Gris is watching Heller go around to various tire stores, concerned because nobody here (on this planet) can make them right. He's still concerned about throwing a tire like that day on the track with Madison's news crew. Mentioning this to Bang-Bang gives Gris another one of his sudden revelations.
Suddenly, in a flash, I understood. That (bleeped) Madison! That first day he had had a sniper posted somewhere so he could get a shot of Heller having a near accident! I knew it, just like that.
Just like that. Sometimes, Gris suddenly knows things. Other times he does or thinks things for reasons he can't explain. Certain characters are sensitive to, if not victims of, cosmic forces beyond their ken. In Gris' case this force is Plot.
Now that a tangentially-related conversation several days after the incident has reminded him, Gris goes back over his records of the tire-throwing event.
I verified it. I got the strip of it. I turned the sound volume way, way up. I played it through. What a roar! Screaming rubber. Aha! A distant bang! It was a second after the blowout itself. Must mean that sniper had been three hundred yards or so away!
So Gris' recording equipment can pick up the echo of a sniper rifle shot during the noise of a car spinning out of control, but couldn't do the same to a conversation held in an adjacent room during Heller's trip to the FBI headquarters last book? Also, he still has recordings of Heller at the race track that one day, but no footage of Heller using his platen to write that letter?
That (bleeped) Madison might use snipers in the race itself. If so, how many snipers would Madison have in addition to my two? Or was that Madison's plan? One couldn't tell.
The snipers are all going to shoot each other, aren't they?
In a way, it was a relief. Heller didn't suspect that was what was wrong. But in another way, it might make Heller dream up something to prevent blowouts. The whole thing made me quite nervous.
Relieved, but nervous.
Back on the HellerVision, Our Hero comments on the weather, and how he fears a cold front will complicate the upcoming race with some snow or slush on the track. He gives Bang-Bang the straight-faced suggestion to go north and hire some sled dogs to pull his car around the track in a worst-case scenario, then casts asides his concerns and resolves to think of something before race day.
And that was exactly what I was afraid of. Now I had two unknowns. What was Madison really going to do?
SO ASK HIM!
And what was Heller going to do?
I only knew what I was going to do--stop the Hells out of him!
So one of these unknowns only exists because Gris can't ask his associate a simple question, and the other will no doubt be revealed through further study of the HellerVision. But try to be tense and interested regardless.
Back to Chapter Seven