Inevitably, there’s a lot of symbolism involved in leading an army into battle on the back of a magnificent white charger. Even more so, some might say, when you’re using a genuine old Germanic two-handed broadsword to decapitate a cyborg replica of the man who was once not only your personal friend but the most prized client of your industry-bestriding talent agency.
Ari Gold would understand this symbolism, of course. He’s been many things in his life, but he’s never been a stupid man. What he would not do, however, is care. Caring is for people who aren’t leading the most deadly army known to 21st century Los Angeles on the back of a beautifully groomed white horse straight out of a magazine ad for a Boys’ School in Connecticut.
Ari has the horse and the sword, sure, out front, but behind him it’s all business:
Fifteen hundred men in full body armor, carrying a melange of state-of-the-art assault rifles, grenade launchers, shoulder-mount missiles, and all manner of description of sticks with pointy things on the end.
Thirty armored vehicles- everything from genuine former-Army troop carriers, to 1980s-vintage unkillable pickup trucks, to a late-model BMW 7-Series sedan with armor plating and black-tinted, bulletproof windows.
Air support: Six black helicopters, flying in perfect formation. So many guns, missiles, and rockets lining their wings that Ari can’t help but smile every time he looks at them, like a proud father.
They’re all after one thing: The Murphy Group. Except Ari doesn’t know where The Murphy Group is. He and Eric haven’t exactly traded cards over sushi lately. Ari doesn’t know where the underground hideout is- but someone around here must. Which brings us back to where we started: Ari, on the back of his magnificent white steed, with the decapitated head of a Vince-bot in his hand, riding west down Santa Monica Boulevard. Ari has a map in his head and it looks something like this:
West down Santa Monica, through West Hollywood and Century City, burning and pillaging as they go- destroying anything and anyone that gets in their way- but especially Vince-bots. These people, or things- they hardly even seem like people anymore- but these troglodytes still skulking through this blasted ruin of a city- they seem to think of Murphy as some sort of folk hero. They don’t even know if he’s still alive, or if he ever existed. Ari doesn’t know if he’s alive either, but he sure hopes so- where’s the fun in taking a dead man’s head. But anyway, Ari is going to show them exactly what their hero has done for them.
Loudspeakers on the troop carriers broadcast the message over and over, asking for information. They’re even offering a reward- a case of gold bars from Ari’s personal stash, and a lifetime lease on a condo inside the Green Zone. (The announcement, a careful listener might note, contains no small print about exactly how long that lifetime might be, once Ari has what he wants.)
But anyway, none of the pathetic little fuckers has anything to say. Ari draws his pistol, the big one with the sniper scope, and looks over at what’s left of the country club fairway on his right. His stomach turned- they’ve actually set up one of their disgusting hovels on the 16th fairway. Ari wants to exterminate them, to purify the sacred turf of so many fond memories, but there’s no time. He drops one with a single shot from three hundred yards, and then he rides on.
Ari has a busy day planned. He’s going to slash and burn a path to the ocean. And when he gets there, he’s going to have drinks and a light dinner on the deck at Shutters. He directs his men to start a few extra fires, and watches the ash rise with the greatest satisfaction, watches at it hangs there, diffusing and softening the light in a way the old directors would have paid tens of millions for. Ari smiles: It’s going to be a beautiful sunset.