GW Recaps–Two-Faced Woman, Chapters Three, Four, Five
Chapter Three–Two-Faced Woman
The Gua that frames the chapter is 31 Influence and Feelings (Xián)
What Happens in Chapter Three:
Joel comes over to Gabriel’s apartment, having been overseas taking care of his friend Jan’s estate. Joel is concerned about Gabriel’s state of mind. They spar a bit about Gabriel’s not working (at Alex’s request). Joel then tells Gabriel about a friend of his, Geneva Lennon, who has a problem with her birth certificate. He also mentions that he’s going to have a public exhibition of his art.
Gabriel has Joel help him figure out some of the symbols in Leonard’s notebook. Alex calls and Gabriel ignores it. They go to meet Geneva. Geneva is a bookbinder and restores posters. She qualifies to have her birth certificate changed, but the DOH does not acknowledge the certificate she has as hers. Doing some impromptu research, Gabriel discovers the birth certificate is fake. Geneva’s parents are deceased, so she can’t find out anymore information. She hires Gabriel to look into what happened.
Later on, Joel is in his apartment with his best friend Chris. Chris is asking Joel about his feelings regarding Gabriel and questioning Joel’s contention that the feelings are reciprocated. Chris is sympathetic about Joel’s feelings regarding Gabriel, but also thinks Joel should be more proactive and rectify some of the bad habits that drove a wedge between Joel and Gabriel in the first place.
For Gabriel, he’s in an immersion of feelings. For one, he’s dissembling himself from how he feels about Joel. He’s also ecstatic Joel is pursuing his art in a meaningful way. Taking Geneva’s case and working on Leonard’s musings brings them closer. You might sense their conversation has a different levels and meanings. At the same time, Joel is more painfully aware than ever over how he feels and his being flummoxed over what to do about it. As he tells Chris, he did not expect Gabriel to continue his relationship with Alex and he’s not sure what he could do to draw Gabriel out.
Sexual tension between Gabriel and Joel. Joel is aware of it, and Gabriel is being deliberately ignorant.
The secret of one’s birth. From Geneva’s case. Gabriel figured out that Geneva’s parents faked her birth certificate, and so she is naturally wondering who she is, and why her parents did this.
When Gabriel wants to dissemble what’s going on with him, he says everything is “fine.”
Gabriel used to have a pet name for Joel, blackbird. This is based on the Beatles song.
Michaela’s a bit of a smartass with her Titanic remark.
Restaurants with strange names: Homme Infernale, which translates into diabolical person.
In The Hanged Man, Gabriel mentioned he wrote occasionally for an online alt magazine called NYCultcha. The beginning of the chapter has one of Gabriel’s article. The problem described within of the New York State Department of Health’s policy with regards to trans people changing the gender on their certificates is real. This has only recently been addressed.
Trivia: “What is above is what is below.” Gabriel almost sounds like his old self, going on about some obscure topic or another.
“Say what, now?”
“The principle of tabula smaragdina.” –The Tabula Smaragdina (Emerald Tablet) is an ancient book of hermetica, mystical knowledge that may have been used for alchemy.
Playlist: We have a few here. Macy Gray, I Try. This is song Gabriel replays while driving Joel to the airport.
I play it off, but I’m dreaming of you
I’ll keep my cool, but I’m fiendin.
Sounds like what Joel is going through, right? But it must speak to Gabriel somehow. He’s playing it compulsively and unconsciously.
The Beatles, Blackbird
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free
The song is is wistful and reflective. Gabriel used it when he and Joel were in a relationship from a sense that Joel has been trying to find a way to free himself from his past. Gabriel focused on art as a means of release for Joel to be his true self.
Barcarole (also Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour) by Jacques Offenbach. This is from the opera “The Tales of Hoffmann.” The opera is based upon stories by E.T.A. Hoffmann and Hoffmann himself. Barcarole is known for its deceptive consonance, a harmony that belies a bit of the sinister. Writer Carl Dalhaus called it two-faced. Since Hoffmann’s genre was the fantastic/horror, it fits. The piece appears in the prologue as Hoffmann’s muse takes on the appearance of Hoffmann’s close friend Nicklausse in order to enrapture him to her only.
Night much sweeter than the day
Oh, beautiful night of love!
Ah! Smile upon our joys!
The Gua that frames the chapter is 53 Developing (Jiàn)
What Happens in Chapter Four:
Gabriel starts the day waking up from another nightmare. Then he begins investigating Geneva’s parents.
He finds out from a former neighbor that Geneva’s parents, Alouette and Christopher Southworth, left their Rochester neighborhood in a hurry in the earlier Seventies, with a mysterious baby that wasn’t theirs. In addition, a suspicious young man was hanging around the house afterwards.
Gabriel then visits Giselle Greenspan. Giselle is paying Sophie’s legal bills, and is her friend. Gabriel and Giselle have spend some time discussing the case and her brother, who is also a person with multiple selves. Giselle likes Gabriel and cultivates him as a friend.
The next person Gabriel sees is Chiang. He updates Chiang on what’s going on inside his mind and his fear of becoming violent. Chiang gives him some advice on finding spiritual protection within himself in order to help others.
When Gabriel returns he falls asleep, and then wakes to find Joel and Chris in the apartment. Joel has decoded some of Leonard’s writing and symbols. He’s uncovered a list of names of women of Eastern European origin. Chris notes how close Gabriel and Joel seem to be. Then Alex arrives. He and Joel immediately engage in some verbal sparring, both trying to establish a place of prominence in Gabriel’s life. After leaving, Joel is satisfied that Gabriel still has feelings for him, and he’s determined to keep on trying to win him back.
Huge props to Lisa Stansfield. Go listen to her. Joel would identify with “Around the World.”
Literally decoding symbols. The book I used for this scene is A Dictionary of Symbols, by J.E. Cirlot.
Foucault’s Pendulum. My favorite book from Umberto Eco. Most people know/prefer The Name of the Rose, but Foucault is one I’ve enjoyed reading dozens of times. Conspiracies that are/aren’t real, semiotics, history, Templars, Rosicrucians, hermeticism, books and a sly sense of humor that sets the tempo for the story.
“Lord Voldemort.” Chris’s name for Alex, Joel calls Alex Harry Potter out of sarcasm.
The incident Gabriel refers to in this chapter and previous chapters happened between the events of The Hanged Man and Two-Faced Woman. The story is here.
Playlist: Lisa Stansfield, of course. “All Around the World.”
He gave the reason, the reasons he should go
And he said so many things he never said before
And he was oh, oh, so mad
And I don’t think he’s comin’, comin’ back
But she’s going to find him. Just as Joel has found Gabriel again.
The Gua that frames the chapter is 28 Great Action (Dà Guò)
What Happens in Chapter Five:
Gabriel has a haunting dream in which Toni Booth approaches him, and then her spirit is taken away.
Gabriel is having a hard time getting himself going, but he has work to do on Geneva’s case. He calls a Rochester criminal defense attorney whom Gabriel’s former mentor recommended. This man tells Gabriel about the baby-brokering scandal that happened in Rochester in the Seventies. A woman named Bernadette McCabe had stolen babies or coerced women to give them up to her, and arranged illegal adoptions. The attorney then gives Gabriel a contact–a retired police detective. This man has more information on the suspicious man hanging around the Southworth’s home–Arthur Knox. Knox is a firebug and all-around nogoodnik. He had worked for McCabe. So had another attorney, Walt Corey, who had ‘mentored’ Knox and probably arranged all kinds of shady deals for McCabe–and himself. Corey is dead and McCabe is suspected to be after a fire burned down her house. Knox’s whereabouts are unknown.
Gabriel has work to do on Sophie’s case today as well. He leaves and picks up Joel and they go to photograph Sophie’s house. They then use Leonard’s notes to find two real places, large houses in Elizabeth. A neighbor lady talks to Gabriel about some of the people who lived in one of the houses. Gabriel deduces that a human trafficking operation was involved. Leonard may have stumbled upon the operation and been killed for his trouble.
Joel does some impromptu research and discovers that the former director of a human trafficking nonprofit in Elizabeth had been horribly murdered ten years ago. While they are considering the connection to Leonard’s murder, Gabriel sees they are being followed. He begins trying to lose the tail, a man clearly trying to kill them. This leads to a chase outside Elizabeth on some highways and wooded areas, until Gabriel pulls some maneuvers to slip past the other driver.
In an out-of-the-way location, Gabriel is feeling rejuvenated and Joel is a little shaken. But also impulsive–he uses the opportunity to kiss Gabriel. Gabriel finds himself responding to this passionate embrace with more feeling and intensity until he’s almost made it a sexual encounter. At least, until a state parks department employee happens upon them.
Gabriel and Joel are both amused as they head to Newark to talk to Michaela. Gabriel’s mood darkens some when he stops to call Alex, as he’s been deliberately ignoring Alex’s calls all day. Gabriel realizes that the situation right now is impossible for him to continue, yet taking action feels impossible as well. Still, he’s enraptured by Joel’s reaction even though Gabriel has no idea how to follow up on what just happened between them.
This is long scene in terms of the encounter between Joel and Gabriel, but it creates a new path. Something set off, a chain reaction, that makes everything completely different. And in Gabriel’s mind, suffering from his guilt and grief, yet confident in his own abilities, the world turns upside down.
Random Points: Some of the areas described in the chase are based upon real parts of the Elizabeth area, including the industrial district, and the dangerous two-lane highway.
Real persons like Bernadette McCabe: Georgia Tann
The Eight-Fold Path in Buddhism is about doing right. Right action, thought, profession, speech, view, intention, mindfulness, and concentration.
The Rockford Files and Kolchak: The Night Stalker; two of my favorites as a kid. Both have a likeable protagonist just trying to make a buck, but tending to get in over his head. And in Rockford’s case, getting beat up a lot.
Playlist: The right music makes or breaks a love scene. To fit the slightly surreal nature of Gabriel falling into this kiss, I like Dido’s Here with me.
I won’t leave
I can’t hide
I cannot be
Until you’re resting here with me
Copyright 2016 Alex Fiano
Page updated March 11/2016