Doughnuts And Coffee (pp. 615 - 636)
19th century veterinary syringes
Back in Göttingen, Kit discovers the credit-line Scarsdale Vibe once extended him has been pulled. Realizing this signals the end of their "mutual understanding", Kit grabs his secret cash-cache and prepares to absquatulate... After finding Yashmeen in the library in the midst of a mathematical epiphany, the two go for a walk, only to be jumped by what Yashmeen refers to as an "Otzovist" - a member of a group of radical anti-Materialist Bolsheviks bent on recalling ("otzovat" = "to recall" in Russian) Lenin's Bolsheviks (who later went on to form the Communist Party in the Soviet Union for reals) whose philosophy revolved around matter and Nature, and their constant reaction to outside forces. The assailant, repelled by Yashmeen's cry of "Yob tvoyu mat" ("fuck your mother"), was yelling "Fourth Dimension! Fourth Dimension" in Russian, and Yashmeen explains to Kit how the Otzovists think she can travel in the fourth dimension - which, it turns out, she actually can do... T.W.I.T. wants her back as well, and Yashmeen explains Madame Eskimoff's belief in the ability to step "outside of Time as it commonly passes here, above this galley-slave repetition of days" (another reference to "against the day"?), which Kit points out would be to interpret the fourth dimension as time. After explaining the process as a movement through a "cut" connecting "Riemann's multiply-connected spaces" (again with the bilocation), Yashmeen and Kit stop at a café, where Kit tells Yashmeen about the Vibe situation ("... if it doesn't work with gold, the next step will be lead" - money or bullets) and his imminent exile. Yashmeen, finding herself in a similar predicament what with her father's position in the Russian government in jeopardy after the Russian Revolution and the Otzovist threat, suggests going to T.W.I.T. for a solution.
Kit thinks he sees Foley Walker, dressed in an outfit "no description of whose tastelessness can be comfortably set upon one's page", which of course Our Man goes on to describe - then chalks it up to being merely an apparition from the fourth dimension. Steeped in paranoia, Kit is visited in the middle of the night by Foley (this time "inelegantly turned out contrary to a whole raft of public-decency statutes"), after which Kit reckons "yo tengo que get el fuck out of aquí" (a classic - enough to be used twice, check page 318).
Kit finds himself at a "Mickifest" ("Mickey Finn" = bar drink laced with chloral hydrate, usu. "slipped" to an unsuspecting patron in order to rob them after they pass out) with a group of his classmates. Big Günther revives over-Mickey'd Humfried with a coffee enema applied with an elephant syringe, then Kit and Gottlob walk the enema-ee to the hospital. Foley tries to apprehend Kit outside the hospital entrance, at which point Humfried provides Kit with a perfect escape by presenting Kit to the waiting orderlies as the patient.
Kit wakes to find himself being attended to by the extremely anti-Semitic Dr. Willi Dingkopf ("willy", "ding"="head", "kopf"="head" (both German), "ding-k", you make the joke), under the guise of diagnosis, prodding Kit for the possiblity he himself may be a Jew, on the basis of his last name, Traverse. Dingkopf expounds on his racist concepts, lashing out at Marx, Freud and Cantor, even after it's pointed out Cantor isn't even Jewish. The hospital compound turns out to be constructed on the "principles of Invisibilism", almost disconnected from the physical world as a result of it's extreme rationality. Someone who Kit assumes ("in his innocence") is a guard explains this resulting in "a few tangles of barbed wire defining the plan-view of something no longer quite able to be seen... perhaps certain odors as well". The person wears a uniform with a Kolonie insignia - a patch with an ax-blade sunken halfway into a human brain, with the motto "So Gut Wie Neu" - "Good As New".
After hearing of a possible real Dirigible landing on the Kolonie's Dirigible Field (usu. a football field), Kit learns of the patients' legend of the Dirigible coming to spirit them away to Doofland, "the ancestral home of the mental inmate". The inmates joke that the football they're playing with "has about as much bounce as the head of Jochanaan", a reference to Strauss' Salome from which inmates had taken a number of taunts to their captors.
A patient, powdered head-to-toe with sugar, claiming to be a jelly-doughnut and yelling "Ich bin ein Berliner!" finds Kit and explains Yashmeen sent him to help him escape. After finding kit asleep at the fence, Dingkopf frees Kit, telling him his British friends have interceded on his behalf. He meets Yashmeen, who tells him of T.W.I.T.'s interest in finding Shambala. They meet Lionel Swome, who tells Kit of the plan to have him elope with Yashmeen to Switzerland. In return for his relocation, Kit is asked to find Yashmeen's father, Auberon Halfcourt, in Kashgar, and return Halfcourt's report to T.W.I.T.
On the day before Kit and Yashmeen leave, the two and Günther make a farewell visit to the Museum der Monstrositäten, a mathematical-monstrosities museum. They find the black-halled underground "temple" strangely deserted, load-bearing statues "... brandishing weapons somehow not yet decipherable, featuring electrodes and cooling fins and so forth". They find murals of recent events in mathematical history, exhibiting "parallax effects" as one walked past, with "background figures" actually appearing and disappearing as one walks past. The three are led by signs to a huge anamorphic room, with 360-degree murals reflecting off of a huge cylindrical wall, real-world objects placed in the "zone of dual nature" between the viewer and wall, provoking Günther to wonder out loud what would happen if the viewer were to cross the space and approach the wall.
Needing some time alone to say good bye, Yashmeen and Günther send Kit to the Quaternions wing, where he comes across a replica of Sofia Kovalevskaia's crumpled handkerchief, an example of a "surface devoid of tangential planes". Reappearing, Yashmeen mentions to Kit her fascination with Kovalevskaia, leaving Kit to say goodbye to Günther. Turns out Günther is headed to Mexico to manage a family coffee plantation - from "chloral to coffee", for the second time in a few days...
The chapter draws to an end with a mysterious voice addressing the trio from somewhere inside the museum - raising again the question where, who, and most puzzlingly when exactly are they - and as a result, we?
Notes And Comments
p618 Yashmeen's fear?
p619 Did Kit imagine Walker's visit? Bilocation?
p620 What voices did Walker claim to hear?
p622 "pun" upside down "und"
p623 "Achtung, Schwetser!" - "Hellooooooo nurse!" ?
p625 the Kolonie as concentration camp
p625 Kolonie insignia?
p625-626 the Dirigible legend - crossing over to Chumps?
p626 "Ich bien ein Berliner!"/doughnut, JFK ref, why?
p627 Kit makes it only to the fence, jelly-doughnut guy a dream?
p631 Baku and Johannesburg all over again
p632 museum/temple, black substance, futuristic load-bearing statues, etc... wtf?
p633 parallax effects
p633 anamorphic presentation of mathematical events
p634 Günther's suggestion one's crossing the zone of dual nature results in timelessness
p636 "Children." "You know who I am"