The five-day deluge the weather app predicted is a bust, so far; the rain comes in the evening, and the days are perfect, bright, blue and hot. I’d want nothing more from June. Right now the storm is rumbling away to the north, muttering about something. The dog is sitting on the floor, snoring slightly after a long day of many walks. The occasional plane goes overhead. The breeze through the window feels sweet. It’s a good night. It was a good day.
Daughter was surprised to learn it’s not summer yet, technically. Seems absurd to her and she’s right. I didn’t say that when summer starts the days start to shorten. You want to shield your kids from some unpleasant facts of life, the apogee and the nadir, the inevitable heartbreak of the zenith, and so on.
The rest of the week will be light, because there are 437,034 details in the novel that need readjusting if I want it to be out by the end of the month. So. Rest assured there will be daily updates anyway, and next week we will get down to the grim business of getting the damned thing out.
In the news:
While I reserve the right to say “Hey, ‘Hold and Catch Fire’ got interesting” you should not worry about missing the latest Prestige Drama, as they’re called, from AMC. It got horrible, fast. Cheap clanking symbolism, unbelievable characters (punk girl who is punk meets punks and goes to hotel for Vodka Dance Party, then is inspired by her new bad tattoo to write code on the mirror with lipstick! Just awful) and worst of all, an inability to deal with the thing it’s supposedly about. I was hoping for a show that was actually about the 80s and the early days of computers, but someone Upstairs must have said “dial back the stuff about the 80s and the early days of computers.”
“But it’s a show about the 80s and the early days of computers,” the show’s creators insisted.
“Make it more about the mysterious charismatic man who’s behind all this.”
“But he’s a douche who has two speeds, smarmy and sullen.”
“Give him a mysterious backstory. Have him kiss a man, I don’t know. C’mon, how did you guys pitch this? Don Draper selling the first IBM PC clone? Which part of that do you think got our attention?”
I fear this will set back 80s-themed shows for a long time.
The other day I went to the hardware store and bought a flat piece of steel to brace the gazebo roof. The clerk wandered over and asked if I needed help. I said:
“While I could snap this with my own two hands, I would like a clean cut. Could you saw it into two equal parts?”
He stared at me for a second, processing, and I waited for the backplate to light up SPECIALS LIT or TILT.
“You want it cut,” he said.
“All we have is a hacksaw.”
“More than I have.”
“It’ll be a dollar,” he warned me.
“Money well spent.”
He nodded and went away and I think he actually believed I thought I could break it with my Own Two Hands.
When he came back he asked if there was anything else; yes. The strongest tape made by human civilization at this point in our history, assuming future tape will be stronger, but we’re not in the future yet. Oh wait we are! This moment was the future just a second ago. Actually, I just said “really good duct tape.”
“Well, I was thinking of some LED bulbs, but these are rather pricey.”
“There are cheaper ones at the big box store,” he said, “but the build is poor. You’re not going to get 25,000 hours.”
DAMN YOU MAN for that. You have just cast doubt on my bulb-purchase patterns. Then I remembered that the Big Box store had Phillips bulbs, and those aren’t knock-offs from some dark satanic Shanghai mill. Made in a bright and godly Shanghai mill. Point is, the clerk had this clipped swagger-style that crossed the line from Know It All and Ready to Assist to “let me find a situation here where I can exercise authority and know-how in a way that makes you feel as though you lack access to the boundless store of hardware savvy I so obviously possess.”
This is unwise for a hardware store facilitator.
A perfectly calm little fellow.
Patient, too. Really, this is the most well-mannered and easy-going puppy I've ever met.
He really is a wonderful dog, and by that I mean “he does not bother me constantly.” He goes in his kennel without complaint. He is amenable to hugs. He is not paw-shy (Jasper hated having his paws touched.) Your first dog, I think, is characterized by projection and discovery. Your second dog, it’s more relaxed. All I know is that A) he has fit right in, and has provided more than enough cuteness, amusement, and delight; B) daughter is so happy to have a puppy who’s a friend, not a wild beast with a mad feral streak who eats the leg of her chair, or the leg of her; C) when I pick him up to take him upstairs to the kennel in daughter’s room he flops his legs around my neck and puts his chin on my shoulder, and I’m, I’m, I’m butter in a sauté pan.
Puking on the Parkway! Freaking on the Freeway!
Stop grinning, pal, you blew it:
Maldor, we soon learn, has released his most fearsome scheme yet: he’s sending a lawyer to talk to Dirk.
Wait a minute: who’s Dirk? One of the henchmen, no doubt. One of those guys who picks up some extra money working for the Scarab. It’s off the books and the hours are flexible. Turns out “Dirk” was a survivor of the last failed Scarab plan - we’re up to 10 now - and the authorities suspect him of shooting the scientist who invented Scientific Resurrection, when it was really Maldor. If you remember from last week.
But if they can prove Dirk was the masked man who abducted the body from the morgue who was later resurrected, then they can. . . charge him with murder!
At which point you want to ask the Serial: aren’t there some Nazis Captain America could be fighting?
Guess not. So1 Captain Attorney comes up with a plot to expose Dirk, and naturally he enlists the aid of the fellow who runs an art museum, which would be Dr. Maldor, aka the Scarab. Because there are only 11 people in the world in a serial, if you remember. Keep in mind these guys have been crossing paths almost daily in various guises for the last few weeks, and neither Captain America knows that Malordorono is the Scarab, nor does Maldor know the DA is Captain America.
Maldor says “I can’t recognize the man who took the body; he was masked.” This leads the District Attorney to propose the most evidence piece of evidential evidence the legal system has ever seen:
That’ll hold up in court.
Maldor, meanwhile, has a plan of his own. You’re thinking: he’ll say he doesn’t recognize the guy, and he’ll be set free, and the DA’s case dissolves. Nope: he intends to incriminate Dirk, the spring him, and kill him, and the DA as well.
Overreach and under thought is one of the Scarab’s greatest weaknesses, I think.
Well, I guess there’s some backchannel talk, because after the Scarab blames his henchman, the henchman says the murdered resurrecting scientist was the Scarab, and there are Hidden Papers in his Lair that will prove it. I’ll take you there!
You’re thinking: Maldor has rigged the house with dynamite. No, he sent a henchman to shoot Dirk, the other henchman, and the DA, “who has outlived his usefulness.” Because - and I repeat myself - the best way to take the heat off your criminal endeavors is to shoot the District Attorney, who, coincidentally, has found himself facing assassination in the last few days directly after dealing with you in some ways.
But Maldor is not a super genius.
Let’s imagine how this might work: In walks the henchman you’re going to shut up, and the District Attorney the boss wants plugged. You’re also resurrected from the dead, so you might be wanting to play things easy. You have a confederate. Do you A) shoot them as soon as they show up, or B):
Yeah. Then we have a shootout; the duelists are hiding behind cloth-draped chairs. Unfortunately, the District Attorney - who, it should be noted, has killed someone else, bringing the total into the plus-dozen in the last few weeks - runs out of bullets. Whatever will he do?
Then there’s a fistfight, which goes on forever, and has one curious detail. Tell me if you see it too.
Their hats must be stapled on. Well, Matson runs away, and the District Attorney follows, behaving as District Attorneys are wont to do:
Amount of Captain America in the new material: Zero.
See you around here and there. This is just the start of the day's work, you know. (Hint: buttons.) Oh, and four motels! Have at it.