Friday, May 31, 2013

Part Fifty-Six, Chapter Two - Shipper on Deck

It's important to remember Gris' primary objective here - avoiding cooties.

My prospects seemed marvelous.  Sailing along, getting back my health, I gloried in one simple fact---oh, Gods, it was wonderful: NO WOMEN!  My bed was utterly empty, my time was my own, and the smile on my face grew and grew.

Of course, since he decided it was necessary to bring Teenie along on his sabbatical, Gris needs to keep her out of his hair by nudging her towards Madison's bed.  

Dinner goes well in that regard, as Madison helps Teenie assemble a dress suitable for a formal meal out of a curtain... huh... and then he shows her what silverwear to use to eat.  Afterward they chat about their mutual love of outlaws, because a staggering number of people in this story happen to like notorious gangsters or fugitives from L. Ron Hubbard's childhood, and Teenie tells a tale about a ghost she saw once that I can't find on Wikipedia.  She describes a "Paddy Corcoran" whose ghost likes to collect heads, but I keep getting redirected to an Irish football player.  Maybe that's the point, Teenie Whopper tells whoppers.

As three days go by and the seagoing mansion continues its journey to Bermuda, Gris assumes that Madison and Teenie's daytime playtime is continuing when they retire for the night.  But then he hears a stewardess comment what a shame it is that Gris' "niece's" "boyfriend" will be leaving at Bermuda, as apparently Madison is considering catching a flight back to New York to try and redeem himself in the eyes of Mr. Bury.

Now, this is a luxury yacht with cutting-edge multimedia equipment, such as a radio-telex machine that spits out strips of news from international wire services.  So Gris sneaks in one night and alters the feeder tape, adding a story about the Corleone mob and police working together to hunt down J. Walter Madison.  He makes sure Madison sees it at breakfast the next morning.

And here we have another Mission Earth puzzle - is the inclusion of some sort of ticker-tape radiogram news service as opposed to a satellite TV showing CNN a product of Hubbard's lack of vision?  Did he foresee portable television but not satellite news, and not notice the way the world was evolving around him?  Or did he intentionally use this archaic news service because it was the only way he could come up with for Gris to scare Madison into sticking around?

Back to Chapter One



  2. Hubbard was a big fan of the now-obsolete Telex service that was once popular for sending text messages over dedicated land lines and radio. Many of his policies for running Scientology require sending telexes back and forth. They switched over to a private computer network but pretended like they were still using telexes (including writing in abbreviated all caps).

    Telex still survives for marine applications as NAVTEX, which you can install on your yacht to print out meteorological forecasts and weather warnings on receipt tape (or on an LCD screen). So it's an obsolete technology that is also still used, although I'm not sure if anyone ever used it for general news stories. It was mostly for ship-to-shore communication (radio telex) and weather reports.