Darryl groaned and looked at us, then down at his side, then he groaned and his head went back again.
Last time, Pronounced Winston’s feverish douchebaggery has claimed its first victim, as his friend and only likable character so far, Darryl, was stabbed for associating with the biggest asshole in town. Well, we don’t know that, but we don’t know anything else about this completely random crime either. It is something of an example of conceptualizing “crime” as a faceless, pointless force of nature, or perhaps a social contagion.
Vanessa took off her jean jacket and then pulled off the cotton hoodie she was wearing underneath it. She wadded it up and pressed it to Darryl’s side. “Take his head,” she said to me. “Keep it elevated.” To Jolu she said, “Get his feet up — roll up your coat or something.” Jolu moved quickly. Vanessa’s mother is a nurse
and she’d had first aid training every summer at camp. She loved to watch people in movies get their first aid wrong and make fun of them. I was so glad to have her with us.
Yeah, it’s a good thing you brought a woman along in case some nurturing needs to get done. She may be Strong, but she also knows her place! I do believe I shall swoon.
Pronounced Winston takes out his phone and dials 911, but the line is obviously busy as hell. The Scooby Gang figure they’ll just walk over to the road and stop an ambulance or a cop car, because a) cops are their friends, and b) nobody could possibly need the help of paramedics more than them.
Credit where credit is due: Cory quickly demonstrates why this is a spectacularly bad idea under the circumstances.
It was a military-looking Jeep, like an armored Hummer, only it didn’t have any military insignia on it. The car skidded to a stop just in front of me, and I jumped back and lost my balance and ended up on the road. I felt the doors open near me, and then saw a confusion of booted feet moving close by. I looked up and saw a bunch of military-looking guys in coveralls, holding big, bulky rifles and wearing hooded gas masks with tinted face-plates.
I barely had time to register them before those rifles were pointed at me. I’d never looked down the barrel of a gun before, but everything you’ve heard about the experience is true. You freeze where you are, time stops, and your heart thunders in your ears. I opened my mouth, then shut it, then, very slowly, I held my hands up in front of me.
I did a little fistpump, not gonna lie. Maybe they’re the People’s Army, finally arriving to execute Marcus for his Internet posts about creeping sharia, the gold standard and how women never want to date nice guys like him.
The faceless, eyeless armed man above me kept his gun very level. I didn’t even breathe. Van was screaming something and Jolu was shouting and I looked at them for a second and that was when someone put a coarse sack over my head and cinched it tight around my windpipe, so quick and so fiercely I barely had time to gasp before it was locked on me. I was pushed roughly but dispassionately onto my stomach and something went twice around my wrists and then tightened up as well, feeling like baling wire and biting cruelly. I cried out and my own voice was muffled by the hood.
I’ve kind of stopped remarking on the quality of the writing now, because I’m trying not to focus too much on individual sentences, but it really did jump out at me here that Marcus is able to tell that he’s being brutalized “roughly but dispassionately”. You know how people who claim to give writing advice will tell you to get rid of all the adverbs? I don’t think that’s anywhere near a universal rule, but in this case, Doctorow, being a rank amateur, should have damn well listened.