- "I like living on the edge... you know, s-so long as I'm wearing a seat belt."
- - Avery to Calvin about breaking the law.
Avery is one of the four main protagonists of Why A Whale, who is a chef and the "handyman" of the group.
Background / Physical AttributesEdit
Little is known about Avery’s parents, other than that his father was an animator and his mother was a middlebrow art critic: because of his mother’s tastes and his father being stuck as a children’s show animator, this ended in arguments about the quality of work. Avery had reportedly developed his shyness around his teenage years, and entered a college (Camosun College) against his mother’s will, who had taken over once his father had drank too many Bacardis. Avery became a chef and befriended Jom Doctah there, who back then was a hipster.
After gaining a Master’s in Culinary Arts, it was after Jom took him on a trip to Casa Vega that Avery met Hans in the oddest way – after spilling a whole bottle of Fresca on his Rush shirt. Enjoying Rush thoroughly, they became bros and met Calvin as he was writing an article on a Rush show in Sacramento, where Avery decided to reside. The four men promised to be bros for life, wrote a Will and Testament for when they would inevitably go out together. Hans gave him Eastern European citizenship, Calvin gave him tickets for the next Yes tour, and Jom gave him a bowie knife for when he would inevitably shun society and start living in the woods like in the 1973 film Badlands.
Avery is described as a physical yet lanky man, with a high-browed face, tawny, coarse hair, and skin "the color of late honey". He has one tattoo of mysterious origin running down his neck and stopping at the hollow of his spine: he quotes this as a "war wound". Like many of the characters in Why A Whale, he is thin.
- "I always thought of him as a sweet Bob Newhart in full neuroticism."
- - Vizit reflecting over talking to Avery
Avery is very nervy and apprehensive, "milquetoast" in Hans's words; out of all the four men, he is the most worrisome and fearful about the future: his stammering earned him the nickname 'Bob Newhart' by Vizit. However, he comes off with enough smugness and bravery that Avery will be loyal and at least try to help, because he is there. As the story progresses, Avery becomes braver, and by the climax, he acts bold and steadfast in the defense of his friends.
He is the 'kindest' of the four, and as a result (despite bearing some of the brunt of Calvin's edgy comments) he provides a figure for the other three to react, establishing elements of their characters that other characters otherwise wouldn't see. Like his friends, though, he can be quite funny. Twice in the novel, Nessie causes Avery minor trauma after collapsing on him, which makes him just a little more prickly against Nessie.
Information in Why A WhaleEdit
Avery is first introduced as his friends are talking about him, on the first day of June the 5th. He had suited up with the men together the previous evening, near the pointedly unreal town of Jerkwater USA: Avery, in the chaos, had the whale land on his body, which makes him reek of rubber and also made him had trouble coming out of his room. He does crop up in the kitchen to make breakfast, and surely enough joins in on the conversation: the four men chatter about ex-wives, Jerkwater, family, and past mistakes; however, before the conversation can be finished, the boat shakes unexpectedly and Avery shrinks to the back of the room in fear. Nessie's attacked is sudden, and the four men suit up, with Calvin lightly barking at Avery to get moving. Having wasted most of his rounds, Avery takes Hans's advice and attempts to stick to harpoons or spears, but the whale's apparently superhuman strength isn't enough. He and the others are helpless as the Whale destroy the boat: Avery is flung into the air and into the water, hanging on to a large plank of wood. Previously, Hans had advised everyone in Jerkwater to evacuate. As the Whale destroys Jerkwater, Jom grabs Avery's body and the others begins using him as a light surfboard, to swim to their meetup in Brooking, Oregon, despite Avery's protests.
In Brooking, Avery simultaneously attempts to drain the remnants of water out of his ears and recover from the situation. Jom attempts to cheer him up, but his remarks heighten Avery's discomfort.