In the first part of the sixth chapter of Making Money, Moist succeeds and then fails and then succeeds again. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Trigger Warning: For brief mention of suicide.
Y’all, the punchline (kickline?) in this chapter involving Owlswick is seriously one of the funniest things in this whole damn series I CAN’T GET OVER HOW HILARIOUS IT IS TO ME. And I know that sometimes, when you explain or dissect a joke, it’s often not that funny anymore. BUT LOOK AT THE SET-UP TO THIS PUNCHLINE. When Owlswick is mentioned, Pratchett gives us a very, very specific view of him. He is a terrified criminal who doesn’t seem to understand that he did something criminal. And a great deal of Moist’s plan to infiltrate the Tanty to get Owlswick out involves the fact that he’s the most terrified prisoner of all time. It’s such a Moist-esque plan, too, since he loves using people’s biases or prejudices against them. The guards are tough and powerful, so do they really need to be all that tough around such a huge wimp like Owlswick? Bellyster is an even better example of this very same thing. Bellyster hates the Watch, he’s a terrible, terrible person, and so Moist, acting as some lowly Watch member, plays right into Bellyster’s preconceived notions of who he is. He hides in plain sight because Bellyster can’t see anything but the warped version his biases makes him see. It is an absolutely expert con, y’all, and I was so impressed with how Moist manipulated Bellyster into handing over a high profile prisoner, one about to be executed the next day, to someone who was 100% not in the watch.
With all this prep, and with a firmly established character in Owlswick Jenkins, we get this:
The deed was done, the law was observed, honor was satisfied, and Owlswick Jenkins—
—looked up sadly at Moist, kicked him hard in the groin, and went off down the street like a hare.
Y’all. No shackles. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS CORPUS. oh my god??? I cannot get over how fucking funny this is, y’all. Moist, who can manipulate kings and bully wardens and rich people and Gilt and who loses because someone landed a good kick to his groin. THIS IS PEAK COMEDY, OKAY.
It’s through this wonderful, joke, though, that Pratchett then takes Making Money in an all new direction, one that I’m still struggling to wrap my head around. There’s a lot of Moist sneaking around in the first half of this chapter. And for good reason! He just broke Owlswick out of prison, then immediately lost him, and he also has to return the Watch outfit that he stole. He’s got a fantastic reason not to get caught or raise suspicion. So, it made sense that Moist befriended the Igor that worked in the cellar with the Glooper. Here was a part of the bank that few people ever went in, and, as the book puts it:
What he did not say, but what passed between them on the ether, was: You’re an Igor, right? And when the mob are sharpening their sickles and trying to break down the door, the Igor is never there. Igors were the masters of the unobtrusive exit.
Oh, he’s so damn clever, y’all. But he also knows people. That’s how he’s been able to be such a successful con man, and that’s evident here, too. With just a little thought, he realizes that Owlswick went home. He is exactly the sort of person who would do this after escaping from prison! He’s also the sort of person who would threaten to kill himself with paint (paint!!!) and then not take the lid off said tube of paint.
But then… lord, y’all. Moist makes an offer. Well, some sort of offer. It’s not really on the page, but once Moist says this:
“That’s why I’m going to tell you about angels,” he said.
I had to accept that Moist had offered the same sort of deal to Owlswick. But… how??? That would involve faking Owlswick’s execution! But the man is still with him? And Igor is making him look different? Who will be in Owlswick’s place, y’all? Eventually, they’re gonna realize he isn’t in his cell and he isn’t in the palace, so WHAT IS IS MOIST PLANNING?
Wait, there’s actually one last joke here I wanted to discuss briefly. After all of this, Moist discovers that Owlswick can’t create new things. He’s only good at copying things BECAUSE HE’S A FORGER. This is ALSO Peak Comedy, friends, and I can’t believe I didn’t even consider this. I just assumed his talent meant that he’d be just as good at creating something new. When that’s literally not what he does!!!!
I just love how this book is one huge mess after another. It’s so entertaining!
Mark Links Stuff
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