Friday, April 4, 2014

The Quest for Skye: Chapter 36

Recap: Morgan and Tammy took Skye on a little visit to Florida, where she was reunited with her favorite kissing dolphin and played the piano with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Now they're all sad because she's going to die soon. Frankly, I can't wait.

They all come back to the clinic and Morgan tells Lance that he wants to do like a Make-a-Wish foundation kind of thing for all the girls at the clinic, not just Skye.
"So, if I’m in charge here that’s one of the conditions. I want to see their dream fulfilled."
Um, I'm pretty sure he and Tammy already signed all the papers and stuff. There's no more "setting conditions" for him to take this job. He's had it and has had it for several months now. Which means he's now... subtly threatening to quit if Lance doesn't give in to him on this? Fortunately (or unfortunately, not sure which) Lance has no objections to this.

Morgan apparently has another big surprise up his sleeve, because he gets a phone call, tells Lance and Tammy to change into casual clothes, and tells Dr. Rozak he needs to take Skye out for the afternoon. This is like, immediately after they've returned. Skye probably hasn't even unpacked yet. Dr. Rozak is a little hesitant about letting her go back out and party or whatever in her weakened state.
“Do I need to be concerned with what you have planned?” 
“Well, do you remember what we talked about a few weeks ago?” Morgan asked.
Wait, hold up now. The trip to Florida wasn't what they were all secretively talking about? His secret trip to Athens and request to take Skye away for awhile weren't related to that at all? He has another secret? Whatever this one is, it apparently involves all the children, but only Skye gets to go out for the afternoon.

When Morgan announces he has another surprise for Skye, this happens:
[S]he tried to jump up and down, but didn’t have the energy.
I am probably not supposed to cheer that the horrible debilitating disease is making Skye less obnoxious, but...

Skye suddenly hears a familiar voice and turns around to find Gym Kim and Zack (remember them from the cruise ship?) are there.
“Your dad asked us to come. We actually have been here for three days,” Zack replied.
I have this mental image of them just hiding in a closet somewhere until they got the OK to come out into the world.
“Three days, and you haven’t come by to visit. Why?” She frowned deliberately.
Well, SHE HAS BEEN GONE. They would have had to fly to Florida to visit her three days ago.

Rothdiener has completely lost track of his time frame. Skye and the Hamiltons returned to the island, Lance came by to see Morgan "upon his return," which to me implies like... pretty much right away, especially since they all live on the island, so it's not even implied that he'd have to wait to see him until the next business day. From his conversation with Lance, he rushes to talk to Dr. Rozak, and immediately after his conversation with Rozak, Skye wanders in, and then Zack and Kim showed up.

When, exactly, did Skye think Zack and Kim should have visited her?

Anyway, instead of saying, "You weren't even in this country three days ago" like a sensible human, Zack explains that they have been busy "building something" for her and her friends. Dr. Rozak orders everyone in the clinic outside because everyone's going on a field trip.
“What about lunch?” Tammy inquired. 
Morgan stepped in. “Ah, if you notice, you can’t smell any food cooking. We’re going on a picnic.” 
Tammy peered at her husband. “You thought of everything, didn’t you?”
"I'm so proud of you for remembering that children need to eat!" Seriously, that's kind of a weird thing to praise him for.

Anyway, the kids all get loaded up into vans and get driven away somewhere, all trying to guess where they're going and what Zack and Gym Kim have been building.
When Skye saw how futile their guessing was, she started singing. The other kids in her van joined in song as they traveled the streets of the town waving at everyone they saw.
"Everyone they saw"? They talk like this is an actual city full of just random people. The only inhabitants of this island are the patients, patients' families, clinic workers, and probably some maintenance people. The patients and clinic workers are all in the vans, so basically they're just waving at maintenance people and like 10 girls' parents, all of whom appear to be outside at the same time.

At the edge of a forest, they stop and have a picnic.
There were plenty of hotdogs and burgers with all the side dishes.
...ALL the side dishes?

Morgan gets up to give a speech.
“Right now, I’m fulfilling a promise.” 
His wife gave him an affirmation nod, but it was Skye’s big thumbs-up that almost sent him over the edge.
..."Over the edge"?

What is WITH Rothdiener's choice of words in this chapter?

Skye gives Morgan a thumbs-up to the concept of him fulfilling a promise and he... what? Loses his mind? WHY? I don't even know what he's going over the edge of, but all I can picture is him like completely losing control and finishing the speech in some sort of hysterical tone of voice, and it's ridiculous, and I don't know why a thumbs-up would break him like that.
“When I decided to put this secret project in motion, one name jumped out at me. It needed to be done safely. I recalled a conversation I had with Zack on a cruise almost eighteen months ago, and I knew he was the perfect man for the job.” 
He glanced at the friendly faces before him. Some of the children were weakening fast, others still appeared healthy.
Well, maybe he shouldn't have yanked them away from the hospital to make them eat ALL THE SIDE DISHES.

And we FINALLY get a reveal: Zack and Gym Kim have built a zip-line for the kids.

Hold up.


OK, first of all, a zip-line does not seem like a terribly safe thing to put kids on when they have a disease that causes blindness, dementia, and loss of motor control. It seems like it would be very likely to be either traumatizing or dangerous or both.

Secondly, if you WERE going to do that, YES, you would have to do it "safely," but why the heck is Zack the right man for the job?! I went back and searched the whole book -- Morgan never even MET Zack. He met Gym Kim, he saw Zack from across the room, and Skye raved that Zack was a hunk, but he never met him.

Also, Zack and Gym Kim are personal trainers. In a gym on a cruise ship. In what world does this qualify them to safely build (apparently entirely by themselves) a zip-line for children who may no longer have control of their own bodies?


Seriously, this is the kind of thing an administrator is supposed to be able to do intelligently. Figure out what needs to get done, figure out who can do it, and delegate it. That is not supposed to consist of saying, "Oh, hey, I saw a personal trainer from across a gym one time. Maybe I should call him and ask him to come out here to personally build a zip-line when I have no reason to believe he knows anything about it. That won't endanger the lives of the children I'm taking care of at all."

Zack does explain that everything is handicap accessible, so the kids in wheelchairs can still go, but still, I don't know that I'd have much faith placed in a zip-line built in three days by a random gym worker who has shown no interest in zip-lining thus far.

After everybody zip-lines and, miraculously, nobody dies, the Hamiltons and Skye and Zack and Gym Kim all go out to dinner, where Zack reveals that he and Gym Kim are going to get married there on the island that Sunday, and Skye is going to be their flower girl.

I just... I don't have the energy to snark at this anymore. This is just another completely ridiculous plot point, and there's no reason they would have had their wedding there. If Jacob had said to me a week before our wedding, "Hey, would you like to fly to a random island that is the home of a random little girl we met once like a year and a half ago? We can spend the week before our wedding building a zip-line for children with rare diseases, and then we can get married on that island with none of our friends there but at least that little girl we met once will be our flower girl and she can play the piano for us too!" I'm pretty sure I would have just laughed heartily in his face.

Of course Skye plays the piano at their wedding, and it's lovely, and then everybody goes home.

I will leave you with this highly amusing piece of writing that is supposed to be about Skye hugging Tammy before she goes to bed, but I prefer to read it as the little girl calmly strangling her to death.
She grabbed hold of her mom’s neck, closing her eyes, unwilling to let go.
14. Pages. Left.


  1. There's a pronounced, "Oh, the hell with it" air to this chapter, isn't there, from the characters, from Rothdiener, and certainly from the editor.

    A zip line.

    A freaking zip line. For kids whose ambition is to, you know, not die horribly. Why is this even a thing? Does anyone care about using a zip line other than Morgan and/or Rothdiener? Have any of the kids been clamoring, "We heard all about the spectacular cruise and the zip line and we want to do that just like Skye"? I'm guessing not. So why is Morgan acting like this "fulfilled promise" is to anyone who cares?

    Out of curiosity, I Googled "zip line" just now. One of the very first hits that came up was this. I'm sure I'm giving Morgan too much credit here, but I would assume he would go for a commercial zip line to ensure that it lasts.

    If you have access to land and a basic infrastructure is already in place, for an average investment of just $500,000 you can expect to see a return of $1-3 Million Dollars a year in increased revenue. (To build a Full ZipLine Adventure Course, the price typically ranges from about $400,000 to well over $1,000,000 depending on many various factors. Single ZipLines or small Adventure Parks can be set-up for much less, but also draw less revenue). We at times offer revenue sharing options that make us an increased partner in your success, reducing your upfront investment by 25-30%.

    This is the stupidest, most short-sighted, high-cost/low-reward decision in the whole stupid, short-sighted story.

    1. The zip line is an ESPECIALLY bad idea given that Skye has been complaining all book that the playground the kids currently have isn't particularly conducive to their condition. She expressed interest in having a playground where the ground is that soft rubbery bouncy stuff so that anyone who falls isn't going to hurt themselves. She has been VERY vocal about this.

      Morgan hears her concerns nods along, and then decides the best way to put money toward helping these easily-injured kids' morale is to build a zip line.

      He does NOT listen well.

    2. I wonder how far half a million bucks would go to stabilizing Greece. Since, you know, saving Greece was an expressed objective throughout the story and having a zip line for kids who shouldn't even probably be using one wasn't.

  2. The remaining 14 pages consist of Skye's murder trial, then death from the disease.

    1. Oh, I wish. Rothdiener's view of how trials work is HILARIOUS. The courtroom drama section of Quest for Forgiveness is my favorite part of the whole book.