Sunday, July 30, 2017

July reading: Movie World II

How does a character like Arthur Tageman come into his world? Does he escape from Zeus' brow fully formed?
The process is more complicated and at times much like a human gestation requiring months to come to fruition.
In this case Arthur resulted from the catchphrase "Burn it in there Fred." That phrase was the introduction to my back in the day novel "The Eastman Kodak Movie." I really liked the phrase and having it as one of Arthur's recurring interior monologues meant I had to have an interior for the monologue, ergo the birth of Arthur Tageman.
After that part of the novel had been grounded, Arthur had to have a place and a movie studio struck me as a good fit for Arthur as long as he wasn't intimately concerned with scripts, sets or actors. Placing him in a quasi-research position working for a boss who seethed with idiosyncracies also appealed.
Given the current fictional fad of boy meets girl, etc. Arthur had to be somewhat keen on one or more of the opposite sex, even if his ex was quite demanding. And so both Marsha and Maizie entered Arthur's world.
Marsha didn't last long and Maizie had ties to law enforcement, which meant Arthur had to be vetted for trustworthiness.

Another female enters Arthur's world as "safari" Rosie brings him a message. It's a strange message. He's to keep his eyes and ears open when he meets Sharma Poot.
His vacation has taken a decided downturn. At the La Brea tar pits Rosie shows up again without a message and his car is vandalized with the Five Tins logo scratched into the paint.
Further disruptions to his serenity occur as Sid Havers, the Hollywood agent, cajoles Arthur about signing a contract. At the same time a news stringer wants to get Arthur's side of the Megaworld story.
Arthur vents the frustration of his life to Gordon Pym, his lawyer. Pym takes Arthur's life another notch downward as he asks whether Arthur has a gun.
With all the negative aspects of his life making his vacation one that in reality is no vacation at all, Pym suggests that Arthur get away from LA. One of his law school buddies lives in Sacramento and owes Pym a favor.
With a voucher provided by Pym Arthur takes a Southwest flight to Sacramento.
Al, Pym's friend, works for a legal firm that has scheduled a party for the evening of Arthur's arrival.
At the party, Arthur meets another female, Felice D'courte. She's a striking red head that finds him attractive. Will anything substantial come of this meeting? We have to read on to find out.

Back in LA, Arthur's mind is fraught with images of the five tines logo, possible demotion based on Sharma Poot's decisions about Megaworld, and Sharma Poot herself.
Arthur is called back to work by his boss. He has no inkling what Charles has in mind, especially, at such an early hour.
The surprise of Arthur's life comes from Charles' announcement that he has received a temporary promotion to fill the vacancy left by his boss who is the target of an alphabet soup conglomeration of federal agencies. Charles is now set for a choice spot in the "ghetto."
A further surprise is even more earth shaking: Arthur has been chosen by Charles to fill his vacated position. The promotion is staggering even though no money was mentioned. It also justifies Rosie's prediction that Arthur would be needing a secretary.
Rosie arrives and with a deft hand supervises moving Arthur's things from his warehouse office to his new office in what had belonged to Charles. In a swirl of activity Arthur is called into Charles' new and much more luxurious space.
There he finally meets Sharma Poot, a very attractive woman who is direct and keeps Charles in a very muted position.
Arthur can only hope that his temporary promotion edges toward becoming permanent.

Arthur gets "redecorated" with a new suit at Sharma's request.
Both he and Charles are given facsimilies of the org chart Sharma has on the wall in her office. Their task is to analyze the chart for the problems that Megaworld is in.
Arthur asks Rosie what she knows about org charts but she only knows how she fits into DHS's org chart.
In another meeting with Sharma Arthur is tasked with finding out what Spiels and Jones know about Wentworth and McNeal, the two previous members of Megaworld's upper echelon, now targets of a multi-agency investigation.
Arthur attends a meeting in the same warehouse where he first met Agent Smathers.
The meeting's purpose is to elicit information from Spiels and Jones about McNeal and Wentworth and the missing money.
Arthur hopes the threat of torture will convince Jones, who is really spooked by possible waterboarding to spill the beans.
We'll have to read the final quarter of the novel to find out the resolution of: the five tines' threat, the decisions made by Sharma and her friend Felice D'courte, and the information Agent Smathers wants.

Arthur and the rest of Sharma's "team" meet at her apartment ostensibly to engage in a team building effort. They find out that Sharma expects them to ferret out problems and ill-gotten gains from McNeal and Wentworth's nefarious activities.
After the party Arthur has another sexual encounter with Felice D'courte. Their tryst is interrupted by Freddie Spiels pretending to be a cop.Arthur finds out that Felice carries a fearsome looking pistol, which she claims is only used for defense.
After Arthur returns to work and explains to Sharma why Spiels is after him, she contacts McGinty to see whether he can provide protection for Arthur.
Gertie, a grunge dressing cop wannabe, is assigned to be Arthur's bodyguard.
Rosie is interested in the artwork that used to hang in McNeal's office but now resides in Arthur's old warehouse digs.
Arthur, Rosie and Gertie are surprised by Sharma and Felice as they inspect the rather pedestrian artwork.
The surprising ending to the story takes place with most of the main characters inside Arthur's warehouse office.
I hope you find the ending as satisfying to read as I did to write.

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