CHAPTER 5

The Japanese amulet. Flashback to Zoyd's flight to Hawaii (on Kahuna Airlines) in pursuit of Frenesi -- who, we discover, had left Zoyd for Brock Vond. We meet Frenesi's mother Sasha, a long-time leftist. In Hawaii, Zoyd tries to win back Frenesi, but she's not interested. In a flashback, we get more exposition on Sasha. Back in Hawaii, Zoyd gets a gig playing keyboards on Kahuna Airlines flights. There's a weird "Martian" hijack. Zoyd saves a mysterious Japanese businessman, Takeshi Fumimoto, who gives him a magic "talisman" business card: the same amulet that began the chapter.

 

p. 56 "Kahuna Airlines"    A reference to those silly AIP beach party movies in which Frankie Avalon was "The Big Kahuna."

p. 57 "Feel like Mildred Pierce's husband, Bert"   Another movie reference, this time to a 1945 Joan Crawford movie, Mildred Pierce, based on James M. Cain's novel.

p. 58 "ankling"   Variety show-biz usage, meaning to walk out of, or quit. It's very appropriate for Sasha with her film-biz background.

p. 59 "those eyes of blue painted blue, as the Italian oldie goes..."   The oldie, which is "Volare," goes, "nel blu, nel pinto di blu," or however it's spelled in Italian.

p. 59 "on the astral night flights he would make to be near and haunt her as best he knew how..."   As Zoyd describes to Prairie (p. 40). A sad, moving rendition of lost love.

p. 60 "sex fantasy...[or] ex fantasy"    Always ready for a play on words, that Pynchon.

p. 60 "Book him, Danno..."    Zoyd's suicide fantasy features a Hawaii 5-0 denouement. The Tube forces us to look at the real world via its pre-packaged perceptions. (Incidentally, the Hawaii 5-0 theme surfaces at least two other places -- including the tune played by Takeshi's electronic Giri card.)

p. 61 "zoot-suit effect"    Pynchon is still hung up on these baggy zoots, which were radical black/Latino fashion statements in the early-mid forties. Read more about 'em in Gravity's Rainbow.

p. 61 "gig of death"    Typical Pynchonian mysterioso.

p. 62 "dash-one" = military slang for the user manual. A common element in Pynchon's work is his peppering of slang phrases and references stemming, presumably, from his two years in the US Navy.

p. 65 "Takeshi"    Pynchon is fond of transplanting characters from one novel to another. Takeshi Fumimoto is a perfect example. He made his first appearance as a bit player in Gravity's Rainbow, where he was one of a pair of wacky kamikaze pilots. His first name is almost surely borrowed from Takashi Shimura, the star of Godzilla -- a film referenced in the very same sentence, when Zoyd plays the Godzilla theme music to accompany Takeshi's first appearance. (Pynchon seems to have been thinking about this beast for some time: There's a boat named Godzilla II in The Crying of Lot 49 -- and the word is that he loves Japanese horror flicks. In fact, at one point rumor had it that he was writing a book with Mothra as a major character.)