So I bet a couple of you thought I was a little out of line when I started complaining about authors and their pet locales. ‘Vivi,’ the fictional reader was thinking. ‘That’s not fair. Jimmy’s just finally giving us a described backdrop so we can properly frame the story.’ But that’s only because I saw this coming and you didn’t.
“You know what I like about New York?” the Gasman said, noisily chewing his kosher hot dog. “It’s full of New Yorkers who are freakier than we are.”
Right off, Jimmy hits a homerun of New York clichés. If this were a movie they’d run through a montage where they’d eat a hotdog at Yankee Stadium. Angel would catch a homerun, snatching it away from a New York celebrity like Donald Trump or Rudy Giuliani who’d glace at them and offer them a thumbs up. Then cut to them coming out of a Broadway play carrying shopping bags with the Barney’s of New York logo on them followed by them riding around in a taxi looking at the “strange” people walking around.
Iggy is glad that they blend in and, for no apparent reason, Max describes Iggy. Apparently he’s six feet tall and has reddish blond hair. She says that none of them stand out among the—insert stereotypical New York sidewalk freak here—and the—ditto—that wander around.
Then they start talking about the wolfmen. Apparently they’re not like they were. Max says they must be version six because they look more human and there are females. Which if funny because Jimmy could have simply put in a female “eraser” earlier and then Max could have remarked on how she thought they’d all been male. Instead Jimmy decided to add that detail arbitrarily. Then Jimmy vomits more clichés at us.
“I like being able to just buy food as we walk along,” Nudge said happily. “If you walk a couple blocks, there’s someone selling food. And delis. I love delis! They’re everywhere! Everywhere you go, there’s everything you need: food, delis, banks, subway stops, buses, cool stores, fruit stands right on the street. This is the best place, I’m telling you. Maybe we should always live here.”
Gee, isn’t New York just so awesome? They have delis and hotdogs and, gasp, banks! I mean, some towns have a couple of those in walking distance but no city outside of New York could possibly have any of those things together.
Max says that they have a mission to complete and they’re running out of money. Yeah, about that Max. What is your mission again? You’re looking for the “institute’s” main office so you can look up your parents. And what then? How does that solve the problem of you being chased?
Then Max freezes in place and Fang asks if it’s “that pain”. Nope, she smells cookies. No, really. Apparently she caught the smell of a Mrs Fields and decided she had to have cookies and they’re great but not as good as homemade.
Why is it homemade is always better? Has no one ever lived with people who aren’t out of work chefs? My parents couldn’t make everything perfect and there are a couple of things they shouldn’t have made but would anyway because it was cheaper that eating out.
So we start the next chapter with Iggy trying to earn brownie points with me.
“So what’s your big plan for finding the Institute?” Iggy asked.
I’m sorry blind kid but it’s too late. Though I do appreciate the effort I still think you suck. Maybe if you stabbed Max and Angel in the ribs and handed their bodies over in exchange for freedom. That would be a wonderful betrayal scene.
‘You know, I wish I had my vision back,’ Iggy said. He closed the distance between us and stood near as a lover before offering a kiss. ‘Just for a few seconds.’
‘Look, Iggy,’ I said, knowing it was a poor choice of words. ‘Whatever your feelings for me…’
‘I just want to see the look on your face,’ Iggy said as his lips curled into a frown.
I gasped as a lance was rammed into my chest, expelling my breath. I desperately tried to take it back in but every attempt racked me with pain. I looked down at the rusty six inch nail Iggy have plunged between my ribs. Iggy pushed me back and I cracked my head on the pavement beneath me.
‘Why?’ I managed to wheeze.
‘Justice is blind and so am I.’ Iggy said. ‘They were going to fix my eyes before you took me away. I was going to be able to see again and you just couldn’t wait to run away. Well I’m getting my sight back and my freedom, Max.’
Anyway, they discuss ways to find “the institute” and Fang suggests a phone book. Max then tells us she wishes they had a computer they could hack. Yeah, that would help. Along with the ability to hack, the time to do it and a get out of jail free card when you get caught because you learned everything about hacking from a nineties Angelina Jolie movie.
Max doesn’t really know what to do and she looks around hoping for another sign from the author. She just happens to be standing next to a New York library. She then says they probably have computers and databases…and she trails off as she goes inside and everyone follows after.
“How does she do that?” I heard Fang ask Iggy.
It’s pretty easy when your author keeps putting plot devices in front of you like a trail of breadcrumbs, Fang. I can’t wait until Max trips and falls face first into a cache of weapons that will allow her to destroy the evil “scientists” and wolfmen. Underneath all that will be a sheet of paper revealing her parents to be an Oscar winning actress and a rocks star who will gladly take her in.
i agree with you on the over-usage on NY. I love NY, but why can’t a story take place in one of the Carolinas or Montana? i think they have banks, too.
actually i do understand the appeal of using NY and it’s because it HAS been used so many times that it requires very little research. However, i could really only accept that type of reasoning from a beginner writer who hasn’t made a bajillion and couldn’t easily travel to the place they are writing about. If i wanted to write a story based in Montana, i’d have to spend a lot of time researching and fretting. Jimmy can spend the money, go on a long weekend to wherever, use it as a tax write-off, and be more accurate that just googling it.
also, yay for more Vivi writing!