Three. This is the number of your fate.
Welcome to A Read of the Dark Tower series. Join me each week as I, Constant Reader, tackle the magnum opus of Stephen King’s career for the first time. If you want to discuss in general terms or talk about these first sections, join me by commenting here.
When we last saw Roland in the first half of “Reshuffle,” he was waiting on the beach for Eddie to deposit Odetta at the third door and come back for him with the wheelchair. Eddie and Odetta had found the door.
The Drawing of the Three — “Reshuffle,” Section 10
After arguing over the gun, and whether or not Eddie would follow his heart (leave the gun with Odetta) or his head (do what Roland said and keep the gun as far away from Odetta as possible), Eddie gets her settled in near the third door and, after hearing the wildcat-thing screaming again, decides to leave her with the gun. Poor, trusting Eddie.
He makes his way back down the beach with the wheelchair, running all day and into the night. He’s hurrying even though he’s exhausted and knows he’ll have to come back with Roland, who’s much heavier than Odetta. He hears the wildcat-sounding animal screaming again.
What Constant Reader Learns: Eddie , Eddie, Eddie. We all know you’re going to get back and Detta’s going to have made a reappearance — and you’ve given the crazy woman who wants to kill you and Roland a gun. Are you nuts?! Oh, wait. Forget. Blinded by love. Right.
They do have “a moment” where she tells him he’s the first white guy she’s been with — he says it’s not important, that in the dark they were both gray, which to me seems like of odd. Celebrate your differences, folks. He professes his love, and she says she loves him too, but… and then they’re interrupted by the big cat again. Which is the thing that convinces him to leave the gun with her.
The Drawing of the Three — “Reshuffle,” Section 11
Eddie arrives with the wheelchair, and Roland notes that the man is a mess — he’s covered in sweat, his pants are split at the crotch, he has dark circles under his eyes. “The last vestiges of the college-boy look…were gone.” Eddie also thinks Roland doesn’t look so good, maybe even worse than before his first round of antibiotics.
Of course, Roland cuts to the chase. “You gave her the gun” were his first words, which ticks Eddie off. Where’s the gratitude?
Roland points out that Eddie’s life is in his hands, and asks if Eddie wants to kill him — because if he does, he’d rather he go ahead and do it and save him some suffering. Eddie doesn’t want to kill him, he says, so Roland tells him to sleep.
After four hours, Ro wakes Eddie up, ready to eat some lobstrosity and head back to the door.
What Constant Reader Learns: Roland’s affection for Eddie is kind of sweet. Eddie’s being all truculent over being called to task about the gun, telling Roland he can get in the chair or Eddie’ll fold it up and ram it up his ass, and Roland has to fight to keep from smiling, “the smile of a man who doesn’t want to smile but can’t help it.” Then he lets up and makes Eddie sleep even though the younger man wants to turn right around and run back to Odetta.
Both Roland and Eddie are in really poor physical shape — much moreso than Odetta/Detta despite her other handicaps. I have to wonder how that’s going to impact what ultimately happens.
The Drawing of the Three — “Reshuffle,” Section 12
The guys make good time overnight, but Roland makes them stop after awhile so they can both rest. Eddie’s struggling to push the chair with Roland’s weight. Eddie sleeps again, and wakes at dawn to the sound of Roland coughing, “the cough of an old man who may be coming down with pneumonia.”
They head out again, and by sunset the next day, were only drawing near the third door. Eddie crashes but is awakened after only two hours to the sound of the big cat screaming.
They decide to move on and finally reach the door at sunrise…and there’s no sign of Odetta.
What Constant Reader Learns: Constant Reader learns bsolutely nothing, because Eddie was being an ass-munch when he left her with the gun and Roland and I both knew this was exactly what would happen. I hope Roland gives him a few big-old “I told you so’s” before she shoots their feet out from under them and leaves them for lobstrosity chow.
The Drawing of the Three — “Reshuffle,” Section 13
Eddie screams repeatedly for Odetta but gets no answer. He scans the rocks for any sign of her, even a splash of blood.
Roland, meanwhile, is studying the third door. He was not expecting it to say “The Pusher.” He expected it to say “Death,” the word the Man in Black had turned over in his Tarot deck. “Death,” the man had said, “but not for you gunslinger.” Yet he knows the word “Pusher” means death, all the same.
Roland looks around to see Eddie climbing into the hills, searching for Odetta. For a moment, he considers letting him go, but in the end he calls Eddie in his “deep and powerful” voice. Eddie tells Ro to go on through the door and he and Odetta will be waiting for him when he gets back. But Roland tells Eddie he wants him to go through the door with him this time.
Roland tries to make Eddie face the truth — since the door is still there, Odetta is alive. And if Odetta is alive, she’s not answering Eddie’s calls because, most likely, Detta is back and watching them.
What Constant Reader Learns: Man, it seems like a world-moved-on-ago since Roland and the Man in Black had their palaver at the Golgotha.
Roland actually considers letting Eddie go to find Odetta, thinking maybe they can love each other enough to get rid of Detta and make some kind of life for themselves in this world, and he can just die. He’s wondering if it might not be too late for him to be saved. But he can’t do it, of course. Giving up just isn’t in Roland’s nature, and it’s probably a sign of how bad he feels that he would even give in to such thoughts.
Although now that I think about it, Roland also had such thoughts about Jake back in the first book. A couple of times (the train station and in the mountains), he thought about letting Jake walk away. But in that case, he knew Jake was going to be a sacrifice in his race to catch the man in black. Don’t think he’s viewing Eddie in that way — just knows he’s going to need him if he goes on in his Tower quest.
Roland and I get frustrated with Eddie’s total unwillingness to accept that the woman he left on the beach singing “Twilight Time” is gone. As Cort used to tell him, “Might as well try to drink the ocean with a spoon as argue with a lover.”
So. Roland comes right out and says, “Something grabbed her (Odetta) all right, and we both know what it was. Detta Walker. That’s what grabbed her. Detta Walker.” Admittedly, I haven’t gone back and looked, but did Detta ever actually tell them her name? How does he know her name? Did he pull both Detta and Odetta’s name out of her head? Maybe she told them, and I’ve forgotten.
The Drawing of the Three — “Reshuffle,” Section 14
Roland continues to argue with Eddie about the fate of Odetta, with Roland trying to coax Eddie back down to the door.
Meanwhile, we’re told, “nearly a hundred and fifty yards above them…dark eyes — eyes as full of intelligence as they were lacking in human mercy — watched this tableau intently.” Detta can’t hear their words, but she can tell the “Really Bad Man“ is now the “Really Sick Man,” although she figures he’d probably still have time to “spend torturing a legless Negro woman.” Detta is thinking about how Roland was inside her head, and how awful that was — and how frightened she was of him. She knows Roland at one time might have come into the hills after her but now he’s so sick he just wants to get away from her. She’s startled from the running commentary of her thoughts, giving us a much-needed break, by the sound of a pistol shot.
What Constant Reader Learns: Just in case we had any doubts Detta is awake and watching…. I had wondered if she’d have any recollection or different view of Eddie since he and Odetta had become lovers but she doesn’t seem to, which makes sense since there’s been a lack of awareness between Detta and Odetta except maybe on some very deep level.
If Detta comes out when Odetta is frightened, then the wildcat-thing and being left alone were probably enough to do the job.
The Drawing of the Three — ”Reshuffle,“ Section 15
Eddie and Roland are STILL arguing about Detta. Eddie figures Ro wants to get him close enough to jerk him through the door, that Roland is pretending to be sicker than he really is. And though Ro insists that’s not true, we’re told it is, kinda.
Roland tells Eddie he needs an “object lesson in how things have changed.” Roland pulls his other gun and points it toward the ocean and fires. Only a click. And again. Third time, it goes off. “It’s supposed to prove that not all the shells are duds,” Roland tells him. “Furthermore, it suggests — strongly suggests — that some, maybe even all, of the shells in the gun you gave Odetta may be live.” He tells Eddie he gave him the best of the remaining ammo — and now Detta has it.
Finally, when Roland still can’t convince Eddie he’s on the level, he says fine, “I’ve no time to argue with a fool.” Then Roland does an honorable thing that makes Eddie feel ashamed of doubting him — he reloads his remaining gun with the best of the ammo that’s left and throws it to Eddie. Then he struggles from the wheelchair and goes to the door and opens it. Eddie hears the muffled sounds of traffic.
What Constant Reader Learns: So, turns out Roland put the shells most likely to be good ones in the gun he gave Eddie (who then gave it to Odetta). A calculated risk, but it makes sense, because if something happened to Eddie, Roland couldn’t survive either — never mind the Tower quest.
When Roland gives up on arguing with Eddie, Eddie asks him if no one ever tried to talk him out of searching for the Tower. “A great many did, as a matter of fact,” he says. “I suppose that’s why I recognize you’ll not be moved. One fool knows another.”
The Drawing of the Three — ”Reshuffle,“ Section 16
I’ll just quote the whole section (yep, it’s one of those): “Detta watched all of this from her hiding place with hungrily gleaming eyes.”
What Constant Reader Learns: Excuse me while I yell: Eddie, you idiot!
The Drawing of the Three — ”Reshuffle,” Section 17
Roland says “Remember Eddie, be on your guard,” and steps forward through the door. His body collapses as his spirit (or whatever) goes on through. Eddie’s tempted to look through the door, but instead, he turns and scans the hills again.
He knows he needs sleep, and that while he sleeps, “Detta would come.”
What Constant Reader Learns: Eddie finally feels some fear as he looks into the hills and senses Detta watching him. Well, yeah. Roland and I tried to tell you, man. Now, lie down, succumb to sleep, and let’s see what happens.
That’s it for this week! Next week — same time, same place — we’ll read “Bitter Medicine,” the first chapter of the section entitled “The Pusher.”