Ket: And Patch talking into Nora’s head. Don’t forget that.
ZeldaQueen: Of course.
Projection Room Voices: Starting Media in 3...2...1...
ZeldaQueen: We open this chapter with Nora at home, talking with Dorothea. Dorothea says that Nora’s up-until-now-nonexistent mother will be home late Sunday night and wants Nora to call. As a sort of head’s up on the future books, despite being told that Nora calls her every night when her mom’s away, we see precious little of Nora actually checking in with her mother.
Dorothea also tells Nora that there was a notice from the school and asks if Nora knows what it’s for. Nora feigns ignorance, but then narrates that it’s probably a warning from the school, because she’s skipped her last two meetings with the school psychologist. Because yeah, remember how she was somehow ordered to have mandatory SCHOOL therapy?
Ket: What it SHOULD be for is her dumb ass being in the records room during a bomb threat! Also, I looked up school psychologist, and this is what their job description entails:
"School psychologists are typically funded through special education monies and often their first responsibility is to the population of students at risk for failure and who have identified disabilities. With these populations, their roles include assessment (comprehensive evaluations of disability and risk), consultation regarding instructional and behavioral interventions, and direct interventions including crisis prevention/intervention, individual and group counseling and skill training. In this latter role, school psychologists may overlap the duties of counselors and social workers, and often will work jointly with these other professionals by co-leading social skills groups and jointly serving on crisis support teams. Relative to counselors, school psychologists are more likely to have training in behavioral analysis, mental health screening and diagnosis, research methods (and application of research to classroom practices), and specific disability areas."
So, unless they think that she’s a crisis or suicide risk because of her dad’s death, I can’t imagine WHY she is supposed to be seeing the psychologist.
ZeldaQueen: The bomb threat has been completely forgotten by everyone, at this point. It wouldn’t surprise me if Fitzpatrick herself forgot about it. And as for psychologists, Fitzpatrick doesn’t seem aware that therapists and psychologists can be hired like doctors or dentists or anyone else trained in medical professions. In the third book, when Nora vanishes and returns with her memories from the past three months completely erased, NO ONE, not even the police who were looking for her, suggest therapy. I’m not even sure they check her for head injuries. That’s not even going into how these incredibly important psychologist meetings are one of many things completely forgotten about after this book is over.
Ket: Zelda, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that nothing that happens in this book is important.
ZeldaQueen: If you mean for the series as a whole, only three things really are. Two of them are forgotten until the third book out of four.
So Nora suggests that Dorothea take a break and Dorothea, uh… says this.
“’I am going to a conference tomorrow,' she said. 'In Portland. Dr. Melissa Sanchez will speak. She says you think your way to a sexier you. Hormones are powerful drugs. Unless we tell them what we want, they backfire. They work against us.’ Dorothea turned, pointing the Ajax can at me for emphasis. ‘Now I wake in the morning and take red lipstick to my mirror. 'I am sexy,' I write. 'Men want me. Sixty-five is the new twenty five.'''”
ZeldaQueen: Fun fact - there really is a Dr. Melissa Sanchez. She practices pediatrics in New Mexico .
Ket: *Baffled* While I’m glad that she’s taking confidence in herself, and there is an acknowledgement that people don’t just go on the shelf, sexually, at any age, what the fuck is this, even? Is it supposed to be funny?
ZeldaQueen: I believe so, yes.
LAUGH, GODDAMMIT = 28
It’s also this.
ALL WOMEN ARE LUSTFUL = 15
I remember being introduced to this book on The Sparkle Project and the review being baffled at how EVERY woman seems obsessed with sex or being sexy or otherwise wanting a man. Apparently Fitzpatrick just really wanted to gratuitously throw in that even the old Germanic housemaid is in on it, even though she has hardly any pagetime and vanishes from the series pretty soon after this.
Ket: I still think she’s a reference to Nancy Drew.
ZeldaQueen: Probably. Oh, and right after that quote up there? Dorothea follows up with this.
“Every woman needs to reinvent her sexy side-I like that. My daughter got implants. She said she did it for herself, but what woman gets boobs for herself? They are a burden. She got the boobs for a man. I hope you do not do stupid things for a boy, Nora.”
ZeldaQueen: Does it count that Nora’s turning into a boob for a man?
Ket: Lots of women get boobjobs for themselves, because they aren’t happy with their own appearance.
ZeldaQueen: Yeah, I’m really not sure what the moral of this is supposed to be. Dorothea’s talking about how women should all reinvent themselves to get in touch with their sexy side, but then when her daughter does that, she insists that her daughter’s lying and doing it for a man. And on top of that, this entire series is centered around Nora reinventing herself and doing stupid shit for a man! It’s not like it’s accidental either, because Nora will admit at several points that dating Patch means a lot of uncertainties and issues in her life, but then goes “FULL SPEED AHEAD! :D” Oh, and…
ALL WOMEN ARE LUSTFUL = 16
There’s nothing wrong with getting in touch with one’s sexy side, but Fitzpatrick, please stop saying that ALL women need to do it. Especially given how you treat Marcie Miller.
Ket: Not everyone, no matter how they gender identify, has a sexy side. Or even wants one.
ZeldaQueen: Yeah, asexuality is a thing.
Nora assures Dorothea that she has no boys in her life, and then, in a very telling quote, adds to the readers that, “Okay, maybe there were two lurking on the fringe, circling from afar, but since I didn't know either very well, and one outright frightened me, it felt safer to close my eyes and pretend they weren't there”. One “outright frightened” her, people. Outright frightened. Frightened. That very word is used.
FITZPATRICK, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS DECENT, DO YOU NOT GET WHAT THE WORDS “OUTRIGHT FRIGHTENED” SUGGESTS ABOUT A RELATIONSHIP???
Ket: *Grimly* yes. That people will think it’s true love and forgive everything up to and including rape.
ZeldaQueen: This gets even worse for the upcoming Patch/Nora romance, as Dorothea (who I’m genuinely baffled about how she made it past Fitzpatrick) tells Nora that having no boys is a good and bad thing - good because avoiding bad boys means a happier life and bad because avoiding Mr. Right means losing out on having love in one’s life. This is, probably, the only point where I can understand alternate gender/sexual identities being ignored, since Dorothea’s older and thus can believably be seen as more old-fashioned in that regard.
Ket: I guess, but her statement is weird. It sounds like she’s saying that being alone means she’s actively avoiding the possibility of a bad boy. Instead of, you know, a million other reasons why someone isn’t dating. Like maybe she wants to focus on school. Or wait for the right man once she graduates.
ZeldaQueen: *snrk* Yeeeeeah, for all the boy plays up that romance “wasn’t part of Nora’s plan” in life, we never really even get a reason why she isn’t interested in dating. The closest reason we get is Vee’s comment about how Nora has too-high standards, which is bunk. She doesn’t put that much effort into school, she doesn’t have hobbies, and before meeting Patch, she doesn’t
On the other hand, Dorothea follows up with a personal example, which I suspect her advice was just a lead-in to.
“When I was a little girl in Germany, I had to choose between two boys. One was a very wicked boy. The other was my Henry. We are happily married for forty-one years.”
ZeldaQueen: Fitzpatrick ARE YOU EVEN READING WHAT YOU’RE WRITING RIGHT NOW?
Ket: So then Nora should avoid Patch, the wicked boy. I agree, Dorothea!
ZeldaQueen: Except she won’t. That’s what I don’t get here! Dorothea makes a very good point about avoiding the bad boy, but this ENTIRE SERIES is one big ode to the Greatness of Dating Bad Boys! Near as I can tell, Fitzpatrick wants us to think that Patch is kinda a bad boy, but is a good guy on the inside.
Ket: Well she’s doing a fucking shit job at that!
ZeldaQueen: Worse than you know yet. *shakes head*
For some reason, hearing Dorothea wax nostalgic about her husband makes Nora uncomfortable enough to change the subject and ask about Dorothea’s godson, Lionel. This causes Dorothea to immediately assume that Nora has a crush on him and offer to set her up with him. I...think this is meant to be funny?
LAUGH, GODDAMMIT = 29
Ket: *Sighs* The comedy in this is even worse than the comedy in 50 Shades.
ZeldaQueen: It doesn’t help that Fitzpatrick’s sense of comedic timing is WAY off.
Nora kind of tunes Dorothea out after that and goes on to ponder Elliot’s offer of meeting up at Delphic. Despite initially being keen on it, she’s now having second thoughts, since, “I'd only known Elliot a couple of days, for one. And I wasn't sure how my mom would feel about the arrangement, for another. It was getting late, and Delphic was at least a half-hour drive. More to the point, on weekends Delphic had a reputation for being wild.” So nice to see her having these thoughts now, as opposed to when she went to the bar to interview Patch.
Ket: Please stop pretending like you sprouted brain cells between chapters. Just go. I already know Patch will wreck it somehow.
ZeldaQueen: Yep! Nora just so happens to get a call from Vee, asking if they’re going to do anything. Then Vee hilariously spills nail polish on the couch while on the phone with Nora -
LAUGH, GODDAMMIT = 30
which she says means they have to go out before her mom finds it. Also, Nora doesn’t want to listen to Dorothea yammering for the rest of the evening, so this means they have no choice but to go to Delphic. Nora is really weak-willed when it comes to avoiding doing potentially dangerous stuff, I must say.
Ket: Nora is too brainless to avoid doing things that get her in danger, even when she has a clear path to just not do it.
ZeldaQueen: Indeed. So naturally, Nora tells Vee and Vee is all on board, spouting the rather nonsensical, “You buried the lead! Vital information here, Nora. I'll pick you up in fifteen”.
SAY WHAT? = 41
Ket: So I looked it up. “Bury the lead” or “lede” means “To begin a story with details of secondary importance to the reader while postponing more essential points or facts”. So it’s not incorrect. Just odd for her to say.
ZeldaQueen: Yeah, I highly doubt a teenager would say that, especially one like Vee, who’s supposed to be book dumb.
We get a pointless description of Nora making herself up in a way that she thinks is sufficiently casual yet sexy (it involves cashmere and jeans, if you’re wondering) and then Vee shows up exactly fifteen minutes later. And folks, please tell me I’m not insane and unable to comprehend this.
“Fifteen minutes later to the dot, Vee bounced the Neon up the driveway and beeped the horn staccato-style. It took me ten minutes to make the drive between our houses, but I usually paid attention to the speed limit.
Vee understood the word speed, but limit wasn't part of her vocabulary.”
ZeldaQueen: If I’m reading that correctly, Nora can drive from her house to Vee’s in ten minutes, observing the speed limit… and Vee, who does not pay attention to the speed limit, somehow takes MORE time to make the trip?
Ket: I guess...I dunno, maybe Vee had to change her clothes for this dumb adventure? Or finish painting her nails?
ZeldaQueen: I honestly don’t know! It reads like that isn’t being taken into account!
ILL LOGIC = 60
Nora bids farewell to Dorothea and asks her to relay any calls from her mom. They have cellphones, what’s it matter?
Ket: They have cell phones but not smartphones, so Nora still uses a paper map?
ZeldaQueen: If Fitzpatrick was more consistent with the whole “money is tight” thing, that could make sense in that they couldn’t afford more expensive phones. As it is, I can’t help but wonder if this is a case of the book dating itself. It was published in 2009. When did Smartphones start getting widely available?
Ket: Not sure, but Wiki makes it sound like it was 2010.
ZeldaQueen: So my best guess is that Nora doesn’t have a Smartphone because they weren’t too common at the time.
Ket: Most likely. I’m betting Vee doesn’t have one, either.
ZeldaQueen: No one does, if memory serves. We only hear about people calling and texting.
Nora runs off to avoid Dorothea making dire comments about how late it is to be going to Delphic. What is up with Fitzpatrick playing up how dangerous these places are? Even if nothing bad happens there, she feels the need to make it all creepy and grimdark! Does she get some sort of enjoyment out of having her characters constantly in vague danger?
Ket: I guess this is her idea of doing tension in a story.
ZeldaQueen: Of course, the second book will give us a little tidbit about Delphic that will REALLY make it understandable why Nora shouldn’t go there, but I doubt Fitzpatrick figured that out at the time.
Nora scampers off to Vee, who has her hair “in a high ponytail, big fat curls spilling down. Gold hoops dangled from her ears. Cherry red lipstick. Black, lengthening mascara.” Nora is amazed that Vee got so done-up in five minutes. Uh, is that really that impressive? Besides the ponytail (which my hair is too short for), I can easily throw on lipstick, mascara, and earrings in five minutes. I suppose it’d take time to figure out what kinds to use, but if I’m going to an amusement park, it’s not like I’m trying to match colors to a ballgown or anything.
Ket: I guess if she curled her hair, it would have taken a while, but I don’t really wear much makeup, so I’m not sure about the rest.
ZeldaQueen: Well, Vee just says that she’s always prepared. I guess that implies she has combinations of makeup and jewelry figured out. It also, incidentally, still makes the speed limit quote above make little sense. If Vee took the full five minutes, that means that breaking the speed limit, she took ten minutes. Exactly the same as Nora, when she follows the speed limit!
But let’s not be too distracted by issues like that. Not when we have more reasons to be pissed at Vee.
“She gave me a critical once-over.
‘What?’ I said.
‘We're meeting up with boys tonight.’
‘Last I checked, yes.’
‘Boys like girls who look like ... girls.’
I arched my eyebrows. ‘And what do I look like?’
‘Like you stepped out of the shower and decided that alone was enough to pass as presentable. Don't get me wrong. The clothes are good, the hair is okay, but the rest … Here.’ She reached inside her purse. ‘Being the friend that I am, I'll loan you my lipstick. And my mascara, but only if you swear you don't have a contagious eye disease.’”
Ket: So if you don’t wear makeup, you don’t look like a girl? What kind of fucked up 1950s logic is that?!
ZeldaQueen: Oh, I don’t think we’re supposed to agree with Vee, at least. But the alternative, the reason Nora gives for not wearing makeup, is just as bad. You see, she decided to forgo any not because she thought to do so, but because Patch put it in her head that she looked better without any on. And she’s all “I TOTALLY AM DOING THIS FOR MYSELF AND NOT FOR HIM! THAT’S WHY THIS IS HAPPENING ON A NIGHT WHEN I’M DEFINITELY NOT SEEING HIM, NOPE, NOT EVEN A LITTLE!”
Ket: So you are doing it for him. Even if it’s to spite him, it’s for him. When I was with my exfiance, he liked my hair long. I grew it out to hip length. I ended up cutting it short because I knew it would piss him off, even though we were long broken up. It was stupid and petty, like Nora is being now.
ZeldaQueen: And of course, let us not forget that dead herring. I’d ask for bets on whether or not Patch will show up, but we know that’s a sucker’s bet. He’ll show up, he’ll compliment Nora, and we, the female readers, are expected to titter about how ~~romantic~~ it is.
Ket: *Flatly* not gonna happen.
ZeldaQueen: One pointless description of parking at Delphic later, Nora and Vee head on in. Wonder what some of the amusement park attractions are?
“Delphic Seaport boomed all summer long with an amusement park, masquerades, fortune-telling booths, gypsy musicians, and a freak show. I could never be sure if the human deformities were real or an illusion.”
ZeldaQueen: Yeah. Apparently this place has a freak show, and one which has human exhibits and very well may be real and not makeup or prosthetics.
Ket: The amusement park and masquerades sound fun, but the freak show makes me uncomfortable. I don’t think it’s funny or amusing to gape at people who have deformities, real or not.
ZeldaQueen: Right. Not only that, but what time period is Fitzpatrick thinking of?! The freak shows from olden times happened because (A) laws and society’s views on the exploitation of people were considerably different than now and (B) because of fewer laws about accessibility for people with disabilities, that was often the only kind of work some of the “freaks” could get! Now, there are freak shows in this day and age. The thing is, they aren’t the same as back then! As per the Wikipedia page on it...
“[I]n order to make the shows respectable, the subjects are usually portrayed as heroic and attention is given to their family and friends and the way they help them overcome their disabilities. On The Guardian, Chris Shaw however comments that ‘one man's freak show is another man's portrayal of heroic triumph over medical adversity’ and carries on with ‘call me prejudiced but I suspect your typical twentysomething watched this show with their jaw on the floor rather than a tear in their eye’.”
ZeldaQueen: So, yeah. There’s no way any amusement park in this day and age would be able to get away with what there used to be, the building with a bunch of folks in cages doing acts, which is what I suspect Fitzpatrick was envisioning. Even ignoring how freaking heartless that is, can you imagine the potential lawsuits that would come up over that?!? It would be legal nightmare!
Ket: Yes, but I doubt Fitzpatrick has a single clue.
ZeldaQueen: Yep. Oh, and again, what we learn in the second book, about this amusement park? It provides a very Fridge Horrific explanation as to how they could get away with a genuinely old-fashioned freak show.
I also am raising my eyebrows over the “gypsy musicians”. Uh...are those a Thing? I know plenty of amusement parks hire bands and musicians to perform, but I didn’t know gypsy music groups were really big venues for what seems to be a contained park.
Ket: My guess? She wrote this after seeing The Hunchback of Notre Dame:
ZeldaQueen: That… makes a lot of sense.
So they pay admission and the ticket lady (who is wearing plastic vampire fangs for some unexplained reason, despite it being nearly summer) suggests they try out the newest remodeled attraction - a roller coaster called the Archangel.
Ket: *Beats her head against the arm of the couch*. ZELDA. ZELDA. DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE ANGELS IN THIS SERIES? HUH? I KNOW THE STORY IS REALLY SUBTLE, BUT I’M PRETTY SURE SHE’S TRYING TO TELL US THAT THERE ARE ANGELS.
ZeldaQueen: *pats* Do you need some ice cream?
Ket: *Glowering* I need some alcohol. ...and ice cream.
ZeldaQueen: *offers Magic Hat* Just imagine what you want and reach on in.
Ket: ...if I imagine Leah and reach in, can I pull her out?
ZeldaQueen: I’ve never tried that, although I have managed to pull out Raxis a few times. Let’s just stick with food for now, okay? At the very least, save Leah for when Nora reaches the motel later.
Ket: *Sadly* if I must. *Pulls out a bottle of blue raspberry vodka, a case of diet cola, and a carton of cherry chocolate chip ice cream, with two spoons.*
ZeldaQueen: Alrighty! So, after that rather obvious roller coaster name, Nora reads the advertisement which boasts a 100 ft. drop. I’d like to point out that for wooden roller coasters (which we’ll see this is), that doesn’t make the top then for either height or drop length.
Ket: Wooden roller coasters make me nervous. Too creaky. *Hands Zelda a spoon*
ZeldaQueen: Thank you! *pulls out peanut butter-chocolate for herself* I like wooden roller coasters when they’re moderately-done. I can understand a 100 ft. drop to be daring, depending on one’s familiarity with rides, but I get the sense that Fitzpatrick thinks this is the BIGGEST THING EVAH.
Ket: Granted, it is tall, but it’s not record-breaking.
ZeldaQueen: Yep. Also, true to form, Vee insists they have to try the coaster and Nora wibbles and puts it off instead of just plain telling Vee she doesn’t want to do it because she’s afraid of heights. You guys can probably guess what’ll happen with Nora and that roller coaster.
So, upon entering the park, Nora and Vee try out “the Ferris wheel, the bumper cars, the Magic Carpet ride, and a few of the game booths” and then decide to look for Elliot and Jules. Jesus Christ, why even bother at this point? Weren’t you planning on riding stuff with them?!
Ket: I was about to say, aren’t you two supposed to be here on dates? Why not do the fun stuff with them?
ZeldaQueen: And considering how long it can take to get on rides and actually ride them, that’s a pretty lengthy chunk of time they’re spending putzing around! At this point, they might as well just decide to go to the amusement park on their own and scrap bothering meeting up with the guys!
Ket: Also, for all of Vee’s focus on how they look, going on all of those rides should have probably messed up their hair.
ZeldaQueen: And being out by the ocean wouldn’t do their skin or makeup many favors, nor would riding so many fast rides. I went to Kennywood for while once. When I came home, my mom freaked out because one side of my face was all dried and peeling from the wind.
Vee and Nora magically guess that the guys are at the arcade and head on over there. And wouldn’t you know it, guess who’s there?
Ket: Of course they are. Because boys play video games. Even though I know more female-identified people who game than I do male-identified. The two of us included.
ZeldaQueen: Well, that’s true. But guess who else is there, who Nora notices before the guys show up?
Ket: Patch, of course, because I said he’d be there to ruin it somehow.
ZeldaQueen: Yep! He’s playing a video game and smiling.
Ket: Does it say what he’s playing?
Zelda: Not by name, but we’ll hear a bit more about it in a minute.
Ket: Okay. I have a bet with myself. So let’s see.
ZeldaQueen: Nora thinks that he almost looks friendly, then has a rare moment of sanity where she remembers how he somehow got in her head and is understandably freaked out. She urges Vee onward, hoping Vee doesn’t notice him and insist they stop to chat.
Ket: *Groans* Why is everyone in this series a moron?!
ZeldaQueen: Because otherwise there’d be no story. Which I’d be down with really, but there’s no helping it.
Nora and Vee finally find Jules and Elliot. Elliot offers to buy them Cokes. Vee accepts, while staring creepily at Jules.
Ket: Uh, this is a carnival or something like it, right? I want a frozen Coke, thank you very much. *Mixing her drink.*
ZeldaQueen: *laughs* Jules, according to Nora, looks “about as enthusiastic as three-day-old meat loaf” and promptly excuses himself for the bathroom. Good to know he’s still the only sane one of the group.
SAY WHAT? = 42
Ket: So brown and...covered in ketchup, I guess.
ZeldaQueen: With bits of other things in him?
Ket: Sounds kinky.
ZeldaQueen: *snrk* They get the drinks and decide on what to do next. Elliot, when asked about Jules, says he can catch up to them. For some reason, they only think about doing things in the arcade. I realize that Nora and Vee already rode a lot of rides, but they’re in an amusement park! Whenever my family went to those, my parents heavily discouraged us spending all our time at the arcade under the thought that we could play video games at home if we wanted.
Ket: I’m going to the carnival in a few days from now. I plan on trying to win a stuffed animal. Rides will come second.
ZeldaQueen: I gotcha. I guess it’s also annoying me because it’s an incredibly contrived way to keep them around Patch. Just to make it even worse, Nora suggests air hockey (the game farthest from him) only for Vee, by total coincidence, to insist on Foosball. Which, of course, is right by Patch.
Ket: *Sighs* of course it is. I would have prefered air hockey, because it would be an opportunity for Nora get to get her knuckles bashed, and Vee as well, as punishment for being idiots.
ZeldaQueen: Nora clings to the hope that Vee won’t notice Patch, which vanishes in an instant, as Vee notices Patch and starts pointing him out to Nora. Vee starts acting all conspiratorial and loudly whispering to Elliot how Patch is Nora’s lab partner and he’s surely going to wonder what she’s doing out with another guy.
Ket: Okay, number a, shut the fuck up, Vee. He’s her lab partner, not her husband. She can date whomever she wants. Number two, shut the fuck up, Vee, and stop sexblocking Nora. Number three, just shut the fuck up, Vee!
ZeldaQueen: Sadly, Vee does not shut the fuck up. After commenting on how Patch keeps looking at them, she tells Elliot that, “"Patch has made it very clear he'd like to be more than biology partners with Nora”. Yeah, he’d like to wear her skin like a hat. WE KNOW.
Ket: AND WHY ARE YOU TELLING HIM THIS? ARE YOU HOPING TO MAKE HIM JEALOUS? BECAUSE AS IT IS NOW, IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU’RE TELLING HIM THAT HE SHOULDN’T BE SEEING NORA!
ZeldaQueen: I - I don’t know why Vee’s talking about this? The very next thing out of her putrid mouth is to gleefully say how Patch is stalking Nora and the police may very well get involved. Meanwhile, EVERYONE is ignoring poor Nora trying to get them to SHUT UP ABOUT THIS.
Ket: Oh my gods and angels, Vee, shut the fuck up! Why are you saying this?!
ZeldaQueen: Because she’s incredibly obnoxious and what Fitzpatrick thinks is the “authentic 16-year-old girl”. No kidding there.
Elliot proves to be the only one remotely sympathetic and offers to go talk to Patch about that pesky stalking thing. Yeah, about fucking TIME someone addressed that! Nora talks him down from it though, because Patch is Big and Bad and she’s scared he’ll hurt poor, sweet Elliot.
Ket: Well, he probably would, because he’s a massive tool.
ZeldaQueen: Agreed. Then - *reads ahead* Oh my fucking stars and garters....
“’Bad idea,’ I said.
‘Great idea,’ Vee said. ‘Otherwise, Patch might get ... violent. Remember last time?’
Last time?! I mouthed at her.
I had no idea why Vee was doing this, other than that she had a penchant for making everything as dramatic as possible. Her idea of drama was my idea of morbid humiliation.
‘No offense, but this guy sounds like a creep,’ said Elliot. ‘Give me two minutes with him.’ He started to walk over.
"No!’ I said, yanking on his sleeve to stop him. ‘He, uh, might get violent again. Let me handle this.’ I narrowed a look at Vee.
‘You sure?’ Elliot said. “I'm more than happy to do it.’
‘I think it's best coming from me.’”
Ket: Vee, do you have some sort of violence fetish, and you’re just trying to get someone beat up?
ZeldaQueen: At this point, I’m wondering if Fitzpatrick does! That would certainly explain Nora being all, “I’m going to go over and directly confront this guy who terrifies me, instead of having us go somewhere else in this entire amusement park!”
ILL LOGIC = 61
OUR INTREPID HEROINE = 38
Seriously, at this point does she not see a pattern that comes around every time she and Patch interact?
Ket: It would have made so much more Earth logic if she said, “he’s not bothering me right now. Let’s just leave before he decides to change that”.
ZeldaQueen: That’s never an option. If Patch is around, Nora WILL go over and talk to him, no matter how many times this leads to undesirable outcomes. She clearly doesn’t know the phrase “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”.
Ket: Or “once bitten, twice shy”. Or “history repeats itself”.
ZeldaQueen: So yeah, in keeping with that “logic”, Nora is terrified but goes over to see Patch. By her own admittance, she has no idea what she’s going to say to him. Yeah, what are the others expecting her to say? “Stop following me around, you miscreant”?
ILL LOGIC = 62
Nora reaches Patch, and I’ll spare you guys the paragraph telling us how he’s Tall, Dark, and Handsome. She strikes up a conversation by asking if he’s playing Mario or Donkey Kong. “In truth, it looked a little more violent and military.” *bored* Oh look, he’s playing a violent arcade game! What will become of our youth?
TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL = 12
Ket; Honestly, I was betting that he was playing a fighting game. In specific, a Tekken game, because, well:
ZeldaQueen: *laughs* Methinks we were spared that only because Fitzpatrick doesn’t know about it. I’m not entirely sure what she is picturing Patch playing, but I have a feeling it’s one of those ones where there’s a fake gun attached or something. While those are considerably more violent than Pac-Man, I would like to point out that the graphics aren’t exactly Call of Duty and thus aren’t really the Hotbed of Moral Turpitude she seems to be suggesting this is.
Ket: I assumed he was playing a lightgun game, like Time Crisis or House of the Dead.
ZeldaQueen: Well, whatever he’s playing, it’s not distracting enough to keep him from being creepy! He answers Nora’s question by saying he’s playing baseball, because yuck, yuck, that’s what he was spying on Nora doing when he hopped into her mind. Great times!
Ket: Zelda, there is nothing on heaven or earth that could keep him from being creepy.
ZeldaQueen: True, true. Nor is there anything that can keep Nora from being an idiot, as proven when she notes, “Firebombs erupted on the screen, and screaming bodies sailed through the air. Obviously not baseball”. No shit?
TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL = 13
HAND HOLDING = 27
Ket: *Grunts and takes a long swallow of her drink.*
ZeldaQueen: Patch starts asking who Elliot is and, were it not for his massive heaps of creepiness before, he might actually sound genuinely curious here. As it is, he instead pulls off being a total hypocrite, saying that Elliot could have “a dark and dangerous side we know nothing about”.
Ket: Not like you, Assrag! We know all about your dark and dangerous side!
ZeldaQueen: Nora, instead of pointing this out, just snarks that she seems to have a tendency to pick up those sorts of guys. Yeah, it really says something about your writer, doesn’t it?
Ket: Also you’re implying that you’ve picked up Rag. Do you really want to tell him that?
ZeldaQueen: In all fairness, he clearly has decided she has, whether she agrees or not. Still, she shouldn’t even be having this conversation with him at all.
Despite Nora insisting that her friends are waiting for her, Patch tries to entice her with an oh-so-forbidden game of pool.
TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL = 14
Vee calls for Nora to get back (and, in the process, reveals that they’ve started playing without her, great people) and Nora again turns Patch down. Patch proposes “as if he had no intention of being refused” that if he wins the pool game, Nora has to tell Elliot that something came up and go off with him. Nora, who well and truly has plankton for brains, sees his arrogance as a challenge and asks what’ll happen if she wins.
Nora. Sweetheart. Honey. Do you not get it yet? Leaving aside that Patch knows how to play pool and you don’t, it doesn’t matter! If you win or, fuck, even if you refuse to play at all, Patch will just do something to ensure he spends the night with you! That’s why he’s so arrogant! HE KNOWS HE’S STACKED THE DECK, WHETHER YOU EVEN PLAY OR NOT!
Ket: Also, you are on a date with someone else, and you’re ignoring him. If you had two braincells to rub together, you would say, “no, I’m here with Elliot,” and walk away.
ZeldaQueen: Well, she already has told him she’s on a date with other people. Twice. He still isn’t listening to her.
Ket: So she needs to turn and walk away so she’s giving him no further attention.
ZeldaQueen: Yeah. Nora is pissed at herself because she apparently is now flirting with him. Er, is that what constitutes “flirting” these days? She admits that Patch is dangerous, but she’s drawn to him, and “In close contact with him, I experienced a confusing polarity of desires. Part of me wanted to run away from him screaming, Fire! A more reckless part was tempted to see how close I could get without... combusting”
First Meyer and her drug analogies and now this. Why do suethors keep thinking that comparisons to destructive and potentially deadly situations make for good relationship analogies?!
Ket: They don’t. When they’re used in songs, they’re usually for bad and unhealthy relationships. I guess it’s supposed to be because danger is sexy.
ZeldaQueen: Things get even worse as Patch continues to pressure Nora into playing with him. Nora refuses and AGAIN tells him she’s with someone. Patch responds by offering to “take care of it”. Why do I imagine that involving duct tape, a knife, a car trunk, and a dark alley?
Ket: Like Rag would need all that. He’d just murder him via brainscrew.
ZeldaQueen: He could, but we’re going to see that he’s disturbingly fond of good old fashioned fisticuffs.
Ket: Really, Fuckrag here is the one that needs to be “taken care of”.
ZeldaQueen: Indeed! Nora tries to convey exasperation towards him, but of course his roguish bad boy...uh, charms cause her to work to conceal “a slightly more positive reaction”. What, did she get an erection? She asks Patch if he intends to fight Elliot, Patch says he will if it comes to that, and Nora admits that she’s not completely certain Patch was joking.
ZeldaQueen: Nora. Baby. Honey. Why would you think your creepy stalking isn’t joking about beating up the guy you might want to date instead of him? And more importantly, why are you not running in the opposite direction if you think he would?!?
Ket: At least this isn’t Bella. She’d be splooshing all over at the thought of Patch punching someone out for the prize that is her.
ZeldaQueen: Yeah. She and Ana have that weird murder-fetish thing going on. The good news is that Nora, at this point, at least has a modicum more sense than that. The bad news is that… uh… it paves the way for hella creepiness. You see, Patch tells Nora that there’s a pool table open, and then - for no reason at all - mentally dares her to play against him. Nora reacts as you’d expect someone to react to hearing a guy talking inside her head.
“I stiffened. "How did you do that?"
When he didn't immediately deny it, I felt a squeeze of panic. It was real. He knew exactly what he was doing. The palms of my hands touched with sweat.
‘How did you do that?’ I repeated.
He gave me a sly smile. ‘Do what?’
‘Don't,’ I warned. ‘Don't pretend you're not doing it.’
He leaned a shoulder against the console and gazed down at me. ‘Tell me what I'm supposed to be doing.’
‘My ... thoughts.’
‘What about them?’
‘Cut it out, Patch.’
He glanced around theatrically. ‘You don't mean-talking to your mind? You know how crazy that sounds, right?’
Swallowing, I said in the calmest voice I could manage, ‘You scare me, and I'm not sure you're good for me.’
‘I could change your mind.’”
ZeldaQueen: *steeples fingers* Mmkay, where to begin?
Ket: How about with...this is why I say Assrag is worse than Christian (pretty much literally) Motherfucking Grey! He wouldn’t change her mind by convincing her--he would change her mind by raping her brain!
ZeldaQueen: It’s not just the mind manipulation, though. That’s bad enough on its own, but it’s made doubly disgusting because look at what else he’s doing. She knows what he’s doing, even if she doesn’t know how he’s doing it. She’s understandably scared of it. She’s trying to confront him with it. And his reaction? To deny it’s going on and act like she’s insane.
He’s playing psychological games with her.
This isn’t just an overpowered supernatural being abusing his abilities. There are plenty of people in real life who do the same thing! Oh sure, they can’t put thoughts in people’s heads. But they can lie. They can insist that they totally hadn’t promised to do that one thing, what’s that crazy person talking about. They can insist that their significant other is imagining the money missing from their bank account or that they didn’t really see anyone leaving the house at night or that there isn’t actually perfume on the collar of that shirt, what’re they talking about.
There is an actual term for this.
Ket: It’s gaslighting. Fuckface does it to Ana, trying to make her think that she felt different things to the point where she has overwritten her own memories. With Patch, he can literally do just that. Not psychological manipulation--just by magic.
ZeldaQueen: Well, we see he uses both. Everything he does to Nora takes place in her head. He can put his voice in her head. We’ll later see that he can make her see and hear things he wants her to. He can alter the perceptions of people around them so Nora can see and hear him but others can’t. In that situation, he conveniently doesn’t make it so people can’t see Nora, so everyone she asks for help dealing with Patch just think she’s a crazy girl talking to thin air. She can’t prove anything he does to her, because it’s literally all in her head. He holds all the cards. And right now, he’s acting like it’s cute to pretend that he doesn’t know what she’s talking about and that she’s some nutty girl. In fact, that last part? That sounds downright threatening. It sounds like he’s taunting her with the knowledge that she could easily be labeled as insane if she tries to push deeper into this.
Fitzpatrick talks all the time about how she loves Gothic fiction and how it influenced her writing so much. Clearly she has not familiarized herself with the countless books and essays on how crazy women are portrayed in those sorts of books. There were plenty of cases in fiction and real life where women were labeled as “crazy” because they had treatable conditions or were a little off or, heck, had revolutionary ideas or did things considered “stressful” for women (things like having a job), or just were getting in the way. It was depressingly easy to get women forced out of the way or ignored or institutionalized that way. As is noted in the movie Changeling, society’s expectations that women are frail, fragile beings make it easy for them to buy it if they have conveniently-timed nervous breakdowns.
Ket: Zelda, she is putting Patch as the hero. She clearly has no clue how gothic fiction works; Dickrag here would usually be the monster coming in through the heroine’s window.
ZeldaQueen: Something tells me she’s one of those people who thought Heathcliff was sexy and missed the creepiness of Mr. Rochester and his wife in the attic. She really needs to read some Gilbert and Gubar stat. And understand what they mean when they say that no, being an “angel” is no better for a female character than being the “monster”.
FROM ASSHOLE TO NIGHTMARE = 43
That’s one for every time he pretended not to know what she was talking about, one for her flat-out saying he’s creepy and not good for her, and one for him insisting he could change her mind about that. Because yeah, that’s totally a great sign.
SAY WHAT? = 43
For her palms being “touched” by sweat.
Vee calls for Nora again, clearly not bothered that her best friend has vanished for an extended period of time, after going to talk to her stalker. Patch asks her, surprise, surprise, to meet him by the Archangel. He doesn’t actually give a time, so I guess he wants her to ditch her friends ASAP. Nora’s immediate response is very understandable - she takes a step back and tells him, “No”. How does he respond?
“Patch came around behind me, and a chill shimmied up my spine. ‘I'll be waiting,’ he said into my ear. Then he slipped out of the arcade.”
Ket: I’d really like it if she met him there with a baseball bad, but I know we’re not that lucky.
ZeldaQueen: Sadly, no.
FROM ASSHOLE TO NIGHTMARE = 44
That’s one for what he said.
JERKASS EXTRAORDINAIRE = 40
And that’s for him being so certain that she’ll listen to him. Asshole.
And...that’s about where the chapter ends. He walks off with Nora staring after, and golly gee, I do wonder what she’ll do next.
Ket: Eventually ditch her date to go on the damn rollercoaster, I’m betting.
ZeldaQueen: Why Ket, you seem to be developing the power of prophecy.
Ket: No, I’m just used to reading really, really stupid romances.
TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL - 14
DID NOT DO THE RESEARCH - 15
SAY WHAT? - 43
ILL LOGIC - 62
RELIGION FAIL - 3
JERKASS EXTRAORDINAIRE - 40
HAND HOLDING - 27
ALL WOMEN ARE LUSTFUL - 16
LAUGH, GODDAMMIT - 30
FROM ASSHOLE TO NIGHTMARE - 44
OUR INTREPID HEROINE - 38
Onward to: Chapter 8
Back to: Chapter 5
Return to: Table Of Contents