Ready to feel like a kid and/or whatever age you were in the 90s again? It’s October. It’s Bad Books, Good Times. It’s time for Goosebumps.
R. L. Stine wastes no time setting the stage, and we jump immediately into something that sets the stage and creates tension that I bet’s gonna eventually lead to the main conflict!
“There’s nothing to do in Pitts Landing,” Michael Warner said, his hands shoved into the pockets of his faded denim cutoffs.
Oh man, there’s so much going on in this one sentence! We meet a main character (Michael!), we learn a bit about him and where he’s from (Pitts Landing, which sucks), and we remember what the 90s were like (faded denim cutoffs; cool kids would wear those on purpose!). See how much we accomplished in one sentence? Hell, I’m even already relating to the main character; his hometown is boring? OH EM GEE ME TOO IT’S LIKE WE’RE THE SAME PERSON BUT HE’S YOUNGER THAN ME AND STILL IN THE 90s! This is just so economical! Fifty Shades of Grey could learn a ton from this, and when someone says that R.L. Stine is a better writer than you, you know you’re up shit creek.
“Yeah. Pitts Landing is the pits,” Greg Banks said.
Ah, youth. Anyway, we meet Michael Warner, Greg Banks, Doug Arthur, and Shari Walker.
Everyone called Doug “Bird” because he looked a lot like a bird.
And, man, these kids have nothing to do! They think about going to the comic book store and speculate on being superheroes but it doesn’t go over well.
“There’s no crime to fight in Pitts Landing.”
“We could fight crabgrass,” Bird suggested. He was the joker in the group.
Oh, Bird, you’d probably be the first to get killed off if this wasn’t Goosebumps.
They wander around, bored, and conveniently come across the town’s spooky old haunted house! So they decide to go in, but Greg hesitates. But suddenly something happens!
Before he could reply, a dark form leapt up from the shadows of the tall weeds and attacked him!
And then the chapter ends! Suspense!
(Author’s Note: I wrote the summary for the first chapter earlier in the day, and then after that, well, did you like that one post I wrote drunk? If so, YAY AWESOME!!!)
Turns out it was just a dog. How silly! But Greg still has reservations!
“So… I don’t know,” Greg replied. He didn’t like being the sensible one of the group. Everyone always made fun of the sensible one.
Well, yeah, no shit, Greg.
He’d rather be the wild and crazy one. But, somehow, he always ended up sensible.
Shut the fuck up, Greg!
They talk this guy named Spidey who is apparently a homeless dude who dresses in all-black and looks kinda like a spider when he walks so they call him Spidey? Whatever, 90s kids. Whatever. THEY GO IN THE HOUSE. They see some mice and argue for half a page about whether they were rats or mice. But now they lost Bird and he’s shouting for help from the basement! AAAAHHHHHHHH-
HHHHH wait turns out he was just kidding. You know, Bird, one day one of these end-of-chapter cliffhangers is actually going to be somebody in mortal peril and nobody’s going to give a shit. I’m watching you, Bird. I’m watching you.
“But, Doug-” Shari started. She only called him Doug when she was upset with him. “Haven’t you heard of the boy who cried wolf? […]”
YEAH, BIRD/DOUG. See? Shari’s on my side now.
Finding themselves in the basement because of Bird’s prank, they find a closet full of old clothing, because the 90s weren’t already 20 years ago by this point or anything.
“Hey, guys -” Greg warned. “Don’t you think maybe those clothes belong to somebody?”
Greg continues to be a pussy.
“Maybe they’re coming back for it?” Greg suggested.
Instead of playing with the old clothing, Greg wanders and snoops through the old workbench and tools instead, because that’s totally much better from a moral standpoint.
Resting on the shelf was a camera.
For a long moment, Greg just stared at the camera.
Yeah, we get it, Greg. We realize the camera’s important. Just pick it up and let shit get fucked already.
Something told him the camera was hidden away for a reason.
How the fuck could you know that, Greg? Just pick up the goddamn camera!
Something told him he shouldn’t touch it.
PICK UP THE FUCKING CAMERA.
But he couldn’t resist it.
Christ, only took four paragraphs. No big.
Greg was very interested in cameras.
Man, it’s really convenient that he’s the one who found an evil, possessed camera, then. Or inconvenient? We’ll have to wait and seeeeee.
he was saving his allowance in hopes of buying a really good camera with a lot of lenses.
Sounds pretty good, Greg. It’s good to have dreams.
Sometimes he daydreamed about traveling around the world […] He’d take photos of everything
…still sounds good, Greg.
His camera at home was just too crummy.
Greg wondered if this camera was any good.
OH MY GOD, SHUT THE FUCK UP, GREG.
“Let me take your picture, Michael.”
Greg takes Michael’s picture with the camera and it’s one of those cameras where the picture develops and comes out immediately (Dear everybody born after the 2000s, this was kind of a huge deal in the 90s), but while it’s developing, Michael falls down the stairs!
And now someone’s coming! Holy shit!
They worry about getting Michael out of house behind the other stairway they just found because of his broken foot! But they can carry him. So they carry him to the door that the stairs lead to! But it won’t open. And that’s actually the whole chapter. Seriously, it turns out this chapter is a whole three pages long! Man, I wish college was like this more often.
How do they solve the last chapter’s cliffhanger of the doors that won’t open?
“Try again,” Bird urged Greg.
And then they open!
No, seriously, this is all actually what happens. Apparently I had really low requirements for suspense when I was six years old. They get out of the house and 1) suddenly Michael can walk again, and 2) the person who was coming in the house was Spidey! But as soon as he sees them he gives up on actually chasing them and just stares at them. Alright.
Suddenly it occurs to them that cameras take pictures and that they should look at the one they just took of Michael falling down the stairs, because all of Michael’s friends are kind of assholes.
“Whoa – hold on a minute!” Greg cried, staring hard at the small, square photo. “Something’s wrong. What’s going on here?”
Damn you, R.L. Stine and your cliffhangers!
Oh, hey, I can just read the next chapter and resolve the cliffhanger because these chapters are like six pages long on average. As an English/Biology double major in my senior year of college, this sounds perfectly good to me. (Please ignore the fact that I’m drunk on a Thursday night THE SCHOOL GAVE ME THIS ALCOHOL).
The camera had caught Michael in midair as he fell through the broken railing to the floor.
WHAT? That’s impossible! He took the picture and then he fell!
“That’s impossible!” Shari cried.
Oh man, Shari, you and I are on a roll today.
“You snapped the picture before I fell!” Michael declared
Dude, Michael, stop trying to have what Shari and I have, okay?
Greg goes home and sees that his dad bought a new car! Awesome! He takes a picture of the new car because it’s so cool! But he doesn’t look at the picture yet because his parents are calling him and he has to hide the camera, otherwise they’ll ask where he got it. Man, Greg, being a kid sucks. You should maybe not be a kid. Anyway, he has to hide the camera!
Under his bed?
No. His mom might vacuum under there and discover it.
Then Greg remembered the secret compartment in his headboard.
How does this thought process make sense, Greg? Come on, Greg, I know you’re just a kid and it’s the 90s but come on. He hides the camera and then remembers that cameras take pictures and he took a picture with the camera!
He uttered a low cry as he gazed at the snapshot.
And that’s all you get this week! GOOSEBUMPS CLIFFHANGER, MOTHERFUCKER! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA