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"Fat Charlie was only ever fat for a handful of years, from shortly before the age of ten, which was when his mother announced to the world that if there was one thing she was over and done with (and if the gentlemen in question had any argument with it he could just stick it you know where) it was her marriage to that elderly goat that she had made the unfortunate mistake of marrying and she would be leaving in the morning for somewhere a long way away and he had better not try to follow, to the age of fourteen, when Fat Charlie grew a bit and exercised a little more."
Charlie is called Fat Charlie still despite the fact that he was only fat for a few years as a kid. Around age ten his mother loudly and forcefully left him and his father. This event shook him up enough inside to start gaining weight. When he was about fourteen, however, Charlie leveled out. He curated healthier habits and lost the excess weight. Whatever opinions people had formed of him during that time when he was overweight seem to have remained their opinions of him long after his adolescence.
"The ties of blood,' said Spider, 'are stronger than water.'
'Water's not strong,' objected Fat Charlie.
'Stronger than vodka, then. Or volcanoes. Or, or ammonia.'"
Spider and Fat Charlie are fundamentally opposite characters. Although they are brothers, they are different as can be. Spider believes deeply in the conviction that ancestry is the most important thing in life. Whatever blood runs through his veins is what he cares most about. Fat Charlie on the other hand is disillusioned when it comes to his family history. He wants to move on and forget about the indiscretions of his family.
"'Might get Ansansi mad,' said Monkey. 'Very bad idea that. Get Ansansi mad, you never in any more stories.'
'Ansansi's dead,' said Fat Charlie.
'Dead there,' said Monkey. 'Maybe. But dead here? That's another stump of grubs entirely.'"
Ansansi is the storyteller. In the spirit realm, whatever story he weaves has an impact upon reality, so the spirit animals all take care to remain in his good graces. Charlie is upset by Monkey's warning in this quotation because he knows that his father is dead. Somehow, though, despite being dead, Ansansi's stories still hold power to influence what's happening in the real world. Monkey's caution may not be exaggerated.
"'I,' it said, 'am firghtened of nothing.'
'Nothing,' it said.
Charlie said, 'Are you extremely frightened of nothing?'
'Absolutely terrified of it,' admitted the Dragon.
'You know,' said Charlie, 'I have nothing in my pockets. Would you like to see it?'
'No,' said the dragon uncomfortably, 'I most definitely would not.'
There was a flapping of wings like sails, and Charlie was alone on the beach.
'That,' he said, 'was much too easy.'"
Charlie has discovered that his father's keenness when it comes to storytelling is also an ability which he possesses. In this unstable interaction with the Dragon, Charlie uses his developing wit to best the beast. Since Dragon is afraid of absolutely nothing, Charlie offers to show him his greatest fear: the void within his own pockets. This boast on the Dragon's part backfires when he realizes that he's admitted more than he intended, so he leaves Charlie unharmed.
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