Part 14: A Real ‘BBM’

 
Chapter Fourty – The Secret of Livius

Yes. That is Chapter Fourty. Not Chapter Forty. And this isn’t a one-time typo, either – chapters forty through forty-nine are all spelled this way. This book parodies itself.

AstroJesus keeps expositing about how Maya and Joey are going to be huge targets of Abbadon because he doesn’t want them encouraging the Maradonians. Honestly, I’m not certain why Abbadon is so worried. Haven’t we heard about how they are horribly outnumbered? Why doesn’t Abbadon just swoop in and slaughter everyone anyway?

Joey mentions that ever since he and Maya were almost barbecued, neither of them are afraid of death. So, that traumatic near-death experience actually had some effect on them? I’m shocked. They seemed to get over it so quickly.

AstroJesus, however, points out that every time they’ve been in trouble, someone came to help them out. This instantly makes AstroJesus my favorite character in the book. FINALLY someone is pointing out that Maya and Joey haven’t actually accomplished jack shit so far, they’ve just been lucky enough to have people around to bail them out.

Unfortunately, AstroJesus doesn’t point this out in as many words, he just keeps talking about how they need to protect Maya and Joey. I want to keep liking AstroJesus, as characters who call the MC’s on their bullshit are rare, so I came up with an explanation for this: Let’s assume AstroJesus knows Maya and Joey are worthless, however, he does know that everyone thinks they’re the cat’s pajamas because of the prophecy. Therefore, he has a vested interest in keeping them alive, if only to ruthlessly exploit them to keep the ignorant masses happy and boost military recruitment.

AstroJesus explains that blood is going to keep them safe. Drink for another Christian reference. He launches into a story about how King Roach threw Apollyon’s palace into an ocean, and the ocean turned red like blood. Apparently, if you bathe in this pool it will give you protection from the powers of darkness.

AstroJesus rambles for a bit and shares a couple Important Life Lessons with them, and mentions that he meditates and connects with the supernatural world and that’s how he knows all sorts of things. Eventually he gets back on topic and orders all of his servants out except for just the two of them. AstroJesus then explains that he took a dip in the pool of blood and came out and stood around to let it dry. But afterwards he realized there was a leaf stuck to his shoulder and it hadn’t been covered with the blood – and you can’t take a dip twice. So now he has this small patch on his shoulder that is unprotected and vulnerable to attack.

First – how much of a moron do you have to be to not notice something like that?

Second – maybe I should change his name to AchillesJesus. No….doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Joey wants to take all their men with them so everyone can be protected. AstroJesus agrees but says that everyone will have to be blindfolded so the location remains a secret. I’m having a hard time buying this. You’re talking about an ocean of water that is big enough to have an entire palace thrown into it. Just for good measure, it’s also blood red. It’s difficult to hide something like that. And for that matter, shouldn’t AstroJesus have been taking small groups of blindfolded soldiers up there to take a dip for the past few years? After all, he needs every advantage he can get, right? Doesn’t he care about his men’s lives? What an asshole!

AstroJesus calls in all his men, including “Lieutenant Commander General Genarius”. I’m not an expert on the exact rules of military titles, but something about that one seems off. Maybe it’s the fact that Google tells me the name Genarius is stolen from Star Wars. Anyway, he gives orders for the Maya and Joey story to be created and tells them that Genarius is his Number One and can be trusted completely in all things.

Drinks: 23

Chapter Fourty-One – Vibrations

Maya and Joey walk past the unicorns, who are nervous because they feel vibrations in the air? Why? It’s not explained.

Everyone talks about nothing for awhile, and speaking of nothing, this reminds me of Hoppy. Where the hell did he go? He hasn’t been mentioned in some time. Tesch needs to stop forgetting about characters she’s created.

Eventually Joey gets up and explains that they’re going to go bathe in the special pool. Some of their men are unbelieving. Joey explains that nobody is obligated to follow them and take a dip, every man can make his own choice as to whether he wants to come. Everyone except for thirteen men decide to come. They’re morons, of course. What harm is there in going, as long as you let someone else go first to make sure it’s not acid? If it doesn’t work, you’re no worse off than you were before. But thirteen of them decide to stay behind and trust in their own strength.

“Okay than, it’s your funeral.” said Maya as she rode off with Joey in the state carriage (page 310).

They really need to lose the snarkiness. And Tesch really needs to learn the difference between ‘than’ and ‘then’. Or at least hire an editor.

Drinks: 11

Chapter Fourty-Two – Judge Kingston

Maya and Joey meet up with Judge Kingston, who is…a judge. Anyway, the judge has been tapped to write the Maya and Joey story. Why him? No idea. He calls in a couple of scribes and Maya and Joey recount the story – fortunately, Tesch doesn’t tell it again. Naturally, the scribes are rather astonished and don’t really believe most of it. So Kingston gives them his opinion, in the king of all run-on sentences:

“Of course the whole story has also another aspect of truth because the King had sent the seven doves, which are the seven good spirits of the ‘Land of Maradonia’ to lead Maya and Joey from their world into our world and they helped them on their way to come to us and to encourage our people who live in fear even though King Astrodoulos is teaching twice a week in City Hall and is telling everyone to believe in his own future and that the people in this country need a new vision because without a vision the people will be lost” (page 313).

I feel like emailing Gloria Tesch a bunch of periods and telling her to use them.

The clerks finish up and then ask Maya and Joey to add a special note and signature of their own. So Maya and Joey think for a bit and then write. This annoys me. Two separate people cannot think and write the same thing simultaneously. They would have to discuss what they wanted to write and then one of them would write it down. It’s small but it’s irritating. Although not as irritating as what they write:

‘A great man is always willing to serve and to be little’ (page 314).

Not sure what this means. Maybe they mean ‘belittle’. Probably not, though. Unfortunately people can’t change their size. I kinda get what they’re trying to say, but there are about 117 ways they could better phrase this.

Drinks: 9

Chapter Fourty-Three – Blood Warrior Bond

Not the Brotherhood Without Banners. Sorry.

I think our Apollyon’s Club of Evil t-shirt needs to have this on the sleeve or something.

AstroJesus meets up with everyone before they head off to the Magic Pool and gives them a pep talk. He mentions a few times that Lieutenant Commander General Genarius is going to be his successor, which seems to be on shaky legal grounds, but who knows, maybe in ‘Maradonia’ the king gets to appoint his successor if he doesn’t have any children?

AstroJesus shares several pages of fortune-cookie wisdom and eventually gets back to the Magic Pool. They’re going to have everyone strip naked, leap in, sink down to the bottom, get out, and then stand around and not move until the liquid dries onto their bodies. Why? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mean that they have to leave the liquid crusted on their bodies for the rest of their lives, so why doesn’t the magic liquid just…protect you? Why do you need it to dry on you? Also, wouldn’t this method mean that the soles of their feet would be unprotected? If you have to let it dry on you, it wouldn’t take more than a few seconds of standing on dry land before the water drains off the bottom of your feet.

Clearly, I’m thinking about this far too logically.

AstroJesus explains that as soon as Genarius blows the trumpet, it’s safe to get dressed again:

“From that moment on you are a ‘BBM’!”

“King Astrodoulos! What is a ‘BBM’?” Maya asked.

“Maya and Joey and all you people listen to your king. If you are once sealed with the liquid of that pond you are a real ‘BBM’, a sealed ‘BLOOD BOND MEMBER’ under the direct protection of the Kingdom of Light. [snip] As a ‘Blood Warrior Bond Member’ under the direct protection of the ‘Kingdom of Light’ you are untouchable and invincible by the powers of darkness.” (page 320).

So…what is it? BBM, BWB, or BWBM? These are important questions. You can’t just random give out absolutely retarded acronyms like that. Well….I guess Jesus can.

Drinks: 25

Chapter Fourty-Four – A Vision in Mid Air

This is supposed to be a man.

So a man who looks like a girl appears in midair, which means that some people were looking right up herhis dressrobe.

The flying thing holds out his swords over everyone and AstroJesus explains that this means they’ve found favor in the eyes of King Roach. Hooray!

We then cut to omniscient narrator. The story of Maya and Joey goes out and people are ecstatic. Men are signing up for the military left and right, without even saying goodbye to their families. They are that inspired.

A ‘hysteria’ broke out, especially under the young children and women who ran out of their houses to the streets and to the market places and screamed for hours, “Long live Maya and Joey, ‘The Encouragers’!” The boys yelled “Maya!” The girls screamed “Joey!” (page 323).

This is remarkably creepy, considering that they are fifteen and fourteen, respectively. Then again, considering how many girls go moist for Justin Bieber, I guess it’s not terribly surprising. Still, I can’t help feeling like I’m reading about Gloria Tesch’s personal fantasy of being wildly famous and beloved by everyone.

Anyway. Bottom line is they have more recruits then they know what to do with.

Drinks: 15

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  7 Responses to “Part 14: A Real ‘BBM’”

  1. Just to clarify: Astro Jesus bathing in the invincibility-inducing blood and missing a spot on the upper back area was based on the Norse-based hero Siefried from Nibelungenlied. Siefried slew the dragon, bathed in its blood except for a spot covered by a leaf. It’s an easy mistake since it’s so similar to Achilles’ backstory.

    All it proves is that Gloria’s been stealing from more than just the biblical stories. Why doesn’t she just toss in some Iroquoian or Vedic plots while she’s busy plundering mythologies?

  2. Interesting…and given her more-than-likely German background, that makes even more sense. I wonder if all the parts in single quotes were originally in German, but she didn’t know the English words or way to say what she meant (perhaps English is her second language and she was still learning it at age 13), so she went back and just filled them in later…but didn’t remove the single quotation marks (???)
    Thanks for pointing out the source of her rip-off; for all we know, she DID slip in some Vedic or Iroquian stuff was well…

  3. “AstroJesus agrees but says that everyone will have to be blindfolded so the location remains a secret.”

    Faramir has Frodo & Sam blindfolded so that they don’t know the location of Henneth Annun and its pool; just as the Company entering Lorien had been blindfolded for a similar reason. This girl has few ideas of her own.

    “without a vision the people will be lost”” – Bibledar pings: see Proverbs 29.18.

    “Two separate people cannot think and write the same thing simultaneously. They would have to discuss what they wanted to write
    and then one of them would write it down. It’s small but it’s irritating.”

    I think it’s meant to show how awesome they are – it reminds me of the legend that the Septuagint Greek Old Testament was produced in 70 days by 70 translators, “think[ing] and writ[ing] the same thing simultaneously”, whose translations were identical in all respects. Tesch is probably inserting her “heroes” into this tradition of supernatural writing. Now that is chutzpah.

    As for being little – it probably refers to status, and to the paradox of being great by being the servant of all. Not to bodily size.

    “If you are once sealed with the liquid of
    that pond you are a real ‘BBM’, a sealed ‘BLOOD BOND MEMBER’ under the
    direct protection of the Kingdom of Light. [snip] As a ‘Blood
    Warrior Bond Member’ under the direct protection of the ‘Kingdom of
    Light’ you are untouchable and invincible by the powers of darkness.” ”

    Clear echoes of Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak and other stuff in HP – like the potion Dumbledore drinks in “HP and the Half-Blood Prince”.

  4. ly when someone’s black…

  5. Surely Gloria, you must admit that some girls would have yelled Maya, and some boys yelled Joey.

  6. Depending on the genre, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to borrow ideas. But you should at least file the serial numbers off and integrate them within the plot of your story. She just doesn’t bother to do any of that.

  7. OTOH: Milton borrows, by way of Virgil or Dante or both, a simile that first occurs in Homer. So I have a bit of sympathy with Tesch. The comparison of the demons to fallen leaves is a beautiful and very powerful comparison in Milton, as it is when Vergil and Dante compare souls to fallen leaves.

    The Homeric passage (Iliad 6.146-9; Lattimore’s translation):

    “As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity.
    The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber
    burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning.
    So one generation of men will grow while another dies.”

    A possible echo in a Jewish author (ben Sira, 14.18):

    “Like flourishing leaves on a spreading tree which sheds some and puts forth others, so are the generations of flesh and blood: one dies and another is born.”

    All three borrowing authors do something fresh and new with the simile, and that I think is where Tesch falls down; she does not do anything new or fresh with what she borrows. Though, I think it is not always easy to tell a literary echo from a piece of plagiarism. She does not integrate her borrowings to make them an organic part of her narrative 🙁