Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Overton Window: Chapter Twenty-Nine

Remember last chapter? The one where Noah woke up? Yeah, thrilling stuff, huh? In this chapter, there is three times the action! I'll just sum it up before we get started, in case you feel like skipping ahead.

First, Bailey sets his watch. Then he sends an email. And finally Kearns puts the cat out.


I think I've figured out why this book is called a page-turner. It's keeping me intrigued. Not in the usual sense, mind you, that one would apply to a thriller. I am not soldiering on to see what happens next. I keep reading to see if anything happens next.

I am tempted just to skip this chapter myself, but duty compels me to give you all the lowdown, as it were. Do people still say "lowdown"? Or did that go out of fashion when Starsky & Hutch was cancelled?

For a man so worldly and knowledgeable, Bailey is ignorant of time zones:

"What time zone is Nevada?" Danny called out toward the trailer's kitchenette. His watch was a Rolex knockoff and it wasn't easy to reset, so whenever he was traveling he always put off messing with it for as long as possible. This, however, was shaping up to be a day when he'd need to know the time.

I guess knowing the time is good if you're going to sell a nuke to terrorists? Maybe? Okay. Duly noted.

They'd both overslept a bit and now there was a rush to get on the road. To add to the tension Kearns had said he'd been unable to reach his FBI contact the night before, and this morning he'd received a rather cryptic e-mail from their new terrorist brethren.

Do you feel that? The tension? Yeah, it's there. It says so right in the text. It's tense. Because they overslept. And they are going to be late for work school terrorism. Mom is going to be sooo mad.

About that cryptic email:

The message had been from the missing man, the one named Elmer. There was to be another meeting this afternoon, the real meeting this time, at which the weapon would be exchanged for the money, and some final brainstorming would take place on the eve of tomorrow's planned bombing in downtown Las Vegas. The rendezvous was set for 5 p.m., out somewhere in the desert so far from civilization that only a latitude and longitude were provided as a guide to get there.

I guess the meeting in the desert is the cryptic part? Just points on the GPS. I hope Kearns has a spare GPS. Because his other one is strapped to a bomb! If not, they're going to have to stop by Radio Shack.

And in case you forgot this is faction, check this out: "Between the two of them Danny was more capable on the computer, so it had been entrusted to him to plan the route to this remote location through a visit to MapQuest." Mapquest! For authenticity! That's what all terrorists use. And soccer moms. Are there still soccer moms? Anyone know?

Also, did you note that the man in charge of a vast internet-based sting operation is not all that computer savvy? Oh, that can't be good. That can't be good writing, I mean. Though, that is in line with him being a sorry agent all the way around:

While Kearns was in the bathroom Danny had logged on to his favorite anonymous e-mailing site and fired off a quick text update to his staff in Chicago, with a copy to Molly and a short list of other trusted compatriots:

Big mtg today, Monday PM, southern
Nevada. If you don't hear from me by
Wednesday I'm probably dead*, and this is
where to hunt for the body:
Lat 37°39'54.35"N Long 116°56'31.48"W
> S T A Y A W A Y from Nevada TFN < * I wish I was kidding

Kearns has let Bailey off the proverbial leash long enough now to get out text messages and emails? And this is the guy standing between Harry Reid's office and a nuclear bomb? Between five yokels and the largest act of terrorism the U.S. has ever suffered?

And Bailey has a staff? Does Double Rainbow guy have a staff too? I guess someone has to hold the camera when you're making Youtube videos. Sounds a little... what's the word? Not-boot-strappy? Don't tell me Bailey is a dilettante. Is that the right word? And why the hell is this chapter inspiring so many questions? Nevermind.

Bailey and Kearns load up the bomb again, and Bailey settles into "the shotgun seat."

Kearns appeared a minute or so later, but when he was halfway out to the vehicle he stopped and lightly smacked himself on the forehead as though something important had almost slipped his mind. He turned back and hurried to the front door of the trailer, unlocked it and held it open, called inside, and gestured for half a minute until that moth-eaten cat appeared and scampered past him out into the barren yard. Then Agent Kearns knelt and filled an inverted hubcap with water from the hose and set it carefully near the stairs, in a spot where it would stay cool in the shade for most of the day.

And that is that. The watch, the email, the cat. Yay for chapter twenty-nine.

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