Friday, August 31, 2012

Part Thirty-Four, Chapter Nine - And Now, the Punchline

Gris storms back to his room, avoiding detection by Nurse Bildirjin's father (who has no reason to suspect that Gris has been doing anything inappropriate with his daughter) by hiding his head with his bathrobe.  When he gets back he finds the Unnamed Taxi Driver and a lot of boxes.  The cabbie remarks that the construction crews did a sloppy job with the place, and points out the trails of "white paint" splattered on the floor.

Orson Scott Card is quoted praising this book as "Ironic, exciting, romantic and hilarious."

To steer the conversation away from "white paint," Gris asks about the clothes that were supposed to be delivered.  The cab driver then pops open the boxes, revealing... well, a page's worth of various articles of clothing.  The important thing is that it's all been shipped in from Istanbul and has been put on Gris' Start Blanching and Dunner's Club credit cards.  See, when Gris sent out a message for someone to get him some clothes, he neglected to specify that they should go to his villa and pick up existing clothes, rather than orders thousands of dollars' worth of genuine bearskin coats or English tweed jackets.

When Gris wonders how this cabbie was able to do this, the guy reveals that everyone in town knows Gris' credit card numbers.  Heck, everyone in Istanbul knows his credit card numbers.  The why and the how isn't important, what matters is that the author's setting the stage for more credit card wackiness, hyuck!

Gris counters that he won't sign the invoices, but the cabbie reveals that he's a convicted forger from the planet Modon - suddenly that planet is popping up a lot - and he's already put Gris' name down, since he knew Gris would be too weak to sign things.  And good lord he spends another huge paragraph describing clothes.  Are these plot-relevant?  Is Gris' alpaca-wool mountaineering outfit going to play an important role later on in the story?  Does the author think that his audience is interested in fashion?  Why is this happening?

Our villain eventually gives up, reasoning that by the time the payment for all this is due, he'll already have been killed for failing to pay his existing expenses.  He showers in preparation for going home, and realizes - three books after the character has been introduced - that he doesn't know the cab driver's name.  So he finally asks it, and learns that the guy's real name is Deplor, which on Modon means "fate."

And there you have it.  Why did the author withhold a simple and obvious tidbit of information?  Why did he have a character go so long without wondering what to call someone else?  So he could make this little "joke" about how Gris always whines that Fate has it in for him.  Well, his cab driver is called Fate!  Hilarious!  Maybe he'll find an actual Manco Devil somewhere who's been masterminding a conspiracy against him.

And so the chapter ends with Gris getting somewhat distracted while soaping his "newly acquired appendages," which he hopes will fit in his new pants.  "It sure was big!"

Interesting note: Gris decides that "Another fifteen thousand wouldn't make any difference when added to the maybe half a million I still owed on credit cards."  At no point does Deplor the Previously Unnamed Taxi Driver actually mention the cost of all the new clothes.  So either Gris has an uncanny ability to estimate the value of several boxes' worth of clothing, or the author forgot to include an important sentence or two.
Oh hey, there's just one Part left.  I better order the next book.

Back to Part Thirty-Four, Chapter Eight

No comments:

Post a Comment