In the ninth chapter of Deep Secret, Maree’s life begins to collide with Rupert’s and SHE HAS NO IDEA THAT THIS IS HAPPENING. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Deep Secret.
- PLEASE TELL ME IT’S HAPPENING IN THE NEXT CHAPTER. I NEED THE CONVENTION SCENE SO MUCH OH MY GOD.
- (Actually don’t tell me because ~spoilers~)
- Holy shit, I love this chapter, I love Maree Mallory more than most things, and I AM SO EXCITED RIGHT NOW. And that’s really fascinating to me because of the nature of Mark Reads, I don’t really have this reaction. Like, sure, I get excited about possibilities, but this joy is so SPECIFICALLY DEFINED. And it’s because Jones isn’t building tension or drama through the unknown. She’s done the opposite here by telling us that these characters are all going to end up at this convention, that Rupert is making a huge risk by hosting his little Magid interview on this node, and by repeatedly telling us that there are no coincidences in this world. While I certainly can’t even begin to guess the outcome of this momentous scene, I’m completely hooked by the narrative because of the way it’s structured.
- On top of this, I absolutely adore Maree because of this chapter. Look, I’ve been poor most of my life, so I’m going to be drawn to characters like her. I know what it’s like to be able to fit all of your possessions in one car. (When I moved to Los Angeles to Oakland, my brother rented an SUV and we fit everything of mine in it.) I know what it’s like to have no hope of any income besides wacky schemes and random acts of charity. I know what it’s like to wear the same pair of jeans until they’re unwearable. SO YES, I AM BONDING WITH A FICTIONAL CHARACTER BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT I DO.
- Uncle Ted. Uncle Ted: “But you don’t understand! It’s interrupting my life!” TED. BEING ASKED TO BE THE GUEST OF HONOR IS A BIG DEAL AND IF YOU TURN IT DOWN AT THIS POINT YOU WOULD BASICALLY BE THROWING THE STAFF AND PROGRAMMING PEOPLE OFF A METAPHORICAL CLIFF. Because oh my god, their jobs are hard enough without you canceling at the last minute. And like, I think I would be more sympathetic of Ted if he wasn’t so inconsiderate about the whole thing! Cons can be terrifying when you’re a guest or a presenter. I always have a miniature freak-out about 30 minutes before a panel. Oh my god, I’m not even kidding, I just got nervous thinking about it. And it’s not even a matter of size! I’ve been nervous before panels that had 4 people in attendance! Then there was the time I accidentally crashed a panel where there were like 2,000 people in the room. THAT WAS A FUN TIME, ASK ME ABOUT THAT SOME TIME IN PERSON AND I’LL TELL THE STORY.
- But come on, these people have organized programming around you! They’ve put you on promotional materials! Ostensibly, there are folks coming to this con who bought memberships just to meet you. You have to be bribed by a weekend of golf in order to go??? COME ON.
- Anyway, I’m glad that the text also doesn’t shy away from portraying Nick to be an utter jackass here. He can be charming with Maree at times, but his decision to take advantage of Maree and destroy his house with an unplanned (and TOTALLY NOT ALLOWED) party with all his dude friends is extremely awful. Y’all suck. All of you. Every dude there.
- I admit I was worried that this would horribly backfire for Maree, so color me surprised that Nick was actually on the receiving end of the brunt of his parents’ anger. He’d gotten away with so much in his life that I expected this to happen again. BUT NOPE. Granted, Janine tries real hard to blame her son’s horrible behavior on Maree (??!?!?!??! YOU ARE PART OF THIS PROBLEM, JANINE), but it doesn’t stick.
- “That boy doesn’t know he’s born. He’s had to sell two CDs to pay for the booze and he was nearly in tears over it.” This ruined me. Oh my god, I love you so much, Maree.
- Of course, this is the precise event that forces Maree to come to Wantchester with the rest of the family. WHICH IS SO EXCITING. And kind of infuriating? Like, it really isn’t Maree’s responsibility to be a parent to Nick. That is Ted and Janine’s job, and it irks me that they try to guilt her over Nick’s behavior in the sense that they rope her into his poor choices.
- At least Ted comes around and gives Maree some money and pays for her petrol, since she wouldn’t have had to go to Wantchester if it wasn’t for him. That’s nice.
- SO ONCE THEY SET OUT ON THE ROAD, I SUDDENLY HAVE A MILLION QUESTIONS THAT BASICALLY BOIL DOWN TO WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON??? Why does Maree feel like the world is going to end? WHY IS IT SO IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO GET TO THE HOTEL UNTIL THEY RECITE THAT NURSERY RHYME ABOUT BABYLON?
- Actually, that reminds me of when I was on tour last year, and I had a hotel booked in Atlanta, and we could not find it, no matter how many times we drove past the exact spot where Google Maps said it was. Turns out that in the two weeks since I’d booked it, it had changed to another hotel. It was also clearly abandoned and empty and creepy as shit and like 90% of it was closed for repairs. We’re talking like a 15-story hotel. It wasn’t tiny. I saw one other person staying there. It was terrifying. It was also $42 for the night, so there’s that.
- “You got the feeling they saw much odder things than the Witchy Dance every day of their lives.” Maree, you have no idea.
- OH MY GOD, I LOVE MAREE’S FIGHT WITH MERVIN THURLESS, THAT BIGOT OF A MAN. She gets the last word and the last parking spot in the lot. Bless.
- THE CONVENTION IS HERE.
- MUST GO READ NOW.
Please note that the original text features the word “mad.”
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