CRAZY OLD BITCH MOTEL
Linden is unprepared for how squalid the reality actually is here because she was not here the last time, when Holder threatened to have gay sex here for a whole week. She has not gotten a load of Mama Dips and the bucket of crazy she is slinging. But because it is Linden, you'd have to watch closely to see her be appalled in one tiny corner of her otherwise placid affect. Mama Dips is kind of admirable in that she does not give a shit, which is a thing they have in common.
Cops: "Mama Dips, we have a warrant. As you suggested."
Dips: "Fuck your warrant."
Cops: "But the rule of law!"
Dips: "The law can suck my dick!"
Finally Linden has had enough of her guff, and gets inside the bank-teller situation where Mama Dips lives, and notices a button she keeps trying to push, like a warning button or the opposite of an alarm button in a bank. (You push it and I guess cops just run away!) Eventually they realize she is thinking of signaling to the mysterious videotaping room, which it turns out is behind a pretend wall. All you do is tip one book forward and then a quarter-twist of a Beethoven bust, and the whole thing slides open... To reveal a wonderworld of kiddie porn.
(Of all the wonderful books of John Bellairs, my favorite were always the Anthony Monday ones. It was very hard transitioning from a literary diet of 100 percent magical horses to books about things other than magical horses. Thanks, John Bellairs! Without you and Susan Cooper I probably still would not be clear on all the things books might be about. And I know I would spend a lot less time thinking about secret passageways.)
Not Linden, though. Linden's immediately like, "Clearly that is a false panel wall." Inside an unfinished chest at the foot of the bed -- where one might normally store linens, for example in a bedroom, say, or a guestroom -- there is a bright blue teddybear with his hand-feet handcuffed to his feet-feet. In case you were wondering what's the most fucked-up thing, it's that: Blue teddybear in bondage, ass up in the air.
Mean Guards: "I wish there were other ways to make Ray Seward feel bad. We should all think of some."
Blabbering Man: "Do you see? He was removing his tattoo of the A to prove that he doesn't care about anything, not even the letter A!"
Mean Guards: "But sure he has other kinds of weakness. Perhaps such as a weakness to disease. This time, we shall torture him through antibiotics. If he takes the antibiotics, we win and he loses. If he doesn't take the antibiotics, nobody really wins, but he definitely doesn't win."