Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Part Twenty-Three, Chapter Four - As Opposed to a Malevolent Hospital

Crates of gold bars buy a good night's sleep for Gris, but he's awoken by a housekeeper early the next morning with a problem at that hospital of his.  Today's the grand opening of the World United Charities Mercy and Benevolent Hospital and there's already an unruly crowd gathering.  Gris is reluctant to get involved but has nobody else to do the work for him, and so throws on some clothes and heads out to meet the locals.

Let there be satire!

When we arrived at the hospital, there was a huge mob.  They were mostly mothers and children.  They were standing there docilely the way the way Turkish people do.  They are a very docile people, particularly just before they explode.  They are obedient to the will of Allah.  But Allah apparently wants holy wars at the first chance.

So did Hubbard ever get run out of Turkey?  Has he experienced this sort of thing firsthand?

A lot of the crowd is obviously diseased, but there's also a picket line of doctors - American-trained doctors, to be specific, because Hubbard's really cramming in the satire for this chapter - protesting this free clinic and any form of charity healthcare.  They express their discontent by rushing and beating Gris with their placards.  Gris tries to agree with them and shouts that of course the hospital won't be free, which of course ignites the rest of the crowd and earns the closest we've had to an actual action sequence in a long time.

A mud clod hit me in the face!

It knocked me off the pedestal!

The blood started to pour out of my nose!

Yes, this minor bit of violence gets the same kind of dramatic treatment as Heller ripping people to pieces with his deadly, deadly cleats.

But then a figure clad in white leaps forward, raises his arms, and begins to speak to the angry Turks.  It's none other than Prahd Bittlestiffender, who calms the crowd with an impassioned appeal to... well, it starts with "A United Turkey facing outward against her rapacious enemies..."  Turns out Turks are so devout in their worship of Kemal Ataturk that they'll stand in rapt attention to listen to one of his old speeches, even if it's totally unrelated to the situation at hand.

Gris ducks inside the hospital to treat his nosebleed instead of completing his escape, with the logic that even though he half expects the mob to kick down the door and tear him limb from limb, his "nose and precious blood came first."  Alas, this doesn't happen, and he emerges to see the formerly protesting doctors happily treating the huge crowd of patients.  Prahd shows up to continue treatment of Gris' grievous injury and explain - he's assured the crowd that the clinic is indeed free, and won the doctors over by hiring them on as part-time workers at a generous salary.  Prahd asks if his salary starts now, and Gris, who is angry that this fake charity is now a real charity, learns that it's not a good idea to withhold a doctor's pay until his hospital makes some "real money" when he's in the process of treating your nose.

Back to Chapter Three

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