Next: Chapters Ten, Eleven, Twelve
Chapter Seven–The Knight of Swords
Alex prints a story on the video of Raymond’s abduction from the coffee shop, which pleases Gabriel. After a long day on his regular cases, Gabriel returns to his home neighborhood. A man calls him, asking for an emergency consultation on an infidelity case.
Gabriel goes to meet the man on the Lower East Side. But the address is not what the man said it was. Gabriel realizes he’s in trouble. Three men appear with the goal of giving him a beat-down. Gabriel is able to hold his own through his training, but eventually is overwhelmed. He manages to call Danny before he passes out.
Then Gabriel is in an ER, with Danny and Jim. They are concerned, Gabriel is agitated. After finding out he has a concussion but is okay, Gabriel is surprised to see Alex coming into the ER to check on him. They engage in some inappropriate flirting. Gabriel stays overnight at the hospital, then the next day is home on pain meds. His other best friend Veronica comes to visit and care for him. She commiserates with his situation and agrees there’s something more to Raymond’s death.
Gabriel, who can’t stop checking on things, is reviewing his email and is shocked to see a very brief message from his former boyfriend Joel. Gabriel is both glad and aggravated, knowing how difficult getting an answer from Joel is. But he tries to get him to reply further. Outside of that, Gabriel is considering his next move.
Chapter Eight–The Four of Swords
Gabriel begins recover from his attack, connecting with some aspects of his spirituality. Danny visits him and nags him about finding more work instead of being worrying about the Booth case. However, Danny does point out that some kind of cover-up has taken place. He asks for Gabriel’s help in providing security for a documentary Danny’s nonprofit is working on, regarding slumlords.
Later on, Jim calls Gabriel with a temp job writing a motion. Gabriel knows Danny put him up to it. While working on Jim’s task, Gabriel gets a visit from Toni. She is very upset as the insurance company has denied her claim on Raymond’s policy, saying it was suicide. Also, Allen Cheng, Raymond’s executor, is not giving her the funds she wants from Raymond’s trust. She even gets her son on the phone to play Gabriel’s emotions. Gabriel says he’ll get back to her, as he has an idea that he knows she won’t like–talking to Cheng.
Danny nags Gabriel, as Gabriel notes, like a spouse. Danny is immediately aware that Gabriel is still researching the Booth case in spite of the violent attack on him. Danny tries persuasive logic, and then tries getting Gabriel enough work so he won’t have time to think about Raymond Booth.
Chapter Nine–The Ace of Pentacles
Gabriel meets with Allen Cheng, and convinces Cheng to have the law firm hire Gabriel to investigate Raymond’s death and collect evidence he did not commit suicide, accidental or otherwise. Gabriel proceeds to contact Carl Mankiewitz, writer for the NYC Scene’s Thin Blue Line column. Gabriel finds out Mankiewitz’s source is Raymond’s boyfriend John Harrison. Gabriel gives Mankiewitz a quick interview and also notifies Alex he is on the case–and gets a date out of it. He then begins setting up a psychological autopsy and plans to track down the BDSM mags he found in Raymond’s bedroom. Gabriel then tells Toni what he’s doing. She’s not happy but still feels he’s on her side.
Between the Pages:
- Gabriel is beat-up, but not beaten. Gabriel proves that something sinister is going on, by virtue of being beat-up for his inquiries. It’s a warning, which he recognizes. He could have easily been killed. Raymond’s death and this attack brings home the seriousness of what he has been involved in, and what he still wants to be involved in. The classic good guy gets jumped, which is also the classic private investigator gets beat up as a warning. Just ask Mannix or Jim Rockford.Gabriel gets enormous support from his friends. In this case, Danny and Jim are fussing over him in the ER, and Veronica nurses him at home.
- John Phillip Souza High doesn’t exist, but it feels like a Bronx high school. Gabriel will mention it from time to time, as well as his and Danny’s penchant for trouble.The Harvey Milk Center does not exist, but NYC has a few outreach nonprofits that essentially do the same work such as the Ali Forney Center and The Door.
Beyond the Pages:
- I attended art classes in the neighborhood (the Educational Alliance) where Gabriel is jumped. It is not a bad neighborhood, but there are quiet patches where one can can feel isolated if one is being stalked.
- Avolokiteśvara is the Buddhist Bodhisattva of compassion. Under that identity the Bodhisattva is male (also in Japan under the name Kannon Bosatsu), but in China the Bodhisattva is female and known as Guan-Yin.
Questions for Readers:
Gabriel’s Mannix or Rockford-like penchant for getting in fights starts here. The beat-down has a reason behind it–the warning. Most street brawls aren’t really about anything, unless a person is being a target. Gabriel is used to those as well, from his childhood. He feels he carries violence with him–not by choice but by circumstance. What do you feel you carry around with you, good or bad?
Rolling Stones, “Undercover of the Night.” Mostly for the immediate dark, fast tone of the song. The song and video originally were reflective of the terrorism and torture taking place in Central America during the early Eighties. For this chapter, the sense of some powers that be suddenly appearing and doing you harm fits in with the sense of dread Gabriel has when confronted with his attackers, and the unease of what to do next.
Philip Bailey, Chinese Wall. This song was the title track from Bailey’s album, released in 1985. It was overshadowed by the huge hit Bailey had with Phil Collins, Easy Lover. Collins actually produced, played drums and sang on Chinese Wall as well. It has his sound. It’s a far more spiritual and contemplative song that, according to Wikipedia, song co-writer Roxanne Seeman created from her trip to the Great Wall of China and her study of Chinese art and literature. It is a song I turn to again and again to sum the spiritual nature of Gabriel, who is similarly drawn to Eastern philosophical concepts. Even the line watching for the coins to fall refers to the I Ching, which is the framing device for Two-Faced Woman.
Better than Ezra: At the Stars. As child of the Nineties, this song by Better than Ezra is appropriately emo and angsty enough to fit Gabriel’s tension.
Copyright 2022 Alex Fiano
Page last updated 8/6/2022