Undead and Unemployed Chapters 3-4: What’s more exciting, vampire murders or Macy’s? Fucking MACY’S, OF COURSE!!!

Betsy returns to the oft-maligned (in this series) Apple Valley, still just over the fucking moon about landing that sweet, sweet minimum wage entry position that all 30 year olds aspire to.

Unfortunately for her unbridled joy, “the unbelievable stench assailed me on my front step, and I almost couldn’t make myself go inside.

I fidgeted on the front step for a minute, debating, and finally told myself, well, you defeated the most evil vampire on the planet (that’s a pretty insane conclusion to jump to) just a couple months ago, so you can do this, too.” Yes, all those commas are canon. I’ve mentioned that I myself often fall into the trap of excessive comma abuse, but I at least TRY to edit myself, review what I’ve written and CHANGE IT if I’ve gone overboard with that, or used a word too often, or whatever. Apparently there’s a higher standard to writing shitty book reviews on a BLOG than there is an actual, published, NY Times best-selling author. Weird!

Anyway, all these dramatics are simply a way to showcase that Jessica has the flu, and Betsy already knew that:

“Still have the flu?” I asked sympathetically. Ha! Let’s see how long THAT lasts.

“No stupid questions from vampires,” she groaned. She retched again. I observed she’d had chicken soup and toast for lunch (thank you for that). “Use your super strength to pull my head off my shoulders, please.”

“For crying out loud, Jess, how long you been in here?” (yes, that’s exact)

“What day is it?”

Anyway, Betsy drones on and on about how this affects HER. She also mentions that Jessica is only a few inches shorter than her, which is notable because she’s going to shrink one day and become very short with giant, Michael Jordan-sized feet. But still be absolutely gorgeous, of course, because if you aren’t pretty, you aren’t getting anywhere NEAR Betsy unless it is to kill you. And even then, she’ll probably order others to do the actual killings. Cooties, y’know?

She offers to take Jessica to the hospital, as she’s been sick for a whole two days, and also Betsy clearly doesn’t want to deal with this shit. When Jessica says no, Marc can give her “a shot” when he gets home, we get down to what I’m sure we all were wondering…as in, wondering how long it would take Betsy to say it:

Is there a reason you’re being sick here, instead of sick at your own place?” Yeah, Bets. It’s SO WEIRD that someone with the fucking flu is hoping that her friends–one a doctor, the other INCAPABLE OF ILLNESS–might treat her with empathy and compassion. It is soooo weird for sick people to hope someone loves them enough to take care of them. Especially people who only have their own house because ol’ sicky-sick paid for it carte blanche. So. Weird.

In other words (say it with me, folks!), fuck you Betsy, you spoiled, selfish bitch.

Anyway, Betsy ignores her needs to exclaim she got a job! Obviously Jess is a little busy at the moment, so instead of helping, she reminisces about the last time she saw Jessica this sick–on her 21st birthday when she was mixing crème de menthe with vermouth, then Jack Daniels and tequila, then a Zima chaser, until Jessica screams for her to stop reminding her of something that would obviously make her nauseous while she’s already fucking sick and puking her guts out.

“Sorry.” Yeah, not the brightest move. But that was the last time she’d been this sick!–who cares? Who desires their best friend to inventory their level of vomit so that they can compare one ailment to another? Like I’ve said and said, her social intelligence is just as dim as every other form of intelligence she could possibly have. You’d think everyone gets at least one, but no, no…unless you count her ability to recall every single shoe she liked in the 90s, which I don’t.

Anyway, she tucks Jessica into bed and literally puts a clothespin on her nose. Yeah, I know she doesn’t breathe, but is she also incapable of discomfort now? Must be a vampire power I’ve long ignored. She graces us all with the knowledge that she has a junk drawer and the contents don’t always make sense. This exact thing happens in Sookie Stackhouse novels–random junk drawer to the rescue, oh let me describe it, too! That’s just strange, and since I stumbled across a journal entry of MJD’s which IO could seriously not finish as it was so fucking Betsy it HURT…anyway, it was supposedly about Charlaine Harris, but of course was mostly her talking about stupid bullshit in a stupid way in a painfully obvious attempt at being “cute.” And the inclusion of that very thing here makes me wonder if she just read that Sookie book and decided to throw in that very thing, for some inexplicable reason.

She actually deigns to start cleaning up Jessica’s mess–amazing!–when Tina knocks on the door. She’s apparently still ignoring her for what happened in the last novel, except here we have one of her MAJOR MAJOR CONTINUITY FUCK-UPS (emphasis mine):

“Get lost,” I suggested. I still wasn’t speaking to her. Thanks to her, and Sinclair, I was the queen of the undead. A small fact they’d hidden until after Sinclair and I had made love. There could be no forgiveness!

A small fact they’d hidden. She was queen of the undead, a small fact they’d hidden.

That is seriously what she says. That they’d hid the fact she would be queen, rather than the fact Sinclair would be consort given the misnomer “king.”

And no, this is not just me catching an editing or writing mistake–despite the fact that it would still be pretty major that she fucked up that badly–but this isn’t the first time she asserts this. Hell, a couple sentences later she once again blames her for being a queen unknowingly, not having a consort.

This isn’t one of those things she entirely forgets and hopes we’re going to forget, too–later on in the series Betsy will make mention of the sexual trickery leading to his ascension, not hers. But for this scene, both Betsy and Tina are under the mistaken impression that Tina tricked her into being queen.

As if the entirety of Tina’s scenes in the last book weren’t let’s make you queen! And calling her Majesty. I don’t even recall if I mentioned that Tina insists on calling Betsy “Majesty,” with or without the Her/Your/whatever, but she does. She barely if ever calls her anything but “Majesty,” including the entire first book.

I really don’t think I’m making a big deal out of nothing here–she forgot what her first fucking book was about by the third chapter of her second. It is not a mistake, and it is not a retcon, as she does go back to the original, likelier plot. But for now, Sinclair fucked the crown into Betsy, instead of gaining one for himself! Except he’s still “king”! Wow, I wonder how he pulled off that chicanery alongside fooling HER into the crown!!!!

One more thing–this is the first book where she includes one of those lame quote pages authors sometimes use to try to make their lore feel more like lore. It’s self-important nonsense (especially as she eventually uses it multiple times to quote WIKIPEDIA), but anyway, she has two quotes in the foreword that I didn’t bother writing out, til now:

And the first who shall noe the Queen as husband noes his Wyfe shall be the Queen’s Consort and shall rule at her side for a thousand years.

–The Book of the Dead

 

If that rat bastard Sinclair thinks I’m going to be his wife for a thousand years, he’s out of his fucking mind.

–From the private papers of Her Majesty,

Queen Elizabeth I, Empress of the Undead,

Rightful Ruler of the Vampires

Consort of Eric I, Lawful King

See, it’s funny, because she has no say!!! Also, MJD does have an annoying habit of having Betsy “respond” to the odd quote or two, but I have no idea where she’s doing it as she doesn’t keep a diary or any other kind of “papers” at this time, and also she cannot read the Book of the Dead, so…how is she responding to a quote she doesn’t know? And if she writes it out much, much later, is she just trying to think back to what she would have said rather than how she currently feels? And another thing–yeah, she was told about this quote the last time, but she didn’t see it, and…just ugh. I’ve pointed it out because it seems to agree with me that it was Sinclair who needed to fuck to get to the throne, not “Rightful Ruler” Queen Betsy.

Anyway, this scene exists basically so Tina can clean up Jessica’s puke instead. At first Betsy says no (“I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Or Sinclair.”) but yeah, we all know she’s going to “let” her and she’s just being difficult for the sake of being difficult. She even throws out that Tina can’t come in without her permission and she’s not giving it! Only for Tina to gently remind her that not only has she been inside of her house before (DUH!), but that’s just a silly old wives’ tale anyway.

The fact that Tina can come in with or without permission and demonstrates so is what “breaks” Betsy’s will to not let her clean up puke. Oh golly, what strong wills! What moral fortitude! What…ever. Shock of all shocks, she would rather not do it anyway! And way too much of Chapter 3 so far is dedicated to puke!

Somewhere in this conversation she describes Tina (later books she repeatedly calls her “every dirty old man’s wet dream,” so enjoy that). Today she calls her, Old–something like a hundred and some years–but cool. She didn’t act or talk like an old lady (did you expect her to? You fucking dullard) , though she could be stiff sometimes. And she looked like a Glamour cover girl with her long blonde hair, high cheekbones, and pansy eyes, so dark and enormous they seemed to take up half her face. Always with the pansy eyes. At one point, Betsy spends an entire book claiming Tina is brunette (it’s a side book, but still), but she’s always got near-black pansy eyes and usually long blonde hair, and a penchant for dressing up like a schoolgirl. I guess she really likes to attract gross old men? I dunno, but Tina is essentially physically an anime character, and written as the only worthwhile vampire in the entirety of the series. Fuck Sinclair. If you take nothing else from my reviews, Betsy is the dumbest person to ever live, and FUCK SINCLAIR. And I don’t mean his alarmingly ginormous silken cock or his satiny-smooth balls.

No, I’m not the one calling them that.

This is Tina. This is how Tina is consistently described. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be enough interest in the Undead series for anyone to have made any fan art, but if you’ve seen an anime you’ve seen Tina. Also, both in physical appearance and personality, Tina is WAYYY hotter, cooler (heh), smarter, caring, and a compassionate, intelligent, FAR more interesting character and warrior. Tina could have made a cool queen. Betsy is just the Mary Sue of a middle-aged woman desperate to cling to her youth by appearing as stupid and selfish as possible.

Earlier, when Betsy was speaking with Jessica, she’d mentioned that if only Jess were a man she could have mojoed her to sleep or forget her discomfort or whatever. Jessica wakes up when Tina comes in (she asks about “King Gorgeous,” to Betsy’s chagrin), but Tina immediately puts her to sleep, telling her that when she wakes, she will feel much better. I guess if you’re hetero- or homosexual, you can only really mojo those of the gender you are attracted to, but if you’re bisexual you can bespell both! Except for the fact Eric both can bespell men and also MJD wouldn’t dare let him be attracted to other men, so sometimes you can just grow out of needing it to be somehow sexual, which makes the most sense anyway (why would YOU have to be attracted to your victim? Why would that matter at all?!)

Anyway, apparently Tina cured her flu and is mentioned as bisexual, as she sometimes is when she’s not solely a lesbian who used to do men but lost her taste for it or whatever the fuck happened. MJD outright states that it is Tina’s sexuality which allowed her to cure Jessica, again forgetting what that should imply for Sinclair. But heaven forbid we upset any bizarre middle age/old ladies who read vampire romance fiction to get their jollies, yet could never dare conceive of a bisexual male partner! Nah, best to just forget about that little error later, except when it’s convenient again!

Tina scrubs the bathroom (she can scrub like a Fiend–wait, do Fiends scrub?!? Har har har har har yeah that’s a thing she says) while Betsy continues to not care that Tina and the rest of vampire-kind cannot hear the word “god” without freaking out.

This is something that happens in every. Single. Book. Oftentimes multiple times! Betsy (or someone else–but it’s usually Betsy) casually throws out an “oh my god” or other god/Jesus-mentioning line, the vampires all freak out about how much it hurts, she half-heartedly apologizes. She claims to “forget” every single time until after she’s said it. There is even a time when Sinclair calls her out on being so damn selfish that she actively doesn’t give a shit, because if it doesn’t hurt her who cares to remember it hurts him?

So Tina cringes away and tells Betsy that there’s a problem she needs to look into.

“Sinclair has turned into a pile of ash?” I asked hopefully.

“Ah…no. But it’s funny you should say that. We’re getting reports of quite a few staked vampires.”

“So?”

She looked at me.

“Ah, no,” I whined. “What, this is my problem?”

“You’re the queen.”

“Oh, so I have to protect the city’s vampires?”

“The world’s vampires, actually,” she said gently. Good thing I was standing near the tub, because all of a sudden, I needed a place to sit down.

MJD decides to make this a chapter break, despite the fact that this conversation is directly continued at the start of Chapter 4, like…directly. Sometimes, chapter breaks like this can work–it can add tension, drama, whatever. Here it’s just Betsy being told something entirely obvious to anyone with even half a brain–chapter break!!–and the conversation immediately continues. Worthless. Shit like this is utterly worthless. If any of you were waiting with bated breath to find out whether or not Betsy will repeat the question she’s just had answered, wait no more! But maybe you ought to read the books rather than my reviews, because I guarantee I’m going to start hating her more and more, and I’m not going to be gentle about it.

“So someone’s been running around killing vampires?”

“Yes. More than one somebody, most likely. We suspect a hit team.”

“‘We’ being you and Sinclair.”

“Yes.” I’m again ignoring some bullshit Betsy’s doing while they’re talking; it’s mainly drinking tea.

“Look, Tina, no offense, but I’m not necessarily sure this is a bad thing.”

“No offense taken,” she said dryly.

“I just don’t think it’s my job to protect the city vampires (yes, “city vampires”) is all. Shit, I’ve been protecting the city from them. What is it about upright wood ticks that they think they have to hurt their food? Huh?”

She stared at me and didn’t answer.

“I mean, just the other day, I’m minding my own business, when I have to pull a bloodsucker off his lunch. Not only did he rough up his meal, he tipped over a city cab and scared the shit out of the driver just for the hell of it. Just because he could.”

Ah, so she wasn’t tracking that particular vampire–she was just riding around in a city bus with a bespelled, obsessed driver and just happened to get there moments after the relevant action started. It was all a coincidence. Cool.

Also, I don’t think I would call the driver “scared the shit out of,” but I don’t have undead supersenses, merely the thoughts in his own head. Yeah, he was scared, but he wasn’t, like, frozen in fear, shitting his pants just screaming and screaming. He even wanted to help! Whatever, Betsy sucks.

I jumped into the silence. What is it with MJD giving Betsy new paragraph after new paragraph simply because Tina isn’t talking? These aren’t exactly separate thoughts. “So, I’m betting this hit squad or whatever has a legitimate beef with the undead. Right? Right. Now I have to get involved? What the hell for?” Our heroine, the vampire queen. Ready at a moment’s notice to protect and instruct her people on how to behave. Hahaha oh wait. Just leave them to their own devices after centuries of dog-eat-dog power struggles and hiding in the shadows, loathing humanity. Brilliant!

Tina was silent for a long moment, then finally said, “You’re young.”

“Oh, sure, throw that in my face again.”

But she had a point. Four months ago (what the fuck, did Chapters 1-2 take place over an entire month? No. No way. Betsy may be dumb as fuck, but there’s no way it took her an entire month to get from the Re-Employment Center to Macy’s to home) I’d been a live nobody. Now I was a dead monarch. But I still remembered what it was like to breathe and eat and run around outside in the daytime. Would I have cared then that someone was killing vampires?

Nope.

Well yeah, you don’t even care now, when it’s your job to care. When you are one of them–the LEADER of them! As I said before, Betsy could be out there changing the rules and teaching her subjects how to live comfortably under her regime. She made a big point a few times that she considers vampires “undead losers” for sticking together and seeking a ruler, and whining that she doesn’t want the responsibility of telling people–people older than herself–what to do with themselves. She finds it silly, ludicrous, and somehow embarrassing.

Yeah, that’s all well and good and all, but like she and I and everyone has pointed out, she doesn’t really have a choice. And that sucks, I know, but sometimes something happens in life where you don’t get to entirely dictate your own reality, not fully. This is one of those times. And instead of whining and calling them assholes, she could help. She could help humanity and vampirekind, but instead she’s just lazy and whiny. What a great character!

To be perfectly honest, most vampires were assholes. (ah that old chestnut, all of this type are this way! I wonder if there’s a name for that…) I couldn’t begin to guess how many people I’d saved from being munched, all because vamps had victim issues. It was like, once they rose from the dead, they spent the rest of the time getting even for being murdered.

Or, y’know…they must drink blood–specifically human blood–to survive. They just got out of being ruled by someone you’ve claimed was the most evil vampire to live. There was no rule in place to only bite bad guys,” what constitutes a bad guy is pretty broad anyway. Her dinner that night was a dude sucking air out of a tire, for some reason. Shoplifters, jaywalkers, murderers, rapists–it’s all the same to Betsy. You violate a crime even in the slightest, you’re fair game.

So tell them this. In all likelihood showing mercy was a crime to Nostro–punishable by death or torture. If he really was as wicked as they’ve claimed, that seems like a distinct possibility. So fucking tell the vampires they can only bite someone who commits even the barest crime, as long as it’s a crime, and hypocrisy be damned (as she has been stealing cars and skipping fares and hypnotizing mortals and shit).

“I imagine you feel…torn,” Tina said.

“More like annoyed and pissed off.”

“But the fact remains, someone is killing your people.”

I didn’t say anything. Sadly, Tina didn’t take the hint. Instead, she continued, “We need to put a stop to it at once.”

Again with the unnecessary paragraph break! This one even worse than before! Sigh.

She finally whines at Tina to just let her think about it, okay? Listing off her reasons for being “too busy,” “I just got a new job, my roommate’s sick (actually no, your benefactor is sick–as you so rightly pointed out before, she has her own apartment), my dad’s scared of me, my car needs an oil change, we probably have termites, Jessica’s house-hunting behind my back, and it’s almost the weekend. I’m just so busy right now.” Yeah, truly an exhausting list. You have, like…maybe two things there you may need to be proactive about, and even then Jessica or Marc probably can/will do them, on Jessica’s dime. Go fuck yourself, o’ vampire queen.

All this, of course, was merely set up for Tina to inquire, “You have a job?”

“Uh-hum.” I tried to look modest. Not everyone could land the job of a lifetime. “Selling shoes at Macy’s.” At fucking Macy’s. As a shoe saleswoman at fucking Macy’s. Am I wrong that she could have done this anytime, anywhere, throughout the entire banality that was her life? No. No, I am not. This is supposed to be oh-so funny, but instead it just makes her look so, SO stupid!

Another long pause. “You’ll be working at a mall?”

Tina wasn’t as fawning or floored as I expected. Weird. Seriously. She SERIOUSLY expected Tina to fawn over this information?? I can understand HER excitement, idiotic as it may be, but she honestly thinks ANYONE ELSE would EVER be impressed by this? My god, MJD, how on earth do you write such rich, realistic, characters?! It’s like…it’s like you’re in our HEEEADS, AHH!!!

Anyway, she again asserts it’s not a mall, it’s the Mall, and Tina remains flabbergasted. Tina offers to gather up all of the information they have thus far, and Betsy tells her, “Oh, just sum it up. Write me a memo.”

“A memo.” Hardy-har, because isn’t it sooo hilarious how little she cares about anyone ever beyond her own self?! Isn’t it awesome that she doesn’t even have the barest, most basic questions like who are the victims, what were they like, was this really the “revenge” scenario she immediately waved it off as or would multiple killings kind of imply, y’know…not so much?

She does that whole look-at-her-wrist-even-though-she-doesn’t-have-a-watch bullshit, my, my look at the time I’m just sooo busy with sitting on my ass watching Martha Stewart reruns (again–she said as much the last book!) and Tina tells her, “You’re as subtle as a brick to the head. I’ll be back.”

“That’s just swell. An undead Terminator, just what I need in my life. (get it?? Tina said something that Arnold Schwarzenegger says, especially as the Terminator!! (DID YOU GET IT OH I HOPE THAT WASN’T TOO SUBTLE. Of course, everyone knows that making even the simplest reference, one which doesn’t even make sense in context, but it sure mentioned another popular work so it automatically becomes COMEDY GOLD!!!) Give Sinclair a nice kick in the balls for me.”

Also, I think we can all agree that one Terminatrix was well beyond enough.

She sniffed. “No need to be rude.”

Of course, she was dead wrong. Where Sinclair was concerned, there were all kinds of need.

Once again, I didn’t cut off the “s” on that last sentence. That is how it is written. Was all kind of need works, were all kinds of needs works, but were all kinds of need sounds fucking stupid, and is definitely improper English. Hell, if even the shitty barebones spell/grammar check I have calls it out, you know it’s obvious.

So that is where Chapter 4 ends. Vampires are dying–being murdered, by a hit squad–and their so-called ruler so doesn’t give a shit she doesn’t even bother pretending to give a shit! Again, yeah, yeah, she didn’t ask for this shit, but she’s got it! She’s got the power to change vampires from being “upright ticks” or “lampreys with legs” or whatever to a kinder, fluffier model, but UGH, that sounds like WORK! Who needs that kind of headache?! Nah, just keep on snacking on the innocent and occasionally indulging in a massacre or two; she will just stop them one at a time.

If she happens to stumble into them.

If they’re actively hurting someone at the time.

And even then, she will make the ATTACKER take care of the VICTIM, carry the victim to the hospital and pay their bill or whatever! Yeah, I sure can’t see that going wrong. I bet that angry, willful vampire who refused to recognize her status just ran off and did exactly what she said to do, rather than assuming she would probably forget after about 10 whole seconds (maybe 5!) and never, ever bother doing any hospital follow-up. I’m sure that big dude is juuuust fine, left alone with a vampire who already desired his blood, and now has both a grudge and a burn to heal. He’s fine, juuuust fine. Oh yeah. For sure. Fine.

You dumb fucking bitch. Why don’t you just share the kill next time, at least then you’d be doing something!

You dumb. Fucking. Bitch.

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