Friday, February 3, 2012

Part Seventeen, Chapter Two - Jettero Heller Has a Sweeter Crib Than You, Again

Heller clickety-clacks his way through the Gracious Palms' lobby, and two things immediately strike me.  First, that Hubbard skipped the all-important train ride from Newark to Manhattan.  Who knows what humorous and insightful adventures Heller could have gotten into while figuring out how to buy a ticket, navigate a turnstile, or play on the gymnastic equipment swinging from the ceiling of the train cars?  Well, now we'll never know.

Second is that it's still afternoon.  Heller broke into that garage two chapters ago in broad daylight and nobody noticed or called the cops or anything.

Upon entering the lobby, one of the whorehouse guards tells Heller that his room isn't available, and that the boss wants to speak to him.  Vantagio, in between shoving and screaming at the cleaning staff, complains that Heller didn't tell him that he was a friend of Babe Corleone's, and let Vantagio stick him in a lowly maid's room like a mook instead of an apartment befitting such a heroic individual.

Vantagio corrects this, and shows Heller his new digs, a two-room suite that used to belong to the Secretary General (before he was assassinated, poor guy).  And then we get a good two pages of description for this room, about the luxurious and sensuous accommodations the book's hero will be enjoying, as if watching the author heap treasure upon his perfect protagonist will make us feel better about our own lives.

There's plenty of gold, of course, in the form of lamps sculpted to look like nude girls or woven into the rugs.  There's scarlet carpets in the bedroom, which features a round bed, speakers with a variety of mood-setting music available, and a mirrored ceiling.  Black is represented in the bed's silken sheets, and the onyx tiled floor and frames for the mirrors.

And there's beige for some reason.  Beige carpeting in the main room, and a beige-colored personal bar.  Maybe it's an eighties thing, but when I think "luxurious personal suite" an off-brown color isn't the first thing that comes to mind.

Oh, and of course the room's bar is being stocked with soft drinks, because god forbid these whoremongering, murderous criminals give an apparent seventeen-year-old a drop of alcohol while letting him room in their whorehouse as repayment for personally killing three rival mobsters.

After two pages dedicated to Heller's new apartment, the chapter winds down with a phone call to an ecstatic Babe Corleone, who has just gotten word that her mortal enemy who showed up for less than a page before dying did so with the help of none other than Jettero Hel... er, Jerome.  The mob boss can barely contain herself and resorts to smothering the phone receiver with kisses in an attempt to convey even a part of the affection she feels for our heroic, handsome main character.

Do your spirits soar, watching characters prostrate themselves before Heller or shower him with gifts?  Do you smile with delight when people offer to buy Heller any car he wants, assure him that the finest tailors will fit him for the most stylish clothing, and promise that top chefs will be on hand to prepare whatever dish he desires?  Do you sigh with contentment after reading how Heller's humongous, sumptuous bathroom features hot towel dispensers, massage showers, and not one but two bidets?  

Vantagio asks if there's anything else he can do for Heller, and the "kid" mentions that he doesn't have a TV - because really, who goes to a bawdyhouse to watch SportsCenter?  Vantagio makes it so, but asks a personal question - what did Heller say to get Babe to like him so much?  And he laughs when Heller replies with "genealogy," ha ha, he's such a kidder.

No, nobody's told Vantagio about the Corleones' explosive victory against Oozopopolis yet.  Even though he was just on the phone with Babe.  Guess he's not that high in the mob hierarchy yet.

The chapter ends on an ominous, nay, terrifying note.

[Vantagio] started toward the door again but once more stopped.  "Oh, yes.  She said that you could have any of the girls you wanted and to hell with the illegality.  See you later, kid."


Back to Chapter One

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