Monday, December 1, 2008

more romance of the borrowed umbrella

§ 3

The last time Germy had used the phrase, "the truth of the human heart," he had been on an airplane. By the time of our story, when Germy is getting off of the train and heading to Alicia's, no airplane had run for quite a while out of the Pale. Germy had been fingering a gold ring he had found in the airport when he was on the flight. It had been dropped by a man who got on a plane before him. Germy did not know this. He tried in vain to get a flight attendant or airline employee to accept the ring into their lost-and-found coffers. The employees said they could not accept it. The new property-protection laws prohibited it. So Germy took a poll from amongst those present at the airport gate as to what should be done with the ring. He actually formed a small town-hall-meeting style forum, and allowed each traveler to vet her own ideas about what it was that should be done. Germy himself did not participate. He was, for good deal of the episode, voiding his bowels in the airport lavatory. Finally, certain members of the group announced that they felt a consensus had been reached, and it was suggested that those present should vote to ascertain the correspondence of this feeling with the, as it was once said, "situation on the ground." The vote was unanimous that a consensus had indeed been reached and that the sense of said consensus should be understood to mean that Germy should indeed himself take the ring. As it turned out, this particular ring would become rather worthless soon enough. But the ring is just a ruse for you, dear reader.


The day that Germy was holding, gingerly, like a little story or a cauliflower given as a love-gift, this ring, he was also feeling a certain anxiety. The man seated next to him on the plane surely recognized him as involved. The man surely worked for the State of New Jersey and surely knew that Germy was traveling with cargo in the form of a coded message. He needed to deliver his message to a friend in Brooklyn, NY by 5 pm only three days hence. This, actually could have put things in a difficult way for Germy as at that particular time the airlines were, for security reasons, routing at least 75% of all flights through a connecting airport not announced to the passengers until landing. Needless to say, this was many months after all windows had been banned, internationally, on all passenger commercial aircraft. As a result, Germy, and his companion, who later would take the name Matt and scurry off of the Pale towards Florida in order to catch a boat to Britain and the hope of a regulated State-Zone, were routed from Cleveland, OH, through Philadelphia (which had been planned and announced) and then back through Memphis, where they were held for 18 hours.

It was, moreover, in the wake of this tiresome holdover that Germy's seat had been re-shuffled, he was surely moved on purpose, away from his co-conspirators, with whom the reader has hopefully developed a cursory acquaintance. In this state, Germy took a great deal of solace in this ring. And this ring in fact gave him an incredible idea which he was, indeed, already attempting to make good on by putting the potential plan of great design into motion, against the will and art or this man who would take the name Matt, and his entire cohort. Germy got up and asked for a cup of coffee from the attendant in the back of the aircraft. It was large, a 777, used for flights just like this one, so passengers could never really be sure if a landing would result in allowing some passengers to leave, at a connection or final destination, or if the plane would be held for some unfortunate length of time.

Taking a phial from his pocket, Germy slipped not into the lavatory, which would have certainly aroused the suspicions of his Statist seat-mate, but into the little cubby just outside this very room on many of these planes, where a window would have been for Germy's enjoyment only months before. He stood there, phial hidden slyly in hand, sipping his coffee. He put this ring into the coffee, carefully, so the attendant would see him doing it. The attendant spoke harshly and demanded that Germy show him what he put in the cup and why. Germy, told him what it was, a ring, and told him the story of how it came to him on this very trip. He also deflected the demands of the attendant to actually produce the ring long enough for his hand holding the phial to twist out a pea-sized stopper that was blocking a bit of clear fluid. This was not sinful, this was not sin: this is the phrase that ran through Germy's mind, around his heart, and in his very bowels, as he maneuvered his hand holding the phial up and around to pull the ring out of the cup, as the attendant leaned over to verify this passenger's story and strange behavior (which, surely, was odd, suspicious and, probably dangerous and a threat to the ruling American Hope party to which he was exceedingly loyal), and Germy tipped the phial over, emptying its contents into the steaming coffee--the very same which at that moment sheltered an 18k gold ring of substantial weight. At this moment, Germy felt about the ring the way he would feel about the aforementioned borrowed umbrella.

This was not sinful, this was not sin: this is the phrase in reference to which Germy would speak of "the truth of the human heart." Germy was recounting this story to Remus when Alicia reminded them that they needed, very badly, to get inside, to safety.