All has been quiet on the Actual Las Vegas Former Olympian front. Let’s keep it that way, dear, now that you know that Trout Nation can smell your pathetic lies from seven miles below the bowels of hell.
Speaking of hell, even though this chapter is titled “The Devil,” Sofiaie is not included in it. There is, however, mention of the sexual and physical abuse in Fifty Shades Of Grey in this recap, so heads up.
We begin with a time jump:
Several weeks flew by and I was in my dressing room getting ready for the show. I still hadn’t quite made a decision in regards to my personal life.
Of course you haven’t. We’re only at 51% of the first book in a five book series whose only plot at this point seems to be which dude you’re gonna bang. It would be like if Harry Potter defeated Voldemort at his first Quidditch match.
If I had known time was going to hop around so much in this book, I would have kept better track. Even if I had, though, it would still be incredibly difficult to tell how long these events have been going on for. It’s always “a few weeks” or “several weeks.” There have been no holidays or even a suggestion of what season it is, aside from the rainy season thing, which would put us in the fall when Larvae went on her bike ride with Mac. At this point, the nearest I can guess at how long Zindar The Pathetic has been in Las Vegas is something like six months, and I when I say “guess” I mean literally I’m guessing because I don’t care enough to go back and reread to find out because this book is terrible and even having a consistent sense of how much time has passed won’t fix that.
Every time I would start to lean in one direction something would pull me in the opposite.
Yeah, that’s your author’s lack of ideas doing that.
The cards had become quite infuriating because they refused to give me an answer, which was something I’d never experienced before.
Except for in the last chapter, when you said this exact same thing about this thing that has never happened before happening.
The only thing I could think was that this was the cards’ way of insisting that I needed to learn a lesson about making my own decisions. I had learned over the years that sometimes the cards insist you learn lessons, that is what each of our lives is about, learning lessons to become a better being–your soul can’t evolve until you’ve learned whatever life lesson it is you need to learn.
The lesson you need to learn is how to make decisions on your god damn own, Lavatory. This is, again, crushed-velvet-Pagan bullshit, wherein someone’s life is ruled by teh majihiks in cases where common shitting sense is what is required. You choose the guy you like the most, the guy you get along with most, maybe, just maybe, the guy you both actually think about and talk to. This isn’t the universe trying to teach you a life lesson to evolve your soul. It’s the universe saying, “Maybe try doing the thing that isn’t as interesting and mystical and mysterious and just sit down and handle your own shit.” Sure, that could be a lesson, but it’s really only a lesson if you learn something. I intensely doubt that’s going to happen in this case.
I sank into the director’s chair in front of my mirror and played with my hair and make-up a little, more futzing than actually doing anything. The show had supplied me with any and all of the make-up, skin, and hair products I wanted, and so for the very first time I had a plethora to choose from. I was even given every color of OPI gel ail polish that I wanted. Now every week my nails can be a different color instead of the normal black I always do. I had asked for every kind of Benefit brand make-up that existed and then extra fun eye-shadow from Too Faced in every color they make, and lipstick as well. It was more make-up than I could ever use, but I loved having it around. I was enjoying mixing the color palettes together to see what worked and what didn’t. I also alternated betwee the four different kinds of Sedu curlers, because I had fun playing with the different-sized curls it produced and then randomly put different moisturizers on from my Kiehl’s skin products, just to see what felt nice. All of it was just a place to put my nervous energy to use.
It’s petty time.
150 OPI Infinite Shine gel polishes, at $12.50 each = $1875.00 (Sally Beauty)
“Every kind of Benefit brand make-up that existed” = $5702.00 (Benefit website)
Too-Faced eyeshadow and lipstick, every shade = $4505.30 (Too-Faced website)
Sedu Curler = $195.00 (Neiman Marcus)
TOTAL BEFORE SALES TAX COST OF FANTASY-SAREM’S MAKEUP NOT INCLUDING KIEHL’S MOISTURIZERS THAT WE KNOW IS TOTALLY A REALISTIC EXPENSE FOR A GUEST PERFORMER IN A SHOW BECAUSE SHE’S A REAL LAS VEGAS OLYMPIAN AND THERE IS MORE TRUTH IN THIS BOOK THAN WE NON-GLAMOROUS PLEBS COULD POSSIBLY KNOW: $12277.30
A non-headling performer asked for and was granted twelve thousand dollars worth of makeup and hair shit that she doesn’t necessarily need but just likes having around.
On top of that, if you asked me, “Jenny, which prestige brands have the most boring, least wild party times edgy makeup you can think of?” I’m probably going to say Benefit and Too-Faced. I mean, I like both brands, but…Urban Decay? Mac? Illamasqua?
Wait, don’t buy that last one, they’re racist.
But still. Come on.
I finally stopped and sat back away from my vanity.
Oh, how I long to back away from your vanity.
I sat like that for a long time, anxiety washing over me, and decided I would try to focus on my breathing–a kind of meditation, if you will. I’d heard people say that it helped them, so although it had never helped me much I figured I’d give it another shot.
If meditation doesn’t help, why don’t you magick yourself calm? I love these parts of the book, where the author basically holds up a sign saying, “Hi reader, I think you’re an ignorant jackass.” People know what meditation is and that it involves breathing. You don’t need to explain it to them. Or maybe the point here is that when Zipper focuses on her breathing as a meditation, it’s a super special kind of meditation that’s different and unique and better than the stuff other people do.
So, while she’s trying to breathe through her anxiety about which guy she wants to date, one of them comes in. It’s Jackson, and he’s just stopped by for six whole lines of dialogue. They’re all fascinating, of course, like when he says “knock knock,” entering the room and “My band’s playing a late show tonight after work.” Liver can’t go, though, because it would require her to be in a scene with the guy she’s obviously not going to end up with and therefore the author can’t be fucked to give him a personality besides sparkling eyes and playing guitar. Oh, and because she has to do some work with Charles on a new illusion. So, obviously, Jackson is disappointed.
He rose to leave, but he bent down to run a thumb from the back of my jaw to my chin and kiss me on the forehead. I could feel myself blushing beneath his touch. He knew how to be so charming when he wanted to be, that expression about leaving someone weak in the knees, he knew how to do that in spades. He just oozed charm and charisma like no one I had ever met.
I know when I’m trying to describe someone as being knock-down, panty-dropping sexy, I choose the word oozed. Also, it would have been nice if the author would have oozed some of the charm and charisma onto the page so that we’d have some kind of proof of it besides our narrator going, “Oh yeah, he’s like totally hot, trust me.”
Jackson leaves and forgets his sunglasses, so The Zegend Of Lelda runs after him. Instead of finding him, she sees Charles and Zeb in the hallway arguing.
I always jump to the conclusion that something is about me and so that’s where my mind went first.
You don’t fucking say.
“It’s not good, that much I can tell you. I just don’t know how bad and what it all means”. I heard Zeb say, sounding worried.
Charles responded in an equally grievous tone, “You know we have to let some things take their own course, you must let it go for now.”
First of all, Charles talks like he just got transplanted from one of those Regency novels where the author thinks contractions weren’t invented until the 1980s. Second, “You know we have to let some things take their own course,” should be its own sentence, as should “you must let it go for now.” Third, you mean “grave”, not “grievous.” Grievous means causing grief. You know, like how mischievous means causing mischief. Fourth, if we find out what this horrible, no good, very bad thing is before the end of the book, I’ll be fucking shocked.
They both notice Zart standing there.
“Hello, Zade. Is everything okay, dear?”
You’re her boss. Profesh as fuck, Spellman.
Zardoz asks what’s up with the dire.
Charles smiled and nodded. “Oh yes, everything is fine. Just silly magician troubles. Zeb, let’s go back to my office, shall we? See you later, Zade.”
Just magician stuff. That should make you feel better, what with being in a show that recently had a major malfunction that caused a performer to fall sixty feet and clinically die. Don’t worry about it.
The weird part of that phrasing is that he like, hired Zephora to be a magician in his show. So, “silly magician troubles” tossed out as though she wouldn’t understand doesn’t really work here. It would be like if asked another writer what’s wrong and they were like, “Just silly author troubles,” to patronize me.
Larvae decides that this is something she should look into. Obviously, that’s not what happens. More important stuff is happening, like stretching her leg provocatively against the wall, giving Cam a chance to comment on how flexible she is. Then Mac strolls up.
I bit my lip as worry spread across my face.
I still hadn’t told him I couldn’t go camping.
Do you have any idea what a relief it is to write about someone biting their lip with worry about a camping trip cancellation and not, you know, my husband is going to sexually punish me against my wishes if I make him mad because he love, love, loves to hit me? It feels so good to know that’s not going to happen in this book.
“I forgot to tell you earlier today, but I can’t go.” I said it with disappointment in my voice, because I really was disappointed that I couldn’t go, but I had a good reason at least.
Mac is annoyed because it was London’s idea for everyone to go camping again, but she has to work on an illusion with Charles. See, it has to be ready in time for the show’s anniversary, a big event that’s coming up that we haven’t heard about until right now and which according to Kindle’s search function is never mentioned again. Just like the premiere that was mentioned in the infamous Carrot Top scene. Mentioned as a big giant deal, never heard from again despite being far more interesting than whatever the hell else is going on.
“So, you’re going to spend your only two days off rehearsing with Charles while everyone else is camping?” Mac asked in a grumpy tone.
Now, I know that the point here is that Mac is going to get jealous of Charles and assume something is going on between him and LARP but I’ve got bigger questions. One of those questions is…how the fuck are they going to rehearse a show without anyone running the lights, sound, automated set pieces, monitors, fly rail, no stage manager or ASM, nobody there for safety checks or anything like that? They’re not rehearsing a one-act in a black box theater. This is a major show.
When will I stop asking too much of this book and just sink into the warm, bubbling septic tank of its contents until analytical brain death renders me unable to resist five-starring it on Goodreads?
Zenobia tells Mac that he of all people should understand how hectic and weird their schedules can be (despite being told that their days off are sacred in an earlier chapter, but whatever, consistency), and I’m wondering how Mac, Mr. Safety, isn’t asking the same question I am. No wonder he’s suspicious. But he agrees to get together with her for dinner when he gets back.
Just wait until you hear about the big new illusion Zack is working on with Charles. It’s going to blow your mind. Are you ready?
So am I, but it doesn’t happen. You should know that by now. Come on. Are you new here?
Instead, we skip ahead directly to when Mac and everyone gets back from camping.
I was about to walk over to the door and answer it when I had a thought. Things seemed…normal. Mac, whom I really liked, had just come back from camping, and there I was at home, listening to music and making dinner for the two of us. Wow. Normal. Weird. I glided across the room feeling happy about the normal little life I had made for myself.
Ah yes, your normal little life of performing in a major magic show on the Strip where your employer provides you with $12k of makeup just so you can play with it for funsies and being desired by every man in Nevada and reviled by every woman on Earth. So normal. We’re real proud of you, Lindsay.
I answered the door and smiled at Mac, who looked just a little bit dressed up in his dark denim Levi’s jeans and a nice maroon and brown patterened button-up shirt with his coordinating brown suit jacket. His sterling silver cufflinks peeking out just past the end of the jacket sleeves.
When I think “just a little bit dressed up,” I think sterling silver cufflinks. And when I think “sentence fragments,” I think Handbook For Mortals.
He looked handsome and I immediately felt underdressed in black leggings, a grey see-through shirt, and black boots.
Honestly, I’m shocked that the sheerness of her shirt isn’t mentioned. In an “OMG I THINK HE LOOKED AT MY BOOBIES” way. But it’s not, because suddenly Mac notices proof of Zaffodil’s unfaithfulness!
I saw Mac eye was was on the table currently: show tickets from David Copperfield’s show–Charles had taken me there the night before–and a picture of Charles and me at dinner at Table 10, the four-star restaurant where we had eaten after the show.
I will never not get a little thrill of glee every time I’m reminded that this book takes place in a world where David Copperfield exists alongside a thoroughly undisguised and somehow more successful Great Value version of himself.
“You went to dinner and a show? I thought you said you were going to be working the whole time,” he said, sounding brash and accusatory.
“A girl’s gotta eat, doesn’t she?” I shrugged, not sure what he was getting at and why he looked so upset. I smiled and batted my eyes as I said it to try to lighten the mood.
Smiling and batting your eyes to be funny while explaining why you went out to dinner and a show with your boss (who promotes performers he bangs) isn’t going to defuse the situation, especially when the dude you’re explaining yourself to also knows you’re dating one other guy. Even though there’s nothing set in stone between Mac and Linda, it still looks like she lied. If this were any other book, Mac would have pointed out that rehearsing without the crew would be impossible, but that’s not an issue because it was the only way the author could set up a flimsy excuse for Mac to be suspicious and nobody in this book knows how to do their job in the first place.
“And the photo?” His voice was still monotone as he asked his questions.
“Oh. Um, the camera girl who came around to our table was really cute. I think he was trying to hit on her, so he bought photos from her.”
I’m shocked that this wasn’t an opportunity to slam Sofeieio with something about her boyfriend’s wandering eyes and how unsatisfied he must be at home.
“What are you trying to imply?” I finally retorted. If he was getting at something, then I wanted him to just tell me. I didn’t like the odd vibe he was giving off.
How on this entire polluted and dying Earth do you not understand why he’s interrogating you? Do they not have soap operas in Donkey Juice, Alabama or wherever the fuck you’re from?
Mac tells her it’s nothing and then pulls her close to tell her that the food smells amazing. And that’s it. That’s the end of the entire chapter. Yet another god damn chapter wherein the only parts we’re shown are the boring, shit parts, while other stuff that would make for a better story happens off the page. At least this one is blessedly short.