We’re jumping to “another state, in a low-income section of another town”. So apparently we’re in the projects in a city someplace? Then there’s a cleaning van pulling up to a duplex. My first thought was how unrealistic this is: low-income homes don’t hire cleaners, won’t it stick out like a sore thumb?
But then apparently the van is being driven by Bernice, and the owner of the home is Joe Carlucci, the old owner of the grocery store.
So Bernice drove to a nearby state in a flimsy disguise, and the first thing he tells her is that he was told not to speak to her or Hogan.
“They told me I was never to talk to you or Mr. Hogan. . .”
“For the sake of our children, they said,” Mrs Carlucci added.
“This is Angelina. It was for her sake, for the children’s sake, that we— we moved away, we left it all, we said nothing.”
“Can you help us?” asked Angelina
Except there’s no… who is Angelina and when did she enter the scene? The narration was as follows:
[Joe] opened the door wider so [Bernice] could make her way into the house as three children tried to keep out of her path despite their great curiosity.
[Joe’s wife] came in from the small kitchen, looking tense and nervous. “You children go outside and play,” she ordered.
They whined a bit, but she herded them out the door, closed it, then drew shut the one window that still remained open.
So where the f*** did Angelina come from? Turns out, Angelina is Mrs Carlucci. There’s only three people in this room, despite it sounding like they’re introducing a fourth.
In the meantime, Marshall is heading off towards New York, meeting someone halfway between. I guess Ashton isn’t in Oregon, or that’d be a hell of a drive. He’s meeting with Al Lemley, who gets a description:
He was a smaller man, bald, with a hooked nose and sharp blue eyes. He had spunk and sparkle
Can I just stop there to be immature and giggle? Because today that’d be a tipoff he was fabulous, but I somehow doubt that was the author’s intention.
He had spunk and sparkle, and Marshall had always known him as a priceless associate, a friend who could come through with almost any much-needed favor.
The favor in this particular instance is researching Omni Corp. Apparently they’re actually Omni International:
“Very international. You wouldn’t believe how influential they are in Arab oil, the Common Market, the World Bank, international terrorism–”
“Don’t expect to find any stockholder’s reports on the latest car-bombing or mass murder, but for every documented aboveboard item here there are a couple hundred pieces of under-the-table scuttlebutt that no one can prove but everyone seems to know. […] I’d say this guy is a perfect cross between the ultimate guru and Adolf Hitler, and he makes Al Capone look like a Boy Scout.”
Tweet tweet go the dog whistles. As we’ve seen, the religious right don’t see any reason you can’t be both a guru and Hitler. After all, you’re already worshiping demons by being non-Christian, what’s a little genocide on the side?
The best part is that outwardly, Hitler claimed to be a Christian. Nobody can really know another’s heart, and there’s reason to believe that he was less Christian in reality than he claimed, but he invoked Jesus and God in his speeches. Furthermore, Al Capone was probably catholic, as evidenced by the catholic icons he left behind.
But all terrorists are scary pagans or funded by them.
Meanwhile, someone broke the hands of the Carlucci’s boy Carl without anyone seeing, at recess:
“he was playing baseball with some other boys. The ball rolled into the woods and he went after it. When he came back, he was– he was crazy, screaming, he’d wet himself… his hands were broken.”
Okay, where the fuck were the teachers or playground monitors at this school? The school district is lucky the Carlucci’s didn’t sue for criminal negligence. WTF?
Oh, interesting, the Carlucci’s are Catholic. Apparently Catholic is okay but the wrong kind of Protestant means you’re going to hell. Go figure.
Meanwhile, Marshall has found out that Omni already owns many other towns, and has offices in 93 countries. I guess they’re after world domination. So if they lose Ashton……. they’ll just grab another town and keep growing because they’re friggan huge. Way to raise the stakes?
The Carlucci’s have been haunted by evil spirits and break down crying. I honestly… I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’ve been busy this weekend, but I’m getting rather bored. Life after life has been ruined, but we keep being told that over and over, I’m waiting for something to come of all this information gathering. It’s like it’s trying to be a thriller but is stuck on the infodump portion — people are driving around, holding interviews, getting bits and pieces… “And nothing happens!”
Which is probably why we have a two-week time skip out of the blue. One minute Joe Carlucci is crying in front of Bernice, the next we’re in montage mode. Marshall starts sleeping in the office, hasn’t seen Sandy in weeks, his marriage is on the rocks, but he’s obsessed with finding The Truth.
We’re almost halfway done! Goodie.