Monday, June 10, 2013

Part Fifty-Seven, Chapter One - Mission Spain

So the good ship Golden Sunset passes through the Straits of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean, inching closer to Turkey even though Gris doesn't know that's where he'll end up yet.  Not that he actually has a plan at this point.  Just cruisin' around on his boat while the plot continues without him.

For the first time in too bloody long he turns on the viewers... okay, how are these not security risks?  The Apparatus doesn't like its agents using two-way freakin' radios because someone could intercept the messages, right?  But these portable televisions tuned to ocular/aural implants are safe?  Can't they use similar safeguards on the radios?

Anyway, for the first time in too bloody long he turns on the viewers... why has it taken Gris this long to do something so simple?  What has he been doing all day for the past two weeks?  He has hash and underage sex at night, and exercises some during the day.  But it takes him weeks to work up the energy or remember to press a button and spend a few minutes checking on the people he's supposed to be thwarting?

Anyway, for the first time in too bloody long he turns on the viewers.  Krak's with the Whiz Kid double, referred to in this chapter solely as "the double."  I have to look back literally a hundred pages to remember that his name is Gerry Wister because the book hates using it.  Krak's using a hypno-helmet on him again, but for "its designed purpose: speed training."  She's helping Gerry cram for his finals, so the double can graduate and start an exciting life designing new pig troughs and other pig-related engineering work alongside Twoey the Real Rockecenter Heir.  Yes, Gerry vows that he's done working with the media.

"But if Jettero ever needs me for public appearances or anything, all he has to do is say the word. I'm not forgetting how he rescued me from that crazy psychiatrist! One minute I was about to be turned into a vegetable and the next there I was in a van looking at Jettero.

Surely you mean Jerome Terrace Wister, right?  Jerome's a promising student at Empire University with deep ties in organized crime, while Jettero Heller is a space alien infiltrator working to help his masters capture Earth.

And Jesus, was I ashamed of myself for ever daring to think I could pose as him.  And I know darned well you didn't tell me to think that when I had the helmet on."

Whaaaat?  So he's aware that Krak's implanting thoughts and commands in his head?  He's okay with it?  He keeps coming back for more?

Krak leaves to get lunch with her class of microwave engineers, while Gerry swears his eternal gratitude to Krak and Heller for helping him turn his life around, and promises that if they need his help for anything, all they have to do is ask. 

Just as a reminder, Krak kidnapped Gerry, mind-controlled him and held him prisoner for a few days, forced him to confess in court to clear Heller's name, let him get carted off to the loony bin for a lobotomy, rushed in to rescue him from the sentence she had helped doom him with, and is now programming him to help muck out pigs with another one of her pawns.

And he's ever so grateful for it.

Even Gris is nauseous at the Heller buttkissing.  And that's about it.  Nausea but not that vital Inspiration!

I gritted my teeth.  The two-way-response radio was lying there.  Wasn't there some kind of an order I could give Raht?  Something that would make these people suffer for all the horrible things they had done to me?

I couldn't think of anything.

We're watching someone suffer from Villain's Block for dozens and dozens of pages.

That's enough of the plot, now for a trip to Spain!  Although it's hard to tell.  Gris mentions Valencia's "busy streets" before spending half a page talking about clothes shopping and the flamenco troupe that visited the yacht for the evening's entertainment.  A page later he's touring in the mountains with Madison, trying to find which old "magnificent castle-fortress" El Cid used as his "hideaway."  We're told that the view is "impressive!" and that's about it.  One paragraph summary of hiking and picnics, then back on the boat with the flamenco dancers and Teenie and hashish.

Why is the author bothering to visit these countries if he's not doing anything with them?  This chapter spends more time talking about Teenie's outfits than Spain.  Why are we here, Hubbard? 

Madison eventually gushes over breakfast about how El Cid was an "absolute PR masterpiece!"

"Oh, you'll really love this," he said.  "You're so amateur when it comes to PR that you just plain won't believe it.  But El Cid was the total creation of PR men.  In the eleventh century, too!  You see, when he went outlaw against the king of Castile, he was really trying to set up a kingdom for himself in Valencia, totally separate from Spain.  But his PR figured, hey, that's not so good for his immortality so they rewrote the whole script.  They tailored it up so he looked like a Spanish national hero and he's been one ever since!  Man, I wish I knew the name of his PR.  What an expert he must have been!"

Madison being stupid, thus implying that all "PR" are stupid as well?  Or does the author hope to blow the lid off the whole El Cid legend?  If we're supposed to take this seriously, why would he have a dope like Madison be the one to tell us?  Why is this here?  Why are we in Spain?  

Besides the opening look at what Krak's up to, there's one other significant event in this chapter.  While getting ice cream, Teenie is once again met by the Black-Jowled Man, who drives off with her in a taxi.

Unease stirred me.  But then I shrugged.

Of course.

I shouldn't have.  In my stupidity,

This phrase should preface just about all of Gris' self-narration, really.  "In my stupidity, I couldn't think of anything." 

I assumed that there was simply no understanding teen-agers.  Or middle-aged men who would fly all over the place just to get another crack at unripe tail.

Little did I know what Fate was building up for me.  Had I even guessed, I would have run until there was no more wind left in me.

Half a block?

Looking back on it, I am utterly amazed that I never even came close to fathoming what was really gong on!

C'mon, you just admitted how stupid you are, once you realize that it should come as no surprise that you keep missing things.

I was at RISK!

No, nothing happens next chapter.  Or the one after that.  Or the next.  Or the following.  Something important and appallingly stupid happens in Chapter Six, though.

Back to Part Fifty-Six, Chapter Seven

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