(Original Publication Date, 19 October 1990)
Panel 1: First of all, “Mart”. That nickname would never happen. All she would need is one person to call her “supermart.” Mattie / Matty are nicknames for Martha.
“Tonight, tomorrow and all weekend”. This tells us where we were in their world’s week. Tonight is Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday. All weekend is Saturday, Sunday. That means when we started it was Wednesday after Michael had gone out with Martha 3 nights in a row (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday). Any doubt that I had over whether Michael was going out late on a school night is gone.
The next problem is: Why Michael is telling Martha this detail over the phone? If it is Thursday, then Michael and Martha are going to go to school where they can talk to each other and say all this face-to-face. Sometimes I think Lynn Johnston forgot they go to the same school, or maybe she thinks being “grounded” means you don’t leave the house for anything, including school.
Panel 2: Michael believes he is stuck in a “molehill”? He thinks of his 2-story house where he has a room all to himself and a giant back yard as a “molehill”? Is this a phrase Canadian kids used after WWII? I expect if I get too excited about this, I will be making a mountain out of a ….you guessed it.
Panel 3: A curfew is a curfew. Yes it is. A rule is a rule. That is true. Those are all good points….for Michael!! There was no curfew or any rule. On Tuesday out of nowhere, Elly said, “I want you home by 10:30!” without stating any of the consequences of not doing that.
Panel 4: Mike says, “Next time 15 minutes.” While you are busy filling in your favourite “It only takes a man 15 minutes” joke, I have to say Michael is right. As we saw yesterday, if he was just 15 minutes late, John was still in his corner and would have defended Michael.
Summary: For some reason, Michael just can’t obey a rule and be on time. The malls typically close at 9 pm. What Michael wanted to do with Martha after that did not need to take longer than an hour and a half. Even if they held hands and marched all the way through the Mall of America, they would be done before an hour and half.