Study Guide

The Lightning Thief Chapter 17 Summary

By Rick Riordan

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"We Shop for Water Beds"

  • They find a taxi and use their unlimited Lotus Casino credits to get them to Santa Monica Beach.
  • During the cab ride, Percy tell them the dream he had the night they rode in the truck. But he can't remember all the details – the Lotus Casino seems to have fried his memory.
  • Annabeth and Grover can't make sense of why the cold voice in Percy's dream said it was waiting for two objects, and not one (Zeus's master bolt). They begin to wonder if the voice in the pit doesn't belong to Hades, but rather to someone else. They wonder if Hades didn't steal the master bolt after all. What if the master bolt isn't in the Underworld? They only have one day left.
  • They arrive at Santa Monica Beach at sunset that same day.
  • Percy walks into the waves, getting deeper and deeper until he's underwater.
  • A mako shark nudges him, and Percy grabs hold of his fin.
  • The mako shark takes Percy farther out into the ocean, until Percy is at the edge of a great chasm – where the ocean's floor drops down deep below:

    It was like standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon at midnight, not being able to see much, but knowing the void was right there. (17.54)

  • Suddenly, a water spirit rises from below riding a sea-stallion. Her voice sounds like his mother's voice. This is the same spirit who spoke to Percy on the bottom of the Mississippi River.
  • She introduces herself as a Nereid, "a spirit of the sea" (17.60). She works for Poseidon.
  • Percy is angry that his dad didn't come see him himself, but the Nereid cautions Percy not to be so judgmental. Gods can't help their half-blood children directly; they can't show favoritism.
  • She gives Percy a gift of three pearls: "take these, and when you are in need, smash a pearl at your feet" (17.72).
  • The Nereid warns Percy not to trust Hades, and tells him to follow his heart no matter what.
  • She disappears down into the depths of the ocean.
  • Percy, Annabeth, and Grover take a bus to West Hollywood.
  • They wander the streets for miles looking for the DOA Recording Studios (the gates of the Underworld), but no one has ever heard of it or knows where it is.
  • Percy sees Smelly Gabe crying on TV (at an appliance store) as he's being interviewed by Barbara Walters. Barbara Walters shows her viewers a picture of Percy Jackson, the delinquent youth accused of wreaking havoc across America.
  • Some strange and scary characters are coming out of the woodwork here in West Hollywood. Percy's a New Yorker, but he's definitely not feeling very comfortable here in Los Angeles.
  • A group of rich kids with knives (they look like they might belong at Yancy Academy) gang up on Percy, Annabeth, and Grover.
  • Percy tries to use Riptide on them, but they are mortal, so Riptide can't do the trick.
  • The three run as fast as they can away from the gang of rich kids.
  • They run into Crusty's Water Bed Palace, where "a guy who looked like a raptor in a leisure suit" is hanging out (17.123).
  • He invites them in and is understanding of their situation. He introduces himself as Crusty.
  • Crusty invites them to try out some waterbeds while they hide from the mean kids outside.
  • Grover tries out a water bed with built-in lava lamps.
  • Annabeth tries out a safari-themed water bed.
  • Suddenly, Crusty snaps his fingers and says, "'Ergo!'" and ropes bind Annabeth and Grover to their beds (17.138).
  • Percy asks Crusty to let his friends go, but Crusty says he's got to make him fit the beds first. The beds are six feet long – he's got to make Annabeth and Grover six feet long. By stretching them.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, meet Procrustes (Crusty for short), the Stretcher who once tried to kill Theseus.
  • Percy charms Crusty into trying out a bed himself. Once Crusty is lying on the bed, Percy snaps his fingers and says, "Ergo!" Ropes bind crusty up, and Percy uses Riptide to lop off his head.
  • Percy frees his friends and looks at the bulletin board behind Crusty's desk.
  • It turns out that the entrance to the Underworld is right around the block!

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