Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Michelle Remembers, Chapter 7

Chapter 7 opens with a half-page-long filler description of Michelle's Christmas. I'll spare you most of it, but here's a sample:

It was the nicest Christmas Michelle had ever had. She and Doug were in their beautiful new home together. He gave her an afghan and a pretty brass lamp--warmth and light, ideal gifts.

LOL, Michelle's domestic bliss! It's funny because her affair with her therapist is going to break up her marriage!

Okay, that was snarky and judgmental of me. But it's my fucking birthday today, and I'm gonna be as snarky and judgmental as I want. Plus...well, given that our chucklehead protagonists both left their respective spouses for each other and then openly worked together as a married couple, starting a chapter with three paragraphs' worth of glurgy gushing about Michelle's lovely fantastic perfect happyhappyjoyjoy Christmas with this other dude (who has no idea what's about to hit him) just feels slimy and disingenuous. Not to mention depressing.

Michelle's "memory" for her next session with Dr. Pazder involves being in the hospital after Malachi's idiotic attempt at staging a car accident last chapter. And honestly? It doesn't start out too bad. She describes being disoriented; being terrified of the people in white looming over her, stripping her clothes off and prodding her; and resisting when someone tries to take her temperature rectally. That seems like an actually fairly realistic description of how a young child's mind would process treatment at a hospital.

Then the damn red shoes pop up for another cameo:

...out in the corridor she saw a table on wheels and, on the table, a long plastic bag. Instinctively she knew that the bag contained a body...and Michelle saw something that froze her heart: Resting on top of the plastic-clad corpse was a pair of red shoes.

Yeah, I don't think cops/morgue workers just leave random bits of clothing from murder victims lying on top of their body-bagged corpses for the world to see; they bag those clothes as evidence and store them separately. Stop laying it on so thick, Michelle. You already dropped the red-shoes bombshell on us once, and it wasn't all that compelling the first time.

So Michelle gets put in a hospital room with a crucifix on the wall, and she pulls out her IV tubes and tries to run away and gets tied to her bed and called a difficult child for her efforts. Then her mom comes to visit her:

"Good morning, Michelle." The child looked up and saw her mother. Several people in white stood by as pale, beautiful Jessica Harding came to the bedside and tried to show affection. But to Michelle her caring was plainly artificial, done not for Michelle's comfort but for the benefit of the people in white. Michelle pretended to fall asleep.

Sigh. Poor Michelle's mom. The narrative is just determined not to let her win. No matter what she does, it's treated like the MOST EVIL THING EVAR and much hate is heaped on her. More on that in later chapters. Seriously, it gets really obnoxious.

Then Malachi shows up in Michelle's room and keeps being a painfully obvious villain:

"She was one of my closest friends," he was saying to them, referring to the dead lady. He was pretending to cry. "I'll never forgive, that isn't right, she's just a child...but it seems so cruel that a wonderful woman like that could be killed just because of a child's misbehavior."

Yeah, old what's-her-face was one of my closest friends. She was such a wonderful woman and best true friend WHOSE NAME I DON'T EVEN KNOW. Malachi, I don't even. That's the sorriest excuse for a cover-up I've ever heard. Those characters who get killed in the first ten minutes of the horror movie are less dipshitty than you.

Incidentally, all you cool, perfectly nice people out there who identify as Satanists? I'm so, so sorry that Michelle Smith and Lawrence Pazder dreamed up this bird-brained, two-bit Charles Manson-wannabe and tried to crudely paste your spiritual identity over him. You deserve much better.

Anyway, it's okay that Malachi is a dullard who can't come up with a convincing alibi to save his life, because we're in the world of Michelle Remembers and every cop there is dumber than a bag of hair, the policeman Malachi is telling this story to just swallows it without question, having apparently forgotten the very dodgy circumstances of the "accidental" car wreck last chapter.

Michelle shares more details about her stay in the hospital, including some that suggest she was in an oxygen tent for the burns, was intubated to drain blood from her stomach, and possibly also contracted some sort of infection. Gee, she sounds awfully badly injured and weakened to have been acting up as much as she said she was.

The chapter ends with Dr. Pazder advising Michelle that he's leaving for vacation in Mexico tomorrow, so she should keep the tape recorder handy in case any more memories come up and to call his colleague, Dr. Arnot, if she needs to talk to someone.

Oh, and he leaves her a comfy old coat of his to snuggle for comfort. Because we've gone, like, a whole five pages without creepy therapist-on-patient romance vibes.        

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