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….
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.