Marty decides he’s gonna warn Doc anyway and leaves with the not-at-all-suspicious line of “Listen, I’m gonna go get a candy bar” and YUUUUUUP Gipe lets us know what brand name of candy bar Marty purchases (Almond Joy). And who cares that Marty was way concerned about his sugar and caloric intake just a few days ago? Five paragraph essays on how Martin’s choice of candy bar either reflects or contrasts with the central theme of the narrative are due on my desk on Monday!!
After buying his delicious chewy treat, Marty also bums a piece of paper and envelope (that’s what the book says, “bummed”; I’ve never heard this expression used outside of cigarettes but I am happy to see it here because why would anyone say “have” when they can say “bum” is beyond me). Marty writes the note (PICTURED ABOVE) only in the book he dates it too just in case and writes “Do Not Open Until October 1, 1985” on the outside.
Then, leaving the cafe, Marty sees a cop taking an interest in that Doc is doing! ”That’s all we need now, is some meddling flatfoot” Marty says, speaking and punctuating himself exactly as an 80s teen never would in a million billion trillion zillion years. But Marty decides to let Doc handle the cop while he continues on his “errand of mercy”. He puts the note inside Doc’s trenchcoat, then thinks wait, what if he never checks it? Maybe he should put it in the glove compartment? Then, Marty, STANDING VERY CLOSE TO THE COP AND DOC AND TRYING NOT TO GET NOTICED, says the following out loud:
“No,” he said. ”Stop trying to outthink fate. If he gets it, he gets it. If he’s not meant to, he won’t find it no matter what you do.”
Doc and the cop ignore this because it ruins the plot if they heard it, but MAN would it kill Marty to think some things instead of saying everything out loud?
Possibly it would kill him I guess??
Anyway the cop asks him if Doc’s got a permit for the equipment like in the movie (only it takes longer because we have a long digression between the two characters about whether or not what’s under the tarpaulin is a car and if it’s parked illegally or not) and in the movie Doc says “Of course I do. Just a second, let’s see if I can find it in here.” which always seemed like a weird note to end the scene on. TURNS OUT it IS a weird note to end the scene on, because in the book it continues!
Reaching into his pocket, [Doc] took out his wallet and withdrew a fifty-dollar bill. ”A permit straight from Washington,” he added.
Hah hah hah MAN THIS IS AWESOME I’m gonna use that line next time I’m bribing an American police officer in America (line unfortunately does not work in Canada without modification)
The scene switches to evening, where Doc in the town square setting up the equipment necessary to send the DeLorean Back To The… time frame that Marty is used to. And Gipe, again taking every opportunity to drop in a brand name, explicitly tells us what kind of car Doc drove to the town square - it’s a Packard! Be sure to remember this information because it will never ever come up again!
Next to it is the DeLorean, covered in another tarpaulin. Doc whistles and looks over his work: “a very expensive 500 feet of triple-strength wire from the lightning rod atop the courthouse to the connection he had just made” and hah hah I guess that big speech Doc made earlier about killing the future President of the United States by buying something that wouldn’t otherwise be bought is out the window!
Doc turns to Marty and tells him he’s going to miss him when he’s gone:
“I… well… I’m gonna be sad to see you go. You’ve really made a difference in my life. You’ve given me something to shoot for. Just knowing that I’m going to live to see 1985… that I’ll succeed in this… that I’ll get a chance to travel through time… well, it’s gonna be hard for me to wait thirty years before we can talk about everything that happened in the past few days. I’m gonna really miss you…”
And hah hah I guess that big bit where Doc shouldn’t know too much about his own future is out the window too! But I’m glad the “it’ll be hard not to talk about this for 30 years” line from the movie is there, because it blew my mind as a kid to imagine Doc meeting Marty for the first time after this, having to act like they’re strangers, but knowing what great friends they’ll become. YAY PALS! PALS FOREVER!!
Did you know that “tarp” was short for “tarpaulin”? I didn’t, but I feel like the older generation was better educated on this, because on this page Gipe has Doc see Lorraine standing outside and throw a heavy tarpaulin over the DeLorean. I’m not sure if this is old man itis or me just not knowing words? It feels a little like calling a factory “a manufactory” (i.e.: TECHNICALLY CORRECT BUT INSANELY OLD-FASHIONED) but maybe it’s just me.
OLD MAN ITIS STATUS: maybe??
In the book we don’t get Doc’s awesome MARTY WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING look pictured above, unfortunately, but we do get Doc and Marty agreeing that Lorraine must’ve tracked Marty down… SOMEHOW.
Marty opens the door for her (reasonably concluding that if she followed him there, she’d know he was inside) and calls her “Mom - I mean, Lorraine” which is awful AND dumb. In a different non-book scene in the movie Marty says “You’re not gonna be picking a fight, dad… dad, dad, daddy-o” which has a reasonably smooth recovery that George can reasonably ignore, but here in the book Marty calls a girl who likes him “Mom” and she just straight-out ignores it. Go ahead, call that special non-mom lady in your life “mom” tonight and see if she lets it pass without comment! If so - I don’t know, keep it up I guess?
So at this point Marty now has to introduce Doc to Lorraine. You can do this the cute way or the charmless way! Movie went for cute:
MARTY: Oh, uh, this is my, uh, Doc — uh, my uncle! …Doc — Brown.
It’s cute because we get that “Marty is bad at his cross-temporal identities straight” thing without being “Mom I mean Lorraine” clunky.
Contrast with the book, which went for oddly charmless:
MARTY: Oh. Uh, this is my Uncle Brown.
LORRAINE: Uncle Brown?
That’s their entire exchange. It adds nothing and I’m not entirely sure Lorraine, who is supposed to be nervous about even being here, would think to care about Uncle Brown’s first name. But it does teach us a WRITING TIP: if you’ve got a necessary but lifeless scene, it doesn’t hurt to add some character humour to it!
At this point Lorraine takes a deep breath and launches into her prepared “Will you ask me to the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, Marty?” speech and UT OH. Was Marty ready for this?
Marty should have been prepared for the proposal but somehow was not.
Book Marty: not what you would call “competent”