Goosebumps #41 – “Bad Hare Day”

via Fantastic Fiction

Well, well, well… Didn’t think I’d be seeing you again.

I’m happy to say that I’m going to be doing my damndest to get back to doing regular recaps. The last few months have been a little nutty–

Whoever wants to hear about my adventures flunking grad school, raise your hands!

Anybody? No? Bueller? Bueller?

–but I’ve missed this blog and my super funny, super snarky, hella awesome readers more than I can say. With all that mushiness out of the way, let’s get it on!

Back-Cover Blurb:

Pick a scare. Any scare.

Trick cards, floating scarves, disappearing doves. Tim Swanson loves magic tricks. Someday he wants to be a real magician. Just like his all-time favorite hero, Amaz-O.

But then Tim goes to Amaz-O’s show. And he finds out his idol is a total grump. That’s when Tim decides to steal the back of tricks. Amaz-O’s back of secret tricks. Scary tricks.

The one with the multiplying red balls. (That’s what she said!)

And all those hissing snakes…


We meet our hero, Tim, after school as he’s trying out some new magic tricks in front of his class, right outside the elementary school. It doesn’t go well… Not only is Tim kind of crap as a magician, his rude little sister, Ginny, keeps offing everything up.

What is up with Stine and the bratty younger sisters? I remember a lot of annoying younger female sibs, but I don’t recall any heinous male siblings. Am I missing something here? Let’s just assume that Stine has something akin to a Mommy Complex, except not. Would we call that a Sissy Complex?

Anyway, Ginny comes in and busts the party, telling everyone the secrets of Tim’s special card tricks. She also reveals the secret of his linking rings trick, which is just so damn uncool. I preferred to think it was real magic, dammit. I’d much rather think that this guy here:

…is a sorcerer, instead of some two-penny charlatan.

Now that Ginny has spoiled magic tricks for me, I’ll never be able to look David Copperfield in the eye again.

"Forgive me, Quimby."

Suck it, Copperfield.

Oh, and Ginny knows karate, so she physically abuses Tim on a regular basis. I can’t blame Tim for being a little annoyed by this, but I have to admit that her karate chops are the only things that keep Tim’s show from being a total failure. Right after Ginny ruins Tim’s magic tricks, she beats him up in front of everyone, all to the amusement of his classmates.


So now that we’ve established that Ginny is a bastard, Tim tells us a little bit about his magical aspirations and his desire to buy some new equipment to turn his lame-ass show around. Turns out his act keeps falling flat not just because of his evil younger sister, but also because his equipment isn’t so great. I guess you need more than just a pair of striking eyebrows to be a magician these days.

"Damn, I'm in trouble..."

Tim and his bestie, Foz, stop by the local magic shop to browse the selection. While the owner, Mr. Malik, complains that the kids never buy anything, the reader is treated to several gory “magic” tricks involving fake swords, guillotines, and general bloody mayhem. I really wish someone WOULD cut a limb off. These chapters read like magic porn…

{insert Harry Potter “wand” joke here}

But we’re in luck! Mr. Malik gives Tim two tickets to a special show at the Magic Mansion, staring Amaz-O himself! Yay!

Tim wants to take Foz, but–

Okay, hold on a second. The book describes Foz as sort of chubby and unkempt, but am I the only one who’s thinking of this?

Please tell me I’m not the only Muppets fan here. There’s only so low you can sink when your hobby is recapping 90’s children’s books, but I’m pretty sure I’d lose at least one Cool Point if no one else is reading this and thinking, “Wakka wakka wakka…”

Right. Sorry… Moving on.

Tim wants to take Foz, but he can’t because the magic show is at 10PM–on a school night! Oh noes! Foz’s folks certainly won’t let him go, and it looks like Tim’s ‘rents also have a small problem with their son going alone to a night club, which is like… really? You’re not going to just GO with your kid to the smoke-filled lounge, you’re going to make him go unescorted?

It’s implied that the Midnight Mansion is just for grown-ups, which is sort of cool, actually. If they opened up a night club that featured magicians, I would totally party there. I can’t get into Club Hyde with Lindsay Lohan and the Hilton sisters, but I’m pretty sure I could grab a booth at a magic show. I’m sure everything will appear much more impressive after I’ve had a few shots.

So Tim’s not going to get to see his idol tomorrow night, even though they’re in the same town and Amaz-O is only a short bike ride away. Ay dios mio! What’s a kid to do?

Sneak out, that’s what. I like how your mind works, Tim.

It works out very conveniently, too. Tim’s mother (a teacher who clearly despises children) is so tired after a long day wrestling regrets that she comes home and immediately sends the children to bed since she can’t stand the sight of them.

Paging Betty Draper…

"Didn't I tell you to go to bed?!"

After the recap, okay? Jeez.

Anyway, on his way out of the house, nasty little Ginny catches Tim and demands to come to the show, too. Brat. Tim has no choice but to bring her.

Once we get to the Magic Mansion, we have a rare cameo from a responsible adult! The ticket taker is rather suspicious of the two unescorted children attending a night club show, but the kids make some excuse about their parents being busy with parking the car, and the ticket guy lets them in.

So here we are at Amaz-O’s show! It’s just as awesome as Tim expected. Lots of crap that disappears and reappears, stuff getting sawed in half, various kinds of animals being used as props. Oooh… Do I smell a PETA protest in the making?

Silly, Amaz-O! You can only use WOMEN as props, not animals! Everyone knows that.

Oh, and the magic show gets even more awesome when Amaz-O picks our boy, Tim, as his volunteer from the audience. If that ever happened to me, I’d probably pee my pants and try to pretend I did it on purpose, but Tim is a seasoned professional. He gets up onstage, climbs into a special box, and handles it like a trooper when the bottom falls out underneath him so he can “disappear.”

He finds himself downstairs, in the basement, on top of an old mattress. Sounds like my Friday night. Haha.

Yeah, not really. Most of the time, I’m just reading 90s books or watching Strangers with Candy.

From below, Tim can hear the sounds of the magic show finishing up. The audience leaves and the theatre turns quiet, and Tim is left wondering, WTF? If it were me, I’d be thinking that I was going to be sold into slavery or something. In this case, “disappearing” is actually just a metaphor.

Tim wanders outside, calling out for somebody. Anybody. Where’s the responsible ticket-taker guy? He would know what to do…

Eventually, Tim finds Amaz-O’s dressing room and is super-excited to (possibly) hang out with his hero. He knocks on the door and starts to peek in, but is interrupted when a rude voice yells at him to bugger off.

If Tim gets kidnapped tonight, I hope his parents sue Amaz-O for like… reckless endangerment or something. I don’t know. Whatever. So Tim is pissed off. He leaves, but along the way, he finds Amaz-O’s magic bag full of equipment. Sweet! Naturally, he decides to steal it because… like…

I don’t know. Just go with it, okay? Let’s all pretend that nobody’s going to be suspicious when he suddenly shows up with a bunch of $1000 magic tricks. I’m sure his parents will be too busy drinking cocktails and talking about Kennedy to notice.

But even this victory must be marred by Ginny. Ugh, I really hate that kid. She insists that Tim has to share the magic tricks with her, or else she’ll tell Mom. And Ginny is such a little snitch that she tells Mom HERSELF, all because Tim played with the magic bag before letting her look through it.


Luckily, Mom is too distracted to give a crap about her children sneaking out and stealing stuff. Sweet! Distracted parents are awesome sometimes.

Later on, Tim, Ginny, and Foz–

…are up in the attic, ready to play with all the new magic stuff. And Amaz-O’s bag is pretty awesome–it’s got lots of stuff that Tim could never afford, like a Shell Game and a magic wand and a top hat and–


Okay, hear me out. The items really are enchanted. I think. The shell game (where you try to find a ball underneath several shells) starts going haywire, with red balls bursting out of the shells and flying everywhere. (That’s what she said.) And doves keep flying out of the top hat and (probably) pooping all over Grandma’s wedding dress!

Again with the animals as props. WOMEN are props, Stine, not doves.

See, PETA gets it. Why can’t you?

The kids run outside and try to figure out their next move. In the meantime, Ginny takes two bites from a carrot that fell out of the magic bag, at which point she turns into a bunny. And not a cute one, either. She just sort of hops around making angry noises and generally being as big a pain in the ass as her human self.

Tim and Foz haul ass down to the Magic Mansion to get some help from Amaz-O, but RUH-ROH! It’s closed!

Time for some breaking and entering. Sort of. The guys manage to get in via a conveniently unlocked back door. I hope they don’t run into any homeless guys looking for a place to chillax.

Rabbit-Ginny in hand, they find Amaz-O’s dressing room and barge in despite Amaz-O’s angry cries for them to GTFO. Tim tries to talk Amaz-O into helping, but…

Wait for it…

Amaz-O is a puppet! And not in an existential way, either. he’s a life-sized doll! Freaky, dude. At least he’s not one of those life-sized silicone sex dolls, though. He’s just a perfectly innocent mechanical robot being used as a front for a talking bunny. See? Totally makes sense.

Apparently, the real Amaz-O is actually the white rabbit used in his act. Several years ago, he was turned into a bunny by a jealous sorcerer (which is different from a magician) and now, Amaz-O is stuck like this for the next… oh… 9-12 years, according to Google. He can’t turn himself back because he doesn’t have that kind of power, so he decided to have a special robot built in his likeness so he could continue his act.

This raises a few questions in my mind, specifically: who the hell would do business with a RABBIT? Somebody had to have known they were talking to a bunny, at some point. He can’t exactly use a mouse, so internet orders are out. And he certainly can’t dial a phone with those paws. So what gives? Maybe Amaz-O’s got a human assistant somewhere. I don’t know.

The good news is, since Ginny only took two bites of the magic carrot, then she should return to a normal girl within a few hours. I’m wondering why Amaz-O has magic carrots around… wouldn’t he be tempted to eat them and turn more, umm, rabbity?

Tim asks Foz to take Ginny home and keep her safe until she turns human again. Meanwhile, Tim hangs back to talk with his hero. He tells Amaz-O that it’s always been his dream to be a magician, adored by millions, just like Amaz-O. Amaz-O suddenly takes an interest in Tim, telling him how impressive it was that Tim handled the magic trick so well the other night.

Amaz-O offers Tim a spot in his act, and Tim gleefully accepts. He can’t wait to be out there with Bunny Amaz-O, wowing audiences every night!

Um, yeah, not so much. Turns out, Amaz-O didn’t want Tim to replace the robot–he wants Tim to replace the bunny so that Amaz-O can finally retire to a luxurious rabbit hutch down in Boca. The book ends with Tim performing in Amaz-O’s show alongside the robot, thrilled to be performing in front of such an appreciative audience.

Quotable Quotes:

“You’re not a magician,” Foz said. “You’re a rabbit.”
The rabbit’s ears twisted. “Duh. You guys are really quick. You know that?”
“You don’t have to be so mean,” I protested.
“YOU don’t have to be so stupid,” the rabbit replied.

Haha. Does anyone else imagine Bunny Amaz-O talking with a smoker’s voice?

The Moral of the Story:

If you want to be a magician, go for something with a more minimal approach. You don’t need fancy equipment or magical carrots. Just a set of big eyebrows and a willingness to dye your hair black. See also: Angel, Criss.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Goosebumps, Personal Crap, Questionable Parenting
8 comments on “Goosebumps #41 – “Bad Hare Day”
  1. Shannon says:

    You’re back!!!!! I’ve missed you!

    You’re definitely not the only one thinking, “wakka wakka wakka.” Foz? Really?

  2. Albert says:

    Could you ever look David Copperfield in the eye before this? Dude is creepy.

    Glad I could inspire you to get back into recapping!

  3. Fear Street says:

    I missed this blog, too.

    How does someone get the nickname FOZ? I’m surprised the poor kid didn’t get his ass kicked every other chapter.

    This was one of the few Goosebumps books I really hated as a kid. Amaz-O sucks easter eggs.

  4. Sada says:

    I’m trying to decide whether I’d rather do business with a possessed rabbit or Criss Angel. I’m very torn.

    This was hilarious. So glad you’re back!

  5. R. G. Quimby says:

    You guys. See, this is why I blog. The adulation, the fame, the fast money and the cheap thrills.

    Seriously, though. I was getting tired of just stalking everybody else’s blogs. 🙂

    Oh, BTW, regarding the whole “Foz” situation… I checked my book again, and it looks like Foz’s real name is “Foster.” Not sure if I’d prefer to be named after a muppet, but I guess it’s more bad-ass than Foster?

  6. Megan says:

    Yay you’re back! I just want to say that I was watching this episode on tv like a year ago and I was so surprised by that little bunny’s (aka Amaz-O) sarcasm! Like with the quote you put, I was cracking up haha. I thought it was a kid’s book/show, no need to be so cynical, R.L.

  7. R. G. Quimby says:

    Huh. I didn’t realize this was made into a TV ep, though I should probably not be surprised. I’m going to have to find this on YouTube or something so we can all watch the rabbit with a smoker’s cough…

  8. The Tooter says:

    Blogger Beware is much better than this blog.

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