When Travis Met Abby: Walking Disaster Chapters 2 and 3

We’re on week two of our simultaneous Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster readings, and not only do I have to read two chapters to catch up to where Ariel’s at in the story, but she had to only read half of her chapter. It seems like the first thing to take away from these parallel novels is that Abby never shuts up, whereas I actually can’t pin down Travis’s problem to anything more specific than “dude just sucks at storytelling”. [Ariel says: I can’t tell if this is a win for Abby or Travis that the story is moving along quicker. Who am I kidding, there are no real winners in this book. Except maybe Abby’s roommate Kara. More on her and her inexplicable, yet welcome, bitchiness later.]

Chapter 2: Backfire

We last left our antihero (which I think I’m using unironically for once?) having convinced a woman to come hang out in his apartment, even though they’ve said (according to Travis’s account of the story) about three sentences to each other. And also he’s given her a nickname that literally no one else knows about or understands.

“I’m expecting company.”
“The pigeon.”

Travis’s scurryfunge includes such tasks as moving piles of dirty underwear, throwing shot glasses in the dishwasher, and throwing out empty condom wrappers, lest we have somehow forgotten who our main character is by chapter two. “Scurryfunge” is a word that means a hasty tidying of the house right before you’re expecting company. I know, right? Isn’t that a cool word? [Ariel says: we like to have teaching moments on here as well as dick jokes. Teaching dick jokes, if you will.]

When American and Abby arrive, Shepley and Travis have different reactions.

Shepley usually listened for America’s car to pull in so he could be greet her at the door.

Well, there's probably never going to be a better time to use this picture.
Well, there’s probably never going to be a better time to use this picture.

Travis, in comparison, waits until Shepley and America leave Abby alone in the living room (for some reason) before leaving his room, where he finds Abby gives just as few fucks as he does! But he realizes immediately that she’s trying to dress down to make him lose interest, so it doesn’t work and unfortunately the novel continues. [Ariel cries: BUT ABBY’S PLAN WAS SO FLAWLESS!] They talk and we learn Travis had an alcoholic dad and four asshole older brothers, but his family’s better now. Which is, of course, a perfect segue into getting pizza.

“You hungry, Pidge?”
“I already ate.”
America’s eyebrows pulled in. “No, you haven’t. Oh… er… that’s right. I forgot. You grabbed a… pizza? Before we left.”

Somehow Travis sees through America’s deception [Ariel exclaims: How did he know?! This is like when Gideon bought Eva the right soup. Magic, I tell ya. Romantic. Fuckin. Magic.] and talks Abby into going to get pizza. On the way, we get a great insight into Travis’s view of gender politics.

there was something under the good girl facade. She hated me on sight because she’d been burned by someone like me before. No way was she a slut, though. Not even a reformed slut. I could spot them a mile away. [Ariel says: There’s actually a spin-off novel where Travis gets his certification in Slut Spotting. He goes on to have a very successful career in slut shaming.]

Haha, I’m just kidding. The whole book is like this! There’s no escape!

The waitress was blatantly flirting with me, and Abby was unhappy. […] Hell, yeah. She was jealous. Wait. Maybe the way I was treated by women was a turnoff.

Yes. The way women treat you is the turnoff. That is it exactly.

the office stanley

[Ariel complains: It’s like you didn’t even read my post yesterday, Matt. Travis shows an admirable amount of restraint for the way these damn sluts are all over him!]

Travis decides they have to be friends, and Abby says that means he can’t “try to get in my panties every five seconds”, and he’s all “You have my word. I won’t even think about your panties… unless you want me to,” and this is real dialogue in this real book.

Anyway, how’d chapter two do for our hypothetical “Travis Uses The Word ‘Bag’ When Talking About Sexual Encounters With Women Because He Is A Misogynistic Dickbucket But Maybe We Can Make Some Good Of This” charity?

  1. The fact that I had bagged a good portion of beautiful coeds at this school was no secret
  2. It would take far more than false advertising to bag her on my couch. (Wait, I thought “bag” derived from having sex in a bed in the same way “in the sack” does. This doesn’t even make sense anymore.)
  3. It was preferable to the awkward task of asking her to leave once I bagged her.
  4. “Dude you’re supposed to get a doggie bag, not bag the doggie. (Remember how Ariel’s been talking about how everyone in these books suck at insults? I’m kind of concerned about Jamie McGuire’s abilities to do this in real life.) [Ariel says: They also can’t tell jokes.] 

Chapter 3: White Knight

Well, I guess we’re meeting a new character who is also a misogynistic asshole, because “white knight” definitely isn’t Travis [Ariel says: I prefer the term White Douchebag, but it’s quite misleading, so I’ve shied away from using it thus far]. Jesus, this book is like an encyclopedia of misogynists.

Like this, except it is literally just this book.
This joke made a lot of sense in my head until I tried to write something here.
Ariel says: It would have been amazing if we could have photoshopped Travis’ face on here. We’ll wait till they make a movie, so hopefully never.

Travis makes fun of Shepley for being lovesick over America (the girl), and writes… kind of the greatest sentence ever?

Unicorns and butterflies flying out of his ass and hearts floating in the air.

Travis goes to sleep but can’t stop thinking about Abby.

Abby made me feel distracted and focused at the same time. Agitated and relaxed. Pissed off and damn near giddy.

Let it be known that I'm the first person to compare Travis Maddox to Taylor Swift.
Let it be known that I’m the first person to compare Travis Maddox to Taylor Swift.

So he starts drinking. Maybe this is because I just graduated from college so I’m not especially imaginative, but alcoholism is one of my favorite forms of self-destruction (you know, like, in literature), so I actually might be intrigued by how Travis gets out of bed after two hours of trying to fall asleep to take two shots of Jack Daniel’s (although that’s really not a lot), except the exchange he has with Shepley afterwards is incomprehensible.

Shepley stood in the doorway with a smirk on his face.
“And so it begins.”
“The day you appeared on our family tree, I wanted to cut it down.”
Shepley laughed once and shut his door.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS MEANS. How does any one thing here lead to the next thing that’s said? What’s beginning? Why is whatever’s beginning related to Travis’s sudden and apparent complete disdain for Shepley? What the actual fuck does any of this mean? [Ariel suggests sassily: “And so it begins” sounds like what you would say about a prophecy long fortold finally coming to fruition. So I guess there’s some sort of prophecy about Travis fucking Abby and this is how it begins?] (Matthew adds: It has been passed down from our forefathers from our forefathers’ forefathers that one day one of our men wouldst seeketh to “just be friends” with a woman. The beginning of this time will be marked by heavy drinking.)

The next day Travis goes to breakfast, Abby and America are talking about a biology test, Travis says he’ll help Abby study, he made concepts go from being confusing to obvious, blah blah we know this from Beautiful Disaster. Travis doesn’t say anything nearly as hilarious in his account of this scene though. Guess we’re just gonna have to make do with that thing about unicorns coming out of his cousin’s ass, because haha what the fuck. He walks Abby to class and HEY REMEMBER PARKER WHO JUST SAID HI TO ABBY EVEN THOUGH SHE HAD NO IDEA WHO HE WAS? Well, obviously there’s a big mystery behind why someone would say hi to someone else, and so…

Parker was one of those guys that liked to follow me around and use his White Knight [Ariel mumbles: White Douchebag] status to get laid. He liked to refer to me as a womanizer, but the truth was Parker just played a more sophisticated game. He wasn’t honest about his conquests. He pretended to care and then let them down easy. [Ariel says: Spoiler alert, evidence of this is never given in Beautiful Disaster.]

Travis describes how Parker picks up girls Travis has just slept with, which does make events going on in Beautiful Disaster a little more interesting. You know, in the way that hearing about college students sleeping around with other college students is interesting, in that it isn’t at all. [Ariel says: Nope. It never even comes up in my book. Seriously. This is totally new information to me AND I READ THE WHOLE BOOK. Jesus Christ. So this book is fleshing out a new detail that is not relevant to the other book at all. Brilliant move, McGuire!!] Abby asks who Parker is and Travis explains that he’s one of his frat brothers.

You’re in a frat?” she asked, her little nose wrinkling up.
“Sigma Tau, same as Shep. I thought you knew.”
“Well… you don’t seem the… fraternity type,” she said, eyeing the tattoos on my forearms.

Wait, since when are “has tattoos” and “in a frat” mutually exclusive? I graduated from college six months ago, it can’t have changed that much.

Travis goes home and talks with Shepley about how he knows Abby’s too good for him, but when Shepley says he should let her make that decision herself [Ariel says: Wait…I thought all Shep wants out of life is for Travis and Abby not to sleep together. This seems like a major 180] (Matthew adds: Yeah, I was kind of confused about that), Travis says he doesn’t want her to end up with him because he knows he’s a dick. Although he doesn’t want her with anyone else either. And so the novel has basically resigned itself to being When Harry Met Sally except somehow even worse than When Harry Met Sally, which is kind of impressive, in a way.

Anyway, here’s chapter three’s “Travis Uses The Word ‘Bag’ When Talking About Sexual Encounters With Women Because He Is A Misogynistic Dickbucket But Maybe We Can Make Some Good Of This” hypothetical charity contribution!

  1. after I bagged her and didn’t pretend to want a relationship afterward, she called her friend all pissed off to come get her. [Ariel assumes: So the friend that picked the other girl up probably refused to sleep with Shep because Girl Code. Thus confirming all of Shep’s worst fears yet again.]
  2. Whatever girl I bagged, he usually swept up my sloppy seconds
  3. I think I just need to bag her and get it over with.

Man, if this was a real charity that’d be $12 so far! Yes, I do intend to keep track of every single instance of “bagged” in this novel. For science.

How I never thought to use this gif during The Host, I'll always regret.
How I never thought to use this gif during The Host, I’ll always regret.


  1. E.H.Taylor Reply

    Wait. It took Abby only half a chapter to explain what it took Travis two whole chapters to get around to. Doesn’t that make Travis the chatter box?

    • 22aer22 Reply

      I thought this too, but I think Matt means it in the sense that Abby can’t shut up about what’s going on (the chapters are really long and “a lot” happens). Or I guess maybe Travis is the chatterbox in that he talks about bagging girls but never moves the plot forward?

  2. Dana Reply

    Please somehow edit all your past The Host posts just so you can add that last Breaking Bag gif. This is an absolutely vital task.

  3. Pingback: There’s a Stupid Plot Device to Get Characters Into the Same Bed…”Platonically”: Beautiful Disaster Chapter 2 part 2 | Bad Books, Good Times

  4. 24karats Reply

    In the effort of fairness, I think there is a throwaway comment in Beautiful where Travis accuses Parker of going after his leftovers. I think one of the times Parker dropped Abby off at Travis’ house. Also, this shit is stupid.

    Matt, I hate to tell you this, but I picked up a copy of WD in the bookstore (they are CHARGING people for this shit!? American dollars!!) and I flipped through it at random and had did not come across a single scene that I hadn’t read in Beautiful. Just “she said” instead of “he said”. So good luck with that.

  5. Carolina Reply

    Okay so I think and I might be giving the author too much credit here, “and so it begins” is a joke about how Travis’ dad is an alcoholic and he is now beginning on the path.


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