The Ritual Of Chüd begins with In The Watches Of The Night
As if it wasn’t already on shaky ground, time starts flipping around a lot.
Pat: But let us assure readers that it is a most BOSS and EFFECTIVE use of alternating time periods!
Right? Am I right? I’m right, aren’t I?
Andrea: You are right, although I am still not sold on any of the rituals: CHUD, SMOKE, and BANGING.
But perhaps that is because I am not a child living in Derry.
Pat: Chud is all fucking metaphorical. The banging is not. The smoke, though, bridges the divide, I think, between the physical and the, uh… cosmic? Astral?
Andrea: I agree, and in that way, it is a neat literary device.
Pat: So suck the critical wind from my literary tailpipe. (more…)
Weclome to Part 4 of our It discussion. To your left, you will see Part 1. To your right, you will see Part 2. Creeping up behind you, with its clammy fingers reaching towards your exposed neck, is Part 3
July Of 1958
The Apocalyptic Rockfight
We find out that Mike Hanlon is black and—despite everyone else each thinking that they’re the one Henry Bowers hates the most—the Loser that Bowers would most like to see dead. Why? Well, being black would be strike one, and being raised by Butch Bowers, who still hates Will Hanlon for the whole you-kill-’em-you-buy-’em chicken fiasco, would be another. By the way, Henry poisoned Mike’s childhood dog, Mr. Chips, who Bowers lovingly called “Niggerdog.” Jesus Christ, Hank. Add to that the time Henry caught Mike unawares and slathered him in mud to make him a “tarbaby.” What the living fuck, Bowers!
Pat: This chapter starts with them meeting up at the library at 7pm, which is when curfew starts in Derry. That has to be intentional, if uninteresting to anyone but me.
Andrea: Yeah, it’s sure not interesting to me.
Pat: It’s strange that at this point, Mike still isn’t a Loser. You read and read and know he’s going to be, and it keeps getting later and later in the day, and he still isn’t.
Andrea: Right. Until you get to the point where he becomes one, and you’re like, “Huh? This didn’t happen already?”
Oh man, the description of Henry covering him in mud, and it getting in his nose. I wanted to cry. And when Henry tells his dad that he poisoned the dog, and he claps him on the back and gives him a beer.
Pat: I know I’m a mid-Atlantic liberal pantywaist, but “Niggerdog”?
What did the goddamn dog ever do to Henry? What did the Hanlons ever do to the Bowerses? Get a fucking grip on yourselves, you fucking yokels.
Andrea: Seriously. I mean, I definitely know plenty of people with prehistoric attitudes on race, but I can’t imagine any of them behaving even close to this way.
Pat: The psychotic streak it takes to slowly win a dog’s trust so you can safely poison it must be astounding. And possibly unnecessary: I’m pretty sure if I had some poisoned chuck meat and gave it to a dog that have never ever seen me in its life, it would wolf it down without batting an eyelash.
Andrea: Um, yeah. I have never known a dog to turn down food. Holly eats paper plates if they have pizza crumbs on them.
Pat: This was the worst of it for me: “When the pains started, Henry produced a piece of clothesline and tied Mr. Chips to a birch so he couldn’t get away and run home.”
Andrea: : ( : ( : ( (more…)
Part 3: Grownups
Bill Denbrough Gets A Cab
Bill arrives back in Derry and is shown around town by a Colorful Cab Driver. He sees how the town has changed, with new developments and, apparently, everything from his childhood being replaced by one bank or another. He arrives at the Fateful Chinese Restaurant where the Losers are all meeting, located where the Ironworks used to be. Who doesn’t want to eat some dim sum on the site of a Easter Egg Massacre?
Andrea: OH GOD THIS FUCKING PART. I swear the first time I read it, it put me off Chinese food for like a year. And I really like Chinese food.
Pat: We’re not there yet. I know you spend way more time more frequently in Williamstown, but do you ever get this when you go home?
Every time I come back it’s like entire swaths of town have been rewritten heavily.
Andrea: Not really, because I go there every week and I pretty much go either directly my parents’ house. I can think offhand of 3-4 new developments. There’s also a new Wal-mart.
Pat: ANOTHER WAL-MART?
Andrea: Yup. According to my mom, it is “less ghetto.”
Pat: Oh man, look at this: Corkery Lane.
Pat: It’s just a goofy name I’d forgotten.
Andrea: You are such a psycho.
In case you didn’t come directly from there, maybe take a look at part one before tackling this?
Ben Hanscom Takes A Fall
Circumspect little Ben Hanscom was a bookish fat fuck back in 1958, which makes it hard to run from the bully you wouldn’t let copy during your English final. After mooning out at the library and gorging on candy and sending an anonymous love haiku to Beverly Marsh, the Man They Called Haystack runs into son-of-a-bitching Henry Bowers and his two cronies, Victor Criss and Belch Huggins, down by the old canal. Henry gets an ‘H’ carved into Ben’s tit before Hanscom goes super-nerd and escapes. Then he trips Bowers as he chases him, and beats the living crapsteak out of him while he’s down.
Andrea: “He thought that fat boys were probably only allowed to love pretty girls inside.”
Pat: Ben is my favorite. By far.
Andrea: What a heartbreaker.
Pat: Maybe it’s because I was an only child and was always reading books, and it kind of both did and didn’t bother me that I didn’t have many friends.
Andrea: You had a ton of friends. They were just nerds. (more…)
Part 1: The Shadow Before
Way back in 1957, Stuttering Bill Denbrough has a kid brother, right up until a week’s worth of steady rain floods their hometown of Derry, Maine. Bill, stuck in bed with the flu, makes George Denbrough a paper boat to sail along the swollen curbs downtown. They dig each other, Bill and Georgie, which is why we’re not entirely happy when a clown speaks to the younger brother from a storm drain, introduces himself as Mr. Bob Gray— also known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown—entices him closer with a balloon, and rips one of Georgie’s arms right the fuck on out of its socket. Georgie dies in that kid-sized yellow raincoat, and our st-st-st-stuh-story buh-buh-begins.
Pat: All right, so, iIt has been around 20 years since I last read this book. Probably at least 15 since I’ve seen the miniseries. And it is very much like the grownups returning to Derry and remembering the summer of ’58 for me.
Except a bunch of things are super clear in my memory. And Georgie Denbrough getting his arm ripped off is right the hell up there.
Pat: I still have the image of Pennywise in that storm drain in my head. The one I had when I first read it. It’s outlasted even the image from the movie, which I can’t even picture.
Andrea: I always picture him being in the storm drain in the ditch in Scotland Run.
Pat: The funny thing is, I can’t remember details about the street I was imagining. It’s JUST the storm drain. There’s nothing else in the image.
Pat: The whole scene with Bill making the boat, waterproofing it, explaining why he’s doing what he’s doing while Georgie watches him is like an arrow through the fucking heart.
Andrea: I know. It’s as bad as, if not worse, than the goddamn Gage/kite scene. Probably worse, since poor Bill is just a kid.
Pat: And then they start calling each other assholes. I don’t have any brothers, but that shit is like the Platonic archetype of brotherhood.
Warms the cockles.
Andrea: I actually flagged the George and Bill “big brown a-hole” conversation because it cracked me up so much.
Pat: It’s genius. And exactly how boys act, brothers or not.
Andrea: Yes, totally. SK as always is amazing at writing brotherhood/male friendship relationships.
Pat: This doesn’t really happen later in the book: when we meet Pennywise in the storm drain, he’s actually acting like a clown.
“How did you get down there?”
“Storm just bleeeew me away,” Pennywise the Dancing Clown said.
I wonder if we’re only treated to Pennywise’s goofy side because it makes a better contrast when he goes apeshit and starts growling about how they float, Georgie, and when you’re down here with me, you’ll float, too—
And thereafter, he’s always pretty much in murder mode.
Andrea: Yeah, because he acts goofy to pull George in. Cause he’s a little kid. There’s that part where he says he would not have believed it if he was sixteen, but he’s only six.
Pat: He kind of doesn’t bother lulling anyone else, though.
Like, the entire rest of the book.
Hell, he isn’t a clown most of the time. (more…)
Andrea: Would you let your kids read King? At what age?
Pat: My kids are never reading Stephen King.
Pat: Are you nuts? I’m still scared of John Shooter.
Andrea: I would like to think that I will let Avery read whatever she wants and we can talk about it together. But maybe that is just one of those high-minded ideas that you have before you are actually a parent?
Pat: If my kid wants to read a thousand-plus page book, I’m not going to stop him or her.
Andrea: So you don’t think scary stories are a key part of development?
Pat: I just like Stephen King’s stories. I don’t like being scared.
Andrea: Really? So how do you explain your interest in serial killers?
Pat: Serial killers aren’t scary. they’re men. Humans. It’s not like they’re huge ethereal spiders on a 27-year eating cycle.