Alright Alright (Here Goes part II: Lifter Puller) Jul 5, 2021 8:02:12 GMT -5
Post by skepticatfirst on Jul 5, 2021 8:02:12 GMT -5
The Narrator's familiarity with the Summer House (evident in the casual but detailed descriptions of Curves & Nerves, Eureka, etc.) and documented "days at a time" disappearances (see ROUGH RIDERS above) indicate that he does occasionally return to the Summer House during the Two Weeks. But most of his time is spent out "on the wide open ranges" [SShoes], and it's while he's out that one of the story's most important exchanges takes place.
Blackout Sam begins with the description of a scenario that at this point is familiar:
That winter we were dealing with unrest in the interior.
Be careful when they mention local legends.
He was down there in the trenches.
She was holding down home office.
Still in constant correspondence [BSam]
There's no winter in the LP story; chalking that up either to THS transformation or to non-literal usage, we recognize the rest as a description of the kids' situation during the Two Weeks:
- "unrest in the interior": reference to the "rough riders on the wide-open ranges" [SShoes] (see ROUGH RIDERS above).
- "be careful": compare "be careful of the second location," where this "second location"=the Summer House (see PERFUME COUNTER GIRL above).
- "local legends": the "local legend" with the "presentation" [Riptown] is identified by "presentation" [TPProcedure] as Shepard (for "they mention," see "They said you got to meet the guy that gets the tab for this" [TPProcedure], and RASTAFARI GUY above).
- "He was down there in the trenches": the Narrator out dealing/robbing/fighting as one of the gangsters (see ROUGH RIDERS above).
- "She was holding down home office": Juanita working back at the Summer House (see ROUGH RIDERS above).
The last line, "Still in constant correspondence," tells us something new: namely, that the Narrator and Juanita are still (after their exchanges during her first weeks at the Summer House; see MAILBOX above) in constant contact with each other. What does this "correspondence" consist of?
As was the case before the Narrator joined the gang, Juanita no longer has anything to say to him in person (especially true after Shepard's demonstration, see SHEPARD'S MANSION above).
This is inferable from Saddle Shoes, whose first mention of any alpha-couple communications comes at the party at the *end* of the "fifteen days"/Two Weeks:
Later at some party all the girls want to talk a lot [SShoes]
This same disinterest in talking to the Narrator is reported explicitly in Ask Her For Adderall (already unfolded as an account of the Two Weeks; see ROUGH RIDERS above):[*1]
Now Holly won't say hi to me
'Cause I'm in love with my anxiety [AHfA]
But Juanita *does* want to talk to the Eyepatch Guy. She may be doing bedfuls of gangsters while she's at the Summer House (see DETECTIVE above), but she's still obsessed with him:[*2]
Said faithful has its limits I just want to see his face [FFarm]
That she's here referring to the Eyepatch Guy is shown in the lines from Bloomington we examined earlier (see EYEPATCH GUY and MAILBOX above):
i never saw his face, don't know who the man is
he just puts his instructions into my mailbox [Bloomington]
This is why Blackout Sam describes the alpha couple's communications as "correspondence": as detailed upthread (see MAILBOX above), they're communicating during the times he's out on the "ranges" [SShoes] by phone, using her voicemail and his pager to complete the circuit.
This is, again, not the first time they've communicated via "mailbox" [Bloomington]; as demonstrated upthread (see EYEPATCH GUY and STAR 18 above), the phone call documented in Mono relied on the same elaborate mechanics. But the Eyepatch Guy didn't give her any "instructions" in the Mono call, which was in fact conspicuously content-free (see DEPARTMENT STORES above). Whatever instructions he gives to Juanita are imparted now for the first time. What are they?
We want to start by clarifying what they are *not.* The insinuation of Bloomington, with its tight coupling to Star Wars Hips (see FIRST CONNECTIONS above), is that she's being directed to set "the nightclub fires" [SWH]; that is however *not* what's happening.
Juanita is "interned" [SSC] in the Summer House, under "house arrest" [LQ]. She is not visiting the "clubs," neither to commit arson nor for any other reason. The Summer House, as a gathering-place of the Scene, is itself ambiguously a "club" (see NIGHTCLUBS above); but she isn't trying to burn the house down around her head, either.
What is true is that the Narrator gets the *idea* for Juanita's participation in the schemes of the Eyepatch Guy around this time, when he observes that she *likes lighting fires*:
[she] said ...
the blue looks beautiful toppin' off the torch
you don't have to go inside to buy, you can buy it off the porch [SSC]
The context is significant: her adoration of the flame is followed in the next line by an allusion to her job in the Summer House ("transacting sacks to the yards from the porches" [LQ]; see PERFUME COUNTER GIRL above), and in the line thereafter by an allusion to the detective's photo of her there ("twenty-seven lovers in the back half of the summer" [SSC]; see DETECTIVE above).
This adoration isn't confined to Juanita in the LP world. Mary too loves the flames:
She says she loves the way these little flames
Make everything all black and grey.
But sometimes all that smoke can make you sick.
Still a scorch mark or a blistered hand
Seems a whole lot better than
Sitting around and waiting for the click [Epaulets]
Note the allusions to boredom in "grey" and "sitting around and waiting for the click"; she does the drugs and lights the fires because she's bored (see BORED above).
This allusion to "grey" boredom brings us back to the original recruitment scene of CaAoC:
she said these sea-side towns they get pretty grey after labor day [CaAoC]
What emerges here is that there's a temporal ambigiuity in "after labor day" that Craig is playing both ways. Juanita, already bored at the LBI, appears to be looking ahead with trepidation at the prospect of worse to come (see TWO AT A TIME above); but in fact she's speaking from *experience* of life in the Scene after Labor Day --- in other words, from experience of her dreary internship at the Summer House.
We can conclude, then, that Eyepatch Guy's actual recruitment of Juanita as fire lighter:
i been lookin for a fire lighter for hire
do you like lightin fires, do you like lightin fires [CaAoC]
*doesn't* happen during the Jeep Encounter (see JUST STARTED TALKING above); it happens later, after her departure for the Summer House, and after his plan to rescue her at the Mission Party has already failed.
The fires are part of a *new* plan that he formulates after being jumped in, and after the Two Weeks are underway. The "instructions" pertain to the setup of that plan, rather than to the fires; what that setup entails, is the next item on the menu (see BACK TO THE CITY below).
[*1] "Holly" here is Mary disguised as Holly; "anxiety" links her silence to the same "this is just what we wanted" critique that, according to Rock Problems, takes place during the THS version of the Mission Party (heregoes; see LOOKING FOR K above).
[*2] Note the symmetric Rolling Stones allusions in this line: "I Just Want To See His Face," the 13th track on Exile On Main St., cues us to understand "faithful" as a reference to Marianne Faithfull, whose early-70's addiction and homelessness (wikipedia) is a figure of Juanita's own situation at this time.