The publicity agent has long since come up with a headline for yesterday's events, "SEX-STARVED BEAUTY KIDNAPS WHIZ KID, TRAINS CAT TO EFFECT SNATCH." No, Madison is not in the least bit bothered that his star actor has been kidnapped and is still missing (Krak really doesn't want anyone interfering before Gerry's day in court), he's so pleased that he's been handed "the hottest story since Marc Anthony raped Cleopatra in a rug." He and his team brainstorm the next day's headlines, passing on "mobs of minors in California lining up in hope of being raped by the Whiz Kid" in favor of a nationwide cathunt.
"The animal angle always gets them," said Madison, sinking down at his desk, utterly spent but happy. "The day after, the cat will tell all in the most sexy details you ever imagined!"
And people would believe it. Because on Blito-P3, not only does the public unconditionally believe whatever's printed in the newspapers (save for a rare few who are in on the scam), but people will believe that a cat is talking to them live on stage.
Gris isn't interested, and comes with a warning. Not a warning like "Gerry has been kidnapped by a murderer and is now compromised; she plans on forcing him to confess in court to all the crimes in your stories. You are about to lose your key asset." No, it's "Would F.F.B.O. tell anybody who it was who handles this account on the Whiz Kid?" Which is more of a question, but anyway, Gris is concerned that the firm might reveal Madison's involvement. So he... starts talking about the "real" Whiz Kid, and how dangerous he is.
Turns out the objective is not to warn, but scare Madison. Gris talks about Heller's fifty-seven confirmed kills, thoroughly impressing the other man, since after all Billy the Kid only got to twenty-one, bringing the Whiz Kid close to Wild Bill Hickock's seven-six, and it really is amazing how many characters in these books have interests that intersect with L. Ron Hubbard's childhood. Why get too involved in your sci-fi espionage saga when you can instead reminisce about speakeasies, cowboys, gangsters and 1930's Hollywood stars?
Since Heller's bodycount isn't doing the job of intimidating him, Gris dares Madison to call the Narcotici mob and ask about a hit on Jerome Terrance Wister. The publicist does so, talks a little, turns white, hangs up, and stares blankly at a wall. He'd been redirected to Razza Louseini, who demanded to know if Madison was the same guy who called in the previous hit on Heller that cost them nineteen mobsters and a million dollars. The mob's so mad that they're threatening to put out a contract on whoever called that hit! ...And I didn't know the mob accepted anonymous contracts.
So Madison begs Gris to keep the secret that he was the one who ordered that disastrous failed assassination, and Gris agrees, happy that now he "knew how to persuade Madison to make himself scarce if I had to." Madison has not been warned of the disaster that has befallen his star employee, and doesn't know why Gris is concerned about F.F.B.O. pointing the finger at him, or that someone might try to kidnap him like she did Gerry. But he might run and hide if Gris says "mobsters."
That's sorta like a warning, right?
Back to Chapter One