A Few More Pieces of the Puzzle
As I approach the slippery downhill slide to the end, it’s becoming clear to me that I won’t have all my puzzle pieces in place. However, even at this late stage, a few previously lingering questions are nonetheless finding answers, and I’ll go ahead and take a bit of time to clear these up.
- In Learning from the Technical Interviews, I pieced together the fact that one of the early, fatal A.F.R. interviews was of Trent “Quo Vadis” Kite, Gately’s burglary associate at the DuPlessis murder. Well, we’ve now learned a whole lot about Kite, including the origin of Quo Vadis: it is the nickname for the synthetic Quaalude-isotope that he made, Kite being a bit of a basement chemist, and which when combined with Hefenreffers brought about the Era of the Killer Sidewalks (p. 904). Now, this makes more sense out of the Latin phrase, “Where are you going?” Jesus’ answer was apparently something like “I’m heading to the crucifixion” or alternatively “I’m going where you can’t come.” Given the absolute mind-destruction that Quo Vadis produced (though not yet at the level of Percocet), the moniker now makes a lot more sense.
- Recall, too, that Kite leads the A.F.R. to the cranio-facial specialist who is responsible for bringing the DMZ (and possibly the Entertainment Master, though I now doubt that) to the Antitois Establishment, as I discussed in The Mystery of the Entertainment Master. We now have a name for that cranio-facial specialist: Dr. Robert ‘Sixties Bob’ Monroe “the septuagenarian pink-sunglasses-and Nehru-jacket-wearing … Grateful Dead fanatic,” intimate acquaintance of Kite, and “inveterate collector and haggling trader” (p. 927).
- As Gately tries to meliorate his pain by wandering in memory-land, we get a great story of his early work as bookie enforcer while loosely crewing with both Kite and Fackelmann (the latter of whom makes an egregious error of skeet & vig misjudgment and was last seen, by me, shooting up with his own M&M-contaminated urine on the binge to end all binges – definitely his; see p. 937). We learn that some of the rougher work is left for Bobby C and his “Nuck/fag crew” (p. 918); we haven’t seen C for a long time, but of course you recall that C was the victim of Wo’s bad bundle in full view of yrstruly (aka Emil Minty, see P. 300) and full knowledge of Poor Tony. Bobby C would get down with any necessary violence, Gately being a bit too triggered to perform only minimal damage on clients, and unable to stand doing serious and full damage without resorting to a full-blown depressive nod afterwards.
- Joelle is waylaid while leaving the St. E. hospital by Helen Steeply (p. 934), and for whatever reason decides to answer “her” questions (pp. 938-941). Perhaps Steeply’s knowledge of Orin makes Joelle take seriously the danger she is in. Anyway, Joelle confirms my view in the last post that Infinite Jest (V?) is not Entertaining – but also that it couldn’t really be lethal. J.O.I. joked that it was, but only as a kind of ironic poke at Joelle, who admits here for the first time that her claim to be U.H.I.D. due to her absolute physical perfection were just a ploy of self-denial. Joelle got nailed by the acid, after all, it seems. Shame.
- And finally, my speculation that someone would be ingesting DMZ pretty soon has definitely missed the mark. Pemulis’s stash, in Subdormitory B’s hallway ceiling, has been raided (p. 916; cf. p. 216). Poor Pemulis, nothing goes right for the young man. However, since it’s now pretty clearly established that Hal’s aphonia is not a matter of DMZ ingestion, it doesn’t really seem to matter; consequently, the whole Antitois trail is looking pretty much like a dead end.
That’s it for now. I’m saving what might turn out to be my next-to-last post as part of Infinite Summer until I’ve read a bit more. But since the wraith has returned, if briefly, I’ll have to address that as Part III of the J.O.I. walk-on series. And, perhaps most interesting, he has Lyle the floating sweat-guru in tow!