GW Recaps–Two-Faced Woman Chapters Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty
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Chapter Eighteen 39–Burden (Jiăn)
Joel approaches Frank while he’s outside smoking, and speaks with him briefly. Bob is hidden away, listening. Joel is able to obtain one of Frank’s discarded cigarettes. However, Frank suddenly appears at Joel’s car, and tells Joel he’s “very interested” in Michaela. Bob, furious at the threat, comes at him. Frank says he doesn’t know Bob, but the two tussle until someone from the nonprofit yells outside that they are calling the police.
The police arrive and separate everyone. Assuming Frank is innocent, they allow him back inside–and he promptly disappears. Michaela arrives with Gabriel, having secured his release, to rescue everyone. She isn’t bothered by the threat, but everyone else is. Gabriel insists that he and Joel watch over her that night.
Don Mathers calls Gabriel to taunt him about Giselle and threaten Mikki again.
Chapter Nineteen 44–Confrontation (Gòu)
Mikki and Gabriel meet with prosecutor Stan Cooper, hoping to convince him of Don’s guilt. Cooper seems more interested in baiting Gabriel. Gabriel returns fire, playing a recording of Don’s threat against Mikki and demanding that Stan give her protection. The most Cooper will do is direct them to the point man on a state task force that is concurrently investigating the murders of the women, and allow for a patrol car to drive by her apartment building.
For Gabriel, that’s not enough. He knows Don will come after Mikki, and Don is smart. Gabriel sets up a trap in Mikki’s building, particularly the basement, a likely access point. Part of the set up is to look like Mikki is throwing out Gabriel and Joel, finished with their antics. Actually, they sneak back in with Veronica, Jim, and Bob and Danny as back-up.
Restless, Gabriel prowls the basement of the building with Joel. He smells cigarettes in an area with storage lockers, and his instinct tells him Don is there. He tricks Joel in going back upstairs, locks the door, and goes back to the area. Someone in the dark brings down a metal barbell on his shoulder.
Meanwhile, Joel becomes nervous when Gabriel doesn’t return right away. Jim waits with Mikki in her apartment while Veronica and Joel go down to check out what happened to Gabriel.
Gabriel is now in a fight with Don, which quickly turns brutal. They attack each other like animals, with blood flying.
Finding the basement door locked, and that a camera they set up in the basement is triggered, Joel tells Jim to call the police. He and Veronica try to get in the outside basement door in the parking lot. Danny arrives, and runs to get a crowbar to help. They hear someone screaming inside the basement.
Gabriel’s fight with Don gets worse, but even though Gabriel is bloodied and injured, he starts to get the advantage over Don with his training. Don taunts Gabriel about Leonard and Charlotte. But Gabriel is able to break Don’s arm, ribs, and his leg. But Don keeps working at him, bringing up Gisele. Gabriel loses his control and starts choking Don.
Meanwhile, Danny and Bob break open the door to the basement. They and Veronica and Joel all rush inside. They hear the struggle in the storage locker area. Danny pulls Gabriel off Don as Veronica takes control of the room–getting Danny to take Gabriel outside, having Joel, in shock, leave, taking Gabriel’s gun away, and having Bob guard Don for the police. Bob enjoys the broken Don on the floor.
Chapter Twenty 40–Deliverance (Xiè)
Gabriel is in a hospital, being treated for his injuries. Joel is there as well, angry at Gabriel for locking him out the basement, and in a larger sense, for getting in the fight with Don. Danny and Bob come in. Bob defends what Gabriel had to do, but Joel is furious that Gabriel would put himself in danger. Their argument brings in Veronica, who again takes control of the room to make people shut up. Gabriel passes out.
He awakens in a hospital room; Joel is sleeping beside him. He awakens and they talk. First, Don is in custody in the hospital, in terrible shape, and being investigated. But Joel is determined to get Gabriel to understand what he feels about Gabriel’s loss of control with Don. Joel tells him a brief story of being attacked when he was young, and tells Gabriel he should speak with Chiang.
Later, back home, Geneva and Veronica are visiting Gabriel and Joel at the apartment. They have managed to come to an agreement about moving forward. Gabriel is seeking guidance from Chiang (who actually doesn’t feel the same way Joel does about the fight). Isabella comes to visit. Joel shows her his birthday gift from Gabriel, a pendant.
It’s time to work on Geneva’s case. Gabriel and Joel fly to Rochester. They are going to see the former state senator Derek Baker. The retired senator is suspicious of them, but listening. Gabriel brings up the old story of Bernadette McCabe and the stolen babies. And the fact one of the babies was Baker’s grandchild. Gabriel explains Geneva’s circumstances.
Baker’s reaction is to consider the situation…he is angry, confused…and curious. He wants to see a picture of Geneva. Baker goes and gets his daughter Brenda. Baker starts to explain what is going on to her. Brenda, a deeply angry and sad person, is furious at him as well as Joel and Gabriel. She rejects the very concept of Geneva. Joel argues back at her. She leaves, but Baker is willing to make a change. Gabriel is determined to get a copy of Geneva’s original birth certificate, and Baker shows him a copy and asks if Geneva can visit. He agrees to help. Gabriel also tells him about Arthur Knox and trouble Knox has caused.
Between the Pages
So this is a violent section. Although I have violence (and as per Kurt Vonnegut’s recommendation, against my protagonist) in future books this particular one took some time to write. Not the logistics–that is mechanics or physics. More the point when he lost his control. A good deal of this was set up prior to the fight. His nature of being a protector and his mind going back to that idea again and again. Chiang tells Gabriel he is a protector.
But Gabriel is still vulnerable inside to the experiences he had in The Hanged Man, as well as the renegotiation of his relationship with Joel. Don Mathers threatens that. And Gabriel can’t let Don hurt Mikki the way Don hurt Giselle…whom he feels guilty about.
Having engaged in a nasty, brutal bout of hand-to-hand fighting, adrenaline and fear overbalancing his chemistry, Don is able to goad him into an act of revenge. This would be questionable legally–Don has already been physically disabled from fighting and at the point Gabriel chokes him Don is now legally the victim. (Tort and Criminal Law 101). More than that is Gabriel’s internal ethics. The police or the prosecutor may choose to overlook Don’s murder, but it would ruin Gabriel inside to know he could do that out of revenge rather than protection.
Joel and Veronica, Danny and Bob step in just in time to stop it going further. The question now in Gabriel’s subconscious…the one he may think about at night after this adventure (in between the pages, we might say) is would he have stopped on his own before it was too late?
On a side note, I like the quiet authority Veronica exudes here in stepping up to take of things. She deserves to be developed and will be.
Interesting Outside Information
I’m very heartened by the fact that since I wrote this in 2012-2013, some documentation issues (i.e., for birth certificates and driver’s licenses) have gotten easier for trans* and gender-nonconforming persons (as I identify myself). (Another article here) The process Geneva went through with living as the identified gender is changing. The idea that one must have confirmation surgery is changing, becoming more an individual option. The National Center for Transgender Rights has a breakdown of requirements by state.
On another note, Gabriel is a fan of Eddie Izzard. I, and my significant others, are also very strong fans of Eddie. Eddie does a lot of human rights advocacy across the pond and seems like an all around decent person. Back in ‘99 when I first watched Dressed to Kill, Eddie identified as a cross-dresser. Eddie has identified since in the public arena as transgender. At this writing, Eddie’s autobiography is coming out soon and I look forward to it. Here is an interview touching on these topics.
Questions for Readers
As Gabriel has accepted, understood, and embraced the role of protector, I’d like to ask about roles you feel you have or should have. One of the points in the Bhagavad Gita is the story of Prince Arjuna and how he needed to accept his Dharma, his duty to the universe, what he is supposed to do. (Dharma in Buddhism is different, meaning the teachings of the Buddha). Prince Arjuna’s duty was to be a warrior, and by the end of the story he has embraced this. A basic idea often taken away from this is to accept where you are and make the best of it. It’s somewhat a Stoic idea, although Stoicism may have more freedom in the sense to change what you can appropriately. Hinduism isn’t the only school of thought on that. As William Manchester describes in A World Lit By Only by Fire, keeping to your station in life was a Medieval mindset as well. No doubt a Medieval European would be mind-boggled and gobsmacked at the contemporary idea of bettering one’s self and choosing what you want to and who you want to be life.
I don’t agree with the idea of static stations in life, but I’m not discarding the sense of having a destiny. We may have ‘roles’ that we sense or are given or are encouraged that we embrace and fit into naturally. We may have others that must change (being trans*/GNC is one, to be the person other than what one was assigned at birth). I like to give students a Koan on asking who are you, when you strip all that outside forces have given you as an identity? So think about who you are and what parts of your identity you accept and what you don’t.
I’m going to pretend I’m Martin Scorsese, and choose The Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter. I think shelter is a concept like protection that can be metaphorical. In GW Gabriel may be taking shelter in or from his own mind, taking shelter in or from others. He may also feel his protective acts provide shelter from human tornadoes like Don Mathers.
Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away
Copyright 2012-2017 Alex Fiano
Page updated 7/5/2017