Chapter 11 – Rhymes And Revelations

Marcus is getting ready to leave the school with Linstrope, and is packing up his few possessions under the watchful eye of Principal Teagarden. He’s debating in his head over whether or not Linstrope actually does intend to take him to his real family or not. Uh, Marcus? I thought we settled the issue that Linstrope is definitely Evil and Scary and Bad two chapters ago. Anyway. Marcus considers that Linstrope might want him for money, or might want to kill him (if he’s part of the gang who abducted Marcus as a baby.) He decides it couldn’t be money, because he has none, and he determines he’s not worth killing to Linstrope if he is a gang member. Even though he can’t think of a reason why Linstrope would want to hurt him, he decides to try to escape.

Leaning protectively over his suitcase to block the principal’s view, Marcus removed his cash and the only other important possession he owned- a creased picture of Elder Ephraim. After a moment’s hesitation, he also grabbed an extra pair of underpants and stuffed them into his pocket. If he somehow managed to escape, at least he’d have a change of underwear.

Right. A teenage boy, in a moment of crisis, is worrying about having a change of underwear. I wonder if he has someone like this in his life.

A plan of escape is needed, and Marcus has just the idea. He tells Teagarden he has to use the bathroom.

“What?” Teagarden growled, his cheeks turning purple. “There’s no time. You have a plane to catch.”

He starts growling and turning purple just because a kid has to use the bathroom…? O_O

“I have to go bad.” Marcus leaned forward in his wheelchair, faking a pained look. “I think it’s the pork and beans we had for lunch today.” In truth, lunch had been peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but he knew the principal never went near the cafeteria, much less ate anything served there.

“Well…” Teagarden’s eyes darted toward the door, and Marcus realized the principal was as scared of Mr. Linstrope as he was.

“If I can’t go to the toilet right now, I’m gonna…” Marcus leaned forward in his wheelchair, clenched his arms over his stomach, and gave a loud moan.

Principal Teagarden jumped back as if he’d just stepped on a scorpion. “Hurry up then,” he said, wrinkling his nose in disgust. “Anything to get you out of here.”

Toilet humor! Yes!

It keeps coming up frequently in the story where Marcus knows things about Teagarden that aren’t exactly normal to know. For example, in chapter 4, Marcus knew Teagarden had been mostly bald for the past five years, though he’s new to the school. Now he knows all about his eating habits, and while that’s not as far-fetched, it’s not something that would be of particular importance to any schoolkid, much less someone new to the school. While it’s likely just poor writing, it kind of makes me want to make up theories about why Marcus knows so much about him. Maybe Marcus and Teagarden share a spiritual bond or something….

Anyway.

Going into the bathroom located at the end of the dormitory, Marcus opens the window and through a pretty impressive feat of strength shoves his wheelchair out the window. Then Marcus begins to whisper to himself a stupid rhyme which “[seems] to help him gain the concentration necessary to make his trick work.” This is the same trick he used earlier to evade the prank played by Chet and company. Marcus’s body starts to fade until he becomes almost invisible, “nothing more than a shadow.”

Marcus Nobody was now Marcus Nowhere.

Dun dun dunnnnnn!

Marcus sneaks out of the bathroom and begins to crawl under the beds to avoid catching the attention of Teagarden. He’s not fully invisible, so he could still be seen if he walked in plain sight. Then he bumps a baseball bat under one of the beds, which catches Teagarden’s attention. The principal walks over to where the bat has rolled, picks it up, and shouts, “Are you playing some kind of game?” That’s…kind of an odd thing to say. Marcus “shimmies” under the last six beds and then slides down the flight of stairs. That would definitely hurt.

Finally, Marcus is out of the building and outside. It’s night out, with a full, bright moon lighting everything pretty well. Marcus then realizes that he has nowhere to run away to, and is torn for a minute. He pulls out the photo of Elder Ephraim. Then he hears Ephraim’s voice offering supportive words.

Don’t worry about what you can’t control, the old man’s gentle voice seemed to whisper into Marcus’s ear. The longest journey is but a series of small steps.

Marcus takes comfort in this, dismisses the issue of where he’ll go, and then goes to get his wheelchair. But before he goes more than a few steps, he hears “a familiar voice.”

“Gimme one of them cigarettes, fungus breath.” It was Chet, probably with his friends. No doubt they were coming outside to smoke. Smoking was against the school rules, but Chet and his friends did it anyway. Usually behind the school- right where Marcus had left his wheelchair.

Once again, Chet is sixteen, and calls his friends “fungus breath”. How does he even have any “friends” anyway?

Marcus crawls around the building to where his wheelchair is, trying to get it before Chet and his friends get there. He comes to the spot where he dropped it, but the chair is gone.

Something moved to Marcus’s left. He turned in time to see a dark figure slip from the shadows.

A hand clamped around his wrist, and a voice whispered, “Now you’re mine.”

Well that’s creepy.

The chapter ends there, on yet another cliff-hanger. I don’t have a problem with chapters ending like that sometimes, but this book reads like a fanfic where dramatic chapter endings are needed every single chapter to keep people’s interest up in between installments. Between that and the fact that the chapters have been at most seven pages long, the book’s format is a bit aggravating.

Comment

  1. Lone Wolf on 30 May 2012, 13:00 said:

    I like that Marcus’ backstory actually plays some role in the plot. I wonder, however, will Elder Ephraim actually preach some good ol’ Christian Orthodoxy, or will he just disseminate fortune cookie wisdom?

    And I hope that Ephraim and Therapass are different people. Having them be the same would be awkward.

  2. Danielle on 30 May 2012, 14:30 said:

    I wonder, however, will Elder Ephraim actually preach some good ol’ Christian Orthodoxy, or will he just disseminate fortune cookie wisdom?

    One of two things will happen:

    1) Savage will steer clear of the whole religion thing by making Elder Ephriam sound like a fortune cookie.
    2) Savage will have E.E. preach so long and hard that even the Christians in the audience get bored.

    I think the first one is more likely, but the second is certainly possible.

  3. swenson on 30 May 2012, 14:33 said:

    So it’s a choice between Maradonia-style “wisdom” or Elsie Dinsmore-style monologues? I honestly don’t know which I’d rather hear.

  4. Danielle on 30 May 2012, 14:43 said:

    As long as he doesn’t blend Elsie’s preaching with Joey’s Ice Cream Koans….

  5. swenson on 30 May 2012, 14:50 said:

    Oh, should have mentioned, I can’t help but read Mr. Teagarden’s name as “teh-ah-gar-den”, a la Mr. Teatime (“teh-ah-time-eh”) from Discworld. It makes the passages substantially more entertaining to boot.

  6. Lone Wolf on 30 May 2012, 15:04 said:

    The more I think of it, the more I’m sure that Ephraim is Therapass (he has a Harry Potter-like magical photo!). Since there were no indications so far that Therapass is Christian Orthodox, I predict fortune cookie wisdom, not preaching monologues. Though maybe Savage will surprise us.

  7. Anon on 1 June 2012, 11:22 said:

    For a person who can only use one arm, Marcus sure can crawl fast. I suppose this is one of those disabilities that doesn’t actually disable him in any way.

  8. Danielle on 1 June 2012, 12:30 said:

    For a person who can only use one arm, Marcus sure can crawl fast.

    I thought he was crippled?

  9. swenson on 1 June 2012, 13:03 said:

    I think he’s that sort of crippled/disabled person you always find in fiction who’s only inconvenienced by their disability when it’s necessary for plot points.

  10. VikingBoyBilly on 10 June 2012, 20:36 said:

    Okay, there’s three things that break a story:
    1) Time Travel
    2) Fortune Telling
    3) Invisibility

    Invisibility is just a lazy way to sneak around everything.

  11. Asahel on 10 June 2012, 20:58 said:

    Okay, there’s three things that break a story: 1) Time Travel 2) Fortune Telling 3) Invisibility

    Invisibility is just a lazy way to sneak around everything.

    Don’t take me too seriously, but:

    1) What if it’s a time travel story?
    2) What about Oedipus?
    3) In the fantasy story I’m writing, a Mage can cast a spell to make him/herself invisible, but since it’s magic and all Mages can see magic, it only makes them invisible to those without Magesight. (It’s also subject to the standard restrictions of invisibility i.e. they can still hear/smell you, see footprints, or detect your body heat with sufficient technology.) For those reasons, invisibility is almost never used. What about that?

  12. swenson on 10 June 2012, 22:30 said:

    I don’t know if Billy meant that they’re always terrible, necessarily, just that it’s very easy to make a plot nonsensical when you introduce elements like that. Your interpretation of invisibility, for example, imposes reasonable limits on the use of invisibility and thus it wouldn’t automatically break a story. But if you have the super-duper special type of invisibility where there’s no possible way to detect an invisible person, then it’s much harder to write a story that actually makes sense, because the entire time the reader’s going to be going “why don’t they just put on their invisibility cloak and go stab the bad guy?”

    Case in point: Maradonia, where Maya and Joey only remember that they have magical invisibility cloaks when it’s necessary for the story.

  13. Asahel on 10 June 2012, 23:59 said:

    I know, just being a little funny.

  14. Betty Cross on 11 June 2012, 09:16 said:

    Case in point: Maradonia, where Maya and Joey only remember that they have magical invisibility cloaks when it’s necessary for the story.

    The biggest problem with the Maradonia series is this: Maya’s and Joey’s magical powers make them so powerful there’s no real tension. You know, after a while, that any foe they confront will be beaten at the end of the chapter.