rectum. Such a man was General Hoenikker. Poor Frank had had
almost no experience in talking to anyone, having spent a furtive
childhood as Secret Agent X-9.
Now, hoping to be hearty and persuasive, he said tinny things
to me, things like, "I like the cut of your jib!" and "I want to
talk cold turkey to you, man to man!"
And he took me down to what he called his "den" in order that
we might, ". . . call a spade a spade, and let the chips fall
where they may."
So we went down steps cut into a cliff and into a natural
cave that was beneath and behind the waterfall. There were a
couple of drawing tables down there; three pale, bare-boned
Scandinavian chairs; a bookcase containing books on architecture,
books in German, French, Finnish, Italian, English.
All was lit by electric lights, lights that pulsed with the
panting of the motor-generator set.
And the most striking thing about the cave was that there
were pictures painted on the walls, painted with kindergarten
boldness, painted with the flat clay, earth, and charcoal colors
of very early man. I did not have to ask Frank how old the cave
paintings were. I was able to date them by their subject. The
paintings were not of mammoths or saber-toothed tigers or
ithyphallic cave bears.
The paintings treated endlessly the aspects of Mona Aamons
Monzano as a little girl.
"This--this is where Mona's father worked?" I asked.
"That's right. He was the Finn who designed the House of Hope
and Mercy in the Jungle."
"That isn't what I brought you down here to talk about."
"This is something about your father?"
"This is about _you_." Frank put his hand on my shoulder and
he looked me in the eye. The effect was dismaying. Frank meant to
inspire camaraderie, but his head looked to me like a bizarre
little owl, blinded by light and perched on a tall white post.
"Maybe you'd better come to the point."
"There's no sense in beating around the bush," he said. "I'm
a pretty good judge of character, if I do say so myself, and I
like the cut of your jib."
"I think you and I could really hit it off."
"I have no doubt of it."
'We've both got things that mesh."
I was grateful when he took his hand from my shoulder. He
meshed the fingers of his hands like gear teeth. One hand
represented him, I suppose, and the other represented me.