Monday, December 13, 2010

Chapter Thirty

Where were we? It's been a while, so maybe we need to get caught up. Oh yeah, Molly slipped Noah a mickey and he just now woke up, some days later. (Elsewhere, Bailey and Kearns are off to sell their nuclear warhead, but that's not important in this chapter.)

Noah showers, puts on some clean clothes, and heads to Darthur's office. Darthur is there, "long fingers knit together." I wish he'd been doing this, but c'est la vie.

Charlie Nelan, Gardner family lawyer, is there, though no longer looking like the fancypants he is. (From chapter thirteen: "No matter where you happened to see him, he always looked as though he'd just stepped out of the 'Awesome Lawyers' issue of Gentlemen's Quarterly.") But tonight, he's a mess:

Charlie Nelan was standing by the window. He looked over, then shook his head almost imperceptibly as Noah met his eyes. Charlie seemed worn-out and wired at the same time, his wrinkled shirt undone at the collar, sleeves rolled up to the forearms, no necktie. This was far from the lawyer's polished public face; it was the look of a man who'd been awakened from a sound sleep to help fight a five-alarm fire.

So, you know things must be really bad if Nolan's shirt is wrinkled. Noah pops some pills the doctor gave him "to counteract the lingering effects of that anesthetic patch she'd peeled off his chest when they found him." Okay.

Also there is "the boss of the firm's security service, an ex-mercenary hard guy named Warren Landers." Yay for new characters! boo for ex-mercenary hard guys. No offense to any ex-mercenary hard guys in the audience, but that is just a clunky, and seemingly disingenuous, descriptor.

Landers was the bully in the schoolyard who'd grown up and found himself an executive job where he could dress up and get paid for doing what he still loved to do. There was always an undertone when he spoke, a smirk in his eyes as if something about you was the punch line of a running joke he was telling in his head.

That is certainly a timely, if unfortunate, choice of words from our author. Anyway, Darthur is glad Noah wasn't hurt, but there are more important things to discuss.

"How did you find me?"

"The same way I found you last Friday night, at the police station," Charlie said. "We found your cell phone. They'd taken out the battery, but someone put it back in and turned the phone on about an hour ago."

Whut? They tracked his cell phone on Friday, too? Wasn't he supposed to be on a date on Friday? Do they always track his cell phone on his free time? Is that how they gauge his outstanding record of success with the ladies? Or did they know something was up from the beginning? And if they knew something was up on Friday, why'd they let all that business of breaking into to office happen Saturday? Jebus, that makes no sense.

Even assuming they had no clue on Friday, after Noah was arrested with the teabaggers, you'd think they'd have kept an eye on him and not let him break into the conference room and steal the Powerpoint presentations.

I must say, The New World Order's security team does not impress me very much.

"The first piece," Landers said, "was that we figured out who leaked that government document to the press last week."

"Who was it?"

"It was scanned and sent out from right here. About two hours after it came into the mailroom."


The next four pages or so detail how Molly infiltrated Doyle & Merchant, got herself close to Noah, and then used him to steal the Powerpoint presentation.

Noah looks at the dossier on Molly Ross, and it is apparent she sent out the document, and did her best to hide that fact.

"Keep going," Landers said. "It gets better."

And by better, Landers means, quite obviously, "even more ridiculous":

The next page was a photo of her in some academic environment, and it took Noah a few seconds to recognize all the things that were different. She wore glasses, thin half-rim frames and subtly tinted lenses. Her hair was longer and lighter, almost blond. But the changes went beyond her appearance. There was a sophistication about her in this photo, a style and a seriousness that he'd either overlooked or that she'd somehow hidden in their short time together.

In another shot she appeared to be at a rally of some kind, with her mother on one side and the ubiquitous Danny Bailey on the other, his arm around her waist and hers around his as they all pressed together for the camera.

The next picture seemed more recent. Molly was alone, wearing aviator sunglasses, a backward baseball cap, cut-off Daisy Dukes, and a camouflage tank top. In her hands was what looked like a military-grade automatic rifle with a drum magazine, held as if it were the most natural accessory a pretty young woman could be sporting on a bright summer day at the gunnery range. For whatever reason he was reminded of that famous shot of Lee Harvey Oswald in his backyard, holding his radical newspapers in one hand and his murder weapon in the other, just a few months before his appointment with JFK at Dealey Plaza.

Seriously? Cut-off Daisy Dukes and a military-grade automatic rifle? What garbage.

"The way we figure it," Landers said, "these people wanted to get some dirt on the government, our new clients, specifically, and they identified our company as a weak spot in the security chain. So they sent this girl to a temp agency we use, and you can see right there"-he tapped one of the papers in the open folder-"she wrote up a résumé that made her look like a perfect fit for a job here, and talked her way in. This Ross girl, she can be a charmer, I understand.

"But it wasn't enough just to get into the mailroom," Landers said. "Oh, it gave her some limited access, but to do the kind of damage they wanted to, they needed some inside help."


And blah blah blah, Molly had been sent in to put the moves on Noah, teabagger style. She used "his Facebook profile, his Twitter history, his full set of responses from a variety of questionnaires at his online dating sites, the rambling, soul-searching posts from his personal blog, even his browser history from a number of recent consecutive weeks" to get inside his head, as it were, and sidled right up to him.

"You didn't stand a chance, Noah," Charlie said. "She came here specifically to get close to you and then make the most of it."

Blah blah blah Molly copied the key to Noah's apartment while he was asleep and then used it to break into his place later. ("We'll know pretty soon if they planted something there, but it doesn't look like they took anything.") Then, after she drugged him, she took the teabaggers back to Doyle & Merchant to steal the rest of the Powerpoint files, which Noah just showed her how to do. Whoops again, Noah.

Noah "had a brief impulse to ask how Landers had managed to gather all of this" information, and it seems a really good question. Well, sort of. I mean, if Landers found out all this info so easily, why the fuck didn't they do this before she made her way into the mailroom?

I get that this is just a mailroom clerk form a temp agency, but still. You're trying to enact the New World Order or whatever. Wouldn't everyone get a background check? They just caught a fucking janitor stealing secrets, right? You think they'd tighten up security just a bit after that. (Nevermind that the woman the janitor called (Molly's mother) appears in the very fucking dossier everyone is mulling over right now.)

Like I said: The NWO's security detail: Less than impressive.

"They cleaned out that squatter's apartment where we found you," Charlie said, "but they left some conspicuous incriminating evidence behind: some radical wing-nut literature, a couple of weapons, and some other assorted contraband. They were probably going to call the police to the place with an anonymous tip."

"Why would they do that?"

"We think they wanted you to be found there with that stuff, so you'd be implicated as an accomplice in this whole thing. That way we'd want to keep it quiet to protect you, and we'd be less likely to make a federal case out of it."

That makes even less sense. They wanted to frame Noah for stealing files from work? To keep it quiet? Huh? Oh, who cares.

So, yeah, that's chapter thirty, more or less. The good news here is that this has brought us over the two-hundred page mark. So, yay for there being only eighty more to go! Though, that is gives us precious time for something to actually happen.