Summary: Eddie, Scott, Winks and Cassie. Four best friends go out in a car one night to practise their driving. Especially Eddie.
But then Eddie has a terrible accident and now the four friends share a horrifying secret.
Because Eddie has hit someone and killed him.
Or has he?
Tagline: Look before you leap (That is a terrible tagline with no connection to the actual plot)
Well, well, well. Look who finally showed her face…I’m talking about myself, Tuesday’s Back Y’all! [Wing: And we’re excited!] How is everyone doing? How are y’all coping with this pandemic? It has been so tough and I’m sending so much love and support, I’d like to say something profound but all that can be said has been said so I just hope you’re dealing with this in a way that helps you.
Ok this book. So, I didn’t really enjoy it if I’m being honest. There was a lot of bullying, the Muffin Man was obvious from a mile off (to me at least) Plus the multiple abuses of a dead body was just gross to me and really turned me off the book. The subject matter hit close to home and again the use and abuse of corpses was way too much for me.
The characters were never really explored, and it felt very tell rather than show. Saying that, this was interesting in how it dealt with an actual crime and the stupid decisions teenagers make. There is mention of abuse of a corpse, stupidity and animal death so trigger warnings. Let’s crack on.
[Wing: This is a Halloween surprise! Despite that awful list of triggers there, it’s a good time having Tuesday back with another recap. And of course, I’m always here for more people tackling Stine.]
Cassie Martin is a girl who only hangs out with boys. You see Cassie is athletic so all her life she has been around boys. Because girls aren’t athletic that’s a guy thing, so for a girl to be athletic she must be some sort of anomaly and only be friends with other athletic people: Boys.
I can feel my blood pressure rising. [Wing: I’m amazed none of us have had heart attacks during a recap.]
Cassie is super petite with blonde hair, has green eyes and freckles and even though she is 16 she looks 12. Cassie has a huge crush on one of her guy friends Scott (Tall and looks like a Teddy Bear) but thinks he only sees her as a friend. Scott seems to be one those super friendly guys who is on every school team, the star of the football and wrestling team, class representative and has an after-school job. On top of this he was smart too. Cassie thinks he is almost perfect except for his annoying giggle which she hates and the fact that he is more of a follower than a leader. I’m glad we get to see the flaws in a character, usually Point Horror dreamboats are presented as perfect heroes who can do no wrong. [Wing: Especially a character likes this; Stine could have easily written him as a stereotypical teenage Alpha Male.]
The next friend in Cassie’s crew is Bruce Winkleman or ‘Winks’. Winks is the ultimate prankster always cooking up dumb schemes and pranks. Scott always goes along with Winks no matter how stupid or cruel the joke. Cassie likes Winks but wishes he would be more serious, but if he was serious then he wouldn’t be Winks. For the record Winks is an asshole and his ‘jokes’ are borderline psychopathic. [Wing: And here’s Stine back to his normal shenanigans. Of course they are.]
Cassie is hanging out at Scott’s house; they are supposed to be studying but Scott’s parents have gone out leaving him with the dishes so Cassie is helping him tidy up. Just as they finish Winks arrives holding a small box, he makes jokes about them looking like they are married and both Cassie and Scott get embarrassed. Winks says the probably want to know what is in the box, Cassie says no but Scott wants to know. Winks says it’s another prank to play on Eddie.
Ah yes poor Eddie Katz the fourth friend in the gang. Eddie is apparently really small, like same height as Cassie small, with rosy, red cheeks and is highly anxious and scared of everything. Eddie is incredibly smart but lives in abject poverty and spends most of his time trying to figure out how he will afford to go to university as he wants to be a doctor. Everyone at school calls him Scaredy Katz and everyone including his so-called friends plays pranks on him nonstop. [Wing: I need Stine to figure out how to consistently write friendships. Or choose to write them, at least, because I’m fairly certain he’s capable of it.] Cassie feels bad and worries that they and everyone play too many pranks on Eddie. Eddie sounds like he is in a constant fight or flight mode. You know, considering how much of a big deal was made out of Cassie being athletic and only hanging put with athletic guys Scott is the only one who is actually an athlete. Cassie herself never even mentions any sport she is involved in.
Winks tells Scott to call Eddie to come over as he has another great prank to play on him, Scott immediately calls Eddie and invites him round then asks Winks what’s in the box-Insert Brad Pitt Meme here. [Wing: My sister Canary’s husband makes this reference all the time, and it makes me laugh every single time. Including this one.] Winks opens the box, and it is a human eye.
A human eye in a box.
Like, this is where I mentally checked out tbh, I’m just not down with using real body parts as toys, have some respect for the dead.
Winks apparently got this eye from Eddie’s cousin, Jerry, who works at the local morgue. Scott thinks it’s great, but Cassie feels sick. Me too Cassie, me too. Winks shakes the box and Cassie hears the eye plopping against the sides of the box. Vomit! Winks is going to use this eye to scare Eddie and wants Scott to use his new polaroid to capture Eddie’s fear when he sees the eye.
Ok so it’s not enough to scare and embarrass Eddie but you want to document it too? Winks is such a dick. [Wing: With friends like these…]
Cassie questions how he got the eye and Winks says that whoever it belonged to is getting cremated so he’s not going to use it. I hope the owner of the eye haunts you for the rest of your life Winks. Scott gets his camera and Winks makes fun of it because its yellow. Why do they hang out with this cretin? All he does is make fun of them. [Wing: Seriously. The colour of the camera is worth mocking? Good lord.]
Eddie arrives and Winks hides in the hallway. Cassie feels guilty for a minute and wants to tell Eddie what’s going on, but the moment passes and they talk about how they’re all hopefully getting their driver’s license soon. Eddie is in a good mood talking about how his studying is going when Winks comes in covering his eye, Eddie asks him what’s wrong Wink say something is in his eye then opens his hand where he is holding the eye he stole from a dead person. Eddie screams, as Scott takes a picture, then faints hitting his head hard. Winks, being the asshole he is, tells Scott to take more pictures. Scott, being the sheep he is, takes a photo of his friend who is passed out on the floor. Cassie yells at them to stop and checks on Eddie but Eddie isn’t breathing!
Scott backs away into a corner, Winks starts freaking out, he puts the eye down and goes to check on Eddie who is breathing and slowly comes around. Of course Eddie is breathing, Stine is too much of a coward to put a death in this early in the book. Eddie asks if he blacked out and rubs his head where he hit it. Winks is so happy that his prank caused someone to pass out and injure themselves. [Wing: Can Winks be an Actual Death in this book? Because he’s horrid.]
Scott says he should of took a picture of Wink’s face when he thought Eddie was dead. Winks doesn’t seem to like being the butt of a joke. He picks up the eye which has now started oozing yellow liquid all over the table and puts it back in the box. Eddie gets up and wants to go home but Winks wants them to do something, Cassie says she is over the eye shenanigans, as am I. Winks says they should go out driving.
This is a stupid idea, none of these kids have their license or insurance or permission to take a car. This is beyond stupid. [Wing: It is, but it’s also believable. Unfortunately.]
Winks says they can take Scott’s parents car, Cassie says this is a stupid idea (Thank you Cassie) and Scott is uncomfortable and says they really shouldn’t do it and he’d be in trouble if his parents found out. Winks pushes it saying they all need to practise their driving; Scott says no they absolutely will not be driving his parents car. [Wing: Yeah, this is one of those moments where you say one thing and do the opposite, Scott. Use that spine of yours!]
15 minutes later they were in their coats and rolling up the garage door. None of them can believe they are doing this; Cassie thinks that Scott cannot say no to Winks-Erm I don’t hear you protesting too much Cass! Cassie thinks about how much of a bad idea this is and that none of them have licenses or insurance, what if they have an accident, what if they get caught by the police? But then she thinks about how much of a thrill this is and it’s all Bad Kids Going For A Ride, apparently Cassie likes to make up headlines in her head.
Long suffering sigh, see even as teen I would never have done this, there are just too many opportunities for it to go wrong in a really bad way. None of my friends would have done something this stupid either, we were too scared of getting in trouble, in my family my parents weren’t exactly strict, they were a weird mix of liberal and strict; like they wanted us to think for ourselves but if we did anything This Irresponsible our asses would be handed to us on the plate, no grounding here, Dad would just yeet you out the nearest window. [Wing: Whereas my parents were very conservative, but I got away with a lot because I was the golden child. Not this specifically, but definitely things on a similar level of stupidity.]
So, they all start arguing over who is going to drive, Winks wants Eddie to drive but Eddie refuses, Scott decides to drive first, then Winks then Cassie and maybe Eddie. Scott starts driving and Winks is cracking jokes about speeding and chasing the police, Eddie is super freaked out, Cassie tries to reassure him, but Eddie clearly wants no part of this idiocy. Scott asked where Winks put the eye and Winks laughingly says he left it in Scott’s fridge. Great so when Mum and Dad Scott get home not only will they be horrified to find their car stolen but they’ve also got random corpse’s eye in their fridge. Winks is a dick.
Eddie yells at Scott to watch out for a truck two lanes over, Scott tells Eddie to calm down, but Eddie is a bag of nerves. They want to practise in the Mall’s parking lot but it’s too busy, so they head to Route 12, Just outside of town apparently ever since the new expressway opened up Route 12 is basically abandoned so they have the whole road to themselves.
They follow the road to the flat farmland just outside of town. Scott parks up and they all coerce Eddie into taking a turn, Eddie really wants to pass his driving test, so he agrees but doesn’t seem very happy about it. As he gets out the car Winks whispers to Cassie that he can’t believe a wimp like Eddie would drive the car, Cassie tells Winks that Eddie is really competitive and wants to pass his test. Considering Winks is supposed to be one of Eddie’s only friends wouldn’t he know this? [Wing: Like Winks pays attention to anything but Winks.]
Eddie starts driving, Cassie and Scott, are really supportive helping keep him calm and complimenting his driving. Eddie has been practising on his dad’s old Chevy and needs a minute to get used to a newer, bigger car. Winks keeps cracking jokes at Eddie’s expense. Eddie is driving super slowly but as he gets more comfortable he starts to speed up a little, Eddie tells everyone in the car he’s feeling more comfortable when Winks screams to EDDIE LOOK OUT! Eddie slams on the breaks as Cassie screams, the car spins out of control before coming to a stop on a grassy shoulder. Cassie hits the back of the passenger seat and Eddie slams into the steering wheel.
They look around wildly to see what caused Winks to shout out. There’s nothing there.
Winks sits up grinning and quietly says ‘April Fools’ Scott starts laughing and Winks pats Eddie on the shoulder laughing ‘Gotcha’ [Wing: Fucking hell, Winks needs to die soon. He’s horrific and while I wouldn’t wish him dead in real life, I certainly want him to die in this. We’re overdo an actual death.]
Eddie is furious and terrified, he’s too angry to even speak. Cassie starts laughing more out of relief than amusement and shoves Winks telling him he could have got them all killed. Cassie is right! Who does that when there is no reason too? There could have been another car coming and they could have collided, Eddie could have spun them into a tree or a guardrail. Have I mentioned I hate Winks?
Scott crawls up Wink’s ass some more and tells him that it was a great prank. Eddie storms out of the car and walks off. Cassie goes after him and Scott follows, they try to stop him, but Eddie is furious, he yells that it wasn’t a joke and there are some things they shouldn’t joke about. And like yeah, I agree, pranking someone as they’re driving is dumb and dangerous and Eddie needs to cut Winks out of his life for good. Winks plays it off by saying there was no one around and it was just a joke but Dude! How did you know how Eddie would react? He could have panicked hit the wrong pedal and killed you all.
I’m sorry I know this is just a book, but this stuff just really pisses me off, I lost a very close friend in a car accident when we were 21, the driver, another friend was speeding and lost control of the car, my friend wasn’t wearing his seat belt. Anyway, I’m just funny about car safety and reading about a bunch of dumb teenagers stealing a car and playing pranks on each other while driving is just hitting close to home. [Wing: I’m sorry that happened to your friend. It makes sense that you would take vehicle safety very seriously.]
ANYWAY Eddie is really upset and angry and walks away, Winks apologises but Eddie ignores him. They all start to panic about needing to get the car home before Scott’s parents get back. They beg and apologise to Eddie, and he finally agrees to get into the car. Winks wants to drive but Scott, for once, stands up to him and says no. Winks moans that he didn’t get a turn then Cassie says she never got a turn to drive either, Scott says that Winks wasted their driving time with his stupid prank. Scott starts speeding, going 80mph, they tell him he’s going too fast, but Scott says they have to get home before his parents. And this is how accidents happen people. Scott gets to an underpass and Cassie tells him to slow down, Scott yells he’s trying but the Brakes Won’t Work!
Winks rolls his eyes and says Scott is an awful actor, Scott is disappointed his prank didn’t work. What the hell? Another prank WHILE DRIVING!? Cassie and Winks make fun of Scott’s lame attempt at a prank, Scott thinks Eddie believed him, but Eddie isn’t talking to anyone. They pull into Scott’s driveway, Eddie heads straight home. Winks is happy that Eddie was so scared, and Cassie and Scott agree that it was a great prank and Eddie was terrified. These people are assholes. [Wing: You’d think after the first terrible prank and people’s fear they wouldn’t think a second terrible prank was great fun. They’re horrid people. You need better friends, Eddie.]
The next chapter starts with Cassie and Scott at the mall. Cassie is moaning at Scott for buying an expensive pair of sneakers just because they ‘pump up’, Scott claims they feel better and help him bounce higher. [Wing: I remember those! They were ridiculous.] Huh, these two really do act like a married couple. Scott says they are perfect for basketball, Cassie wonders why he bought them considering he does wrestling. Scott says they will help with wrestling too, but Cassie points out he only bought them because everyone else bought them. [Wing: You don’t even wear shoes like that for wrestling!]
Inwardly Cassie wishes Scott wasn’t such a sheep and wonders why she is even at the mall with him when she has a thousand other things she could be doing rather than watching Scott waste money on shoes. Cassie you clearly don’t actually like Scott, why are you crushing on him? Scott notices a two for one sale on sweatpants and Cassie can’t keep her sarcasm under wraps any longer. Scott wonders what’s wrong with her, dude maybe she doesn’t want to watch you buy overpriced shoes that are perfect for a sport you are Not playing? They snark at each other about sweatpants when Winks turns up wearing a hideous outfit. It’s not integral to the plot I just feel Winks will do anything for attention. [Wing: That is for damn sure.]
Winks teases them about being a married couple then asks if they heard what happened to Eddie. They haven’t, turns out someone stole his trousers when he was in gym class, so he had to spend the day in his sweaty, smelly gym shorts. [Wing: While the prank is shit, if he’d just take his clothes home and wash them more often, he wouldn’t have to worry about them being so smelly.] Scott, of course, thinks this is hilarious.
Cassie questions why everyone keeps picking on Eddie, Winks says it’s because he’s too easy. Cassie still doesn’t understand why everyone targets Eddie, Winks says that every grade has a kid that everyone picks on and Eddie is used to it.
Oh God, this infuriates me! No not every class has a kid that everyone picks on, it’s not a normal part of growing up, you all make a choice to bully and victimise a kid it doesn’t just happen naturally. God, I hate Winks so much. [Wing: This idea that it’s just boys being boys, or teasing makes you stronger, or bullying isn’t all that series, etc., is still damn prevalent. It’s fucked up.]
Winks comments on Scott’s ridiculous shoes and Cassie asks who stole Eddies pants. Winks delights in telling her it was him. Of course it was.
Scott and Cassie head home, Scott walks her to her house then kisses her, its awkward, he misses her mouth and ends up kissing her chin, he pulls back and looks at Cassie as if he was waiting for her to judge him. Cassie doesn’t know what to say, she’s had this secret crush on Scott for months but had no idea he might have a crush right back. Scott says that Winks keeps teasing them that they are married, Cassie grabs the bull by the horn saying that if they are married, they can do better than that and kisses Scott, this time meeting his lips.
Afterwards she feels unsettled and thinks she might be ruining a good friendship, Scott goes to kiss her again, but she says she has to get inside leaving him looking sad on her driveway. I don’t get this relationship, I get what Stine is going for here, awkward first love between friends unsure if they should take things further, unsure if their feelings are real but he hasn’t really given these characters enough life for us to care-plus their interactions are just plain weird and Cassie in particular doesn’t seem to even like Scott as a person no matter how many times Stine tells us she has a crush on him.
[Wing: I think Stine tries to do too much in too short a time in a lot of his books. He doesn’t have space to build characters and relationships as well as set out a plot, especially when he uses time on things like Winks being terrible.]
Later on, they are all gathered at Eddie’s house, its small and hot and smells of meatloaf. Eddie’s parents are at a party down the block. The gang can’t decide what they want to do. Scott suggests a movie, but Cassie says there’s nothing on worth seeing. Scott then suggests the school dance, it has a live band, the rest of the group say the band sucks calling them ‘rot’ and ‘putrid’. Actually, I slightly take back what I said about Stine not developing these characters, Scott is perennially optimistic and positive so there’s that. [Wing: He develops them enough to give them one basic characteristic, I guess.]
Eddie suggests they go driving, the other three are shocked, they thought after the last disastrous attempt Eddie would avoid driving with them forever. So did I. Scott say they can’t use his car as his parents are home but Eddie says they can use his dads car as his parents will be at the party all night. Scott up for it and ready to go, but first Eddie makes Winks promise there will be no pranks, Winks tries to weasel out of it but Eddie is firm, no pranks or no driving. Winks swears he wont prank anyone. [Wing: Why would any of them ever believe him?!]
As they head to the car Cassie questions Eddie privately asking if he was sure after what happened last time. Eddie says he acted like a baby over a silly prank. No Eddie you acted the appropriate amount of anger, fear and shock over a prank that could have at least wrecked the car and at worst seriously injured or killed one of you. Eddie says that he really needs to practise if he’s going to pass his test next week and gets in the car. Cassie suddenly remembers that none of them have licenses, how do you forget you don’t have a license? She thinks this could be dangerous if something goes wrong but tells herself that nothing will go wrong. Idiot.
Eddie is doing pretty well until he stalls at the traffic lights, Winks makes fun of him but its without malice. Scott asks about the car, Eddie explains is a Nova, an incredibly old Chevy and his dad got it third hand for $200. Winks says his dad was ripped off. Oh Fuck You Winks! Its been made pretty clear Eddie lives below the poverty line, you already make his school and social life miserable just back the fuck off. Eddie, displaying far more class than me, laughs it off good naturedly. They head back to the empty Route 12. Eddie lets Cassie drive, then Winks, then Scott. They all drive without incident, they talk about the upcoming test, Winks making jokes as usual.
Eddie gets into the front seat to drive them all home. Cassie is half asleep in the front passenger seat, when Eddie slams on the breaks, she jerks awake and see the man standing in the road; he’s wearing a tie, a baseball cap and a look of pure horror. The car thuds as the man hits the front of it, he flies into the air before crashing to the ground and the car jerks as it drives over him.
[Wing: I’m getting real I Know What You Did Last Summer vibes here, though it’s been long enough since I read the book that I’m not sure if it is pre-this book book vibes or post-this book movie vibes.]
When Cassie was a little girl she was given a beautiful pure white kitten, she adored her kitten and took it everywhere with her. Her mum warned her not to take the kitten outside the house but one day Cassie decided to bring the kitten outside to let her explore the apple tree and the front garden, the little kitten ran straight into the road and was hit by a car, Cassie remembered the feelings of terror, horror and pain, she remembered the tears that felt like they would never stop. Cassie feels all of that as she and the boys get out of the car.
They walk towards the body in shock and disbelief. Cassie feels a paralysing terror as they look at the man. He is lying on his back, eyes open staring into nothing. There is just silence, the air feels still.
Eddie is the first to speak asking ‘Mister?’ there is no response, Eddie walks over to the man and grabs the mans wrist, he drops it immediately and says ‘he’s dead’ the other cannot accept this.
Eddie shouts that he killed him, Cassie tells him it was an accident but Edie collapses to his knees.
They don’t know what to do and are frozen until Winks starts riffling through the dead mans pockets, everyone’s first thought it that Winks is robbing him and honestly that says a lot about you when your closet friends thinks you’re capable of robbing a man y’all just ran over. [Wing: I’m sure he’s slipping money from the man’s wallet even while he learns his name.] Winks says he just wants to know who this guy is, he finds the dead mans wallets and his name is Brandt Tinkers.
This man was clearly a spy, that is such a made up name and it doesn’t even go, in my accent it sounds like BrandT-T-Tinkers, I pronounce both T’s.
[Wing: This is wonderful.]
Scott asks if there is an address, Eddie sarcastically asks Scott if he wants to drop the body off at the Tinker home. I mean yeah Scott why do you want the address? Winks puts the wallet back then, realising he just searched a corpse, runs to throw up. I have never gotten sick around dead bodies and I’ve seen a few. Should I get sick? Am I missing the normal reaction gene? Do I need to see someone? [Wing: I don’t think you’re wrong, I’ve never wanted to throw up because of a corpse either. I’m amused that Winks tries to be all above everything, nothing scares him, no prank gets to him, and yet when faced with something real, he loses it.] Moving on.
Eddie is understandably freaking out and Cassie hugs him to try and keep him calm, Cassie starts to wonder how her parents will react and if they will ever be able to trust her again. [Wing: If they will trust you again? You have more concerns than that.] Winks wants to leave, Eddie is panicking and Cassie wants to call for help, Scott agrees with Winks saying they have no licenses and they took the car without permission, he says their lives will be ruined and they will go to jail. Cassie wants to call someone or at least not leave the body in the road, Eddie cant stop staying he killed a man and is no help.
Winks says that it was an accident and they will live with it forever but they need to leave and not let it ruin their lives. Well Winks recovered quickly.
The boys just want to go and Cassie realises they are waiting for her decision. Cassie thinks about her fluffy white kitten and the guilt she feels, she looks at the boys and says ‘lets go’. [Wing: What the fuck. Your guilt and your dead kitten lead you to making this terrible decision? Cassie, I’m concerned for you.]
Eddie keeps repeating the dead guys name over and over, they hustle him to the car Eddie yells that he cant drive. Cassie says they cant just leave the poor guy in the road but Eddie screams not to touch him, they manhandle Eddie into the car were he collapses then the three of them roll Brandt-T-Tinkers onto the grassy verge then get into the car.
Winks takes the drivers seat and starts speeding down the highway Cassie yells at him to slow down or he’ll get a speeding ticket, Scott find this hilarious and starts giggling then Winks starts giggling.
I mean I get it, when I was a kid we hard an armed robbery in out home while we were watching TV, it was all very dramatic and terrifying and once we escaped from the utility room and got to our neighbours to call the police, I had a total hysterical laughing moment for like 5 minutes. Everyone was like WTF? But some people just have weird reactions. [Wing: Lots of people end up laughing from relief and release of all that stress, I don’t think it’s even a weird reaction. Not the most common, but not all that rare.]
Cassie checks on Eddie. Eddie says that what they did was a hit and run and they can be arrested. Winks says that there were no witnesses and no one knows. Cassie tells Eddie that it was an accident and no one knows they were even put there. Winks says they got really lucky. Winks has an odd view of luck. Eddie it still upset and Cassie’s getting frustrated with him. Cassie!? He Literally just killed a man and you’re complicit? How are you getting mad at him? He’s wracked with guilt and fear and shame!? Eddie please find better friends.
Winks and Cassie keep telling Eddie how lucky they are and everything will be ok. Winks pulls into Eddie’s driveway where there is a police car waiting for them. Yes, arrest these idiots please!
Eddie freaks out telling Winks to keep driving. Eddie you do not want to make this worse by running away just accept your punishment, you messed up big time. Eddie is freaking the eff out, he’s convinced they police are going for their guns, Winks tells him to act natural and stops the car, they all get out and the police walk over. Eddie is acting so unnatural I truly hope he does not go into a life of crime, he wouldn’t last two minutes.
The cops ask is this is their house, Eddie says its his house. Eddie is ready to confess all, get it together man! The cops say the door was left wide open so they were checking everything it ok.
Cassie thanks them saying they went for take out and must have left it open. The cops make a joke about them being so hungry they left in a hurry then head off. These cops are inept, Eddie was acting so bizarre at the very least he warranted more questioning. [Wing: Aren’t they all white kids? They’d get away with anything.]
They go inside Eddie’s house and spend an hour calming him down before they head home themselves.
Cassie is glad to see her parents are in bed when she gets home, she doesn’t want to see them and is worried she might blurt out the whole awful story. Cassie goes to bed and has a nightmare about the accident, in her nightmare she is driving over bumps in the road but all the bumps are dead bodies.
When she wakes up she thinks it will take while to forget what happened. Excuse me? Take a while to forget? YOU KILLED AN INNOCENT MAN AND DITCHED HIS BODY 12 HOURS AGO! HAVE YOU NO REMORSE? GUILT? EMPATHY? COMPASSION? You do not get to just kill someone and move on no matter how many times you tell yourself it was an accident, especially when it was an accident that could have been easily avoided if you limp spatulas decided to stay home and not commit more crimes. [Wing: Psh, guilt, compassion, they don’t know her.]
Cassie stays awake until she hears her mum get up. Cassie gets dressed and looks at herself in the mirror, she doesn’t look any different but she feels different. Do you Cassie? Do you feel different? Do you feel, oh I don’t know GUILTY? ASHAMED? HORRIFIED? Alas no, Cassie feels different but we are not privy to how or what she feels. She goes downstairs and her mum asks her what she got up to last night, Cassie says ‘Nothing much’.
Cas checks the Sunday paper but there is no mention of a body being found and there’s nothing on the news. Cassie calls Scott but he is with his parents and cant talk.
On Monday Cassie gets up early to check the paper but again there is no mention of a hit and run murder. That night Cassie heads over to Scott’s to ‘Study’ but they hide in his bedroom and mainly talk about why the body hasn’t been found yet. Scott thinks that maybe no one has found it yet but Cassie says they left him lying out in the open and its been two days. [Wing: Shockingly, Cassie makes a good point.]
Cassie wants to sneak back out and see if they body is still there but Scott point blank refuses, he says they are lucky and should leave it at that.
Scott asks Cassie how Eddie is but Cassie hasn’t spoke to him. There’s a knock on the door and its Eddie. They fill him on what they were talking about and Eddie agrees with Cassie that its weird that no one has found the body.
Scott says Cassie wants to drive out there but Eddie is adamant he’s not going, Eddie says he cant stop thinking about it and going back out there will make it fresh again. Cassie says the cant sit around and do nothing but Scott says that exactly what they should do.
Cassie isn’t happy with this but maybe if you’re so pressed Cas you should tell your parents? The police? Be honest about what you guys did? [Wing: That would require that her being willing to face consequences.]
Scott asks Eddie about his cousin Jerry-the creepy morgue assistant who willingly gives random human body parts to high school students, that guy. Scott says they can ask him if a hit and run victim has been brought in to the morgue. Oh that’s not suspicious!
Cassie urges Eddie to call Jerry, Eddie asks what his cover story should be but they tell him he’ll ‘think of something’. Why are they always leaving this kid out to dry?
Eddie has a couple of excuses but ends up calling Jerry. Eddie gets straight into it and asks if anyone named Brandt-T-Tinkers has been brought in, Jerry says yes he was a hit and run victim and was crushed up pretty bad. Jerry says the police are keeping it quiet so they can find who did it then asks why Eddie is asking, Eddie says he knows Tinker’s kid and was just double checking then hangs up.
Eddie freaks out saying the police are on to them, if they weren’t before they definitely are now after that super suspicious call Eddie!
At that point they hear banging on the front door, all three run downstairs to answer the door convinced it’s the police. What is the play here? If you don’t want to be caught why are you running to the police?
Scott’s dad tells them to calm down as he gets up to answer the door, Scott beats him to it and it’s a neighbour Mr Olsen, he’s returning a tool box to Scott’s dad.
The three of them head back Scott’s room saying how they thought it was the police. Scott says they all need to calm down but Eddie repeats that he Killed a man. Eddie says he is going to turn himself in but Scott and Cassie pressure and manipulate him into changing his mind, they say even if he takes full responsibility they were with him and will still be blamed, it will ruin all their lives. They spend a while talking Eddie down and convincing him not to go to the police, just as Eddie agrees Jerry calls back. Jerry is hyped up and tells Eddie that the body of Brandt-T-Tinkers has…DISAPPEARED!!!!
The next day at school Cassie is a train wreck, she hasn’t slept and pretty much sleep walks through her classes. At lunch Scott ask her what’s wrong…Scott really is dumb. Cassie reiterates that the body of the man they MURDERED a few nights ago has disappeared. Scott is all ‘Oh yeah’ [Wing: Compartmentalize much, Scott?]
Cassie really is freaking out telling Scott and Eddie she hasn’t sleep and cant stop thinking about it, Scott says that he didn’t sleep either and she should have called him. I do not understand Scott’s character, he’s either really dumb or totally with it, he cant be both, can he?
Eddie says he has a theory about the body, Cassie all ears but Scott wants them to stop talking about it and just move on, he’s convinced they are in the clear. Eddie said he thinks Winks took the body. I mean, yeah it sounds like a totally twisted Winks thing to do but its just not feasible unless Jerry was in on it, I mean Winks did get the eyes from Jerry. Scott is shocked, Shocked I tell you! Winks would never! He wouldn’t mess with a body like that, except for the time he used a real human eye taken from a real dead human to play a prank on Eddie.
Cassie agrees with Scott that this would be a step too far even for Winks, Eddie says that its totally a Winks thing to do, Scott defends Winks saying he pranks everyone, Eddie points out that he is Winks number one victim, he is everyone’s number one victim. This point is further proven by some asshat calling Eddie ‘Scaredy Katz’ and throwing their milk carton at him, it lands on Cassie’s mac and cheese, she grabs it ready to throw it back but a teacher walks in so she puts it down. Eddie said this all started with Winks calling him Scaredy Katz and pranking him, now everyone does it. Scott says that yes Winks will steal an eye but he definitely wouldn’t steal a body. I mean I just can’t even with that but lets continue. Scott says that they can just go ask Winks. [Wing: At this point I (a) believe Winks capable of anything when it comes to dead bodies, (b) hate Winks, and (c) hate everyone who enables Winks. This book is a lot of fun for me, as I’m sure you can tell.]
You know, Scott has these moments of intelligence and leadership and its such a great quality for his character, then there’s a switch to him being a total sheep with half a brain. I wish Stine could stick to a character choice with this dude.
Winks has not been in school all day so they decide to head to his house. Cassie and Eddie have to wait for Scott to finish wrestling practise. Scott comes out of practise moaning that they worked out and did laps and that he signed up for wrestling not track and this is exactly what I mean, surely with Scott being an athlete he would understand that practise is about training the whole body, building stamina, building muscle etc. If the Rocky Montages have taught me anything its that you train the whole body in a multitude of ways, like we don’t just see Balboa only practising punches, he goes running and all sorts!
Anyway Scott moans and Cassie teases him. They get to Wink’s house and he answers, they want to come in but he says they cant because he’s grounded, they ask why and find out that his mum found the EYE in his room. Winks tried to pretend it was for a science experiment but his mum flipped out and grounded him. [Wing: That’s a minor punishment!]
Eddie quickly asks if Wink’s stole the body from the morgue, Winks says he did…Not, Winks says he is not a ghoul, Winks mum hears this as she passes by the door and yells that he is ghoul based on the creepy stuff he has in his room. Wink’s mum tells the gang they need to go because Winks will probably never see the light of day again. I live for Wink’s mum.
As they leave his house Cassie begs them to just forget everything, they got super lucky and need to move on. Scott agrees and after a hesitation Eddie agrees.
Later Cassie is struggling with her homework when the phone rings, she answers on the first ring it’s a collect call asking if she will accept a call from Brandt-T-Tinkers!!!!! Cassie is terrified but accepts, she can hear crackling, then a dry gasp and a voice whispers ‘You can’t run away, You can’t run away’ then the line goes dead.
The next morning Eddie disturbs Cassie as she’s getting stuff out of her locker, Cassie jumps and accidentally slams her finger in her locker, she’s in a pissy mood. There’s a weird unnecessary description of Cassie green jumper that seems to make her eyes and hair glow…Thanks?
Eddie says he got a call late night, Cassie said she did too, Eddie says its from the real Tinkers but Cassie says that’s stupid and Eddie is too gullible, she feels bad when his face falls. Eddie and Cassie’s calls said the same thing except Eddie’s call said they knew he was driving, Cassie calls it a dumb prank but Eddie points out only the four of them were in the car and know what happened.
Cassie doesn’t want to talk about this and tries to deflect by saying they will be late for class, Eddie grabs her and she looks into his face realising how terrified he is, she thinks that he really is a Scaredy Cat then feels awful for being so mean about him. Eddie begs her to cut class but she wont do it, she heads to class as Eddie disappears around the corner.
In class Cassie feels guilty for not going with Eddie and helping him when he is obviously struggling. Scott is in class he smiles and waves at her, Cassie hates his sweater and hopes he didn’t pick it out himself. Cassie why don’t you crush on a guy you like? I mean its ok to not be enamoured 24/7 unlike some people (I’m looking at you West and Megan) but you could occasionally give Scott a compliment? Think something nice about him? You seem barely able to tolerate him on a good day let alone are harbouring a deep, affectionate crush. Poor Scott.
After class Cassie asks if Scott got a weird, strange, creepy call last night, Scott is all ‘You called me? When did you call me? Did I miss your call? Are you going to call me now?’ Cassie patiently explains that she didn’t call him, but she and Eddie got creepy calls from their murder victim, Scott didn’t get any calls but Winks did! Which he exclaims as he jumps out at the two of them, Scott nearly falls down the stairs and tells Winks to never jump out on him like that again, Winks ignores him and says he also received a call from the Brandt-T-Tinkers saying, ‘You can’t run away’, Scott thinks they are joking and laughs at them. Cassie and Winks are deadly serious.
All three get yelled at for blocking traffic by having this super secretive and personal conversation in the middle of the stairs surrounded by students. Have I mentioned the stupidity in this book? [Wing: You can never mention it too much.]
They think it’s weird that Scott is the only one who didn’t get a call. No, stop. Massive red herring here, Scott is too dumb to have set anything up, so I call BULLSHIT. The bell rings and they head to class.
On the way Cassie tells Winks that Eddie is terrified, but Winks says that Eddie is always terrified so its not a big deal. I wonder why Eddie is so terrified Winks? Is it because of your daily mental, emotional and physical abuses cheaply disguised an ‘pranks’? Could that be it? Gosh I wonder.
Later at home Cassie gets a call from Eddie, he is begging her to come around to his place. Cassie doesn’t want to, but Eddie is so distraught she feels she has no choice. Cassie heads to Eddie’s place, his mum lets her in. Mrs Katz is a female version of Eddie just slightly plumper, and she is wearing a bathrobe, Cassie asks if she is unwell and Mrs Katz says that she’s fine she just likes to relax when she finishes work, it’s an embarrassing moment but I’m not sure why, once I’m home from work I’m straight in my ‘scrubs’ sweatpants and a jumper and No Bra Baby!
Mrs Katz invites Cassie to have a slice of cake, its only from a packet…is that a bad thing? Aren’t all cakes from a cake mix? That’s how I make cakes, on the rare occasion I make cakes. [Wing: I love to bake and yet a solid percentage of my cakes come from a mix that I’ve doctored.]
They sit in the ‘dining room’ but since there is no room for a dining room its just a table in a corner of the room, the room being the whole flat. Dammit Mrs Katz is so nice and chatty and its so obvious how poor they are, you don’t need to pretend you have a dining room Mrs Katz a table in a kitchen is as good as any dining area! Bathrobes are super comfy and cake from a packet is the best!
Mrs Katz chats to them, she seems like a nice mum. Eddie basically tells her to leave them alone. Eddie takes Cassie upstairs to his tiny bedroom that used to be storage space, but his dad converted it into a room for Eddie, it’s the entire top floor but is still super tiny and they have to duck to get into the room cos the ceiling is so low, considering how short they both are that must be one law af ceiling. Damn, this poor family, they just seem to be trying really hard to have a decent life and home.
Eddie tells Cassie that when he was taking the rubbish out, he found a bag hanging from the front door handle when he opened the bag he found Brant-T-Tinkers hat! With a note saying ‘Hats off to the driver who killed me’ [Wing: Okay, I love this.]
The next morning it’s a Saturday, Cassie is eating breakfast when Scott calls. Scott says he’s having a bad morning, he dropped his toothbrush down the toilet, and he thinks he’s getting the flu and can’t hang out tonight. Cassie is beyond unsympathetic and makes fun of him.
Cassies mum keeps telling her to get off the phone and eat her breakfast. Her mum questions Cassie’s friendships saying its unusual for a girl to hang round with boys, it sounds like these guys have been friends since they were little though so I don’t get what is so strange about that, Cassie also questions her mum asking why she thinks its strange and her mum gets all weird and defensive saying she didn’t want to upset Cassie. Cassie isn’t upset just as confused as I am that Stine threw in this random conversation then never revisited it. I mean does he want us to find the subtext because there is no subtext and I can say that because I have a degree in English Lit and I can smell subtext from a mile away.
Cassie cant finish her breakfast because it makes her feel too heavy. Are we meant to infer her mums weird convo made her feel heavy or she literally feels fat after two bites of French toast? MAKE IT CLEAR STINE, WHAT ARE YOU TRYING (AND FAILING) TO SAY!?
[Wing: I think her mum should question Cassie’s friendships but not because they are boys, because they are terrible, and so is Cassie.]
Cassie’s dad comes in to the kitchen carrying a bunch of equipment, he and Cassie are going to be sanding the porch today. It’s the middle of winter and its snowing. How are you gonna sand a porch when its freezing and snowing?
They work all day and Cassie’s mind wanders, it took all of her energy and persuading skills to stop Eddie going to the police over the hat, she had to enlist Winks and Scott and they three of them guilted and manipulated and begged Eddie not to say anything.
Later that night the same three received a phone call from Brand-T-Tinkers saying the same thing. Only Scott was creepy phone call free. Even though Winks was trying to hide it she could see how scared he was by this. Cassie mind wandered even further thinking it was strange that Scott was the only one not to get a call or a visit. She wondered if maybe someone Had seem them that night and knew them, where they lived, what their numbers were and was doing this to torment them, but, Cassie reasoned, that was impossible they were miles away from town on a deserted road. Its a mystery. Dad asks Cassie is she is ok, he seems worried but Cassie quickly recovers, her dad talks about taking a holiday and Cassie is all yes lets get the hell out of dodge.
Cassie calls Scott after dinner but he’s out for the count with flu and cant come out. Cassie is disappointed she knows she feels something more than friendship for Scott and he for her, WHAT? ALL YOU DO IS MAKE FUN OF HIM AND POINT OUT HIS FLAWS, 90% OF THE TIME YOU CANT STAND HIM. I do not understand this relationship at all.
Cassie thinks that this strange, awful accident has brought them close together…I have no words…Actually I do, if murdering someone, ditching their body and keeping it a secret brings you and your semi boyfriend closer together then you both need professional help and potentially a prison sentence, this relationship has got Natural Born Killers written all over it and you two could Never emulate Mickey and Mallory.
Eddie calls to cancel too, he’s feeling really down and depressed. Probably because he committed a crime and every time he tries to own up to it and do the right thing his so called friends belittle, gaslight and manipulate him into keeping quiet.
Cassie is now super bummed, she doesn’t want to just hang out with Winks, she likes him but only when there are other people around. So basically she doesn’t like him at all.
Seeing a pattern here Cas, you claim to like people you clearly cant stand. Maybe branch out, find other friends who don’t make you irritated and angry all the time?
Cassie calls Winks house but he has already left to come to her house, Cassie thinks screw it she’ll just hit the Templex with Winks it might not be so bad. Winks lives 5 blocks away so she decides to head to his house and meet his half way. The roads are quiet and she can hear a child crying in the distance, its cold and the wind feels heavy. As she gets to the corner she turns expecting to see Winks but he’s not there, she sees a couple of her neighbours bending over something in the road, she can see the child who was crying being held by his mother, she gets closer to see what they are looking at and its Winks, he’s in the road flat on his back, covered in blood and his head is at a strange angle. The neighbour says Winks was crossing the street when a car hit him then sped off. It was a Hit and Run.
Cassie is in the hospital with Winks mum. Winks is, unfortunately alive. Mrs Winklelman is terribly upset she explains that he has a broken arm, broken ribs, internal bleeding and he hasn’t woken up yet. Cassie wants to help but there’s nothing to do.
The doctor comes out, he reiterates Winks injuries and says he needs a brain scan as he should have woke up by now, they are worried they haven’t stopped all the internal bleeding so they want to keep him in for a few days until they are sure there’s no brain injuries or further internal injuries.
At that point Scott and Eddie arrive, they ask what happened, Cassie explains it was a hit and run, the neighbour saw the whole thing but doesn’t know what car it was or who was driving. Scott sneezes and Cassie says he should have stayed home cos they don’t want sick people in the hospital, then she wonders why she is trying to crack jokes at a time like this. She is glad Scott came though it helps her feel normal. Cassie do you like Scott or do you like the familiarity of Scott?
They hang about for a while but after a few hours and Winks still being unconscious they realise there is nothing they can do, Eddie calls his dad to pick them up.
Cassie and Scott feel super weird being in the same car that hit and killed a guy. Mr Katz asks them if he’s dropping them at home but Eddie wants them to come back to his place, they agree seeing that Eddie really needs them.
Mr Katz talks on the drive about Winks’ hit and run saying that the person who did it must have no conscience or remorse in their body and he’s disgusted and shocked. All three teens avoid looking at each other because he’s basically describing them. They all feel guilty and ashamed.
They arrive at Eddie’s and the three of then hang out by the car. Eddie says this is not a coincidence and that this has something to do with their hit and run, Scott and Cassie don’t believe its linked Eddie insists it must be. Cassie snaps at him telling him its once thing to be scared all the time but don’t be dumb. Eddie seems very hurt by these words. Eddie begs them to come inside, neither want to but go anyway. Why do these kids keep doing things they don’t want to do? [Wing: Eddie seriously needs better friends.]
They get to Eddie’s front door and there is an envelope waiting for them Eddie panics because this is where he found the hat. Didn’t his dad just go upstairs? Wouldn’t he have seen the envelope? Once again Cassie and Scott don’t think this is anything to be worried about and think Eddie is being paranoid. Eddie get better friends.
They open the envelope and it’s a message ‘One Down, Three To Go’ they all start panicking and Eddie says he knew Winks’ accident was connected, Cassie says there is something else in the envelope it’s a polaroid, Scott looks at it and freaks out. It’s a picture of Scott’s parents car and in the driver seat, smiling at the camera is Brand-T-Tinkers!
Brandt sounds like he’s decomposing nicely so that’s great I suppose. This is so gross. [Wing: I am dying.]
Cassie and Eddie look at Scott accusingly. Scott is all no way man not my fault. Eddie says Scott has a polaroid camera and its his family car. Scott is literally collapsing from the flu that seems to be getting worse every second but defends himself, he has no clue how the body got into his car but it wasn’t him.
Eddie says that Brandt-T-Tinkers is going to kill them all, Cassie tries to calm him down when Mr Katz opens the door, he invites them in but Cassie says she has to get Scott home, Eddie looks at her pleading with his eyes for her to stay but Cassie needs a break from this situation.
Cassie dumps Scott at his parents then heads home and goes straight to bed, she thinks about who could be doing this Scott is too caring and loving to want to hurt anyone, Eddie is too scared and Winks didn’t run himself over so who could it be? Cassie falls asleep but wakes up a few hours later, she knows who did it!
The next morning Cassie calls the hospital, there has been no change with Winks, she calls Scott but he’s in bed with a high fever and laryngitis, [Wing: Maybe don’t let your seriously ill child go to the damn hospital next time, Scott’s parents.] she calls Eddie but cant get through, she tries again and he answers on the first ring, he has also been in touch with the hospital.
Cassie asks if Jerry works on a Sunday, Eddie says he does why? Cassie says he is a prankster like Winks and she wants to ask him a few questions, Eddie freaks out defending Jerry saying he would never do anything to hurt anyone. Cassie calms him down and says she just wants to ask him about Brandt-T-Tinkers body since he would have been the last person to see it. Eddie says he will call Jerry and see if he is at work.
They hang up and a few minutes later Eddie calls back saying Jerry is at the morgue. Cassie says she is going to go and speak to Jerry. Eddie gets upset again saying he cant go because of homework and the morgue is cold and creepy. Cassie thinks Eddie sounds like a coward but doesn’t say anything. Eddie finally agrees to go.
Cassie heads downstairs and her mum asks if she is visiting Winks again, Cassie says yes. Her mum says that her dad wants to take her out to practise driving since her test is the next day, Cassie cannot believe she forgot about her drivers test. She tells her mum she will be back and definitely wants to practise. [Wing: Do you? Do you really?]
Cassie meets Eddie at the bus stop, Eddie is miserable and moody he doesn’t want to go to the morgue and is adamant that Jerry had nothing to do with this. Cassie explains that she doesn’t think Jerry ran Winks down she just wants to ask some questions that might help them figure out who did.
Eddie says the morgue is really creepy and after he went here one time he had nightmares for months. Eddie asks if she wants to visit Winks in hospital but Cassie says she cant as she is practising her driving with her dad for her test. Eddies test is the following Friday.
They get to the morgue, its unlocked and deserted, apparently only Jerry works on Sundays. They walk through the reception to the back, its smells of chemicals and decaying bodies. Eddie starts freaking out. Eddie you want to be a doctor you need to get used to this hon. They head into the sterile room and see Jerry lying on a table with his head in a pool of blood.
Eddie screams out for Jerry, Cassie yells then Jerry sits up grinning. It was all a prank. Again. Another prank. I’m so over the pranks.
Eddie looks like he is about to faint he sinks to the floor unable to stand up, Jerry bursts out laughing.
We get Jerry’s description he’s tall with long frizzy blonde hair that surrounds a smiling mischievous face, so the total opposite of Eddie then. Jerry says he does pranks to stop things being so depressing in the morgue. Ok but why do your pranks have to be so morbid?
Eddie is still on the floor he’s trying to talk but cant get his words out. Jerry is still laughing when he tells the teens he’s going to show them a real dead both, both Eddie and Cassie vehemently plead with him not to, Eddie goes so far as begging Jerry to stop but Jerry pulls one of the drawers open and there’s the partially nude body of an old dead man. The teens beg him to put it away as the smell hits them but Jerry is just an agent of chaos at this point, he grabs the dead guys feet and starts tickling them screaming ‘Tickle Tickle’ Cassie and Eddie want to throw up and again beg him to stop. Jerry, super bummed out no one wants to help him desecrate corpses, finally puts the body away. I hope Jerry loses his job.
Eddie says the smell is gross but Jerry says he is used to it and if you really want to be a doctor Eddie you’ll have to get used to it to. Jerry notices Eddie is still shaky and ask if he is ok. Eddie says he is fine he just wants to do what they need to do and go.
Jerry asks about Winks, they tell him Winks is stable but still unconscious, Cassie says she is going to visit later. Cassie you just told Eddie you couldn’t go because of driving practise. Bad job on the continuity Stine Bad job.
Jerry asks if the police know who did it, Cassie sort of brushes past these questions to ask about Brandt-T-Tinkers. Jerry is all ‘The disappearing corpse? Super weird right? Wtf was that about?’ Eddie looks ill at this and Jerry asks if he wants a glass of water or formaldehyde. Oh Jerry you’re so funny.
Eddie says Jerry said it was like the corpse walked away and Jerry agrees saying he wasn’t there when they brought the body in but he did see it and there was no way he could of walked out he said the body was definitely Not Ticklish, that must be Jerry’s Death Barometer. [Wing: Okay, I laughed.]
Jerry says maybe the guy was a zombie. Eddie wants to leave but Cassie pulls out the photo of Brandt-T-Tinkers behind the wheel of Scott’s family car, Jerry is super confused, Eddie cant believe Cassie brought the photo. Jerry asks how this happened but Cassie says that’s what they are asking him, Jerry has no clue what is happening. Cassie tells him there was a note saying one down, three to go. Jerry has gotten very serious and very confused. Eddie grabs the photo saying he wants to leave right now. Jerry says he will call Eddie later.
They get outside and Eddie apologises saying the smell was making him feel so ill he thought he was going to throw up. Cassie says its ok but she thinks Jerry knows something, Eddie says its more likely Jerry was worried about him but Cassie isn’t so sure she asks Eddie to find out what he can when Jerry calls him later.
Cassie practised driving with her dad, even though she did great he was super nervous and kept slamming his foot on an imaginary break. Afterwards he tells her he thinks she will pass. After driving her dad does drop her off at the hospital…I’ll let this one slide Stine. There’s good news Winks is awake aside from his injuries he was alert and talking and could go home in a few days. Cassie is really happy for Winks and his family. Winks still couldn’t have visitors so Cassie called her dad to pick her up.
At home, her parents went to bed early so Cassie decided to get some homework done. She’s sitting in her room when she hears a noise from outside, it’s a scratching sound, she looks out the window and sees someone running across her yard away from her back door. Cassie heads downstairs scared and nervous, should she open the back door? Did someone leave something there? Did someone try to break in? Cassie this is not a zombie, you have a prowler, wake your parents and call the police.
Cassie opens the back door and finds nothing, she looks around and sees a branch from a tree scraping the side of the house, she is relieved and turns to go back in when she sees a brown envelope tucked in the side of the back door. Cassie grabs the envelope and runs upstairs. She gets into bed and opens it, first she sees a polaroid its Brandt-T-Tinkers he’s at her back door his hand on the door knob. Cassie thinks that he’s alive even though in the picture he is clearly a dead, decaying body. [Wing: Maybe she really does believe in zombies.]
Cassie thinks it was him she saw running in her garden. Cassie no. Cassie sees a note with the polaroid it says You’re Next. Cassie needs to talk to someone but Eddie will not be able to deal so she calls Scott’s house. Scott’s mum says he is too ill to answer the phone. Cassie begs her saying she just needs one minute to talk to him. Scott’s mum goes to get him but comes back on the line saying Scott isn’t there!
The next day Cassie walks to school in the rain its cold and miserable. A black car follows her, she runs and the car speeds up, she falls and the car jumps the curb heading straight for her Brandt-T-Tinkers is behind the wheel repeating her name ‘Cassie. Cassie, Cassie’ the car runs over her body once, twice.
Suddenly Cassie wakes up her mum is in her room calling her name. Her mum says she has been trying to wake her for hours but she wouldn’t move. I mean if I had been trying to wake someone for hours and they wouldn’t move Id call an ambulance. Her mum tells her she will be late for school.
Cassie says she had a rough time trying to get to sleep and her mum leaves her to get ready. Cassie’s mind is going a mile a minute all the evidence was pointing to Scott but it couldn’t be Scott she told herself it just couldn’t. She went through everything in her head the polaroid’s, Scott had a polaroid, the corpse was in his car, he was supposedly ill but wasn’t in his bed last night. Cassie tries calling his house but the phone just rings out.
Cassie gets to school later than usual she sees Eddie but he is in a rush, she tells him she knows who is doing all of this but Eddie is too busy trying to get to class and tells her he will talk to her later.
Cassie has her driving test, she is surprised her instructor is a young woman who makes her feel immediately at ease, the test is over almost before it began and Cassie passed. The instructor congratulates her and tells her to drive safe.
Cassie cannot believe she passed, she was able to forget everything that had happened and just focus but as soon as the instructor told her to drive safe it all came flooding back. Her parents ask why she isn’t more excited and Cassie lies saying she still doesn’t believe it. She heads up to her room intent on calling Scott when Eddie calls, he asks about her test and she tells him she passed, he says his mum told him he could practise with Cassie if she passed, Cassie really wants to go to bed but Eddie begs her to go out with him as its his last chance to practise before his test on Friday.
Eddie its only Monday you have plenty of time.
Eddie reminds her that she wanted to talk to him so, reluctantly, Cassie agrees but says it will only be for a short time as she is knackered. Cassie tries calling Scott one more time before she goes but all she gets is a busy signal. Cassie walks to Eddies. Wait they are taking his car? She isn’t insured on his car right? His parents are just going to let her drive their car? Ah his parents aren’t home ok so another car stealing moment.
Eddie drives them to route 12, Cassie tells him that she is really tired so they need to make is a quick practise. Eddie is super hyped and excited about this practise. Eddie said he talked to Winks and he seemed in good spirits and healing up well, Cassie is really happy to hear this, Cassie corrects some of Eddies driving as he’s too excited and not paying attention. Eddie asks who Cassie thinks is behind everything, Cassie tells him her theory about Scott, Eddie is just saying that he doesn’t think Scott would ever hurt Winks when the hear gunfire and an explosion rocks the car, they scream and Eddie careens out of control.
They sit in silence for a minute then Cassie says she thinks Eddie’s tire blew, Eddie is confused. Cassie gets out and sure enough one of the tires is flat. Eddie is still in the car staring straight ahead. Cassie calls him to help her, Eddie is acting strange, he’s not really with it. Cassie says its easy to fix and they can change it quickly but Eddie just keeps saying no, Cassie thinks maybe Eddie is still in a bit of shock over the blown tire and admits to herself it was scary but they need to fix the tire now, she tells Eddie to get the spare out of the trunk but Eddie says no so she opens the trunk before Eddie can stop her and starts screaming.
Neatly folded in the trunk is Brandt-T-Tinkers. Neatly folded!? [Wing: D Y I N G.]
Brandt is not looking good, his skin is grey and green and peeling away from his skull, his mouth is a distorted smile and some of the stiches have popped open. Cassie screams and looks at Eddie, it has been him all along.
Are we surprised? Is anyone surprised? The kid who has been beaten down and bullied to the point of mental exhaustion, the kid who is constantly in flight or flight mode, who’s adrenaline is through the roof 24/7, the kid who has been pranked to death? Is anyone surprised? I clocked this in the first chapter. So yeah Eddie is the Muffin Man.
Cassie asks Eddie if this is real, has it all been him? Eddie apologises saying he wasn’t ready for Cassie yet and this wasn’t meant to happen yet. Cassie asks why and Eddie says it was all meant to be a joke, it started as a joke. Cassie asks what he means Eddie monotones that everyone hates him, no one cares about him, Cassie disagrees but Eddie cuts her off saying that everyone does hate him and they show it by playing pranks on him all the time, they call him Scaredy Katz, they laugh at him, he never gets break.
Cassie realises how deeply the jokes and pranks have hurt Eddie and how cruel they have all been.
Eddie said he just wanted to show his so called friends what it was like to feel terrified and scared all the time, never knowing when the next scare or prank was coming from. Eddie says that it was the perfect prank he borrowed the corpse from Jerry, Cassie cuts him off asking what he means, Eddie says that Brandt-T-Tinkers had been dead for days, he was so stiff he stood up on his own. Cassie feels weak, all that time spent feeling guilty and ashamed and Brandt had been dead the whole time.
That’s doesn’t matter Cassie! You still stole a car and drove recklessly! This does not absolve your stupid choice you could have actually killed someone.
It turns out Jerry was in on it, he set up the corpse who is actually some homeless guy that no one claimed. Oh well that’s fine then Eddie, you can use a dead body for your own personal plaything as long as he was homeless and no one cared enough to claim him, its not like he was a person with thoughts, feelings and emotions, homeless people are just vessels for us to use how we see fit right?
Eddie wanted to make them all believe the corpse was coming back for them but they were too smart and knew it must have been someone so he decided to make it worse by running over Winks and paying them all back for their jokes on him, all the times they scared him, laughed at him, made him feel weak. Eddie yells that ‘Scaredy Katz got Winks and now its Your turn Cassie!’
Cassie tries to think of any way she can reason with Eddie but he pulls a tire iron out of the trunk and lunges at her, he stops last minute and tells her he is going to give her a chance he screams at her to run, Cassie looks around all there she can see is dark countryside, she starts to run down the highway as Eddie screams at her to run.
Suddenly the screaming stops and all Cassie can hear is her sneakers hitting the floor, then the engine roars to life.
Cassie looks over her shoulder Eddie is behind the wheel, he’s going to run her down, Cassie runs faster but she can hear the car gaining on her, the flump of the blown tire hitting the floor. The sound gets louder and louder as the car gets closer and closer all Cassie can think is that she is going to get hit, the car roars behind her so close and she hears the crash of metal, Cassie freezes and braces herself waiting for the pain but it never comes, she opens her eyes and see that another car, a silver Volvo, has crashed into Eddie’s car.
It’s Scott’s car!
Scott gets out and runs to Cassie he grabs her in a hug checking she is ok Cassie tells Scott it was Eddie, Scott already knows, at this point Cassie notices Jerry getting out of Scott’s car and going to help Eddie get out the car. Eddie is dazed and asks what’s going on Jerry grabs Eddie out of his car and yells that it was supposed to be a joke, just a dumb joke, no one was supposed to get hurt or run over, Eddie says it was a big joke. Jerry looks at Eddie saying that people got hurt and Winks was his friend, Eddie shoots back that none of them are his friends.
Cassie asks how they knew where she was Scott tells her that Jerry called him worried about Eddie, see when Jerry saw the polaroid he was confused and knew something was and Eddie was taking things further than he realised, Jerry had been trying to get in touch with Eddie since then, but Eddie had been avoiding him.
Jerry called Scott who called Cassie only to find out she was driving with Eddie; Scott took a guess they would be on route 12.
Cassie is happy they turned up but then eyes Scott asking where he was last night when she called and his mum said he was missing, Scott cuts her off telling her he was sleepwalking, apparently, he does that when he has a fever, his mum found him in the garage, when Cassie called the next morning they had already left to go to the doctors.
Jerry calls Scott weird, ok so sleepwalking is WEIRD but giving bodies and body parts to 16-year-olds to mess with however they want is normal?
Eddie is struggling trying to get away from Jerry, but Jerry tells him they are taking him to get the help he needs, Eddie is adamant he doesn’t need help. I beg to differ. They have to take Scott’s car since Eddie’s is messed up, Cassie remembers the body is in the trunk (It’s so funny it called a trunk in the UK we call it the boot) Jerry wants to put it in Scott’s trunk and return it to the morgue, Scott reluctantly agrees but when they open the trunk the body is gone!
Two weeks later they are all chilling at Wink’s house, without Eddie. Winks is still in pretty bad shape, but he can finally move about a bit, he is asking if they really never found the body, they never did and Eddie is apparently convinced Tinkers is alive…but that makes no sense Eddie was pretty open that he knew Tinkers was dead and he was using the body to make them think he was alive so they would get scared. Oh Stine, get it together.
Jerry says that Eddie is getting help from good doctors. Winks is still puzzling over the body walking away, Jerry makes a joke about have groaners and moaners but never walkers. Winks asks for another eye, but Jerry says he will not be giving away anymore body parts. Scott mentions he has his drivers test…Scott was driving when they crashed into Eddie did they lie and say it was Jerry?
Anyway, Winks says he will be getting the bus until he’s fully healed. Scott says he’s needs to get some sleep, so they all decide to call it a night, they walk to the door saying goodbye, Winks opens the door and they all scream in horror Brandt-T-Tinkers in all his decaying glory is standing there, most of the skin on his face is peeling off showing his skull underneath, I can’t even imagine what the rest of this poor dudes looks like or the smell.
Jerry burst out laughing saying that he went back and found the body in the open field, Eddie must have got rid of it before he went after Cassie, Jerry says he couldn’t resist one last prank, Cassie and Scott chase Jerry outside laughing, Winks giggles and calls out to his parents that someone at the door wants to meet them.
Well. I hated this book. I just had a huge issue with the corpse abuse and there were too many plot holes, like how was Eddie hiding this body? It was described as fairly decomposed so wouldn’t his parents smell it if he was keeping it in the car? Why was Jerry so happy to hand out bodies and body parts like candy? Surely there would be repercussion for the abuse of a corpse? Like Jerry must have lost his job, right? What happened to Eddie? Saying he’s got good doctors doesn’t tell us anything, were the police ever involved? How did his parents react? How did all the parents react when they found out their kids were joy riding and MESSING ABOUT WITH DEAD BODIES!?
I just couldn’t with this book, the kids repeatedly made stupid decisions, the illegal driving sessions made me angry and sad, the whole body being used as a prop was gross, the characters were barely formed just lightly sketched, Stine was telling us things about these characters but didn’t actually show this in writing these characters, so we never actually got a fully formed character, Stine dropped the ball a few times and contradicted himself. Plus, the constant, nonstop bullying of Eddie was hard to read, this poor kid was traumatised daily, and I was totally behind him when he decided to go on a rampage I just wish he hasn’t used some poor dead guy to do it.
Also, the name Brandt-T-Tinkers is the dumbest effing name I have ever heard and that should have been the first clue for these idiots that something was up.
[Wing: This recap had me dying with laughter far too many times but it’s only because of the recap itself, not the book. The book was terrible.]