Dandelion Wine – Chapters Thirty-four and Thirty-five

Chapter thirty-four is about The Tarot Witch that was created for their novel. Douglas takes Tom to a Penny Arcade to show him the mechanical Tarot Witch there. When Tom asks him why he wanted him to see her, Douglas says that he asks too many questions. He then thinks to himself that it’s because he was initially elated when he realized that he was alive, before he realized that being alive meant that he must die someday too, no matter how much he wants to prevent it. No longer certain about his life, he wants to take comfort in something that he knows never will go away, i.e. the permanent amusements at the carnival. Douglas gets a typical fortune from the Tarot Witch, but the card she gives Tom is blank. Tom suggests that the Witch might have run out of ink, but Douglas insists that the blank card must have some special meaning. Thinking that she might have written a message in invisible ink on the back of the card, Douglas runs a match over it. He accidentally burns up the card in the process, but says that he read a French message from the Witch, calling for help. He comes to the conclusion that the Witch is really a princess trapped in hot wax that someone poured over her.

Douglas plots to “rescue” the Tarot Witch by overloading a machine with coins so that Mr. Black, the carnival manager, will use them to get drunk. Mr. Black, however, goes crazy and smashes the Witch’s glass case. Douglas jumps in to stop him; just as Mr. Black is about to attack him with a knife, he passes out from his drinking. Douglas and Tom confiscate the Witch, planning to free her, but just as they reach the ravine, Mr. Black reappears and flings the Witch into the ravine, to Douglas’ horror.

Later on in the day, Douglas and Tom return to where the Tarot Witch is lying. Douglas says to Tom that the Witch is really alive, and that someday he will be able to free her from the wax with magic spells so that the Witch will become just another figurine. As he mentions their fortunes, another blank card falls from her sleeve. Douglas exclaims that it must be written with her thanks and a prediction that they will “live forever.”

Chapter thirty-five can be titled “Hotter than Summer”. Douglas comes upon Tom who is counting the times cicadas buzz every fifteen seconds to measure the temperature. Douglas reads the home thermometer as reading 87°F (31°C), but Tom, after finishing his count, says that it is actually 92° (33°C) Spaulding. Feeling woozy, Douglas begins subconsciously counting to the cicadas’ buzzes too.

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