Hello, everybody! Things are still hectic over here at the Trout House, but I’ve been stealing bits of time here and there to work on my true passion, which is, surprisingly, not calling and canceling accounts for a deceased person. Who could have guessed? No, I’m talking about my passion for ripping bad books to shreds. It soothes me.
Before I go too far, I want to thank everyone who has donated money to us in the wake of this unexpected death. I won’t go further than that because Mr. Jen wants to thank you guys directly via video (when he’s able to do it without choking up) and I don’t want to steal his thunder. But you guys have really saved a huge chunk of our asses. Disposing of someone’s body and material life is expensive, even when you go super basic.
As of right now, posts here are going to be thin on the ground. I’ve got two novels I’m trying to get out while also doing death-related responsibility. But I’m so glad to at least give you guys this, and thanks for sticking around!
Okay, so, in Lani Sarem news, someone was very, very busy. Or, the people someone hired on Fiverr to write five-star reviews for Handbook For Mortals. From February 12 to February 14, over fifty unverified reviews flooded into Amazon for Handbook, all proclaiming it a wonderful book, a great read, that it should be made into a movie, or, in one case, just “A,” which fifteen Amazon customers found helpful. These reviews are being called out and roundly mocked on social media (and in the comments on my previous recap), as they’re clearly purchased. Next time, Sarem should consider writing a better book and getting good reviews that way.
But what do I know?
Over at Switzy Thoughts, Amanda J. Surowitz describes her experience in Sarem’s “How I Navigated The New York Times List” session at the Agile Writer’s conference in Virginia earlier this year. Sarem apparently spared some time to slam Phil Stamper, one of the key figures in uncovering Sarem’s scam, and continued to insist that because the world of publishing isn’t run like the far superior music industry, it’s broken.
With that, let’s go see what Shitbook For Shortles has in store for us this time.
We had just finished our final rehearsal of the newly revamped show, including the new illusion we had kept under tight wraps.
Wow. Imagine. An illusion that’s really super secret.
Everyone had had to sign agreements stating that they wouldn’t share what they knew and that meant that they couldn’t even talk about it with any of the other cast and crew.
I don’t know if this is being used to set up just how secret and important the illusion is, but it’s not unusual for professional magicians to make their crew sign NDAs.
That clause also kept me from having to answer questions that I really couldn’t answer, because no one was allowed to ask me.
Which is sort of implied by the part where nobody’s allowed to talk about it. I’m wondering, though, if Zarf is including herself among these plebs who have been sworn to secrecy.
One of the things that’s difficult to tell with this book is when the author is making way too big a deal out of something simple. Okay, back up. There are obviously times when it’s very easy to tell. But there are times like this when, due to the author’s braggadocio regarding her real-life show business career and privileged knowledge no reader could ever be party to, that I just can’t tell if something is being included for extra detail or to further glorify her avatar. Am I reading about how unusually secret this illusion is, or am I reading about how secret illusions are in general? Is this supposed to impress me or just inform me?
Zib describes what the work schedule has been like and how everyone needs rest and stuff, and Charles offers to take everyone out for dinner in a pre-celebration. Charles Spellman is an impressive billionaire illusionist who we have already established is definitely not David Copperfield with his new Lego piece hairdo, so he can do things like that. They go to The Peppermill Lounge, which from what I understand from everyone who insisted I eat there for breakfast (I never did), is the kind of place I could afford, so that seems a bit anticlimactic considering how rich this dude is.
Hey, you know what we haven’t heard about in a while? Show blacks.
The crew showed up all in show blacks,
Oh, thank god. The withdrawal was making my eyes sweat.
while the cast was mostly still in full hair and makeup above our street clothes, as we had all come from the theater to here.
So, remember: Linda looks really hot.
The restaurant hostess tells them that they have “the left side” of the restaurant to themselves. I put that in quotes because I want to make sure you’re all good and confused by the numerous directions given in this chapter.
“Right this way,” she gleamed.
That is not a dialogue tag. You can’t gleam a word. Unless you’re using flashlight signals or something.
As Charles pulled out his chair, Sofia instinctively took the only seat beside him.
I like how it’s some sort of primal, involuntary instinct that makes her sit in the chair next to her boyfriend. Like she wouldn’t just assume that he would want to sit next to her. Who else should have taken that seat?
Oh…that’s right. We’re reading Handbook For Mortals.
Charles leaned toward Sofia, likely trying to be subtle, but I happened to be standing close enough to hear what he said to her.
Take a moment to try and guess what he’s saying. There is absolutely no way you’re going to get this wrong.
“Sofie, darling,” he said softly. “I need Zade to sit next to me. Can you and Mac find seats somewhere else?”
So, Charles Spellman is a total dick. He treats his girlfriend like she’s nothing but arm candy. He hurts her over and over, first by taking away her illusion to give it to a random magician who just wandered in off the street, then by lavishing that random magician with thousands of dollars of makeup and trinkets. The reader is supposed to see Zade as pure and good and Sofia as evil and unreasonable, but when we consider the situation from Sofia’s side, Zade has shown up, taken her job, and now seems to be stealing her boyfriend. He’s taking Zade out to dinner and having secret, closed rehearsals, and now he’s like, don’t sit by me, I want to sit by this other woman. Sofia has the right to be hurt. She’s being humiliated in front of her coworkers and pushed out of her own life by this person everyone unconditionally worships. Charles could have easily taken a seat so there would be room on either side of him, but he didn’t do that because he’s thoughtless. Sofia is a fucking victim in this story and I’m furious on her behalf watching someone slide in to steal her life without a single person stepping up to defend her.
I may have issues attached.
But of course, in Handbook For Mortals, she’s just a slutty bitch and a bitchy slut:
“What?” Sofia hissed, shooting a look at me that could have killed.
“Don’t make a deal about this,” Charles warned, fixing Sofia with a stare that made it clear this was not up for discussion.
“Don’t make a big deal about the fact that I’m deliberately choosing another woman over you in front of everyone we work with.”
So, nobody was standing close enough to hear them except for Zurd. But then:
She crossed around to where Mac and I were standing. Mac, who had not overheard the conversation, looked confused.
Mac didn’t overhear it, but he’s standing with Zoof, who was close enough to hear everything over the sounds made by a cast and crew of like two-hundred people entering a restaurant and figuring out seat logistics all at once? Okay.
Charles reiterates to Mac that he “needs” Loofah to sit next to him, so Mac is like, sure, whatever and goes off with Sofia.
Sofia, stormed off to the very other end of the room, the only place at this point with open seats.
First of all, that comma doesn’t go there. Second of all, remember what I said about directional confusion? This is where it’s coming in, hard. We have no sense of how the room is set up, other than booths that are briefly mentioned, and there’s no real indication of the size of the room, other than it can hold everyone, so it has to be pretty big. So, Sofia has “stormed off” to the other side of what has to be a decent sized room.
As Mac caught up with Sofia, I heard him remark, “That was kinda weird, right?”
If Sofe-i-e-i-o is already way over there, how did Zade hear this? How close are they if we’ve already been told that they space they’re occupying is the whole left side of the restaurant?
I hadn’t expected this at all, and I didn’t know why I needed to sit next to Charles–or what we needed to go over. I had glanced over to Mac to give him an “I’m sorry look” when Jackson, who happened to be in the seat that had been next to Sofia, nudged me.
He happened to be there. Also, those are misplaced quotation marks. She’s saying something with the look, so “I’m sorry” is the description. “Look” is the noun it applies to and therefore should be outside of the quotation marks.
“Oh, good!” Charles said. “Jackson, my bandleader, I wanted you to be with us as well. Zade and I want to discuss intro music.”
Charles Spellman is a shitty boss. First of all, he’s like, “Let me treat you all to dinner,” and takes them to a place with like, fifteen dollar burgers instead of a place they can’t already afford, despite being a billionaire and obviously writing this off as a deduction. Second, he’s like, “Let me treat you all to dinner…which I will turn into a fucking business meeting so I don’t have to pay you for your time.” The most telling part of this is that LARP had no idea that she wanted to talk to Jackson about the music, so Chavid Spopperfield isn’t just scamming his employees into doing uncompensated labor; he’s also enlisting one of them to be complicit in his scheme.
And I wanna know why Charles didn’t just ask Jackson to move, then put Sofia on one side of him and Zint Loller on the other.
Charles had remained standing through all of this, and now lifted his water glass and tapped it with a spoon to get everyone’s attention.
I bet you can’t guess what he needs their attention for.
“I wanted to thank you all for all your hard work these past few months, revamping and–in my humble opinion–revitalizing the show with me,” he began. “I’m very excited for the premier, I hope you enjoy the next two days off before the big night. Your hard work is much appreciated and I am grateful and honored to have such a wonderful cast and crew. So…food and drinks are on me! And cheers to you all!”
Phew. I thought he was going to launch into a long thing about how geat Zlip-n-zlide is. Glad we avoided–
He paused, lifting his water glass higher in the air, and the cast and crew cheered loudly.
When the noise had died down, he continued. “Most importantly, I would like to thank Zade for coming to join our little family. She has made our show that much better and has elevated us all. She helped kick the dust off and brought in some new and much-needed blood. My little starlet.” He winked at me.
Everyone cheered again.
So, Charles’s full speech is basically, “Thanks everyone for working hard, but Zurk is the most important and she did the most,” and everyone is like, “yay, she fully did!”
Except, you know. For a couple specific people:
I then glanced back down to the far end of our group where Mac and Sofia were seated. Sofia was saying something to Mac, and Icould see that they were both frowning. Mac looked frustrated and upset. I was pretty sure that he wasn’t upset that I wasn’t seated next to him–after all, at work, things were still very much on the down low, so we couldn’t make a show of wanting to sit together–but I was sure he was less than thrilled to be seated next to Sofia.
Yes, I’m sure that’s it. I’m sure he’s not mad that the girl he’s been seeing for months now without any hint of even a casual commitment is sitting next to her boss, whom she has been spending long hours and private dinners with and who has a habit of dating the star performer of his show and who has just praised her, called her his “little starlet” and winked at her in front of everyone. Nope. Mac’s mad that he has to sit next to the bitchy slut who sluttily and bitchily hates Zippo for no reason.
On the other hand, I was also sure that Mac wasn’t thrilled that I was sitting with Jackson, who had already put his arm around me.
Shit at this point, I’m not even looking at Jackson as a competitor for Leslie’s luuuuuurve. This is down to Mac and Charles by this point, in Mac’s eyes.
Even though they’re in the same room and she can see him from where she’s sitting, Load decides she needs to text Mac to defuse the situation:
I finally picked a really sad looking emoji, [emoji], and sent it.
Yes. The emoji is in the book:
There is… a lot to deal with here. Let’s get the small stuff out of the way, first. For example, the fact that emojis are actually copyright protected. Maybe this is considered fair use? Another tiny quibble? She says in the text that she’s going to send him an “iMessage”, but this is clearly an Android emoji. And while we could debate whether or not using an emoji in prose is stylistically acceptable or the downfall of English as we know it, I’d like to focus more on the fact that this is supposed to be the saddest emoji? There’s one that has parallel columns of water streaming from its eyes.
Now, let’s talk about what really matters. And that’s the shitty story.
Like I just mentioned, Zut is in the same room as Mac. And yes, Jackson has his arm around her, but why would that prevent her from getting up and going to talk to Mac? Charles’s toast is over. Everyone is there socially, so she probably wouldn’t be the only person getting up and visiting with other tables. But she chooses to text Mac from across the room, watch him receive the text and:
I then saw him text something back. I anxiously waited for my phone to go off and opened it to the iMessage. It was a slightly different emoji with no tet to help me undertand what he was feeling.
How dare he respond with just an emoji to your text that was just an emoji? Doesn’t he know you deserve a full explanation of what he’s thinking and feeling? And PS. That’s the side-eye emoji. He’s saying he’s giving you the side-eye, aka he doesn’t trust you and is, according to Miriam-Webster, looking at you with “contempt.”
In other words, Mac is not buying the bullshit you are selling him from your seat between two rivals for your heart. And he probably would tell you that if you got up and went over and just talked to him, rather than playing emoji games. As I read this book, more and more I get the feeling that Sarem thought this book fit in the YA category because her characters are more immature than most of the teen protagonists in YA books. But here’s the thing: teens are supposed to be somewhat immature. Adults are not. No, not even in a “YA novel”.
We time jump ahead:
The next few days were a blur for me, full of press, interviews, and no actual time off leading up to the big night. Charles and I had been working on an all-new show and most importantly a brand new and impressive illusion for the last several months.
We have been hearing about nothing but this brand new show and illusion for the past thousand chapters. You started off this chapter with this information. The lukewarm romantic drama is centered around the fact that you’ve been working on the illusion. THERE WAS A TOAST TO IT TWO PAGES AGO.
Let’s talk about the timeline of this book again. The other day on twitter, Dan Olson broke down the timeline of the Fifty Shades Of Grey series and pointed out that Ana meets Christian in May in book one, is married to Christian in August, and the last chapter before the epilogue in the third book takes place in September, making the plot of series move along improbably fast. This book has the opposite problem. Zade had already been in Las Vegas for months by the time she and Charles began working on the new illusion in the last chapter. Now, it’s been months that they’ve been working on it. Meaning that for either a year or close to it, Zade has been deciding between Mac and Jackson and both of them have been content to be strung along. No wonder Mac is suspicious about Charles because to Mac it’s probably been looking like she’s waiting for something better to come along for a while.
In the midst of it all, I did realize–and I’m not sure why it hadn’t dawned on me before, that Zeb might have had an issue with me because usually only he and Charles worked on illusions.
This is only occurring to her now? Of course, Zeb has a problem with you because you waltzed in, got thousands of dollars of goodies, are treating the show like a Tindr LARP, and, like you did with Sofia, stole his job.
The cast had just walked the red carpet for the premiere of the revamped show. I had talked to so many reporters on the carpet, and I could feel the anxious energy in my blood.
Yet again, we are reading Lani Sarem’s desperation for fame and not a fictional story. How has Zontar become an ultra-famous magician that the press is clamoring for in like, a year? The actual press in real life doesn’t give this big a shit about the real David Copperfield.
She goes to Charles’s office:
I pushed the door closed but I didn’t notice whether it had closed all the way because my attention quickly turned to Charles.
“By the way, reader, keep this in mind. I’m pointing it out for a reason.”
Chavid Spopperfield is nervous about the show, specifically LOL’s illusion. But don’t worry, she’s there to calm his opening night jitters. She’s like, it’s going to go fine and Mac is going to make sure it goes fine and you know how perfect and magical and good I am, so good news, again, it’ll all go fine.
He’s the professional stage magician with a decades-long career but she’s helping him work through his nerves.
Never has a Sue more Mary-ed.
Charles put his hand on my face and rubbed the side of my check before slowly moving his hand to my shoulder.
That’s a weird way for your boss to pay you, but whatever.
We were standing very close together and I realized that I loved the close attention.
To paraphrase the great Keanu Reeves in his legendary and career-defining role of Ted “Theodore” Logan…That’s your dad, dude.
I know that we haven’t had the big reveal yet, but this makes me feel gross in the same way the beginning of The Bird Cage made me feel gross when I first saw it. Like, the part where the son comes home but one of the dads thinks that the other dad is cheating, so it looks like the son is the possibly-cheating dad’s date? And then you find out ha ha, no, it was just the son and you thought it was romantic and it was like, excuse me, but that was a weird audience misdirect that seems very uncomfortable after the reveal? You know the part I’m talking about?
Anyway, it’s gross.
Chuds Spurdman gives Lana Del Zey a hug, and we cut to one of those astrological triple goddess signs and…
Again, if you think you know what’s about to happen, you are 100% right.
Mac walked up to the door to Charles’s office and watched Zade and Charles through a slight gap in the open door.
What is up with this creepy fucker lurking at every keyhole in the damn place? This is like the second or third time he’s just happened by a door and thought to himself, hey, I think I should spy on whomever happens to be in there.
He was about to knock when he noticed their long and loving hug.
Remember this when we find out Sperdzmerds is her father. Remember that someone once saw the two of them hugging and it was immediately interpretable as sexual.
And then go wash your hands like I’m about to.
Instead of knocking, he decided to take a moment to see what was going on with them, since he had been noticing something a bit strange between them ever since he’d found those David Copperfield tickets and thought he might beable to answer his questions that way.
With the David Copperfield tickets?
Anyway, all of a sudden Mac starts thinking about David Copperfield and how it’s weird that he’s never actually seen Spellman and Copperfeld in the same place at the same time and also how it’s weird that Spellman always wears a pair of glasses that don’t have any lenses–
Not really. But that would be a much better twist.
“It’s going to be the most amazing illusion the world has ever seen,” Zade exclaimed happily.
Lunk praising herself is a refreshing change from everyone else praising her, to be honest.
Charles pulled back and looked her right in the eye, his arms still around her.
Didn’t I mention “right in the eye” in the last recap? I should have started a counter or something. Or just jammed something sharp “right in” my eye.
“I’m just being an old man, I guess. I love you more than life itself. It would kill me if something happened to you.”
Zade was smiling as she put her hands on his face. “I love you, too.” She leaned in to kiss him, her face beaming.
Mac was disgusted and devastated. How could Zade betray him likee that? After everything they had together? Hadn’t he put up with enough with the whole Jackson situation? Angry and frustrated, he coudln’t bare to watch her kiss him.
It’s “bear” not “bare”. But I’m with Mac on having put up with a lot. We’re talking at least eight months here that he’s been seeing Zerg and she’s still not sure she wants to date him exclusively. I mean, move at your own pace, but asking that of a partner who wants an answer is ridiculous.
Had he only watched just a moment or two longer he would have seen Zade kiss Charles–innocently on the cheek. Mac didn’t see that, though, because he looked away before he saw the truth and therefore in his head he had turned aound right before he saw them make out with tongue.
I love how it’s almost constant head hopping in these, until we get a scene where it’s just Mac and then BOOM! Omniscient third, out of nowhere.
He needed to think before he did anything that he would regret.
Now, remember that line as we finish out this chapter. Because after a return to Limbo’s POV, she’s way up in the catwalks getting strapped into her harness and thinking about how cool Riley the rigger is when:
I pushed my hips out to make it easier for him to put the clips on me but, just as he started to grab the ring on the harness, his hand dropped and he started to back away. Without seeing him move away, I instantly could feel something was wrong. I looked up at his face and looked like someone was going to shoot him in the head. I turned around to see what had struck the fear of God into him to see Mac walking up with anger radiating from his core. He was furious. On his face he had the look guys get when they are somewhere between crying and punching someone.
“Before I launch into this description of the love interest as being so furious it seemed like he would shoot someone in the head or punch them, allow me to point out that I have to pose suggestively in front of this other desirable guy.”
Riley is afraid Mac is mad at him, but Mac is mad at Zani and sends Riley down to the fly-rail.
Because moments before curtain up, you for sure want to move things around.
What really gets me is that the show hasn’t started, Mac isn’t in position to do his job, and he’s sending Riley to the fly-rail to…what? What’s happening at the fly-rail before the show even starts? Even if it’s just “pull up the curtain,” that can’t happen until Mac is where he needs to be.
I could tell that Riley was unsure if Mac was telling the truth, so he looked again at Mac, who was staing at me with the most intense glare. Mac was breathing hard and his nostrils were flaring, but he was not looking at Riley, who finally concluded it really must not have been about him and started to leave.
“So, this guy is really mad, to the point that I’m afraid of him, and I think he might be lying to me when he tells me I need to leave…but I’ll leave him here with this performer, sixty feet above the stage with not another soul around.” Riley, you’re useless.
Lid tries to smile Mac’s anger away, but she fails.
He gritted his teeth at me for a few moments as if he was thinking about what he was going to actually say to me. He grabbed my harness and pulled hard, jerking me along with it.
“Have you got anything you want to tell me?” he finally said in the coldest monotone voice he’d ever used with me.
Yeah, Anastasia, do you want to explain to Christian why you haven’t changed your name on your work email yet? Oh, shit, sorry, wrong book with an abusive love interest. This suddenly felt so natural and just right that I thought I was recapping Fifty Shades Of Grey again. Which is actually one of my reoccurring nightmares, but you get where I’m going with this.
I ran through in my head any scenarios that might tell me what the hell he was talking about but came up with little to nothing that seemed to make any sense.
Much like the pose, plot, and sentence structure contained within this book. Little to nothing seems to make any sense.
He locked his jaw and angry tears welled in his eyes.
Mac needs a nightguard, but like…during the day, too.
He gabbed my arms with both his hands and was almost shaking me. He was too angry for us to be safe so high off the ground.
So now our heroine is afraid of the love interest to the point that she doesn’t feel safe standing with him at a great height. And he’s shaking her. She yells at him that she doesn’t know why he’s mad, and he’s like, I have a right to know if you’re in love with someone else. She thinks he’s talking about Jackson.
Mac cut me off and interjected, “So you haven’t told anyone today that you’re in love with him?”
I started to answer without really thinking about it. “That sounds like a pretty ridicu– Oh.” I sighed. Everything had finally clicked and I knew exactly what he was talking about. I shook my head. I wasn’t sure how, but he must have heard me talking to Charles. I dropped my head slightly. What could I tell him about what was going on? I didn’t know if I should tell him everything or not. I knew I needed to say something, because I had just acknowledged that something had been said that I knew what he had been referring to.
Aaaand now we’ve established that Zorp knows Spellman is her father and The Big Reveal™ is being kept from the reader in first person POV. And the lengths she goes to, the lengths, dear reader, to protect The Big Reveal™:
“Yes. I told someone I loved him. Not that I was in love with him. It’s two totally different things.”
Yeah, so, let’s go ahead and argue semantics with the pissed off guy you’re afraid will get violent with you. You’re doing great, Lampshade!
The stage manager warns that they’re starting the show in two minutes, but hold your horses, paying audience, because there is a really boring Big Misunderstanding™ happening in the rafters. Mac tells Lucy that she’s just like the girl who fucked around on him before:
“You’re just like Clara. Maybe worse. At least she had the decency to come clean when I confonted her.”
I swear to god, I had this flashback of the time I thought I was getting back together with an ex and I went to spring break in Ft. Myers and when I got back he’d eloped with one of my friends and when I asked him why, he said it was because he believed I cheated on him but he knew she had cheated on him and she had more integrity because she admitted to it.
I hadn’t cheated on him, but he’d cheated on me like, constantly.
Yeah, Josh. I know you fucked that chick that lived in the upstairs apartment when we lived on Rose street. There’s your integrity.
Where was I before I revisted a twenty-year-old grudge? OH! Yeah. I was recapping this alleged “book.”
I tried to calm the situation–and him–down as I spoke in a more subdued tone, “Sometimes relationships aren’t black and white, Mac. And sometimes what you see isn’t what’s really there. How about you let me do the show, then we can talk about this?” Hopefully he would hear reason. We both had a job to do and we both needed to concentrate on that and do it.
Right. In like, two minutes. This is kind of a long interaction going on here.
“So I can give you a chance to construct your story about why needed to sleep your way to the top? I’m such an idiot. We haven’t even slept together, yet.”
Well, I guess you weren’t important enough, then.
I was shocked and horrified that he actually thought I would ever do that.
I know she means the part about sleeping her way to the top, but this immediately follows him complaining that she hasn’t fulfilled her sexual obligation to him yet. So it’s like, “You haven’t slept with me yet!” “I am shocked and horrified that you think I would!”
Lump is like, if you think I would do that, you don’t know me very well, and Mac is like, yeah, I guess I don’t. Because Lani Sarem can’t write original dialogue to save herself from public ridicule.
Mac didn’t say anything but he grabbed the harness and clipped me in quickly, not doing a safety check like Riley normally would have.
Wait, wait. So, Mr. Safety, Mr. I-don’t-like-you-because-you-won’t-tell-me-your-illusion-secret-so-I-can-keep-you-safe is just like, yeah, I know we had a performer fall to her clinical but not permanent death earlier this year, but I’m pissed so this bitch can eat stage for all I care?
He jerked me around some more while holding the harness; it hurt a bit but I refused to show him it caused even an ounce of pain.
Literally, he’s assaulted her. He’s causing her pain on purpose because he’s angry. You can’t even make a wan excuse about it being BDSM or his troubled childhood that makes it okay. He’s just putting her in an unsafe situation and hurting her while he’s doing it because she made him feel sad.
Mac gets in Lizard’s face and tells her she’s like everyone else, and as he storms away, she yells after him that he needs to get over Clara, and she tries to get her emotions under control to perform. We flip back into Mac’s all-italics POV and he’s all pissed off as he heads to the automation control boad.
Mac paced around the board for a minute, but realized he was not emotionaly together enough to run it for the show. And why should he? He was only doing it because Zade wanted him to for reasons he wasn’t actually sure about. She had asked and he had just said okay, but he wasn’t even in automation–he was the technical director. Screw that, he thought. Running the main board meant many performers’ lives would be in his hands–one wrong move and someone could get seriously hurt, or worse.
This is the type of shit you think about before it’s less than two minutes to curtain, Mac. And you didn’t care about someone getting seriously hurt when you were hurting Lando on purpose and not doing safety checks.
Mac radios to Cam and tells him to get to the main board, and like…this is the longest two minutes in the history of minutes.
Mac looked up and glared at him, hard. “You’re runnin’ main tonight.”
“I don’t know the cues for the new illusion. Heck, I haven’t worked in automation in over a year. I can’t–” Cam tried to argue.
“Run it on the fly,” Mac yelled as he stomped off, wrapped up in a flurry of emotion.
In the very beginning of the chapter we were told that the new illusion is so complex and secretive that information was on a need-to-know basis. Charles is worried because it’s so super dangerous and anything could go wrong. And Mac is like, yeah, whatever I’ve already acknowledged that performers could die if someone fucks this up, but I’m going to leave and let everyone wing it. Because I’M MR. SAFETY.
And that’s what he does, Reader. He leaves, and we flip into Cam’s POV and he’s sweating and freaking out and just starts praying and pushing buttons and the chapter ends.