It was bitter cold but for all that a bright and sunshiny day. The shrubs in the villa were all bound up for winter like corpses in shrouds and not a single songbird was in sight. Beautiful.
Only after inspecting the corpselike foliage and searching his surroundings for any songbirds that Gris notices something new in his yard, something so enormous that he initially mistakes it for a locomotive. It's his newly-renovated limousine, blocking the entire driveway with its dull black bulk, golden letters (in what language?) spelling "Sultan Bey" underneath the red eagle emblems on the doors. The windows are bulletproof, while the overly-spacious interior features a bar, field radio-telephone, and even a bunk.
This 1962 Daimier-Benz also comes with a complementary chauffeur, the "toothless, beak-nosed old man" with the "evil laugh." It'd be just as accurate to call him an evil laugh wrapped in an old man, because every single time he appears in the story he laughs his "evil laugh" and does nothing else. His name is Ters, Turkish for "unlucky" or "unfortunate." Gris takes notice of what the author's doing and wonders if it could be bad to mix Ters the evil laugh with Deplor the taxi driver to make "Unfortunate Fate."
Now, let's talk pattern recognition. Deplor the taxi driver is the one who "sold" Gris his belly-dancing concubine, the girl who turned out to be a pedophile, who currently can't stand him, and who ran up thousands and thousands of dollars on credit cards in Gris' name. Then the taxi driver added even more to Gris' debt by buying crates of expensive clothing on his behalf. Then he ignored Gris' protest and orders to buy the dilapidated old limo in the first place. Gris cannot be said to have benefited from any of this, and the consequences of the first plan not only wrecked his life (for a couple of chapters) but actually put his life in danger. So by this point a rational individual of reasonable intelligence might decide that he doesn't want anything to do with Deplor the taxi driver. Maybe this guy doesn't have the best ideas. Maybe he's using this situation more to his advantage than Gris'.
But this story would have ended in Book One if Gris had a working brain.
Taxi driver man does his postsale speech about how Gris' new car fits him like a glove, "makes you a big man!", etc. Then he urges Gris to take a seat in the back, where they can talk business. Sexy business.
Deplor knows that Gris wants women, and he has a plan on how to get some. He makes Gris synchronize their watches for this "military campaign."
We did. I was getting excited.
Four days in a cell with a mad doctor, two or three days earlier spent closely monitoring his enemies, then before that a whirlwind of purchasing following a trip to Switzerland, but suddenly Gris remembers that he wants to have sexy times with a woman.
Working off the assumption that "There isn't a woman in the world that could resist this car," Deplor proposes that Gris treat his new limo as a true pimpmobile. Deplor and Ters will go out and find a woman for Gris at six each evening, then return with the girl at 8:30, because it takes time to find and persuade a woman to be overtaken by lust for the absent owner of a huge automobile, dontcherknow. And they don't plan on giving Gris repeat entertainment - "You want them fresh every night."
"Go on," I said, my appetite whetting up.
I think this sentence would mean that Gris' appetite was the one stimulating something, not getting stimulated.
Anyway, at 8:30 Team Unfortunate Fate will park under a tree not far from the villa and honk the horn, giving Gris the signal to come over to the car, crawl in the back, and take advantage of the car's bunk. When Gris has slaked his lust , the horrible old man will take the girl home.
"Now synchronize our watches again just to be sure. The woman will be so hot for you, you mustn't keep her waiting. Promise?"
"Oh, I won't keep her waiting," I said and eagerly synchronized my watch again.
"One more thing," said the taxi driver. "Give me two hundred thousand lira so I can get a woman this very night."
Yeah... well, maybe telling a girl that she should have a roll in the hay with the guy who owns this awesome car (who isn't actually here at the moment) isn't quite enough to get her out of her pantaloons. Taxi man explains that these girls aren't mere prostitutes, but women after dowries so they can marry a good husband (who presumably will be very understanding when they learn how she earned that money). So even though that much libra could keep Gris happy for a year in a typical Turkish brothel, this way he'll
"have the best-looking women for miles around panting to tear their veils and robes off and get under you. Thin, plump, tall, short, a new one every night. Imagine it! A beautiful, passionate woman lying naked on that ledge, her hips twitching, stretching out her arms to you, begging, begging for it."
I ran into the house, opened my safe and got two hundred thousand lira and put it in a big sack and came back.
The taxi driver peeked in. He nodded.
"Yeah, that looks like two hundred thousand lira stuffed in a sack."
The old chauffeur laughed an evil laugh.
"See you when I blow the horn!" yelled the taxi driver and drove off in his cab.
I could hardly wait.
You might be wondering why Deplor isn't bringing Gris along to pick out the girls, and of course the answer is that this plan isn't very legit. You also might be wondering why Gris isn't asking why he isn't being invited to come pick out the girls. That's because Gris has to be stupid for this plot to work, to set up a shocking and horrible plot twist in a couple of chapters.
Fair warning - next chapter is gonna be rough.
Back to Chapter Five