Friday, September 16, 2016

Poor Yoricks' Summer - Infinite Jest, Pages 906-941

906-911: Michael Pemulis (with the threat of being kicked out of ETA fresh in his mind) comes into the room where Hal Incandenza is lying on the floor and says, "We've got some really important interfacing to do, brother." Hal tells Pemulis that the "synthetic bacchanal" with the DMZ is "definitely off". Pemulis: "That's part of what we need to interface about". Hal asks Pemulis to cue up a cartridge: Himself's Good-Looking Men in Small Clever Rooms That Utilize Every Centimeter of Available Space with Mind-Boggling Efficiency so he can listen to Paul Anthony Heaven's climatic lecture, given "in a monotone as narcotizing as a voice from the grave".

911-916: Gately in hospital. From age 18-23, Gately worked full-time for a North Shore bookmaker named Whitey Sorkin. He and Gene Fackelmann "served as like Whitey Sorkin's operatives in the field, taking bets and phoning them in to Saugus, delivering winnings, and collecting debts". They were known as the Twin Towers. They were paid well and spent their money on drugs. Gately later brought Trent Kite into the crew. Gately recalls watching a college bowl game on New Year's Eve 2001:
The winter daylight through the penthouse windows was dazzling and fell across the viewer's big flat screen and made the players look bleached and ghostly. Through the windows off in the distance was the Atlantic O., gray and dull with salt. The B.U. punter was a hometown Boston kid the announcers kept inserting was a walk-on and an inspirational story that had never played a major sport until college and now was already one of the finest punt-specialists in N.C.A.A. history, and had the potential to be a lock for a pretty much limitless pro ball career if he bore down and kept his eye on the carrot. The B.U. punter was two years younger than Don Gately. ... [H]e stared at the punter's ghostly digital image until he found himself starting to cry like a babe. It came out of emotional nowheres all of a sudden, and he found himself blubbering at the loss of organized ball, his one gift and other love, his own stupidity and lack of discipline, that blasted cocksucking Ethan From, his Mom's Sir Osis and vegetabilization and his failure after four years ever yet to visit, feeling suddenly lower than bottom-feeder-shit ... It was two days later he got pinched for assaulting one bouncer with the unconscious body of another bouncer, in Danvers MA, and three months after that that he went to Billerica Minimum.
916: Pemulis.
Entrepot-bound, twitchy-eyed and checking both sides behind him as he comes, rounding the curve of Subdormitory B's hall with his stick and little solid frustum-shaped stool, Michael Pemulis sees at least eight panels of the drop-ceiling have somehow fallen out of their aluminum struts and are on the floor ... No old sneaker is in evidence on the floor as he clears the panels to plant the stool, his incredibly potent Bentley-Phelps penlight in his teeth, looking up into the darkness of the struts' lattice.
Is the incredibly-potent DMZ gone? Who could have taken it?

916-934: Gately in hospital. He recalls that Gene Fackelmann had for years been scamming small amounts of money from Whitey Sorkin's bookmaking operation, unbeknowst to both Gately and Trent Kite (and obviously Sorkin). A huge scam that Fackelman eventually pulled is described in extreme detail, as his subsequent realization that Sorkin cannot help but find out about the scam (and so Facklemann is a dead man) and his decision in light of that realization to simply do a shitton of drugs. In addition to this memory, Gately had other dreams.
His fever is way worse, and his little snatches of dreams have a dismantled cubist aspect he associates in memory with childhood flu. He dreams he looks in a mirror and sees nothing and keeps trying to clean the mirror with his sleeve. One dream consists only of the color blue, too vivid, like the blue of a pool. An unpleasant smell keeps coming up his throat. He's both in a bag and holding a bag. Visitors flit in and out, but never Ferocious Francis or Joelle van D. He dreams there's people in his room but he's not one of them. He dreams he's with a very sad kid and they're in a graveyard digging some dead guy's head up and it's really important, like Continental-Emergency important, and Gately's the best digger but he's wicked hungry, like irresistibly hungry, and he's eating with both hands out of huge economy-size bags of corporate snacks so he can't really dig, while it gets later and later and the sad kid is trying to scream at Gately that the important thing was buried in the guy's head and to divert the Continental Emergency to start digging the guy's head up before it's too late, but the kid moves his mouth but nothing comes out, and Joelle van D. appears with wings and no underwear and asks if they knew him, the dead guy with the head, and Gately starts talking about knowing him even though deep down he feels panic because he's got no idea who they're talking about, while the sad kid holds something terrible up by the hair and makes the face of somebody shouting in panic: Too Late.
This sounds a lot like the memory Hal will have one year from now (page 17). BUT in Gately's dream, there is a naked Joelle wearing wings asking if they knew "him" (Himself) - something that Hal did not mention. Can we assume that Gately's dream/vision is not real and is placed in his mind by the wraith, but that Hal's memory is real? (Perhaps Gately thinks he knows Himself because of his experience with the wraith in the hospital.)

934: Coming out of St. Elizabeth's Hospital (presumably after visiting Gately), Joelle is grabbed by "a grotesquely huge woman whose hose bulged with stubble" who tells her that she is in "almost mind-boggling danger". Joelle calmly replies: "This is supposed to be news?"

934-938: Gately in hospital. His memory of his Dilaudid binge with Fackelmann continues.
It became the ICBM of binges. The Substance seemed inexhaustible; Mt. Dilaudid changed shapes but never really much shrank that they could see. It was the first and only time ever that Gately I.V.'d narcotics so many times in one arm that he ran out of arm-vein and had to switch to the other arm. Fackelmann was no longer coordinated enough to help him tie off and boot. Fackelmann kept making a string of chocolaty drool appear and distend almost down to the floor. The acidity of their urine was corroding the apt.'s hardwood floor's finish in an observable way. The puddle had grown many arms like a Hindu god. Gately couldn't quite tell if the urine had explored its way almost back to their feet or if they were already sitting in urine.
938-941: Joelle is questioned by USOUS's Hugh Steeply and discusses what she knows about JOI's Infinite Jest V (aka the Entertainment).
I was in two scenes. What else is in there I do not know. In the first scene I'm going through a revolving door. You know, around in this glass revolving door, and going around out as I go in is somebody I know but apparently haven't seen for a long time, because the recognition calls for a shocked look, and the person sees me and gives an equally shocked look — we're supposedly formerly very close and now haven't seen each other in the longest time, and the meeting is random chance. And instead of going in I keep going around in the door to follow the person out, which person is also still revolving in the door to follow me in, and we whirl in the door like that for several whirls.

The actor was male. He wasn't one of Jim's regulars. But the character I recognize in the door is epicene. ...

The other had the camera bolted down inside a stroller or bassinet. I wore an incredible white floor-length gown of some sort of flowing material and leaned in over the camera in the crib and simply apologized. ...

As in my lines were various apologies. "I'm so sorry. I'm so terribly sorry. I am so, so sorry. Please know how very, very, very sorry I am." For a real long time. I doubt he used it all, I strongly doubt he used it all, but there were at least twenty minutes of permutations of "I'm sorry." ...

Not exactly veiled.

The point of view was from the crib, yes. A crib's-eye view. But that's not what I mean by driving the scene. The camera was fitted with a lens with something Jim called I think an auto-wobble. Ocular wobble, something like that. A ball-and-socket joint behind the mount that made the lens wobble a little bit. It made a weird little tiny whirring noise, I recollect. ...

I never saw it. I've got no idea.

They were buried with him. The Masters of everything unreleased. At least that was in his will. ...

I don't know that he ever even got a finished Master. That's your story. There wasn't anything unendurable or enslaving in either of my scenes. Nothing like these actual-perfection rumors. These are academic rumors. He talked about making something quote too perfect. But as a joke. He had a thing about entertainment, being criticized about entertainment v. nonentertainment and stasis. He used to refer to the Work itself as "entertainments." He always meant it ironically. Even in jokes he never talked about an anti-version or antidote for God's sake. ... When he talked about this thing as a quote perfect entertainment, terminally compelling — it was always ironic — he was having a sly little jab at me. I used to go around saying the veil was to disguise lethal perfection, that I was too lethally beautiful for people to stand. It was a kind of joke I'd gotten from one of his entertainments, the Medusa-Odalisk thing. That even in U.H.I.D. I hid by hiddenness, in denial about the deformity itself. So Jim took a failed piece and told me it was too perfect to release — it'd paralyze people. It was entirely clear that it was an ironic joke. To me. ...

If it got made and nobody's seen it, the Master, it's in there with him. Buried. That's just a guess. But I bet you.
Joelle's responses to Steeply might answer the question of what is behind Joelle's veil. Her comments give credence to the theory that she was disfigured by acid and is not otherworldly beautiful.

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