I’m currently reviewing chapters of War of the Encyclopaedists by Gavin Kovite and Christopher Robinson. As a Dune novel it’s pretty awful. This is pretty great reading material if you want to start writing fantasy novels. I feel like I’m learning a lot about the craft of writing just by obsessively pouring over these chapters.
Look forward to my own upcoming novel tentatively titled Phallic Magic Dragon Swords.
Chapter 21 is an adventure in Baghdad chapter starring Montauk.
I made a note months ago highlighting this particular use of drugs:
Montauk used an elaborate sequence of facial movements to pack the Kodiak more deeply between his gums and teeth, then spit a stream of tangy brown fluid into the dust on 14 July Street.
I don’t know why I made this note. Drugs are definitely a big part of the Millennial experience.
Tanks have torn chunks out of a wall near his checkpoint.
“Are they driving like idiots, or is this lane actually difficult to get out of?” Montauk said.
“Both,” Olaf said. “The tanks are pretty wide, but they’re also being driven by eighteen-year-olds.”
Millennials manning the tanks. They’re probably drunk or high too.
They gazed down 14 July Street like Marlboro Men.
I just think it’s interesting to reference something so American as cowboys and mascots for a giant corporation.
Montauk ponders what the neighborhood was like before the invasion and Olaf suggests he talk to some old-timers sitting around a table. Aladdin returns with a Mountain Dew.
“Do not worry about them, sih.” Aladdin took a swig of his Mountain Dew, then made a loud purposeful “Ahhhh” and held the bottle up next to his face with two hands, smiling like an actor in a television commercial from the fifties. The sun filtered through the nuclear-green liquid. Montauk couldn’t help but chuckle at the goofy translator.
I keep thinking that Aladdin is a Corderoy doppleganger who gets to actually be fun to be around, unlike USA Corderoy who is not much fun at all.
They walk over to talk to the old-timers despite Aladdin’s reluctance.
Aladdin talks to the old-timers, and reveals one of them is sort of an uncle to him, and a disapproving uncle at that. So Aladdin leaves and the old-timers offer Olaf a hookah pipe, which confuses Montauk. Then they produce three glasses and pours them some tea. There suddenly gunshots that sppook only Montauk.
Montauk is puzzled why they poor the tea for Olaf first.
*What should have been forehead-slappingly obvious to Montauk and the entire US Central Command was the reason Wiseacre thought Olaf wore the pants in the 2nd Platoon: he couldn’t believe that a professional adult male like Montauk would walk around in public without a mustache.
I think this plays into the kind of prolonged childlike qualities of Millennials, but I’m really just making this up now. I really like this chapter actually because it’s really interesting seeing a character like Montauk interacting with people of a legitimately different culture. It’s an extreme version of Corderoy talking to a blue collar Bostonian, I guess.
The chapter ends with Montauk and Olaf being called back to the checkpoint where they’ve been getting false positives on pop residue checks and would continue to get some for the next week.
Either the vapor tracer was a piece of shit, or maybe cars just got explosive residue on them by driving around a bombed-out city like Baghdad. That or Al-Qaeda was rubbing acetone peroxide on the bottoms of random cars. Just to fuck with us.
God what an awful job.