Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Babysitter II

Book Description:

Jenny's last baby-sitting job nearly killed her-for real. But she's a survivor. She's getting over it. The crazy guy who was after her is gone. She's even got a new baby-sitting job. Then the phone rings. When she answers, she hears a familiar voice. A voice from the past...from the grave...Hi, Babes, I'm back.

My Description:

I just have to ask: why the hell does this book exist? Why are there FOUR of the Babysitter books? The killer got his head smashed open after falling off a cliff in the first book and I should think after all the shit he put Jenny through, she would never want to babysit again. Yet here we are. AGAIN. *sigh* Let's just get it over with...

We begin this useless tale of woe with Jenny recapping every event of the first book to her therapist Dr. Schindler whom Jenny finds extremely attractive. "Dr. Schindler doesn't really look like a shrink, Jenny thought, turning her gaze on him. For one thing, he is too handsome." Apparently it's a prerequisite for "shrinks" to be as ugly as homemade sin. Schindler is a curious fluke of some sort. Anyway, Jenny has been a complete wreck since Mr. Hagen (the psychopath who had been avenging his daughter's death by killing babysitters and who nearly killed Jenny by attempting to shove her over a cliff except she got out of the way just in time to watch him plunge over the cliff instead, spilling his demented brains all over the rocks.) died. She blames herself for his death and has been having nightmares in which a dirty, bloody, zombified Mr. Hagen comes back to kill her. OoOoOo! Dr. Schindler's response is to stop the session there and save her kooky dreams for next time. I hope she's not paying this guy much. Seriously, she could've gotten the same response from the wino on the corner for much less money. Before she leaves, she asks him if she should take a babysitting job she was recently offered by the Wexners for their son Eli. She actually mentioned this to Schindler at the beginning of the session, but the dumbass forgot about it which pisses Jenny off. She says it would only be a few nights a week and she really needs the money, but she's scared. Schindler tells her she has to move forward. Then he stares at the clock as if willing time to go faster so he can get the hell out of dodge. I think I hate this man.

On the way out of the office, Jenny stops by the receptionist's desk (her name is Miss Gurney. Yes, GURNEY.) to make another appointment since this one was such a success. Once outside, Jenny realizes its gotten dark. In a painfully predictable scene, she hears someone following her, starts running, and is stopped five seconds later by her "stalker" who turns out to be stupid Chuck. No introductions needed because I'm pretty sure we all remember this fool from the first book. It's now pouring rain, but Chucky Ducky wants to talk and make his stupid jokes. And just for fun: "He was wearing a faded Bart Simpson T-shirt over jean cutoffs. His white Nikes were mud stained and soaked." Sexy. The only thing that occurs more often than dead animals and dry kisses in these books are jean cutoffs. I once saw the cover of a romance novel that had a really sweaty, greasy looking dude sitting on a horse and all this guy was wearing was a pair of badly cut jean cutoffs and a red bandanna tied around his dainty neck. So everytime I see the words "jean cutoffs" all I can think of is that damned filthy Tonto. Now where the hell were we? Oh yeah, anyway, Jenny acts like a total bitch to Chuck, but he doesn't seem to get the message and keeps yapping away. Eventually Jenny walks away, Chuck follows her, and they have a little fight because Jenny has changed a lot since she was almost slaughtered and Chuck doesn't like it. Cry me a river, douchebag. Finally Jenny's bus comes and she leaves.

We now arrive at the pivotal moment: Jenny's arrival at the Wexner's home to babysit 10 year old Eli. I really don't understand why she didn't bother finding work elsewhere. She's not being forced to babysit; she acts like it's her calling or something. There are other jobs in this world! Anyway, Jenny follows Mr. Wexner around the house as he talks about Eli and such. She's relieved to see the house is cozy and nice, not at all like the Hagens' house which looked like something the Munsters would have lived in.

I actually really dig that house. I always wanted to be a part of the family...yes, I have a few problems in the brain frame. Anyway, Mr. Wexner says that Eli isn't like other 10 year olds and Jenny wonders just what he means by that. Of course he wanders off without explaining. A few moments later, Mrs. Wexner comes in and blabs about Eli being very emotional and so smart. HOW emotional? Will he cut off Jenny's ear if his Chef Boyardee isn't hot enough? Or does he just cry over Hallmark commercials? It might be a nice gesture to explain these things, you degenerates. After the parents leave, Jenny goes upstairs to see Eli. He's in his room typing at a computer that he himself built. Jenny says hi a couple of times before Eli finally decides to turn and say hello. See, Eli is a genius and thinks everyone else is below him. Bow down to the giant brain! Although it's hard to take someone who's wearing a "Turtle Power" T-shirt and tight spandex shorts very seriously. I know, I know--he's only 10. But he's got brains beyond his years so I don't feel TOO terrible about making fun of him. Plus, he doesn't exist. So there. Eli tells Jenny a little about himself: "I don't need a babysitter. I built this computer. From a kit. But I modified it. I put in a graphics card and extra memory. I really don't need a babysitter. You could go home right now and I'd be perfectly fine. I'm a mechanical genius, you see. At least that's what the testing people said. I took all these tests at this place downtown and they said I was a mechanical genius. Know what my IQ is? It's over 180. That's really high. And it'll probably go higher when I get older and know how to take tests better." 1) I find this hilarious for some reason. 2) What a little jerk! Jenny has an urge to lecture the kid about modesty, but before she can, he asks what her IQ is. She says she's never been tested to find out and Eli says "Why? Because you're too dumb?" and then laughs like a hyena. Then he shows Jenny a phone he made himself because his parents wouldn't buy him one for fear of spoiling him. *sigh* He says he doesn't have too many friends (that's surprising) because all the kids at school are stupid dweebs. Those peons are not fit to even lick his shoes! Eli says he wants to show Jenny his real friends. He takes out a shoe box and tells her to close her eyes and reach inside...

We find out what was in the box at Jenny's next session with the worthless Dr. Schindler: "It was a tarantula. Do you believe it? The kid put a tarantula in the box. He has three of them. They're his pets." Slap me sideways! He has TARANTULAS?!?! Seriously, what's the big deal? Well, Jenny IS terrified of spiders. Schindler responds to this by looking at the clock. Ass. Jenny goes on to say that Eli is a sick little creep who got way too much pleasure from her fear. He wasn't apologetic and got pissed when she scolded him, ignoring her for the rest of the night. His parents acted like it happened all the time and weren't worried about it. Schindler says "Eli sounds like an interesting kid. Maybe he'll be sitting on my couch soon." I am going to set this man on fire. Jenny stops by Miss Gurney's desk to pick up her bill. Gurney compliments Jenny's hair and then says "Dr. Gurney is a wonderful man. I-I mean Dr. Schindler. I was a patient of his, too." How comforting.

Jenny goes to the mall to meet up with her friends Claire and Rick at Pizza Oven. Because pizza is LIFE. Claire mentions that Chuck was looking for her which makes Jenny (and the rest of the free world) want to heave. Then they talk about Eli and soon Claire and Rick have to leave. Jenny decides to wander around the mall for a while. In the record store, she looks up from her browsing and sees some blond dude staring at her. Of course she freaks out and runs to the back of the store, finds herself trapped, and waits for the impending DOOM! "You dropped this." The guy hands Jenny her bill from Schindler's office. She's embarrassed for acting like a paranoid lunatic and thanks him. They striked up a conversation and Jenny learns that his name is Cal and he's new to town and will be starting at her high school in the fall. He says he would like to go out with her Friday night so he can corner her in a dark alley and cut off her limbs to repair his broken, legless mannequin. Nonono, I mean he just wants to party! Jenny says she babysits on Friday night, Cal asks about Saturday, and the page ends with Jenny NOT answering the question.

It's now Friday night and Jenny is at the Wexners. Mrs. Wexner tells Jenny that Eli is in a bad mood, but Mr. Wexner says Eli isn't some kind of monster and Mrs. W. needs to tone it down. Uh-oh. "Why do you always defend Eli? Why don't you defend me once in a while? That kid drove me crazy all day and you want to ignore it and pretend he's a perfect angel!" BURN. Finally they leave and Jenny goes up to check on Eli who is sitting in his room in the dark watching a horror movie. Some deranged loon chops up some chick with an ax and Eli laughs his ass off which disturbs Jenny. Eli tells her he had a bad day because his parents don't like his pets. Then he starts ignoring Jenny so she goes downstairs to read and think about her upcoming date with Cal. But she's interrupted by the ringing phone. "Hi, Babes. I'm back." AHHHHHH! The psycho hangs up and Jenny starts to slowly lose her mind. She hears something in the kitchen...it's Mr. Wexner. He forgot the tickets to whatever the hell it is. Jenny never mentions the phone call and Wexner leaves a moment later. Jen goes upstairs again and tells Eli it's his bedtime. He says he'd rather read for a while and picks up a Stephen King book. Jenny is shocked. Again. Because she's a spineless jellyfish who is scared of her own shadow and can't understand why anyone would watch horror movies or read anything Stephen King ever wrote. Shut up, Jenny. Eventually Eli falls asleep and the parents come home. They offer to drive Jenny home, but she refuses.

Outside, Jenny finds Chuck waiting. Does he not have a freaking life?! He starts whining about the fact that she never talks to him and she broke up with him for no reason (I can think of at least 10 reasons not to go out with this guy) and blah blah blah. She tries to walk away, but he goes berserk and throws her to the ground like a gorilla with a rag doll. He tells her she'll be sorry and walks off like nothing happened. Jenny makes her way home...where she receives a phone call. *sigh* HATE. But it's just Eli calling on his homemade telephone to see if it actually works. Jenny quickly ends the "conversation" (which consists of nothing but Eli giggling and saying "It's so awesome!" repeatedly) but a few moments later it rings again because Stine is nothing if not creative. It's Eli AGAIN: "Good night, Jenny." Giggle giggle giggle.

It's now Saturday night and Jenny and Cal are at some party (a.k.a. teenage orgy). Party outfits: Cal is wearing a Hawaiian shirt with black jeans and Jenny is rocking her green T-shirt over an orange sleeveless shirt and white shorts. Cal...no. Just no. Jenny isn't too impressed with the "party" which consists of nothing but horny teenagers making out and some dumb cave men trying to figure out how to get beer out of the keg in the kitchen. Really, Cal? THIS is the best you could do? Even Cal recognizes it sucks and he and Jenny leave a moment later. They get into Cal's abused Dodge Dart, he says he's embarrassed about the sucky party and he really wants to show Jenny a good time. She responds by telling him to pull over and they start making out. When they come up for air, Jenny suggests they go roller skating. Cal agrees even though he's never been. "I've had a tough life." Dude.

At the rink, Cal proves that he's a big fat liar whose pants are on fire--he can skate really well. What else is he lying about? Hmm? HMM? I'm watching you, Cal...or something. Finally Cal drives Jenny home. As they're kissing on the porch, Jenny hears rustling in the bushes. Suddenly someone steps out from behind them and runs off. Jenny and Cal couldn't see the person's face (it had to be that pathetic loser whom we all call Chuck) but they both assume it was a burglar and brush it off. During all that kissing they obviously sucked each other's brain cells out. Jenny goes upstairs to her room, reads for a while, and finally gets ready for bed. As she's drifting off, the phone rings. What else is new? Jenny assumes it's Eli... "It isn't Eli, Jenny. I'm back. Are you all alone, Babes? Company's coming." So. Annoying. Later, Jenny dreams that she's waiting for Cal in a dark deserted parking lot, but Mr. Hagen's ravaged corpse shows up instead. "A black bug crawled over his swollen tongue. He repeatedly licked his dry lips, but his tongue was dry and caked with dirt." Kiss me, lover.

At her next session with Dr. Schindler, Jenny tells him about the dream. He just sits there like a drooling fool, fiddling with his stupid CLOCK. Why is she still seeing this turd? The good "doctor" asks more about Cal and if Jenny suspects him of making the phone calls. She says no because there's no way Cal would know exactly what to say. The caller always repeats all the creepy shizz Mr. Hagen said. Jenny gets ticked off when Schindler suggests her imagination is playing tricks on her. Instead of listening to her argument, he simply says time is up. This jackhole needs a swift kick in the teeth. He prescribes her some sleeping pills and sends her on her way. As she's walking home, she finds a dead tarantula in her bag. Things are really looking up. Put on a happy face!

When Jenny gets home, she calls the Wexners to tell them about what she assumes is an evil trick on Eli's part, but no-one answers. She remembers she promised to meet Claire and Rick for some tennis so she grabs her racket and leaves. Outside, she runs into Cal and invites him along because he looks so sexy in his denim shirt and JEAN CUTOFFS. Jean cutoffs are the devil and only Nazis wear them. Spread the word. Anyway, Cal claims he's not good at tennis, but once again he's lying through his teeth because he rocks at tennis. Rick and Cal get into the game intensely. Eventually they tire themselves out and quit. Claire whispers to jenny that Rick has a major crush on her and was only showing off for her benefit. Jenny glances over and she and Rick share a Meaningful Glance.

At the Wexners, Jenny tells the Mrs. about the dead tarantula. She's shocked to hear it and calls Eli down. He says he would never kill one of his pets. Then he bursts into tears and runs to his room. Jenny keeps apologizing, but Mrs. Wexner tells her to leave him alone and when/if he comes out, be extra nice. After a while, Jenny goes upstairs and attempts to talk to Eli, but he completely freaks out: "Go away! Go away! Go away! I don't want to see you! I DON'T!" Then something heavy falls to the floor and there's silence. Jenny goes into the room and sees that he's trashed the place. She sees him lying in the middle of the floor with a puddle of blood beneath his head. Of course he isn't dead. No, that would be too good to be true. It's just a shitty joke. Stupid plastic blood. Jenny is pissed, Eli is happy, and they go downstairs to eat.

At 4:30 PM, the phone rings, but Eli tells her not to answer it because they're playing Monopoly and how dare someone interrupt him when he's about to buy Boardwalk?! Jenny answers anyway...unfortunately it's Chuck. Barf. Jenny screams at him to never call her again and slams down the phone. I really don't care about this whole Chuck thing. He's just a tired, played out red herring. And not even a good one. Later that evening, Jenny can't stop thinking about the weirdo and his creepy words. When she hears a knock at the door she nearly wets her pants, but it's just Rick and Claire. Eli comes downstairs and isn't happy to find them there, but quickly warms up to Claire for some reason who goes with him to check out the room of a "mechanical genius." Rick attempts to kiss Jenny while they're alone and gets all pissy when she says she's not into it. Does he really think his dry, crusty lips are going to do anything for her? A moment later, Jenny hears Eli shout "No, you can't! I said no!" and a loud thumping sound. Dear sweet Eli shoved Claire down the stairs and looks pretty pleased with himself.

Another visit with Dr. Schindler. No comment. Jenny talks about the incident (Claire is suprisingly unbroken) and Schindler is his usual useless and ineffective self. Later, at the Wexners, Mr. Wexner tells Jenny that Eli is really upset about what happened to Claire, but he gives no explanation for why Eli pushed her in the first place. Eli comes running in to give Jenny a kiss before running back upstairs. The kid deserves an Oscar. The parents leave a few minutes later and Jenny goes upstairs to see if Eli wants to play a game, but he's busy with his computer. Not long after, the weirdo calls with his usual message: "Hi, Babes. Are you all alone? Company's coming, Babes. Company's coming." WHEN? Riddle me that one, sir. Jenny slams the phone down and heads for Eli's room. She stands outside his door, horrified: "It was him! The whisperer. He was there-in Eli's room!" She bursts inside and finds only Eli talking on the homemade phone. He says he's calling people and saying "funny things". She asks if he called her a moment ago, but he's only been calling kids from school. Then he asks a strange question: "Jenny, tell me about your other babysitting job." The plot thickens! Sort of. Ok, not really.

That night, Jenny goes to the mall to wait for Cal to get off work (he has a job at Mulligan's, the ice cream shop). She waits in the parking lot and suddenly realizes that this is a LOT like the freaky dream she had a few nights ago. All this scene is missing is that hobgoblin Mr. Hagen. Suddenly Jenny hears footsteps and starts to run. Who's coming? A drooling moron from hell! Also known as Dr. Schindler. What the hell is he doing out here? Don't tell me he's the psycho. Grrr. Jenny says she's waiting for a friend and Cal shows up at that precise moment so they leave. I guess Schindler was just wandering aimlessly around. Nut. Cal and Jenny go to Wendy's. GASP! NO PIZZA?! They've angered the pepperoni gods. A Frosty won't protect you now, kids. Jenny talks about the phone calls and such and suddenly a lightbulb goes off in her tiny head: "It came to Jenny in a flash. She stopped in midsentence, her mouth dropped open, her dark eyes growing wide. She had solved the mystery." She wishes. She says she assumes it's Dr. Schindler because he's the only one who knows all the things Mr. Hagen said. Cal tries to convince her that Schindler couldn't possibly have a motive, but Jenny doesn't care and says she's going to set a trap for him to prove he's the creep. Is it over yet?

The next morning, Jenny goes to Schindler's office. She tells him that she thinks the best way to end her nightmares and incessant fears is to go back to the rock quarry where Mr. Hagen died. Tonight. Schindler simply wishes her luck because he's an inattentive fool.

That evening, Jenny's "shift" with Eli has just ended and she goes home to eat dinner with her mom. Afterward, Cal picks her up and they head for the quarry. Once there, they hide behind a rock and spot a car pulling up. Here it comes...the BIG reveal. Sadly, this is the most disappointing shit ever--it's Miss Gurney. Yes, the hoarse voiced, dowdy receptionist who is in love with Dr. Schindler and completely jealous of Jenny. As if Jenny (or anyone with half a brain) would want that steaming pile of dog doo. Seriously, is this REALLY how this is going to end? Anyway, Miss Gurney starts screaming about how Jenny gets all Dr. Schindler's attention (does he not have other patients?) and blah blah. She dives for Jenny in a feeble attempt to push her over the quarry (feeling any deja vu?) but Cal jumps in her way and he gets shoved instead. Lucky for him the quarry is filled with water so Cal is okay and crawls out. Jenny and Gurney wrestle, plunge into the water, and suddenly, out of the wild blue yonder, the police and Dr. Schindler show up. Cal helps Jenny out of water and Schindler tells her that Gurney has had violent episodes in the past so he predicted that's what she was up to tonight. Asshole. The police drag Gurney away and the books ends with Cal and Jenny kissing.

Conclusion? This book is piss. There's no reason for it to even exist! It's nothing but a shittier version of "The Babysitter". And if you're going to make your psycho a jealous woman, at least make the object of her insane, misdirected affection somewhat LIKEABLE. Not cool, Stine. Not. Cool.

Next time: "The Rich Girl" Money kills.

Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns (Goosebumps #48)

PUMPKIN POWER! Nothing beats Halloween. It's Drew Brockman's favorite holiday. And this year will be awesome. Much better ...