Joelle is a card-carrying member of the Union of the Hideously and Improbably Deformed and wears a linen veil. Joelle was Orin Incandenza's girlfriend for 26 months and then was an actor for nearly two years in several of JOI's films. Orin referred to her as the PGOAT (the Prettiest Girl of All-Time). Which raises the question of why she wears a veil. There is plenty of information on her relationships with Orin and the man she thought of as "Infinite Jim", "her true heart's friend", and what everyone (including Avril) knew and did not know about them. Joelle and Jim were not lovers, thought she did unveil for him, and Jim left her an obscenely generous (and addiction-enabling) annuity when he died.
Like Erdedy, Joelle decides to stop using Material for the final last time, but then crawls around on the floor looking for smokable scraps among the carpet's lint. She also throws away her paraphernalia in a doomed-to-fail attempt to prevent herself from getting high again. Joelle buys her last glycine baglet of cocaine from Lady Delphina (who was mentioned by yrstruly). "[S]he liked this more than anyone can like anything and still live."
While sitting alone at the party, and then in the bathroom where she will "eliminate her own map", Joelle recalls the last film she shot with James Incandenza, what later would be referred to as "the Entertainment" (and Himself had killed himself less than ninety days later by putting his head in a microwave oven):
The rain's wet veil blurs things like Jim had designed his neonatal lens to blur things in imitation of a neonatal retina, everything recognizable and yet without outline. A blur that's more deforming than fuzzy. ...The film is mentioned by two party guests in casual conversation:
the prodigious punter's father, infinite jester, director of a final opus so magnum he'd claimed to have had it locked away. Joelle's never seen the completed assembly of what she'd appeared in, or seen anyone who's seen it, and doubts that any sum of scenes as pathologic as he'd stuck that long quartzy auto-wobbling lens on the camera and filmed her for could have been as entertaining as he'd said the thing he'd always wanted to make had broken his heart by ending up. ...
the mirror he'd cut for the scenes of that last ghastly thing he'd made her stand before, reciting in the openly empty tones she'd gone on to use on-air ...
to shoot Joelle in the weird wobble-lensed maternal I'm-so-terribly-sorry' monologue-scene of the last thing he'd done, and then never shown her, and had ordered the cartridge's burial in the brass casket w/him ...
Was the allegedly fatally entertaining and scopophiliac thing Jim alleges he made out of her unveiled face here at the start of Y.T.S.D.B. a cage or really a door? Had he even cut the tape into something coherent? There was nothing coherent in the mother-death-cosmology and apologies she'd repeated over and over, inclined over that auto-wobbled lens propped up in the plaid-sided pram. He never let her see it, not even the dailies. ...
'The Face of the Deep' had been the title she'd suggested for Jim's unseen last cartridge, which he'd said would be too pretentious and then used that skull-fragment out of the Hamlet graveyard scene instead, which talk about pretentious she'd laughed. His frightened look when she'd laughed is for the life of her the last facial-expression memory she can remember of the man.
'— way it can be film qua film. Comstock says if it even exists it has to be something more like an aesthetic pharmaceutical. Some beastly post-annular scopophiliacal vector. Suprasubliminals and that. Some kind of abstractable hypnosis, an optical dopamine-cue. A recorded delusion. Duquette says he's lost contact with three colleagues. He said a good bit of Berkeley isn't answering their phone.' ...Wallace's writing is both tense and achingly beautiful as he describes Joelle's thoughts as she prepares the crack cocaine with which she will attempt to kill herself:
'This ultimate cartridge-as-ecstatic-death rumor's been going around like a lazy toilet since Dishmaster, for Christ's sake. Simply make inquiries, mention some obscure foundation grant, obtain the thing through whatever shade of market the thing's alleged to be out in. Have a look. See that it's doubtless just high-concept erotica or an hour of rotating whorls. Or something like late Makavajev, something that's only entertaining after it's over, on reflection.'
She represses all bathetic this-will-be-the-last-thing-I-smell thought-patterns. Joelle is going to have Too Much Fun in here. It was beyond all else so much fun, at the start. Orin had neither disapproved nor partaken; his urine was an open book because of football. Jim hadn't disapproved so much as been vacant with disinterest. His Too Much was neat bourbon, and he had lived life to the fullest, and then gone in for detoxification, again and again. This had been simply too much fun, at the start. So much better even than nasaling the Material up through rolled currency and waiting for the cold bitter drip at the back of your throat and cleaning the newly spacious apartment to within an inch of its life while your mouth twitches and writhes unbidden beneath the veil. The 'base frees and condenses, compresses the whole experience to the implosion of one terrible shattering spike in the graph, an afflated orgasm of the heart that makes her feel, truly, attractive, sheltered by limits, deveiled and loved, observed and alone and sufficient and female, full, as if watched for an instant by God. She always sees, after inhaling, right at the apex, at the graph's spike's tip, Bernini's 'Ecstasy of St. Teresa,' behind glass, at the Vittoria, for some reason, the saint recumbent, half-supine, her flowing stone robe lifted by the angel in whose other hand a bare arrow is raised for that best descent, the saint's legs frozen in opening, the angel's expression not charity but the perfect vice of barb-headed love. The stuff had been not just her encaging god but her lover, too, fiendish, angelic, of rock. ...And:
She's been resourceful before, but this is the most deliberate Joelle has been able to be about it in something like a year. From the purse she removes the plastic Pepsi container, a box of wooden matches kept dry in a resealable baggie, two little thick glycine bags each holding four grams of pharmaceutical-grade cocaine, a single-edge razor blade (increasingly tough to find), a little black Kodachrome canister whose gray lid she pops and discards to reveal baking soda sifted fine as talc, the empty glass cigar tube, a folded square of Reynolds Wrap foil the size of a playing card, and an amputated length of the bottom of a quality wire coat hanger. The overhead light casts shadows of her hands over what she needs, so she turns on the light over the medicine cabinet's mirror as well. The light stutters and hums and bathes the counter with cold lithium-free fluorescence. She undoes the four pins and removes the veil from her head and places it on the counter with the rest of the Material. Lady Delphina's little glycine baglets have clever seals that are green when sealed and blue and yellow when not. She taps half a glycine's worth into the cigar tube and adds half again as much baking soda, spilling some of the soda in a parenthesis of bright white on the counter. This is the most deliberate she's been able to be in at least a year. ...
She is now a little under two deliberate minutes from Too Much Fun for anyone mortal to hope to endure. Her unveiled face in the dirty lit mirror is shocking in the intensity of its absorption. ...
'The Ecstasy of St. Teresa' is on perpetual display at the Vittoria in Rome and she never got to see it. ...
The idea that she'll never see Molly Notkin or the cerebral Union or her U.H.I.D. support-brothers and -sisters or the YYY engineer or Uncle Bud on a roof or her stepmother in the Locked Ward or her poor personal Daddy again is sentimental and banal. The idea of what she's about in here contains all other ideas and makes them banal. Her glass of juice is on the back of the toilet, half-empty. The back of the toilet is lightly sheened with condensation of unknown origin. These are facts. This room in this apartment is the sum of very many specific facts and ideas. There is nothing more to it than that. Deliberately setting about to make her heart explode has assumed the status of just one of these facts. It was an idea but now is about to become a fact.
As she remembers things Jim was, besides a great filmic mind and her true heart's friend, the world's best hailer of Boston cabs, known to have less hailed than conjured cabs in spots where Boston cabs by all that's right just aren't ... Never again a cab in four-plus years, after that. And so Joelle van Dyne, a.k.a. Madame P., surrendered, suicidal, eschews tumbrel or hack, her solid clogs sounding formal on the smooth cement down Boylston's sidewalk past fine stores' revolving doors southeast toward serious brownstone-terrain ...Tumbrel: A cart used during the French Revolution to carry condemned prisoners to the guillotine. An odd choice of words for a taxi, perhaps, but extremely well-used in the context of Joelle's imminent suicide attempt.
November 4, YDAU - Pemulis, Hal, and Trevor Axford discuss the "incredibly potent DMZ" and its supposed effects. How potent is it? Pemulis says its Swiss inventor suggested taking LSD-25 to come down off of the drug! It's like acid that has itself dropped acid. Pemulis bought 13 tablets of DMZ from two Canadians who own a old film-cartridge emporium called Antitoi Entertainment, "and like fucking Nucksters about almost anything they had no idea what what they were in possession of was worth". And so Pemulis:
almost danced a little post-transaction jig on his way up the steps of the otiose Cambridge bus, feeling the way W. Penn in his Quaker Oats hat in like the 16th century must have felt trading a few trinkets to babe-in-the-woods Natives for New JerseyPemulis recounts the story of an Army guy who got injected with some unspecified dose of early DMZ as part of a military/CIA experiment and reportedly lost his mind. "I mean literally lost his mind, like the massive dose picked his mind up and carried it off somewhere and put it down someplace and forgot where." Recall that one of the facts you will learn at Ennet House is that once your enslaving Substance is taken away from you, "you will find yourself beginning to pray to be allowed to literally lose your mind, to be able to wrap your mind in an old newspaper or something and leave it in an alley to shift for itself, without you."
Hal seems incredibly eager to try the DMZ, questioning Pemulis about its addictiveness and also arranging the tablets with a Zen-like precision. The three boys discuss when they might sample the drug.
So, they conclude, the window of opportunity looks to be 11/20-21 — the weekend right after the big End-of-Fiscal-Year fundraising exhibition ... the weekend right before Thanksgiving week and the WhataBurger Invitational in sunny AZ, because this year in addition to Friday 11/20 they also get Saturday 11/21 off, as in from both class and practice ... the E.T.A.s will get Saturday to rest and recharge before starting both the pre-WhataBurger training week and the bell-lap of prep for 12/12's Boards, meaning late Friday night-Sunday A.M. will give Pemulis, Hal, and Axford ... enough time to psychospiritually rally from whatever meninges-withering hangover the incredibly potent DMZ might involve ...However, Pemulis will get that Saturday P.M. off classes only if he makes the cut for the Tucson-WhataBurger and that is not a sure thing. (The "incredibly potent stash [is] now wrapped tight in Saran and stashed deep in the toe of an old sneaker that sits atop the aluminum strut between two panels in subdorm B's drop ceiling, Pemulis's time-tested entrepot".)
Page 223 (finally!) contains a Chronology Of Organization Of North American Nations' Revenue-Enhancing Subsidized Time™, By Year. We learn that Subsidized Time began in 2002, YDAU is 2009, and the Year of Glad - which is when the book began, with Hal - is 2010, after everything we have seen so far. So sometime between November YDAU (the time period of most of the book's scenes) and November YG (when Hal is trying to make himself understood at the Arizona interview), something happens, including (apparently) Hal and Don Gately digging up JOI's head while John N.R. Wayne stands by wearing a mask.