Friday, October 22, 2010

TG&SS Part VI Chaps 1-6 Synopsis 50

Part VI chapter 1

Tommy-Ray was energized by the Nuncio and his mind and body worked differently as he drove back from the Mission. He enjoyed being the Death Boy. He even stopped at a cemetery to see if he was right. And he was. The spirits of the dead acted as if they were waiting for him to greet them. They were ugly, they were rotting, but they wanted to go with him. They wanted him as their leader. Tommy accepted.

Tommy returned to the seedy establishment where his wallet had been stolen. A tough character threatened him and told him to get out. Tommy responded by inviting his friends in. After being asked three times, they started rattling on the doors and windows. The doors and windows were splintered, the spirits rampaged in, and the tough guy began to pray. But he was torn apart.

Back in the car, Tommy briefly believed he had left his legion of the dead behind, but at the border he saw their cloud approaching. It then surrounded the car and opened a window. Into the passenger seat, the dust ball threw the head of the bartender that the spirits had killed. Tommy took this as a warning that to continue to lead, he was going to have to feed them. The cloud then took its shape in formation behind him as he drove.

Passing graveyards, the number of spirits increased as other lost souls joined the cloud which swelled as it approached Los Angeles.

Part VI, chapter 2

William Witt was out of food at his home and was getting hungry. Working at the Mall, he never stocked his refrigerator, but merely shopped for 15 minutes at the end of each day before returning home. But for two days he had not shopped at all, and his life was becoming disorganized. But Babylon had taken control of his house, the porn stars wrecking his clothes and making a mess of his linen. Witt found a sweatshirt and pants he hadn't worn in years and put them on for a trip to the supermarket at the Mall.

- - - - - - - - - -

At this time, Jo-Beth was waking with the worst hangover of her life, because it was the first one. She remembered going to Lois's house. She remembered the guests and Howie's arrival. She got out of bed feeling giddy and sick. Momma heard her stirring and was waiting for her when she emerged from the bathroom.

Joyce accuse her daughter of drinking and Jo-Beth admitted it. Joyce wanted to know where Jo-Beth went. “To see Lois.” Momma said there would be no liquor there. “There was last night. And a lot more besides.” Joyce argued over this. Jo-Beth demanded to take her mother in the car down to the bookstore and talk to Lois herself.

- - - - - - - - - -

Howie sat by the window with his guts tense. Fletcher was dead but he had left a legacy of ream-creatures who viewed him as a substitute for his father. He couldn't be that. He'd come here a desperado and become briefly, a lover. Now these creatures wanted to make a general of him, wanted marching orders and a battle plan.

He rehearsed these arguments until he almost believed them. Fletcher had warned Howie to choose between Jo-Beth and his destiny, and the boy had ignored his father's advice. Consequently, Fletcher arranged a public death, and Howie was willing to turn his back on the product of that sacrifice. What Howie wanted more than anything, more than two more minutes to talk to his dead mother, was certainty. He had to sit and back in the sun until he could work this out for himself.

William Witt got to the Mall and visited his office. His assistant, Valerie, was in. He gave her a few days off and then went shopping himself. Like other shoppers in the store, he was ignoring practical purchases in favor of junk foods. The other shoppers also looked obsessed and secretive, as Witt realized he was himself all his adult life. As he reached the checkout line, he saw a face he hadn't seen for many years, Joyce McGuire. She was with her daughter, Jo-Beth, and the similarity of the faces took his breath away. Other customers were looking at the McGuire women also. Witt realized he was closely associated with Joyce, so he offered her a greeting after so many years. Joyce was cordial.

Meanwhile in a nearby aisle, a woman broke into sobs. Jo-Beth went to comfort her. The hysterical woman was upset that her husband had another woman in the house. She didn't know what to do and didn't know what cereal to buy. Jo-Beth offered to help her to her car. Mr. Witt told her not to worry about Joyce, he'd take her home.

Jo-Beth thought the world had grown crazy as she drove the distraught woman to her home. She had to stop as a convoy of four black stretch limos purred past. Visitors, she thought. As if there weren't enough.

Part VI chapter 3

So it begins,” said the Jaff.

Limousines were pulling up to the Buddy Vance mansion. The Jaff didn't have Tommy-Ray to help him, as the boy hadn't returned from the mission. But Lamar had become an accomplice, so much so that the Jaff didn't have to play ghost and could show Lamar his true face and character. Lamar was cynically pleased. Besides, he knew the guests even better than Rochelle, who, herself, was sinking into a deep stupor over her drugs. Meanwhile, Lamar had run down the guest list with the Jaff, having a nasty comment or story on nearly every one – corrupt lawyers, addicted actors, reformed whores, pimps, hit men, various egotists and hedonists. Theses were the kind of fores the Jaff needed to keep him from harm when the Art opened. He could raise terata the like of which the world had never seen. Then he'd be ready. Fletcher was dead and whatever army he had was keeping low.

There was nothing left between the Jaff and Quiddity. He thought back to the dead letter office and Homer. He thought of that charlatan shaman, Kissoon, safely in his time loop, planning to get power. Or holing it at bay.

That last notion occurred to him for the first time, like a long-postponed solution to a puzzle the hadn't even known he'd been gnawing at. Kissoon had been holding the moment because if he once let it slip, he'd unleash his own death.

The Jaff turned to Lamar and instructed him to go to the front door and greet the guests. He had a question for the comedian. “Why aren't you afraid of me?”

Lamar narrowed his already narrow eyes. “I've still got my sense of the ridiculous.” Then he opened the door and went about his work as host.

Grillo's party invitation was delivered by Ellen Nguyen. She had to get up to the mansion and help set things up, though she expected to be gone by the time the party started. “Be careful at the party,” she said as she turned to go.

Part VI chapter 4

It was a long trip back to the Grove for Tommy-Ray, but the trip was even longer for Tesla and Raul. The car wasn't running right, especially after the fast drive south. And Tesla's mind was reacting to the Nuncio, still. Mood changes, disorientation, the after effects of any recreational drug she'd ever taken, all these made driving a living hell. Raul was sitting beside her, gripping the dashboard, pungent with fear.

She couldn't make it to Ventura County. She needed to stop and rest at her apartment near West Hollywood. Raul had to upon the lock for her, then she staggered inside and checked her messages. She told Raul to wake her in an hour.

Raul found some food in the refrigerator, sat down near an open window, and shook with fear. He was out of his element and he knew it. He could barely scrawl his name. He couldn't read. He was worried. Then he heard a scream from the bedroom. And then another one. He opened the door and Tesla was gripping the bed, her head rolling from side to side. He called her name. Then called it again very loudly.

Tesla came awake and began clawing at a sheet to cover herself. “I was there,” she said.

“I know,” Raul replied.

“Trinity. Kissoon's Loop.” She had explained the weird journey while driving up from Mexico. Raul asked if she saw him. “I didn't get to the hut,” she replied. “But he wanted me there. I can feel hm pulling. I can feel him now, Raul.”

“I'm here. And I won't let you go.”

Tesla's sense was that a deserted town on the way to the hut was about to be the scene of horrendous tragedy.

She sent Raul to the neighbor's to get supplies for coffee. She tried to make coffee but Kissoon attacked again. He held on to Raul begging him not to let her go. Then the dust came between them,eroding him. Her hands missed his in the storm and instead of falling into his solid embrace she was pitched back into the desert, moving at speed across by now familiar terrain. She was back in the Loop, heading through the town. The sun was near the horizon. Solar flares leaped from its rim like arms of fire. A cluster of sun-spots marked its burning face. Then she looked back to earth she was approaching the town. She willed herself to be traveling slower. And she slowed. She saw that this was just a set for a town rather than a real place.

Her ability to control her travel and its speed emboldened her to think about going back to see Kissoon. If he lied to her or acted untoward, she felt she had the power to leave. She felt Kissoon tugging on her again strongly. “All right,” she murmured, “I'm coming. But in my time, not in yours.” Her sense of smell and her hearing returned. She could smell rotting meat. And there was a buzzing sound of insects. Kissoon pulled, which angered her. So he pulled again and moved her half across town. She was angry, so he was able to move her across the desert. She realized that her anger empowered him, so she forced herself to calm down. She was able to run, as if on the surface of the moon, rather than be pulled, though Kissoon was still touching her thorax. She watched the tethered tower, 100 feet high with a platform atop it but no purpose. She thought of a movie, a satiric vision of St. Simon tempted by the Devil as he sat in penitence atop a pillar in the middle of nowhere. She imagined that this was a movie set out of time where nothing changed. But then she saw the woman.

By remaining fiercely calm, she was able to defeat Kissoon's attempts to pull her away from the woman. She slowly walked toward her. The woman wanted to speak but couldn't. The look on her face was fear. But she wasn't looking at Tesla but behind her. There were dozens of snakes approaching, Lix like the snake Kissoon kept to open his door for him. She let Kissoon pull her across the desert, the snakes parting as she was hauled through them. She reached the hut in seconds.

“Come on in,” Kissoon said. “It's been too long.”

Back in the apartment, Raul knew Tesla was gone, though he could still sense her nearby. This was a feeling matching the way he sometimes felt at the mission, though he didn't have words for it. All he could do was know, and wait, which in its way was more painful than believing himself forsaken.

Tesla greeted Kissoon by cursing at him. Tesla admitted that she had thought about going back to this hut, but she said, “I'm not a toy you can just pull on when it suits you.”

Kissoon replied, “I don't mean to treat you as either. Please, can't we make peace? We're on the same side after all?”

Tesla wasn't convinced. Why had she been hauled away from that building in the phony town?

“The Iad Uroboros has its agents everywhere,” Kissoon said. “I believe one of them is in hiding in that town. I don't know what form it takes, and I don't want to know. But it would be fatal to look, I suspect. Anyway, I'm not about to risk it, and you shouldn't either, however curious you are.”

Kissoon then offered an intense apology. Nonetheless, Tesla refused to loan him her body.

Kissoon said the Jaff is about to use the Art. “I can stop him, but not from here.”

“Teach me then,” said Tesla.

“There isn't time.”

“I'm a quick learner.”

“That really is a monstrous arrogance,” he said. “You step into the middle of a tragedy that's been moving towards its final act for centuries and think you can just change its course with a few words. This isn't Hollywood. This is the real world.”

Tesla offered to find a substitute for herself. And then she thought of Raul. But she wanted a favor – she wanted Kissoon to help the woman in the desert. She had seen herself that the woman was hurt.

“It's an Iad trick!” Kissoon said. He added, sometimes she shows up at the door of the hut, purring.

Tesla agreed to postpone this discussion and get back to get a substitute.

“If all goes well, and I can stop the Art being used, then the supplier gets his files back intact. If I fail it's the end of the world anyway, so what will it matter?”

Tesla agreed to try. She went outside, where the Lix were at a distance as a small dust storm. Tesla saw they were about to attack the desert woman. She went to help, unable to believe a powerful evil would dare disguise itself as someone so vulnerable and frail. Tesla snatched snakes out of the way and pulled them off the woman herself. More snakes were gathering,. The only choice was for Tesla to will herself back to her apartment with the woman. She tried willfully to make it happen.

She knew the scene. It was the very spot she'd left from. The coffee was still spilled across the floor; the sun was pouring in through the window. Raul was standing in the middle of the room, waiting for her return. The woman had returned with her, and so had the Lix! But there were only body pieces and segments of the Lix. The pieces writhed and struggled and died. “Watch over her,” Tesla said. “I'm going to get some water to clean her up.”

“What happened?”

“I almost sold your soul to a liar, but don't worry. I just bought it back.”

Part VI chapter 5

Some of the biggest stars in Hollywood were arriving by limousine at the Buddy Vance mansion. These luminaries were meditating during their trip to the Grove, and their thoughts were seldom sorrowful or sincere. It was a demonstration of their hypocrisy and they knew it. Many had envied Buddy and taken pleasure in his fall from grace. Love for him would have been a chink in their armor that they could not afford.

Few local people paid any attention to the limos or the glamour. The passengers noticed this lack of awe and were irked by the indifference of the local population. Conversations within the limo tended to turn to the question of why Buddy chose to hide himself away in this remote and unglamorous community. What was he hiding? His drinking problem? Drugs? Women? It must have been some other dirt that drove him to this hell-hole. They broke off their gossipy speculation when the limos arrived at the mansion and the occupants offered their condolences to the widow at the threshold.

Buddy's collection of carnival items and posters divided the crowd. Half thought it junk and half thought it charming. Some asked Rochelle if it were available an for sale. She replied that it was up to Buddy's will, which she hadn't read yet.

It was a great pleasure for Jokemeister Lamar to lord his presence over Buddy's court. He smiled and welcomed them to the memorial. The thought of the Jaff only two floors above added a glitter to his smile. He wasn't sure what the Jaff wanted, but the notion of these people as fodder amused him greatly. He'd seen the contortions and abasement of these people in pursuit of a profit, position or profile, perhaps all three. He'd come to view with disgust the self-obsession of his tribe, the ambition that drove so many of them to bring down their betters and smother the little good in themselves. He'd never let that contempt show, however. He had to work among them. Buddy, poor Buddy, had never been able to achieve such detachment. With too much to drink, he had railed against the fools he refused to suffer, and this, rather than his other indiscretions, had been his downfall. Words were cheap in Hollywood, but talk could be expensive.

Lamar worked the room, kissing the beauties, flattering the studs, shaking hands with those who hired and fired both. He remembered coaxing Buddy to leave parties just like this one because Buddy couldn't keep his mouth shut. A major power broker approached and congratulated Lamar for surviving his partner. Lamar was coy and humble about it. The power broker's trophy wife asked if there were going to be fireworks later. Lamar thought of the Jaff, waiting upstairs, and smiled.

After working the entire room, he headed upstairs to see his master. Jaff was pleased by the crowd. Lamar said killing them all would be a service to the world. Jaff replied that death wasn't his intention. Lamar then asked that Rochelle be left alone. The Jaff agreed she would be untouched by this. But he wanted to see the important guests, one by one, alone on the third floor.

“Bring the men first,” the Jaff said. “They're more pliable,. Is it my imagination or is it getting dark?”

“Just clouding over.”


“I doubt it.”

“Pity. Ah, more guests at the gate. You'd better go down and welcome them in.”

Part VI chapter 6

Howie knew it was an empty gesture to go back to the woods where he had first heard his father call him. But he did it anyway.

Part of this was a gesture to his father and to his mother. But he wandered without thinking clearly on this hot, clammy, overcast day. His wanderings brought him through the woods to the very spot where his life had been conjured. That was the right word. Conjured, not conceived. Howie could only describe Fletcher as a magician. In coming to the Grove, Howie learned that he was no desperado at all, just a rabbit, pulled from a magician's hat, and held up, squirming. He walked to the fenced off and marked cave entrance and peered down into the gaping hole I the ground. Down there in the dark his father had waited and waited, holding ion to his enemy like death itself. Now there was just Buddy Vance down in the crevasse.

He looked up, and in shock noticed Jo-Beth on the other side of the grave.

He didn't speak to her. He'd have to raise his voice to do that. Did he really need an answer for why she was here? She was here because he was here because she was here; and so on.

Jo-Beth undid the top two buttons on her blouse. Then undid her belt. This excited him. He started walking around the barricade toward her. When she was only a few feet away, she said, “I knew you'd be here. I don't know how. I was driving up from the Mall... I just wanted to say I'm sorry.”

“About what?”
“About last night. I didn't trust you and I should have.” She put her hand to his face. “Do you forgive me?”

“Nothing to forgive.”
“I want to make love to you.”

“Yes,” he said, and they did.

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