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Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
#33
The fear balloons again inside his brain. It will not be kept down with
a simple Fuck You. . . . A smell, a forbidden room, at the bottom edge of
his memory. He can't see it, can't make it out. Doesn't want to. It is allied
with the Worst Thing.


He woke begging It nobut even
after waking, he was sure, he would remain sure, that It could visit him
again, any time It wanted. Perhaps you know that dream too. Perhaps It
has warned you never to speak Its name.



Quote:There is a fat file on Imipolex G, and it seems to
point to Nordhausen. The engineer on the customer end of the
Imipolex contract was one Franz Polder. He came to Nordhausen in
early '44, as the rocket was going into mass production. He was billeted
in the Mittelwerke, an underground factory complex run largely by the
SS. No word on where he went when the plant was evacuated in
February and March. But Ian Scuffling, ace reporter, will be sure to find a
clue down in the Mittelwerke.

Slothrop sat in the swaying car with thirty other cold and tattered
souls, eyes all pupil, lips cratered with sores. They were singing, some of
them. A lot of them kids. It is a Displaced Person's song, and
Slothrop will hear it often around the Zone, in the encampments, out on the
road, in a dozen variations:

If you see a train this evening,
Far away against the sky,
Lie down in your wooden blanket,
Sleep, and let the train go by.

Trains have called us, every midnight,
From a thousand miles away,
Trains that pass through empty cities,
Trains that have no place to stay.

No one drives the locomotive,
No one tends the staring light,
Trains have never needed riders,
Trains belong to bitter night.

Railway stations stand deserted,
Rights-of-way lie clear and cold:
What we left them, trains inherit,
Trains go on, and we grow old.

Let them cry like cheated lovers,
Let their cries find only wind.
Trains are meant for night and ruin.
We are meant for song, and sin.

Pipes are passing around. Smoke hangs from the damp wood slats, is whipped
out cracks into the night slipstream. Children wheeze in their sleep, the
rachitic babies cry . . . now and then the mothers exchange a word. Slothrop
huddles inside his paper misfortune.

The Swiss firm's dossier on L. (for Laszlo) Jamf listed all his assets at the
time he came to work in Zurich. Apparently he had satas token scientist
on the board of directors of the Grössli Chemical Corporation as late as 1924.
Among stock options and pieces of this firm and that back in Germany
pieces to be gathered in over the next year or two by the octopus IGwas the
record of a transaction between Jamf and Mr. Lyle Bland, of Boston,
Massachusetts.

On the beam, Jackson. Lyle Bland is a name he knows, all right. And a
name that also shows up often in the private records Jamf kept of his own
business deals. Seems that Bland, during the early twenties, was heavily
involved with the Hugo Stinnes operation in Germany. Stinnes, while he
lasted, was the Wunderkind of European finance.

Based out of the Ruhr, where his family had been coal barons for generations,
young Stinnes built up a good-sized empire of steel, gas, electric and water
power, streetcars and barge lines before he was 30. During the World War he
worked closely with Walter Rathenau, who was ramrodding the whole
economy then. After the war Stinnes managed to put the horizontal electrical
trust of Siemens-Schuchert together with the coal and iron supplies of the
Rheinelbe Union into a super-cartel that was both horizontal and vertical,
and to buy into just about everything elseshipyards, steamship lines, hotels,
restaurants, forests, pulp mills, newspapersmeantime also speculating in
currency, buying foreign money with marks borrowed from the Reichs-bank,
driving the mark down and then paying off the loans at a fraction of the
original figure. More than any one financier he was blamed for the Inflation.

Those were the days when you carried marks around in wheelbarrows to your
daily shopping and used them for toilet paper, assuming you had anything to
shit. Stinnes's foreign connections went all over the worldBrazil, the East
Indies, the United Statesbusinessmen like Lyle Bland found his growth rate
irresistible. The theory going around at the time was that Stinnes was
conspiring with Krupp, Thyssen, and others to ruin the mark and so get
Germany out of paying her war debts.

Eland's connection was vague. Jamf's records mention that he had
negotiated contracts for supplying tons of private currency known as Notgeld
to Stinnes and colleagues, as well as "Mefo bills" to the Weimar
Republicanother of Hjalmar Schacht's many bookkeeping dodges to keep
official records clear of any hint of weapons procurement banned under the
terms of Versailles. Some of these banknote contracts were let to a certain
Massachusetts paper mill, on whose board Lyle Bland happened to sit.

The name of this contractor was the Slothrop Paper Company.

He reads his name without that much surprise. It belongs here, as do the
most minor details during déjà vu. Instead of any sudden incidence of light
(even in the shape of a human being: golden and monitory light), as he
stares at these eight ink marks, there passes a disagreeable stomach
episode, a dread tangible as vomit beginning to assert itselfthe same
vertigo that overtook him one day long ago in the Himmler-Spielsaal. A
gasbag surrounds his head, rubbery, vast, pushing in from all sides, that
feeling we know, yes, but. . . He is also getting a hardon, for no immediate
reason. And there's that smell again, a smell from before his conscious
memory begins, a soft and chemical smell, threatening, haunting, not a
smell to be found out in the worldit is the breath of the Forbidden Wing . . .
essence of all the still figures waiting for him inside, daring him to enter and find a secret he
cannot survive.

Once something was done to him, in a room, while he lay helpless. . .

His erection hums from a certain distance, like an instrument
installed, wired by Them into his body as a colonial outpost here in our
raw and clamorous world, another office representing Their white
Metropolis far away. . . .

A sad story, all right. Slothrop, very nervous by now, reads on. Lyle
Bland, eh? Well, sure, that fits. He can recall dimly once or twice having
seen Uncle Lyle. The man used to come to visit his father, affable, fairhaired,
a hustler in the regional Jim Fisk style. Bland was always picking
young Tyrone up and swinging him around by his feet. That was O.K.
Slothrop had no special commitment at the time to right side up.

From what it sez here, Bland either saw the Stinnes crash coming
before most of its other victims, or was just naturally nervous. Early in '23
he began to sell off his interests in the Stinnes operations. One of these
sales was made through Laszlo Jamf to the Grössli Chemical Corporation
(later Psychochemie AG). One of the assets transferred in this sale was
"all interest in Schwarzknabe enterprise. Seller agrees to continue
surveillance duties until such time as Schwindel operative can be relieved
by purchaser equivalent, acceptability to be determined by seller."
Jamf's codebook happens to be in the dossier. Part of the man's
personality structure, after all. "Schwindel" was his code name for Hugo
Stinnes. Clever sense of humor, the old fart. Across from
"Schwarzknabe," now, are the initials "T.S."

Well, holy cow, Slothrop reckons, that must be me, huh. Barring the
outside possibility of Tough Shit.

Listed as a "Schwarzknabe" liability is the unpaid remainder of a bill
to Harvard University, about $5000 worth including the interest, "as per
agreement (oral) with Schwarzvater."

"Schwarzvater" is the code word for "B.S." Which, barring the
outside possibility of Bull Shit, seems to be Slothrop's own father,
Broderick. Blackfather Slothrop.

Nice way to find out your father made a deal 20 years ago with
somebody to spring for your education. Come to think of it, Slothrop
never could quite put the announcements, all through the Depression, of
imminent family ruin, together with the comfort he enjoyed at
Harvard. Well, now, what was the deal between his father and Bland? I've
been sold, Jesus Christ I've been sold to IG Farben like a side of beef.
Surveillance? Stinnes, like every industrial emperor, had his own company
spy system. So did the IG. Does this mean Slothrop has been under their
observationm-maybe since he was born? Yaahhh . . .

The fear balloons again inside his brain. It will not be kept down with
a simple Fuck You. . . . A smell, a forbidden room, at the bottom edge of
his memory. He can't see it, can't make it out. Doesn't want to. It is allied
with the Worst Thing.

He knows what the smell has to be: though according to these papers
it would have been too early for it, though he has never come across
any of the stuff among the daytime coordinates of his life, still, down
here, back here in the warm dark, among early shapes where the clocks
and calendars don't mean too much, he knows that what's haunting him
now will prove to be the smell of Imipolex G.

Then there's this recent dream he is afraid of having again. He was in
his old room, back home. A summer afternoon of lilacs and bees, and
warm air through an open window. Slothrop had found a very old
dictionary of technical German. It fell open to a certain page prickling
with black-face type. Reading down the page, he would come to
JAMF. The definition would read: I. He woke begging It nobut even
after waking, he was sure, he would remain sure, that It could visit him
again, any time It wanted. Perhaps you know that dream too. Perhaps It
has warned you never to speak Its name. If so, you know about how
Slothrop'll be feeling now.


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"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
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Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon - by Jan Klimkowski - 15-05-2013, 10:20 PM

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