Thursday, July 4, 2013

Part Fifty-Nine, Chapter Seven - Child Abuse and Further Revelations

Right after Jowls-Closure leaves, a jeep drives up to the villa to deposit an enraged man roaring about "Bombed mosques!" and how "Oh, Gods, we were doing so great without him!"  It's Faht Bey, the beleaguered commander of the base!  He's here mostly to be angry and inform Gris that the Blixo will be landing tomorrow, express his hope that Gris will go back to Voltar on it, and threaten to report Gris' shenanigans to Lombar Hisst if he does anything to jeopardize the Apparatus operation in Afyon.  He also tells Gris "There isn't a single person in this area that would befriend you."  Then he drives off.  Bye, Faht Bey!  I still haven't figured out why you're not in charge instead of Gris. 

Gris gets all sad because of Bey's remark about him not having any friends.  I'm a little confused why the author is attempting to garner sympathy for a character he has spent over two thousand pages making as utterly detestable as possible.

And then Utanc rushes out of her room and prostrates herself before Gris.  She's got something to confess - she's the one who forged the mortgage of the Apparatus base after Gris cut off her credit cards, on the advice of Grabbe-Manhattan's associates in Istanbul.  Hence the new red Ferrari in the driveway.

I don't get what we're supposed to take away from Utanc.  Gris is a pretty miserable misanthrope, and his reaction to a beautiful woman seems to be either "I'd love to (bleep) her" or "this (bleeptch) is scary."  With maybe one or two exceptions, he doesn't get along with people at all, and Faht Bey is right about him not having any real friends.  But somehow, Utanc has completely hypnotized him.  Here, when she admits that she's the one who could cost him his life for having mortgaged a secret alien base to the natives, he spends one sentence being angry at her before falling back under her spell.

So is she supposed to be that beautiful, somehow able to elicit a protective response from a murderous rapist?  How can we explain the fact that Gris fell in love with her photograph and keeps setting aside his paranoia and vengeful nature whenever she's around?  In short, what about her character makes Gris act so blatantly out-of-character?

Suddenly I realized that Grabbe-Manhatten had taken advantage of this shy desert girl from the Kara Kum in Russia.

From her side she drew a curved knife.  Reaching up, she extended the hilt.  "Kill me."

I looked at her, stunned.  The idea of those beautiful black eyes going dead made my own blood run cold.  I cried, "NO!" and thrust the knife aside.

She dropped it to the patio pavement.  She seized my hand in both of her own.  "O master, do you forgive your slave?"

I looked down at her.  Suddenly all the love I had ever felt for her surged up in me.  I thought of her dances, the joy I had taken in her.  "Yes," I said.

So is this a commentary on love in general?  How inexplicable affection can tame even the darkest of hearts?  And not the jarring juxtaposition of unquestioning devotion on a character marked by dark paranoia?

Well, right after that happens Teenie shows up.  She asks who Utanc is, Gris goes all cold and introduces the woman he purchased as "The only woman I will ever love," and Teenie's little heart is shattered and she starts to cry.

Hubbard?  We don't care.  We don't care about this wretched simulacrum of a love triangle.  We don't care that two manipulative, lying women are fighting over a man who deserves a bullet in the brain.  We don't care about the relationship problems of three characters you have made as detestable as possible.

Thus spurned, Teenie explains her weird behavior for the past too-many pages.  When she met Foreclosure in Bermuda and learned of the threat to Gris' financial future, she stalled and went about selling the Golden Sunset.  The plan was to sell it to the Crown Prince of Saudi-Yemen at Alexandria for five times what Gris had paid for it, thus wiping out Gris' debt altogether.  But then Gris jumped ship, Grabbe-Manhattan seized it to sell to the prince for their own profit, and now her plans of starting a whorehouse somewhere with Gris are ruined.

"You expect me to believe that!" I snarled, getting madder by the second.

Exclamation point, not a question mark.

"You better believe it," she said.  "We're two of a kind, you dumb jerk.  Both of us are rotten to the core.  We're so screwed up with psychology and crime we got no idea which end is up.  But at least we can stick together!  There ain't any hope otherwise.  And you blew!" [sic]

She's almost certainly telling the truth, if only because that would mean the greatest amount of misfortune for Gris.  So there you have it!  All the deeply suspicious behavior was nothing but an attempt to run off and start a new life as an underage prostitute with a man she loves who is years older than her and doesn't tolerate her beyond a (bleep) at night in some far-off country.  

And she didn't let Gris in on any of this why?  Was it a birthday surprise or something?

Teenie and Utanc hiss and spit at each other over Gris.  Utanc runs off after Teenie calls her trash.  Gris flies into a rage, reaffirms his hatred of Teenie, and slaps the girl hard enough to send her flying into a wall.  While bleeding from the mouth, Teenie threatens to go back to New York and get her revenge on him in some undisclosed fashion.  Gris reminds us of that injunction that could land him in jail for rape-of-a-minor if he can't produce Teenie in a reasonable amount of...

Wait, they've been boating around for weeks now and that still hasn't gone off?

And he can't just kill Teenie, because, but luckily Gris has another flash of "Inspiration!" and realizes "I WOULD SEND TEENIE TO VOLTAR!"  Because it'll be easier to produce her in... a reasonable amount of time... if she's on another planet.  

This plot fits together like a sack of bricks tumbling down a flight of stairs.

He mentions Madison is nearby in (Gris') bedroom, and when she runs in to have a good cry, Gris throws the gas bomb he picked up last chapter.  Or more accurately, shoves the thing into her face, making it a "bomb" you have to use at arm's length, where you're presumably in danger of inhaling the same fumes as your target.  Especially if your physiology is more vulnerable to drugs and stuff than the inhabitants of Blito-P3.

All that to say - now we know exactly how Gris' current financial problem came about, and how stupid it all is, and now Teenie and Madison are both prepped to go to Voltar.

Having no crystal ball or ways to read the horrible future to hand [sic], I thought, with satisfaction, that that was the end of Teenie.

And so ends Part Fifty-Nine and the long, arduous road back to the place we didn't want to go.  In the remainder of the book, Gris will ignore all these recent developments and go back to worrying about the people he's supposed to be stopping.

Back to Part Fifty-Nine, Chapter Six

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