[Scheduling note: I’m going whole hog to finish the final draft of my book at the moment, updates may be slower than usual]
Our old pal Skorzeny is distraught over his ship getting blown up, and he wants senator Hartley to arrange for Devlin to be killed in retaliation. But first, he decided to molest Amanda Harrington a bit:
She had seen, so often, the side of Emanuel Skorzeny few others had: the Caligula-side, in which the slightest frustration of his will to power was met with instant punishment. The uncontrollable, raging man-child, bearing the hurt of generations in his breast and the vengeance of centuries in his heart.
If you keep in mind Skorzeny’s background as a victim of Nazi persecution, that last sentence comes across as kind of skeevy.
Anyway Skorzeny rapes her multiple times, but Amanda can’t fight back or he’ll have her shot (he’s already suspicious- not entirely without cause- that her and Charles are plotting to overthrow him). And that what would be bad, not because getting murdered is just inherently bad on its own, but because Amanda now has a purpose in life!
But she knew if she did that, she’d never leave the Savoy alive. And there was a little girl at home who needed her.
What little girl is this? You can probably guess, but if you can’t then just wait and see because it’s monumentally stupid.
Meanwhile, President Tyler is having a crisis of conscience over the fact that he has to do something about Hartley’s treacherous ways. There’s some more guff about WAR and how in WAR you have to be hard and tough and make difficult decisions (subtext: YEE-HAW BABY, DRONE STRIKES FOREVER).
Jeb Tyler sighed. He’d only been president for three years and already the demands of the office were wearing him down. He hated looking in the mirror any more; every year in the White House added at least four years to his face and took a decade off his ticker.
Now we all know how I like being a pedantic little asshole, so I am compelled to point out that if Tyler is in his forties and has been president for four years (he’s not quite there, but almost, since he’s up for re-election soon) then he’d probably be close to death at this point. Maybe he should be hoping he loses the next election.
I remember a while back seeing photos of recent US presidents taken before and after their terms, and they invariably seem way older and more haggard afterward. On one hand it’s undoubtedly true that the job is massively stressful, but on the other hand we’re talking about men in their 40s to 60s, some of whom had the job for eight years; is it really that surprising that they look greyer and older in the “after” photos?
Nobody got out alive from this gilded cage, nobody’s reputation survived unsavaged,
Excuse the fuck out of me, but are you serious? The previous president sailed off into the sunset after starting two disastrous wars and somehow managing to tank his country’s worldwide reputation right after the most traumatic event in its recent history; I see no reason to believe that Obama’s long-term reputation will suffer any permanent damage due to continuing and strengthening many of the shady military practices instituted during that time. Hell even Bill Clinton’s sexual escapades- which the media made a far bigger deal out of them something as irrelevant as thousands of dead civilians- doesn’t seem to have had much of a long-lasting impact.
The situation is the exact opposite of the one described here. American presidents can do whatever the fuck they want while in office and their supporters will still rally behind them as long as they say the right words and stick to certain ideological issues.
It was time for him to start acting like a president instead of a politician.
In case it wasn’t obvious enough, Walsh seems to be in love with this idea of the US president as some kind of warrior-overlord leading the troops into battle. He must really love that bit in Independence Day where Bill Pullman gets into a fighter jet to go blast aliens.
“Would you kindly ask the senator to meet me down here, at the dock. No SS either. I cannot think with their earpieces up my ass.
Case in point, Tyler dismisses his secret service protection. Fun fact: Presidents aren’t actually allowed to do that.
Manuel looked dubious. “But, sir, Mr. Willson—”
“Works for me and the American people, Manuel,” said the president. “So, if he gives you any shit, tell him to go fuck himself and tell him I said so.”
Hell yeah Tyler, you do whatever the fuck you want! Except actually no, because you’re a democratically elected public official and not a dictator. It’s in the best interests of “the american people” for the country’s leader to not get shot, hence why you can’t actually tell your head of security to let you wander around a dock at night on your own.
The really frustrating part is that we’re clearly supposed to see this as badass and not completely fucking stupid.
The Senate, on the other hand, had become a hotbed of blow-dried, Botoxed seditionists, each one plotting to succeed him, if and when they got their chance.
Hence why it’s not a good idea to wander around an empty dock on your own at night where you’re meeting someone you know is working with terrorists.
Anyway Tyler has an overly convoluted plan (everyone in this book has an overly convoluted plan) that basically goes like this: Tyler has photos of Hartley with the dead body from his hotel room, and he’ll release them unless Hartley “leaks” information about Devlin’s super secret spy shit to the public. This will make Tyler look awesome to the American public while getting Hartley in major trouble for revealing issues of national security.
Yeah, I can think of about fifty ways that plan could go wrong, but whatever, let’s just go with it. Tyler has some of his secret service goons march Hartley off to go freshen up for the cameras.
“Oh, and Bob—one more thing.” He paused for effect, then fired. “Don’t drop the soap.”
Hurr hurr butt rape is funny.
God this book.
Incidentally I feel like Walsh and/or his editor (assuming this book had an editor) forgot about the earlier scene where two government agents burst into Hartley’s hotel room and pressured him into playing along with them, because Hartley seems mystified by how Tyler could have gotten the incriminating photos.
“Did you catch most of that, Army?” said Tyler to General Seelye, emerging from the woods.
Seelye ghost-walks out of the trees so Tyler can tell him to suspend Devlin’s operations on account of those FBI agents he killed, and also because that ship Devlin sank didn’t have anything suspicious on it after all. What do you know, letting some random agent blow up whatever he wants isn’t a good idea.
I mean yes, Skorzeny is actually behind all of this, but Tyler (and Devlin for that matter) doesn’t actually know that.
Seelye is a sad panda because this will mean killing Devlin, but President Badass gives him an order so he has to follow it.