58 thoughts on “Chapter 5: Lit, page 120.”

    1. Oh boy… Ben has no chance. She is going to proposition him, he will lock up in shock, and she will just bundle him off to god knows where before he can fish that little whistle out from around his neck.

  1. Is Patti’s port wine marking part of her civilian disguise (as opposed to her “family” attire with the wig)? Did she wipe it off in the last page when she had the wig/cap over her face, or is it just missing on this page?

    Oh man, Spike. There is so much going on in the comic! I’ll have to go back through the archives soon to keep track of it all. Keep up the great work! :D

          1. Urban Dictionary is hardly the place to look up anything non-retarded. I’ve seen the spellings anyhoo, anyhow, anywho and of course the original anyway. (They all mean the same thing, “anywho” isn’t about a person.)

      1. It’d be great to see Reagan meet either Patti or Bill. Remember how she gushed over Ben when she learned that he had met Cook Family?

        My response to the last panel is, “look out, Ben!!!”

      2. I have the feeling they already know each other… Seriously, the hair, the skin, the height, the facial expressions and larger than life body language—I wouldn’t be surprised if they are related. It will be interested when/if we see them together.

  2. Holy shit I just figured out what Templar reminds me of. It’s “Dhalgren”.

    In a simultaneous double holy-shit, I just realized I like Templar slightly more. And Dhalgren is my favorite book. So now my perception of reality has been completely thrown askew.

    Side note: Spike or anyone who has not read Dhalgren, check it out. It’s very similar to Templar. And very good.

    1. lucky me I’m sitting at a library computer in a library *checks catalouge* and they have that book and now I’ma go and read it.

    1. It would appear that way! I had a very hearty laugh at “God damn it woman, what is the MATTER with you?” for just that reason…Bill, it appears, is a bit slow on the uptake.

      1. Hey now! That’s not that uncommon among men! And it’s nothing Bill needs to even hear mentioned now that they have a little pill to help with that sort of thing.

      1. Both are female members of political movements who are basically in love with the movement’s leader and pushing them along. I cannot help but think this was deliberate.

        1. …No. Patti is hot for asian midget, the old man is just an interactive dildo where she’s concerned. Godswill isn’t hot for anyone, she’s just passionate about telling people who step out of line to shut up in the most legally aggressive manner possible. Numbers is the Reclamation fangirl.

  3. Stain or no, I just love the heck outta Patti. I wish all women would be as straightforward and right-to-the-point as she is.

  4. And also, I get the feeling Bill is also trying to step away from teh crazy. Not just getting out of the business, but away from his relationship with Patti. Dude didn’t probably realize what she was like until after getting with her a couple times. Whoops!

  5. I don’t understand what makes Patty “crazy,” in Templar terms at least.

    I also don’t know why I expect better from Templar commenters.

      1. How does a blatantly raging broken men fetish make someone “crazy”? Especially in the world of Templar, AZ where on the scale of 1 to lunatic to me it seems like maybe a 1.18. It’s almost a survival mechanism.

        1. I think what makes us think that Pati is “crazy” isn’t so much the context of what she’s saying but more the reaction she’s gotten from her close friends. They don’t think it’s normal, and they’re Templarians. Of course one of them finds it amusing, but I would too if I were in his position.

    1. I think the main disconcerting thing to people is the contrast between how we THOUGHT she was, and how she’s acting now. She seemed overwhelmingly shy back in the copybook store, and now she seems the exact opposite of shy. In both situations, we thought she was talking to a close friend, so the extreme change in mannerism sets off a “crazy” flag in our head.

      Of course, this is mostly because we’re not used to seeing realistically complicated people in fiction. People have lots of different internal forces that might make them act different ways in different situations. Most people DO act very differently depending on which group of friends they’re around. Fiction usually simplifies this down somewhat, as a shortcut to recognizing characters and their personalities.

    2. Hypatia’s romantic ideas aside, I tend to classify anyone who gets off on dumping firebombs on crowds as “dangerously insane”.

    3. 1. She’s part of the Cook “family”
      2. She seems to have two different personalities (or it’s just because she’s hiding she’s part of the Cooks).
      3. She’s way too gleeful about being one of the Cooks (she throws fire bombs into crowds)
      4. She randomly propositions a married guy with kids for sex (not crazy in itself, but put together with everything else…)
      5. She’s hyper-obsessed with damaged artists—as another person said another Templar resident thinks she’s screwed up bc of this.
      6. She totally has crazy, stalker eyes, and is a little too…I’m not sure what the word is… Colorful? with her body language. Normally being around someone like that would be fun (which was why a lot of people loved her at first—even after she acted stalkerish around Ben), but in the context it’s really creepy.

      She strikes me as having some kind of personality disorder, and being really off-balance. Maybe Ben will share some of his pills with her. :)

    4. YES. Thank you 2X.

      1X) Apparently Patti is “crazy” b/c she’s vastly more than some stock character ripped straight out of _Friends_ and superficially restyled for TAZ, As If all that a Nice, Sane girl *should* aspire to in a DYSTOPIAN ALTERNATE HISTORY (which of these words are readers failing to understand?) is to passively bat her eyelashes in hopes of being swept away by some squarejawed cliche of a sexually-accessible Daddy-figure to traditionally provide her with babies, material security, and obligatory flattery. Apparently being capable enough to hold her own on Days Out with the Cooks, grown up enough to make the distinction between recreational (/therapeutic?) sex and capital-R Relationships, and merely *competent* enough as a Cook conspirator to let her genuine fangirling boil over a bit so as to prudently convey a distinctly un-Cookish persona all make her some kind of desperate, deranged schizophrenic? By whose standards, a prayer meeting full of Hobbits?

      She does not have a “blatantly raging broken men fetish”: Bill Cook is not broken, he’s just tired and embarrassed as a recent development, but her near-insubordinate familiarity with him implies that he’s been confident and pleased enough with their efforts in the past to accept her congratulatory attentions many more than a few times. He’s not trying to “escape teh crazy”, it’s just that suddenly her youth makes him feel old, her energy makes him more tired.

      Ben is not “broken” either: He’s certainly “distressed” enough to qualify as one of Patti’s thesis subjects, but not as a matter of public knowledge. He is successfully medicated AND methodically pushing his own limitations beyond that. And for those readers who seem to have done little more than looked at the pictures in the archive, NOBODY LOCAL KNOWS BEN HAS A SHRINK AND A PRESCRIPTION: His pills and the real reason he ran away from home are (as far as we’ve seen) his most desperately-guarded secret. To Templar he’s just a naive, socially-and-vertically-challenged dork…

      …Which happens to appeal to Patti as per her Preference for, y’know, boys who need some help. By definition if it were a Fetish she would be incapable of being attracted to any other type, and it would very likely interfere with her other pressing, full-time responsibilities, like successfully maintaining a bookish fangirl/urban saboteur ninjette double life. If Patti were _truly_ the quivering, incapacitated wreck she played in the copy shop that sort of compulsive spazziness would almost certainly have popped at the Wrong Time and gotten all the Cooks arrested long ago, not to mention she never would have had any Fetish-motivated interest in tapping Bill back when he still loved his hobby. Instead she has obviously recognized and scrutinized her particular appetite enough to write a paper around it and likely feels that the extensive work of preparing/executing demonstration derailments earns her the right to indulge it somewhat judiciously, particularly when that provides such convincing cover.

      Crazy? Bullshit: SHE’S CRAFTY. Exactly like the Beastie Boys song. And possessed of “loins… set ablaze by Ben’s birdlike stature” indeed! Were it remotely up to me, this I would joyously endorse as Canon. Why y’all gotta hate? Let a girl Get Some.

      1. Well, generally speaking kicking a flaming liquid gas container off of a roof on a group of peaceful protestors isn’t all that normal. Whether you call it well-ordered insanity or being slightly off her rocker, is your choice, but I bet if she had to go to trial for attempted manslaughter, insanity plea as per having been brainwashed would certainly be on the table.
        (Not to mention that you have to be a little crazy to live in Templar.. .)

        1. I beg to differ with your estimate of “normal”. Equivalent gestures, and much worse, are made IRL every day by otherwise sane, rational, (even well-meaning) but currently desperate people, and the breakdown of pointlessly belligerent vs. justifiably vengeful motivations is much closer to 50/50 than most 1st-World consumers would ever willingly acknowledge: The most convenient thing to do is Not investigate their situations and summarily brand them as monsters in comfortably ignorant bliss. This is not to say that the Cooks are currently desperate or that they haven’t perhaps lost sight of their original mission, just that they (I reiterate) Have.Their.Reasons of which readers CANNOT be aware at this point in exposition.

          Being a work of fiction, TAZ requires an inevitable suspension of disbelief. Being set in an “alternate history” of which readers know ZERO local/regional specifics requires, no less inevitably (but redundantly, IMO), a philosophically-adult suspension of judgement as well. In consideration of the incredible depth of characterization and detail of environment we’re being treated to here, I don’t think either is unreasonable to ask for.

          Calling Patti crazy for making unconventional choices betrays assumptions of the most tedious of passive, petty, helpless female stereotypes. Calling her evil simply for being with the Cooks presumes insights into TAZ history which likely do not yet exist outside the author’s head. If this entire story and set of characters were *remotely* as obvious, simplistic, and cut-and-dried as so many commenters insist on implying I would have deleted the link months ago, much less ever bothered debating interpretations…

          1. Agreeing that there’s too much “real-world” projection in comments, and not enough appreciation of the possibilities of the alt-history world.

            A quick question though (related to your earlier post) –Is this society really all that dystopic? I mean, it contains a fair amount of “there but for the grace,” but so does any decent spec-fic; and it doesn’t seem much different than reality, just a bit sharpened. Kinda like an indie film version of the world, only with better costumes and more focused subcultures, or a really good speculative novel.

            I guess I just don’t see the “wrongness” that a dystopia needs at its base. It could be, however, that I’m still to enamoured of Spike’s creation to see it…

    5. YES.

      Compared to many of the people I’ve known during my life, Patti hardly reaches ‘quirky’. Someone mentioned her penchant for ‘broken men’, as if someone liking partners they can fix is a new concept.

      Another false standard brought up is her attitude toward casual sex. Her close friend is obviously upset and – this is important – feeling OLD. When you’re feeling old, what’s the easiest way to feel young again?

      I’m kinda disappointed by many of the comments I’ve been reading lately. I never expected to see – on the TAZ site – such puritanical sexual mores or harsh judgment because a character wasn’t looking for a Stepford husband.

  6. can someone summarize for me what the cooks have against the rec? bill here seems so practical and down to earth, i don’t really understand his beef with some community organizers who put homeless people in safe, sustainably built homes. yeah, they’re a bunch of idealistic, socialist lawyers, but still.. i thought anarchists would be more interested in bringing down THE MAN. like the city government or something.

    also, SPIKE YOU’RE POSTING SO FAST I MISSED A PAGE??? i just bought the books, this story is my favorite of all stories currently being written on the earth. thanks for sharing with us.

    1. The Cooks don’t have a problem with the Rec specifically. Their whole gig is “we attack organized demonstrations”. Their goal seems to be to turn any gathering of citizens holding signs into a chaotic inferno. They’ll attack any group from the Rec to fascists to anarchists, as long as they’re grouped in the streets making a political point.

      So far, there doesn’t really seem to be a “why”. It’s just their thing. Since they don’t spare [i]any[/i] group, not even anarchists, it’s hard to see how they could have any specific political agenda.

      Maybe a demonstrator killed Great Grandpa Cook’s dog.

  7. oho, they’re not anarchists then. that makes so much more sense, thanks. i assumed patti got into the reclamation repellent biz because she had a bone to pick, but maybe it’s just for the money. or maybe both.

    1. Mose would definitely be the ultimate test to see if she could Get With an obviously happy, confident guy…

      I say she should just go see Reagan at work, introduce herself simply as another fan of Ben’s writing, and ask for the Cock of Science: Instant BFFs.

  8. Okay, so; for several pages now Hypatia has been reminding me of “Questionable Content’s” Marigold.
    But this–! This page clinches it for me.
    ‘Tis a good thing. (big goofy happy)

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