|“||My children need a mother. And I'll admit Vic McQueen has stoked a fire I've long struggled to keep dormant. [...] She's not like the others. She's pure.||”|
|— Charlie to Abe|
Maggie rushes back inside, dumps the trash can out on the counter top in search of her prescription drugs. When she finds the bottle empty, she retreats to her bedroom and cries. Maggie spends the following day cleaning up the house and going through Joe’s laundry. Later that night, she calls his phone, but only gets his voicemail. She calls her mother and asks to come home. She explains that she threw her Scrabble Tiles away. Carla tells Maggie she’s more than welcome to come home so long as she agrees to their terms; weekly drug testing, no girls, and Church on Sunday. Maggie hangs up the phone before her mother could continue her list of demands. While taking out the trash, she finds her Scrabble Bag sitting on the front step. It seems to have found its way back to her. Maggie asks her tiles where Joe is. The tiles say that he’s dead.
Bing eagerly awaits Manx’s call. "Bing. Bing the ding-a-ling. Instead of a helper, Mr. Manx got a thing," he rhymes. Bing uses his typewriter to send Manx a message. He apologizes for allowing Vic to poisons his mind. Bing grows frustrated as he has trouble placing his words. So instead of writing a letter to Manx, he steaks out Vic’s home.
Vic receives an acceptance letter from RISD. A full scholarship. She calls her mom to inform her. Linda gets the call that Vic was accepted into RISD while cleaning the Brewster house. Willa is close by, and Linda informs her of the news. In celebration, Willa plans a party.
That night, Linda and Vic head off for a party at the Brewsters. Linda is skeptical. They arrive at the party, where Vic is greeted by Willa, Simon, and Brenda. Across the room, completely isolated from the rest of the party stands Craig.
Vic finds her mother cleaning dishes in the kitchen. Vic begs her to stop and join the party. Linda reminds Vic that the Brewsters aren’t her family. She worried what Vic attending RISD will mean for the family. More over, the fancy living that the Brewsters are accustomed to is not meant for people like them, and Linda wants to protect Vic from finding that out the hard way.
With the McQueens gone, Bing puts on his gas mask and breaks into their home.
Chris arrives at the party and congratulates Vic on getting a full ride into RISD. He’s offered a drink, which he turns down, announcing to Linda and Vic that as of recently, he’s quit drinking. Linda is amused and doubtful that it will last, though Vic seems to at least appreciate that her father is trying.
Craig pulls Vic to the side and gives her a kiss. Vic, however, is too preoccupied and concerned with her mother, who Craig concludes is being difficult because she’s sad that Vic is leaving. Vic explains that RISD is two hours ago, though Craig agrees with Linda that it’s still not the same as Vic being in Haverhill. She insists that everything will be fine and that she’ll even be back home for breaks. They turn their attention to a piece of artwork the Brewsters have on display, which Vic and Craig describe as a "fancy cooch." The two take off running after Craig nearly breaks the artwork.
Chris joins Linda outside for a smoke. They watch Vic and Craig through the window. Chris is impressed and proud of Vic. However, Linda is concerned with Vic moving to such a big city like Providence. However, Chris knows Vic to have a good head on her shoulders.
Inside Vic’s room, Bing finds alcohol, weed, condoms, and pills. Just downstairs, Linda returns home. She hears a door creek and concludes that Vic beat her home, unaware that Bing has broken into. While Linda is distracted, Bing creeps out the front door unnoticed. Linda enters Vic’s room and on her bed finds the alcohol, weed, condoms, and pills that Bing left out.
Maggie gets drunk at Miss Trixies, a local bar. She meets a girl named Krystal at the bar, and after a bit of verbal foreplay, they exchange drugs.
Vic returns home and finds her mother waiting for her in her room. Linda confronts her over the alcohol and drugs. As punishment, she’s taken away Vic’s art supplies and computer. While Vic may be 18, she lives under Linda’s roof. So long as she continues to do so, she will abide by her rules. School, work, home. She denounces any partying as well as boys. Linda claims this is for Vic’s own good. She doesn’t believe Vic is ready to be on her own. However, Vic sees this for what it really is. Her mother is jealous, referring to her as an ignorant, small-town loser. It’s why Vic’s dad left her. Linda becomes enraged and throws a glass a Vic, which shatters as it hits the door.
Vic runs into the woods following her fight with her mother. Burdened by the sharp pain in the back of her eye, Vic comes to a stop and rests on a tree. Suddenly, she is ambushed by Bing and sprayed with gingerbread smoke.
Manx arrives outside a bar called Parnassus. A known hangout for Strong Creatives. He runs into an old friend of his, Abe. He informs Abe that Jolene July has passed. He sensed it. She died trying to kill him with help from Vic McQueen. A Strong Creative in her own right. Manx can feel that she’s special.
Vic wakes up duct taped and tied up in Bing’s basement. He removes the tape from her mouth, and she screams. He covers her mouth with his hand and says "only girls who are nice and sweet get to have a tasty treat." Vic’s been naughty, and if something were to happen to her, no one would come looking. Everyone will think she ran away after the fight with her mother. Vic reminds Bing how they were once friends. He says that can be true again so long as Vic is nice. He then sprays her again with the gingerbread smoke. He tells her to say "I love you, Bing Partridge.:
High off pills, Maggie and Krystal take to the dance floor, during which time, Maggie steals Krystal’s entire prescription bottle. After a brief make out session in the hall, Maggie takes a hard look at herself in the bathroom mirror.
Vic wakes back up after being heavily dosed with gingerbread smoke. Bing sees Vic as his second chance. He blames her for him getting on Manx’s naughty lost. He believes by getting rid of Vic, he’ll be back in Manx’s good graces. However, Vic informs him how Manx told her that she would be welcomed in Christmasland. Bing begins to panic. Should Manx find out that he took Vic, he‘ll be on the naughty list forever. Bing places the tape back on Vic’s mouth and runs upstairs. Vic struggles with the commemorative pin on her book that she got from Craig, hoping to use it to cut the tape restraining her. She pauses as Bing comes back down. Having thought over his options, Bing can’t let Vic go in fear that she’ll tell Manx what he did. Bing would give everything to go to Christmasland. Some of his best feelings came at Christmas. Vic used to think her best feelings happened with her family at Lake Winnipesaukee.
On Christmas, Bing’s dad gave him his gas mask. His mom made sugar cookies. She said that she loved him more than anything. While Bing relives moments from his past, Vic continues to scratch at the tape with her commemorative pin. Her best feeling is when she got into art school. Bing is surprisingly happy for her. Bing's very best feeling came when he killed his parents. He put a nail in both of their heads. He recalls how terribly his father used to treat him. Every time he did, Bing's mom went into the kitchen to make cookies. She never protected him. Vic continues to stall Bing while she breaks free. She surmised that Manx knows all about Bing’s troubled past and used it to manipulate him into doing his bidding, like killing Sharon Smith. However, Bing informs Vic that killing Sharon was all his doing. He recalls her skin being soft like his mom’s. And while she smelled of coconut shampoo and menthols, she tasted just as sweet as his mom. Vic sobs as Bing gets up close and smells her. As he lays his head on her chest, Vic breaks free. She cuts him on his face with her pen and kicks him in his balls before hitting him over the head with his gas tank and dousing him with gingerbread smoke.
Manx informs Abe of Vic and her ability to travel along the Shorter Way Bridge. Abe saw it open up on the Map, not too far from his area. Almost all the troubles that Abe has every known started with a woman, and the happiest times of his life have been free of the feminine influence. Manx adds that most men spend their lives being past from one woman to another, as he was from his mother to his wife. However, his children need a mother. Abe believes it’ll be in Manx’s best interest to kill Vic. Manx argues that Vic isn’t like the others. She’s pure. Last time Abe seen Manx like this, he proposed to Jolene. He's worried how Manx will react when Vic rejects him. Manx thinks he can convince Vic to join him if she could just see Christmasland. Still, Abe believes Manx is better of killing Vic. Manx states that Vic is worth him risking his Inscape. However, should she resist him, he’ll feed her to his kids.
Maggie sits both drunk and high on a dirty mattress in an alleyway after mixing her pills and booze. She asks her Scrabble Bag for the location of Vic’s bike. The tiles spells out "THE BRAT."
Vic returns to Craig’s house and informs him of her latest encounter with Bing. They can’t go to he cops or else Vic will end up in the psych ward again. Craig grabs a baseball bat, intent on taking Bing on himself, however, Vic convinces him not to. She then gets a call from Maggie, who informs her that her Scrabble Bag came back on its own. It found her and told her that Vic has her bike. Regardless of what Vic’s mom says, the Bag can be cryptic, but it never lies. Vic realizes that something is wrong with Maggie, asking if she’s alright, as she needs Maggie's help. They’re a team. Unfortunately, Maggie’s under the influence and is of no help to Vic. So, she hangs up. Vic calls her right back, but Maggie doesn’t answer. Vic looks to Craig and asks him to take her home.
Vic arrives at her house and asks her mother where she put her bike. Linda insists that she sold it, but Vic knows she’s lying. Linda is afraid of being alone, and Vic knows it. With both Vic and Chris gone, she would only have herself to blame for her life. Linda starts to cry, repeating that it’s not fair and that she won’t know what to do once Vic is gone. Linda reluctantly reveals that she hid Vic’s bike in the basement.
Vic rides her bike through the woods and over the Shorter Way to Miss Trixie’s bar in Here, Iowa. Vic finds Maggie passed out on a mattress next to a couple of dumpsters. She shoves her fingers down Maggie’s throat and makes her throw up the pills. Vic holds Maggie close, and Maggie remarks "I guess you found your bike." Vic laughs, though her eye has worsened from the ride to save Maggie.
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