this section is in 3 parts.
YDAU  month?
place ETA, Boston
The scene is purely dialog without narration. Mario and Hal are in their dorm room trying to sleep, and Mario is keeping his brother awake. Mario is lavishly praising Hal's tennis victory earlier in the day. Hal tells him not to rehash these things. and tries to get him to go to sleep. Mario [aka Booboo] says that Hal rooms with him because he feels sorry for him. Hal says petulance is a sign of too little sleep. Mario asks if Hal believed in God while he was winning the game. Hal says 'this again' and then to shush him says he has 'administrative bones to pick' about God's 'laid-back management style' and that unlike him God is 'pro death.' Mario asks if he's talking about the death of Himself. Hal bypasses the question saying they have an 'unbridgeable difference' on the issue. Hal tells Mario a joke:'what do you get when you cross an insomniac, an unwilling agnostic and a dyslexic... someone who stays up all night torturing himself mentally over the question of whether or not there's a dog.' Mario asks why the Moms never cried when Himself died, and asks if she even seems happier now. He says she stopped traveling for the corporate grammar and library protest things. Hal says that she even more OC than ever and that she just goes back in forth in the tunnel between her office and the headmaster's house. Mario says her eyes are better, not so sunk in and she laughs at CT more than she ever did at Himself. Hal says he's pretty sure that she was sad, just in her own way. Hal asks if Mario remembers how the flag was flown at half-mast, and still is once a year. He notes that there are two ways to do this--by lowering the flag halfway, or by raising the pole to twice it's height.
YDAU  April 1
narrated in third person
The medical attache is still watching the unlabeled cartridge at 2010h [43 minutes later].
YDAU  October
narrated in third person
This part is narrated in third person, but very much from inside Orin's head. Orin [Hal's brother]wakes up alone in his apartment in Phoenix, with his fetally curled impression sweated into the sheets, even though the AC is cranked. Morning is his worst time psychically. He finds an "Ambush" perfume scented note from last night's 'Subject' with her phone #and school-girl handwriting with hearts over the i's. On this October morning the heat outside is 'beastly' while inside it's so cold that the floor hurts his bear feet. He eats breakfast of toast and honey outside by the pool in the center of his ring-shaped apartment complex The plants are described as malevolent and tortured by the weather. He has just returned from a football game in Chicago, where his team was beaten, and he and the place kicker are the only players not still in pain. He recalls sitting in the jacuzzi 5 days ago, 'caring for the leg' [he's a punter] when a bird drops dead and falls into the jacuzzi out of the empty sky. Orin previously played for New Orleans before being traded to Phoenix [for 3 players and cash.] The huge 'sewer roaches' in Phoenix are 'armored-vehicle-type bugs' and Orin has found that the only way to kill them is to cover them with a tumbler until they asphyxiate. He's also not crazy about spiders, but nowhere near as much as Himself [who grew up in Tucson]. Orin's true horror is roaches, and back in New Orleans, he had decided to seek being traded after a spate of flying roaches had been attacking infants, resulting, in combination with flooding, of body parts coming to rest in his yard. Mornings are the worst time for Orin, especially if the Subject is still there wanting to cuddle or make him breakfast. Even when alone 'these darkest mornings start days that Orin can't even bring himself for hours to think about how he'll get through the day. These worst mornings with cold floors and hot windows and merciless light--the soul's certainty that the day will have to be not traversed but sort of climbed, vertically, and then that going to sleep again at the end of it will be like falling, again, off something tall and sheer.' His bad dreams have gotten worse here in the land his father abandoned in his unhappy youth. In a nod to his own youth his dreams always open with competitive tennis situation [Orin had apparently been a tennis player before playing football] eventually he is submerged in something that suffocates him only to emerge with his mother's neatly amputated head is attached to his head with the gut string from a tennis racquet. Last night's Subject's note had said that she awakened to him gripping her head. His second to last Subject before the recent one had awakened him watching an extremely gruesome Interlace educational cartridge on schizophrenia,wherein a schizophrenic subject is pumped full of radioactive dye and sent through a PET scanner. Orin waited impatiently for her to leave and then sent her kid a gift and changed his phone number. Orin's team is pressuring him to give an interview, and answer in a 'blandly sincere team-PR way, the unexamined stress of which drives him to start calling Hallie again, reopen that whole Pandora's box of worms. Orin shaves in the shower without a mirror using upward strokes.
the first scene reveals a lot more about the family history and the dynamic between the parents, and between Hal and Mario. It's still not exactly clear what's wrong with Mario, but it's clear that Hal kind of looks out for him as if he were the younger.
the natural environment of the third section is almost pre-apocalyptic [was DFW hip to the threat of global warming back then?] The reader is left wondering why Orin is so tormented by morning, by roaches, by intimacy, and what it all has to do with his father's unhappy childhood, with his mother and her severed head, with calling Hal to reopen the Pandora's box of worms.