Friday, July 6, 2012

Part Twenty-Nine, Chapters Two and Three - Corpse Disposal and Wasted Hamburgers

To summarize two chapters in a single sentence: Heller cleans up the crime scene and makes it to the racetrack.

To go into a little more detail: Heller rounds up the corpses of all the people he just killed, removing their IDs and loading them into their van.  Then he puts some cans of gasoline in the back of the corpsemobile and takes three mysterious pellets out of his garage, before driving the van to a nearby park.  He plops the pellets in the gas cans and then helps the van off a cliff; after it crashes it goes up in a fireball because those pellets Heller used were "Voltar time-disposable explosive caps."  Where did he get those?  When did he pack them?  Why was he storing them in his garage, and for what reason?  Stop asking reasonable questions.

He gives a quick prayer to the Voltarian god of voyagers, complaining about how troublesome these Earthmen are being even though he's only trying to help - so now we actually know something about Voltarian religion!  And it only took the author four books!  Another shocker is when Heller adds another prayer to Jesus Christ, asking forgiveness for "rubbing out" some of His people, and hoping that He will "accept these souls from their funeral pyre and find it in your heart not to give them more than they deserve."  In fairness, he is learning Christianity from mobsters.

That's Chapter Two, all three pages of it.  Chapter Three has Heller walk back to his semi and trailer, disguising himself by throwing a cover over the Cadillac and spraying "SUICIDE RHODES" on the side of it.  Then he secures the garage by running a nearly-invisible thread across every entrance, which Gris snickers at as being too little too late.  "A real spy has to be downright paranoid all the time.  Heller would never learn.  In espionage, insanity is mandatory.  Heller was crazy, of course, but not in the right direction."

So insanity is a synonym for caution or paranoia, I guess.  Let's also take a moment to soak up the hypocrisy of Gris advising paranoia while displaying a remarkable lack of interest concerning what Utanc does all day.

There's a lot of traffic, and snow.  Heller stops short of passing through the gate to the speedway and pulls over, heating a hamburger in his car's microwave (?!) but deciding not to eat it.  Gris concludes he's worried.  There's a couple instances of that in these two chapters, Gris deducing the state of Heller's emotions, as he forgets he's a character of his own and behaves more and more like a mind-reading narrator.  This will get worse in one particular chapter next Part.

Again, all the thugs were carrying IDs, and as Heller examines them he finds that all but one of them were Italian.  That seems to be the kind of book we're in - if you're a criminal you're a mobster, which means you're Italian.  Naturally the thugs were also carrying five thousand dollars a piece, so Heller earned more than "a hundred G's" from his little rampage.  My first impression was that Hubbard just wanted to make sure his hero remained as wealthy as he is handsome, but turns out this windfall is for a reason that will again be revealed next Part.  Heller wonders why some of the thugs were reluctant to shoot and whether they had some connection to this race, then closes his eyes for a rest.

So that's it - Heller faked a car crash and almost went to the racetrack.  The next chapter will further delay starting the race, but rest assured that the five after that will be all about cars going 'round in circles.

Back to Chapter One

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