled. When he arrives though, Elvena, the maid reminds him how Henry had gone to the studio, Jack feeling a fool for having wasted time, but leaves the tape for him and returns to his truck. When he gets to Nailhouse Row, he goes up the walkway, Beezer opening the door and stating of Mouse’s deterioration, Jack not ever planning on sharing how Mouse’s injury could’ve been pointless, Beezer ushering him in.

Henry’s had a drink with the schmuck offering him the deal with ESPN, but he’s had enough and had the bartender call him a cab, the representative attempting to bully him to stay for another drink, Henry giving him his decisive parting words, and leaving, he believing he felt oddly due to not listening to the tape yet, and planned his night around it. Jack is then shown walking into Beezer’s living room, the place darkened with heavy blankets covering the windows. Beezer shares how Mouse couldn’t abide any light, his skin dissolving when hit by it, Jack attempts to ignore the offending smell and steps into the adjoining room Mouse is lying in, he at first not recognizing him, but when hearing Jack’s nickname, grabs his hand, he trying to focus, Mouse still talking nonsense, and Beezer encouraging him to wait for Mouse to resurface, he starting to speak of the King, Jack urging him to say more, but Mouse drifting off the subject, and after vomiting black squigglies in yellow ooze, which eats through the couch like acid, he passes out.

Doc shows Jack what there was to see under Mouse’s blanket, the view making him shriek. Henry, meanwhile has gotten home and feels proud of himself, until smelling his wife’s perfume again, the imagined sigh rattling him. He ignores the feeling and listens to the message left by Elvena informing him of the second tape as he gets a beer, he calling Jack back as requested, but Jack having left his cell in his truck. Henry then decides to wait to hear the tapes until Jack returns his call, he going to the living room and hoping he didn’t feel his wife’s dead face with his outstretched arm as he walked. Jack is currently eyeing the mess of Mouse’s leg, the likes of which he hasn’t seen before. The fact Mouse’s foot was unharmed making the thought of how easy it could come away from his leg sickening Jack. Doc explains how the infection had spread, he hoping Mouse’s sacrifice for the house’s location worth it, Jack then deciding he needed a moment to quench his thirst or he’d “die” (great choice to go by in this situation, eh?), and after doing so, he reminds himself of the reason he’s come, and still bothered by Mouse’s delirious talk of the perfume not being “his dead wife”, not understanding his intuition of dread. Beezer comes in to have him see Mouse, he waking up.

Henry is relating a dream he was having of a man following him with a single eye, he sensing the man was veering him toward his home and Henry’s death. When he realizes it’s a dream, having been worrying how he could get away from the house, he notes how both book and beer weren’t where he’d left them, and the smell of perfume was receding, Henry now wishing it’d return for preferring it over being alone with the tapes and his spooky dream. He begins to wonder about the details of his dream and how it was the first where he could see, but ignores his curiosity to get started on the tapes. Jack is now getting impatient to go since Mouse hadn’t spoken since since waking, Doc trying the last resort of speed, which does the trick, he first noting how he was in trouble and whilst it had worked, the dog’s poison was more powerful, so requested paper to draw a map, his skin becoming more easy to come off, and when he starts speaking of Goltz’s, his body revolts and his face blisters burst, pausing him for pain, Jack realizing the black stuff coming out of Mouse was stopping him and he should try and dispose of it.

Jack gets the stuff off of his face, the bit he throws down trying to slither away, but is caught partially by Doc and some by Beezer, Mouse clear-minded still and no longer in pain for now, finally gets out the specifics and the No Trespassing sign, making certain Jack was listening before switching back to Henry, whom was readying to play the tape when getting the overwhelming feeling he wasn’t alone, (the bee slippers being seen by the readers, as well as hedge clippers from Henry’s garage) he again attempting to get the intruder doused in his wife’s perfume, to speak, but Burny staying quiet, Henry finally listening to the police tape and recognizing the voice, but not remembering from where, he also noting the Fisherman’s dialect origins. When Henry listens to the tape for Judy, Henry figures out where he’d heard the voice, then deduces the old woman’s name whom had requested a song, Burny then knocking on the glass part of the door. Mouse is currently making his last requests regarding how he wanted to go, what they should do when he did, his funeral, and for Jack to postpone looking for the house until noon tomorrow, Speedy relaying information about Munshun to him, as well. He then gives Jack a word to go with whatever was left of the Talisman in him, Doc noting the request for drugs not being necessary, and Jack leaving them.

The magic word’s power effects some of the main players, besides Mouse, Henry, and Tansy, she seeing what her daughter would’ve looked like when she was older, Judy, seeing her son safe, Dale, Mr. Munshun, and Henry, his forming as lucidity, he knowing Burny was waiting for him and deciding to feign pleasant surprise, hoping he was ready, he fortunately having a couple options of weapons for defense. Burny then opens the door and walks toward Henry, the latter waiting for a specific rustle before attacking, his plan working at first, but whilst Henry gives a few wounds, he takes some, as well. Finally, he gets the chance to escape through the door, Burny announcing the damage Henry had done to him, and following him out, whom now has doubts about his survival. Burny walks around looking for Henry for the light of sunset finally leaving enough to shroud him in darkness, Burny chatting of what he was going to do to him and then Munshun calling it off for wasting time. Munshun reminds him of Burny’s desire to go after Chipper and Rebecca, Henry overhearing his madness and trying to stay conscious long enough to leave a message for Jack. Burny finally going after leaving a message of his own,

Henry decides to go to his studio, motivating himself with pain. When he arrives, he records his revealing message for Jack. Meanwhile, Jack was currently being enmeshed in bees, but in a comforting way, he not getting stung. He feels like he could be borne off, the bees leaving him at sunset, and he feeling like he needed to go to sleep with what he’d gone through this day, but decides he could make it long enough to visit Henry, which makes him think how grand it would be if Henry were nationally recognized, and realizing where his fashion sense must have come from, he then deciding from then on, he’d be completely open with Henry about the more unbelievable bits of his life, and ready to share as soon as he saw him as well as making plans after he came out of Black House. He then thinks about the possible terrible fate of Tyler if he failed, he reminiscing about the bees and their message of love for a couple of the people around him, he vowing to confess his story to Henry, looking forward to not being the only one to know.

When he sees Henry’s lights were off, he thinks he’d fallen asleep, but after going inside and still not getting a response, he goes over other possibilities until smelling blood, then decides Henry was either wounded and abducted, or worse. When he turns the living room light on, he sees the Fisherman’s message and returns outside for a moment to consider calling the police, his need to see what the Fisherman had done, more pressing. He follows the blood to Henry’s studio, the door of which was open, and Jack indignant toward the Fisherman for causing the change of order to Henry’s home. Upon hearing the tape continue to run at the end of the reel and viewing Henry made his death real to him. He listens to the last message Henry leaves him, also discovering why the bees must have hugged him, then returns outside, calls the station where Arnie picks up, relays the two pieces of news, and then walks off into a cornfield. He walks along until locating a good spot to stop and lays down, he finding sleep easier than he thought and then flipping.

Burny is then followed to the bathroom stall in Maxton’s and goes down the list of wounds he sustained, hedge clippers still in hand. He walks out to where the sinks are, removes his shirt, and leaves a trail of blood to the bandages cabinet. He cleans himself up to a reasonable degree, but when seeing his mirrored self, is unsatisfied with the state of his face, which hadn’t bothered him before, but Munshun reminding him of the time, he wanting to get to Black House, Burny also desiring to go for a few reasons, one of them, Tyler. Burny then notes Butch on duty, asleep, he glad he had the hedge clippers, Henry’s fingers getting cut, purely by happenstance. Burny hides the clippers under his shirt as he passes the nurses’ station, he feeling like he was getting rightful retribution for Chipper stealing from him. The nurse at the station was given a chance to be left unscathed until she mentioned him tracking something on the floor, Burny taking her out. He goes to Chipper’s office and sneaks in without Chipper noticing, he kicking the door shut to get his attention from fixing the books, Chippy being pleasant and stating how he’d been wanting to speak with him, then realizing his shirt was wet and going around to find a fresh one, but when none of the workers are to be found, he confides how he wasn’t fooled by Burny’s Alzheimer’s act when Burny had insulted him like he does.

Burny thinks Chipper was about to con him and relishing the idea before he set his own plans in motion, but Chipper apparently was focused on Burny’s real name being Carl, Burny unphased, but hoping Butch didn’t wake, knowing he’d be difficult to cut down. Chipper goes on to reveal a detective calling and confiding how Carl Bierstone may be a resident, Burny not replying and Chipper bringing out a letter from his Aunt stopping payments, Chipper attempting to see if he’d remedy the payment situation, Burny now losing momentum (and apparently grammar, what with ‘devise’ seeming to work better with an [-ing] at the end, cripes) and wanting to go to Black House for revitalization, even though two of the rooms didn’t comfort him, his conquests not making him feel proud, nor his childhood, each getting a room of their own, courtesy of Munshun.

Burny then hears the coming sirens and gets to work on Chipper by noting how he was fixing the books before letting him have a taste of clippers, he barely making it back to the toilet stall as cops came through the front door. Meanwhile, Jack is still away and having a dream, a reminder being given about Henry knowing “Darn that Dream” being the last song on an album called Daddy Plays the Horn by Dexter Gordon. Jack then greets Sophie, whom it’s assumed gets opportunity to fool around with Jack (the authors respecting their privacy). When Jack wakes in reality, he sees his truck, noticing the lack of police activity meaning they left, and he deciding to confess to Dale so he would accompany him to Black House. When he gets to his truck and sees the voicemails from Dale, he doesn’t bother listening to them and upon getting home, listens to the one’s left on his landline, he then realizing the early hour, falling back to sleep, and having a disturbing dream about fighting to approach Black House, an unnaturally large face looking like many scary men from his past and present morphing in the face, looking for Jack, he finally screaming the magic word as the face finds him. He then gets ready, calling Dale so they could meet at the Sand Bar where Beezer and Doc would be waiting.

The houses of French Landing are mentioned to be barriers of slippage, Black House being the opposite, the space within much larger than the outside (Hello, Doctor, fancy seeing your time-ship copied.) Going within tells of some of the people becoming trapped inside or lost, and whilst Black House was built in the ’70s, parts of it are older. Burny is currently resting on a sofa, it being revealed his ownership of the home purely in his mind and being supported by Munshun, whom attempts to get Burny up so he could move Tyler, but Burny is insisting on needing to rest, Munshun knowing Jack would locate him if Burny didn’t get him to the great furnace, Din-tah. Munshun continues to prod his wound and bribe Burny into action with dreams of being turned young again, but goes to death threat and more pain when Munshun explains Burny’s options, which get him ready to obey. Tyler currently was having a grand ole time at a baseball game with George Rathbun, he recovering from a concussion.

Before being rudely awakened, Rathbun takes on Henry’s consciousness and placates Tyler’s situation with the news of help coming, Tyler thrown back into reality with Burny. He urges Tyler to stand whilst the latter feels his head where Burny had beaned him with the rock, it still painful. Burny shows the taser he carried to give the gravity of what Tyler would get if he ran off, but after Burny grabs the bit of Tyler he planned on cooking, Tyler is in mid-smart-aleck mode and Burny gives him a taste of the taser to the shoulder, commanding he begin walking and stop talking. They reach a staircase, where Tyler thinks of escape or safety, Burny remarking how futile those options were, and when reaching the bottom, Burny stopping Tyler and having him put on a cap which vibrates in his hand, Tyler soon realizing the cap’s mind-dulling power as they continue to walk, Burny instructing Tyler to drive the golf cart awaiting them, Tyler jerking the cart forward and recieving threats from Burny. Tyler drives them down the curved road, Burny pointing out the Crimson King’s power plant and how he’d soon take his 10% from Tyler for working so diligently. Then when Burny points out the wall of skulls, Tyler can’t wish hard enough for Burny’s forthcoming death, his mother, and help to come quickly.

Jack and Dale enter to see Beezer and Doc drinking soda, Stinky nestled in back near the kitchen, one of Jack’s mother’s movies playing, Jack confiding whom she was to Dale after he’d been speaking her lines from the movie, the four then talking about the weapons they had, Jack deciding they should wait until exactly noon to leave, giving Beezer and Doc a chance to change their minds, but the former staying for his daughter, and the latter due to the possibility they were already infected some way already. Jack also learns Mouse had been correct in assuming what would happen to his body by morning, Beezer not wanting to dwell on the thought, he and Doc then sharing their physical reactions to getting near Black House and Doc deciding he’d go for Mouse. Doc then warns how serious Black House could affect them all, regardless of what Jack may think he knows, Jack debating whether the two remembered the magic word, and whilst realizing he shouldn’t use it frivolously, he needing to be sure they understood the importance of their belief. He requests honey from Stinky and had it placed at the end of the bar, he then using the word to summon the bees and have them deliver the honey to his hand, the wanted reaction given by the three, Jack then instructs how they’d go and the honey to be used under their noses (not like Vicks, but Jack not explaining the difference).

Fred then bursts on to the scene with a long package which makes most of them react oddly, no one deciphering what it was. Meanwhile, Burny is currently ordering Tyler to stay near a wall as the bees are moving the honey bottle to Jack. They are now nearer the Big Combination, Tyler able to hear screams and whips cracking at the working children. As they waited, Burny mentions the place he was to take Tyler, the two others, Patricia and Blaine no longer there due to killing themselves caused by madness, Tyler not understanding how the two could be monorails. Burny then directs Tyler to their next destination being on the way to Station House Road where he was supposed to deliver Tyler, but planning on taking his commission first. Burny is ordering Tyler to put his hands through shackles on a wall, the boy’s cap helping him to manage his rising hysteria, knowing he must choose his moment wisely, but because of his second smart remark, gets tased, he seeming to acquiesce after, but readying to make his move, his hands now through the shackles as he hears Burny going through his pack where Tyler sensed Burny’s plan included handcuffs, correct in his presumption when Burny attaches one to his wrist, Tyler getting his moment to fight back when Burny takes the taser off Tyler, distracted when the other cuff falls slack. Tyler debates his next move as Burny is overcome with pain and denial the little boy could hurt him in such an intimate area. Tyler then goes for the same pressure spot as Munshun, but taking it a step further, and succeeding in his goal (gruesome), but now having to get someone to free him.

Fred is hysterical when he confirms he had heard his son, the package addressed to Tyler and concerning the Brewer’s Bash, Beezer ready to get going since he knew Tyler was stuck in a shed, Jack having seen through Tyler’s eyes, focusing on Fred, he learning whom had given Fred the package and why he’d been sent to show Jack, he then instructing Fred to go home and ready the place for Tyler and Judy’s return. As Dale drives, Jack begins to open the package, also answering Dale’s questions about what they’d felt earlier and how Jack knew the details, he seeing the gift of a baseball bat inside the box, reminded of The Natural by Bernard Malamud. Dale admires the bat as well, when Jack sees Beezer and Doc ride past the sign to Black House, he having Dale pull over, Beezer and Doc insisting they didn’t have the right spot. Jack instructs Dale to apply more honey (which is a placebo in helping with the buzzing in the brain), Jack seeing in his periphery something flying and deciding not to catch it so whatever it was could believe it hadn’t been seen, yet. Jack then offers the honey to Beezer and Doc, once applying, realizing the mistake they’d made, Jack slowly drawing his weapon as the fluttering shadows gathered in the distance. Jack shoots before getting a good view, afterward realizing he’d popped Gorg, he urging everyone into the car before they got Munshun’s attention. As they approach the shape-changing house, Jack advises all to be ready for anything.

The trees were noticed to be changing, Dale hearing discouraging whispers among them, a loud, odd growl getting everyone’s attention as Dale is first to lose his breakfast. Jack gets to the porch, but notices the door looking painted on, and as strange noises continued to distract, it is soon overwhelmed by a swarm of bees. Jack then saying the right words necessary to have the door become movable (similar to Beetlejuice: draw a door in case of an emergency), but before they can enter, Doc lets out a shriek. Tyler is currently being yanked back into consciousness by the buzzing in his head, he then noting sounds of a monorail which must mark the return of Munshun, which also meant he would soon be searching for him, he trying to think of alternatives to get himself loose, his chances dwindling. Meanwhile Jack brings Doc out of his horrified reverie to state of its illusion and everyone should be prepared for similar haunts, but Dale brings their attention to the inside of Black House looking like a maze of stairways and doors which kept multiplying on every blink.

Tyler soon imagines Munshun’s characteristics and is back to figuring a way to get Burny’s bag. Jack then calls again for assistance, a queen bee resting on his finger. He first wonders whom had sent her, but decides it is unimportant, he getting the others to follow the bee as she chose a door. No one could say how long they walked through the house, seeing unsettling sights and forgetting them quickly, but they stayed with the queen bee, and were as protected as possible by the swarm. They end up seeing the cell Burny had left Tyler in, then following their wet footsteps out. Tyler is still working on getting the bag closer as he senses Munshun coming nearer, as well as trying to stay motivated as he repeatedly fails in capturing the bag. Jack and crew are walking quickly on the road when a green-tinted man with a whip gets in their way, but when Jack raises the bat, the man runs off, Jack remembering this place wasn’t the Territories and so they, nor their weapons would morph. They take stock as to where they must go as they hear the machinery, whips, and children, getting distracted by particularly loud screams whilst Tyler is still struggling with the bag, the mind-dulling cap forgotten, and the droning bees believed to be buzzing in his head.

Tyler succeeds to catch the bag by stubborn strength of will, attempting to move carefully as he finally gets hold of the key and releases himself. Now he’s thinking he must be dreaming still in his cell, but upon seeing the sky again, believes the reality he stood in, Munshun then grabbing him. He quiets Tyler with a magic word, informing him of his visit with the King before meeting the Chief Breaker, Brautigan, stowing Tyler under his arm and thinking of the young man in New York whom had potential in replacing Burny. He walks back to the road and meets Jack and crew, Munshun recognizing Jack as the annoying boy he once was, and the bat containing some of the light of the Talisman, then seeing the bees blocking his way back onto Station House Road, he knowing his life’s happiness depended on the boy reaching the King, Munshun acting pleasant toward them until the bat gathered more light, Jack stating of Tyler’s mother wanting her son returned, Munshun getting scared and angry, using his magic word to quiet the normal men, but succeeding in only having the three step closer, Munshun then resorting to threats of killing Tyler. He gets a surprise when Jack fires a shot, Beezer’s ring having the same effect when the dying Munshun still attempts to bite Tyler, Dale stepping forward and grabbing the boy so Jack could finish the job. Tyler then shares how he’d dreamt of the bat, and as they discussed returning, Jack informs them all Tyler had one more task in front of him.

Jack has to be callous to get Tyler back to reality, the trio not approving, and when smacking Tyler, the cap comes off, Tyler pushing him without touching him, everyone surprised, and when Tyler shouts angrily about why Jack had hit him, Jack answers truthfully of it being to wake him, he then requesting again for Tyler to break the Big Combination, able now to do as bid, once seeing the start, they then being led back to the Black House by the queen bee. Evil people fall in worlds affected by the Crimson King, soon he as well feeling the change. The children who had been working were now running to exits back into their own worlds. When they walk out of Black House four hours later, the house now looking normal and unkempt, they are readying to leave when Tyler points out the kids walking out the door, Jack suggesting Dale call the agents to handle them whilst he got the credit, Jack placating Tyler in knowing the kids would be fine, they driving Tyler to his father. Jack and Beezer planning on returning at midnight to close the entrance between worlds after all the children had gotten through. The authors again reference themselves when mentioning how normally minor characters wouldn’t make it through these situations: Doc being named. (but I believe Mouse being a suitable substitute in this case) they giving the option of this being a good place to stop for a happy ending, but beyond would bring the opposite. A report of the missing children is supplied and Dale is preparing to hold a press conference.

Dale inquires if the boys were ready for the press storm they were about to step into, courtesy of Jack’s fine ideas, Dale being reassured by Jack of their simplified story being the right way to handle the attention, they giving most of the credit to Henry when identifying Burny, deservedly. They walk to the platform where the many press and townspeople wait, Kaiser Bill and Sonny among them, Speedy attempting to warn Jack of the danger approaching, but remains unheard because of the cheering crowd. Jack only notices when Dale begins speaking to the group to quiet them, being misunderstood when shouting ‘gun’, but Doc realizing first, no one able to do anything about it. Wendell makes use of his spot in the front, getting the second picture to throw him into celebrity and money. Wanda Kinderling being body-slammed by Doc, Speedy finally reaching the platform, speaking with Dale, then he and Jack disappearing inside the motor home, Dale wanting to speak with Beezer and Doc to share the news which could help with their guilt. When leading them away, he repeats what Speedy told him, it helping the two as hoped (Our Mutual Friend being used in reference to Jack) and the three able to wait to see if Jack would come back recovered. A tale from the past of Jack as a small boy being led by a Captain Farren through the Queen’s Pavilion is described, Jack opening a panel which he first saw his mother’s twinner through, he now lying in the same bed, as Sophie and Speedy gazed at him through the same opening. They spoke of the Talisman saving Jack and the likelihood of he being able to return home, Speedy sensing he’d have to reside in the Territories from now on, Jack having plenty to do there when able, and may even be involved in the business of the Tower. Jack comes back to consciousness ten days later, greeted by Sophie.

Enjoyable, but can understand why people called this dull. Despite the amusing references, if one catches them, this definitely feels like a stepping stone to the future stories, and I don’t regret the ride, even if it did read like one of the half entertaining King movies. Onward!

The Man with Two Left Feet and Other Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adventure Time Vol.1 Playing With Fire

This volume is in black and white starting with Jake playing ‘Never have I ever…’ with Finn. Then NEPTR has his turn, making it a bit weird with his subject-choice. Then Finn calls Flame Princess over in a special way so she can join their game. Finn’s next turn brings out how little F.P. knows of a place called Carnival Kingdom, surprising the boys. Jake almost ruins the atmosphere with an insensitive question about F.P.’s childhood, but they turn it around with talks of cotton candy, going off to Carnival Kingdom. When they arrive, Finn gives F.P. a choice as to what prize she’d like him to win and she gets all goo-goo-eyed over a cute stuffed animal. Finn then proceeds to annihilate the game, before the game-keeper even has time to finish his line of questioning. Finn is all set in valiantly giving her his winnings when she is so taken with the game, she ignores him and tries it herself, failing immediately, she then goes flame-y after being sweet-talked by the attendant, Finn and Jake watching on, a bit embarrassed by her display of anger, but Finn also reverting back to his undying awe and anime-style serious liking of her. During Finn’s explaining her awesome side, she calms down and is distracted by another area involving someone playing a fire flute.

Then F.P. fakes Finn into believing he’s about to get a smooch when in fact she’s getting ready to tell him of the free fortune-telling. Then there’s a bit of questionable grammar said by F.P. (not sure if it was a joke or not) and she goes in for a reading. At first the fortune is bright, but then it takes a turn, whilst Finn waits with happiness at being referred to by the teller as F.P.’s boyfriend, then he gets grabbed without the princess noticing until the fortune-teller is leaving and she sees his form stuck to the back of his pack. Jake isn’t sweating it, at first thinking Finn will bust out, but then Jake and F.P. track Finn to a forest with trees filled with peeps in bubbles looking like baubles on a Christmas tree, upon realizing Finn wasn’t going to get out of this one without some help. F.P. angrily calls out the dragon who masquerades as fortune-teller and blasts Finn loose from the tree he’s hanging from. Jake marvels at Finn’s diminished size and F.P. seems like she’s going to get personal, but Finn cuts her off and spurns her affection without a thought. Then Jake asks if they should go save the other tree baubled peeps and Finn declines without feeling, which begins to tip them off. F.P. decides they must return and get the real, awesome Finn back. Jake is kewl with little Finn, but F.P. describes all the great qualities Finn has including one which mystifies her. Jake’s about to follow her, but tries one last time to see if little Finn wants to save his soul and confirms his insouciance, so Jake plops him in a skin pocket and is off to catch up to Flame Princess.

Jake discovers her puzzling over some game pieces and trying to figure out what she’s to do. Jake finally figures out what the game they must play is all about with obvious rules. Jake isn’t as good at playing at first, though and F.P. is getting impatient. Jake tries to reason with her, but F.P. figures another way through to the next area whether it’s cheating or not, which Jake decides is the former option. She continues on her “rampage” going through the puzzle cave in a way which is suited to her nature, until she reaches a water area they must get through. Jake tells her she should stay in the cave whilst he and Finn explore the underwater area, she not liking this idea and deciding she’ll do what she wants and follows them down into the water, which doesn’t do her much good so Jake catches her before she drifts off. When Jake resurfaces he, distressed to F.P.’s condition of possibly being dead, which still doesn’t affect Finn at all, he then realizes how terrible little Finn actually is, but F.P. does wake eventually, in a bed, with her father coming in soon after she wakes. F.P., through conversation with her father then wonders how she even got back to Fire Kingdom, her father explaining she willed herself back, something she didn’t know she could do. Her father then tries to explain how F.P. should try to give in to her evil side more than any other trait she may have and then gets distracted by his servants and through his conduct towards them, F.P. decides she doesn’t truly want to be there, then waking again on a shore side.

After a bit of frustration by the water being everywhere, F.P. happens upon a hollowed castle looking bucket and begins making an enormous castle, but rain soon stops her after she’s struck how little time it took to get the castle so large, then locating a wooden opening above her head. She gets helped through by Choose Goose, who is burned with his efforts, but soon tells F.P. how he got there and his mission in getting his pack back from the dragon. After F.P. exposes how the rooms being puzzles worked, Choose Goose shows her all he’d found was a key, which F.P. is able to figure out must go to one of the doors which is hidden by the dark, which she’s of course able to uncover. Choose Goose suggests she flame up the place, but F.P. goes with the patient way and starts trying doors. Soon she uncovers the right door in an unapparent place, going through with difficulty and landing in a strange place, the door disappearing before her eyes. Soon she’s despairing over how she’ll ever locate Finn in such a vast place, but after shouting his name, she hears hers in return and is led by it, luckily.

We have an ethereal moment with Finn’s spirit when F.P. somehow releases him from his little pod. We then get a sign the dragon had been watching close by the whole time, touched by their little display. After the dragon explains why he’d done what he did, he told them his debt to her and can grant one wish, she bursting with something trivial mentioned at the beginning, but Finn reminds her of how they should help the trapped souls, he included. So, in agreement they choose the wish which everyone is uncomfortably put back in their bodies. Finn gets a kiss from F.P. which doesn’t hurt him and is impressed by her control, however recently practiced it may be. They are then all given prizes by the dragon since he’d been planning on releasing everyone anyways also unloading his burden of them onto the trio in returning them to their homes; they do it, though and end the last return with a camp-out. Finn compliments F.P. on her heroic ways and after the boys are sleeping, she’s still thinking of how unheroic she feels, she then sees her father who tells her she shouldn’t be bothered feeling this way anyways and being evil will get her everything and anything she wants, her form changing in the water.

Finn and Jake are then awakened by screams from someone in their town caused by a fire. Finn tries to invite F.P. along, but she plays unconscious and the duo run off to help, with F.P. trying to optimistically believe perhaps she could be a hero in the future, ending the story. I wasn’t impressed at first, also I truly get bored with black and white, but the style was Adventure Time and it was a catching story once I began following it more closely; all in all, a good addition. Then we get a story with BMO beginning with him being left a note not to touch the wall of weapons, but BMO can’t resist a brush mohawked helmet, soon revising the note and adding some sword action to his game-play, but gets the sword stuck and falls trying to release it, falling into Finn’s underwear and at first being surprised, then using them, sumo-wrestler-style in a fight with a worm. BMO doesn’t win this fight though and walks off looking for items to build a kite, making a big ka-boom which one sees shake the whole tree-house. BMO test drives his flying implement with himself attached to it, like a hang-glider. Then notices the worm on the ground, worryingly close to where his kite is attached; and rightly so; BMO goes with the wind into we know not where, being called and seen looking like a felled warrior when someone opens the door to his knocking. A cute one, not a bad way to end the volume.

Adventure Time Encyclopaedia

We discover Marceline is the owner of this book and has given it to Finn and Jake to read and add notes at will, but to be careful not to die since her father was the one to put the text together. We also are given a map of the land of Ooo which puts the layout into perspective. We first begin with a “Compleat Eel-Gutting Guide Booke” which Marcie thinks shouldn’t be in the book at all, but Finn, who writes in blue thinks otherwise, with Jake’s support. We then get a warning page of whom will be safe to read the pages ahead, the norms not included. We then get a step by step description of what will occur if those who aren’t supposed to be reading, continue to do so, ending with transformation into something which was slimy. Then we get some pictures of Marceline and her father, after which we have a table of contents. The Backward Foreward is, in Finn’s words, trippy. When we start Hunson Abadeer’s preface, he describes his earliest memory and the opinion’s of the boy’s and Marcie interjected. We are then given an Introduction to the introduction describing the previous leader of Ooo, who has an entertaining name when said with the land’s moniker, after which he reiterates his words similarly throughout the text.

Then we begin the Worthless Inhabitants “Mr. Evil” has given pardon to for his daughter’s sake. It goes to give pictorial identification and then descriptions of the character’s we all know starting with Finn, who may or may not have a secret he may or may not know he has. Then we learn his origins and how he got his name, also giving some cute baby Finn pictures, as well as his phobias. Then Jake, of course is almost immediately insulted in his description, crossing part of it out going on to mention how Jake got his magical abilities and his age compared to Finn. We also uncover what his innerds smell like and his smelling abilities. Princess Bubblegum comes next where we are told about her physical and at times, her evil side. She also knows German, has a degree in glycomics and has a Frankenstein’s monster sort-of-way son. We also become privy to who her doctor is later on. Then we move on to Marceline which covers her likes and dislikes from an interview she gave to a fanzine. We also learn where the two fang-marks on her neck came from as well as the “rumours” about her, which were all facts since they came from her father. Then Ice King is next, which gives information from a VHS tape about his origins and real name. It goes on to describe how he got so crazy and the VHS tapes found were his video diaries he’d started almost from the beginning of his descent into madness. We also get a list of his talents and magic, his beard having its own bit of magic as well as knowing he has a tattoo and has been married before. We are given what his favorite video-game is, as well. After is Lady Rainicorn, which starts with learning where she lives, who her best friend is, what kind of Asian language she speaks (since I, for one, was not sure), and also mentions another magic talent she has as well as how she can fly through certain solids, along with riders. Then Lumpy Space Princess is covered which gives all the details one would expect about this trash-talkin’ princess. There’s even a special part where her story is told in “fairy-tale” format.

Then we move on to the, “Insignificat Inhabitants of the Land of Ooo”, in alphabetical order, starting with Abraham Lincoln and ends with Marcie’s ex, Ash for the “A’s”. B’s start with BMO and ends with Butterfly Bandit, which contains some fun alliteration. C’s begin with Cactus Creatures and ends with Cute King. D’s start with Death where it’s revealed he’d played in a band with Abadeer, and ends with the Duke, Duchess and Marquis of Nuts, which in Abadeer’s own words, “are of any consequence…”. E starts with the Earl of Lemongrab and ends with Ed and Barb, acquaintances of Finn’s. F’s start with Fear Feaster and ends with Forest Wizard. G’s begin with Georgy and ends with Gunter where it describes how evil he/she truly is. First in H is the Hot Dog People and last, also known as, the second in this section are the Hug Wolves. First in J’s are Jaybird and Jake’s brother, Jermaine gets his own little section as well, then ending with Jake’s parent’s, Joshua and Margaret. Skipping K and going straight on to L, we begin with the Lich which gets a page all to himself and ending with the Lumpy Space King and Queen. We move on to Abadeer’s most hated Wizards of Ooo after this, which begins with Abracadaniel, who is also covered in the last section. NEPTR is also mentioned in this area, after which we cover the most hated Princesses of Ooo, starting with Breakfast Princess.

We are then given the possible evil, the snail whom shows up through episodes, may possess. After getting through the alphabetical list, which is filled with short blurbs of the creatures, we have a Zine by the Ice King which starts with character profiles of Cake and Fionna, Marshall Lee, Ice Queen, and others, after which is BMO’s Instructional Pamphlet and User Guide giving one the insight as to how to treat BMO with the respect it deserves. We then move on to the Land of Ooo and You, beginning with a tourist guide made by Princess Bubblegum. She writes of all the different Kingdoms in the land of Ooo starting with Candy Kingdom, then to the Fire Kingdom and then the Ice Kingdom. Lumpy Space is also covered, then moving to the Breakfast Kingdom and covering also a forest and haunted house. We then get Marceline’s travel blog to finish off the chapters. She mentions a Kingdom not covered by PB called Goblin Kingdom, pretty self-explanatory. After is the Lost Texts of Ooo which begins with an excerpt of the Enchiridion. It continues with cut off text of different old legends and also covers some spells of Abadeer’s. Then we get to the chapters which, if one reads them, will die! Starting with a full page introduction which tries to dissuade the reader with big words and imminent death, then going on to a page written by a wizard whom got turned into the page. We also have an unsolvable rebus which will supposedly make one mad, as it had others. After which comes the disclaimer, purely in law-speak and then we get to a part where the book tries to get the reader to stop reading it. This was mostly entertaining, and slightly a chore to get through since it is made up of mostly the descriptions of characters one barely recognizes, but I’ve read almost everything else Adventure Time, so I’m satisfied I at least read it; the pictures were a plus, as well.

Adventure Time Summer Special

The Summer Special starts with Finn and Jake lost in the desert with Jake believing Finn is reading the map wrong, but Finn claims otherwise and so points the right direction and Jake slings him in the direction of a cave, where a Troll Guardian is standing outside. They realize it’s the right place, but they can’t pay the toll so are turned away. They decide to put up a lemonade stand for travelers to raise money, but their lemonade was not of a cool temperature and so money was returned soon after raising it. The Ice King shows up asking for lemonade, but Finn and Jake refuse to sell to him and in anger the Ice King freezes the stand for being denied the lemonade, which then Finn realizes their efforts have been turned into icy pops, ending up with them selling and so don’t even need the treasure for cashing in with the pops they sold. The next story starts with Jake frying some eggs and singing a song about it. Then he sees a pigeon near him, which Finn explains he found in an unlikely spot in his unmentionables. Jake asks why he’s holding the bird with tongs which is explained with the facts of the creature possibly being diseased. Finn figured the bird could stay a couple days, roommate-style, since the little guy wouldn’t leave.

After a couple of weeks, some of their articles have been going missing, Finn not having his pants handy and Jake bereft of his teapot. They they see the bird is using their belongings as bathing material and isn’t helping around the house either, which spurs Finn into deciding the bird should go. The bird then speaks, to their surprise, but turns into something un-bird-like, at the same time. Jake figures out the creatures origin and Finn begins fighting it, but Jake informs him the only way to beat it is through a voting system, which the creature had to obey, getting him to leave. This was also a good mini-story. The next one starts with Marceline reading and notices PB walking by. Curious, she follows her not making herself known. She follows PB to a crystal-heart tree hidden through a cave, for an experiment. PB tries to snap one off, but in her efforts, Marceline gets some entertainment from her failure.

PB then sleeps over for another try later. Whilst she sleeps, Marceline successfully gets one of the tree limbs broken off and leaves it next to her, then leaving, her job complete. Which was a sweet one in its simplicity. The next story is a Fionna and Cake mini, starting with Fionna kicking debris off of the dirty yard as Mr. Stumps complains about its mess. Cake claims she can clean it up and proceeds to eat the mess up, with Mr. Stumps in agreement to it’s cleanliness afterwards, awarding them some cash. Fionna plans on using the money to attend a Heroes and Adventurers Caucus for souvenirs, but then the money bursts into flames. She runs quickly to get her ticket, but then is shown a sign which excludes her from attending, this doesn’t stop her from trying though and so disguises herself into looking like Finn; I won’t even go into the ending, but it was cute as Bonkers. I’ll be happy to start the Fionna and Cake series.

Adventure Time Annual Issue #1

The annual issue starts with an alphabetical rhyme which take Finn and Jake through different parts of Ooo and end up at a radio station. It was a quick and fun read. The next story is with Finn and Jake playing a game called Cave of the Game-Sword. Finn gets through and sees the sword, when he reaches it, it says he’s won the game. Then it tries to get Finn to make the sword his best bud and to forget BMO and Jake, which totally ruins the win and he goes back to Jake to inform him of what he thought of it. The next story is a rap-style story of Finn and Jake going to a party and how Jake is almost carded, for being a dog, but it ends positively. The next story starts with the Ice King and Gunter doing a D&D-like quest. Finn and Jake are the bad guys in this one and Ice King tries to defeat them with his penguins. When he succeeds, Gunter takes the glory and the Ice King shouts of betrayal. Ice King is properly prickled by this and Gunter stays victorious. The next story starts with Jake being a musician and then zombies begin to attack, when he’s woken by Finn with a poke to the ear. The goal for today is to climb the tallest mountain in Ooo, but Finn gets tired before even starting and then a cloud which seemingly turned his back-pack into a life-form, asks if he would rather be carried. Jake asks why he’d want to do this and the knapsack says it’s to return the favor.

After making some headway, soon they run into ski ninjas fighting surf samurai’s for some reason on the mountain, which Finn doesn’t get to see for being attached like a backpack to his backpack. Jake doesn’t help the matter by divulging of it’s once in a lifetime awesomeness. Then they move on to witness Yeti congressmen having a meeting and Finn is having a conniption for not being able to see anything still. After an avalanche comes down whilst a goat-cheese race was in progress, so it took Jake a bit longer than normal to dig Finn out for eating cheese, as well. When they reach the summit, Finn is so mad at not having seen anything the whole trip, he whacks the sack with his stick of forgetfulness and also gets a swing at Jake too. The next time Jake wakes up Finn has planned to climb up the mountain again, but his idea is spoiled by his beanie trying to eat his face; an exceedingly good story. The next story begins with Lemongrab going to the beach, catches a lemonopus and makes lemon pie. There are more animals who get turned into snacks as we go through the story and then Finn and Jake show up, Finn getting a bit defensive to what they’re doing to the wild-life, but once seeing lemonade, joins their picnic. Funny, but disturbing.