Monday, April 16, 2012

Part Twenty-Two, Chapter Six - The Silent Treatment

Remember waaay back in The Invaders Plan, when Gris was actually going around doing secret agent-y things, and adopted a disguise or two and bluffed his way through situations to get what he wanted?  No?  Well, it doesn't matter, any such glimmers of competence are now things of the past.

Heller takes Gris into the roadhouse's kitchen, gets out some invoices, and starts writing a list of replacements for what was in the missing box.  He doesn't say a word the entire chapter, but Gris, who is nervous and eager to get at that letter, tries to hurry things along by supplying conversation.

"I never saw those boxes," I said.  "I didn't even know they were in the hold.  If you remember, I was not aboard the tug at that time."

He was consulting the invoice sheets again.

I said, "I do recall, though, a Fleet lorry driving away one day.  It had a box on it.  I asked the sentry at that time why they were removing the box.  He said he didn't know."

He didn't say anything.  He was making some sort of a calculation.  I wished he'd just give me that letter.

"I mailed the other letter on the first freighter out.  It went just two or three days after you gave it to me," I said.

He was trying to locate some item on an invoice.  I wished he would speak.

So we get five pages of an extremely jittery Gris blathering on and on about how he had nothing to do with the box's disappearance, and how he promises not to peek at that letter Heller hasn't handed over yet, while Heller continues to wordlessly write his list.  At one point Gris even spontaneously denies any involvement in the break-in at the Gracious Palms, which of course tips Heller off that not only was Gris involved, but he also has a way of monitoring him. 

Finally, Heller finishes his list of replacements for the dearly-departed Box #5, as well as two letters, one to Capt. Roke and the other to... Snelz?  The troop commander back on Spiteos?  Well, Gris says he'll get right on delivering that letter, no need for Heller to get up, seriously stay at that table.  He's giddy about being able to kill Heller soon, which shows optimism if not pattern recognition.  Next chapter we'll see how one-step-ahead-of-him Heller is.

Back to Chapter Five 

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