Chapter Seven – Puzzle Pieces
Joey hasn’t slept well, so he gets up early. He’s been thinking back to that dreadful experience where he was almost barbecued. It’s a horrible memory and it makes him sit up bathed in sweat.
He doesn’t feel like eating breakfast. He heads out to school, puts his Tarnkappe on, and manages to slip onto the bus while invisible, which sounds pretty difficult. He stands in the back of the bus, invisible, listening to the conversation. In an amazing coincidence, he overhears Freddy (the kid who saw The Gothic Movement, which would be a great name for an emo band) telling one of his friends about how nervous he is going to school because of the bullies who might do something to him because he happened to see what they did to ‘that girl’. When his friend presses him for details, Freddy says he can’t talk about it. Well, of course he can’t. That’s why he just explained to everyone who was listening that he knows who beat the shit out of Maya.
Tesch explains that Freddy’s friend doesn’t realize what’s going on, which means he’s a fucking idiot. However, Joey realizes that Freddy must be talking about the people who beat up Maya. He immediately jumps to the conclusion that Alana Terrence must be one of the guilty members.
He starts thinking about and addressing Libertine in his mind, because Libertine told him not to let anger rule his intellect. Which is a good piece of advice, but this is Joey we’re talking about here.
“I hate to say it, Libertine, but even the word ‘revenge’ doesn’t sounds good enough to me…maybe the word ‘punishment’ is a better description…Libertine, I feel deep in my heart that punishment is a far better word than revenge and heavy punishment is even better.” (page 48).
Apparently Tesch has never looked up the definitions of these words because revenge and punishment are practically the same thing. The only real difference is that punishment sounds righteous, or justified – the more even, measured response – whereas revenge sounds like something you exact not because it’s what is deserved, but because you want to make someone suffer for what they’ve done, or possibly to make yourself feel better.
I find it amusing that Joey thinks punishment is the word he wants to use, considering he’s about to become a vigilante. If he really wanted to get Alana Terrence punished, he would have turned her in to the principal, or better yet, the police. Instead, he’s going to take matters into his own hands. Now, I’m not saying that Alana doesn’t deserve this, because she’s obviously a complete shit, but at the same time, I wouldn’t rely on Joey’s opinion for anything.
Joey sneaks around until he finds The Gothic Movement. Tanya is expositing to the others that they shouldn’t tell anyone what has happened. No shit, Sherlock. Alana Terrence agrees:
“We know Tanya! You must not teach us,” answered Alana, “we know what to say! But listen to me! Do you remember the statue of the three monkeys on my book shelves? One of the monkeys has his hands over his mouth… the other one covers his ears… and the third one his eyes. We have not heard, seen or said anything… Is that understood?” (page 49)
Apparently Gloria Tesch (and Alana Terrence) has this on her bookshelf:
I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Tesch has an uncanny ability to write atrocious dialogue. Now, dialogue is hard to write, and a lot of authors struggle with it. Robert Stanek, for example, writes dialogue that’s awkward and stilted. Tesch does as well, but she’s even more fond of writing dialogue that’s just bizarre. Like this bit, after Dorothy asks Alana if Freddy will talk.
“What about him? Please, wake up, Dorothy, and understand, if I just look at this boy… he pees in his pants. Forget about him. I will take care of him when I see him at lunch. Believe me; he will be silent like a lamb in front of his butcher!” (page 49)
That metaphor isn’t really working for me.
This convinces Joey that Alana and her friends beat up Maya, so he heads off to class. I’m not really sure why. Since he’s invisible, he won’t get credit for being there, so he might as well just play hooky for the day.
The teacher gets up and starts talking about the UFOs that are hovering above Oceanside.
“It seems that we are visited by some celestial powers” (page 50).
I have no idea where the celestial powers idea came from or why this teacher thinks it belongs in a classroom. But fortunately, the teacher is interrupted:
At this moment the assistant principal of the school, accompanied by a bold gentleman with mustache and bushy eyebrows, and a female police officer who looked more like an actress in uniform than a cop, entered the room (page 50).
If you’re wondering if this fact will become significant later…no, it won’t.
The assistant principal introduces the cops, and explains they’re there to ask some questions. The detective, Charles Rosenberg, has puppy dog eyes. That is literally what the book says. He asks them if they know anything about what happened to Maya.
“It is a fact that somebody from this school attacked her on her way to the school bus.” (page 51)
No, it isn’t. Anyone could have walked onto school grounds and attacked Maya.
The female officer who apparently looks like an actress explains that the guilty parties might be charged with attempted murder and get long prison sentences. There’s a long silence. Tanya twitches a bit but Alana gives her a look. The detectives don’t notice. They’re pretty bad at their job.
Finally a kid named Jason gets up and says that he doesn’t think anyone knows what happens to Maya, but he does know that Maya had an argument with their math substitute. He explains that Maya had rambled about being a princess of either Macedonia or Maradonia and that the airships were looking for her. This makes the detectives wonder if the whole situation is connected to the UFO’s over Oceanside.
Chapter Eight – The Haunting
Joey is pissed off. He sneaks out of the classroom to the restrooms and turns on all the faucets. Instead of the water going down the drains, this starts flooding the school. He then steals some paint from the art room and adds it to the water, which makes it look like blood. Apparently.
Eventually, the period ends and everyone spills out of their classrooms and many people are delighted. Interestingly, the fact that someone has flooded the school with paint and water doesn’t bother anyone or even interrupt classes. Everyone just moves on to their next class….including The Gothic Movement.
Alana heads back to her locker to grab one of the books she forgot. Meanwhile, Dorothy and Tanya suddenly realize that someone has written ‘There is a heavy price to pay’ all over their desks. That actually sounds like something that would be difficult to miss. It makes them scream like banshees.
Alana comes back and Joey decides it’s a good time to start fucking with them. So he starts making random things in the classroom move and chucking chairs through windows. Everyone panics and starts screaming in terror. Well done, Joey.
Joey writes ‘There is a heavy price to pay for what you did to Maya!’ on the chalkboard, which is an interesting choice of words. I’d go for ‘I’m here to get revenge for what you did to Maya’ or something along those lines.
The Gothic Movement think they’re being visited by aliens and freak out a bit. The teacher, meanwhile, has had a heart attack [!!!]. So, after all this, after their classroom turned into a set piece from The Frighteners, everyone just goes on to their next class.
The Gothic Movement meets at lunch and they’re all exhausted, so at least this has affected them a bit. Alana says there was something Evil in the classroom…but she has the answer! She has a Ouija board at home!!!
Yeah. A Ouija board.
Suddenly Alana falls to the ground. Turns out it’s Joey, invisible, who has grabbed Alana by her shoelaces [???] and drags her through the cafeteria, banging into tables and garbage cans which spills food and drinks all over Alana’s outfit. Alana screams for help but nobody helps her. Tanya and Dorothy are too afraid:
They were shivering, screaming and clutching each other and were on their way to the brink of a mental breakdown (page 60).
The rest of the kids are laughing at Alana, which is a totally understandable reaction. I mean, if UFO’s were hovering over my hometown, the school was mysteriously flooded, and then chairs started randomly flying through windows, and then a girl started being dragged around the school by mysterious unexplained forces, I would think that was hilarious. I wouldn’t even be remotely concerned for my own safety.
Joey whispers in Alana’s ear that he’s only getting started with her. Then he takes off, takes his Tarnkappe off, and waltzes back into the lunchroom and plays dumb. He watches with interest as the detectives come in, along with a camera crew from a local television station, and start investigating everything that has happened, including how the teacher’s desk and laptop both got stuck in the drywall. They really want to talk to the teacher, but….
It was not possible for them to interview him because he was already on his way to the emergency room of the medical center with a second heart attack (page 62).
Ignoring the fact that Tesch assumes her readers are too stupid to figure out what ‘emergency room’ means, let’s move on to the next page:
Joey, who had watched the development in the school with great satisfaction and interest (page 63).
Yeah. It doesn’t bother him at all that he gave a teacher a heart attack.
Chapter Nine – The Fourth Dimension
Joey and Libertine visit Maya in the hospital. It isn’t explained how a dove got inside the hospital. Maybe there wasn’t a screen on the window.
Joey explains that he figured out Alana, Dorothy, and Tanya were guilty, and he’s punished them. Well, technically he only punished Alana, and all he did to her was scare the shit out of her…
Libertine jumps in with an Ice Cream Koan.
“ ‘Tough times never last…but tough people do!’” (page 65)
Speaking from personal experience, that’s bullshit. Tough times can last for years.
Libertine explains that Maya and Joey are very tough people, and they’ve been exposed to the supernatural.
“You have seen, touched, and even tasted the supernatural.” (page 65).
No, seriously, what? They’ve tasted the supernatural? When, precisely, did that happen? When Justin tried to feed them poisoned mangos (which they didn’t eat)? When Felipe tried to poison Genarius (which didn’t work)? When they bathed in the pool of blood? Okay, maybe they were opening their mouths while in the pool of blood and that’s how they’ve tasted the supernatural. Although Tesch never said that they did.
Libertine explains that their world is the Third Dimension, but soon they’ll enter the Fourth Dimension, which most people on Earth have never experienced because they’re ‘consumers’. She adds that there are actually up to seven dimensions, but she doesn’t have the words to properly explain them. She tells Maya and Joey that they need to open their hearts and minds up to new things. They also need to visit her friend Dominatio, who lives on Villusio Island, and will show them the entrance to the Fifth Dimension.
Joey got a little nervous and said “C’mon, Libertine. Talk to us in a language which we understand.” (page 66)
You know, there are plenty of people who might not fully understand what she just said, but most of them wouldn’t openly announce their ignorance. I don’t think this makes Joey a smart or humble person, though. I think he’s just an idiot.
Joey doesn’t want to talk about dimensions because Maya is injured, but Libertine explains that they won’t be able to fulfill their assignments in Maradonia unless they properly understand the dimensions. Maya then pipes up and asks what a dimension is.
Libertine answered with a smile of an educator, “Maya, it is so good to hear your voice. Listen…a Dimension is a measurement of understanding and knowledge in one certain direction.” (page 67)
That’s one of the strangest definitions of dimension that I’ve ever heard. Tesch doesn’t let up. Libertine explains that the coordinates and dimensions determine a position of knowledge, whatever that is.
“One of the elements can create a complete personality or entity. It is difficult to understand, I know, but when you start thinking and living in the Fourth Dimension, it creates a hunger within you and your soul will start to cry for more knowledge as the Majestic Deer of Maradonia cries for the fresh water at the Mara Lake.” (page 68)
Um…okay then. That’s another line taken from the Bible – Psalms 42.1, to be exact – “As the deer pants for the water brook, so pants my soul for you, O God”. It’s ridiculously out of place here.
Also….The Majestic Deer of Maradonia? Sounds like a song title…
It turns out that Genarius’ enemies are getting stronger, including Felipe. Libertine says it’s a lot like things back when AstroJesus was fighting the Freedom Fighters, a reference which would make a lot more sense if we had any fucking idea what that meant.
Apparently, some assassins have killed seven city hall elders, and Senator Hilton and Judge Kingston have both narrowly escaped death.
Libertine paused again and continued, “Maybe you forgot that the time table in the Land of Maradonia is different. Time goes by much, much faster than in your world.” (page 69).
Right. So here it’s much, much faster. It’s obvious that Tesch was just going for a Narnia/Earth situation where the times don’t match up and there’s no discernable way to understand or track it. Being a poor writer, she’s not able to elucidate this, which led to the whole 1 day/1,000 years thing. At a guess, about a year has passed in Maradonia.
Libertine explains that Lady Ruchi popped out a couple twins named Nodin and Michael. Great names. Ruchi then died of Puerpural Fever. A short while later Nodin dies as well. Genarius is, of course, very depressed. He can’t trust anyone, and he needs Maya and Joey to show up and save the day.
Maya starts sobbing and Joey has to wipe away tears. I assume this is for the death of Ruchi, since they did know her for at least a week, and probably even had a conversation or two with her.
Joey nodded and said “I understand. When Maya feels a little better, we will be ready, willing, and able to help our king and our baby brother Prince Michael.” (page 70)
Uh….your baby brother? He’s not related to you. They weren’t adopted. They were made prince and princess, but at the time it seemed more like an honorary title. Even if it wasn’t, that doesn’t make Michael their brother. It makes him a threat to their crowns.
Libertine says she’ll bring Maya some healing balm leaves and then she and Joey take off. Joey stops by a mall and buys some bigger backpacks [?] clothing [??] flashlights and batteries [okay] a pink parka for Maya [???] and a gyrocompass [wtf]?
Okay. Fine, they need bigger backpacks. Flashlights, why not. But I’m pretty sure they already have clothes…you know, the ones their parents bought them? Also, a pink parka is a really dumb color to choose when you’re sneaking around and people want to kill you, although I guess Maya has a Tarnkappe. But….a gyrocompass? I’m not going to lie, it would probably be moderately useful, although probably not much more useful than a compass you can buy for $10. The kicker? Gyrocompasses are really, really expensive. The cheapest one I found on Amazon.com costs over $600.00, and elsewhere it seems like the cheapest available run a good $550. Not to mention that most malls aren’t going to have stores that sell gyrocompasses.