Chapter Thirty-Two: There Is No, Has Never Been, and Never Will Be

As Tookie comes out of the D building, she overhears girls talking about what happened to Desperada. Two girls speculate that the BellaDonna made Desperada age, one of those girls being Chaste. Holy cow, Chaste said something that wasn’t completely slutty! It only took…however many chapters since this one-dimensional slut first appeared. A memorial to Desperada has been made where she had jumped over the wall, with the wall changing itself to show before-and-after pictures of Desperada. Tookie wonders how they’re going to escape Modelland now, apparently having forgotten again about the emergency ZipZap. Screw 50% chances of safety, the Unicas only care about 0% chances.

A hologram of Guru Gunnero appears, telling all of the Bellas to go to the M building.

Tookie and her friends froze and exchanged worried glances. The M building. Where she’d heard they were all going to be experimented on and sacrificed.

Um, no, Tookie never heard anything of the sort. She overheard that her friends and herself were experiments themselves, and only a vague mention of “sacrifice”. Tookie has a very poor memory.

All of the Bellas go to the M building. Tookie thinks about the random things she saw in the M building, somehow capable of remembering those things better than the actual words that she had overheard. On a wall before the Bellas, two sad-looking eyes and lips appear. Persimmon introduces the BellaDonna, and the BellaDonna starts singing about how Desperada is now ugly and that Modelland is no longer her home. The Bellas repeat the single verse six times.

The BellaDonna then expresses her pity for Desperada, taking shots at Desperada’s obsession with her boyfriend and “imbecilic mistake.” The room goes dark and the BellaDonna launches into a speech about how a woman’s dreams are more important than men in Modelland.

“But Madame BellaDonna.” Even in the darkness, the voice was instantly recognizable. Zarpessa’s voice continued. “I don’t think it’s wrong to live for a man. Their intelligence is far greater than ours, and it is our duty to submit and love and—”

“How dare you speak when I am speaking, and such nonsense on top of that!” the BellaDonna roared.

Don’t you just love how all just about every character in the book, even the villainous ones, rebuke Zarpessa for her shallow and idiotic beliefs?

The BellaDonna goes on a tirade against love, ending with “There is no, has never been, and never will be room for love at Modelland. Ever.” So much for my hopes of Tookie falling in love with Kamalini. Girls in the audience express their dislike of the idea of disregarding love, including Zarpessa herself.

Then Shiraz points out that she’s able to see in the darkness because of the low light in Canne Del Abra.

Low light.

In a country where hundreds of candles are constantly burning.

Okay, then.

At which point the BellaDonna apparently thwacks Shiraz and tells her to close her eyes. The BellaDonna taunts Shiraz over her short legs, says that Dylan’s sass can’t save her, and has this little gem for Piper:

“A mind like yours is a terrible thing to waste,” … “I’ll make sure she sautées it and eats every last drop.”

And take a guess what Tookie thinks of this?

Ci~L is coming for them any minute, Tookie thought. This is the BellaDonna’s warning!

(smashes head against wall repeatedly)

No, I’m not getting pissed off over Tookie’s constant demonization of Ci~L, what makes you think that? It’s not like the BellaDonna just made herself out to be a total bitch and insulted two of Tookie’s friends. No, because the BellaDonna used the word “she”, that must mean that she’s warning you about how Ci~L is planning to kill you! Because the BellaDonna is such a stand-up lady, don’t you think?

(smashes head against wall repeatedly)

Anyway, Tookie feels the BellaDonna looking at her, but the BellaDonna says nothing. Tookie realizes that they have to leave, immediately.

How much do you want to bet that, after this Pilgrims chapter, that several days have passed with Tookie and her friends having done absolutely nothing to help themselves escape?

Chapter Thirty-Three: The Mutant Music Monster

The Pilgrims are now in the second level, and the wear and tear on their bodies is starting to show. Creamy tells the group that she is assuming control, given “the many near tragedies at the hands of our drowsy, irresponsible leader”. You know, that one time he fell asleep and the Flute Creepers nearly killed most of the group. Or has he been incompetent more times than that? It would be nice if we could be told anything about those times.

Kamata protests, but the rest of the group votes to make Creamy leader. Kamata says that he’ll stay with the group so that he can finally see Modelland, revealing that he’s a phony. Hunchy (the LeGizzârd who wants to omnomnom on Piper’s guts) returns just as they start off.

The group sees signs of past Pilgrims. Myrracle is completely oblivious to the danger of the Diabolical Divide, which aggravates one of the other Pilgrims, Jessamine. Creamy and Kamata discuss something in private, then Kamata tells the group about a fresh watering hole not far from where they are. The whole group decides to stop at the watering hole. Who wants to bet that this is going to end badly?

They arrive at a “pristine lake” in the middle of a vicious hellhole. Creamy tells Myrracle to let the others go first, and Kamata suddenly says that the center of the pond is allegedly reserved only for the purest beauty.

Hey, remember that last chapter where Creamy said that it was best to have the other Pilgrims alive? I’m getting the strange feeling that Creamy is trying to get someone killed.

Jessamine charges into the pond, swimming towards the center. Creamy mutters, “Lights out, shining star”. When Jessamine arrives at the center of the pond, the pond starts bubbling, with thousands of skulls rising to the surface. Everyone else retreats from the pond, while Jessamine’s mother Meena grabs a branch and tries to get Jessamine out of the pond.

Then a massive monster rises out of the water.

Its body was made of dozens and dozens of human arms, and its head was a mash of ancient musical instruments contorted into an evil, hungry-looking array of sharpened, sideways-turned cymbals for teeth, hollow eyes made of tuba bells, and a steaming nose made of organ pipes.

Who didn’t see this coming? If you didn’t, then clearly you haven’t read the chapter title.

The monster takes a bite out of Jessamine’s torso. Meena tries to attack the monster with the branch, which promptly gets her eaten. Everything of Jessamine and Meena gets eaten, save for their arms, which it places on its head. The arms come to life and start playing on the monster’s instruments. The monster starts charging for Myrracle, but Creamy steps in the way, without a hint of fear.

She stared viciously at the creature, then spat out a five-word warning. “Touch. Myrracle. And. You. Die.”

The monster immediately retreats. Everyone stares at Creamy, wondering “Who was this woman?” Creamy simply says that they need to keep going.

And now Creamy has cemented herself as a much better villain than either the BellaDonna or Ci~L.

Chapter Thirty-Four: The Madwoman of the Modelland

Well, what do you know? The Unicas are still at Modelland, with no clue of how to escape. They wonder if climbing the wall and aging would be better than death, but Piper questions whether it would shorten their life-spans, which discourages them from climbing the wall. Which leaves them with no ideas. Because they still haven’t remembered the emergency ZipZap.

It’s nighttime, and Tookie is lying in bed awake. Then Zarpessa starts freaking out, with her Lumière shining into her face. Zarpessa tells some lady that she isn’t hiding her anymore, tells someone to “stop it”, and says that she will wear some dress to The Day of Discovery. Tookie wonders if Zarpessa is dreaming about the dress that she fought over with Lizzie. Which brings up a question: is everything Zarpessa is saying directed at the same person in her head? If so, has Zarpessa been “hiding” Lizzie from someone? Will this come up later, or have any importance in the plot?

I’m sure everyone here knows the answer.

Zarpessa mentions a “Poppi”, who Tookie suspects is Zarpessa’s father. Tookie feels like trying to comfort Zarpessa for a second, then decides, nope!

Zarpessa runs out of the room and down the hallway. Shiraz comes out of her room and calls Zarpessa “the Madwoman of the Modelland”, while Dylan calls her “loony”. Well, so much for being better than Zarpessa, right?

Zarpessa goes on further about the lady and Poppi, eventually mentioning that she’s starving and that it’s “Time for Dumpster-dive dinner!” Chaste insists that Zarpessa’s family is rich and would never Dumpster-dive. Dylan tells Chaste to help Zarpessa, but Chaste refuses.

Dr. Erica arrives, asking what’s happening. Shiraz explains and Dylan takes another bitchy (takes a sip of wine) shot at “Zar-Opressa” (downs the rest of the glass), calling her “cuh-ray-zee” (starts drinking straight from the bottle).

This is why there isn’t a Modelland drinking game, folks. We all would have died from alcohol poisoning the second time Dylan said “cuh-ray-zee”.

Tookie actually feels sorry for Zarpessa, who Dr. Erica describes as having a breakdown. She asks if anyone knows what’s wrong with Zarpessa. Piper mentions that Tookie knows Zarpessa from home, so Dr. Erica asks Tookie if she has any idea.

On one hand, what Tookie does here is kind of virtuous. Tookie thinks about how this would be the perfect time to reveal Zarpessa’s secret (that she’s homeless), right in front of the other girls. But then Tookie remembers Ci~L’s words—the words that Tookie decided had been Ci~L talking about herself just a few chapters ago—and decides that revealing Zarpessa’s lies to everyone isn’t the right thing to do.

On the other hand, there would have been a simple solution, something that would have helped Dr. Erica help Zarpessa without embarrassing and shaming Zarpessa. Telling Dr. Erica about Zarpessa in private. She could have asked Dr. Erica to promise that she wouldn’t tell Zarpessa about what Tookie said about her. We’re supposed to think that Tookie is so good for taking the better of two options, when the third obvious option would have been best for everyone.

This was a short installment, but the next three chapters are going to be…fun. We’ll waste more time with Tookie doing things that aren’t trying to escape, and more “Ci~L is evil” idiocy. We’ll finish off the adventure of the Pilgrims with one of the two events in this book that I consider to be the most thematically revolting. We’ll watch Tookie become more of a Mary-Sue and a plan to escape Modelland actually come into action.

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  1. luke on 24 May 2013, 14:20 said:

    I really tried to follow this spork, but I have little to no idea what’s going on anymore.

  2. Forest Purple on 25 May 2013, 03:18 said:

    I really tried to follow this spork, but I have little to no idea what’s going on anymore.

    I’m having a bit of difficulty as well, though I think it’s not the fault of lilyWhite, but more the acid-trip plot that makes about as much sense as a drunk retelling of the weirdest dream you ever had.
    Mary Sues I can understand. Authors who want to be pretty and famous I understand. But what Modelland does? I can’t understand it, much as I try. The more I read, the more any sense I had is replaced by the urgent question of “WHY?” What kind of meaning could possibly hope to be portrayed through what happens in this novel? Actions taken for the sake of plot or characterization I can comprehend. Actions taken for the sake of wish fulfillment or self-insertion I can comprehend. Actions taken for the sake of WTF I CANNOT COMPREHEND.
    I still have no life, though, so I’ll keep staring at this screen and trying to make these letters turn into words that turn into sentences that convey meaning. Meaning that actually means something. What a novel idea.

  3. LoneWolf on 25 May 2013, 05:08 said:

    I think that the meaning of all that is “a model’s life is ha-a-a-ard”.

  4. Cristina on 26 May 2013, 12:37 said:

    Sure, nothing in this novel makes any sense whatsoever, but I do find the spork utterly hilarious. I mean, come on, the mental images alone are enough to keep you entertained. Can’t wait for the next installment. :-D

  5. Pryotra on 26 May 2013, 14:47 said:

    I’m having a bit of difficulty as well, though I think it’s not the fault of lilyWhite, but more the acid-trip plot that makes about as much sense as a drunk retelling of the weirdest dream you ever had.

    Yeah, that’s pretty much how I feel. This plot should be advertised around as a convincing reason for why drugs are bad for you.

    I’m still trying to figure out how to pronounce Ci~L.

    Creamy is a wonderful villain. She has a motive that she thinks is justified, she’s fleshed out, she even has the ability to care about other people, namely her daughter, and she’s a real, serious threat. Why do I know that Banks is going to ruin it?

  6. lilyWhite on 26 May 2013, 15:22 said:

    I mean, come on, the mental images alone are enough to keep you entertained.

    …just wait until the next installment. Muahahah…

    I’m still trying to figure out how to pronounce Ci~L.

    “See el”.

    Why do I know that Banks is going to ruin it?

    Personally…I think what happens with Creamy later on in the story is interesting, but that just may be because of the part of the story about Tookie and her friends is just so boring.

    And thinking about that has just made me realize something about Creamy. Something that was well done on Banks’s part. (I would go into vague details, but I don’t want to spoil.)

  7. Tim on 26 May 2013, 16:14 said:

    I’m still trying to figure out how to pronounce Ci~L.

    “Sigh wiggle” Put a bit of emphasis on the end of ‘wiggle’ to pick up that L.

  8. Alicia on 6 June 2013, 15:57 said:

    This series kind of reminds me of something Roald Dahl would write. All of the characters have punny names and are physically or morally deformed/grotesque. Horrific monsters seem to lurch onto and off of the stage, their power unchallenged; people just take it for granted that, yeah, a shuddering nightmare may suddenly slide into your house and kill your daughter and there’s nothing you can do about it. Authority figures are uniformly worthless at best or actively sadistic at worst. And throughout the story there is an undercurrent of whimsical malice — children are constantly being emotionally and physically brutalized (the models are chopped up, attacked by viruses, beaten, and mutilated). The most sympathetic character is a shy, twitchy abuse victim.

  9. Brenda on 11 October 2013, 15:41 said:

    Hmm, I kinda like Ci~L and BellaDonna and Dylan, and the part about the monster in the middle of the lake is cool, Tyra should try to write horror next.