EP 3: CURIOSITY VOYAGE (STRANGER FILES AND THINGS)
Dustin has found a precious little demogorgon in a trashcan, and is embarking on a curiosity voyage to answer questions like: should I definitely keep this tiny monster I found in the garbage? Should I definitely keep it secret from my friends whom I have repeatedly sworn to never keep secrets from or else we could all die faster? Does it like nougat?
Dustin knows that a serious curiosity voyage begins at the library. In real life, it would be illegal to share library borrowing information. (Pushes glasses up nose.) However, this is not real life. This is a crazy Upside Down world where Radio Shack is still in business. So, let’s look through the Library Records File to see what our favorite characters have been reading.
Dustin, of course, got his hands on some science and checked out The Encyclopedia Field Guide Compendium of Midwestern Trash Reptiles by Dr. Stewart Anaconda. It is full of details that answer all of Dusty’s questions about vampire pollywogs, including a diagram of how to gently extract a tiny trash monster from its garbage home, and a list of acceptable scientific lies to tell your panicked friends when it escapes (“Latin will confuse them!”). The appendix lists all of the monster movies that could have told you everything you really need to know-- yes, you, Dustin-- about what not to do. Oh well, too late. At least he’s reading.
Sheriff Hopper, hard at work tracing the source of rancid evil, stopped by the library to get a copy of the Hawkins City Directory. It’s a quick read, since there are only four businesses and three to five houses in town, but they added a nice title page that says “Hawkins...Pretty Good for Indiana.” I can picture Hop, sweating and swearing as he thumbs through the two pages, then gritting his teeth in triumph when he gets to the entry for “Emanations, Evil” and it says, “It’s always the lab. Are you serious? You’re tracing a map? It’s the lab.” Below is a picture of the lab, with a giant red arrow pointing at it, and a caption: “Like we said, it’s always the lab. Idiot.” Good work, Hop!
Eleven doesn’t have a library card, so while he was there Hopper grabbed something to try to cheer her up. It’s a copy of Backwoods You is the Best You by Amy Sedaris. It’s full of recipes, but don’t call it a cookbook, it’s so much more. A lifestyle guide, really. Perfect for misfits who want to hole up in a condemned cabin with a little flair. Just because you’re living a shadow life doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself! Of course you want your boobytraps to be invisible, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be spritzed with a bit of homemade potpourri water. Discover the layers that make your Triple Decker Eggo Extravaganza uniquely yours. Whipped cream? Brie? Reese’s smashed in remorse by a middle-aged man-hand? This book also comes with a Jim Croce cassette tape and suggested montage pairings for maximum lifestyling.
Steve has been making his way through the hit fiction series De-wolfed Teen Wolf by Daphne Coquille, an ongoing saga about a teenage boy who was once a werewolf but then got cured so he could focus better on basketball. What’s left without the werewolf, you ask? Oh, plenty. Basketball, sweat, hair, boys, feelings, and short shorts. Steve just finished De-wolfed Teen Wolf #14: New Teen in Town. The de-wolfed protagonist, a rough but passionate b-baller who wants to improve his skills so bad, battles the antagonist, a rough but passionate b-baller who’s new to school. Is there room for both of them? Will they finally make up and hug it out in the locker room? The dreamy cover shows the shirtless new teen above his signature catchphrase: “I only play skins.” As Steve reads, he decides that having a girlfriend, is, in fact, in the words of his onetime lady friend, “bullshit.”
Will hasn’t been in the mood to read, but Bob wanted to bond so he casually left a copy of his children’s book on the table while yawning inconspicuously and humming “Islands in the Stream.” Mr. Baldo Walks You Through the Night by Bob Newby is an illustrated guide to conquering bullies by following Mr. Baldo down dark alleys. “Is the bully HERE?” Mr. Baldo asks on each page, as he leads you behind dumpsters and into abandoned warehouses. To add to the suspense, it’s a maybe pop-up book. Things may pop up. They may not. Just keep turning the page, Will. What could possibly go wrong? Recommended for children aged three and up, available at Radio Shack.
For the last book--
Sorry, library lady. Look over there.
Now, where were we?
Oh yes. Joyce. Joyce Joyce Joyce. Quite a reader, that one. Most recently she borrowed Manage Your Family the Sharon Michaels-McQueen Way by Sharon Michaels-McQueen, CEO, Family Management Systems. Sharon Michaels-McQueen knows that with Ronald Reagan as a role model, it seems like anything goes, and it’s hard to reign in those adolescent boys. Nothing a woman in shoulder pads can’t fix. Sharon teaches you how to investigate your kid’s secrets with various crayon techniques (Joyce favors the technique of pausing the camcorder and doing a grave rubbing of the image on the TV) and encourages you to come up with a power mantra. It’s a womanifesto for jacked up moms everywhere. Mrs. Holland and Mrs. Wheeler would love to check it out, but Joyce has renewed it indefinitely. Joyce has also scribbled madly all over this copy. Her notes start in the worksheet section, but continue into the index with indecipherable runes and underlined repetitions of her power mantra, “Don’t tell ME that AV club is cancelled. DON’T TELL ME that AV club is CANCELLED. I AM THE MOTHER. DON’T. TELL. ME”-- then it runs off the page, but picks up on her kitchen wall.
Let’s hear it for literacy! Who knows what danger lurks in the card catalog...but it’s definitely stranger.