Chapter Twenty: Run and Gun

It’s time for Tookie’s next class, Run-a-Way Intensive. On the way to the class, Tookie sees holograms of Intoxibellas, including a faint image of Ci~L. Tookie wonders if her vision of Ci~L had really been a dream.

Shiraz pops up, as she happens to be in Run-a-Way Intensive with Tookie…and so are Zarpessa and Chaste.

As they scuttled into the classroom, Tookie could feel two pairs of familiar eyes BitterBalling her again.

I’m the one reading this book and I don’t remember exactly what this means, though I am picturing a hilarious look on Zarpessa’s face. Anyway, Zarpessa acts like a bitch some more. Tookie remembers Ci~L’s words and doesn’t retort.

And then Dylan and Piper show up as well, along with Gunnero Narzz, who tells the students that he is the teacher of Run-a-Way Intensive. Then Persimmon enters, telling Gunnero that, by order of the BellaDonna, the day’s class will be co-instructed by “the only living Triple7”. Gunnero says something about a “Body Girl” and Persimmon says that the co-instructor will be an Intoxibella ordered to repent. Naturally, it’s Ci~L, who walks in wearing an outfit made of handcuffs. As soon as she spots Tookie’s group, she starts reciting poety, looking at each of Tookie’s friends. For Piper, we get:

“A colorless girl in a colorless world,” … “Now stained crimson because of her quest.”

And for Shiraz:

“A microscopic lass below the criterion,” … “Journey aborted, but soul cannot rest.”

And seemingly for Dylan:

“A Rubenesque damsel, surrounded by twigs
Her lush carcass devoured, insects infest.”

And then one last set of lines:

“Their crony, elected exemplar of excellence,
Has failed them, whose soul demons now do possess.”

For someone who’s supposed to be a renowned poet, this is pretty loused poetry. And as a minor quibble, it irks me that the first two poems she reads out are integrated into the rest of the text (the ellipses indicate where Ci~L has a dialogue tag), but the last two poems are set apart from the rest of the text. It would have been a simple matter to have the first two poems formatted in the same way by having the dialogue tag before the lines, not in the middle of them.

Tookie wonders again if her vision might not have been a dream, then Shiraz notices the BellaDonna moving towards and looking into the classroom window.

Then flowers start coming out of Ci~L’s mouth, including an entire rosebush. Gunnero sniggers, calling Ci~L “Body Girl”. Ci~L shouts at the statue, promising that she’ll stop reciting poems and that she knows what she did was wrong. The BellaDonna statue returns to its original position and the flowers stop.

Now that that bit of “why in the world is this happening?” is over, Gunnero starts his lecture, explaining that _“To bring forth the true power of the Sentura, one must retract one’s stomach, letting the Sentura’s majestic force soak into one’s soul.” Because you can’t be a magical model without trying to look as thin as possible. Ci~L demonstrates, doing a runway walk. Tookie notices that Gunnero seems to be jealous of Ci~L.

Ci~L disappears behind a wall, then reappears in a dress covered in teddy bears. I’m not making this up. Tookie thinks about how Ci~L had done every fashion show by herself one season.

But how? What was going on backstage that got her back out on the runway so fast?

I’m going to hazard a guess and say magic, you idiot. Has Tookie forgotten that she’s in a school for magical models?

Ci~L does several more outfit changes, and Tookie notices that Ci~L flinches every time her clothing rubs against her back. Gunnero eventually tells her to stop, then has Ci~L explain that what they saw wasn’t real. Mirrors on the wall plays back Ci~L’s walks, except they show that she was running and jumping. The mirror also show that backstage, Ci~L’s clothes simply flew off and disintegrated, while tiny hands put on clothes that appeared out of nowhere.

Well, what do you know? It was magic after all!

Gunnero explains how the Senturas hypnotize audiences and that his class is the most important class in Modelland.

Dylan jabbed Tookie in the ribs. “All the Gurus got some swelled-up heads, don’t you think? I ain’t never taken so many important classes in my life!”

Um, Dylan? The only other class you’ve taken so far is CaraCaraCara, and Guru Pacifico never said it was the most important class. He never even used the word “important”.

Tookie asks how Ci~L did her magic, and Ci~L explains that you need a Sentura. Gunnero adds that a model’s movements have to be graceful and “swanlike.” Tookie worries about tripping.

Shiraz volunteers to go first. She doesn’t do that well, and Gunnero mocks her. As she returns to Tookie, Shiraz comments on how Ci~L is staring at Shiraz. Tookie wonders if Ci~L is pleased or disgusted.

Next comes Bo, the emotionless girl from CaraCaraCara, who is completely emotionless during the walk. The girl who is supposed to be next, Desperada, is simply crying. Ci~L tries to encourage her to stop crying while Chaste goes.

In the mirrors, she somehow made running look almost pornographic, shaking everything she shouldn’t. On the runway, she rubbed her body all over, gyrating to the beat like a dancer in an exotic nightclub.

“I not old enough to look!” Shiraz yelped, closing her eyes.

Because as we all know, Chaste is a slut and only a slut.

Gunnero tells Tookie to go next. Tookie gathers her resolve and starts leaping down the runway, but her magic doesn’t seem to be working—her performance looks the same as her reflection. Tookie wonders what’s going on before she notices Zarpessa with a “clearly devilish smile.”

All at once, Tookie knew. She did something to me. Something to mess up my walk.

Or maybe you just suck and she’s grinning because she’s just an Alpha Bitch? It’s not like you were remotely successful in CaraCaraCara.

Tookie charges ahead—straight into a wall. Zarpessa jeers, and Tookie says to her friends that she thinks Zarpessa did something.

Zarpessa does her walk, and despite being told not to, ducks behind the wall and changes her outfit. Hm, I wonder how she did that? Gunnero snarks at Zarpessa, then says that the class is over and complains about the general lack of talent. And we get more actress-bashing from him.

Zarpessa appears behind Tookie, explaining that she took the yellow dress that she brought to Modelland and cut it up into ten items, including a yellow scarf. Tookie realizes that Zarpessa switched her Sentura, and Zarpessa warns Tookie not to tell anyone anything about her, otherwise “it’ll be bad for [her] soul.” She makes a comment about karma, which is rich coming from a character whose only personality trait is being an Alpha Bitch.

Tookie goes to exit, then notices an omnious look from Ci~L. As Ci~L turns around, Tookie notices blood seeping through the cloth of Ci~L’s outfit.


Chapter Twenty-One: Jammers, Chowers, and Poachers

After Tookie gets her real Sentura, she heads off to Mastication class. Tookie feels pity and envy for Zarpessa, along with anger. She thinks, “why does that girl have to be so nasty?” I think the real answer to that has to do with amateur writing. Tookie also realizes that she’s hungry.

The Mastication class building looks like a giant bowl made out of loafs of bread with a ladle-shaped smokestack. Tookie goes to lick the window, but Dylan stops her, warning her that licking the food will get you an electric shock. She says “Cuh-ray-zee!” and I’m inclined to have myself a little splash of wine. Dylan also mocks Tookie’s dislike of chocolate, because she’s a twit. Then she complains about her first class, Tick-Tock Color Clock—

—except Dylan was in Tookie’s first class, CaraCaraCara. Tookie has three classes and Dylan is in all of them, so unless Dylan has an extra class, her first class would have been CaraCaraCara. But you’d think that all of the new students would have a class teaching them about the stupid colour clock system, wouldn’t you?

I don’t think Banks thought this out very well.

Tookie tells Dylan about what happened in Run-a-Way Intensive—

—okay, now I know Banks didn’t think this out very well. DYLAN WAS THERE.

Dylan calls Tookie “my Tookie” which makes Tookie feel good about herself, then asks what Zarpessa’s problem is. Tookie doesn’t say as they walk into Mastication and are greeted with the smell of delicious food.

They soon come across the teacher of this class. It’s not Professor Loopin, but a woman with extended arms, a tool belt with cooking utensils, an outfit with various foods stiched into the fabric, and hair made out of spaghetti and licorice.

More Bellas enter, including Zarpessa, Chaste, the Likee sisters, and Kamalini. Small mouselike creatures with slits on their bellies start running around the classroom, which the Guru of the class calls “roo jerky” and says that if they catch one, they can eat it—which she does as soon as she grabs one. The Guru introduces herself as Guru Lauro Brown. She has a Didgeridoo accent, if the text didn’t make that obvious with her saying “G’day!”

She takes the girls’ Senturas, then orders them to stick out their tongues so she can appraise their favourite food. Dylan’s is Bou-Big-Tique deep-dish pizza.

Dylan jolted back and put her hands on her hips. “Honey, don’t say pizza pie unless you got some!”

…moving on. She sees Tookie’s favourite food is whipped cream, and the Likee sisters’ favourite is breath mints. She tells them that they need proper food, which immediately makes Lauro the most sensible (a.k.a. not stupid) of the Gurus so far. After divining that Zarpessa’s favourite food is white-truffle-wagyu-saffron risotto toped with Almas caviar, she notices the taint of “discared foods” on Zarpessa’s tongue.

Kamalini asks how Lauro knew their favourite foods, and Lauro says that she’s a tongue-reader. You know, if that wasn’t obvious from the whole “stick your tongue out and I’ll tell you your favourite food based on it” thing. Lauro lifts off her chef’s hat, releasing yellow smoke. Everyone comments on how it smells like their favourite food, including Zarpessa.

“No, it smells like virgin olive oil bread with only a slight hint of mold, which is okay because it can be sliced off, and a half-eaten pheasant!” Zarpessa swooned before stopping herself.

Because obviously Zarpessa likes eating out of the garbage, right?

Harnesses lower from the ceiling over vats. Lauro tells them to find their food and climb into their harness. As Tookie climbs into her harness, she sees a ton of whipped cream cans squirting into the air. She tries to reach for the whipped cream but can’t reach it. The harnesses lower slightly, but the girls still can’t reach.

Lauro strolled around the room, dipping a finger into each girl’s slop. “Outstanding pizza pie,” she told Dylan.

How exactly do you dip a finger into a pizza? Unless it’s pizza-flavoured slop, but then it wouldn’t be a pizza. Nevermind, it’s just really dumb phrasing.

The harnesses pull up suddenly before lowering enough so that the girls can start eating. Tookie starts gorging herself with whipped cream, discovering that she can hide a can of whipped cream in her flower brooch somehow. It really does use the word “somehow”.

After a while, the vats tip over, spilling their contents onto the floor. The girls are released from their harnesses, and Zarpessa continues eating off of the floor.

Next, the girls go into the food-vats, which carry them to another building with nozzles squirting out syrups. Everyone pigs out again.

After a while, Lauro stops the nozzles, then says that it’s time for the lesson on Jammers, Chowers, and Poachers. She takes a green stamp and starts pressing it on girls, branding them “Gut Chowers“—the girls who ate well, including Kamalini and Chaste.

“That’s the first time anyone has ever told me it’s good to stop even when something feels really good.” Chaste licked a bit of leftover chocolate off her thumb.

Okay, I’m getting really annoyed with how Chaste is nothing but a slut. Everything she does or says has a slutty connotation to it. She has absolutely no dimension beyond “do/say slutty things”. And it’s long past getting old.

The Likee sisters get a stamp that says “Gut Poacher”, telling them that they need to eat food and not feel bad about the food that they do eat. Zarpessa gets a stamp that simply reads “Gut”, while Tookie gets a red “Gut Jammer” stamp. Lauro tells her that she shouldn’t just stuff her tummy all she wants and that she should be happy with how she looks, saying that Tookie’s appearance “ain’t half bad”. This makes Tookie feel good.

Dylan also gets a “Gut Jammer” stamp, and tries to make excuses for it. When Lauro suggests that the pizza has an emotional effect on Dylan, Dylan immediately denies it.

Lauro starts talking about how food may be their biggest challenge in becoming Intoxibellas. I’ll just quote a little bit of this:

“Starvation and oversatiation are not acceptable, mates. Models are known for restricting their food or going on binges, but that’s not what we’re going for here. And besides…” Guru Lauro trailed off, making a face. “Those lolli-headed leading ladies restrict as well. Worse than models, in my roo opinion.”

…please stand back, people.

WHY, TYRA?! You had a genuinely likeable character here! You had someone giving a lesson that is actually important, someone giving a good moral that applies to real-life and not just some stupid fictional model school—and you had to go ruin it with STUPID actress-bashing! Why must you do this to me?

…okay, I’m good, let’s get back to this.

Lauro says that she’ll be designing the Bellas’ meals, and makes the Bellas hungry again. A room is revealed with hundreds of doors and mouthwatering dishes beyond, colour-coded according to the labels she had applied to the girls. The word “EATZ” is visible on the wall, and when Tookie declares that the “E” in Modelland must mean “Eatz”, Zarpessa rudely interrupts. This starts an arguing match between Dylan and Zarpessa, both calling each other “L” insults, which Tookie eventually breaks it up after Zarpessa gets the last insult in. Even though the book then says “Dylan turned away, but she was smiling wide, having gotten in the last L insult.” Consistency? What’s that?

The girls get their Senturas back and go to the wall of dishes—except for Dylan, who just stands still. Tookie doesn’t pry, and pulls Dylan over to the food.

All of a sudden, all of the girls rush towards the windows. Chaste makes a slutty remark. I shouldn’t even need to say that what Chaste said was slutty, so from now on, whenever I say that Chaste does or says something, it’s something slutty unless I specify otherwise. (And I will keep track of whether or not I ever have to.)

Outside the window are three young men carrying a steel girder over their heads—the three male models from Bestosterone that Tookie encountered earlier. Two of the boys, Webb and Alexander, show off for the girls. Bravo just smiles politely before tossing the girder into the air a couple of times for a photographer. The third time, it cuts open his forearm. Then Bravo looks directly at Tookie, and the chapter ends.

Well, that was random.

Chapter Twenty-Two: Fused Flashback Females

The girls are perplexed by Bravo looking at Tookie. Zarpessa makes a bitchy remark, and I start considering whether I can give Zarpessa the same treatment as Chaste where I can just say “Zarpessa says/does something” and it’ll be a given that she’s just being a bitch.

Bravo makes a wiping gesture across his nose, and Tookie realizes that she had whipped cream on her nose. Then Persimoon shows up and tells the girls to get into a single-file line. Chaste says something, and Persimmon tells her that she needs her filthy mouth cleaned out. (See, it’s working so far!)

They arrive at a place called the OoAh. Zarpessa explains it’s where Bellas go to relax after training, and claims to have one attached to her bedroom. Persimmon orders the girls into groups. Tookie, Dylan, and Kamalini end up in a group together and are led off by a yellow-glowing Mannecant. Tookie feels the wall and realizes that it’s cashmere. Tookie thinks about a cashmere suit that her mother Creamy wore, and wonders what Creamy is doing at the moment. I wonder as well…?

The girls are told that the OoAh will remove their clothes and are instructed to lie down on three slabs. Once they do, little hands take off their clothes and a cushion of air causes the girls to hover in the air while water sprays above and below them. So this is basically a car wash for models?

They’re given minidresses and are led on a tour of the OoAh. The Mannecant tells them that they can change the environment to whatever they want. Kamalini asks for the OoAh to look like her home, then Tookie asks for a whipped cream factory. This makes her think about Lizzie and Exodus (the plan) again, though thankfully we don’t get angst.

Eventually, the girls come upon a room where three women are sitting together, with their hair fused into a large beehive. The Mannecant explains the Flashback Females: they can take a person and their friends into a past memory. The Mannecant also mentions that if they want to try it out, all of them have to. Dylan asks Tookie and Kamalini if they want to give it a try, and both of them are uneasy about it. Kamalini mentions that she’s ashamed of her house, to which Dylan points out that she lives in a store.

Kamalini goes first, and is led by one of the Flashback Females into the circle. The area changes into a luxurious bedroom with a window overlooking a shanytown. A younger Kamalini jumps out the window and goes to visit a group of people she tells the others are a family she would sneak unused stuff to. Young Kamalini tells the family that they have speaking parts in her mother’s next film, then the setting changes to Cappuccina where the family is reciting their lines and then to a film location in Très Jolie where Kamalini is helping her mother. In this setting, Kamalini’s mother is shooting a big thunderstorm scene. As the family performs, the backdrop tips over and collapses on the family. One of the little girls in the family crawls out, screaming for her parents. Kamalini reveals that this is the reason that she wears her Headbangor, in an attempt to block out the memories of the family’s deaths.

I just have one question: why did Kamalini want to relive this memory?

Next comes Dylan’s flashback, and the girls find themselves in a park in Bou-Big-Tique Nation. A young Dylan is playing with her father when suddenly her father collapses onto his knees. Her father tells young Dylan to remember that she’s beautiful and that she’s perfect before falling over. An ambulance appears, taking Dylan’s father away as the scene fades away.

The Mannecant asks Tookie if she is ready. Tookie starts towards Dylan, who is crying on the floor, but hears one of the Flashback Females seemingly saying, “Let her be, Tookie. The pain is part of the healing.” Tookie wants to skip but, as the Mannecant tells them, she would end up being marked as incomplete since OoAh is a class.

Tookie approaches the Painful Backstory Exposition Ladies Flashback Females, and the room changes to her home in Peppertown, albeit less ramshackle. Creamy enters, followed by a man who Tookie thinks is Chris-Crème-Crobat though she is unable to see his face. They look over the child in the bed, a two-year-old Tookie, talking about how she looks just like both of them. Little Tookie bites on a toothbrush, and Tookie reflects on how the toothbrush was a symbol of love before it became a weapon from her father. Tookie wonders about what changed to make her parents hate her as Chris-Crème-Crobat tells little Tookie to go to sleep, repeating his favourite words: “Just go, for all of us.”

The flashback ends. Then Tookie takes out a pink pen and starts writing a letter to Lizzie in Gowdee’an—wait, where’d she get the pen from? Her clothes were removed and she’s wearing the OoAh minidress. And what is she writing on? I think she’s supposed to be back in her room writing in her T-Mail Jail, but the formatting in the copy I’m reading is messed up.

Anyway, her letter goes on about how Tookie thinks Lizzie might hate her for seemingly abandoning her and says that she hopes that Lizzie is wondering about what Tookie is doing. She writes about her “friendSSSS” and how she’s become “Modelland’s Stare-at-Her girl.” Tookie mentions what happened with Bravo and how one of the Gurus said she “ain’t half bad”. She even uses “cuh-ray-zee” in her letter. Tookie says that she misses Lizzie, then adds as a postscript, “I hope you’re staying far away from sharp rocks.” With the exception of that line, Tookie’s letter is really self-centered.

But that brings us to the end of Chapter 22, and the end of this installment. Tune in next time for a sudden and awkward time skip, cats, and…oh yeah…the very special chapter I mentioned last time.

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  1. Prince O' Tea on 20 March 2013, 15:36 said:

    You know there’s something wrong when Alice in Wonderland has more consistency then you do.

  2. Apep on 20 March 2013, 16:55 said:

    Oh, sweet merciful Cthulhu.

    I’m going to focus on three things, because if I pick at everything I’ll probably have a breakdown.

    First, the characters. Or rather, caricatures, because they’re so flat. Every one of them has at most two character traits, and those are the ones we’re supposed to like. The Mean Girls are only allowed one each. I don’t think Ms. Banks read any books after high school, because otherwise she might have some idea of what good writing looks like.

    Second, the actress-bashing. It looks like actresses are to Ms. Banks as blondes are to Meyer – they deserve to be insulted and degraded for no other reason than the fact that they are what they are. Did you want to be an actress, Ms. Banks? Or were some actresses mean to you when you were still new to the modeling business? Or is that attitude fairly prevalent in the modeling community? Whatever it is, it’s incredibly petty and says more about you than it does actresses.

    Finally, the poetry. I don’t know why that’s in there, because it sucks. This looks like another instance of no one being honest with Ms. Banks for fear of her wrath. It doesn’t quite scan, and the rhyme scheme awkward – ABCBDBEB doesn’t work. If you can’t write poetry, don’t write any for you book.

  3. lilyWhite on 20 March 2013, 17:11 said:

    Second, the actress-bashing. It looks like actresses are to Ms. Banks as blondes are to Meyer – they deserve to be insulted and degraded for no other reason than the fact that they are what they are. Did you want to be an actress, Ms. Banks? Or were some actresses mean to you when you were still new to the modeling business? Or is that attitude fairly prevalent in the modeling community? Whatever it is, it’s incredibly petty and says more about you than it does actresses.

    I doubt that’s how Banks really feels about actresses, given that she’s done quite a bit of acting of her own. As far as my opinions on it go, it’s annoying because every character who bashes actresses has blatantly stupid logic in how they dislike actresses. I imagine that may be the point, but it’s still annoying nonetheless, especially when a seemingly rational and likeable character starts making snide generalizations about actresses.

  4. Pryotra on 20 March 2013, 20:01 said:

    You know, I get the feeling that Banks is really, really jealous of actresses. I mean, she just can’t seem to restrain herself from taking any opportunity to attack them.

    I mean that entire speech sounded like. “Oh, models starve themselves. Well, actresses do it worse! And they’re not classy like me! So stop wanting to be actresses, little girls and try to be like me!”

    “I hope you’re staying far away from sharp rocks.

    That’s…kind of condescending. I mean, Lizzie was weird, but from what she said, there was something really wrong…

  5. Tim on 20 March 2013, 21:20 said:

    I doubt that’s how Banks really feels about actresses, given that she’s done quite a bit of acting of her own.

    Looking at that list of credits, I’d say it’s more accurate to say she’s been in things than that she’s done any actual acting. Sitcoms and a slasher movie, not exactly bastions of the dramatic arts there.

  6. Taku on 20 March 2013, 21:45 said:

    BQ. in my roo opinion.

    What? This makes less than zero sense. Peppering your dialogue with various Australianisms does not koala an Australian accent. Platypus you think otherwise, roo should Sydney Opera House gum trees Uluru Vegemite Big Pineapple. Wallabies don’t Yungaburra when they mean to billabong, so swaggies shouldn’t Arnott’s when they want to chico roll.

  7. swenson on 20 March 2013, 22:46 said:

    Remember kids: you’re cool and special no matter where you’re from and what you talk like, whether you speak Australian Didgeridoo-ian or albino-speak or just plain talk normal like a good American.

  8. Tim on 21 March 2013, 03:04 said:

    That’s not American at all, you say it like

    “Freedom justice democracy freedom freedom cowboy hats y’all apple pie sidewalk Boston New York Texas”

    Also you can’t speak unless it’s the fourth of July.

  9. Brendan Rizzo on 21 March 2013, 08:37 said:

    Wait, weren’t there seven Seven7s? And by the time they get to the eating class, you’d think they’d learn that they’ll be doing it wrong if they just pig out or something.

    I don’t know what to say about these chapters, except that Banks really seems to have a thing for grotesque transformations. Again, if this book represents her own views, I’ll be disappointed. It reminds me of another poorly written fantasy book that I might sport when I’m done with what I’m currently doing, where the writer looks to be setting up all sides of a conflict as equally reprehensible, but is so heavy-handed when it comes to the “racism is bad” message that the writing suffers for it.

    @ Taku:

    Sadly, what you wrote is how Americans in general seem to think Australians speak.

  10. Cristina on 21 March 2013, 09:00 said:

    “Wallabies don’t Yungaburra when they mean to billabong”

    I want to use this in casual conversation! :D

    I thought about the “dahling narrator”, and you know what? I think Tyra is trying to rip off Gossip Girl in this.

  11. swenson on 21 March 2013, 09:19 said:

    Wait, weren’t there seven Seven7s?

    Yes, but only Ci~L is a Triple7 or whatever nonsensical name they have.

  12. lilyWhite on 21 March 2013, 11:03 said:

    Wait, weren’t there seven Seven7s?

    I’m not entirely sure how the whole “7Seven” thing works. My theory is that there’s seven graduating Intoxibellas that graduate each year that become known as 7Sevens (whether it’s because they have specific powers or they’re the best of the graduating class), but the book uses the terms “7Seven” and “Intoxibella” so interchangably that it’s really not clear from the text itself what the distinction is between a “7Seven” and an “Intoxibella”.