Thursday, August 16, 2012

Part Thirty-Three, Chapter Four - Spicy Soltan Gris

Unabridged version here.

Once Hoodward is dropped off, Gris returns to his problems of being 1) broke and 2) the chew toy of a terrifying lesbian cashier.  He concludes that since he's too weak and battered to rob a bank, his only course of action is to "torture the [money safe] combination out of Miss Pinch and then to murder her in the most gruesome and grisly way imaginable."  Y'know, the woman who's always been one step ahead of him so far.  This time he'll get the drop on her, oh yes.

And then comes a paragraph that I'm pretty sure was stuck in by an editor, because it actually acknowledges the whole "confession" framing device the Mission Earth series uses.

Actually, I would like to omit that evening from this confession.  It is too horrible.  Murder should not be advertised to the young and this confession might someday fall--Gods forbid--into the hands of the immature.  Even a Judiciary is likely to pale at what happened.

But in all honesty, as promised, I will carry on, even though the next few hours fill me with remorse.  In all my crimes and escapade, this was the worst.

This paragraph is a lot of things.  First, I think it's the editor's way of saying "Get out while you still can!" and "hide your kids!"  Second, it's wildly out-of-character for Gris, who in the next paragraph will go on scheming without a glimmer of guilt.  And third, it's a load of crap because Gris is victimized this chapter, and doesn't get a chance to enact any evil schemes.  He does worse things in previous books, and if the dark murmurs are true there's even worse to follow.

So Gris has a plan, "an Apparatus technique called the 'Lure-Kill.'  It pretends affection as a mask for murder."  Yep, he's going to fool the virulently misandric lesbian by pretending to like her.

He hits a supermarket and gets a big box of McKormick's Red Pepper, then buys a nice bouquet of white chrysanthemums.  After leaving, Gris carefully works the pepper into every petal of the flower.  This is totally going to work.

With glee, I contemplated what would happen.  Miss Pinch would open the door, holding a gun as usual.  I would say, "You have reformed me from being a beastly male and I bring this to express my affection."  She would say, "Oh, how charming!"  And then she would take the bouquet, pull back the top flap to see what it was, behold flowers and sniff!  That would be all I would need.  I would have her gun as she convulsed in sneezes.  I would hit her over the head.  I would drag her to that bed and use every torture implement in the place until I had that combination.  Candy?  I would just gut-shoot her and laugh as she writhed.

Again, Gris wants something to happen, and despite what his past experiences would suggest, and despite lacking ways to ensure that this vision comes to pass, he fully expects things to occur the way he imagines them.  It's a unique blend of optimism and idiocy.

Gris takes a cab to Pinch's home.  He says his line and offers the flowers.  She immediately goes off-script and rants about him trying to steal Candy from her, stomps on the bouquet, and opens the lid of a trashcan to dispose of them... until she smells the pepper on the flowers.  She snarls at Gris' treachery and gets him to strip at gunpoint, then shackles him to the bed as usual.

When she finished the last cuff, she threw the gun aside.  "So you like red pepper, do you?  Well, always give the male the right to his chauvinistic domination."  She turned and called into the other room, her voice lilting, "Oh, Candy dear, we're going to have Mexican red-hot tamales tonight."

Now, Mission Earth is printed by Galaxy Press, which is owned by the Church of Spiritual Technology, which publishes Dianetics and other Scientologist materials.  So it's basically an in-house job.  Which means that Hubbard never had to pitch his book to a publisher or have conversations like:

Publisher: Okay, so the main lesbian does the whole Naked Apron thing, nice, and puts on a chef's hat.  Then she strips the other to a napkin that doesn't cover anything either, very nice.  So with the spies and all, this is kinda like a hotter and sexier James Bond flick.

Hubbard: That's what I was going for.

Publisher: And then... she picks up a cheese grater... Uh... James Bond flicks don't usually show the protagonist getting tortured with a cheese grater.

Hubbard: It's okay, Gris is the bad guy, remember.  Anyway, if you'd read Casino Royale you'd know all about James Bond getting hit in the groin with a knotted rope.

Publisher: 's that so?  Well, they'd probably cut that bit out of the movie.  So... then the lesbians go to do, heh heh, their stuff.  And then they come out... and... Tabasco sauce and barbecue forks?  Really?

Hubbard: It shows just how depraved they are.  What psychology has done to them, giving them such sick ideas.

Publisher: But... they're just characters in a book.  They're your ideas.

Hubbard: I'm afraid I don't follow. 

Publisher: Just how many pages of this are there?

Hubbard: Oh, just four. Well, for this chapter.

Publisher: I'm just having trouble getting a feel for this series' tone.  I mean, one book you have the hero, Heller, smearing pasta all over somebody's face to embarrass him in front of some celebrities.  Then in this book we have three chapters of Gris getting tortured.  But earlier in the same book Heller throws a cat at a guy.

Hubbard: It's a complex story.  There's romance, comedy, action, satire-

Publisher: Did we really need three chapters of torture, though?

Hubbard: It shows how committed they are to Psychiatric Birth Control. 

Publisher: Now I'm not saying I'm gay, but this might be a little, uh, inflammatory?  And I'm still a bit confused as to how this is supposed to make Gris gay.

Hubbard: Psychologists are pretty twisted people.

Publisher: ...Yeah.

In the end, Gris gets kicked out without being allowed to wash his wounds, while Candy threatens him with jail time if he doesn't return the next night.  At the hotel, the staff doctor treats Gris' wounds "in the most painful way possible," which is immediately followed by a sentence explaining "It didn't hurt so much, only because he had first given me a shot of morphine."  So it was as painful as possible, but it didn't hurt much.

Gris resolves to leave the hell out of New York, and takes comfort that in forty-eight hours Heller will be "finished" thanks to that story about his mob ties (to the wrong mafia).  Because, as we've seen, things usually go according to Gris' plans.

Back to Chapter Three

No comments:

Post a Comment