The Hostile Hospital
The Hostile Hospital Plot
Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire have been walking for hours in the hinterlands, on the run from the police and residents of the Village of Fowl Devotees, due to being falsely accused of murdering “Count Olaf” (Jacques Snicket) at the end of the previous book. They have no money, and they are exhausted, hungry, thirsty, lost, and confused about where they should go.
Fortunately, they eventually arrive at the Last Chance General Store, a convenience store in the middle of nowhere. There, they find a shopkeeper who offers them breakfast and lets them send a telegram from the store to Mr. Poe seeking help. Unfortunately, the shopkeeper’s deliveryman comes in with a copy of The Daily Punctilio which claims the Baudelaires are murderers. They flee and spot a van with V.F.D. on the side. A bearded man welcomes them, lets them enter, and says they just finished getting gas and are about to get going.
Inside the van, the Baudelaires learn they were picked up by Volunteers Fighting Disease, a group of enthusiasts that visit Heimlich Hospital to increase the morale of patients but never offer anything physically helpful, like medicine. They believe that ‘No News Is Good News’ and therefore have never read The Daily Punctilio and don’t recognize the Baudelaires. One of the members suggests the Baudelaires seek the Library of Records to find their V.F.D. The children ask them if they knew a Jacques because Volunteers Fighting Disease’s initials are V.F.D. They tell the children that they don’t know him and add that they don’t know each other’s real names, but only call each other brother and sister.
They reach Heimlich Hospital and get jobs with Hal in the Library of Records. Hal explains to them that they look familiar. He then says that he remembers them in a file about Snicket fires. At night, they secretly sleep in the unfinished half of the hospital where it’s cold and damp, as they can not be found there. Reviewing the few pages that they received from Duncan and Isadora Quagmire, they discover the existence of the Snicket File. They play a trick on Hal to try to get it, but only succeed in retrieving the 13th page, which reads:
Due to the evidence discussed on page 9, experts now suspect that there may in fact be one survivor of the fire, but the survivor’s whereabouts are unknown.
It also says the rest was taken by the authorities. At this point, Esmé Squalor picks the lock on the door and chases them for the file. Klaus and Sunny escape up a chute, but Violet is too big and gets caught. Mattathias (who is actually Count Olaf posing as the Human Resources Manager at the hospital) informs the hospital on the intercom that Klaus and Sunny are in the building.
They hide with the volunteers the next day and then they hear on the intercom system that their sister will be receiving an unwanted “cranioectomy.” They hide in a supply closet and find out by using anagrams and alphabet soup where the villains are hiding their sister, using the name “Laura V. Bleediotie.” They disguise themselves as two “very short” doctors with robes and surgical masks to cover their faces so they can get through the hospital. On their way, they come across Esmé who is carrying the long sharp knife that Count Olaf threatened them with in The Reptile Room. She believes that they are the two white-faced women (regular associates of Count Olaf). She leads them to the hook-handed man and the bald man, who leads them to Violet. They take Violet to the operating theater to begin the operation.
Although they briefly stall the operation by telling the history of the knife, Hal walks in accusing them of setting fire to the hospital. Esmé walks in along with the real white-faced women and “exposes” them. They are rounded up and Violet wakes up. Esmé has set fire to the Library and the fire is spreading. The person of indeterminate gender tries to catch them as they run through the hospital with Violet still laying on a gurney.
The three children hide in another closet which looks exactly like the other supply closet that Klaus and Sunny used. They then divert the crowd by faking the intercom system and telling everyone that the Baudelaires have been spotted in the unfinished half of the hospital. They must hurry for the person of intermediate gender is outside in the hallway trying to bust down the door to the closet. They use tied rubber bands and bungees to jump out of the building.
They hear Count Olaf yelling to his associates to put the disguises in the trunk and get in his long black car. Before the trunk is shut, the Baudelaires hide in the trunk of the car while he escapes with most of his assistants, but the person of intermediate gender is left in the hospital (possibly killed by the fire). They can breathe in the trunk for there are bullet holes in it probably from high-speed chases with policemen.