TEoD: Chapter Five: Skinny
Murphy’s next adorable trial in this never-ending “fun” house is the maze of mirrors. Murphy, a grown man, takes time out of his busy schedule of staying alive in the face of ninjas and…well, big guys, I guess…to admire the differences in all the mirrors.
Dozens of Murphys were reflected back at him
What a nightmare.
One of them was curved and made him look fat. Another made him look skinny—he really liked that one.
He did? Okay, I’m sorry, but that sentence just stopped me dead in my tracks. Murphy is a straight, mid-forties (probably), athletic guy, and he wants to look skinny? I have never in my life heard a man say he wants to look skinny. Women, sure, but “skinny” is generally not considered to be a positive term when it comes to men. And it’s not like Murphy has struggled with his weight all his life and thus might like the idea of being skinny. Because we are constantly told that he is (and always has been) super-athletic.
It’s just very weird that a man wrote that sentence.
Anywho, Murphy starts to mark his trail with a granola bar. Oh so very proud of himself, he thinks,
Hansel and Gretel have got nothing on me.
Or, yanno, you could put one hand out, touch the wall, and just follow it to the end. That always works. Might take awhile, but you would be assured of victory.
Murphy sees a video camera monitoring him (so Meth had the time to completely wire this place for surveillance), and just as he gets close to it, he falls through “a hole in the floor.” Huh. Too bad Indiana Murphy wasn’t watching where he was going.
The precious granola bar is lost forever, and Murphy manages, action hero that he is, to grab the edge of the “hole” and then pull himself back up again (we are told this is all over an “abyss” with a giant pool of water below. Nothing but the highest safety standards for the underground fun house!
Finally, Murphy makes it out of the stupid maze.
He was growing weary of this game…
And he isn’t the only one…
And he finds the beginning of the book—the roller coaster car he’s supposed to ride. And Phillips played a bit of a trick on us here. Because this is actually a tunnel of love ride, not a roller coaster. It’s just that roller coaster-type cars are used in the ride, instead of the more usual boats.
So it’s not nearly so dramatic when Murphy has to jump out of the ride. Because he’s going, like, two miles per hour.
He does the ride, and there are spooky things, and Murphy is feeling all superior, because silly spooky rides don’t scare him, no, sirree.
Yet something made him apprehensive. Call it instinct, intuition, or just plain street smarts…
Or the fact that he’s on an old, decrepit ride that would be a death trap even if it wasn’t being operated by a mysterious billionaire who likes to torment him?
So Murphy makes the smart decision and hops off the car, riding the bumper. And it’s a good thing he does, since “two eighty-pound blocks of cement smashed into the seat where he had just been sitting.”
Okay, that just seems plain unsporting of Meth. How was anyone supposed to see that coming? Oh yeah, Murphy’s “street smarts.” What mean streets would those be, Phillips? College Lane at his private college?
So the ride ends and Murphy hops off and the car crashes (slowly, I assume, though Phillips tries to make it seem tense). Anyway, Murphy’s bag is still aboard the car, and everything is destroyed, included Muphy’s bow, which he was skilled with when Greg Dinallo was writing him, but Phillips forgot about for the past two books, only to bring it back up right now so that the bow can be destroyed. But it’s okay…
Knew I should’ve insured the darn thing.
…because Murphy isn’t exactly broken up about this.
And, FINALLY FINALLY, the frakking clue:
Thirty degrees northeast of the altar…press the king’s head.
Well. That was certainly worth four full chapters.