I'd complain that I really don't want to deal with a twelve-page Gris/Teenie chapter right now, but really, is there ever a good time to go through that? If you were in a good mood the book would ruin it, and if you were in a bad mood you might resort to autocannibalism.
Gris kicks off this chapter by confessing that he was so hungover and drug-addled that he completely missed the disastrous implications of last chapter, i.e. Krak is going on another rampage and Heller is on a course to Turkey, where the Apparatus' drug operation is based. It's going to take a few more chapters for Gris to notice what his foes are doing. He's just so distracted, what with all that sex, drugs, and terrible modern electronic psychology-approved music.
The doorbell to Pinchy's apartment rings, and Gris, thinking it's "one of those (bleeped) paper boys who wants you to subscribe to a paper you are already subscribing to, so they can get an all-expense-paid tour to reform school"... just how long has he been living in the States? There was nothing like that in Turkey, nor did anything like this happen since Gris went to New York in the series. Anyway, Gris answers the door and finds not a paperboy hoping for him to resubscribe to a magazine, but the dreaded Teenie!
He slams the door on her, bolts it, closes the shutters, gets some ice from the fridge to put on his aching head, and watches "a wraith that looked just like Teenie" climb over the garden wall and waltz through the back door to take a seat in an easy chair. Of course she isn't wearing any underclothes, and Gris is quick to offer a diagnosis.
If she matured--which I doubted, from the way she enraged me--she
Credit where it's due, this is a darkly humorous line from a villain describing an annoying kid. I just wish the kid in question was wearing underpants, and not trying to jump the villain.
would probably become a model for nonexistant women's clothes. No. A female flasher! Yes, a sexhibitionist all right, unfortunately real and no hallucination. Bless psychology!
Teenie explains that she's here to complete her education, or in other words get Gris to (bleep) her. Gris doesn't want to not because of the whole statutory rape thing, but because she has nails and she scratches. Teenie complains that her education plans are in ruins because she's been fired from her job as a stamp-licker due to being "instruction-deficit." See, she caught Rockecenter going down with the elevator boy, ahem, and tried to correct her boss' technique using what she'd learned watching Gris "cure" those lesbians. But Rockecenter threw her out and yelled at her, so Teenie's only recourse was to try to get in Gris' pants.
Gris' response is that "I HAVE A TERRIBLE HEADACHE AND I DON'T NEED ANOTHER ONE FROM YOU!" Fortunately Teenie knows the cure for having mixed marijuana with champagne - mix marijuana with Neo Punk Rock music!
Subliminal, subliminal.A toy car,And a toy girl,Ran up a tree!SMASH!A toy house,And a toy boy,Fell out of the tree!SMASH!The toy carAnd the toy baby,Dropped the tree!SMASH!Where was NASA?Where was NASA?Where was NASA?SMASH!
The great thing about satirizing music is that you don't have to be good at songwriting to do it. Just slap together some nonsensical lyrics, and if the result is crap, that's the point! That's the satire!
When the healing power of song doesn't work, Teenie shows Gris how to use a "bhong" for some hair of the dog. Then she goes into her tragic life story to try and coax him into having sex with her. Teenie's parents were executed for murdering her grandparents over their retirement home fees, and her court-ordered guardian was a wino who had her foraging in trashcans. Then her school psychiatrist diagnosed her with hyperactivity, and the only cure was to give him oral sex.
Gris points out that, why, that's "interfering with a minor," and illegal!
"Oh, no. You don't understand. My guardian--he drank himself to death three years ago and they never appointed another, due to legal delays--told the judge the treatment was making me so tired I couldn't look in garbage cans. I was there. The judge explained the psychologies and psychiatrists are professionals and they are not bound by ordinary law: they can even murder people and nothing is done about it because they actually work with the government and the courts and, like them, are above the law. They can do anything they want with anyone placed in their care. Even murder them. I was surprised when my guardian questioned it because we were always taught in school that psychiatrists and psychologists are kind of sacred. But that's just a bunch of horse (bleep), I know that now."
It's not so much that the story takes place in a world run by psychiatrists as it takes place in a world where Heller drives a racecar and Gris has sex with lesbians, and occasionally another character drops a few paragraphs about how psychiatrists run the world. Then Heller gets a boat and Gris spends half a book trying to get in a belly-dancer's pants.
Gris objects that psychiatrists are paragons of truth and men of "SCIENCE!" and would never lie, but Teenie counters that... well. They told her not to do something to avoid getting pregnant, but she did it anyway and didn't get pregnant.
The worst part, Teenie says, is that she never was offered any constructive criticism or coaching. Gris complains that he still has a headache, Teenie tries to help in her own special way, and when Gris realizes what's going on he jumps back with a cry of "Utanc! I must not betray you!" As if Utanc has been mentioned at any other point in this book or has played a serious role in this godawful story's plot. As if during any of Gris' sessions with those soon-to-be-ex-lesbians or his wives he was ever worried about staying faithful to his purchased belly-dancer.
Teenie grapples with Gris in an attempt to climb aboard, and gets thrown against a wall. She sniffs and tries to heal him with more music, from a record, of course, but it doesn't improve Gris' mood any.
Teenie rants at Gris for being selfish, hogging "the finest sex equipment I've seen in my life" instead of sharing it with her, and not helping a poor, broke little girl with her sexual education. She threatens to hang around and annoy him until he gives in to her advances, and in desperation Gris asks how much it would take for her to go and never return. Teenie immediately replies "Five thousand dollars," the cost for an advanced class taught by a Hong Kong hooker who's willing to take Teenie on as an apprentice, despite her being an underaged girl and all.
Gris makes her swear that he'll never see her again before shelling out the cash. She gives him a kiss, reveals that she lives in a "garret" at Tudor City, and is perfectly willing to use her various body parts on him should he ever visit. She keeps hinting at what a waste it is for them to be in a house alone without engaging in any inappropriate activity, but Gris covers his ears with his hands until she leaves.
Then he waxes poetic while providing more foreshadowing.
How often in life does one go through the first tremors of a catastrophe and never realize that they were but the unheeded warning? Ah, but if only one could change the fleeting moments of a yesteryear. How different would life be. I should have killed her when I had the chance!
And by "foreshadowing" I mean Teenie shows up next chapter to continue to annoy and distract him with her sexual wiles.
If there's one thing to take away from this book, it's that your life can never be so bad that L. Ron Hubbard can't find the right words to make it worse.
Back to Chapter One