Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 10: A Night in the Lonesome October-fest

October 10 is a rainy day for Snuff. It's a rainy day where I am in as I'm writing this, so I know just how he feels.

It rained steadily all day, so I didn't go out much. And not far when I did. No one came by.

I made the rounds many more times than usual, partly out of boredom. Good thing that I did.

The Thing was strangely quiet as I entered the basement. In a moment, I saw why. We had developed a leak. The water entered at the wall, ran along a sagging beam, and dripped down several feet farther in. It had formed a puddle, and the puddle was slowly spreading. One moist pseudopod was extended in the direction of the Circle, having perhaps another ten inches to run before it breached it.

I howled, a long, loud, mournful thing I saved for occasions such as this. Then I threw myself onto the streamer and rolled in it, absorbing it into my coat.

"Hey!" cried the Thing. "Cut that out! This was meant to be!"

"So was this!" I snapped, and I turned over and rolled in the puddle itself, soaking myself as I tossed and wriggled, absorbing a great deal

I moved off to a far, dry corner then and turned over several times on the floor there, spreading the moisture about in a place where it would evaporate harmlessly.

"Damn dog!" it snarled. "Another few minutes and I'd've made it!"

"I guess it's just not your lucky day," I replied.

There were footsteps on the stair.

When Jack entered and saw what had happened, he went and fetched a mop. Shortly, he was cleaning up the rest of the puddle and wringing it out into a basin, while the Thing fumed and turned pink, blue, and sickly green. He set a pail beneath the drip then and told me to call him again if we developed any other leaks.

Covering the book in this fashion, I've really come to like the segments with Things. Without them, the early chapters would have been pretty sparse (that's not completely true, as I'm sure that, had the Things been absent, Zelazny would have found something else to occupy that space in the chapter, as they would have been about three sentences long without the Things but I trust you get the point I'm trying to make), but they also ground the book too. It's a weird thing to say about passages dealing with imprisoned supernatural entities, but it's just part of Snuff's job, and it's just one of his duties.

I also like that Jack's practical and mundane reaction is to fetch a mop.

Snuff does some snooping around the Good Doctor's lair, where he "heard a man's voice from within shouting something about seeing to the Leydens." A leyden jar was an early form of a capacitor. It stored electricity. I had to look that up.

He swings by Talbot's house, where he finds a large paw-print like the one he had found near his own home.

Not quite that large

He peers in a window and discovers Larry talking to a plant. I don't know what Zelazny was doing with this, if it was some kind of oblique reference to Audrey II or Triffids, or if it was alluding to the herbs Larry uses to keep his condition under control or if it was some abandoned plot point that never came to fruition (as it were). Except for a throwaway line from Snuff in a later chapter, I don't think the size of the plant is ever referenced again. The chapter ends with a brief encounter with the Count.

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