Good morning, kiddos. Let’s take a look back at chapter eleven of Bad Town For A Pretty Face: New York. As always make sure you’re caught up before you scroll down or you’ll be hit with a few spoilers!
We’re with Brienne! And she doesn’t know how to drive, which might seem weird to some of you but is very common with us city-slickers (I was still learning at nineteen). I feel like nineteen in the midwest (where I am living now) is driving, a job, school, first apartment, serious relationship, married with kids in a couple years. But all the youth are fucking broke in New York and live with our parents until we’re like 26. Who can afford a car, and who needs one when you can either walk or bum a ride? None of us have to walk past pastures and corn fields. I’m starting to sound defensive actually but I’m just explaining our weird societal differences. Anyways—
We’re with Brienne! Who needs to leave New York (with someone else at the wheel). Astor seems to have made the decision for her, but they’re clearly on the same page even if Wendy is pleading to be caught up. She’s as confused about the Monet message she got as you guys probably are, until we find out Monet is actually Aunt Monet in Chicago, one of the three biggest cities of crime in the country. Whoa! Looks like ya girl here is doing some real writing, building plot and shit! It happens every once in awhile, you’d be surprised.
As mentioned last chapter, it’s really bad news that Tate fucked with one of the big three, seeing as they’re the three most powerful criminals in the country. I was formulating this idea based on what a heavy hitter Verene was in New Orleans: she was so much more powerful than Feb that at the time I thought, hey, why not set her and a few others a grade above the rest? Why not name a few infamously crime-infested cities as HQ for the three biggest and baddest ladies in the story? If you’re not American don’t feel free to commend my thinking here since all of these cities are legendary levels of Bad.
But pause the new information, we need to thank Wendy for the wonderful job she did. Kudos, Wendy! She really took a licking, even if Astor is visibly upset that she had to. As such a good ally she’s privy to more sensitive information now — like the fact that Verene wouldn’t be able to help them even if they weren’t suspect by association with Tate. She’s too busy getting Mirabelle back to Miami, a fact everyone including the readers knew except Wendy. Usually catching characters up is boring, but Wendy’s fangirling the fuck out so we get some enjoyment from Eyana’s only partially joking sense of betrayal. She worries for a minute that she’s gone overboard, she didn’t read the room so great, but is flattered when Astor insists it’s okay to be herself. Even if Wendy doesn’t have a full grasp of what’s socially appropriate and when she should give everyone a minute to, ya know, deal with the fact that their friend and leader betrayed them, but I don’t really want to call that a negative. It’s just who she is, and I want those in her life to be quick to reassure her that she’s in good company.
I just remembered this is the first time a gang gets betrayed since Las Vegas! Obviously it’s a little different, but it’s fun to have all the drama back in the gang, sort of. Tate’s so shadowy that the connection is initially hidden from Wendy and therefore the readers, but you’re quick to understand that this isn’t Aidy working with a highly incompetent police force: Tate is a Fucking Powerhouse. She can really fuck this team up.
But back to Monet. Yes, I got the name from the teen comedy Clueless. Pulled it right out the Name List™. Go watch that movie whether or not you’ve forgotten that line. Ignore her weird relationship with Paul Rudd. Turns out Monet’s old, frail, maybe even sick. She wants to retire, and she’s called Brienne home to compete with several other girls for the position. That’s definitely a set-up for the next Bad Town book if Brienne survives this one (dun dun DUN). She’s in a precarious position seeing as Tate knows she could be the future heiress of Chicago and is in fact running point on the whole operation. In Tate’s hands she could be powerful leverage, while at the same time her eccentric aunt may not be so fond of all the New York drama, enough to cut ties. So even though Brienne has time before she has to go, Astor knows for her safety and her future she needs to escape Tate quickly.
So the group heads for the Holland Tunnel, aka the closest path to New Jersey from MSG. Brienne promises her friends in the backseat that she wasn’t going to keep them in the dark forever, but they both understand and they have maybe five seconds of bonding time before Wendy lets everyone know they’re being followed. Of course! You think I was going to make it easy for them? Astor is forced to swerve into a cash lane since Wendy doesn’t have an EZ Pass (a pass you put on your windshield to drive through a toll without stopping, non-Americans, but hopefully I did a decent job explaining that in-text), but the two black SUVs follow along. In a last ditch effort Astor tells the toll lady collecting the cash that the people behind them are moving coke, but she’s from New Jersey and completely dismisses them. Gotta love our neighbors.
So Astor heads through, and this becomes the first Bad Town story to cross state lines, however briefly! Oh New Jersey. I know you’re often shit on, especially by us New Yorkers, but I have a great love in my heart for you. Your hatred of your own former Governor Chris Christie, your incessant and false claims to the Statue of Liberty, and your contributions to insane Northeastern American accents fill my heart with affection. (Also you’re the birthplace of My Chemical Romance, so thanks for that). Unfortunately they’re quickly surrounded in the tunnel now clogged with traffic, which means Astor has no way forward, but if she uses Wendy’s car as a battery ram (taking a page out of Riley’s book there) she can make room for a way back. Shots are soon fired between the groups — I had to check but it turns out Eyana was being a scoundrel and decided to shoot first — and things get bloody quickly, but we get a miraculous escape this time around.
Astor ends up having to abandon Wendy’s car and steal, ya know, one she didn’t just destroy, which means she’s got to lug bodies out of one of those SUVs and the rest of them have to grab the shit they risked Cleo and Brienne’s lives for in the apartment and haul it over. They all scramble to get in the car and it’s absolute chaos the whole time, with bullets whizzing and civilians getting everywhere but especially in the way. Somehow Astor is able to drive out the tunnel from the side they entered, still in New York, and Wendy directs her to go south, wrapping up the chapter with a lot of questions and no answers. Where are they going? What will Brienne do now? Are they being followed? Did Tate really just order these guys to shoot at her friends? Eyana shot first, after all. There’s a lot for them to ruminate on next chapter, so you guys will have to check it out to get their reactions. Thanks for reading!