Ohgod, overcooked jalapeño poppers are the bane of my existence. On the one hand, they’re burnt and taste horrible. On the other hand, they’re jalapeño poppers, and I can’t help but take another bite just in case they’re not ruined all the way through.
Alas, they are. It’s like a deliciously-smelling Light Grenade.
Such is the case with this book. While I cannot handle more than a small amount at a time, I keep coming back to it, and regretting it each time.
Diabolical. Sandra Hill, you magnificent bastard.
The Blue Dragon is on fire. Or rather, was, since it’s pretty much contained by the time Magnus and Angela get back. The loveable mongrel got injured trying to chase the arsonist – BUT THE DOG IS OKAY, DO NOT WORRY – and everyone’s fretting about as they try to explain to Magnus what just happened.
Turns out there’s been a lot of this going on; they’re not sure whether it’s a competitor trying to sabotage the farm, or a buyer trying to lower the cost of grapes. This strikes me as incredibly foolish because if they’re selling grapes and they lost a quarter of their harvest, wouldn’t the rest of the grapes will be jacked up by a third to recoup costs? I can’t be the only one who immediately thought that. PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one who immediately thought that.
Immediately, of course, the Time Travelling Viking Family suggests hunting down the arsonist with swords and axes. This is met
“I think we should get out our words and go looking for these scoundrels who would do such a cowardly act,” Torolf said. “Sword dew aplenty we could spill betwixt the two of us.”
“Mayhap,” Magnus agreed.
“Don’t you dare,” Angela said. “Violence begets violence, and then nothing is accomplished.”
So what’s Magnus’s non-violent solution? Take a small handful of the ancient coins out of his luggage, pay off Angela’s debts, and then he wouldn’t have to be an actor in that Viking movie.
Those few coins – still a tiny amount compared to how many he has with him – are worth roughly a million dollars all combined.
This is pretty much The American Way, honestly. Whatever we can’t solve with violence, we throw money at until it goes away. Magnus has acclimated to being an American VERY QUICKLY.
(OHNOES SELF-DEPRECATING POLITICAL HUMOR. I HAVE CROSSED A LINE. MY BLOG IS ENDED NOW.)
The cause of – and solution to – all of life’s problems.
The money, of course, is also why Angela is finally starting to accept that Magnus MAY ACTUALLY BE a Viking. She’d seen a coin before, of course, but it was just the one that he sold to get the forty-odd thousand dollars back at Wal-Mart. She had no idea he had a whole chest full of it.
This revelation, of course, is interrupted by the arrival of her cousin, Carmen, who is apparently a busty, gorgeous woman who wears tight jeans, tight tank tops, and no underwear. It’s not long until we find out that she is The Token Feminist™, and not long after that we find out exactly what Sandra Hill feels about feminists.
I’ve been looking forward to this, guys, let me tell you. Ever since Trekkiegirl told me about the fact that Sandra Hill writes in a feminist just so she can act out her darkest impulses about her.
Carmen, we find out, is a single mother. She lets her fourteen-year-old daughter dress in running shorts and a sports bra out in public, drink wine and coffee and anything else the girl wants, and talk back to family members. She herself disdains anyone who tells her how to raise her child, and will start any conversation with a man with an insult and a sad attempt at self-righteous quips.
“Yeah, right. Steroid city would be my guess.” Carmen continued to give him an impolite once-over, which pretty much said that he was a man and therefore his opinion did not matter. In fact, she tossed out, “Do you know what God said after he created man? He said, ‘I can do better.'”
“You prove my point, macho man.”
I get the impression that Sandra Hill went out of her way to make Carmen the most caustic, unlikable person in the world, as a sort of Screw You to people like me – okay, maybe not people like me – who deride her work as offensive and hurtful to women. And so, we have Carmen.
Soon after Carmen arrives, a man pulls up and offers – once again, it seems – to purchase the Blue Dragon. It is TOTALLY NOT CONVENIENT AT ALL that he shows up the day after the arson and has apparently been pestering Angela and Grandma Rose about it for years. Magnus, of course, steps in and declares himself Angela’s new investor, which is entirely accurate – he did just drop (or is about to drop) a cool million dollars on the vineyard. Hell, even Feminist Carmen is impressed by this.
Y’know what? Nothing much happens for the next while – again, 40 pages of packing and unpacking and repacking and unpacking again – so I’m going to go ahead and Creat a Montage.
- Angela talks to Magnus’s daughters about their periods.
- Magnus is assaulted by his daughters about getting tattoos, going to the mall, going to school, going to sleepovers, and having boyfriends.
- Magnus royally pisses off Angela.
“What is it that you want, Magnus?” Angela asked, putting her hand on his.
He took her hand in his, twining their fingers, stared into her eyes steadily, and told her what his heart’s wish was.
- This book is now my favoritest book ever again.
- Angela tells Magnus that “a hard-on does not equal true affection”. I LIKE ANGELA AGAIN.
- Magnus still wants a cow but he has learned not to say this out loud.
Soon enough, The Director at Universal Studios gets wind that Magnus doesn’t want to be his Viking anymore, and he – quite understandably – throws a snitfit and starts threatening lawsuits, and he takes back the van he lent them. So Angela piles all the Viklings up in Employee Juan’s van and brings them to the County Fair, where Magnus and Torolf once again are garnering female attention. ’cause, let’s face it, they’re wearing muscle-bearing shirts, and they’re ripped like Jesus.
Surprisingly, his attire did not look out of place with the etched silver bracelets on his upper arms, which he never seemed to take off. Torolf never removed his either, and more than a few teenage girls were giving him and his armrings a second glance. It didn’t hurt that he was wearing a black tank top and cutoffs, which showed off his muscles. He wasn’t as tall or as muscular as his father, though. Not for the first time, Angela likened Magnus to a tree.
OKAY SERIOUSLY WE GET IT ALREADY. MAGNUS IS A TREE.
…I feel better.
Alright, back to The Power Of Montage – COUNTY FAIR EDITION.
- The kids run around being kids. At a county fair. THERE ARE PAGES OF THIS.
- Apparently, the older boys aren’t the only ones that are anachronistically hot. Employee Juan – who is engaged, by the way – keeps staring at Magnus’s eldest daughters, who are just under eighteen.
- Magnus stares at the prize-winning cows and pigs.
- Magnus gives a Norse Remedy to a sick baby cow that would have otherwise been put down.
- Angela’s heart melts at all of the above.
- Later that night, they return to using Bad Agricultural Euphemisms.
“All that exposure to farmers at the fair today reminded me where my true talents lie. I have come to show you my technique for…plowing.”
“‘Tis the best way.”
[…] “Wait till you see the straight rows I harrow.” Magnus stepped forward, crowding her against the tile wall.
“You’d better hope the ground is not too fertile.”
[…] “You are right. What I don’t need is more…uh, turnips.”
This apparently qualifies as HOT FOREPLAY CONVERSATION, ’cause then they start – for lack of a better word – plowing. And plowing. And goddamn even this is a bit much to read all at once.
We’re almost done, guys! I’ll call it here, and I think – not making any promises – that I can finish this in one more post. Up next: The Conversation About The Consequences Of Time Travel.