Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Part Eighteen, Chapter Three - Nerds to Rescue, Obstacles to Negotiate

More Heller running.  He bolts down towards the river, his view obstructed by overpasses and underpasses, but there's some highways between him and the water.  How ever will he get across without getting flattened by traffic?

Heller negotiated the obstacles.

And just like that, he's on the docks.

There's a few more undefined "obstacles" blocking his sight, but Heller does spot something crumpled on the end of a pier.  When he gets there he finds a jacket and some horn-rimmed spectacles, then notices a hat floating in the scummy, filthy, trash-covered Hudson (and before you ask, the tide coming in is counteracting the river's current, so it isn't flowing very fast at all).

So Heller shucks his clothes - good thing he used that dynamite, eh? - and dives into the polluted river.  "Down, down, down" he goes, peering through the murky gloom, until he hits the ooze of the river bottom.  He pops up for air, and goes "down, down, down" again, this time looks around a little longer at the bottom before going "up, up, up" for another breath.  While treading water Heller "jumps" his head up to get a better look around, and finally hears a voice call "I'm over here."

A "very small young man, covered with oil, mostly eyes" is clinging to a metal ring set in the concrete walls of the riverbank.  Heller swims over to ask who he is, and the would-be drowning victim confirms that yes, he's Israel Epstein.  And I have to ask, if he said his name was Iggy Fenton, would Heller just swim off and leave him there?  Shouldn't Heller rescue him first, then ask who he is?

Well, Epstein explains that he's too chicken to properly drown himself, and too weak to rescue himself, so he plans to just cling to his handhold and... well, he insists that he's not worth rescuing.  Heller is having none of it, though - he is going to buy some stocks by proxy, dammit!  He finds an iron ladder leading from the water to the top of the docks and climbs out, though for some reason Epstein is incapable of operating a ladder.

So Heller gets some fishing line - yes, he was carrying fishing line - and, his hands "moving rapidly in a strange repeating rhythmic pattern," somehow plaits the line into a rope.  He ties a loop in one end and asks Epstein to sit in it, but Epstein can't do this either.  So Heller jumps back in the river, finds a piece of driftwood, breaks it and puts it in the loop of fishing "rope," and shows Epstein how to sit in it before climbing back out.  "Shortly" Heller has hauled the whiny, wimpy economist out of the river.

And all the while Epstein is insisting that he isn't worth rescuing and Heller should really move on.  I have a sinking suspicion this guy's going to turn out to be the The Load.

Interestingly, despite hacking and coughing and sneezing after breathing the Jersey air on his way to New York, Heller shows no adverse effects after diving headfirst into the filth flowing down the Hudson.

Back to Chapter Two 

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