Jennifer—and How She Got This Way


Why is Jennifer on a plane to New York with a nuclear bomb?
She made a pornographic film in jail—not by choice—if you want to eat you do what you’re told.
Like the heroine of the Angélique novels by Anne and Serge Golon, Jennifer is irresistible.  Her beauty both causes the circumstances she is thrust into, and helps her to manage them.  She is always generous, always knowing, always compelling.
Why was she put in jail?  Her mother died when Jennifer was fourteen after sitting straight up out of a coma and staring at something horrifying—Jennifer's future?—and even in death wouldn't let go Jennifer's hand.
At nineteen she gives birth to a little girl, her father's child, but the baby is sick—constant pain, early deathcaused by the Ovatrine she was taking.  The doctor files a report to the FDA, and the Ovatrine lawyers want to know who the father is.  Dad suicides.  "CORONER FINDS FAYNOR BABY FATHERED BY GRANDFATHER."  Now she's a pariah.  Everybody stares.
The baby is in constant agony.  "She can’t take it! It’ll kill her!"  "Yes," says the doctor, "it will."  The tenderest of mothers, she allows her baby to slip under the surface of the bath, and holds her there.  She is taken away.  "Child-murderer!" shouts one neighbor.  "Father-fucker!" shouts another.

"Either it was an accident, or it was a mercy killing," says her lawyer.  "It can’t be both."  She goes with accident.  The court is disgusted.  Ten years, possible parole after five.
The other prisoners, who miss their own kids, hate her, and take her food.  Starving, she resorts to the protection of Mean Bitch—but she has to play ball.  Playing ball means putting out for Mean Bitch and whoever else—and making a video that will put a little money in Mean Bitch's pocket, a sex video involving a dog.
When she gets out she waitresses and goes to night school, where Phil, taking a course to upgrade his staus in his company, can't take his eyes off her.  She avoids him, but finally goes with him to a company party, where his boss Brice fires him on the spot.  "It’s unfortunate.  He’s a good accountant.  But he’ll never forgive me for taking you away from him.  I can’t work with someone like that."  The company CEO wants her too, but holds his peace.
Courtship.  She confesses to Brice that she's been in prison.  Ouch, but OK.  Because she killed her baby.  He goes down for the count, but the next day he's back.  Marriage.  Second anniversary.  Company stag for somebody else.  Phil goes shopping for porn flicks to show at the stag, and finds Jennifer's.  When Brice and the other men in the company see it, he pukes, gets drunk, gambles away his money, burns down their house and drives his car into the river.  
At the funeral home she prostrates herself on the floor.  Malinson, the CEO who's been watching and waiting, pays for the funeral and puts her in a rooming house.  "The insurance company doesn’t pay when you burn it yourself."  She's no longer really there.  

Gradually she comes around, and he takes her to the opera.  He loves her.  "I'm not lucky," she warns him.  He says, "But within your bad luck—you're lucky.  Aren’t you?"  "There’s a curse on me. I don’t want it to touch you."  He doesn't care.  But his friends don't like what she is, or was.  They can't be a social couple together.  
He takes her to the Riviera.  Prince Omar spots her, meets them by buying shares in Malinson's company.  Jealous, Malinson wants to take her away to Porto Fino—but lingers, because after all Omar is a shareholder.  

She can't go back with Malinson or he'll be ruined, though he doesn't care.  But he does see what she wants, and leaves her with Omar, who effectually kidnaps her, though with charm, into a world where she isn’t an outcast.
In his palace at Abu-al-Abbas she has royal dignity.  He introduces her to Winthrop, a CIA agent who suspects him of financing terrorists, and to Rashid, an Afghani terrorist who warns Omar against her, but wants her.  The CIA man shows Omar the porn film, with which he can humiliate Omar, and Omar gives her money and sends her away—to be assassinated by his servant.  She seduces the servant, cuts his throat and drives away—but where?  
To Rashid, whose number a saleswoman had pressed into her palm at the market, and his fellow student-activists.  Omar will kill her; he has become an American agent.  Should they help her escape?  No, she should help them deal with Omar.  She returns to the palace in Omar's car, loaded with explosives.  The servants park it in the underground lot, and she confronts the shocked Omar and the amused Winthrop, and ticks them off good and proper.  Then she takes the servants shopping for good-bye gifts, and the palace goes up in a column of fire.
Now she really is an outlaw.  The puritanical Rashid is in love with her, but disapproves of her, and of himself.  He and his comrades take her to a market in the Khyber Pass where the international military shop for weapons, and acquire the parts for a nuclear device which they disguise as musical instruments to be assembled as they approach New York.  They call it The Manhattan Project.  
And she has to stop itdoesn't she?  Yes, she does!  But can she?  How?  She picks up drunken Harry, a Harry Dean Stanton kind of guy—"I’m with a private military consultancy. (lowers his voice) We’re doin’ fuckin’ things here you wouldn’t fuckin’ believe!"—and the two of them board the aircraft with her terrorist lover and his partners.  Can she stop this bombing?  

Well, sort of.

2 comments:

  1. Whoe, so who do you see cast as the lovely Jennifer?

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    Replies
    1. It might be too early to say, Max. Someone up-and-coming. We have to see who's available once we're financed.

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