While departing the flight, Utanc acts suspiciously out-of-character and cozies up to Gris, sweetly asking if she can have what "little" trip money is left. Gris is gracious enough to agree, since after all he has all that transmuted gold he shipped in from Voltar. Utanc immediately ignores him in favor of the two prepubescent boys who have been surgically altered to resemble movie stars from nearly a hundred years ago in order to satisfy her bizarre kink. Utanc offers to buy them ice cream, and along with Karagoz the housekeeper they speed off in her BMW, leaving Gris behind.
Gris thinks his underlings are trying to get vacation time when they're dying of pneumonia, but hasn't figured out that maybe his "beloved" isn't quite as besotted with him as he is with her.
So Gris heads home with the friendly nameless taxi driver who sold him Utanc, who shares his sentiments about what a bargain Utanc was, and how "they don't make slaves like that anymore" (I should certainly hope not). Gris gets dropped off at the villa... and finds a mob of burly men waiting for him on the front lawn.
I guess they knew who he was and which flight he took, or else they've been camping on his yard for however many days.
The thugs are from American Oppress Company, the Dunner's Club, and the Squeeze Credit Card Corporation, respectively, and they have one simple question for Gris - where's their money?
It hit me! Utanc had gotten credit cards on my apparently affluent name and position before we left. She had done the whole trip on CREDIT CARDS!
Wacky musical sting, canned laughter, and still shot of Gris face-faulting. End Chapter One.
In Chapter Two, Gris resolves to "save the old homestead!" by parting with one of those golden bars he hauled from another planet. He runs to his secret stash, and even jet-lagged, even after all those beatings, and despite his own mental disadvantages, Gris is still able to instantly and flawlessly calculate the worth, in American dollars, of a 41.6 pound gold bar. He hauls it out and gives it to one of the credit brutes, who cuts into it with his knife... and reveals lead.
Let's get one of those "wha-wha-wha" horns here.
Sure enough, all of Gris' precious gold is in fact gaudily-painted bars of lead. So the creditors start ransacking his house for rugs and furniture, and even start clapping the staff in irons, since "They'll bring a good price in the slave markets of Arabia!"
This story is supposedly set in the early 2000's, yet the author thinks credit companies will follow people across the planet and enslave domestic workers to be sold in markets in another country. "Satire" sure is insightful and amusing.
So Gris pleads with them, and they go to Mudlick Construction Company, and Gris ransacks the safe for a quarter million dollars, which still isn't enough. So they got to Faht Bey's office to take out some earnings from that Mob Hospital of Gris', but Faht Bey flatly refuses, claiming that what with one thing or another they're barely breaking even, despite Gris' calculations that they should be earning twenty million dollars from all that plastic surgery. Instead Faht Bey offers to help with Gris' credit problems, but only if Gris signs a contract swearing to stop "grafting, chiselling, and embezzling monies from the Earth Base Treasury."
Even though Gris is Faht Bey's boss, and even though Gris could probably find a blaststick or something to deal with these debt collectors and unruly subordinates, he instead signs the contract and gets enough money... for one month's payment on what he still owes. Then he faints.
And there we are. The main plot has been "resolved" for now, so we're back in Turkey, the land of dull subplots and Gris sitting on his ass. And once again we're being subjected to chapters concerning Gris' money problems. Like in the first book, when he became so poor he couldn't afford food. Or in the last two books, when he struggled to manage his funds and juggled payments to cover his Mobster Hospital and imported Turkish belly-dancer.
And as mind-numbingly boring Gris' financial status is, I'd still prefer it to where the plot is going next.
Back to Part Thirty-Three, Chapter Nine