Monday, July 23, 2012

Part Thirty, Chapter Eight - Another Speed Bump on Heller's Road to Victory

The next day Gris has another newspaper headline for us: "WHIZ KID FALSIFIES COLLEGE."  Yes, following his appearance on the Benighted Show investigators went to... the Massachusetts Institute of "Wrectology."  So... yeah.  There's no records of Heller/Wister having attended classes there.  Imagine that.

Gris tries (and fails) to call and congratulate Madison for his hard work, then turns on the HellerVision to laugh at his enemy's misfortune.  Heller's walking the streets taking readings of New York's air pollution with an atmosphere densimeter - it's cold, so everyone in the city's turned on their oil- and coal-burning furnaces.  Screw you, natural gas.  Beat it, electricity.  Gris complains about the Code Break and the fact that New Yorkers are too stupid to notice an alien waving around an advanced sensor probe, I complain about how pointless the Code Break angle is.  So what, is Gris going to rush over and arrest Heller?  Ship him back to Voltar and wait for a replacement?  Tell the teacher on him?

Oooh, hey Heller!  There's your next move!  Forget race cars, build a super-efficient Eco-friendly heating unit!  Then enter it in some sort of climate control competition amid a blaze of publicity, as Gris and Rockecenter's gang scramble to sabotage you!  That could eat up the rest of this book.

Roll your eyes if you want, but I bet you'll wish that's where the plot was going in a few chapters.

Heller goes to his office, notices a big ol' "GOOD-BYE CRUEL WORLD" sign on Izzy's door, and rushes up to the Empire State Building observation platform to stop Izzy from killing himself.  Again.  Heller finds him clutching a chair leg for dear life twenty feet away from the edge, too dizzy from heights to fling himself from the building.  Izzy confesses that not only is he crushed by all this bad publicity, but he also used Heller's assets to buy the old, struggling Chryster Motor Company... anyway, Izzy put his mom on the motor company's board of directors and she turned the company around, and suddenly the IRS took notice and invented a heap of retroactive taxes and penalties to hit International with.  Heller's super-secure financial network is now on lockdown, its assets frozen, with a million and a half owed in back taxes.

Lucky for Heller that so many people have tried to kill him, people who kept wads of thousand-dollar bills in their pockets.  After carrying Izzy back to the International offices Heller pops the safe and hands over one hundred thousand dollars, enough to get International operating again.  He reminds Izzy that he's saved his life twice now, Izzy promises to be doubly responsible (in all-caps), and Gris ruminates that the IRS was designed by Rockecenter's forebears to keep the family rich and everyone else poor.  He's confident that there's no way Izzy and Heller can earn enough money to pay the back taxes.

It's not like Heller has connections to a network of illegal businesses and very rich anti-government millionaires or anything, nope nope.

Back to Chapter Seven

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