|A Reader's Guide
to William Gaddis's The Recognitions
Pages 487-541; Friday, 23 December 1949.
The chapter opens with a glimpse of the home life of the Sinisterras as Frank prepares to meet a contact to pass on five thousand dollars' worth of counterfeit twenties, the workmanship of which he is particularly proud. Before leaving he dons a green scarf (left by Otto at Esme's and taken home by his son Chaby).
Mr. Pivner also prepares to leave - also with a green scarf, the sign by which he and his son will recognize each other. He accidentally breaks his last container of insulin, but he plans to pick up another on the way and to take his injection in the men's room of the hotel where he is to meet Otto. Unfortunately, he begins to lose consciousness once he enters the lobby, where he is mistaken for a drunk and ushered out a side door by a hotel employee.
Otto sits at the hotel bar, his thoughts alternating between the prospect of meeting his father for the first time and the prospect of picking up a blonde named Jean seated on the bar stool next to him. Sinisterra arrives, each mistakes the other's identity, and the novels' most comic scene results, Otto believing the five thousand dollars is an unusually generous Christmas present. Shortly afterward Sinisterra encounters the real contact, and both of them await Otto's exit from the hotel. They follow him to the Viareggio, where he lends both Stanley and Anselm money (pretending to have finally sold his play), then to a midtown hotel, where Esme's pornographer friend sells him nude photographs of her, and they finally see him arrested on the street for soliciting an undercover policewoman.
Having cleared up the misunderstanding with the police, Mr. Pivner returns to the hotel. He waits until it is obvious Otto is not coming, then reluctantly returns home, planning to return the next night.
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