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28 February 2009 @ 10:15 am
The Bottle in the Chimney  
Last week, celli described a writing exercise designed to bolster skills with perspective and setting.  In a few swift steps, it took me from pondering the exercise, to picturing the loft, to: Why does Nick have a bottle of blood hidden in his chimney?  In "Feeding the Beast," that is, the scene in which the ghost/delusion of Lacroix taunts Nick from the balcony.

I don't mean to ask "why blood," of course; we're all clear that the character is a vampire.  And I don't mean to ask "why hidden" -- the core metaphor of that episode, and the fallback metaphor of most episodes, is vampirism as addiction, and so Nick behaves like an addict when that metaphor is in force.  But why the chimney?  Above the fireplace?  What would rising heat do to wine-cut blood?  Should it even still be liquid when he goes back for it?

Further, in "Dark Knight," Alyce finds the fireplace dusty, and wonders whether Nick has ever used it at all.  When Nick first hid that bottle, did he expect the fireplace to be a safe hiding place because he intended never to use the fireplace?  However, there was most certainly a fire in "Dark Knight," and then again at least for a moment in "For I Have Sinned."  So what would that mean for the time the bottle has been hidden there before being pulled out in FtB?  Would it necessarily have been planted since the last time the fire burned, or could it have been there since Nick first moved in?  And would the carved mantle (cf. "Baby, Baby") be involved in some way?

greerwatsongreerwatson on March 1st, 2009 12:20 pm (UTC)
Ask and ye shall receive:
Sometime between episodes, Natalie came over and read Nick the riot act about not eating solid food. She took the open bottle from the fridge, waved it as she laid down the law, and ostentatiously poured it down the sink. Then she collected all the full bottles and stalked off with them.
Nick was too flabbergasted to say anything. Besides, she only took off with three bottles—just the end of a case of his special bottled cow's blood; and he'd a delivery due the next evening.
However, it did mean that he had to go without breakfast. So, lest anything similar happen again, he carefully made sure to stash a bottle where she'd never think to look for it. Just in case.
Amy R.: Nataliebrightknightie on March 1st, 2009 08:27 pm (UTC)
>"So, lest anything similar happen again, he carefully made sure to stash a bottle where she'd never think to look for it. Just in case."

Oh, bad Nick, undermining Natalie's regimen, which is all for his own good! :-) Thank you very much for sharing. :-)
apsisapsis on March 4th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
OMG, I have serious icon envy.
Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna: puzzleswiliqueen on March 1st, 2009 03:09 pm (UTC)
I'm impressed by this post. I've never managed any thought process much more sophisticated than "Oh, Nick, honey, ew." Which I suspect is all they were aiming for, but FK fandom is nothing if not more conscientious about world- and psyche-building than TPTB generally were. *wry g*

One rather sad (for Nick's state of mind) but less revolting (for the physical state of the blood in question) option is that he stashed it there in the very process of dumping the rest.
Amy R.: Nick Solemnbrightknightie on March 1st, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC)
>"is that he stashed it there in the very process of dumping the rest."

This takes care of the physical angles -- age, heat -- and I like that very much! I don't, of course, exactly as you suggest, feel good about the sad possibility of Nick sabotaging himself that way in the face of what seems, in the episode, a concerted commitment to an action.

The ghost/delusion urges Nick to "remember" where he hid the last bottle, after Nick tears through the empties. I've previously interpreted that to mean that the bottle was hidden well before, and went forgotten during Nick's purge of the other bottles of blood.

If Nick stashed that bottle while dumping the others... Perhaps it was less than conscious, a deep-set training or even compulsion, to never be entirely without, and thus the need for Lacroix (ghost or delusion) to reveal it. That's terribly contrived, of course. But the possibility that Nick had no faith in himself and didn't really commit to the program and forgot that he had is also contrived. Oh, TPTB...

I'm trying to think how I can have it both ways -- Nick stashing the blood during the purge, as you astutely suggest for the chemistry, and yet also sincerely carrying out the purge, as we've always believed for the emotions -- and what I've got is: an interruption. Someone (Schanke may be best, but Natalie, Janette, census survey representative, anyone will do) comes to the loft (or phones?) while Nick is carrying out his purge, and, feeling "caught," Nick hastily stashes the bottle currently in his hand in the fireplace, perhaps in a long habit of such hiding for secrecy, and he forgets about that bottle during the course of the visit -- Coleridge's Person from Porlock syndrome -- and then resumes the purge after, leaving that one bottle accidentally behind, forgotten.

:-) Too much?

My additional layers over your simple solution are a fanfiction patch, not an interpretation. But I'm reluctant to recast Nick's efforts, so otherwise I may have to resort to the very weak: we don't know the chemical make-up of bottled wine-mixed blood, so perhaps it was there all along without harm.
PJ1228pj1228 on March 1st, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
I agree with wiliqueen that he probably stored it in the chimney before starting the 12-step program.

Another thought might be that heating the blood by the fire was the purpose in order to attain a nice tasty bodily temperature. :)
Amy R.: Lacroixbrightknightie on March 1st, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
wiliqueen's solution, of having Nick save that one bottle even as he pours out the others, elegantly resolves the physical challenges of age and heat, and I like that very well. But I'm reluctant to reinterpret the whole episode just to explain that bottle, so I spun out one further possible scenario from her original concept.

>"Another thought might be that heating the blood by the fire was the purpose in order to attain a nice tasty bodily temperature. :)

Probably not in the present day, but for flashbacks, you may really have something! :-)