Soon: Chapters 25-26: Apostle. Paul Apostle.
Morty Krispy Kreme has kidnapped the button-cover covered Angela at gunpoint. You would think Paul might want to do something about this, and you’d be right, but he’s decided to stake out Angela’s stakeout from several Las Vegas Strip blocks away.
Paul backed up and pulled into traffic, wondering if he would do better to leap from the car and run three blocks, gun drawn.
Really, Paul? Really? You want to run down the Las Vegas strip with your gun drawn?
Did they teach you that technique in Secret Agent School, you dork?
Traffic was gridlocked. Should have called Chicago, played it by the book, got some help.
OH GEE, YA THINK, GENIUS?
Paul doesn’t run down the street, gun drawn, but he does call Chicago:
“I’m going to bust this guy, hopefully within the hour. Get local NPO to the Babylon, but tell them not to move till I say. Mort Bagdona is Jonah. He has a hostage. It’s all going down pretty fast.”
Koontz: But Paul, if he has a hostage, don’t you think you should have some help, since you have no experience with situations like tha–
I guess Paul still doesn’t want Vegas “trampling all over my case,” even though he is waaay out of his league here.
Nope, instead he follows Morty and Angela back to the Babylon. Angela, to give Miss “Oooo, Pretty” credit where it’s due, keeps talking about where they’re going and what they’re doing, even saying the room number out loud so Paul hears over those stupid button microphones. Go Angela.
Morty kidnapped Angela because he wants her to participate in his rituals of sex and drugs. So we’re still going with this idea that Morty really believes he’s Jonah. But he’s also an abusive
pimp employer. And now he’s resorting to kidnapping when he apparently can get all the women he wants in his cult. Why do something so monumentally stupid as kidnap a woman who (as far as he knows) has friends and family who will be looking for her?
And indeed, for someone who has convinced dozens of people to follow him, Morty has to tie Angela to a chair.
As Paul convinces hotel security to give him the key to the penthouse level, Morty talks to Angela about his plans:
“By the time we leave for the ceremony,” Mort was saying, “you will not feel forced. But you will have been converted. God made the substance that will free your mind.”
“That’s nothing but mescaline, and natural or not, it’s still illegal.”
“According to the laws of men. But can you fathom the presumption of man trying to outlaw something God created?”
Yep, in Atheistopia, prostitution is legal, but drugs are not. As I’ve mentioned before, this makes NO FREAKING SENSE. Support for (at least) marijuana legalization right now is huge. Legalized prostitution, not so much. Remember, Atheistopia is only 30-odd years down the road.
It’s especially odd because of the common assumption that atheists live lives of selfish hedonism. Hell, you’d think one of the very first acts of the new Atheistopian regime would be to make all drugs legal, right?
Eh, guess not.
Paul decides not to bust into Morty’s own suite, because…
Well, I’m not really sure why not. After all, he can hear everything of what’s going on, and could choose a moment when Morty is distracted and has put down his gun.
But no, Paul enters the apartment next door and hides when the occupants show up. Which is a good thing, since they are two of Jonah’s lackeys.
That is one hell of a racket Morty has: enough profit to afford two semi-permanent penthouses on the Las Vegas Strip.
Which again raises the question of why he would resort to kidnapping.
The goons order room service, and Paul takes the opportunity of a goon bathroom break to grab one of them and make the other one drop his gun.
He then has the one goon tie up the other goon, and neither of them think to rush Paul. Then he orders the other one to tie himself up.
Then, the goons’ room service order arrives via dumbwaiter.
Now, I have certainly never ordered room service from a Las Vegas penthouse suite before, and maybe I just don’t get it, but wouldn’t room service orders be delivered by a person? Just off the top of my head, how would the guests return the meal if there was something wrong with it?
Then again, this does appear to be a high-tech Atheistopian dumbwaiter, so I could be wrong.
A lightbulb (40W) goes off over Paul’s head, and he decides that the best way to get into Morty’s suite next door is not to use the key that he has, but to enter via dumbwaiter.
Before I detail how Paul does this, I should mention something. This whole go-to-penthouse-don’t-get-help-tie-up-goons-find-dumbwaiter plan is taking forever, and Morty wants Angela to swallow the drugs so she’ll be ready for the “meeting” in one hour. Hell, according to the book, TWENTY MINUTES go by while Paul screws around with elaborate tyings-up and removings-of-panels-from dumbwaiters.
Anyway, here is Paul’s genius stealth technique for apprehending Morty and saving Angela:
Back in the bathroom closet, Paul found the back of the column [of the dumbwaiter] enclosed by screws and a thin sheet of metallic ductwork. His car key was all he needed to painstakingly and quietly remove the back panel.
Wait. WHY DO CARS IN ATHEISTOPIA STILL USE KEYS???
It opened onto the dumbwaiter, where there was a horizontal floor every five feet or so. A flange on each floor could apparently be programmed to trip a lever, which would open the sliding door in the room and display the delivery.
Paul squeezed a leg between the exposed floors and tested the load-bearing strength of the platform. It floated some but seemed solid enough. He gingerly slithered all the way in until he was crouching, facing the sliding door that opened into [Morty’s suite].
Too late, Paul realized that he really should have thought this through, and that dumbwaiters for room service in luxury Las Vegas resorts are probably not engineered to hold a six-foot-three man for minutes on end.
“IEEEEEEE” was Paul’s last word.
Sadly, not really.
Instead, Paul hears that Morty has stuck the drugs into Angela’s mouth, and gone to the bathroom to get water to forth her to swallow it. This would be a totally awesome moment to sneak up on Morty using THE KEY TO HIS ROOM.
But no, Paul pushes the lever on the inside of the dumbwaiter (I just don’t get this part), and hops into the room. He hides and waits for Morty, and then elects to use his gun as a club instead of as a gun. He smacks the gun onto Morty’s arm, which seems like a recipe for a tragic accident, but of course works because he’s Paul Apostle and God is probably helping. Morty’s arm is broken and the evil/misguided pimp/cult leader/kidnapper/drug dealer/guy-who-thinks-he’s-really-Jonah is foiled!
Congrats, Paulie. James Bond himself would be proud.