Tookie goes to her next class, Run-a-Way Intensive. There's some holograms of past Intoxibellas decorating the runway, with Ci~L's being ghost-like. You know, I think the BellaDonna might be angry with Ci~L. Just a hunch.
She thought about that terrifying vision of Ci~L beating herself. Had it been a dream?
Why don't you do something radical like — I don't know — ASK CI~L
! Admittedly, Tookie doesn't know where she is, but I'm sure if anyone knows how to contact her, it would be Ci~L's stalker, ZhenZhen.
Shiraz is excited that Tookie is in her class, grabbing her hand and asking her to stand with her during class. She also is skipping to class. Is it just me, or does Shiraz seem like she's about 10 (if that)? She acts more like a little kid with a sugar high than a teenager.
Zarpessa is there, and she makes a rude comment about how Tookie hasn't been sacrificed yet. Chaste laughs, because she exists to be Zarpessa's hanger-on. Tookie thinks about retaliating by mocking Zarpessa's living situation, but Ci~L's words of wisdom prevent her from doing it. Because Tookie needs someone to tell her not to not make fun of someone for being homeless and eating out of trash cans. (Calling her a jerk, however, would be perfectly in line.)
Piper and Dylan arrive, and Tookie sees that "tear-streaked Desperada" is also there.
She was crying even harder now, if that was possible.
Why is she crying? And why does no one ask her about it?
Gunnero enters, as he'll be their teacher. He gives a long introduction talking about how great he is.
"If you thought you came to despise me during your time at Thigh-High Boot Camp, think again, because you have yet to experience me teach the strut in all of my sumptuous, unfettered glory!"
If his ego was any bigger, you'd be able to see it from orbit.
Then Persimmon (the head Mannecant) bursts through the door and says that by order of the BellaDonna, the lesson will be co-instructed "by the only living Triple7", Ci~L.
Whoa. Hold the phone. She's the only
Triple7 alive? I know we heard that Modelland hadn't produced a Triple7 in a few years, but I don't remember them saying that
before. That would explain why she's the only Intoxibella worth mentioning by name.
Gunnero gets annoyed at this.
"Body Girl? In my class?"
I'm assuming we'll get an explanation of this nickname eventually. Personally, I'm not holding my breath.
Ci~L walks in with an outfit made of copper and brass handcuffs, looking "frazzled and pained." I'd imagine so. That's gotta
Then Ci~L goes all Oracle of Delphi when she spots Tookie's group.
Her face slackened and her eyes bulged, and she became a different person altogether. Her hair began to whip around her face, caught in its own private wind.
I didn't know Revlon wind came with being a Triple7.
Here is the "spoken-word poem" in its entirety. (In case you can't tell, the first two lines are about Piper, the third and fourth are about Shiraz, the fifth and sixth are about Dylan, and the last two are about Ci~L.)
A colorless girl in a colorless world.
Now stained crimson because of her quest.
A microscopic lass below the criterion.
Journey aborted, but soul cannot rest.
A Rubenesque damsel, surrounded by twigs
Her lush carcass devoured, insects infest.
Their crony, elected exemplar of excellence,
Has failed them, whose soul demons now do possess.
Wow. That is horrible
. The imagery is generic, the rhyme scheme hurts the poem more than it helps, the phrasing is awkward, and the flow is awful. But according to the story, Ci~L's poems are known "all over the world." Maybe they're well-known in the same way that My Immortal
Also, "colorless girl" and "microscopic lass?" That's just rude. Unless those are their superhero names. Then they are bland.
Gunnero acts amused by all this, and this is enough to make Tookie start to believe that she actually saw Ci~L hitting herself.
The moaning, the chanting, Ci~L mutilating herself. The whacks.
Note to aspiring writers: the word "whack" is not threatening or scary. It is funny
Shiraz looks out the window and points out the BellaDonna statue which is blinking and moving its arms.
Suddenly, a bouquet of flowers protruded from Ci~L's lips. Everyone screamed except for Gunnero, who looked quite pleased.
Oh, come on. This sounds like a stage magician trick, not a genuine threat. This humorous/disturbing scene continues for another paragraph.
In total, Ci~L pulls out: a large rosebush (with thorns), a purple orchid plant, "a mess" of daisies and dandelions, springy tulips, ivy. This is described as a "long magician's scarf of flora," so the stage magician trick similarities are completely intentional.
Finally, Ci~L yells at the BellaDonna statue.
"I'll stop reciting poems! I'll teach with Gunnero. I'll do whatever you say! Just stop this!"
Ci~L pulls out a bonsai tree from her mouth.
"I know what I did, okay? I know I was wrong. I will comply. I will obey. I will do what you ask of me."
The BellaDonna statue goes still, and we get to the actual lesson. Gunnero starts talking about the Senturas.
"To bring forth the power of the Sentura, one must retract one's stomach, letting the Sentura's majestic force soak into one's soul."
Bull crap. Everyone (except Tookie) was using the Senturas just fine while they were tied around their foreheads. He tells Ci~L to demonstrate.
Dejectedly, Ci~L sucked her stomach in hard and closed her eyes. Her Sentura began to wave in its own wind.
Am I the only one who wants her to use the Sentura as a scarf a la Kamen Rider
, and use her superpowers in the fight against evil?
But nope! We get a fashion show instead. Gunnero looks jealous of Ci~L during the runway walk . . . maybe he's bitter that Modelland doesn't accept boys.
Ci~L parades up and down the runway, disappearing behind a wall, and re-emerging immediately with a new outfit made of teddy bears.
How many more teddy bears must die so that Ci~L can look stupid? How many more?
She then puts on an outfit of chains and metal necklaces that "glowed neon", with half of her hair "sheared in a pixie style" and the other half "a long, curly bush."
Oh, come on.
Tyra's a freaking model! She should be able to come up with something that would actually look good instead of just looking ridiculous.
Ci~L changes four more times, while the girls clap.
Tookie could see that whenever the clothing rubbed against the skin of her back, Ci~L did the most minute flinch.
And yet she's still questioning if what she saw was real. Tookie is a moron.
The last outfit she donned was a red polka-dotted jumpsuit with an attached hood and polka-dotted boots. A necklace made of cantaloupe-sized rouge-colored pearls draped from her neck to her knees.
And that is easily the worst outfit of the bunch. Do you realize how horribly uncomfortable and impractical a necklace made of cantaloupe-sized ANYTHING would be? Maybe one of the Sentura's powers is the ability to wear even the most ridiculous outfits without falling over.
Gunnero tells her to quit showing off, and Ci~L tells them that what they saw wasn't real.
The mirrors along the runway playback the fashion show Ci~L did. She was actually running, and the backstage is empty with the exception of "tiny hands" that dressed Ci~L backstage. Each of the poses happened in a split second, with the Senturas making it look like it happened at normal speed.
Everything happened at a rapid pace, like a pit stop at a car race in the city of FiveHundred.
Wow. So modeling is faked. Just like wrestling. Good to know.
"Your Senturas hold the power to hypnotize the audience, whether that's in the fashion auditorium or watching a recording in the privacy of their own master bedrooms. It shows them what Modelland wants them to see. This is the most important class you will ever take at Modelland."
That would explain why the whole world is obsessed with how awesome modeling is. They've been hypnotized and brainwashed.
Shiraz asks why it's faked. ("Why do you do the lying?")
"My pint-sized Lilliputian, why does a lady never let a man see her bare-faced, sans makeup? It ruins her glamour, her mystery. It makes her real. The more people know of our secrets, the less intriguing this place becomes. That's why I'm the head of security, honey. I uphold the laws, the secrets, and the Run-a-Way."
Yeah, that didn't actually answer the question of why they don't just have a fashion show at normal speed, and have a second model go out when the first one is getting dressed by the creepy hands. Also, that's not why women wear make-up.
Tookie "dares to ask" how it's done.
Ci~L says that it requires wearing a Sentura . . . and that's the only explanation we're given. No effort needed on the part of the girls, no technique. Just use the Force
Sentura! How vague and unhelpful.
Zarpessa took a step forward. "So I can be as fabulous as you, just because I'm wearing my Sentura? Out of my way, honey!"
But wait! The movements have to be "super fast, elegant, precise, fluid, swanlike." Swanlike, huh? So they have to poop on everything and attack people?
Shiraz jumps forward to go first. While Shiraz walks "frantically," the mirrors show what really happens (Shiraz running around).
Gunnero makes fun of her.
"Girl, you looked like a squirrel stuck in the middle of a busy street, trying to avoid being crushed! Hell, if I had a car right now, I would make a point of running you li'l ass over!"
Given her personality, "squirrel" sounds appropriate. Running her over is a bit extreme, though.
Tookie squeezes Shiraz's hand and assures her that she'll get better. Shiraz says that Ci~L's been staring at her "Like she the Labrian evil spirit." As opposed to an everyday evil spirit. Ci~L looks away when she sees Tookie and Shiraz looking back at her.
Gunnero tells them to quit talking. Then a couple of the one-dimensional side characters go. Bo, the emotionless girl, looks like a zombie. Desperada is busy crying. Ci~L, being the sensitive soul that she is, talks to Desperada.
"What are you crying for? Do you want to be here or not?"
"Listen, there's no way you can even try this until you stop crying," Ci~L went on.
Then Chaste goes, and . . . well . . . She shows once again that her only
characterization is "the school slut." (That makes it okay for the main characters to treat her like crap!)
. . . she somehow made running look almost pornographic, shaking everything she shouldn't. On the runway, she rubbed her body all over, gyrating to the beat like a dancer in an exotic nightclub.
"I not old enough to look!" Shiraz yelped, closing her eyes.
This fits perfectly with my theory that Shiraz is actually 10.
Gunnero then tells Tookie to go, calling her "Crazy Eyes." Tookie tries to "conjure up her inner cat. Tookie De La Lion.
" Instead she conjures her inner dud, and the Sentura does absolutely nothing. Everyone looks confused at this . . . except Zarpessa, who "was sporting a devilish smile."
All at once, Tookie knew. She did something to me. Something to mess up my walk.
What clued you in? The "devilish smile" or the fact that she obviously hates you and would be happy if she could cut out your heart and offer it to the BellaDonna?
Tookie then runs into the wall. Zarpessa laughs at her. Ci~L yells at her to get up. (Worst mentor ever
.) Tookie tells Shiraz that she thinks Zarpessa did something to her.
"Hmph. I hope she fracture spine."
And Shiraz is supposed to be a good
guy? That's almost as "good" as Piper calling Chaste a strumpet, which is just a fancier word for whore.
Zarpessa goes next, and in spite of being told not to, she does a clothing change at the end. She also does so well that she manages to fit in four spins where Ci~L had only done three.
In spite of being a jerk, Zarpessa is clearly the best student there. She's performing flawlessly and deserves to be recognized for it. At this point, she's an obvious shoe-in for Intoxibella-dom. But she's evil, so this talent is somehow a bad thing.
Gunnero calls Zarpessa "insolent" although he admits that she was the only one who did well. Even Ci~L acknowledges her. Gunnero then ends the class since all the named characters have gone. (And the "kaleido-clock" has turned chartreuse.)
Zarpessa comes over to Tookie to mock her, and Tookie asks what she did.
There was a devilish look on Zarpessa's face.
Because she's evil.
Zarpessa then tells Tookie that she chose her favorite yellow dress as one of her items, and she used the fabric from the dress to make:
"a yellow skirt, yellow gloves, a yellow beret, a yellow neck scarf, leggings, panties, a bra, two satin bracelets and ... oh, did I tell you that I found a Sentura under your bed? I'm still so perplexed as to how it got there. I mean, you're wearing it, aren't you? Or maybe you have two. One magical and one ... not."
Wow, that dress must have been huge
to provide that much fabric. (Belle, eat your heart out!) And add sewing to the list of things Zarpessa excels at.
. There is horrible, but also incredibly clever of her. And I thought that Tookie was doing something wrong and would have to use power of hard work to succeed.
Tookie then realizes that her Sentura is a slightly different color than everyone else's. Zarpessa then says that if Tookie tells anyone about what she knows about Zarpessa, it will "be bad for your soul." I think Tyra's taking the whole "Zarpessa is a devil" analogy just a bit
And why doesn't Tookie just tell one of the Gurus or Ci~L what Zarpessa did? Surely stealing someone's Sentura would merit a detention, or at least a reprimand. Although the way Zarpessa said it, it just sounded like she gave Tookie a fake Sentura in addition to her real one . . . shouldn't Tookie have noticed that?
Tookie leaves, after looking at Ci~L who frowns at her "ominously."
Ci~L turned and marched away. That was when Tookie noticed that some of the red polka-dots on the back of her jumpsuit were richer, wider, and blotchier than the others. All along Ci~L's back, just under her shoulder blades and traveling up and down her spine, something red seeped through the cloth, growing larger and more garish by the second. It took Tookie only seconds to realize what it was.
Still wondering if what you saw was real are not? Or do we have to spend another two chapters with you doubting it?
Also, this ends the chapter. Because this book likes teasing with something interesting before going back to boring its readers.