Friday, November 25, 2016

Ghosts of Fear Street #16: Don't Ever Get Sick at Granny's

Corey is less than happy about being stuck in a car for four hours with his parents and older sister after the air conditioner stops working. I can't say I blame him. Meg, his sister, has the chance to audition for some fancy ballet school, which will set her up for life. While his parents take her and stay in a hotel, they'll leave him at his granny's house.

The odd thing is that Corey doesn't remember ever meeting granny before. Even though they claim they just visited last summer, he has no memory of her. His mom points out that granny gave him awesome gifts like his skateboard. When they get there though, his dad ominously warns him that he should never, ever get sick at granny's house.

Granny turns out to be a pretty cool older chick. She has an entertainment area set up with surround sound, a big ass television, and lots of movies. There's even a pool table and pinball machine in the basement. After putting the number of the hotel on the refrigerator, they kick back and watch some movies. She seems less than thrilled when Corey sneezes though.

No matter how many times he tells himself not to get sick, he can't stop sneezing. Granny demands that he sleep in six wool blankets to sweat out his cold. He begs her not to make him because wool makes him itch, but she literally traps him in bed that night. When he wakes, he's still stuck in bed and now covered with red blotches all over his body from the wool.

Granny prances into his room in a creepy nurse's outfit and helps him out from under the blankets. She then gives him a glass of water and keeps making him drink more and more until he almost wets himself. Turns out that she wants him to drink an entire gallon in one sitting. She then brings in a gallon of orange juice and makes him drink that too. Unlike me, who would have totally wet the bed, he manages to hold it in and make it to the bathroom.

The next step in the healing process is some healthy exercise, which requires the use of a homemade treadmill. She makes him run for a long time before excusing herself, which allows him to jump off and make his escape. Though he plans on grabbing the hotel phone number and running off, he finds himself locked in his room. Granny comes in, accuses him of being a liar when he says he just stopped running, and makes it clear that little boys who like being sick and don't get better never last very long in her house.

Granny's next treatment involves the use of a stinky ointment that she smears all over him. After she leaves him for the night, he tries to escape again and notices weird green fur growing all over his body. He also starts rapidly growing to the point where he thinks he might explode. Once it all stops, he rushes downstairs and to no one's surprise finds the phone number missing.

It actually just fell off though, so he grabs it and hides under her bed with her phone. He calls the hotel and learns that no one ever checked in under his parents' name, which is when he hears someone calling his name. It turns out that Meg came back to save him and somehow ended up trapped inside the walls of the house. She remembers calling a cab, having it drop her off, crawling through a doggy door, seeing a long tunnel, and then the wall itself. Corey rips open the wall and gets her to follow him down the tunnel.

All that happens is that they find a bunch of dead mice and a dead end, which forces them back to granny's room. Granny herself then suddenly appears with two pitchers of water, one for both of them. Corey can't figure out how she knew Meg was there, but he does notice that she seems worried about the water. Remembering The Wizard of Oz, he tosses the water over her. She suddenly starts melting right before their eyes. To make things worse, the entire room then starts melting as if covered in lava and there is no way out.

He then comes to back in his own bedroom with his mom standing next to his bed. She tells him that he was having a fever dream and that there is no granny. Corey finally starts feeling better, but just as he drifts off, he sees granny standing next to him with more water. He then wakes up yet again with Meg standing over him and talking to their mom. Meg laughs about the bad dream he had that made all four of his legs move, her mom makes a comment about how he's a silly dog, and he relaxes in knowing that he's in the right place. Corey then wonders if today is the day that he'll finally catch the annoying cat down the street...

Well, I can safely say that I did not see that coming. I thought it would end with him just being sick at home or that the whole thing was a nightmare and that his granny really was caring for him. I never suspected that he was a dog the whole time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sweet Valley Kids #34: The Best Thanksgiving Every

In honor of the upcoming holiday...

It's almost Thanksgiving in Sweet Valley, so the kids all talk about the food they can't wait to try. Suzie, a friend of the twins who almost never gets a mention, suddenly gets quiet and doesn't want to talk. Jessica also notices her talking about something serious with their dance teacher, which ends with the teacher giving her a hug.

The twins decide to invite Suzie over to their house to hang out. She first says she can't come, but then Alice promises to drive her home. The twins also see her outside of the dance studio waiting for her mom. They think it's weird that her mom walks to pick her up because their apartment is so far away. Oh, and they also see her and her brother outside the ice cream store acting really weird.

Since their grandparents can't make it for Thanksgiving, Ned and Alice decide the whole family should volunteer at a homeless shelter. Jessica refuses because shelters are gross and filled with poor people. She's clearly been spending too much time around Lila. Suzie then tells her that she's right and that the shelter is absolutely horrible.

While hanging out at their house, she tells them both that shelters are bad places. She talks about crying babies all night, people shouting, and all kids of other stuff. Supposedly she knows all about it because her mom volunteers so much. Though she tries to walk home, Alice drops her off at her apartment building. They then see Suzie sneak out the front door and run away.

When Alice confronts her, Suzie completely breaks down. To no one's surprise, she's been living in the homeless shelter. Her mom quit her job to stay home with her brother, and then her dad lost his job. After a year, they lost their apartment too. Alice promises that things will get better. Jessica feels bad but decides that volunteering at the shelter might make Suzie feel better about her situation.

Volunteering actually goes pretty well except that her dad is late. He finally shows up to announce that he just got a new job doing construction on a nearby development. Since it will last for a year, the construction industry will recover by then and they can get an apartment in the meantime. Everyone then rejoices because it's a miracle. Yeah, a miracle that someone did job interviews on Thanksgiving!

*Winston and his family always have rice instead of mashed potatoes, which just seems weird. Jessica claims that everyone has apple pie, but Todd says his family has pumpkin. Yeah, I'll take pumpkin pie over apple pie any day of the week.

*Amy is going through a habit of eating baked bean sandwiches, which is literally cold baked beans between two slices of bread. No thank you.

*According to Alice, they'll eat at the shelter then come home and have a second meal later. How is that even possible? We do Thanksgiving at our house, my boyfriend and I, and we literally spend most of the night before and the day of cooking to have everything done by four or so. There is no time in our schedule to take a few hours off.

*Suzie was telling their teacher that she couldn't afford her lessons anymore, but the teacher told her she could attend for free. She confesses to the twins that her dad doesn't think it's right and was going to make her quit.

*Jessica and Elizabeth suggest letting Suzie and her family move in with them, which Alice immediately shoots down because it isn't practical. Yeah, because everything they do is oh so practical.

*Jessica wants to wear her new fancy blue dress to the shelter until Elizabeth points out that it might make Suzie feel bad. They decide to wear jeans instead.