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.


Posted on April 23, 2017, in The Edge of Darkness. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. If I had the time, I think it would be interesting to explore an abandoned amusement park, but I wouldn’t want to do it if I knew I had been sent there by some mysterious billionaire who set random attackers and death traps in the place for whatever reason. It does seem odd that Meth just expects that Murphy will somehow survive the ninjas, wrestler, and death traps to reach the next clue. Given what we’ve seen of Murphy in previous books, I wouldn’t have expected that of Murphy.

  2. “I’m not scared, just apprehensive”

    Sure, Murphy. Sure.

  3. Wow, really? Four chapters for that? I know this series is infamously bloated, but come on. This whole excursion didn’t need more than one, maybe two chapters. Especially for a payoff that weak.

    • At least try bloat a sort of action scene that’s related to the main plot this time. The other books bloated pointless preparation, masturbatory persecution scenes, or Moar Arab side stories that had nothing to do with Murphy’s supposed goal.

  4. Yet something made him apprehensive. Call it instinct, intuition, or just plain street smarts…

    …Plot Armor.

  5. The only way this works is if Meth is riding the video cameras, waiting for Murphy to get out of the seat before he presses the cement-block-release lever.

    “Thirty degrees northeast of the altar” is nonsense unless the altar itself has a direction, which generally they don’t. Otherwise, you have nothing to measure the thirty degrees from. Maybe there’s a circular chamber with an altar near one wall? In any case, nobody would say “degrees northeast” – they’d say clockwise or anti (or counter) clockwise, or port/starboard or even left/right.

    • “Thirty degrees northeast” is pretty much nonsense anyway. Would that be thirty degrees from North to East or from East to North? To be an accurate guide, it should be either NNE or ENE. And how does Meth know that Murph never leaves the house without a pocket compass?

    • I think he was trying to say something like “on the right-hand side, diagonally from the altar”. But, as with this entire series, failed.

  6. I don’t know what the point of all this bullshit is supposed to be in the first place. Do the earlier books ever explain why Murphy goes through with these games, or what Methuselah gets out of them?

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for April 28th, 2017 | The Slacktiverse

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