I had one ace up my raw sleeve.
I was not going to visit Miss Pinch that evening!
The problem of course is that he can't leave New York until he's sure Heller has been "stopped," which is somehow dependent on what headline runs next morning. And if Heller isn't "stopped" by those devastating headlines concerning the fictitious activities of an impostor, then that super-competent Apparatus assassin will kill Gris. And then Gris panics after remembering that the assassin promised to kill Utanc first!
Skimming over the past Part or so, it looks like the last time Utanc was so much as mentioned was about 70 pages ago.
This all leaves Gris a nervous wreck, sure that the Miss Pinch is about to call down the wrath of the IRS upon him for failing to show up for the evening's beating, or that Mr. Bury will notice that Madison linked the wrong two firms in the newspaper. So when Gris gets the day's paper, with a story about the Whiz Kid donating his settlement money to the farmers of Kansas, Gris is so perplexed by the meaningless gesture that he slips into a feverish delirium.
I'm not exaggerating.
I knew now that, factually, it was a nothing amount that he was retaining a nothing of. But this thing about the farmers of Kansas was quite beyond me. What did they have to do with it?
Maybe I was sort of feverish already but this puzzle turned it into a kind of strange delirium.
So Gris spends that afternoon and evening waiting for "two deadly IRS men to slither through the crack at the bottom [of the door] or a snake to call me via the U.S. Army Signal Corps before I could check out." He finally comes to the next morning to find the hotel doctor fussing over him and prescribing aspirin in case Gris starts screaming again. Utanc is nearby, and explains that she called the doctor after Gris' deranged ranting made it hard for her to hear the radio. "How thoughtful of her! How tender!"
When the doctor leaves, Gris confesses that the feds may be after him, and that they'll have to flee that day. Utanc assumes this is about the man Gris had killed, back in... um... well, I don't remember what she's talking about. I remember three chapters of lesbians torturing Gris, but not Gris recovering a bloody wallet from anyone. Wait, did he kill someone in Turkey? Or take credit for Silva killing - oh, it was the director of the CIA! Yeah. That very meaningful plot point.
Utanc, white-faced but all business, hurries off to book the four o'clock flight, and it says a lot about Gris' deteriorating condition that he doesn't pointedly excuse her suspicious actions as somehow befitting a simple desert girl. Instead he calls room service and orders "two scrambled newspapers, overdone." The chapter ends with a heart-stopping cliffhanger as Gris unfolds the day's paper to read the headlines.
Will the story Madison worked on and planned to release that day get released that day? Will an article linking a fake Whiz Kid to the mafia that the real Whiz Kid's mafia is at war with somehow sabotage Heller's efforts to revolutionize Earth's energy industry through competitive racing? Will Gris be able to safely leave for Turkey? And will we be happy to leave New York, or rant at him for skipping out on the plot again?
The answers are yes, somehow I guess, barely, and "good lord I am not looking forward to Turkey."
Back to Chapter Four