Friday, June 22, 2012

Part Twenty-Eight, Chapter Seven - Please Don't Make Book On My Behalf

It is a smug Gris that continues to watch the HellerVision in the days leading up to the fateful race.  There is one niggling detail troubling him, however...

The only small worry was that he might get totally killed, for there would go my platen.  However, a nice trip to the hospital, maybe with several broken bones and his handsome face smashed in, would do very well.  And the wreckage of his reputation on Earth was infinitely acceptable.

So while it's possible that Gris' plan might accidentally kill Heller, making Mission Earth a failure, bringing unwanted attention to the Apparatus' activities on Earth, foiling Lombar's scheme, and ending with Gris being tortured to death for his treason/stupidity, it might not, and Gris considers Heller getting humiliated a goal worth that risk.  Gotta admire his optimism.

Questions of theology are once again raised and ignored as Gris reports that Heller has been accompanying his mobster friends to Mass, "probably on the theory that when you are on a primitive planet you include its Gods in your acquaintances."  Since Gris doesn't dismiss our puny Earth gods out of hand this would seem to suggest a polytheistic outlook among Voltarians, though as always this is mere guesswork because Hubbard can't be arsed to develop his alien society beyond naming the bad guys' group the Coordinated Information Apparatus and grinning at his biting satire.  Also, Heller has taken to responding to prayers in Voltarian instead of Latin, which of course raises no questions or comments from his non-alien companions.

Most of the chapter takes place at Babe Corleone's birthday party... well, technically I guess it takes place in Gris' suite as he watches Babe Corleone's birthday party through the miracle of HellerVision.  It's a restrained, private affair, but Heller steals the show by gifting Babe a painting based on the vintage portrait of "Holy Joe" Corleone recovered from that speakeasy roadhouse, set in a heart-shaped frame with a lion's head at the top.  Gris helpfully explains that Corleone means "heart of the lion."  Babe oohs and aahs and show it off to the other guests, and then has a chat with Heller.

She advises "Wister" to drive "slowly and safely" on race day, and suggests that he try to stay out of the cameras, since he never looks quite right in all those photos and interviews she's seeing on the TV.  But when she mentions that everyone will be betting on him, Heller emphatically asks the mob family to promise not to "make book" on him.  Babe is confused, and Gris is suspicious.  "Had my hiring of snipers leaked?  Oh, I'd better double-check everything to make sure he didn't somehow turn the tables on me."

"Double-check" in this sense meaning "continue to sit on my ass in front of the HellerVision without taking action."  Oh, and no mention of Utanc in this chapter either.

Back to Chapter Six

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