A Taggart merger

Atlas Shrugged – Day 039 – pp. 379-388

Chapter II — The Aristocracy of Pull

Finally a title that makes sense! This is the world we’re living in right now. Where if you are positioned correctly in the right office and know the right people, you can get – do – say – screw just about anyone or anything. H-E-L-L-O Washington.

The calendar in the sky beyond Dagny’s window said September 2. OK. We’re one year into the book — it read exactly the same when Eddie looked up at it on page 2 or 3.

Incidentally, I recently found out that Sept 2 is “Atlas Shrugged Day.” Happy Belated Atlas Shrugged day to all!

The calendar that timed her race to get the JG line built was now “clocking her race against an unknown destroyer.”

Apparently all the anyones who were anybody in the great Colorado renaissance are fast disappearing. Ted Nielsen of Nielsen Motors is the last remaining. He once swore he would never leave but now he’s not so sure.

“I’ve always thought that I’d rather die than stop working. But so did the men who’re gone. It seems impossible to me that I could ever want to quit. But a year ago, it seemed impossible that they ever could. . . . I can’t tell what I’ll do when I see it — whatever it was that they saw when they went.”

Dagny has hired Quentin Daniels – at Dr S’s recommendation. Per his prediction, they get along swimmingly. His monthly report is on her desk. He accepted — actually demanded — a small salary for the job. Didn’t want to collect unless he was able to produce something. But if and when he did, there was a big percentage in it for him.

In any event, he’s making little progress. Dagny now sees a race between them uncovering the secret of the motor and the destroyer coming for them all.

WTF!!!

“Then, noticing the date, she remembered suddenly that she had to rush home to dress, because she had to attend Jim’s wedding tonight.”

What the hell. When did he meet that girl. What’s it been? Six months? Has he corrupted her completely by now? Guess we’ll find out.

On her way out the terminal, she’s stopped by the cigar stand fellow to whom she gave the mystery cigarette butt.

I’ve been looking for you for a week. Where did you get it?

Long story.

Can you get in touch with the man who gave it to you?

Maybe. Why?

Because he’s checked every resource he has, and. . .

“Miss Taggart, to the best of my knowledge, that cigarette was not made anywhere on earth.”

Aliens!?!?!?

Nah. I guess when you disappear from the face of the earth, you can’t send back for smokes. So I suppose you’d have to build your own factory and blend your own tobacco. Which is no big deal for the likes of the guys gone missing. . .

Cut over to Hank’s suite at the Wayne-Falkland hotel. He’s just got done doing a dirty coal deal (actually he’s overselling his quote of RM) with Ken Danagger. Got to be off the books, in shadows and completely hush-hush. Apparently, defying the G’s directives now comes with some hefty cash penalties and prison time.

At the end of their meeting, they agreed that if they are ever discovered by anyone with contacts in Washington, there’d be no blackmail. They’d go to jail together. (That just didn’t sound right, what with them having dinner in a darkened room and all. Hey, it’s the 50s.)

Now he’s thinking about Dagny. When who shows up?

Lillian.

She’s been invited to Jim Taggart’s wedding as well. Oooooooh. And damn it she wants to go. She’s tired of sitting around the house spending Hank’s money. She wants to out and be seen for a change. Have a little pity Hank.

He suggests dinner anywhere, but not that Taggart’s wedding.

She lays on the guilt and Henry relents.

Scene! Cherryl Brooks is getting ready for her wedding! The Paparazzi are flashing pics all around as she dons her wedding gown.

“An aging sob sister, who had a drippy love column in print and the bitter wisdom of a policewoman in person, had taken Cherryl under her protection weeks ago, when the girl had first been thrown into press interviews as into a meat grinder. Today the sob sister had chased the reporters out.”

(“sob sister”??? … a journalist, especially a woman, employed as a writer or an editor of sob stories. — Ah!!)

“You see, when I got the job in the dime store, I could have moved to a better room,” she said to the sob sister in apology, “but I don’t think it matters much where you sleep at night, so I saved my money, because I’ll need it for something important in the future– . . . I thought I’d need it.”

Clearly not a gold digger.

She recalls their first date. How embarrassed she was and never thought she’d see Jim again. But he called back 2 weeks later and their dates became more and more frequent.

He would take her to the best night clubs, and when he introduced her to his friends, he would say. “Miss Brooks works in the dime store in Madison Square.” She would see the strange expression on their faces and Jim watching hem with a hint of mockery in his eyes.

She felt an odd, burning pain,, new to her the night she heard some woman, who worked for a highbrow political magazine, sat to her companion at the next “How generous of Jim!”

Grrrrrrrr…..

Then there were nights when they’d stay in. No. He’d sit on the bed an complain to her the whole evening.

“. . . it wasn’t for myself, it wasn’t for myself at all — why won’t they believe me, those people? I had to grant the unions’ demands to cut down the trains — and the moratorium on bonds was the only way I could do it, so that’s why Wesley gave it to me, for the workers, not for myself. All the newspapers said that I was a great example for all business men to follow — a businessman with a sense of social responsibility. That’s what they said. It’s true, isn’t it? . . . Isn’t it?”

Better think again Jimmy-boy. . .

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One Comment

  1. Sunnyfunny
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Lillian does love Hank. But like so many bad marriages he turned out to not be the hubby she wanted… but she keeps hoping he’ll change. In the meantime she’s gotten bitter and angry (not to mention used to the lifestyle, which is the only thing in her pathetic existence that gives her any sort of positive reinforcement.) I mean, it must be horrible to love your husband but know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he does not love you. The Lillian we’re presented with is a gal who has built up some serious defense mechanisms.