Thursday, October 8, 2009

Part 26 - Monopoly with Timothy Leary and Danielle Steele

Cee ditty,

So, just like that, after most of 24 chapters with barely a gasp's worth of real drama, the ice is broken...

I had little hope for my section when it picked up with the Count and Rowan playing an uncompetitive game of Monopoly. The second half of your final sentence "I would have..." by the way, is, "been even more amazed at the nonchalant ease of Reshevsky at the game." So that didn't bode well for a nail-bitey five pages. It looked to be going in the same direction as the last few sections: dialing up the dramatic tension and releasing the pressure uneventfully in a rambling interior monologue by our helpless protagonist. But not this time.

The Monopoly game is interrupted by an icy dinner in which Aunt Lucy urges Rowan to be prepared for her morning flight. "We wouldn't want to miss it, now, would we, dear?" Lucy warns. Rowan responds like an impudent teenager, "I imagine not." When I read this, I envisioned Rowan as Akayla Herzberg. Rowan bolts from dinner abruptly and goes upstairs to pack her belongings "with no pretense at efficiency." She packs like I do when returning from a beery trip to Barcelona; by hurriedly throwing everything in a single bag to sort it out at a later date. In the packing frenzy, Rowan's mind drifts, as it often does, toward thoughts of Cater's arms. She wonders if it would be better to cancel the 10 PM meeting with, the phones can't be trusted...and how sweet it'd be to be in his grasp one last time. Ahhhh, like a warm bath.

The passage that follows rivals Danielle Steele in its schmalziness. Rowan describes in maudlin detail her feelings of infatuation. She talks of "quickened heartbeats" and "shivering inside (changed by the editor to 'up and down') my spine" and "strange bonds of mutual acceptance..." Yuck! The whole monologue went down like a Richard Marx song. I hadn't squirmed in my seat so much since I went to see Beaches with Tracy Tapp in 10th grade. Without going to much sappy detail, we'll suffice it to say that Rowan harbors thoughts of a productive future with Matt 'the doctor' Cater.

After packing her things, Rowan heads downstairs to resume the Monopoly game in anticipation of her tryst with Matt. Rowan goes quiet and Reshevsky nervously chain smokes as the clock closes in on 10. Interestingly, Lamb initially writes, "[Reshevsky] smoked cigarette after cigarette only to impatiently stub each one out before ten puffs were taken." The editor takes the liberty of changing "five" to "ten," apparently realizing that ten puffs would come pretty close to getting through a cigarette and would therefor be unremarkable as a sign of nervousness.

Rowan finally decides to make her escape into the damp evening. Reshevsky covers her. She arrives to the copse of trees on the other side of the flagstone walk a little early and congratulates herself on her puncuality. Just then the bushes rustle. Rowan, as would be expected, assumes it's Cater. Just like that, a whistle goes off, dark figures surround her and a pair of rough hands grab her by the hair and yank her backward. She gasps in pain, kicks violently only to be subdued as a cold needle enters her bicep. She hears Cater calling for her, but not before consciousness yields to a field of rainbows and pinwheels...maybe Timothy Leary is the culprit.

Then all goes black...Maybe Rob Halford is the culprit.

We got a game. Don't go to bed yet, Cee.

Have at it..

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