Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Part Sixteen, Chapter Eight - A Villain is Introduced and Killed in the Same Chapter

Heller rifles through the pockets of the men he just killed (with baseballs), grabbing the keys to let him unlock the main door of the garage and drive the goons' car inside.  He's got a plan, you see.  Meanwhile Bang-Bang finishes checking over the Cadillac, all the while singing a dong I can't identify, though it mostly consists of the refrain "Sing, sing them Sing Sing blues."

Did Hubbard include a lot of songs in his earlier "paid-by-the-word" stories?

Since it'd be a shame if all this smuggled loot went to waist, once the Cadillac is confirmed to be no more explosive than the average American-made car, Bang-Bang sets about packing it with cartons of liquor and Taiwanese gizmos, filling the back seat and the trunk.  Heller, meanwhile, has taken the gelignite and placed it in his would-be attackers' Buick.  He removes the license plate and puts it on his Cadillac, then puts one of the baseball victim's guns in the car's front seat, aimed at where the explosives are resting against the engine.  He runs some fishing line from the trigger to the garage's main door, then mystifies Gris by putting some sheets of paper in the Buick.  For thoroughness' sake, Heller then walks about smashing the remaining bottles of liquor so that the garage is filled with flammable fumes and liquid.

Then, he and Bang-Bang drive out and get some hamburgers.

Okay, they hit the pay phone next to the burger stand first.  Heller places a call to Swindle and Crouch, trying to speak to Mr. Bury, only to learn that he's in Moscow with Mr. Rockecenter.  Heller curses in Voltarian - well, "blast!" is like a curse - and explains his intentions to Bang-Bang.  Since Mr. Bury hasn't stuck with the "let's not kill each other" agreement, he was going to say that he left some vital papers in the Buick for him, and hope that Mr. Bury would be stupid enough to rush over and personally attempt to retrieve them, only to be killed by Heller's improvised car-bomb.

Heller gets up to defuse his handiwork, but Bang-Bang, who's a little mystified why killing an innocent bystander with it would be bad, doesn't want to see a good trap goes to waste and offers a replacement victim instead.

"But I got a real candidate!  A turncoat!"

"Somebody who is dishonorable?" said Heller.  "Somebody who double-deals?"

"You said it!  I got somebody who really deserves it!  A filthy, boozing, two-timing crooked crook!"

"You sure?" said Heller.

"Of course I'm sure.  There's no crookeder rummy drunk on the whole planet."

"Ah, a 'drunk,'" said Heller.  "What's his name?"


Heller shrugged, Bang-Bang took it as assent.

Yep.  Heller is trusting the judgment of someone he knows to be a car-bomber linked to the murder of a journalist, someone who has no problem with innocents falling victim to his handiwork, a career criminal working for organized crime.  He's fine with some stranger getting killed because of what this murderous, somewhat-less-of-a-stranger has told him.

So it's Bang-Bang's turn to make a phone call.  He wraps some cloth around the receiver and plays a tape recorder's sounds of planes taking off to confuse both his voice and location.  Gris praises him for his tradecraft, at least until Bang-Bang fails to drive away in favor of ordering a hamburger.  He parks the car so that he and Heller can wait and watch the coming fireworks from six blocks down the street.

Between bites, Bang-Bang explains that Oozopopolis used to take bribes from the Corleones, until recently switching to the Faustino mob.  But he just made a call - in Greek, so the guy would know it's for reals - that some other mobsters from Atlantic City were snooping around a certain garage.

Soon enough, three sedans blaze by and surround the warehouse.  A group of men led by Oozopopolis, whose characterization consists of "big fat slob," gets out and announce to the empty building, "a reeking bomb of gelignite and alcohol fumes," that it had better surrender.  Then Oozy kicks the front door, triggering a massive explosion that sends bodies scattering and debris flying, not to mention a shockwave that rocks the Caddy six blocks away.

Hooray!  An enemy whose name was dropped last chapter and who was somewhat properly introduced this chapter has been killed!  How exciting, how satisfying!  

As a satisfied Bang-Bang drives home, Heller asks "Who was this Oozopopolis?", after helping kill him.  Bang-Bang elaborates a little more - Oozy worked for the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco, and was also the one who planted a machine gun to get poor, innocent Bang-Bang Rimbombo thrown in jail.  But now he's dead, they've rescued a heap of valuable stuff, and Babe Corleone will surely be pleased at their good fortune.

And so our hero has helped a group of criminals murder a corrupt government official as well as several nameless government workers, who must have been bad guys if they worked for Oozopopolis, right?  In the process, he's recovered his prized Cadillac, and with the lessons learned from a war criminal turned cabbie, will be fit to drive it on the streets of New York City.

And somehow these actions will culminate in Heller saving the world's environment from its population, thereby saving its population from a hostile alien invasion in favor of a semi-benevolent alien invasion.

Well... we've got eight more books to connect the dots and turn this into something resembling a coherent narrative.  This has got to start making sense at some point, right?

Back to Part Sixteen, Chapter Seven

1 comment:

  1. "This has got to start making sense at some point, right?"


    Why would Hubbard start making sense now