Chapters 32-33 Summary

Ben Caxton awakens to find himself sleeping alone. He wonders where Dawn went. When he calls out, she replies as the lights come up. They talk of their night together, and Dawn says that she was not upset when Ben called out Jill’s name instead of hers as they made love.

Ben is hungry and goes down to the kitchen to find something to eat. He finds that Duke is cooking. Duke explains that Mike can do amazing repairs with just his mind, so there is little work for a mechanic to do. Mostly, Duke is the fire warden and safety inspector, which allows him to do the inspections without letting outsiders in. Duke explains that Ben is going to have his Water-Sharing that night. Duke tells Ben that his life will now be different. No matter how many women he has slept with in the past, Ben will no longer go to bed with any woman who is not his water brother. Duke introduces him to Ruth, who joined Mike’s church along with her husband without hesitation. Jill comes to greet him, pleased that he slept with Dawn and released the jealousy he had of her. Mike senses that Ben is uneasy about everything that has happened. He says that they will not be able to have Ben’s Sharing-Water that evening. Jill objects, not wanting Ben to leave without it. She kisses him, with Mike hanging on to both of them. Suddenly, Mike’s clothes disappear, shocking Ben.

Ben runs off, confused and disgusted by the orgiastic atmosphere in Mike’s church. He goes back to Jubal, who listens to Ben rant against all that Mike is doing. Ben believes that he was hypnotized by Mike, as the Man from Mars is doing to all his followers. Jubal does not agree; he thinks the problem is simply a conflict of Ben’s own emotions and values. He tells him that sex has been the foundation for all of society, and prudery is a recent invention. Ben wonders how Jubal can even consider the truthfulness of what Mike is preaching, but Jubal does. He bets Ben one thousand dollars to return to Mike and see that the disappearance of his clothes was a miracle. Ben does not believe him but returns anyway. Twenty-four hours later, Ben wires Jubal two thousand dollars. Jubal wires Ben’s office, asking what he is doing. Ben replies that he is studying Martian—an indication that he is joining Mike’s inner circle.