We are now at Edward’s house. Anita is surprised that it isn’t some fancy flat in LA because lord forbid she develop an intelligent thought at some point.
He was like Batman. He rode into town, saved your ass, then vanished, and you never really expected an invitation to see the Bat Cave. Now here I was standing in front of it. Cool.
Oh, you’re one of those people who thinks Batman is cool. Great.
The door is blue and Anita comments on how a lot of doors in the area are blue. I like to call this section ‘LKH did one bit of research and instead of interweaving it subtly in the text, she wants you to bow down and worship her for doing her fucking job’.
“They think witches can’t cross a door painted blue or green.”
I widened my eyes. “You believe that?”
“I doubt most of the people who paint their doors believe it anymore, but it’s become part of the local style. My guess is that most people who do it, don’t even remember the folklore behind it.”
LKH, why do you hate commas? What did they ever do to you?
“Like putting out a jack o’ lantern at Halloween to frighten the goblins away.”
Anita, stop patting yourself on the back for being ‘observant’ when you don’t know anything. A Jack-o’-lantern was not designed to scare away goblins or supernatural creatures; carved vegetables were used in the United Kingdom to evoke bog lights and will o’the wisps, while carved pumpkins originated in America in the beginning of the nineteenth century as a symbol of the harvest. A nineteenth century story said that a farmer called Jack used a carved pumpkin to trap the Devil, but carved pumpkins do not have a long or supernatural history.
And FYI, goblins are benevolent in most areas of Europe. So you don’t need to scare them away.
Edward warns Anita about insulting Olaf or calling him gay. He says that the two of them aren’t going to ‘play nice together’ so… he’s moving Anita into his home because? Then a man comes out of the house.
The man in the doorway didn’t look much like an Olaf, but then what did an Olaf look like?
I feel sorry for the editor of this bullshit.
The man has come out of the house dressed only in a white bedsheet because THAT’S HOW REAL PEOPLE GO ABOUT HURP DERP. No one goes outside in a sheet to meet strangers.
He was tanned a lovely even brown, though some of that was natural colour because he was American Indian, oh yes, he was.
Here’s a hint: if he has a natural skin colour, then it probably isn’t a tan.
Was it racist to say that his features were more white than Indian, or was it just true?
Here’s a hint: if you ever say anything that has to come with a prefix sentence of ‘was it racist?’, then what you’ve got to say is probably racist. Plus, hey look, another ‘ethnic but not too ethnic’ character.
Bernardo Spotted-Horse was asleep, so wrenched the sheet from the bottom of his bed and wandered outside, instead of putting on underpants and some trousers. This moment turns into pure Komedy as Anita and Bernardo shake hands, so he has to drop his sheet and flash her when doing so. Bernardo then bitches about how Anita is ‘modest’ because she’s uncomfortable with a man flashing her in public. Wow. I don’t think I’ve disliked a character so quickly. It, like, only took two paragraphs.
Anita asks if he wanted a ‘Whore of Babylon’ so he apologises while standing right up next to her and apparently stroking her neck. She wants to know why he thinks he has a fucking right to behave like this, which he justifies by saying ‘oh, you looked at me and clearly thought I was hot, so I decided to flash you and commit a sex crime, tru fax’.
“If you want to come to the door looking like a Playgirl centerfold, don’t blame me for staring. But don’t make more of it than it is. You’re nice eye candy, but the fact that you’re coming on this strong isn’t flattering to either of us. Either you’re a whore, or you think I am. The first I’m willing to believe. The second I know isn’t true.” I walked up to him now, invading his space, the blush gone, leaving me pale and angry. “So back off.”
OK I don’t like the use of the word ‘whore’, but on the face of it it’s good to see Anita actually fighting back against another rapey male.
But look at that word she uses in the second to last sentence.
Why did LKH have to reiterate Anita’s skin colour in this situation? When she is talking to a Native American?
Is it because it’s a character which ties into that stupid and offensive stereotype that Native Americans (and any men of colour) are highly sexualised people, who are almost animal like in their pursuit of white women? Hmm?
oh god and fuck it Bernardo talks more and it’s awful
“There are two kinds of women that hang around with men like Edward, like me, that know what we are. The first are whores, no matter how many guns they own; the second is strictly business. I call them Madonnas because they never sleep with anyone. They try to be one of the guys.” The smile played along his lips again. “Forgive me if I’m disappointed that you’re one of the guys. I’ve been here for two weeks, and I’m getting lonely.”
Firstly, you can just hire a prostitute Bernardo. I’m sure there are some in Santa Fe. Secondly, who talks like this? No one labels women as ‘Madonnas’. They call them ‘frigid’. It sounds like LKH read that people were rightly criticising her works for complaining a madonna/whore complex befitting a whole bevy of Catholic authors and decided to use it in her works. A sort of ‘I don’t use that trope but here’s a character who does!’. Only it doesn’t work, because people don’t really call women ‘Madonnas’, unless in an aesthetic or musical sense. It feels forced, and a really silly attempt to try and say ‘I understand tropes too!’.
Edward finds this all hilarious because Anita was all embarrassed. He then cautions her to be wary of Olaf. Why? Because he’s a convicted rapist who likes bragging of his crimes. Great. That’s three sex criminals all living in one big house together, with another one moving in. Is this the set up for a really, really sick reality show?
Anita then says she’ll kill Olaf if she has to, which brings up the Harley issue from Burnt Offerings that went nowhere and still goes nowhere. She’ll stay in the house only if she has permission, which begs the question of exactly why she can’t stay in a hotel in the city.
“Oh, she’s going to fit in just fine,” Bernardo said, and there was something in his voice that made me look at his face. His handsome face had thinned to a blackness, an emptiness that left his dark brown eyes like two burned holes in his face. It was as if he’d dropped his mask and let me see inside because I’d proven myself monster enough to handle it. Maybe I had. But I knew one thing: Olaf or Bernardo, either one, better not walk in their sleep.
Then don’t sleep there.
Plus, that stuff about ‘thinned to a blackness’? It’s boring bullshit. I don’t care.