Thanks for coming back! This was really the first chapter where my characters began to surprise me, starting with Solomon.
Speaking of Solomonn, a bit of throat-clearing: I wrote this chapter in 2011 and started to dream up the characters as early as 2009, long before a particular real-life person began to aspire to national political prominence and making a lot of political statements. I won’t deny that this person has played a role in subconsciously shaping the character of Solomon (no less than, say, the role that Cal Ripken would play in my subconscious if I were writing a novel about a baseball players in Baltimore.) I have considered changing details to erase any possible comparisons, however, that would make the story sprawl out in more directions than I am capable of writing well. I have no interest in making any of my characters represent any real-life public figure; there are layers of allegory and metaphor in my story but this isn’t one of them and I simply wanted to warn you not to let my subconscious trick you otherwise.
I hope you enjoy this chapter. It was a lot of fun to write.