Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Part Fifty, Chapter One - This Stupid Thing is Fifty Parts Long and We're Not on Book Seven Yet

Heller continues boating along, checking his charts to plot his course, but he's only going about ten knots so it'll be hours before he reaches Atlantic City.  So let's spend a chapter with Gris as he cures more women of their lesbianism.

Gris' wives come home and drag him off to do his "husbandly duties," and he meets Mike, "a somewhat sallow woman of thirty-five, dressed in long mannish clothes," and twenty-five-year-old Mildred, who has "a rosy complexion, was soft and round a quite pretty."  I'm suddenly struck with a disturbing question - is Hubbard just living out his sexual fantasies here, or are these based on anyone he knows?  Is this a nostalgic trip back through the notches on his bedpost, or what he wishes were notches on his bedpost?

But there's a third female lurking in the corner - "TEENIE!"  Yes, Miss Pinch invited the teenager (and not the "barely legal" kind of teenager) along to continue her education.  She's just there to take pictures, Gris' wife assures him, and Teenie says she'll behave: "I love spectator sports but I won't even cheer.  I promise."

So Gris opens his robes to reveal his mighty man parts, and Mike turns pale at the sight of his [clever euphemism for penis here], but before she can run all the others grab her, strip her, and pin her down for Gris to have his way with, because consent doesn't matter when the alternative is being condemned to a life of lesbianism.  Mike was wearing a breast compressor, as "male" lesbians are wont to do, but Pinchy assures her that she'll never want to wear it again once Gris is finished, because hetero sex has something to do with chest binding.

Things start off predictably - "Ooh, it isn't a falsie after all!" - but then Gris' groove is thrown off by the brilliant "FLASH!" of Teenie's camera.  Gris continues as best he can, but it eventually develops into a "race" between Gris and Teenie's distracting photography.  Gris, er, wins. 

Initial misgivings aside, Mike says she had a great time and declares an end to "biting and scratching.  And using Polish sausages for dildos."  Immediately after it's Mildred's turn, and Gris' wives stick a joint in his mouth to try and lessen his irritation with Teenie.  It doesn't really work.


I came straight off the bed!

It took me a moment to see again that it was not a spaceship landing.

Teenie's oversize lips were smiling sweetly.  "That was a good one," she said.  "She looked just like she was dying!"

"Kill this kid," I said bitterly to Adora.

"Oh, why should you be upset with a little thing like that?  After all, it was only the artistry in the girl.  Education and art go hand in hand.  She saw something she wanted and took it."

"I'm going to kill her," I said.

So Pinchy gets Gris another joint so he can get back to business, and Gris again sneers triumphantly at Teenie when he "made it" despite her presence.  But the teen complains that she needs more pictures to further her education, and like ice skaters trying to get their form right, she needs to look at pictures of herself.  So with Pinchy's approval, she shucks her clothes and walks over to Gris, looks down at him with disapproval, and decides that some music is what he needs.  Teenie pops in her record, not a CD, not a tape cassette, and actual honest-to-Elvis record:

For Grade-School Kiddies
International Psychological 
Association Approved
Educational Ditty
The Naughty Boys
Biffer, Poker, Slider and Wowie.

And even though Gris knows it's "childish gibberish," he also knows that since psychology endorses it, it must be quality entertainment.  We could criticize Gris for having two mutually exclusive thoughts, but we really ought to be celebrating that he managed to stick two thoughts period in his tiny, tiny brain.

And now, more... music.

All the people in the room began to jerk in rhythm to those drums.  Teenie was wide-eyed, beating time with her hips and heels.

Then the whine and moan of electronic instruments.

Then a chorale like a tribal chant.

Freddie was a jumper!
Jump, jump, jump!
Freddie was a jumper!
Pump, pump, pump!
Freddie jumped his teacher!
Pump, pump, pump!
Freddie jumped his sister!
Pump, pump, pump!
Freddie jumped his brother!
Pump, pump, pump!
Freddie jumped his papa!
Pump, pump, pump!
Freddie jumped his mama!
Pump, pump, pump!
Freddie jumped a ROBOT!
Oh, my God!
Poor, poor Freddie,
Hasn't got a rod!

I don't remember meeting any robots in this story.  It may be for the best, they'd probably be rape-bots programmed by psychologist scientists.

And then in a perfectly normal voice at the end it said: So that's the moral, little kiddies. Don't never (bleep) robots!

Don't (bleep) the non-existent thing, got it.  Thanks, psychology!

The women in the room had almost had (bleeps) from the rhythm. I thought I had read the label wrong. I leaped up and snatched it from the turntable before it could repeat. Yes, it was approved by the International Psychological Association and its title was "Moral."

So it's not all the times that his grasp of psychology has failed him, or the fact that it clashes with everything Gris' education told him about the nature of the universe, it's psychology's lousy taste in music that's shaking his faith in it.

Then Teenie yanks Gris to his feet and starts doing "poses," with him, while Adora/Pinchy/Mrs. Bey takes pictures.  But these poses, they're strange - Teenie looking scared at Gris, or Teenie grappling with Gris, making him grab at her in time for the camera to go off, or Teenie tearing at Gris' robes so Gris latch on to her for another FLASH!, or Teenie slapping Gris and then scampering away for the camera to record his enraged pursuit.

I seized her ponytail.

She backed up! Against me! 


I made my hand flat to give her behind a powerful swat. "I'll teach you to insult me!" I snarled.

But Teenie was laughing!

Teenie turned over onto her back and began to hold her sides with mirth.

Adora was laughing.

Candy was laughing.

Mike and Mildred were laughing.

Anyone else?  Good.  Laughter is not a healthy response to this kind of situation.

A very confused Gris stomps off to his room, unable to comprehend what's going on and what's so funny.  He gnaws on his pillow - seriously - while looking forward to the day his boss blows Earth up "with Teenie in the middle of the cataclysm!"

So, why did Gris' wives think they needed more blackmail material?  They've already got the bigamy threat.  They're also his only source of income.  What purpose did this section serve, both in-story and more significantly out of it?  What is this satirizing?  Why did we need more inappropriate sexual contact with minors in this story?

The good news is that next chapter we get back to Heller on boats for another twenty-five pages, when Teenie makes her reappearance.  The bad news is that next chapter we get back to Heller on boats for another twenty-five pages, when Teenie makes her reappearance.

Back to Part Forty-Nine, Chapter Seven

1 comment:

  1. People were still using vinyl records when Hubbard wrote this. Some people still listen to vinyl records today. It's not like the sound quality of a well-produced LP is noticeably worse than a CD, if your equipment is good. Hubbard was just terrible at extrapolating into "future" tech, and didn't seem to care to.