"Tell yourself it's not real. And then they're not people shooting at you anymore, they're targets. And the whole thing becomes just a game." Which any cube would already know, of course, but is also the terrible line we have to walk, and which most importantly is exactly the wavy blurry line that terrified Zoë so much she changed the world. It stopped being real and started being a game, so she gave birth to a daughter, from her own forehead, who could end it all.
Joe comes back, prepared to dissociate the shit out of the living, and meets Emmanuelle across the street from Mysteries. She watches his face, and is impressed by the new hardness of him. Inside, the stage show plays: A Teiresias -- name of Cerberus in this iteration -- who "fires" questions at the audience like a Sphinx, offering epiphany and a touch of the divine: How to win the game.
Teiresias is a huge, huge thing, but essentially: Wise man walking sees some snakes fucking. Kill the boy, turn into one. Kill the girl, turn into one. But -- as my friend Rachel writes -- what if you do neither? What if you kill both? Teiresias is the highest wisdom there is, because he knows both sides of a thing nobody gets to even know half of: What women are, what men are. Anytime you see transvestism or gender-blender stuff in a story like this, you're looking at the ultimate wisdom, the ultimate Guide; more usually, you're looking at something even stronger, which is the Gatekeeper. Guides you can deal with, they're the face of your personal grace and they walk with you, but the Gatekeeper -- Cerberus -- stays in one place. The Siege Perilous, the Boss at the end of every level. You have to come to him, or her. As many times as it takes to get through.
Teiresias is a figure of transformation -- that's why the snakes -- because you're only ever looking at one side, which is the side you're always looking at. Teiresias confronts you with both at once, the front and the back, the light and the dark, the wakeful and dreaming, which is not something we're programmed to do. Which life by its nature forces us slowly and painfully to learn to do. He's the symbol of your endpoint, when you cross the red line and can manage to put on everybody's moccasins at once. She threatens the economy of men and women by transcending them both. He lives on the borderline between life and death because she knows and delights in both.
Cerberus calls Joe onto the stage immediately -- "What do you say, folks? Is this stranger our new Prometheus?" -- and the crowd screams. "Stranger! Stranger! Stranger! Stranger!" The women dance, and the crowd goes still. "I'm just looking for someone," Joe says, and Cerberus laughs. "Aren't we all?" He rips up the picture of Tamara, pretending not to know her, and tells Joe he has to answer the riddle first. Or else -- the Sphinx was another famous hermaphrodite, who asked the same price -- he'll die.