Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 21

           An evening with Dr. Doom
                                            


Who could ever forget that night? I thought.

John and I were hanging out with Joey the Ant in his used car. At first, the car remained
in Joey’s parents’ driveway because he had to go into the house for something, but when
he came out, he said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to drive us around. After some convincing,
he agreed and drove us around Miller Field. On the little road of the private community,
that up until 1972, was a grassy airfield with its own airplane hangar. He then parked
the car by the fire control tower, and we walked along the shore of New Dorp Beach.

Joey was an unstable young man who I befriended in kindergarten. I gave him that
nickname in second grade because he never ate anything, and he only weighed about
forty pounds. Today, he's like four of me and three of John. No one cared much for
him in school, and I seemed to be the only person who accepted him for who he was.
An overactive, obnoxious louse of a kid whose sole purpose in life, it seemed, was to
rattle everyone's nerves. He would later go on to become my greatest adversary.


Back in those days, life was cherry pie, and the whole estate of my being pivoted
on a single glance in one direction. That was my motivation. My reason for being,
so to speak. A secret that could destroy my entire world but gave me something
far more than love. Oh, I would indeed find paradise. . . But at such a cost.


As it stands, John and I had just finished taking two hits each of green ‘double dome’
mescaline, and it was creeping up on me like a spider. From out of nowhere, Joey
began talking about going into the service, and I knew that sooner or later, it would
revert into another nonsensical topic.

“It's the only place to go,” he said, “where you can shoot people and get away with it.”

“Yeah” I said, “if you're unfortunate enough to go to war.

You should be thinking more about peace and less about war.”



“Fuck peace,” he said outright. “I wanna massacre entire villages.
There's nothing like waking up in the morning and blowing somebody's brains out.”

“What are you talking about?” said John. “You would be running with
your tail between your legs through the Mekong Delta faster than the
little gooks chasin' after you with the bamboo stick and the feather.”


As a playful argument turned into a heated debate, I was becoming more and more
uncomfortable with the present situation. The tension was slowly mounting until it
felt like I was sitting on a powder keg, and the temperature was beginning to rise.


Joey wore his traditional army fatigues and matching hat, yet for some
strange reason
that I could not define, the outfit did not match his
disposition. Neither did his mood do
anything but chastise.

This man, I thought, would be most suitable in traditional prison
garbs, for he best befits
the profile of an unglorified serial killer. I then started to think.
Joey is not in the army,
yet he looks as though he is going off to war. Would it be any
different if he donned a
postal service uniform and was not working for them? I was now
earnestly trying to
dispel the fact, that I was in a car with someone who was wearing a
Halloween
costume, only it was not Halloween, and people were beginning to stare.


                                                              Pg 102
---------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I then contemplated my thoughts and realized they were changing.

I knew it was the nature of the drug beginning to take effect, and so I immediately
disregarded it. We drove around the island for a while before heading back to
New Dorp, where we stopped off at Pizza Town in the square. I could recall being
there as a child. Back then, it was called Pizza Clown. How the animated head

above the restaurant appeared to be looking out over the eatery. Scanning the
town for someone, though I knew not who. Indeed, they were happier times.

It soon felt like I was at an empty carnival.
One that was deserted,
for it lacked the main essentials needed to keep it operable.


There was no circus music playing wildly to the sound of screaming kids.
No funhouse emanating with the smell of wood and grease.
No baseballs
hitting the canvas with fury or cotton candy.

                 Ooooh, we needed that cotton candy.




Joey pulled in before maneuvering his car in reverse
so we were facing the restaurant.


Lovely, I thought, now everyone can watch us sitting here as they come and
go about their way. I just wanted to crawl under the seat and die. Some jackass
decided to have a staring contest with me, and it soon felt as though I were under
a microscope. (A speck of dirt or a piece of lint, perhaps.) All things considered, I
was
definitely not feeling myself, but rather, someone entirely different. With the onset
of the drug arriving like a fancy spaceship and my heart slowly returning to normal
from an incident at the A&P, the evening was about to become interesting.


Joey was babbling about the alien movie, and so I paid him no heed, for in my mind,
I was barely within earshot of this maniac. Even though he was sitting right next to me,
he was in a totally different sector than I was, and I wanted to keep it that way. Joey was
reveling in the gore when the monster came out of the chest, and why oh why couldn't
he be in that ship to kill it? If only he had been born with no mouth, I pondered silently.




Joey asked us if we wanted beer, and we said yes.
He asked us if we wanted to buy it, and we said no.

He then asked us a series of questions that were so ridiculously foolish
they had no relevance being asked at all. Questions that were dispelled as
complete nonsense.
When he finally realized that we were in no way going
to play his game, he looked at me as a father would have upon finding
out
that his very son had just been caught taking a shit on the teacher's desk.




He then turned and mumbled to himself, and it seemed as if he was
complaining to the steering wheel, which had nothing to say to him either.

“If you're going to eat,” I said, in a harsh tone,
“then go in and eat. There's nothing stopping you.”

I suppose he was indecisive about what he was going to do because he
just sat there grumbling. Rolling his eyes around with an expression of

loathsomeness that could not begin to match the grief we would endure.


                                                              Pg 103
---------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------

When he made the statement that he just wanted to sit there and watch the restaurant
for the remainder of the evening, John made a loud gasping sound in the back seat,
and I screamed aloud. I lost my cool with him, and that outburst made me feel as
though I had done something reprehensible. A monster took hold of me and was
now manipulating my emotions. To be perfectly honest, I didn't think it would go
away, now that it had me. I wasn't sure it wanted to, but gradually it subsided.

Joey then said he was thirsty and wanted some beer.
He also said, since we didn't
have money, we wouldn't be getting any.

As he put it, “Ya's got
no money, and I don't wanna be dry.”
“Joey,” I felt like saying, “you couldn't dry out
if you were stuck
in the middle of Death Valley for two months, you big lummox.”


For starters, he wanted a souvlaki, but a black fellow walked in, so now he can't eat there
because the food is contaminated. “Dat fuckin' nigger just went in, and now I can't eat
there.” Then he wanted to beat up a kid coming out of McDonald's and take what was
in his food bag. The kid was maybe eleven. Then he says, he'll treat us to a nice Italian
restaurant cause he's got so much money, but when we get to the restaurant, he says,
“I just remembered, I forgot to make a car payment, so now I can't feed ya's.” Even though
Joey received the car as a gift, he still claimed he had to pay back a percentage monthly.
I later found out from his father that this was not true. Joey was responsible for nothing.

You have to forgive him, Charlie.
He talks a-lot-a nonsense, so we just let him talk.


Congratulations, I thought to myself, you've been screwed by this blockhead again.

And there we sat
like three retards, staring at the entrance of a crowded pizzeria
with our thumbs up our asses, when out of the blue that fucking song comes on. . .



Don't know why I came here tonight.
I got a feeling that something ain't right.
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.


(Who could have known how popular this song would become many
years later, thanks to a man by the name of Quentin Tarantino?)




To sum it up briefly, I had nothing against the song whatsoever.

It was just a classic case
of bad timing, for that song somehow
seemed to pinpoint my whole emotional state
in its lyrics.

Then fatso went and broadcast it to everyone in the parking lot.

I thought
my brain would unwind from all the
unwelcome attention we were now receiving.


As cars pulled in, their headlights began shining on us like high-powered
spotlights,
and I couldn't shake the feeling that it was being done intentionally.

I was so disgusted
with the whole chain of events leading up to this evening,
that I just wanted to go home
and drown myself.

Then John says to me in a state of heightened awareness,
“This is a
great night, ain't it?

To me, it sounded like the most sarcastic comment ever
made by
man since the world first started spinning.

            
  Stealers Wheel - Stuck in the middle (with you)

                                                              Pg 104
---------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Before I even left the house, Joey was outside beeping the horn like a getaway driver
in a foiled bank heist. Then to make matters worse, my father takes it out on me.

“If that imbecile beeps that car horn one more time, as Christ is my witness, I'm
gonna throw a jar of acid in his face. Because I told him last night, and I told him
last week that he's not in Brooklyn anymore. You get out of the car, and you ring
the doorbell like a human being. Or better yet, be ready, which you never are.”

“Okay, I'll tell him again.”
Beeeep!

“You know, I'm really beginning to think there's
something wrong with that guy.”

“He's got a problem.”

“He's gonna have an even
bigger problem when I pull him out of the car
and lay a nice beating on him. Then
maybe he'll learn to not be an asshole.
I mean enough already. . .”

Beeeeeeeeeep, Beep-beep beep-beep!

“And there it is!”

Even before I saw him, I was aggravated.


As I pulled open the passenger side door, I calmly escorted myself in and sat down.
In a very casual tone, I spoke. “If you ever come to my house like that again, I'm
gonna sneak up on you with a 4 iron, and I'm gonna put it through your
back
windshield. Then I'm going to disown you and never speak to you again.”

“Don't think you're scaring me. I have lots-a-friends I can hang out with.”

“Name one friend who can put up with you for more than five minutes.
Just give me one name - One friend. What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Excuse me?”

“I asked you a question, what's wrong with you?
Beeping the
horn like you're in a motorcade, chaperoning the president.”


“Ah, gimme a break with that.”

“Listen, Joe, I'm telling you for the last time, park the
car, get out,
and ring the doorbell, because I don't want to hear this shit anymore.”


Joey was griping as he lit a big cigar. I didn't catch the name of the brand
because
he always removed the label, but looking at that dark Maduro wrapper
and judging
by its smell, I would have to say it was probably a Montecristo.

“I guess we're getting the other guy,” said Joey like a gangster of the nineteen-forties.
Then off we went to Eltingville to fetch Johnny.

Upon arriving at John's house, Joey tells me to go get him.


“What do you mean, go get him? Did you forget how to beep the fucking horn?”

Joey throws me a nervous sideways glance like an organized crime figure who was
just informed that Nicky the Nose had been popped outside of Vincenzo's barber shop.

“Hoo-hoo and you say I'm fucked up?”


Joey beeped twice, and John came running out.

“You still got ‘em?”

“Yeah, I got ‘em,” said John, almost knowing I would ask.

Then we just drove around.

Two hours ago, before the ingestion of the mescaline could take
effect, and before Joey had any real idea
he was going to traumatize
us to such a degree, it would send us both into a state of shock.

We were just cruising around on the north side of town, gazing about
and enjoying the night,
when we spotted an abandoned A&P.

I'm surprised it's still here, said John, wanna take a
look?

Why not, said Joey, speaking out of the corner of his mouth as always,
and so, he
pulled in. “Do you wanna see something really cool?

Sure, I say, not knowing what to expect.


First, he guns the car in drive, while holding his foot on the brake to make it look like
we were on fire. Then he says, “Watch this, as he kicks it into gear. My neck snapped
back and it felt like I was in a plane taxiing down a runway. I would never have
stayed in the car, had I known he was aiming for something. My life flashed before
my eyes as we hit the side of a shopping cart doing about ninety-five miles per hour.

I can still see it flying through the air in slow motion after my heart had stopped.




Me and John were screaming like bitches as the wagon teed off the old Buicks fender from
the yellow-lined parking space. It flipped, banged, and then boomed into the building before
breaking apart, and I wanted nothing more at that point than to see him go to jail for life.

Aside from what could have been an immediate decapitation, I was still feeling the residual
effect of the heart
attack an hour later. John screamed frantically at the despicable misanthrope
as if they
were about to go a full fifteen rounds in the ring together, while I, however, could do
nothing but sit there, paralyzed and trembling with rage. 


Joey said he didn't like the car his father had picked out for him and just wanted to see
how
tough it was. If that wasn't enough, he had the audacity to say, I think it passed.


This cretin, who in appearance looked like he had just rolled out of a vomitorium,
did not have even the slightest clue of how close he came to killing us all. If only
his doting father had pulled out before he blew that tremendous load,
the world
as we know it would certainly be a better place today.




So now, here we are, sitting in the crowded parking lot with a crushed fender and a
missing headlight. After complaining to us about conspiracies, the Watergate scandal,
and the Kennedy assassination, he doesn't want to drink the beer in the pizzeria.
Instead, he wants to bring it back to the car and drink it in front of us.


                                                              Pg 105
---------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Now bear in mind the only beer served here was on tap, so if you were able to read
as you entered the establishment, you would see a white cardboard sign which read
in black letters - in bold print, NO BEER IS TO LEAVE THIS RESTAURANT
FOR ANY REASON AT ANY TIME! THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS!!!

It was really coming on strong at this point.

“Look, I said, don't be crazy. Have a seat inside the restaurant,
drink some beer, and
order a pizza.”

John then began pleading with him as if his whole being depended on it,
for he was slowly succumbing to the malaise of the drug.

“Listen to me,” said John
firmly, “you cannot go into an establishment
and leave with a pitcher of beer.”

When
John began to laugh heavily and could not stop, Joey turned
toward him, giving him a
look, that implied he had supreme intelligence
over everyone.  I, however, interpreted
the glance as being an underhanded
low blow. As if he had fished into his sleeve to
unveil the winning hand.

No, that shallow smirk did not impress me in the least.


Struggling to remove his oversized carcass from the vehicle, I stretch and yawn
loudly like an inebriated patron about to collapse. Finally, Joey exits the Buick
while slamming the door like it was a battering ram he was using to get into the
house of a drug lord. (Such hostility) Joey then bellowed, immersed in disdain...

“I always get what I want! Ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaaa!!!”

He turns the car off and
proceeds to march toward the restaurant as though
he were a German soldier at
a secret meeting reporting to der Führer.

And if you looked closely, you could almost
see the swastikas in his eyes,
glowing like two burning flags in the darkness.




Turning around, I asked John how he was feeling in the back there, and he replied in a
tone
of total disillusionment, “I don't know.” He then began to laugh and told me that
it felt like we had
just got hit by an Impala. As I continued to dwell on that statement,
I became confused. Did
he mean the car or the animal? “Maybe you should ask him,”
said the voice in my head. “
No,” I thought, “then it would no longer be a mystery.


John was laughing hysterically and trying in vain to compose himself. With eyes protruding
from their sockets like an enlarged bullfrog, his face turned an even brighter shade of red.
It wasn't long
after this that he began to frolic in the car. No longer was he this sane, lucid
fellow
but a man attempting to replicate madness. He used his fingers to walk around the
inside of the vehicle, and if anyone had seen him, they would have sworn he was insane.

He then covered his face and giggled while playing with his own emotions
in a dangerous kind of way. Initially, he would look out the windshield and
point to things that weren't there. Then he stared blankly into space before
talking to people who did not exist. He topped it off by answering his own
questions in a heteromorphic voice that did not in any way sound human.

Little does he know what dragon he plays with.
What joy besets the fortuitous man before woe.



Suddenly, John grew impatient as the minutes flew by,
and his excitement was replaced by the need to annoy me.


“What's takin' this guy?”
“I wanna get outta here!”
“Ya think he left, is he comin' back?”
“You wanna go?”


                                                              Pg 106
---------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------

After all this agitation and bouncing around in the car, he abruptly stopped and held his
head in his two hands for fear that it might somehow fall off. Little could he have known
in his oblique state of mind what would be returning to the car. As the grim figure
leisurely descended upon our vehicle, John screamed out and began kicking the back
of my seat uncontrollably, for he noticed in his hand what he was carrying. This thing
can best be described as
an object which appeared to resemble an oversized Chinese

food container with a metal handle and all. Indeed, it was a strange contraption
neither of us had ever seen before. John now had tears coming out of his
eyes as
he said, “Here comes Mussolini of the Ming Dynasty marching out of China!”




I laughed as though I had never laughed before, and it was sweet. As John was struggling
to
catch his breath, I saw Joey quickly putting on a mask. Oh no, I said to myself behind
a
smirk while reveling in the thought of seeing John react to what was about to happen.


Joey quickly popped his head into the car where John was sitting. His enormous body
hunched onto the car like an obese boogie man. Of course, John had no idea Joey was
there, for he had still not taken a breath of air yet, and his eyes had become streams
of water. As John made the mistake of turning to his right, he sees the monster with
its eyes jutting out six inches and immediately throws himself to the other side of the
automobile. The expression of horror etched upon John’s face was to such a degree
it appeared as though his very soul had just been extracted from his body. The way his
face looked, with his mouth opened further than any human could ever open it,
not
even I could begin to describe.

I laughed harder than I did before, and it felt wonderful.


Poor John, I thought.
Finally, he was able to take a nice lung full of air.

As he did this, Joey
spoke in a placid tone that was rather odd because he never did
anything calmly.
Still, no
matter how quiet or reserved he spoke there was always
an underlying tone of madness
in those well-structured verses of his. How subtle
were these words he used in just
the right order... How perfect were they, indeed.

I always - get - what I want.

He then yelled out in an apocalyptic voice
that frightened young girls in the parking lot.


“Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Haaaaaaaa!”

His voice echoed strangely around in my head
and only then did I realize that this sinister being
on a totem of swaying folly was clearly an imposter.

His comics and his comic book collection had taken over his universe,
and he was no longer the Joey we knew but an agent of Doctor Doom.




Today, Joey has a beautiful wife, whom he regularly abuses
with the tip
of his cigarette, because she smiles too much.

What happened?


                     The Traits - Nobody loves the hulk


Needless to say, the following morning I would write a song so depressing
that I made a vow to myself never to let anyone to hear it…
That is until now; the moment of its dark unveiling.


Mankind is the reason why
we’re gonna die before we’re thirty-five.
Something must be done.
Society’s overrun.

Your caught up in a diseased dinner.
Breathe the heat from a city street.
An organism takes a single minute
to a fallen rabbit on an eastbound freeway.

Now something must be done.
Everything’s come undone.
No more having fun.
A world of dying love.

Chemical waste fills our waterways
on a typical day where your children play.
The fish are floating on the toxic tide
and the new bird of the future soars in the sky.

As we all get sicker,
soon the sea will get thicker.
The air will turn black,
fall or crack. . .

An organism takes a single minute
to a fallen rabbit on an eastbound freeway.
                                                              Pg 107
---------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------
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Reviews for chapter 21

Mitchell Weller - I heard about this book! It is not really a book at all but endless jottings.
This is actually Hunter S Thompson's first attempt at writing.
It is an account of his first experiments!

Charles Pendelton - Sorry to deflate the bubble, but they are not.
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                                                          This review was posted on Oct/21/22

                                              Lameez' review



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                                      This review was posted on Nov/19/22


                                   nehanegi1905 's review
           
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 21 -
An evening with Dr. Doom

                                    Reader's Report by nehanegi1905

                                               


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                                       This review was posted on Nov/30/22

                                               iqrabashir871 's review
           
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 21 - An evening with Dr. Doom

                                              Reader's Report by Iqra


  
                  

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                                          This review was posted on Dec/3/22

                                                          alits29's review

Me and John were hanging out with Joey the Ant in his used car. At first the car remained
in Joey’s parents’ driveway because he had to go into the house for something, but when
came out, he said he wasn’t sure if he wanted to drive us around. After some convincing,




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                                       This review was posted on Dec/16/22

                                                   Hajranoor's review

The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 21 - An evening with Dr. Doom


                                            Reader's Report by Hajra







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                                       This review was posted on Jan/10/23
                                
                                               kanchanninawe's review

The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 21 - An evening with Dr. Doom



                                          Reader's Report by kanchan

C

P


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                                                          This review was posted on Mar/11/23


                                                                   Reviewed by yashodha_95

FR



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                                      This review was posted on Mar30/23


                                                   Tayyaba17's review

The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 21 - An Evening with Dr. Doom

                                           Reader's Report by Tayyaba

JDS


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                                                          This review was posted on Apr/7/23



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                                                          This review was posted on Apr/22/23
                                                                    Reviewed by aamnaaaa

AA

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                                                                 This review was posted on May/29/23
                                                                      Reviewed by andreamircheska

am


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                                                         This review was posted on Jun/4/23
                                                                      Reviewed by pazkou

pz

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                                             This review was posted on Jun/6/23


                                 sidrahumar120's review


      The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 21 - An Evening With Dr. Doom


                                                 Reader's Report by Sidrah
su


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                                                           This review was posted on Jun/11/23
                                                                      Reviewed by tawhida

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                                                             Reviewed by labia_1903

lb

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                                                                      Reviewed by suma303755

sm

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                                                                This review was posted on Jul/17/23
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                                                                     Reviewed by sarah1409

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                                                             This review was posted on Aug/11/23 (Evening)
                                                                                   Reviewed by rupalrao

RR



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                                                           This review was posted on Aug/17/23
                                                                 Reviewed by nirjana and jakir

NJ

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                                     My friend Nirjana in Bangladesh



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                                       Nirjana and Jakir in Bangladesh


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                                              This review was posted on Sep/2/23
                                                Reviewed by qeilisha

QL



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                                                             This review was posted on Sep/6/23
                                                      Reviewed by sampriktaada813

SP


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                                        Saleha Zainab - Oct 2 - Chapter 21

Chapter 21 serves as a pivotal juncture within the novel, bearing significant implications for both the
narrative and the author's personal journey. Commencing with an engaging interaction among friends,
namely the narrator, John, and the introduction of a new character, Joey, it marks the turning point
wherein the rising actions intricately navigate towards the story's climactic zenith. Notably, an air of
profound foreboding permeates this chapter, casting an ominous shadow over Joey's impending actions
and their profound repercussions on the author's life.  Furthermore, this chapter meticulously delineates
the intricacies of Joey's character, affording readers a detailed insight into his multifaceted persona.

In the exploration of Joey's character, a stark duality emerges. As an adult, Joey presents a formidable
physical presence, often evoking the perception of being akin to the strength of four individuals. However,
his origins reveal a contrasting portrait, for in his youth, he lacked the physical prowess that would later
define him. A recurring theme throughout the narrative is Joey's proclivity for bullying, a trait that isolates
him from forming bonds with anyone other than the protagonist, Charles. The precise motivation behind
Charles's pursuit of friendship with this apparent antagonist remains undisclosed at this juncture, leaving
readers with an intriguing mystery.

One of the key influencers in Joey's life is his father, who lavishes upon him an excessive degree of pampering
and indulgence. This overly permissive upbringing is posited as a principal catalyst for the oppressive persona
Joey exhibits in adulthood. Remarkably, even though Charles is the sole individual who extends friendship to
Joey, it becomes evident that Joey does not hold this friendship in high regard. His disposition is marked by a
penchant for destruction, mirroring his fascination with Marvel comics, wherein he identifies with characters
such as Dr. Doom. These comics not only serve as a source of inspiration but also as a window into Joey's
perception of himself, aligning with his overarching mindset of disruption and chaos. In essence, Joey emerges
as an exceptionally spoiled individual, endowed with a robust physical stature but devoid of the responsibilities
that typically accompany adulthood.

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                                                              This review was posted on Oct/6/23
                                                                    Reviewed by nusratjahan603

NR

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                                              This review was posted on Oct/24/23
                                            Reviewed by ritikagoyal587
RG


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                                                           This review was posted on Feb/14/24
                                                             Reviewed by mariya

MR



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                                                       This review was posted on Mar/12/24
                                                              Reviewed by sababaloch292

SB



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                                                          This review was posted on Mar/28/24
                                                                        Reviewed by adeeba

AD


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                                                          This review was posted on Jul/2/24
                                                                       Reviewed by poesiha

PE


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PG 102) Buy war stamps and bonds - (WWII poster) - http://tinyurl.com/k4swat5

PG 103)
The new normal by Dennis Larkins - http://tinyurl.com/otl49cd

PG 103)
Dunce 2 by Chet Zar -
http://www.chetzar.com/

PG 104) Reservoir Dogs 
- (original theatrical poster) - http://www.movieposter.com/

PG 105) Car crash
!

PG 105)
Thrills!

PG 106) Raining Swastikas
by Boris Artzybasheff - http://tinyurl.com/qv337

PG 107) Skull Dragon
by Daniel Ranger - http://tinyurl.com/oqnhao4

PG 107) Spirits of the opium dragon
by R. S. Connett -
http://www.grotesque.com/

PG 107) The Fantastic Four #5
created by Marvel Comics -
http://marvel.com/comics