Madison's watching from an upper-story window of Teenie's island mansion, chortling to himself about, you guessed it, all the Heller headlines he'll be able to make. He's there to give Teenie some good news, but the girl has been "unaccountably delayed" for a chapter, allowing the author to spend this one on... well, watch.
Down in the valley below, the island's inhabitants are tending to a crop of marijuana... Hubbard. Stop reminding me how stupid it is for the Apparatus to rely on one company and one farm on one planet for the drug supply it hopes to use to conquer the galaxy. The kicker of course is that the Apparatus is up in arms over disruptions to that drug supply, yet if they went back to Earth they'd find that the United States has decriminalized the stuff, Rockecenter or no, so it's probably even easier to get a hold of.
Anyway, Madison beholds the product of Teenie's instruction: a news publisher's wife strolls along in a mask, a "gallant young officer" approaches, bows, makes some hushed conversation. The woman laughs and the two stroll into a secluded nook on the palace grounds, followed by a "chorder-beat" musician providing some mood music, and then...
I wonder if there's something in Voltar's star, some radiation effect going on? I was mightily bemused by what happens in these books' "love" scenes, what with random items exploding as a euphemism for bodily fluids being splashed around. This weirdness was limited to Gris, but now:
Presently, as he expected, he saw the woman's gown being laid gently on the bench end.
The musician was now behind a tree, his back to the nook, but the violin music played on.
In the limbs above, a branch of blossoms began to weave.
The musician's face was watchful, intent. He was playing faster now.
Blossoms exploded and the petals showered down.
The music now was mild and slow.
An attendant in silver livery who bore a silver tray sped across the terrace. He entered the nook.
Shortly the gray-blue smoke of marijuana rose.
The violin music played on.
Wait, did this sort of thing happen when Gris was raping, statutory or otherwise, women back on Earth? Maybe it's not due to Voltar's star, maybe it's some sort of energy field emitted by Voltarians in heat? I propose some good old-fashioned alien autopsies until we get to the bottom of this.
The next publisher's wife/hunky officer pair is interrupted by a second man, who asks if he may "cut in." More blossoms explode. Yes, Teenie has succeeded in turning this private island into a pleasure retreat, where key women are "cured" of their sexual frustrations and partake of lots of marijuana and LSD.
Madison stole a peek at the clipping book he was carrying. The first batches of women were long since returned home. Just to test his muscle he was getting psychiatry good coverage.
But he's not running Heller stuff just yet, because.
Page after page contained news stories about the marvelous cures it was effecting, how magnificent Crobe was, how misguided any other form of treatment was and how all rival ideas should be crushed out. Life had become impossible for publishers and editors unless they ran columns and columns about this marvelous new science imported from Blito-P3!
And now, if you know Madison, he's going to spend a few sentences telling us about how this is precisely how it works on Earth, and how cunning psychology is for doing this, and blah de blah de blah
Oh, there was no doubt of it that psychiatry had all the answers. They had won press domination on Earth the very same way: get the wives of the publishers and editors on the couch and being liberally (bleeped) and you got all the column inches you could ever want! And woe betide any competitor in the field: he would be slaughtered!
I thought at one point it was psychology pushing drugs that led to its control of the media... or was it simply cash? This story's been told so many times in so many ways it's hard to keep track.
A voice behind him jarred into his mood. "What the hell have you become? Some God (bleeped) voyeur?"
Yep. Which is odd, because Madison is supposed to be repulsed by the mere thought of getting naked with a woman who isn't his dear old mum.
Back to Part Seventy-Eight, Chapter Six