Silenced: Chapter 3, Part 1: Straight Talk
Paul is woken up in the pre-dawn hours with the news of the Eiffel Tower disaster. It means, of course, that he will have to go to Europe. Jae wakes up, and is upset–partially that Paul will be leaving (because who could bear to lose such a treasure?) and partially because of, yanno, the loss of life.
[Paul] looked at Jae sadly. “Half a mile of iron and steel fell into the Champ-de-Mars.”
“And this in the name of God.”
“So Magnor says,” Paul said. He hoped and prayed that Christians weren’t really behind this. Who could justify that?
I dunno, Paul. The same people who justify the deaths of thousands because Christians prayed that God would remove all H2O from Los Angeles?
“My flight to Bern leaves in four hours.”
“You going to try to get more sleep?”
“No. I’ve got meetings first.”
Note: this is a lie from Good Christian Paul. By no means his first or his last to poor Jae, who wants nothing more than to repair their trainwreck of a marriage. Paul makes it sound like he’s going to NPO meetings…but he’s just going to chat with Straight.
I hope you all have the fond memories of Stuart “Straight” Rathe that I do. He was a hospital volunteer when Paul was blinded in Soon. And by “hospital volunteer” I mean “stealth Christian who tries to convert specially-selected patients like Paul.” He is Paul’s friend (his only friend) and his marriage counselor (that is, the only person who will listen when serial cheater and emotional abuser Paul whines about how haaaard it is to love his wife), and his Magical Negro.
This is the first time we’ve been to Straight’s apartment, and the slash potential we noticed in Soon continues apace. Jenkins even gives us a two-fer when he makes sure we also know that Paul is not a racist, because he admires Straight’s “magnificent skin.”
We also learn that Straight is a fan of vinyl and linoleum (no, really) before getting down to business. By which I mean, Paul starts whining:
“Any idea how lonely this is?”
Well, Paul, maybe if you hadn’t spent the last eight years destroying your own marriage, you might have a friend and ally in your wife, and wouldn’t be so lonely. Too bad, so sad.
And, with the bodies of the Paris victims still warm, Paul and Straight obsess over the drama of the letter from Paul’s father, whether Jae has it, what Jae thinks about it, what Jae thinks about Paul, and really, Straight should just pass Jae a note in study hall:
“Jae, Paul told me to tell you that he finds you marginally less repulsive and stupid than he did six months ago. Also, do you think he’s a Christian? Please check one.”
And they pray. Not about the victims of the hour-old horrific tragedy, mind you, but about Paul being able to find Christians in Europe. Also about Paul getting a “protective hedge of fire around him.”
Cool superpower, bro.
Finally, Straight gives Paul some actual useful information: the names of the head of the whole French underground (Chappell Raison (“Goes by Chapp.“)) and some guy in Rome (whether he is the head of the Italian underground or just Rome is not mentioned), Enzo Fabrizio.
And more bitchin’ travel times in Atheistopia: it only takes two hours to fly from Chicago to Bern. Atheistopia just improves itself constantly–in Soon, most travel times were about half what they are today. But this flight is less than a quarter of the estimated time today.
Atheistopia, you’ve still got it.