They ascended in the elevator.
Heller unlocked the door at the top and stepped into the small hall. The Countess Krak was right behind him
A shabby man in a shabby overcoat with a shabby hat pulled over his eyes stepped out from behind a potted plant.
"Jerome Terrance Wister?" he said.
The man shoved a court summons into his hand. "You are duly served in the matter of Spread vs. Wister," he said and then bolted down the fire escape.
"What is it, dear?" said the Countess Krak.
"I don't know," said Heller, "but he almost got himself shot."
And yet nowhere did we see Heller produce, aim, or threaten the guy with a handgun. But later we'll be told that he had one all along.
Also strange that none of the dozen members of the apartment's staff heard this shabby guy break in or bumped into him while tidying up the place for their master. I could also point out the weirdness of a shabby lawyer deciding to break into someone's home to serve them a legal document, though this is undoubtedly satire of how criminal those shabby lawyers are, always skulking about and lurking in shadows to stick someone with a subpoena.
But now for the heartbreaking dissolution of one of the greatest romances ever to be expressed in a satirical science-fiction dekalogy:
He started to toss the paper aside.
The Countess Krak took it from him.
She read a short distance into it.
She went white.
Then suddenly she marched into the salon, across it, to her room and slammed the door!
I had connected!
Yep. That's it. That's how it happens. That's all it takes.
Heller stood there, rooted.
Then he went to her door. It was locked.
"Dear," he said through the closed portal, "could you tell me what this is all about?"
She was lying on the bed face down with the legal paper crumpled in her hand. She was crying!
"Dear," he called. "Is there something wrong?"
Hmm, that depends. Does your girlfriend often storm out of the room to lock herself in her chambers, crying? If so, then you might be fine. Otherwise yes, something's wrong. Dumbass.
So for half an hour Heller keeps at it, trying to get a response out of Krak, but she refuses to say anything. Until she does decide to say something.
At length she replied through the closed door "Go away! You lied to me. You had a woman after all!" And then she wailed, "You got her pregnant!"
After that she would say no more.
Oh, I really writhed in glee. What a hit! This would finish everything!
And that's that. Gris declares the operation a success and gets up to do something else. Heller evidently doesn't even try to explain that being accused of a crime does not necessarily mean that you are guilty of it. And Krak decides that the little piece of paper delivered by a shabby burglar confirms all of her fears and jealousies, so she doesn't even need to confront her boyfriend over them, just skip straight to the crying breakup.
An idiotic scheme devised by an idiotic villain that's successful because of idiotic heroes. Mission Earth, ladies and gentlemen.
Like I said, Gris is jubilant that he saved Rockecenter's polluting ways, and the "sudden surge of optimism" convinces him to go back to Miss Pinch's apartment for more money, since he's pretty broke at this point. He hikes back to the Gigolo Gris Subplot and is met by a curiously expressionless Candy and Pinch, who proceed to hose him down with bug spray, "The Deadly Kind." He's returned from the wino hotel covered in cockroaches, you see.
So half a page passes of Gris getting coated in pesticides while his clothes get dumped in an incinerator. He showers and prepares for bed, Candy and Pinch approach in their nightgowns, and Gris admits he doesn't feel up to any hanky-panky, but they weren't gonna ask anyway. They don't want to miscarry, see. They're pregnant.
Cold terror gripped me by the throat!
The whole room spun around me! I was totally disoriented! I wanted to tell them no, no, you're all mixed up. It was Heller who got girls pregnant.
"I've never been in Kansas!" I wailed.
What, you didn't think you could use that super-penis with impunity, did you? Especially since the doctor who enhanced it also had a fetish for increasing his patients' odds of conception.
But they were both gone. And all that night, I lay in the dark, spinning.
Now and then I would say to the walls, "I am Officer Gris. I am not a combat engineer. My name is not Heller. I am Officer Gris. Miss Pinch is not Maizie Spread. This is New York. My name is not Heller. . . ."
It was a very terrible and eerie experience.
And a plot point, but we'll get to that later.
But there you have it. A great gulf has been driven between Heller and Krak, all thanks to their jaw-dropping inability to bridge it through basic communication. Gris has meanwhile gone back to his life as some sort of lesbian-busting superhero, but is now faced with some of the consequences of his history of unprotected sex. So bad things are happening to the heroes and villain alike, and the main plot has once again slowed to a crawl.
And we'll keep reading, I guess. 'cause we, uh, care deeply what happens to these characters. And can't wait to see where this roller-coaster of a story takes us next. Yep.
Back to Chapter Eight