We're behind the eye of The Guy Who Hit The Guy Who Isn't Stephen King. We discover him running down a hallway in a somewhat frightened fashion. Back in this world, Bad-alie turns around unconvincingly (natch) to note that The Guy Who Hit The Guy Who Isn't Stephen King's heart rate has accelerated dangerously. The Guy Who Hit The Guy Who Isn't Stephen King, meanwhile, runs past a bloodied Rickman hanging from a noose, who looks up and informs The Guy Who Hit The Guy Who Isn't Stephen King, "You did this." Je t'accuse! He comes across the old man with the blocked colon, who yells something about The Emperor of Ice Cream. Bad-alie tells the nurse she thinks The Guy Who Hit The Guy Who Isn't Stephen King is having a seizure, and back in the dreamscape, The Guy Who Hit The Guy Who Isn't Stephen King comes across a young man in a Good Humor outfit who asks The Guy Who Hit The Guy Who Isn't Stephen King, "Popsicle or Fudgicle?" Oh, man, I don't remember the last time I had a delicious Fudgicle. Pick that one! But The Guy Who Hit The Guy Who Isn't Stephen King doesn't have too much time to reflect and consider whether he might prefer a snow cone or one of those delicious red, white, and blue rocket pop things that I so loved in the day, because just then the guy opens his mouth to reveal menacing fangs. Such are the abuses of creamy, chocolaty power for one who became Emperor so young. The anteater bares his teeth and takes a chunk out of The Guy Who Hit The Guy Who Isn't Stephen King's feeding tube, and just at that moment Bad-alie looks back at Rickman, who whispers, "I heard. A bell. Her name is Mary." He closes his eyes. I think the line I've always liked best is, "I hear the man say you want to see the others / A mermaid and a heart that says mother / But I don't know from maritime / And I never did hard time." Fun stuff. The next song on the album, however, includes the lyrics, "I know this girl named Denise / She makes me weak at the knees / She drives a lavender Lexus / She lives in Queens but her dad lives in Texas." How can you not like this band?
Hook looks on as Stegman cross-examines Druse, circling her and asking, "So, you're kind of a spiritual guru to the terminal patients here?" He pronounces her admissions to the hospital "a sham," telling her that "this isn't a hotel." Hook tries to tell him that that's "enough," but Stegman shouts her down, showing her the clean MRI and telling Hook to discharge her in the "now" region of time. A sycophantic nurse with a head shaped like a pumpkin tells Hook to discharge Druse, and takes her leave. Hook apologizes to her, and she smiles and responds, "You know what they say. Sticks and stones." If only someone had thought to WARN her. Wait. Pause for comedy. She's not done. Haaaaang on. "Young man? Your fly is unzipped." Ah, the satisfying click of the perfect closing of a plot arc so broad and colorful it can practically be seen from space.
Now, because I've just met some of you recently, what you might not know about me is that I have a tremendous, reeking fear of late-breaking brand-new characters and locales. I get this sinking, swooning, wait-what-did-I-miss feeling, like when I read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay to the tune of four hundred pages in four hundred days, and I was rewarded with this Presidential Fiction Test with a chapter out of nowhere that begins, like, "Meanwhile, six thousands miles of New York in the frozen Yukon…" You just feel betrayed, is all. Which is why there's a certain encroaching concern regarding the woman who was briefly noted last week as Dr. Massingale, asking a man wheeling a cadaver, "Elmer, what is this?" Just then, in a shadowy corner, the two walk past He Drives With Enormous Horsepower (or, well, He Pushes With Enormous Broompower, as the case has more recently become), Massingale asking, "Who are you?" Why not start by asking who the hell "Elmer" is? He Pushes With Enormous Broompower says he's from the maintenance department, and that he's filling in. The next scene will be a behind-the-scenes retrospective on the guy who founded the company that manufactures the brooms. And then we'll know everything about everyone.