The Pale King – Chapter 3


Dear Dave,

What on earth am I supposed to do with Chapter 3?  A one-and-a-half page conversation about that[1] between two unnamed characters driving to Region HQ in Joliet in a Gremlin.  It is uncertain how well they knew each other, if at all, before this little road trip together, mirroring our uncertainty of their identities.  Will we find out later on in the novel who they are, why they are driving to Joliet, and why one of them decides to bring that up?  They do seem rather uncomfortable being stuck in these close quarters together as seen in the fact that they haven’t spoken to each other in the first half hour, just as we – or at least I – got rather uncomfortable once one of them brings up that topic.  The one bringing up the topic seems to be quite the smart ass, and the other seems rather annoyed by the line of questioning.  You’ve given me so little to work with here.

What did catch my attention were the first three words of the chapter: “Speaking of which…”  Now it says in the first line of narrative exposition that they hadn’t spoken for the first half hour of the trip, so what in the world could have prompted that question?  What sort of train of thought leads to that topic and brings it up with the words, “speaking of which”?  There is so much unspoken in those three little words; a psychoanalyst could have a field day with it.  I, on the other hand, don’t even know where to begin.

“Speaking of which…”

You’re killin’ me, Dave.


[1] Having attended church and parochial schools all my life, I am rather uncomfortable even mentioning the word, much less writing at length about it.  But so as to not completely lose my readers, these two unnamed men are discussing, as it was referred to on a particularly memorable Seinfeld episode, “being master of one’s domain.”

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