Tuesday, November 3, 2009

part 28 - cold weekend, and a potassium cyanide tablet


No fair, you got the juciest five-page section yet. But I'll take it if it means we've finally turned the corner and the last thirty pages will be an unending string of car chases, knife fights, tipped fruit stands and boiling rabbits.

By the way, you know I feel your pain about the cold; I barely left the house this weekend. I felt crummy and still don't know if it was temperature provoked malaise or an actual bug, but whatever it was it led to an incredibly unproductive two days. And sorry for missing your open studio - that was one of my planned events. In spite of any amount of unbearably cold weather, I have to say that one should only wear UA gear if you can answer "yes" to two of the following, you: own a snowmobile and can do tricks on it, are a professional defensive back, have three boys under ten years old who need a masculine real-life role model to get them to stop watching wrestling on tv, watch Rock of Love with Brett Michaels, listen to Creed, have hit someone in the head with a beer bottle or given fist bumps in job interviews. I'm guessing "no," so I'd encourage you to go shopping for some gore-tex.

As you'd expect, the adventure continues in my section. Reshevsky proves a reluctant captor, dividing his time between guarding Rowan and professing his affection for her. I have to say, I agree with you about the strangeness of the unfolding action, but I do think it makes literal sense. The problem is not literally deciphering what's happening, but reconciling the innocuousness of Rowan's actions with the comparative severity of the consequences. I guess you could make the case that Rowan was paranoid and delusional but just happened to have her paranoid fears confirmed and then almost willed a reaction by telling Reshevsky and Cater. But I mean, c'mon, didn't one of them have to be involved? She's confessing to one-fourth of the staff. Imagine if you're a paranoid shut-in constantly thinking someone is going to break into your apartment and murder you and your family; you may sleep with an eye open for fifty years straight, confirming how nuts you are to everyone who knows you. But, out of the millions of those paranoids in the world, somewhere someone's delusional premonitions will eventually be confirmed when an axe-murderer breaks into their house, chopping them into stew meat. For 999,999 people, they'll have to end their lives thinking they might have been just a bunch of basket cases, but for that one, as the axe is coming down on his head, he's saying, "goddamit, I TOLD you so. Why wouldn't you listen to me!"

Maybe that one is Rowan. Yeah, I can hear you in my ear saying she has more reasons than my uncle Doug to be paranoid, but still, you get the idea.

Reshevsky presents something of a monologue as he's standing over a bound Rowan. He rambles about having learned to be callous as a defense mechanism, and how Rowan's sweetness penetrated his armored exterior. And, alas, he cannot allow them to torture her for the little information she has. So he unties her and supplies her with an escape route. He mentions also that he will not do anything about Cater, who means "less than nothing" to him. Aware of what will happen to him when the brass finds out he let a captive escape, Reshevsky reveals a potassium cyanide tablet that he'll take if Kee tries to get all Michael Madsen on him. But before they can hatch the plan to free Rowan, Kee steps in and questions why Rowan's mouth is not gagged. Reshevsky stands up to Kee and they go back and forth throwing insults at each other, James Bond style. During the volley, Kee alludes to Lucy torturing Cater to get information out of him, and that they are ready to waterboard Rowan into spilling what she knows.

This is the problem: the lead up to this point has been so breezy that it is shocking to find that the gang is actually proceeding with plans to torture and murder the two agitators. It is also curious that Rowan was invited to the Greenhouse for a vacation, while a top, and not well kept, secret plan was going on in the backyard. It's not like Rowan was pulling any CSI maneuvers on the farm. She cried when her beans were limp and had 37 dollars in her pocket and she STILL uncovered their criminal network. John Wayne Gacy never hosted Tupperware parties. Maybe that's a problem stemming from trying to run a criminal empire while hooked on smack.

I found myself envisioning most of the events in this section as if they were from a scene in an early 90's Tom Berringer-style action movie. I think it was Shoot to Kill with Sidney Poitier, but am not totally sure. This was no-doubt cultivated by the conventional crime-movie plot details: bound prisoners, garrulous, philosophical captors, mid-escape surprises, etc.. And that had me recall the scene in Don DeLillo's White Noise where Jack and Murray go to visit the MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN in America and end up taking pictures of people taking pictures; agreeing as it were to be part of a "collective perception." How can you read something afresh when you already KNOW IT as a stereotype?

Anyway...the final scene involves Reshevsky trying to give hand signals to Rowan behind his back as he's negotiating with Kee. Something about the power switch and pointing to the nearby axe.....maybe Rowan will try to steal third base and end up getting offed by her Aunt in a rundown.

Only you can tell me if she does, Cee. (I'm watching the Yankees game while writing this, clearly)

Batter up.

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