More Than Human Summary
We know this book can be confusing and fragmentary, so that's why
we're giving you the gist right here, right now. The novel breaks down
into three parts. The first gives us a) the beginnings of the lonely
weirdos who come together to form the gestalt, the unique life form that's the subject of the novel, and b) the Kew family, its foil or opposite.
the idiot, hears the telepathic call of Evelyn Kew, an innocent. They
have this emotional merging of love—but not sex! We know where your mind
is!—that gets them attacked by her insane father Mr. Kew. Evelyn dies,
and the injured Lone escapes to be rescued by the farming couple Mr. and
Mrs. Prodd. But not without first commanding, with his probing
mind-power, Mr. Kew to kill himself.
We also meet Alicia Kew, who
gets rescued now that the Kew mansion is empty of everyone else. Her
sadistic father's anti-sex philosophy has taught her to fear the naked,
but after therapy, she dances nude in the sun.
The farming couple
helps Lone to learn to talk, but he decides he's not experiencing the
true belonging he felt with Evelyn, so he goes off into the woods to
create a shelter and be alone.
But then some young kids—Janie, a
telekineticist (she can move things with her mind), and the black twins
Bonnie and Beanie, who are teleports (they can warp from location to location)—move
into his shelter after running away from their lonely lives. Lone
kidnaps Baby for the group after the Prodds go mad over the strange
infant's birth. Baby has the mind-power of super-computing.
group builds an anti-gravity generator to help Mr. Prodd with his stuck
truck, but Lone has to leave it on the farm because the farmer's left.
1 concludes with Lone having a philosophical conversation with Baby
about who he is. The infant explains that they belong together as a single
creature: Lone the head to direct, Janie the body to care and repair,
the twins the arms and legs to get stuff, and he, Baby, the brain. But
Baby says they won't develop, since Lone is feeble-minded.
also briefly introduced to Hip and Gerry. Hip is an abused, brilliant
boy who becomes popular and joins the Air Force. Gerry is an
abused, angry boy who runs away from an orphanage at age eight. They
join the gestalt later.
Part 2 gives us the gestalt
as a teen with a serious attitude problem. The section consists of a
therapy session between the angry Gerry, now fifteen, and a therapist
named Stern. Stern mostly asks questions and prompts Gerry to recall
memories, which return to the teen out of chronological order.
here we'll go in chronological order. (You're welcome.)
bringing Gerry to the shelter, finds Alicia in the woods dancing naked.
He demands that she read books so he can take their concepts, via telepathy,
from her mind in an effort to figure out what his gestalt
organism is. His effort fails, but the two have sex before he leaves her
forever. She has lost her courage to dance naked in the woods and
becomes the strict, prudish Miss Kew.
Lone rescues Gerry at age
eight and raises him in the shelter for three years. Gerry "bleshes"
with the group, blending and meshing as part of the whole greater than
the sum of its parts, a gestalt. But he remains angry because he lacks what the others have: awesome mind-powers.
dies in a flash flood. Gerry, now age eleven, follows his instructions
to lead the kids to Miss Kew's home for security. Gerry probes her mind
the first day he and Alicia meet; it's the first real use of his special
telepathy power. The experience is so traumatic that he stops probing.
He and the other kids, rather than grow as the gestalt, are
raised by Alicia as Kews for three years. Her strict rules suffocate
their true identity. Gerry and Janie fight to hold the gestalt
together as Miss Kew tries to segregate the twins and send Baby away.
Gerry finally kills Miss Kew, unable to be both her son and the second
head of the gestalt. He doesn't understand why he's murdered her, so the next day, he goes to Stern's office hoping the therapist can tell him.
and Gerry discover the phrase "Baby is three" is blocking the answer.
The therapist secretly records Gerry talking and then plays the audio to
make the teen drill deeper into his memories. Gerry remembers probing
Miss Kew. He then tells Stern he's rejected a future as Gerry Kew and
chosen to be the second, more powerful head of the gestalt.
Stern warns him that his gestalt
needs to learn morality. The teen dismisses the suggestion and uses his
probe power to learn what Stern knows, make him forget the session, and
escape punishment for murdering Miss Kew. He decides the gestalt doesn't need morality and will simply do whatever comes naturally, namely defend itself.
In Part 3, the gestalt
finally gets its act together. Janie rescues Hip from jail. He doesn't
remember who he is or how he got there. Janie, not unlike Stern with
Gerry, aids Hip by helping him process his memories. Hip finally
realizes what happened.
He'd discovered a counter-magnetism force
as a lieutenant. He arrogantly forced a Private First Class to help him
track down the source of it. It was the anti-gravity generator Lone had
left on the farm. Hip only wanted to discover it to become more popular.
But the Private First Class sent the device flying away forever. Hip
was ordered to undergo therapy with someone named Thompson. Hip attacked
him because he looked like the Private First Class, and got discharged
and discredited shortly after.
For seven years he searched for the
inventor of the generator. He found his way to the town near the Kew mansion. There he encountered Thompson again, who made him smash a
window. That was what landed him jail.
Gerry just wanted to be
left alone in Mr. Kew's mansion. He hurt Hip to stop him from finding
the potentially world-changing generator and thereby calling attention
to the gestalt.
Janie helps him realize that the Private First
Class, Thompson, and the inventor of the device are all the same person,
Gerry, head of the gestalt. She tells him that it took so
long to remember because he had to work out the memories by himself, with little aid
from her, or he wouldn't have been able to get past the mental blocks
Gerry put on him. She explains that she's impressed by his persistence and
hopes he can teach Gerry to feel ashamed so the gestalt can become moral.
Janie and Hip confront Gerry. Hip decides the gestalt
doesn't need a morality, as groups do, but an ethic, as individuals who
change society do. Gerry, as sadistic as Mr. Kew, tries to use his
probing power to subdue Hip. But Hip, with assistance from one of the
twins, manages to tie Gerry up and blindfold him. Hip puts at the
forefront of his mind the similarities between the two—they both were
abused and sought popularity—and an ethic of humanism, helping humanity.
He takes off Gerry's blindfold and tells him to read his mind.
ethic tells Gerry to protect humanity and to revere his human ancestors
and whoever the next advanced creatures are. Hip becomes the conscience
of the life form. Gerry agrees to his philosophy, moved by Hip's
empathy for him and the possibilities ahead for the gestalt.
That's when the rest of Homo Gestalt contact Gerry through telepathy. They invite his now fully mature gestalt
into their society, which is humanity itself and the protector of it.
Their group morality matches Hip's ethic. Now humble, Gerry's gestalt joins the Homo Gestalt society.
Part 1, Section 1
The Fabulous Idiot
- We meet the idiot. His hunger and fear control his life. His face is described as dead. He doesn't get the significance of words and can't anticipate anything. People sometimes beat him up. Poor guy.
- But he's got a handy-dandy mind-power. His eyes allow him to force others to help him stay alive. His irises spin like wheels when he does this.
- He's got something inside him he doesn't know about. It's like a radio receiver that only records. Something's important about this dude.
- Now we run into all these confusing italics. They're the formless feelings or messages of babies that Lone's receiver records, if they could be expressed in words.
Part 1, Section 2
- Suddenly we get different characters. Sturgeon will keep doing this to us. Stay on your toes!
- We meet Alicia Kew and her father, Mr. Kew. They have a really weird relationship, and that's an understatement. He's been telling her since she was four that he's the best father in the world, and he's not joking. Uh, that's a little creepy. He started that when her mother died while giving birth to their little sister, Evelyn.
- Mr. Kew explains to nineteen-year-old Alicia that he reduced her exposure to evil, and that they will join forces to keep Evelyn from knowing any evil whatsoever.
- He's got a weird idea of evil. He told her when she was a teenager that if a man was alone with her, he would go mad and touch her, giving her a skin disease. He also taught her when she was a child to avoid seeing herself naked and disciplined her when she thought about her body during puberty. Plus other creepy stuff.
- We learn that they live out in the middle of nowhere, concealed within a prison-like fence, and the children aren't allowed to leave. So they're all alone with their controlling father. Fun times. Not!
- But hey, the property has got a lot of beautiful nature, including a brook and pond. Mr. Kew says it belongs to Evelyn, and Alicia can guard her out there.
- Evelyn is out alone by her pond at age fifteen. Alicia is with their father doing something special for her birthday in the library. Probably something twisted. Evelyn doesn't ever go in there. She's been taught to listen and obey, not to read or seek.
- So Evelyn's just chilling out in nature. We get lyrical descriptions of how beautiful this spring season is. Dig this serious lyrical poetry stuff. Evelyn does. It causes her to unbutton her collar and feel she wants to share the beauty everywhere, even to the point where she starts weeping.
Part 1, Section 3
- Back to the idiot. He hears a silent call and his odd eyes glow.
- The recorder in him, for the first time, sends him a signal: Go toward the call. Okay, something's going to happen.
- The call is so intense that he tries to move as straight toward it as possible.
- Lone runs into the prison-like fence and can't get past it. His strange eyes stare through the pickets, yearning to reach the call's source.
Part 1, Section 4
- We're back to a description of how beautiful nature is. The jewels are a metaphor for dew, by the way.
- Evelyn is on the window seat looking at all that beauty. She sings a song about how she can't touch the gladness, the beauty of "touchness," and how the rain, wind, and leaves and such touch her.
- Alicia finds her, freaks out a little about the singing, and tells Evelyn to button up her collar.
- Evelyn tells her older sister that she was talking to someone else and wants her sister to touch her.
- Alicia instructs Evelyn to stop hugging her pillow. When Evelyn insists, Alicia decides to tell their father. Uh-oh, Spaghetti-Os.
Part 1, Section 5
- Now we're back to Lone. He's really trying to get through this fence, shaking the pickets.
- He breaks off a small, rusted, underwater part of a picket. But he still can't figure out how to get through the prison-like fence.
- Lone senses something in the call about someone wanting to be touched. Hmm...
- Now the call is so strong that, for the first time, his reason begins trying to solve a problem: how to get through the fence.
- His strange eyes look at the rusted piece he broke off, and he begins to rub it against a picket that rattled, barely understanding what he is doing.
Part 1, Section 6
- Now we're with Alicia and Mr. Kew. She tells him about Evelyn wanting to be touched.
- He chants about how Alicia is evil because a woman (her mother) touched her, and about how they must have been unable to keep evil away from Evelyn because it's in the blood.
- Alicia tells him Evelyn might be outside. Holding his whip, he starts to head that way.
- She asks to go with him. He says to stay inside. She begs him. He threatens to whip her.
- Alicia says nothing, but wants to be whipped. This is called masochism, the desire to be hurt.
- As her father leaves, she utters a strange, wordless bleat, so overcome with twisted feelings.
Part 1, Section 7
- Back to Evelyn. Getting dizzy from all the point-of-view shifts yet?
- She sees Lone swim up on her side of the fence.
- We learn she is definitely the one sending the call, and it is growing stronger.
- Evelyn and Lone sit next to one another and touch lightly.
- They don't know what a kiss is and barely touch, but the currents of their inner selves surge between them, and they are described as merging.
- Bellowing his anger, Mr. Kew leaps at them. He throws Evelyn away from Lone.
- Mr. Kew whips Lone severely. Evelyn attacks him. He hits her twice with the whip-handle. It's an all-out war now. Lone battles Mr. Kew, but the older man whips him, and all Lone can do is escape through the water to the other side of the fence.
- The father is too angry to figure out how Lone got past the fence, and they have a staring contest through the pickets. Lone uses his strange eyes, in a new way, on the insane Mr. Kew, then crawls away into the woods.
Part 1, Section 8
- Alicia's turn to be the point-of-view character! She sees her father return inside and asks to help him with his injuries.
- They enter the library. Mr. Kew stares at her strangely, pulls out a gun, and shoots himself. There's quite a description of how horrifying it looks to her.
- Alicia walks around in a daze, then finds Evelyn outside by the pool. The younger sister says she is so hurt by her father that she is going to sleep.
- Evelyn, dying, asks her older sister what that touching Lone was all about.
- Alicia thinks back to her father's books and defines it as love, calling it a bad thing.
- The younger sister says she had it and that it is not a bad thing. Evelyn makes Alicia promise to do something without saying what it is. Alicia promises.
- Evelyn tells her the something: Dance naked in the sunlight someday. With wise eyes, Evelyn describes that as love and dies.
- Alicia hears Lone crying from the woods and returns inside, his crying seeming to continue inside her. Can this get anymore sad? Jeez.
Part 1, Section 9
- More new characters! They are Mr. and Mrs. Prodd. Maybe something good will finally happen.
- Mrs. Prodd sees her husband bring in Lone, who's hurt badly. Her husband asks her to get a blanket, which she retrieves from the room of someone named Jack.
- Mr. Prodd takes Lone into Jack's empty bed. The two decide to save the injured Lone.
- For about two weeks, Mrs. Prodd brings Lone food. He doesn't say anything. Poor guy.
- Mr. Prodd asks his wife if she thinks Lone is feeble-minded. She says he's just traumatized.
- She takes care of Lone for weeks. He gets a little better, then finally comes out to the dinner table.
- Mrs. Prodd helps him eat. Her husband says not to baby him. They argue about this.
- She decides they'll raise Lone, but not call him Jack. Mr. Prodd wonders if raising Lone is the right thing to do.
Part 1, Section 10
- The next section describes a year passing. Lone has gotten well enough to help a little around the barn and house.
- Mrs. Prodd makes Lone a birthday cake. His strange eyes look at them. Mr. Prodd tells him to blow out the candles and calls him "son."
- Lone blows out the candles, and the two Prodds laugh and touch Lone caringly. Yay! About time!
- The laughing and touching make Lone feel something similar to the call, but to a far less degree. He weeps loudly. Aw.
- The husband asks his wife if they've done something wrong. She says they haven't.
Part 1, Section 11
- Lone is going to get a name, we learn.
- Here comes some deep sci-fi stuff. We learn that Lone's weeping at his togetherness with the Prodds has taught him to absorb meaning from others.
- We find out that the night he cried, he learned to detect when speech is aimed at him, and finally figured out how to receive ideas from others. It's difficult for him to translate ideas into speech, however.
- Mr. Prodd asks Lone what his name is while they are working on the farm in the sun.
- Jolted by Mr. Prodd's question, Lone reaches for the meaning of the word "name."
- If he could express the pure concept in words, we learn it would be that a name is the single thing that is his identity, all that he adds up to. Whoa, very deep.
- Lone is dimly aware that with the Prodds, he is but a substitute for something. Yep, that's Jack.
- He takes from Mr. Prodd the concept and the sound of the phrase "All alone" and tries to say it, the physical enunciation difficult for him. Poor guy, once again.
- The best Mr. Prodd can decipher is the word "Lone." He asks if this is correct. Lone decides the symbol is close enough and nods.
- Five years pass. Lone is now about thirty-one. We learn he prefers not to talk and never learns to read; he's simply not equipped for it.
Part 1, Section 12
- Time to meet yet another character! He's Gerry Thompson. Oh hey, you might want to bookmark this page, because Gerry is going to disappear after this for about forty pages or so.
- We meet Gerry when he is six and learn he is surrounded by hunger, loneliness and, above all, hatred, his one certainty. His memories are long and painful.
- We are told that Gerry begins to accepts a long wait to make a decision that will define him. This is a pretty serious six-year-old.
- His decision, at age eight, is to run away from the state orphanage, to live alone, to kill if cornered, and to hate. Yikes!
Part 1, Section 13
- Guess what? Yep, we're going to meet another character. He's Hip Barrows.
- Bookmark this spot too. Hip is gonna disappear for something like a hundred pages after this. If your book is shaped like ours, anyway.
- We learn Hip doesn't have Gerry's hunger or cold, but is surrounded by the hate of his father. Here we go again with the mean fathers.
- Sturgeon tells us briefly that Doctor Barrows, Hip's dad, is merciless and instructs his son with strict morals.
- Hip's childhood is one of curiosity and rising like a rocket. He wins all sorts of friends and awards. But his father's workaholic lifestyle conditions Hip to feel that he's not entitled to these things, as if he's never good enough. Being so young, Hip doesn't realize he feels ashamed of his successes.
- Hip builds cool stuff such as radio gear and his father forbids or destroys it.
- Don't worry. This novel has some happy parts. It just takes a while to get there. Here, cheer up with this picture of kittens snuggling.
- Hip, growing up, continues to win prizes, his father fighting him all the way. Hip begins making his own living as a researcher while studying engineering. He then becomes very popular at the engineering school and joins the ROTC.
- In the Air Force, however, his brilliance is not appreciated, and he becomes lonely.
- The section concludes by leaving us with some suspense. We're told Hip will someday find on an anti-aircraft range an answer, a dream, and a disaster.
Part 1, Section 14
- Again we arrive at an Alicia passage. (That was a lot of As.) She's now about age twenty-four, and she's standing in the deepest shade on a meadow's edge.
- She alternates between begging her dead father to forgive her and cursing him for being a sadistic pervert who killed himself and her sister.
- Alicia thinks about the five years since she was rescued from her home by Lawyer Jacobs and his wife, Mother Jacobs. When the Jacobs took her away, she screamed at all the bodies she saw, fearing especially the men.
- Dr. Rothstein, a psychiatrist, explained to her that sex is natural, not poisonous. About time someone told her that!
- Now Alicia thinks about how one day she will live freely among people, interspersing her thoughts with pleas for her father to forgive her. Okay, this is sad.
- We learn that Dr. Rothstein explained to her that many people are twisted, but Mr. Kew was rich enough to get away with it.
- Alicia thinks of Evelyn and her father's death, removes her clothes, and, terrified, dances naked in the sun for her late sister, begging her dead father to forgive her. Jeez. At least she's made some progress.
Part 1, Section 15
- Now we meet yet another new character, Janie.
- Janie, four years old, insults or throws things at the military men who come to sleep with her mother, Wima, while Janie's father is overseas.
- The incidents of her dissing the military men reveal her to be very clever and witty for her age.
- At one her mother's parties, Janie insults one of her mother's lovers. She just keeps going and going with it.
- She also reads a man's mind. The young man tells her mother that Janie is telepathic. Wima calls this nonsense and says Janie gets her vitamins every day.
Part 1, Section 16
- Now Janie's five. She's playing with two female toddlers, Bonnie and Beanie, by trying to spit on them from a high window as they squeak and tumble around on a courtyard. Pretty mean, but then again, she is five.
- The two toddlers tend to take off their rompers and teleport. Janie discovers that when the rompers are off, she can move them with her mind, a power called telekinesis. Janie messes with the toddlers by moving their rompers around while they chase them.
- One day Janie lifts the rompers out of the squeaking twins' reach and a black janitor, apparently the twins' father, comes out from the basement and spanks Bonnie and Beanie for, as he imagines it, throwing away their clothes.
- The section concludes by saying Janie has no more fun that day.
Part 1, Section 17
- Four days later, Janie is thinking about her secret place, a hidden patch of ground in a nearby copse. (You know, a little area of trees.)
- She uses her telekinesis to open the door her mother locked while she went out for lunch, and goes to the copse to play alone. She swings on a branch she usually swings from.
- This time, though, when she lets go, her feet are grabbed from behind and she lands in an ouch-y way.
- The twins were the ones who grabbed her. Saying "Ho-ho," one spanks her, and saying "He-hee," the other grabs a stave to follow up with a smack.
- Janie retaliates by reading the second twin's mind. "Eeep," the twin says, and vanishes with teleportation.
- They continue the battle, the twins teleporting and spitting on her (gross) and saying "Ho-ho" and "He-hee." The twins teleport away.
- One says "Ho-ho." Janie spots them across the street on the courtyard wall. They wave and vanish.
- Janie rests and realizes they knew all along who was moving the rompers. She decides to admire their abilities and says, "Ho-ho."
- She heads back toward home and rings for that janitor, Mr. Widdecombe.
- He answers and, lying, she tells him her mother has said she can play with the twins.
- Mr. Widdecombe is surprised and, after checking with the twins, says it's okay for the three to play together. Ho-ho. He-hee.
Part 1, Section 18
- We begin with a lyrical description of Janie's feelings of belonging and transcendent sharing with the twins, which she obtains despite their private vocabulary of squeaks.
- The book contrasts those positive feelings of hers with the hateful and angry vibes of her parents.
- Janie and the twins' playtime is described as an immortal, binding, unique experience. Yeah, we wish we could go back to childhood playtime too.
- Wima returns home with one of her lovers. The mother says of Janie, "she's got the place filled with niggers." Recall that this novel was written in 1953, when schools were still segregated by skin color.
- Janie leads the twins home, but then comes back and walks to her bedroom, keeping her chin up while passing her mother.
- Wima is stunned. She says Janie gives her the creeps, and the lover is startled by it all.
Part 1, Section 19
- Now Janie is lying in bed, up late and trying not to emotionally go to pieces over what just happened with Wima and the twins.
- Wima opens the door and demands Janie come out to talk. Without understanding why, Janie gets up and begins dressing.
- Her mother, drinking alcohol, lectures her and reveals that her father has died in war and now she and Janie will just leave one another alone.
- Wima turns to look for Janie's response, but her daughter has left. Wima helplessly looks in her closet, where she sees their unused Christmas ornaments, despairing.
Part 1, Section 20
- Mr. Prodd and Lone are farming. We learn Lone wasn't drafted; the war has passed them by.
- The farm sounds comfortable, but Jack's room wasn't meant for Lone. He senses a change before anyone else. Mrs. Prodd is pregnant.
- Lone, now about thirty-four, tells Mr. Prodd in one of the meadows that he should move along.
- Mr. Prodd asks why. Lone wants to because the farmer wants him to, and catches from Mr. Prodd's mind that the older man is wondering if Lone knows about the pregnancy.
- Lone repeats that it's time to move along. Mr. Prodd explains that Jack is to be his son, and that is whom the room is meant for.
- "Ah," Lone says simply.The farmer happily mentions the pregnancy and says Lone's presence might have helped it happen.
- Mr. Prodd says he doesn't want Lone to feel he's being turned out.
- Lone says he'd already said he was leaving.
- The two repeat themselves a few time. Mr. Prodd says, "Good, then." Lone says, "Good. About Jack." Then he watches Mr. Prodd, thinking the farmer walks slower than he used to.
Part 1, Section 21
- Lone thinks about how time feels different now that he's alone. He decides he was alone the whole time, because Mrs. Prodd hadn't been raising him, but an imagined Jack. Lonely!
- He remembers his moment of belonging with Evelyn. He feels angry and blames himself for feeling as if he belonged with the Prodds, rather than realizing he is someone apart named Lone. This is one lonely dude.
- Lone walks off into the woods. A description of the woods' darkness switches us to Janie's perspective. She's in her copse.
- She too is lonely, lying alone and no longer able to notice things to satisfy her curiosity.
- Yeah, it's about that time again. More happy kittens needed.
- Janie rolls on the ground, but then finds the twins stroking her face and saying "Ho-ho" and "He-hee."
- Janie puts one arm around each twin and begins to cry. Does everyone cry in this book? Just keep reading!
Part 1, Section 22
- Lone has returned to the Prodds' to borrow an ax. Gimli or Johnny perhaps?
- Lone follows Mr. Prodd's truck until he catches up with the farmer because the vehicle gets stuck.
- Lone helps Mr. Prodd free the truck. Mr. Prodd makes a joke, but Lone doesn't smile, as he never smiles. The farmer invites him inside for breakfast.
- Inside, Lone feels uncomfortable. All he wanted was the ax. Mr. Prodd asks him what he's been up to. Lone says he's up in the woods trapping for food.
- He eats, seeing a new, shorter bed has replaced the old one in Jack's room. Yup, definitely no longer Lone's room.
- He catches from Mr. Prodd's mind that the farmer thinks Lone is not the kind to sit around and visit. He doesn't quite understand the visit concept, sitting around and laughing, but recognizes it as something he can't do.
- He asks for the ax, receives it, and leaves.
- Mrs. Prodd wonders aloud if Lone is mad at the couple. Mr. Prodd says he isn't, else he wouldn't have returned.
Part 1, Section 23
- Janie and the twins are reading a novel silently, using telepathy to communicate. She receives the message that the twins want a book with pictures. She gets it. It's a boring catalog of clothes. The twins are pleased.
- They've all been happy since they discovered this new place with the books.
- It's a big house in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a fence that contains woods and a brook. It has some food and is obviously the Kew house.
- Disturbingly, there's a little room in it with chains on the walls and bars.
Part 1, Section 24
- Lone's using the ax to clear out brush from a large, cave-like pitfall he accidentally fell in.
- He wants it to be a shelter, since the farm made him used to shelter, even though he only wants to be alone now.
- Lone does more work on the shelter, removing rocks and such. He raids farms nearby for supplies and food. He builds walls and a door. This guy's a regular Robinson Crusoe now.
- When he's out hunting for flagstones for his fireplace, he senses another call. Learning to speak has made him less able to hear the murmurings of babies.
- He tries to ignore the call, but it is irresistible. He walks toward it and stumbles into the prison-like fence. He passes through it underwater again, following the call. Here we go again.
- The call is another one of loneliness and hunger. If expressed in words, it would say "Who will take care of me now?"
- Lone peers above the water and sees a girl about six, obviously Janie. She shouts "Bonnie!" sharply.
- Janie watches him and worries. Lone realizes her worriment is the essence of the call, but that Janie is ignoring him.
- He feels relieved, as if he is setting down a huge burden. The battle with Mr. Kew, the magic and loss of Evelyn, go back into the past, remembered but less painful.
- Lone decides this call is just some hungry brat and returns to his new shelter.
Part 1, Section 25
- Lone enters his shelter and discovers a naked infant with a dark face. She says "He-hee" happily and is unafraid.
- He finds the other twin eating one of his carrots. They teleport around. "What are you doing?" he asks one of the two, who is grinning at him. He thinks about how his eyes commanded a man (Mr. Kew) to kill himself and stays careful now, unsure why.
- He reaches for the twin to get her to stay still. She teleports away, and he feels respectful astonishment. He realizes he cannot catch these two. He resumes working on his shelter, annoyed that they, who are still watching, have been at his carrots. (Somebody really likes carrots...)
- He cooks potatoes. The twins, drooling, edge in and out of the doorway. He slams the door shut. His shelter seems very quiet now.
- Lone, while eating, sees a girl (Janie) knock on the open door. She jokes that she is passing by and stopping to visit. Lone doesn't find it funny and keeps eating as the twins reappear next to Janie.
- The three youths edge inside. Janie asks for food. Lone takes the pot away. She curses him, then she begs for food. He doesn't give them any. She walks out and the twins look at her, their provider, with disappointment.
- Lone remembers Mrs. Prodd feeding him and feels something he can't identify. He heads to the door and calls out, "Wait!"
Part 1, Section 26
- Lone returns to the Prodd farm, seeing the bogged-down truck and Mr. Prodd on the porch, looking dazed.
- The two exchange greetings. Mr. Prodd seems dazed, and Lone reminds him to husk the corn.
- Mr. Prodd sighs and says he'll get to it and that he's never missed a milking.
- Lone sees dirty dishes and flies inside the house. He remembers about Jack and says, "The baby come."
- Mr. Prodd says the baby has, and seems to forget what he's saying. He calls for Mrs. Prodd to fix Lone food and strangely says she'll hear a yell that's loud enough.
- Lone probes Mr. Prodd's mind, but hurriedly takes his telepathy away as he senses something wrong. Uh-oh. Not Ho-ho or He-hee.
- Lone says he came to return the ax and asks Mr. Prodd if he wants help getting the corn in. They get it in. After a while of working, they have old food and lemonade with dead flies in it. Yuck.
- Lone frees the truck again.
- Mr. Prodd takes him to Jack's room., where he shows Lone a strange-looking baby with dirty clothes in the bassinet.
- The farmer says the boy isn't Jack, and that Mrs. Prodd has gone searching for him. Mr. Prodd says the doctor calls the baby a mongoloid who won't grow much larger and needs special treatments in the city.
- Lone probes Mr. Prodd with his eyes and discovers what things the farmer needs done, and takes care of those things.
- The farmer promises Mrs. Prodd will get back and feed him. Lone tells him to fix the door and promises he'll return.
- Lone, heading for the shelter, thinks about loneliness versus belonging. He realizes the Prodds were one thing alone, and then became a different thing with him as part of their unit. He realizes something similar has happened with him taking the three youths in.
- He still feels alone, however, and feels that Janie and the twins are alone as well. He wonders if the Prodds were not alone when they were together, and decides he couldn't know about that. He feels terribly unique, but decides it is somehow helpful to know that.
Part 1, Section 27
- Time has passed. Lone brings the Prodds' baby into the shelter. Janie tells him he's a kidnapper. Lone says no one will find out. With his mind powers, he made the father forget and explains that Mrs. Prodd is dead but that Mr. Prodd doesn't realize it and is waiting for her.
- Janie struggles to get the baby to drink milk. She can't get it down the infant's disinterested mouth. Janie realizes she can move it with telekinesis into the baby's stomach and practices doing so.
Part 1, Section 28
- Lone watches the twins and the baby doing something. He asks Janie to explain.
- She says the baby is communicating with the twins. Lone says he used to be able to hear babies.
- Janie, after reading Bonnie's mind, explains, the twin says all babies can do it. Lone responds that he could do it as an adult.
- Janie replies that Lone must have been an "idiot," defining the term as someone who can't understand people but can understand babies.
- Lone says the infant, now called Baby with a capital B, is some sort of "idiot" as well.
- Beanie, via Janie's telepathy and speaking, says that Baby is more like an adding machine. What? Adding machine? Extremely simplistic digital computers had only begun to be produced in somewhat large quantities at the time this novel was written. Basically, large businesses used them for accounting. Yeah, there's not much technology in this book. Kind of weird how none of the characters are carrying cell phones around the way we do, right?
- Janie struggles to explain to Lone what an adding machine is. Lone finally understands it's something that answers questions, but points out Baby lacks buttons to push.
- She explains Lone can ask her a question and she can communicate it to Baby. Baby will send the answer to the twins, who will tell Janie, who will then give the answer back to Lone.
- He wonders what to ask and finally asks about how to fix Mr. Prodd's truck so it won't get stuck.
- After using her telepathy, Janie tells Lone that Baby doesn't know what a truck is and that the pieces of a question have to be explained.
- They explain pieces to Baby, who tells them to stop driving on the field to avoid getting stuck.
- Lone asks what they should do if the truck has to be used there.
- Baby's next answer is to put big wide wheels on the truck. Lone says they lack the time, money, and tools for that.
- The Q&A continues for a while. Janie says Baby is becoming smarter, matching up the facts they're giving him and responding with correct but odd answers about random things such as soup.
- Finally they figure out Baby needs additional information about something like radio.
- The next night, Lone breaks into a radio service shop and steals a bunch of books. Here we go.
- Janie reads the books on electricity and radio. Baby absorbs the information from her mind faster than she can even read it.
- Baby ultimately comes up with a simple, unique device that requires pushing a knob to make the truck heavier or pulling it to make the vehicle lighter. Cool.
- The novel describes how amazing it is that these strange characters built this device only to help an old man (Mr. Prodd) who is mad, needs to work, and cannot afford to buy a horse to unstick his truck.
Part 1, Section 29
- Lone brings the device to the farm. He finds the stuck truck and, according to Baby's instructions, hooks up the machine to the truck with silvery cables and other simple parts.
- He pulls the knob. The truck raises up as if on tiptoe. Lone pushes the knob to lower the truck and wishes he knew how to drive.
- He looks for Mr. Prodd. He finds a note and takes it and wishes he knew how to read.
- Lone leaves, never to return. The truck sits in the sun, rusting but connected to the device with its strange silver cables.
- The device is revealed to be Earth's first anti-gravity generator, capable of powering interplanetary travel. Wish we had one of those!
- The novel emphasizes that the anti-gravity device was created by an "idiot" and left behind, forgotten.
- Janie reads Lone the note from Mr. Prodd. It describes how he thinks Mrs. Prodd is in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The note says he's going to look for Mrs. Prodd, even though he can't free the truck. The note invites Lone to borrow anything and calls him a good boy and a good friend.
- Lone asks Janie to reread the letter four times in a three-week period, learning something new each time.
- He first believes the loss of Mr. Prodd means the loss of everything directed, cooperative, and in any way representative of advanced life or evolution.
- Lone then asks Baby (via Janie and the twins) to define what a friend is.
- Baby defines a friend as "somebody who goes on loving you whether he likes you or not."
- Lone thinks the Prodds couldn't have been friends because they were ready to throw him out whenever Jack came. He wonders if friends loved him forever.
- He asks Baby if you can be truly part of someone you love. This is getting deep.
- Baby responds you can only truly be part of someone you love if you love yourself.
- Lone remembers merging with Evelyn. He thinks if he can understand that, he can understand everything, because it was a time where there was a perfect flow with another, no language in the way causing misunderstood ideas.
- He wonders, if he is an idiot, what Evelyn was. He wonders what you'd call a person older than babies who can communicate through calls the way babies can communicate through murmurs. He asks Baby this (via Janie). Baby answers, "An innocent." Aw.
- Lone decides an innocent is the most beautiful thing possible. He wonders why and decides an innocent's waiting for the end of innocence is what is beautiful. He and Evelyn ended their innocence and idiocy in exchange for a merging.
- This realization makes Lone glad, because he understands he made something with Evelyn. It was worth it. He decides the pain of losing the Prodds, to whom he never truly belonged, wasn't.
- Lone suddenly wonders wildly why he keeps trying to figure out who he is and to whom he belongs. He wonders if his wondering is the result of being an outcast.
- Lone tells Janie to ask Baby what kind of people are always trying to figure those things out.
- Baby, via Janie, answers, "Every kind." Mega-deep.
- Lone asks what kind he is. When Baby pauses for a minute, Lone yells out the question.
- Janie explains Baby doesn't quite have a way to say it, but basically he, Baby, is a figure-outer brain, she is the body, the twins are arms and legs, and Lone is the head. Baby says that the "I" is all five of them together.
- Lone repeats and repeats that he finally belongs, his heart about to burst. He looks at the group, deciding they're just now born and can grow. Baby denies this, saying the head, Lone, is too stupid for the group to grow. Ouch! Part 1 concludes saying Lone has come to know himself, but at this pinnacle he has found the rugged base of a mountain.
Part 2, Section 1
Baby Is Three
- A young teen with a totally abrasive attitude walks into the office of a psychotherapist, Stern.
- Stern tells him to sit down, calling him "Sonny" due to his youth. The teen argues he shouldn't be called that. He tells Stern he's fifteen but doesn't have to like it. Gerry also tells him his name is Gerard Gerard. Uh-oh, here we go.
- The psychotherapist is like, What? The teen says it's not his real name and tells Stern not to ask where he lives. Stern is like, This is not going to go anywhere if you keep this up.
- Gerry takes out a thousand-dollar bill and figures that should take care of things.
- Before the psychotherapist is able to pick up the money, Gerry tells him to leave it alone until he, Gerry, makes sure they can work together. But Stern says he doesn't do business this way. Gerry says they have to, if they want to work together.
- Stern asks where Gerry got a thousand dollars. The teen says he won a contest and insists it's the truth. The psychotherapist says okay blandly and stumps Gerry by waiting for him to continue.
- The teen asks if their conversation is legally protected, the way conversations with priests and lawyers are. (Or were at the time the novel was written. The right has arguably been taken away by the U.S. federal government via the Patriot Act.)
- Stern says the conversation is protected no matter what. Gerry tells him to pick up the money.
- The psychotherapist says that's up to him, and that you can't just buy therapy treatments. They have to work together. This is obviously going to be a battle. But eventually Stern takes the cash.
- The teen asks what to do first. Stern says they already started. They talk about how Gerry chose Stern. Gerry says he heard the psychotherapist has the ability to predict what people will do and give them advice about it. They discuss how Stern developed an eye for details and made enough mistakes so that he could do that.
- They talk some more, and Gerry says the conversation isn't getting them anywhere. Stern shrugs and says it depends on where the teen wants to go. He asks Gerry what he currently believes psychiatry is. The teen answers by simply saying he doesn't "get" Stern.
Part 2, Section 2
- Stern explains different, short definitions of psychiatry, then calls them all bad, including one that emphasizes sexual motivations. He says they try to simplify psychiatry, and his view is that only Gerry can figure out and cure whatever's wrong with himself. The psychotherapist's job is just to make the patient believe he's listening selectively.
- Stern asks why Gerry was worried that someone might learn of this conversation. The teen answers that he wants to find out why he killed someone. Unfazed, the psychotherapist asks him to lie down on the couch. Gerry feels self-conscious and makes a punny joke. (How about these puns?)
- The psychotherapist asks the teen how old he is. Gerry says "Uh" and fifteen and they argue over whether he's telling the truth. Eventually the psychotherapist merely waits, which makes Gerry feel defeated and say he was actually thinking of the number eight.
- Stern says Okay, you're eight now. Gerry begins to remember being eight and how he lived at a government-run orphanage and felt hate. He grunts and imagines a figure eight in his mind. He tells himself to look through it regardless of whether or not he likes what he sees.
- At eight he was lying in a cold ditch dying (having just run away from the orphanage, as we learned he would in Part 1).
- Someone kicks him. He feels doomed. It's a tall man with a shaggy face standing over him. The man tells him to get up and come along. Gerry tries to fight with a rock but is disarmed. The man is patient with Gerry until he follows.
- They walk a while, and then Gerry falls down, exhausted and in pain. The man tells him not to sleep, and that he wants to give him food and shelter. The tall man asks the eight year old if it's okay to carry him. Gerry agrees, reassured that the man respected his independence.
- Finally they arrive at a cave-like shelter. An auto battery is powering light bulbs, and there are boxes and stools. The man is revealed to be Lone.
- Lone asks Baby what Gerry is. The teen looks at the three kids in the room, who somehow seem to be more than just three individuals. A girl, obviously Janie, is painting with her hands, a little black girl about five is gaping at him, and the baby is waving his limbs around and drooling.
- Janie says he's Gerry and angry. Lone keeps up his questions, and Gerry is confused why the man is asking Baby but the girl is answering.
- Janie explains that Gerry ran away from a state school and that no one "bleshed" with him. Thinking Lone is from the school, Gerry tries to flee, but Janie uses her freaky telepathy to make the teen sit on a stool.
- Lone asks Baby if they need anything from Gerry. Janie says Gerry is the one.
- The man is pleasantly surprised and tells Gerry he can live with them and that he didn't come from any school. Janie tells Lone that Gerry hates him and that he should feed him. Lone begins cooking. This is making us hungry.
- One of the twins gawks at Gerry until he asks her why. Then they do a "Gerry ho-ho" and "Gerry hee-hee" act, their clothes vanishing whenever they teleport, until Lone tells them to knock it out. Janie introduces the twins and the rest to Gerry, who merely acknowledges the introductions.
- Lone feeds Gerry and the teen throws up. Janie uses telekinesis to clean up the vomit. After eating they go to sleep when Lone says so, and Gerry says he has to use the bathroom. Janie uses telekinesis to take care of Gerry's bathroom problem. Eww.
Part 2, Section 3
- We're focused on the psychotherapist's office now, and Gerry has finished talking. Stern asks him how old he, the teen, is. Gerry says fifteen and asks what happened. The psychotherapist answers that Gerry did it all.
- The teen says everything he recalled seems real, and that he felt all the emotions. Stern says anyone remembering in such detail feels better afterward because the hurt diminishes.
- Gerry asks the psychotherapist if he believes him. Stern says that's not his business, and that all that matters is that it was real to Gerry.
- Stern asks if Gerry still lives in the shelter. The teen answers, "Not for a long time. Not since Baby was three."
- They talk a little bit about the shelter, and then Gerry tries to remember more. Stern prompts him with the Baby is three phrase. It sets off a chain of rhymes in the teen's head, leading into the next memory and section.
Part 2, Section 4
- Gerry recalls that something was always going on at the shelter. Janie did whatever tasks needed doing. Lone was out a lot, with the twins helping him. Baby stayed in his bassinet. Gerry would make improvements to the shelter or play with Janie and the twins. Sounds fun.
- But Gerry felt mad that he didn't have any special mind-powers the way the others did.
- He explains the word "bleshing." It means everyone together being something, even if they did different things, like separate parts of one body. It meant a mix of blending and meshing, but more.
- Baby communicated nonstop like a broadcasting station, signaling by waving his arms and legs to represent entire thoughts. Janie made him invent it because, due to growing up, she and the twins were losing the ability to hear thoughts. Meanwhile, Baby could understand anyone's questions and Janie would read his signals and answer. The infant never grew.
- Janie painted multiple pictures per day, and Baby remembered them for her since they didn't have space to keep them. Well that's helpful! The paintings featured industrial and electronic parts.
- Lone frequently walked, thinking. They sometimes stole supplies. Gerry once tried to steal more than necessary, so Lone hit him. The teen concludes by saying they were busy and bleshing.
Part 2, Section 5
- Prompted by questions from Stern, Gerry elaborates that he's made some progress, but that this last memory was mere talk, unlike the first. He felt all the memories of the first one when he recalled it.
- The psychotherapist suggests there might have been an unpleasant memory that Gerry's mind doesn't dare relive. Stern suggests it has to do with the Baby is three phrase.
- Stern quizzes Gerry on who said the phrase. The teen realizes he said it, but when the psychotherapist asks when, Gerry comes up empty.
- Stern indicates that Gerry's forgetfulness shows how angry the teen is and states his suspicion that Gerry wants to quit. The teen confesses it, and the psychotherapist says he might be on the verge of the answer. Stern says many quit on the verge of their answers. Gerry refuses to quit.
- The teen asks why Lone might have let him live there despite his lacking special mind powers. Stern suggests maybe Gerry does have some. The teen denies it, and Stern asks if any of this relates to the Baby is three phrase.
- Gerry talks about approaching a big house and continues to save the mysterious phrase. He blurts out the age thirty-three and then tries to escape the office. Stern stops him and convinces him to keep going. This is like some sort of race into the mind!
- Gerry lies back down and asks why he said thirty-three when, he insists, he is fifteen. He also points out that he's the one saying the phrase, but it seems not to be in his voice. Stern asks if the fact that the voice is someone else's relates to the fact that the teen is not thirty-three. Gerry whispers his agreement, and Stern tells him not to be afraid. This is getting intense.
- Stern says people don't pay attention to the symbols around them or in their memories unless they're in a place like a psychotherapist's office. He says having someone else's memories (as when Gerry said the thirty-three age) would be a huge shock, and that must be the area of the teen's mind where the problem is.
- Gerry wonders if he'll start to remember with someone else's mind. The psychotherapist says that a moment ago, it seemed that way to the teen. Gerry feels tired, but realizes the exhaustion is a way of trying to get out of having to remember. Stern prompts him with the Baby is three phrase. Gerry thinks one of his rhyming strings of words, this time ending with the shout of the name Kew. (Oh yeah, that family!)
- The teen decides to take a more indirect path to the other person's memories for now. Stern agrees, pointing out that Gerry is the doctor.
- Gerry returns to another memory. He's walking up a driveway toward a super-clean house. He feels he must go there.
- He knocks on the door and a black woman answers. He says he has to see Miss Kew, and he and the black woman argue over his filthy state. She slams the door on him. They fight some more, and eventually Gerry gets in. Alicia Kew, from the stairs, tells the black woman, Miriam, to let him in. Gerry thinks Miss Kew is about thirty-three. Startled, he emphasizes the age to Stern.
- Gerry tries to start up a conversation with Alicia, but she shuts him down, pointing out his grammar errors. (Me no like grammar errors she saith not.)
- The teen tells Miss Kew that Lone instructed him to have a private conversation with just her. Alicia Kew is startled by Lone's name and tells Miriam to leave. Miss Kew leads the teen to her library.
- Alicia asks where Lone is. "He died," Gerry says simply. She is startled and, in disbelief, asks him if Lone really is dead. Gerry relates how Lone was hit by an oak that fell in a flood. Alicia is horrified, but still corrects his grammar.
- She stands and asks Gerry if he's Lone's little boy. Gerry says he is, and that Lone asked him to come to her. Alicia asks his name and whether he'd like to live with her and have new, clean clothes.
- He says that was Lone's idea because Alicia is wealthy and owed him a favor. Well, take that, Alicia!
- Alicia demands to know what details Lone gave him about that. Gerry only says he must live with her, as Lone said, and that he must go get the other kids. Miss Kew's like, who?
- Gerry explains about the other children. Janie is eleven, Bonnie and Beanie are eight, and Baby is three.
Part 2, Section 6
- In Stern's office, Gerry screams from having said Baby is three. The psychotherapist holds his head to keep him from banging it. No, not like headbanging for heavy metal. Like hitting it against the nearby wall or something.
- Stern says they definitely know the location of the traumatic memory now. He and Gerry describe getting there in terms of a road map.
- The psychotherapist suggests the teen simply tell him what happened at Miss Kew's without reliving it in detail. He starts him off by saying he's in the library telling her about the kids.
Part 2, Section 7
- Gerry mentions vaguely that after telling Miss Kew the Baby is three phrase in the library, something happened, he screamed, she comforted him, and he cussed at her.
- Lone told him, he relays to Alicia, that he should do everything Alicia says and keep her happy, so long as the group stays together. He describes the instructions as unbreakable.
- He told Miss Kew he'd go fetch the other kids. Here we go again!
- As he left, Miss Kew told him he'd have to learn manners. He said okay, okay, and walked out, just the way we responded to our parents when we were adolescents.
- Gerry returned to the shelter and found the others, minus Lone, depressed. Gerry told them to follow Lone's orders to go to Miss Kew's. They refused, with Janie saying the group couldn't "blesh" anymore.
- Gerry said he had to be Lone now, the head. Baby said that wasn't possible. Gerry acknowledged he didn't have special mind powers. Finally Janie agreed they should go to Miss Kew's, on Baby's orders. That it wasn't on his own orders made Gerry mad.
- They reached the Kew house and argued with Miriam at the door again about how filthy they appeared. Janie took Gerry's orders for the first time, telling Miriam to go to hell. Miriam threatened to quit if Miss Kew let them stay. The twins did their teleporting act, scaring the two older women. Ho-ho.
- Miss Kew marched forward, but stopped when she saw Baby. Gerry explained the infant was Baby. Miss Kew inspected the child disapprovingly, then woke Miriam, who had passed out, to go get cleaning supplies.
- Gerry and Miss Kew argued over grammar. Then Miss Kew asked Gerry how the twins could be his sisters, given that they're black. Gerry is puzzled by the question. Miss Kew said that whites and blacks couldn't be siblings. Janie insisted that their group was different.
- Miss Kew began giving Baby a bath with Miriam's supplies. Gerry tried to stop her, but Janie told him Baby said not to worry.
- Miss Kew refused to let Miriam quit and said the children were simply neglected. And Miss Kew continued to correct grammar. Wow, always about the grammar. G-r-a-m-m-a-r, by the way, not g-r-a-m-m-e-r, although that's spelling, not grammar. Sorry.
- Miss Kew told Gerry that for the kids to continue living with her, they must obey her and Miriam. The group agreed. Miss Kew couldn't understand the telepathy and signaling question-asking process.
- Miriam was relieved that the children would obey her. She held her hands out to the twins and they went right to her. Miriam suddenly seemed human to Gerry.
- Gerry concludes the memory section by saying the two older women tried to change the group for three years.
Part 2, Section 8
- Gerry and Stern talk about how the kids had to obey Alicia's orders, including vague, confusing ones such as behaving like ladies and gentlemen.
- The teen tells the psychotherapist about the first of two troubles with obeying Miss Kew. Gerry relates how Alicia began segregating the two black girls from the rest of the group until Janie finally asked why they had to eat separately with Miriam. The argument boiled down to Miss Kew insisting that the fact that the twins were colored was enough of an explanation, and Gerry saying Lone ordered them to stay together.
- So Gerry bellowed for the twins to teleport to him, and they did. Miss Kew and Miriam failed to catch them, and the kids began to leave the house. Miss Kew told them to stop, reminding them to obey Lone's orders. Gerry told her the command to stay together overrode the command to live with her.
- Finally a compromise was negotiated: the kids would eat together with Miriam on a side porch, and Miss Kew would eat alone. About a week after that, Miriam began to slip the kids cookies. Like we said before, this book makes us hungry.
- Gerry tells Stern he doesn't understand fights about race. One side wants to keep people apart by skin color, and the other side wants to get them all together, he says. The teen asks the psychotherapist why the whole thing can't just be dropped.
- Stern explains that people have to believe they're superior to others. He asks if the kids felt themselves to be superior in some fashion. Gerry answers that the kids felt different, but not superior. The psychotherapist calls them a unique case.
- Gerry then starts relating the second trouble with obeying Miss Kew. Which reminds us of Gerry's rhyming. Trouble rhymes with bubble. If you need a break, try this free game, Bubble Trouble 3.
- Anyway, the teen says the kids had learned to say "Yes ma'am, no ma'am" and do schoolwork. Janie had stopped taking care of Baby. The twins had stopped teleporting and walked instead. So they were like normal dorks now.
- Gerry notes that Alicia seemed happier and that the kids were her first real company in years.
- But one day, the group woke up to find Baby gone. They demanded an explanation, and Miss Kew said she sent Baby away to a home for special children. She sent them out of her bedroom, refusing to bring Baby back.
Part 2, Section 9
- Gerry tells Stern how he and Janie made Miss Kew bring Baby back. Gerry instructed Janie to smash up the house with her telekinesis. Miss Kew kept coming up with evasive explanations for the destruction, such as an earthquake, until Janie got squeaky rats. That made Miss Kew bring Baby back, though she made up some excuse afterward about how she'd sent Baby for a medical checkup.
- Stern agrees with Gerry that people don't believe what they don't want to believe. Gerry suddenly asks him how much of these memories the psychotherapist believes. Stern says it doesn't matter. Gerry taunts him. Sterns asks whom the teen killed.
- Before he can stop himself, Gerry confesses to killing Miss Kew. Stern asks why he did it. The teen says that's what he came to the office to learn. Stern says he must have really hated her. Gerry cries.
- The teen tells Stern his first memory: being punched because he was crying due to hunger and cold, and how he just wanted to be left alone at the orphanage. He contrasts that time with being in the shelter with Lone and the kids, which he describes as all he needed. Next came his time with Miss Kew, a big change with boring schoolbooks and the lake and probably no Bubble Trouble games, since they didn't have computers back then. The teen speeds up the conversation, feeling he has to get it all out.
- Gerry tells Stern he grew sick of all the rules. Everyone was happy, but something was wrong, so he had to kill. Stern asks why, pointing out that Gerry hasn't explained it to him. The teen says they were all obeying someone else's rules. The group wasn't bleshing like it was supposed to.
- Stern stops to think. Then he says that although choices might be wrong, the mind picks them according to a coherent logic. He sees that killing Alicia could restore the bleshing, but doesn't see the logic that bleshing was necessarily better than the security at the Kew home.
- Gerry asks how they can find out why. The psychotherapist tells him that finding out requires detailing the unpleasant part: killing Miss Kew. Gerry tries to remember, but he can't recall much or find the logic. He asks aloud why he had to do it, punching the couch and saying he should be hurt.
- Stern asks Gerry to recount the details from after killing Miss Kew to the time of arriving at his office. Gerry says he killed her last night, stole her checkbook, and found Stern. He made a banker cash the check because he can make anyone do anything, he says, as long as it's in their nature.
- Stern paces, trying to figure out how to find out why Gerry killed Miss Kew. He says the answer must be in that missing spot Gerry neglected describing. Stern prompts him by bringing him back to the moment of his being in the library with Miss Kew, telling her about the children.
- Gerry lies back, still and tense. The psychotherapist walks over and starts a tape recorder. (Tape recorder? The book was written in 1953, remember?) It plays back Gerry's own voice saying the Baby is three phrase earlier and the scream he let out after that. The teen passes out.
Part 2, Section 10
- Gerry thrashes around trying to wake, with Stern holding his wrists to stop him from hurting himself. The teen asks what the heck happened. Stern reveals his tape recorder trick. The point was to prompt Gerry deeper into his memories.
- They agree Gerry nearly blew a fuse, but that it should be safe to continue with Stern's help. The psychotherapist hypnotizes his patient, telling him to relax and count his toes.
- Gerry feels split in half, half of him remembering sitting in Alicia's library.
- He remembers saying the Baby is three phrase. Then he recalls some sort of pressure, a painful breakage, and triumph drowning out the pain. He captures inside that, all in one flash.
Part 2, Section 11
- Now we're experiencing Alicia Kew's perspective, the one that Gerry just remembered.
- Alicia, hearing Gerry say Baby is three, thinks that her child would have been three if she'd had one. She feels as if she's with Lone and opening up to him.
- She thinks about Lone probing her mind with his spinning eyes. She wonders if he even cares about her, or if he just wants to take knowledge from her brain.
- Alicia recalls the first time they met. She was dancing naked in the woods when suddenly she saw him, a frightening animal-like man. She decided never to dance naked again, and that she hated him. Dancing alone was her single secret when she was the prudish Miss Kew, prim, proper, and lonely. But uncaring Lone robbed her of the ability to dance. Boo.
- Lone walked up to her and asked her if she read books. Lone barely touched her face and asked her to read books for him. She asked his name; he answered. Alicia was terrified but agreed to read.
- Lone probed her mind, capturing concepts from books she'd read. He asked what some of the concepts were called. Alicia named them: telekinesis, teleportation, and other mind powers. Lone said they're real and that she needed to read about them for him whether she understood them or not. How rude!
- He asked for another concept. Alicia named it: Gestalt. She defined it as a group. Like a lot of thoughts expressed in one phrase or the whole greater than the sum of the parts.
- Lone instructed her to read about the gestalt concept most of all. He retreated into the woods without even glancing at her. What a meanie.
- She read books and returned every so often to meet Lone, who waited to take the concepts from her but not taking anything of her herself.
- He made her read books on evolution, social organization, mythology, more.
- One day, he sat by her to puzzle something out. They talked about symbiosis, two forms of life depending on one another. Lone asked for a book about four or five kinds doing that together. She said she doesn't know of any. He asked the same question about multiple radio receivers working together, all listening to one head. He asked if there was life like that.
- Alicia said she thought not, except perhaps a team or a group working under a boss.
- Lone clarified that he meant a single animal.
- She asked him if he meant a gestalt life form and said it was a wild idea. He asked if any book has written about that. She said none she knew of. We bet you're reading it, though.
- Lone explained he had to know about any gestalt life form existing previously, because he was one. He described it to her.
- Alicia searched for writing about such a creature, found nothing, and reported back to Lone.
- He was disgusted with her, saying she read, but didn't think. Meanie.
- He explained he was a brain that pulled together separate parts with mind-powers. He felt disgusted that no one had figured it out before.
- Lone and Alicia talked about what he did in the woods. He explained that he was gaining parts and trying to grow and wanted a book about it. He said he was not the right kind of head for his gestalt life form, but in the future there might be one, pointing out that cavemen weren't advanced. He must not have been thinking of the Flintstones with their car. He grunted with satisfaction (he's always grunting!) and left.
Part 2, Section 12
- We're still in Gerry's grasp of Alicia's memories. We need Twilight Zone music.
- She tried to find, for Lone, a book about a gestalt life form, but couldn't find anything satisfactory. A band of musicians making a song was similar but not a single life form.
- She reported her failure to Lone. Though he wasn't angry, he told her not to come back.
- Alicia complained that he wasn't giving her anything to pay back the reading.
- He asked what she wanted. She asked him to read not books out of her, but her self out of her.
- Lone probed her eyes and found confusion inside her. She denied it, claiming she was happy. Lone said she hated women because they knew something she didn't, and that she wanted two things from him.
- The first was to know how he grew up. He explained that he grew like an unwanted weed in the woods, but with the freedom to grow into the gestalt. She criticized his grammar and seemed jealous one member of the group was female.
- They discussed the mind probing. Lone said he didn't know what it was, but that she would forget about him except his name and the need to repay a favor.
- She asked if anyone would know about them. Lone said only if a gestalt head like himself or better came along.
- He then gives her the other thing she wanted: sex, taking her virginity. The novel describes it again, revealing what that first description of it was all about. A pressure, a painful breakage, and triumph drowning out the pain.
Part 2, Section 13
- Now Gerry leaves Alicia's memories, still split in half, part of him eleven, three years after having effectively been Lone's child, part of him fifteen, roughly three years after having effectively been Miss Kew's child.
- Gerry stops listening to Stern's hypnotism instruction and tells him he received a series of episodes from Alicia in the library, without explaining the mind probe.
- Stern describes the reception of a series of episodes as a gestalt and says Gerry must have had a powerful block against recalling it.
- Gerry asks why. The psychotherapist guesses distaste for assuming a female ego. Gerry already says Stern dismissed that view of psychiatry.
- Gerry disagrees with Stern's guess that the teen was fearful of re-experiencing the pain of absorbing another's ego.
- The teen instead says he probed her mind, the first time he did it fully. Now he says his probing power is more developed. Shouting, he asks Stern if he knows who he, Gerry, is. The psychotherapist asks him to reveal it.
- Gerry realizes he doesn't have the words for it, so he probes Stern's mind.
Part 2, Section 14
- Gerry takes ideas from Stern's mind, and the teen comments that it is easier for him to take ideas than it was for Lone.
Part 2, Section 15
- Finished probing Stern's mind, Gerry tells the psychotherapist to calm down and explains the gestalt organism to him.
- The teen describes himself as the center of a complex organism: Baby, a computer; the twins, teleports; Janie, telekineticist; and himself, telepath and central control. Gerry says the creature was organized by or around Lone. The teen replaced Lone, but wasn't developed enough at first and received an occlusion (block) from probing Miss Kew's mind when they first met in the library.
- He also explains that Miss Kew was destroying his gestalt. The Baby is three barrier prevented him from seeing that he was effectively Alicia's child, yet also something a whole lot bigger: the gestalt.
- Stern asks if maybe the gestalt life form is dead. The teen answers that it isn't.
- The psychotherapist asks what's next for the gestalt. Gerry says it'll do what comes naturally: defend itself.
- Stern asks how the life form will apply itself. The teen says he's been kicked around his whole life, and that the people kicking him around were evidently having fun. Now he wants to have the same fun. Uh-oh.
- The psychotherapist tells the teen that he, Gerry, has more to learn. Stern gives the teen's anger as an example.
- Gerry dismisses the points the psychotherapist brings up, until Stern explains that the gestalt is unique and therefore alone. That makes Gerry tell Stern to shut up.
- The two argue. Stern says people learn to live with being alone by accepting something called morality.
- Gerry says the psychotherapist is just afraid of Homo Gestalt, the next step up from Homo sapiens or humans. The teen uses his mind powers to make Stern sit down.
- Gerry cleans up the office. He retrieves Beanie and has her ask Baby how to delete the the audio recording. She vanishes, returns and erases the recording, then vanishes again.
- The teen leaves the office and waits for Stern to wake up. The psychotherapist wakes, and the teen goes back in. They repeat their initial exchange and Gerry makes up an excuse about being in the wrong office.
- He heads for the police station, grinning, ready to make them believe a fake report about Miss Kew's death. He laughs, wondering what Stern will make of the thousand-dollar bill lying there. The teen decides the thought is more amusing than killing the psychotherapist.
- Part 2 concludes with Gerry wondering, "What the hell is morality, anyway?"
Part 3, Section 1
- Okay, this opening conversation is super helpful, because if you read it instead of just skimming it, you'll have a better idea of what's going on in much of Part 3.
- Miss Gerard asks a sheriff to let her see her cousin, whom she says was discharged from the Air Force seven years ago after medical trouble. The cop asks the doctor's name. She says Thompson, then Dr. Bromfield. They talk further and the sheriff warns her that her cousin is crazy, that he punched a plate glass window for no reason and doesn't know his name. Finally the sheriff relents and takes her to the cell.
- Hip Barrows, the prisoner—remember him from Part 1 Section 13?—doesn't stir when they try to talk with him.
- The sheriff allows Miss Gerard to go in alone. She tells Hip she lied about being his cousin and that she just wants to help him. He stays silent.
- She says she'll leave but will return to help. He asks why. She says he's broken down and special.
- Crazy time! Hip calls her crazy. She says he was called crazy too, so they have something in common.
- She tells him she arranged for a lawyer and a doctor for his broken arm, not a psychiatrist. Hip remains silent.
Part 3, Section 2
- After the lawyer quickly gets Hip out jail, Miss Gerard takes him to a house where he can have a clean room and supplies such as clothes, a key, and a razor. Nice lady.
- She asks him to clean up. She tells him he hasn't eaten in four days. Again this book is making us hungry. We want to eat lemon sorbet.
- Hip cleans up. He eats the dinner she cooked and vomits. She cleans him up and suggests he sleep.
- Alone in his room, he ponders his feeling of being in her company versus being alone, arriving at no definitive answer. He sleeps.
Part 3, Section 3
- Miss Gerard tells Hip good morning. He doesn't want to talk, thinking about how he wants coffee. They basically play the silent game a while, she just being patient, he just being stubborn.
- He finally points out he slept in his clothes. She tells him to drink his coffee, as if able to read his mind. The beauty of nature's sunlight nurtures him.
- Hip showers, breaking off some buttons while removing his clothes. In the shower, he abruptly remembers someone's voice commanding him to get sick and sicker. He angrily asks aloud whose voice it is. Is it time for more Twilight Zone music?
- Alicia cooks him a perfect breakfast, repairs his buttons, and tends to his hurt but healing arm.
- The novel describes the beauty outside and the inside of the room: quiet, patient, and somehow guarding itself as Hip heals.
- He and Miss Gerard take a short, quiet walk outside. She makes him dinner, tells him goodnight, and goes to sleep in a room across the hall. This is all short and sweet and simple, but what's going on, you have to wonder. Especially as their routine repeats for a few days.
Part 3, Section 4
- Hip wakes in the middle of the night, remembering a face with a pointed chin taunting him. He cries out, and Miss Gerard comes in to hold his hand.
- He feels better for not being alone and cries for a long time. He falls asleep again, and she tiptoes out.
Part 3, Section 5
- This morning Hip and Miss Gerard's routine changes: he makes breakfast, not she.
- He asks her name for the first time. She replies, "Janie Gerard." Ah-hah! That's who she is.
- She considers him carefully and places an aluminum tube in his hand. He stares at it dumbly. It falls from his hand, and he resumes eating breakfast without comment.
Part 3, Section 6
- We learn about Hip's continuing improvement. He remembers that his name is short for Hippocrates and can recall the preceding day or two, but he doesn't remember anything from before meeting Janie.
- She continues bringing the aluminum tube into his sight. He ignores it; she waits patiently. We wish someone were waiting as sweetly for us.
- One day Hip gazes at a particular window and notices scars on his hand. Janie places the tube in his palm. He closes his fist around it, feeling frightened and angry. She reassures him. He realizes the tube is his and that he broke this window.
- Home again, they have a long back-and-forth in which he tries to recall why the tube is important. He remembers that he had it for a long time and that he was looking for someone and a shelter in the woods. Janie just patiently listens, reassures him, and provides him prompts to speak about his memories.
- Hip remembers that someone named Thompson told him to be sick and get sicker. He recalls that he wanted to attack this person. Hip becomes frustrated, unable to remember more details. Janie, all the while, calms him and reassures him that he is not crazy.
- Janie shows him his well-groomed appearance in the mirror to reassure him he that isn't sick. Hip relaxes. He asks if he was in the military, but Janie just waits. Hip recalls that he tried to punch Thompson but hit the window instead, which is what landed him in jail.
- Hip suddenly asks her why she cares. She avoids answering and says she's glad he's getting better.
- He asks where she lives. She says across the hall, and he remembers the night he cried. Embarrassed, he suggests they go out somewhere. Seemingly relieved, she agrees.
Part 3, Section 7
- They enjoy themselves at an amusement park. He thinks about how their time together is special, how they're enjoying each other's company.
- He wonders why Janie rescued him and vows to give her any assistance she needs.
- Hip, gazing at lovers on a beach, abruptly remembers his need to hunt someone down. The need was more important to him than anything, even love or becoming a colonel.
- He ponders if Janie wants him as a romantic conquest. Ooh-la-la! Hip considers it appealing and pictures how attractive she is, but decides she doesn't seem to be seducing him. It's a different sort of intimacy.
- She is passively, patiently waiting for him to unearth his memories. He contrasts this with the way Thompson and Bromfield goaded, probed, and pried at him. He wonders who Bromfield is.
- Standing by the beach, they turn to each other. Their emotions merge. They seem on the brink of kissing, but Janie pulls back. Hip feels pained but manages to let the unborn kiss die away. Regretfully, the two continue walking.
- They pass attractions at the amusement park. Hip and Janie stop at a game with toy guns that shoot at aircraft silhouettes. Hip does well shooting them and mumbles military jargon. He wins a statuette of a police dog. Janie does better than he did, and once Hip notices, he pretends to be bad at the game.
- Corncob time! They walk on and encounter a boy of about seven who's sucking on a corncob. They try to offer him the statuette, but he keeps refusing. Janie suddenly says to leave him alone. Hip keeps trying to convince the boy to take the dog as she walks away. Hip sets the statuette down and catches up with her. She calls the boy a devil. Hip turns, sees the corncob float up and hit the boy in the head. He decides he must be seeing things. The boy curses them and flees. The two, happy again, eat pizza (more food!) and walk to a taxi.
- Hip feels as if his whole world is expanding. He asks Janie how much it can grow. She says his world can get much bigger. He tells her he feels sick. She tells him he knows what that feeling is (Thompson's command).
- Hip insists Thompson is wrong and that he, Hip, won't get sick again. He tells the driver to go to what is obviously Miss Kew's house.
- Hip stares dumbly at Miss Kew's house for a while, then tells the driver to take them home. No TV in his taxi either, this being written in 1953.
- Back home, Hip protests that the cash in his possession doesn't belong to him. She says it does. He says it doesn't and asks about the rent. Janie remains quiet. Hip starts musing about how he went to that house once holding the aluminum tube.
- Hip gets angrier about the money not really being his. He tries to remember what happened to him. He tells her how he remembers going to the Kew house, looking for children. The children weren't there, so he asked to talk with Alicia Kew. The people at the house said she was dead but told him where to find the children.
- Hip looks for a piece of paper with the children's new address and decides Janie has taken it from his old clothes. She says nothing, and he insists he can remember anything on his own.
- Janie finally speaks, telling Hip she's merely assisting him in doing the memory work. Hip says there can't be too much more to remember. She disagrees.
- He says remembering the Kew house was enough. Hip says the address will lead to "him," but Hip can't remember who he is. Poor guy.
- Janie tells Hip he can go to the house tomorrow, but he'll be unable to make sense out of it. He shouts that she must know the answers and shakes her. She begs him to stop; he flings her onto the bed. Uh-oh. He apologizes as she cries. He says he just wants the answers.
- She admits knowing the answers, but mentions the aluminum tube. He picks it up. She asks him what he remembers about it. He barely remembers anything.
- Janie reveals she's been putting the tube in his hands and shoes and everywhere else, but he keeps ignoring it because he's currently unable to remember its significance.
- Hip tells her he remembers Bromfield saying he had a mental block, but can't remember who Bromfield is. Janie explains she's helping him get past the block by prompting his memories, and that it is a very slow process. If she just spoon-feeds him the answers, he won't be able to hear them.
- He gets super insistent and says if he can just get to the house, he can get the new address of the kids again and be on his way.
- She reveals that if he succeeds in that without being prepared enough, he will be killed. He gets angry and asks her to leave. She does, in despair.
Part 3, Section 8
- Alone, Hip recalls Thompson's order to get sicker, even to die. He whispers, as if to Thompson, "All right." He wonders what difference it makes, now that he feels Janie doesn't care about him.
- He gets Janie and Thompson's mouths confused in his mind. He promises himself he'll kill Thompson.
- Fighting with his memory, Hip recalls he found the children's clothes in a cave and that Bromfield had told him to give up his obsession.
- He whispers for Janie and recalls that she just wanted him to take his time. He decides to try remembering more. He recalls the aluminum tube and the address to the Kew house were in the cave, and both counted as evidence against Bromfield's suggestion to just drop the obsession.
- He realizes he's getting faster at digging into his memories. He looks for Janie by opening her door.
- He sees someone, not Janie, inside her room. He apologizes, goes back to his room, and dozes. Besides making us hungry, this book makes us sleepy.
Part 3, Section 9
- Hip dreams about being in the military until Janie knocks on the door. He lets her in. Aw, she reveals she's been planning how to secretly follow him on his search.
- He tells her about finding a young, black, naked girl in her room.
- Janie panics, saying "he" has found them. Hip tries to tell her about his memories, but she orders him to flee with her. They hail a taxi.
- She tells the driver to just go anywhere, panicking too much to explain anything. She says there isn't enough time to explain. Hip insists there's enough time and details to her his progress in working with his memories. The progress impresses her enough to decide that maybe they do have enough time.
- The taxi lets them out. They climb up a foothill so they can see if anyone's coming. She insists they'll be found.
- Hip quickly digs into his memory. He recalls that six months after his obsession was born, the military discharged him. It then took him six months to find a county clerk's office; it took him a year to go from that office to an insane asylum, then three years to go from that asylum to the cave. Two years after the cave, he found the Alicia Kew house. That made seven years of struggle to find a certain something he'd once discovered.
- The novel restates a line from Part 1 Section 13 about how Hip found an answer and a disaster on an anti-aircraft range. He was a young, brilliant, but bored Lieutenant Hip Barrows.
Part 3, Section 10
- Now we finally get to find out what Hip's discovery seven years prior was. About time!
- Hip had been a lieutenant trying to find something to stop his boredom while stationed at an anti-aircraft range used for training. He found a mathematical oddness that showed that an area of the range caused more duds (shells that failed to explode). Hip was pleased to have found an exclusive that might make him more popular. He thought of the leaders who would be impressed.
- He went to study the area and found that it inhibited magnetism. That made him really excited about how popular he'd become. He built a detector to track down the strange phenomenon's source.
- Hip intentionally found the stupidest-looking Private First Class, the lowest ranking soldier, to assist him. Gee, that's pretty arrogant. They dug up the source.
- It was the anti-gravity generator from Part 1. Ah-hah! He tested the lever and was amazed at the results. Anti-gravity meant changing the world. But the Private First Class yanked the lever back, sending the device flying away forever. He tripped Hip. Hip jumped for the device, barely touching a cable.
Part 3, Section 11
- Now Hip vaguely remembers that he argued with other soldiers about the Private First Class. Whoever raced back to the field found the hole and detector. Nothing else. Hip insisted on speaking to the Colonel but was told to shut up. After fighting with the other soldiers, he was thrown into a military hospital. Sometimes you get the feeling nobody believes anybody when things aren't going well in this book.
- The military police explained he'd been trying to kill the Private First Class, who apparently didn't exist. A psychiatrist named Major Thompson entered. His face matched that of the Private First Class, so Hip attempted to fight him. The soldiers beat him down again. Ouch.
Part 3, Section 12
- The military tried to convince Hip that Major Thompson wasn't the Private First Class. Hip swore to find the maker of the device and kill Thompson.
- Bromfield, his new psychiatrist, tried to get Hip past his mood swings to the point that he could face Thompson again. Once the military finally brought the patient back to Thompson, Hip tried to attack him again, so the military discharged him. (Quick! How many psychiatrists are in this book?)
- Hip tried to follow Bromfield's fatherly advice to adjust to reality but failed. He tried to track down the device. He found a happy Mr. Prodd in a Pennsylvania asylum who told him about Lone. Hip then went to live in the woods. He found Lone's shelter and the aluminum tube, similar to what was on the anti-gravity generator.
- Hip also found the address to the Alicia Kew house in the shelter. But he ran into Thompson, he remembers, and then Janie found him.
Part 3, Section 13
- Hip dozes off, yet another instance of this book making us sleepy. He thinks his problems are solved, but Janie wakes him and begins asking him questions.
- She asks him to explain the Private First Class. Hip says the soldier was stupid and mean and not Thompson. Janie points out the flaws in those arguments and asks what it'd mean if the other soldier sent the anti-gravity device flying away on purpose.
- Wham-o! Hip suddenly realizes the Private First Class, Thompson, and the inventor of the device are all the same individual. But he says the person would have to be able to read minds, hypnotize people, and do other tricks in order to pull all that off. Janie says he does do those tricks.
- She also tells him that he hadn't been allowed to put all these facts together previously. Hip sinks down, frustrated that he'd wanted to disregard Janie and go after the monster without understanding him. He asks Janie to tell him her story.
Part 3, Section 14
- Story-time! Janie tells Hip about the past of the kids and Lone. She also reveals that after Gerry murdered Miss Alicia Kew, they moved into Mr. Kew's mansion in the woods.
- She tells Hip how Gerry went through college and medical school, falsifying records and obtaining degrees. This involved some of the usual Bonnie and Beanie teleporting tricks. Ho-ho.
- Those were good times, Janie tells Hip, because Gerry wanted to learn so much. She learned a lot too, because the information passed through her.
- Janie says that there are two kinds of people who love to learn and use information: people who are genuinely interested, and people who want to prove something, such as that they are more popular. Gerry, she says, was the second kind. After all, he'd been looked down upon at the orphanage.
- Gerry decided he no longer needed to prove anything to anyone, since he could do anything. He lost his motivation and regressed into acting like a vicious child.
- Janie, meanwhile, dated an engineer who told her about one of Hip's academic papers about counter-magnetism. That led to Gerry learning of the anti-gravity device. Hip is amazed to hear that Lone invented it simply to help the old farmer.
- Baby told Gerry that if the invention were discovered, there would either be a war or science would advance too quickly. The discovery would add mind-powers to science. Gerry didn't care. He simply wanted to be left alone.
- Gerry decided to hurt Hip out of vicious meanness and to stop people from coming after his group. He found him, probed his mind, and learned Hip wanted to appoint a volunteer to get the gadget with him.
- Hip says he regrets his hotshot behavior. Janie says she thought he looked romantic and reveals that she followed Gerry's orders to help him become the supposedly stupid soldier. She didn't know his plan. Gerry, as Thompson, had Hip's records destroyed and the lieutenant discredited.
- Finally, Gerry gave Hip a mental block or occlusion. It was a command that stopped Hip from recalling what had happened. The only way to defeat the block was via an abreaction, or reliving, through detailed memories, what had happened to him until he could piece together what had put the block in place.
- Hip, driven and curious, had pieced the parts together on his own for those seven years he recalled. He worked his way toward Miss Kew's house, where he encountered Gerry/Thompson and attacked him. Gerry made him slam into the window and gave him the command to get sick, sicker, and die. Geez.
- Gerry's revenge infuriated Janie. But she couldn't attack Gerry, since that'd be attacking herself. They're one single life form. Janie says Gerry killed and hurt other people too.
- Hip asks her why she chose to rescue him. Janie says that first, the battle in the town by the window was the straw that broke the camel's back for her. Second, she says, the gestalt, her life form, is alone without morals or ethics, but Hip inspires her.
- She explains that although the gestalt is More Than Human, its parts, namely she, are not too far off from human beings. She is still Janie and still felt human enough to help Hip. She makes it clear that it wasn't love, and defines love as joining and merging with someone to become stronger.
- Hip thinks over his past arrogance and feels humbled. He tells Janie that when he hunted for the device, he just wanted to be popular. She asks what he wants now. He says he doesn't know, but it isn't popularity.
- Action time! After telling Hip he might discover what he's seeking, she suggests they return to her home, Thompson's, so Gerry might learn to feel ashamed.
- Hip's, like, What, ashamed? She answers that she doesn't know how to build a system of morality, but she knows violating morals leads to shame. So she'll try to make Gerry feel ashamed by showing him Hip. Perhaps, she reasons aloud, Gerry will see how he's hurt this brilliant, driven person, and feel ashamed.
- Now Hip's all like, Come on, will that really work? She says Gerry won't be able to kill him because she's Gerry's only link with Baby, the powerful memory of the gestalt. Gerry won't cut off his own brain. Hip agrees to come and promises Janie she won't have to kill herself to sever the link between Gerry and Baby.
Part 3, Section 15
- They stop by their house. Janie shows off her telekinesis, zooming household objects around with her mind. Hip laughs and asks why he's never kissed her.
- Janie tells him she won't answer because he's uptight about right and wrong. He explains that he's figured out that she's been tampering with his body with her telekinesis to reduce his sexual attraction to her. Whoa. If that happens in real life, it would explain a lot.
- Janie protests that she's innocent. Hip kids that she isn't a nice girl. She makes a face at him and disappears into her room. Hip stares at her closed door and, filled with emotions ranging from wonderment to terror to thoughtfulness, returns to his room.
Part 3, Section 16
- Janie and Hip approach the old Mr. Kew mansion. Hip sees it as foreboding and sick. Janie agrees.
- Hip overhears Janie talk with someone behind a tree. It's one of the twins. She orders the twin to do something to keep her from dying.
- They walk down a long, narrowing corridor that has a side anteroom. Hip waits there while Janie meets with Gerry alone first.
- Alone in the anteroom, Hip orders himself not to waste time, but to think, create something in his mind before meeting Thompson.
- He thinks about the gestalt, the powerful next step up in human evolution. In contrast, his species, homo sapiens, seems weak and defenseless except for its brain. Hip realizes his species will die unless he comes up with a survival plan.
- He ponders how Janie wants the gestalt to acquire a moral system and thrive. He wonders if morals are a coded survival instinct. He considers that some societies have differing morals. Maybe, he thinks, morals just apply within their specific societies.
- He thinks that an ethos, on the other hand, is a creed by which an individual lives in order to help his species, something over and above morals.
- Hip defines morals as "Society's code for individual survival" and ethics as "An individual's code for society's survival." Hip thinks these definitions are a little too handy-dandy, but workable for his current purposes.
- He realizes the gestalt can't have a morality, because it's alone, without other life forms like it. Perhaps then, he reasons, the gestalt could choose an ethic which would serve all of humanity.
- Hip realizes he is fit to invent an ethic for the gestalt because his father was a strict, though abusive, doctor. He forgives his father. His focus seems to sharpen.
- Janie asks him to come in. Hip feels his answer about ethics is not quite ready, but he must continue ahead. It's time for Serious Cat.
- Hip enters the greenhouse-like room and meets Thompson/Gerry, who says that though Janie has warned him, he still feels surprised to meet Hip again. Hip says he isn't surprised, because homo sapiens is a surviving kind of creature and that he knew for seven years that he'd track him down.
- Thompson takes off his glasses and his eyes begin to spin. Janie stops him, showing him the small glass cylinder hanging between her lips. If he touches Hip, she'll bite down on it, killing herself and breaking his link to Baby.
- Hip thinks a question to Baby. He asks if Baby can be replaced. Janie delivers the yes answer and reminds him of the telepath with the corncob from the amusement park (Part 3, Section 7).
- Hip realizes that since Baby can be replaced, the gestalt is immortal. He suddenly figures out the ethic that the gestalt needs. But first he says aloud that Baby could replaced. Janie screams, "Don't tell him that!" meaning Gerry. Gerry says he already knew and tells her that she's unnecessary. She begs Hip to run away. Thompson, preparing his spinning eyes, approaches Hip.
- Suddenly a gabbling twin tackles Gerry. Hip hurries forward and punches Thompson out.
- The twin and Hip touch affectionately. Janie says the poison cylinder fell from her mouth. Hip says he hasn't killed Gerry, but asks Bonnie for a knife and cloth. Bonnie retrieves them, and Hip asks to be left alone. Janie flees. Hip prepares his thoughts at the front of his mind like a patterned drape.
Part 3, Section 17
- Hip's thought tells Gerry to recognize that they were both hated boys who wanted to be needed and became unwanted monsters. In other words, the two have enough in common that Gerry should listen to him.
- The message also says the gestalt, because it is unique, doesn't need morals. Instead Hip's message offers an ethos which requires belief rather than obedience. You really have to read it, but in short, it's a code for a greater survival than that of the gestalt. It requires reverence for the current carrying the gestalt from its past, humanity, to whomever will be more advanced in the future. The thought instructs Gerry to use his immortality to help humanity.
- Hip's thought explains that once there are enough gestalts, this ethic will become their group morality until a new, even more advanced being creates a new ethic to replace it.
- Hip concludes his thought by saying that Hip was a monster who found this ethos, and Gerry, also a monster, must now decide what to do.
Part 3, Section 18
- Gerry wakes to Hip's knife at his throat. *Cue dramatic music!*
- Gerry promises not to hurt him, but Hip says it would be moral for him to kill a monster. He asks if it's true that Gerry can probe his thoughts.
- The prisoner whimpers to be freed. Hip undertakes an ethical act: he removes the blindfold, moves his eyes close to Gerry's, and tells him to go ahead, to read his mind.
Part 3, Section 19
- Gerry, after reading Hip's mind, says he feels ashamed for the first time and asks him how he found the ethic.
- Hip says it's not something you can look up, but a way of thinking. Gerry laments the time he lost by being vicious. The older man reminds him that he can still do great things and that he's already paid a price for what he's done. Gerry has had to feel super-loneliness, after all.
- Hip says he has to go find Janie, because maybe she believes he killed him. Gerry says perhaps Hip has killed him after all.
Part 3, Section 20
- So now what? Hip goes to the anteroom and finds Janie there. He tells her Gerry became ashamed.
- Hip suggests he should leave and move on with his life. Janie asks him to stay.
- He says he can't stay, because he doesn't want to be around someone (the gestalt) whom he can't be part of. Janie says the Gestalt is missing a piece. Hip realizes he could join the gestalt but doesn't know what his power would be.
- Janie reveals that he'd be the conscience, the one to turn the ethic into a consistent morality. Aw!
- Hip agrees. He sits down next to Janie, and they wait for Gerry.
Part 3, Section 21
- The final section! Gerry, still sitting alone, hears new, silent voices. They welcome him.
- He senses their warmth and wisdom. They introduce themselves, each having a separate personality and stature. But in terms of volume, they're all the same, equally near.
- The feeling he shares with them is one of happy, fearless, silent communion or belonging.
- They're young immortals, but older than Gerry's gestalt is. They've inspired humanity's creators across history. Gerry asks the voices who they are. They say they're Homo Gestalt. He asks why they didn't reveal themselves before. They explain he wasn't completed yet.
- Gerry asks if the ethic is what completed him. They confirm it. They say multiplicity is their first characteristic, but unity their second. They say he needs to understand they're parts of humanity, a greater being. This is getting so deep.
- Gerry realizes he's ashamed of things humans do to one another, but which humanity as a whole cannot do. He says the voices punished him for his bad deeds. They respond that he was simply quarantined, shut off.
- He asks if Homo Gestalt is responsible for humanity's accomplishments. They deny it, saying they share and that they simply are humanity.
- Gerry says humanity has been trying to kill itself. They answer that a nuclear war might make it seem that humanity is failing now, but in terms of all history, a nuclear war is just a short moment.
- Homo Gestalt merges their memories and intellects with him. Gerry realizes Hip's ethic was too small, for this humanity is a wise force that will not hurt others wrongly. It's a guardian. It's described not as an exterior force or god in the sky, but a laughing thing with a human heart and reverence for its human origins.
- He sees himself as an atom and his gestalt as a molecule. The voices are parts too, and all of these parts are joining together to make what humanity will become.
- This vision makes Gerry feel worship, which he identifies as self-respect. With his strange eyes crying, he thanks the Homo Gestalt voices.
- Now humble, he joins their company.