Unlike Ball Dangler, Straight gets an exclamation point. Because I’ve almost kinda…missed Straight. We are 17 chapters in and he’s only been name-checked so far as Paul tries to skull-phone-call him.
And if there’s one thing Straight can always be relied upon to do, it’s bring the crazy. Rude space-invading guy that he is.
Sadly, there’s not much to say here.
But that won’t stop me!
Straight has been volunteering at the hospital quite a bit, “visiting the injured of all ages.” I’m really not sure how much his “visiting” can possibly be helping in this situation. It’s portrayed in Soon as Straight trying to stave off the boredom of long-term patients, like Paul after his supernatural-light-column-blinding. I would think the last thing people would be feeling, 48 hours after the genocide, would be boredom. Would they really be so anxious to listen to the sax right now? Or do many of them need secret letters written to potential future mistresses?
It doesn’t really matter, because, as usual, the main point of seeing Straight is certainly not to see him help out others in a very Christian manner. Instead, he’s being pulled into a clandestine meeting with a doctor:
[Straight had seen the man in surgical greens and booties, so he was an operating-room man.
An operating-room man????
Um, Straight…honey…where I come from, we call such people surgeons. Though, come to think of it, the guy could just as easily be a surgical nurse. Then again, probably not as easily, because he is a man, and I’m sure Jenkins would never make a man a nurse, like some…lady or something.
Dr. Gregory Graybill (*snerk*) sneaks Straight a business card with a “secure” number written on the back (Are these meant to be secret skull phone numbers, or secret old-school corded phones like Ranold has in his house? We are never told.)
Straight is instructed to call the “operating-room man” at the secure number “at 2 a.m. within the next three days.”
Ooooo, spy stuff!!!
Cut to a long scene of Felicia and her husband grieving. We’ll hit that next time, because I want to hit the rest of Straight’s story first.
It was all Straight could do to stay awake, and he knew he should not have stretched out on the bed.
Um, set an alarm? Why are LaJenkinsian heroes so frequently befuddled by the basics of everyday living?
But Straight manages to startle himself awake just in time for the appointed super-sekrit squirrel call.
In which the doctor instructs Straight to meet him at the hospital to talk.
YOU BOTH WERE JUST AT THE HOSPITAL WHY WAS IT EVEN NECESSARY TO CALL EACH OTHER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TO PLAN TO MEET AT THE HOSPITAL AGAIN???
As we have previously discussed, Christians (well, of course the doctor is a secret Christian) are the worst at spy games.
And…cut to the next part of the Felicia-and-Cletus stuff.
Yep, Jenkins randomly cuts off Straight’s conversation without telling us the extremely shocking and secret information of where this hospital volunteer and surgeon will met. We will not find out the answer until Chapter 20.
But because I love you guys, I’ll reveal the shocking twist right now…
They’re going to meet and have lunch in the hospital cafeteria.
Yep, I can totally see why this plan was worth a clandestine meeting at the hospital to exchange phone numbers, followed by a clandestine phone call in the middle of the night to set the meeting.
At the hospital cafeteria.
That is all much less suspicious than just asking Straight if he would like to have lunch in the cafeteria sometime.
They SUCK at being spies. So bad.
Time to check in the with the leader of the entire planet!
You all may remember Chancellor Baldwin Dengler (known affectionately ’round these parts as Ball Dangler), but just in case you don’t, Jenkins takes the opportunity to remind us that he is tall and graying. Strangely, Jenkins does not remind us of Dangler’s “exceptionally long fingers.” Though he gives us a new detail: “press reports that his stride was half again longer than a normal man’s his height.” Okay, then.
I guess the press has nothing better to do than measure and compare the stride length of men of a specific height. I also tend to get bored with the endless articles about decades of peace, cancer-curing, homelessness-ending, and environmental improvement.
As was ominously foreshadowed in the last book, Dangler has sons but no daughters. So God, in his infinite wisdom and love and long-suffering, deigned to murder Dangler’s eldest son, himself a husband and father.
I have often found it odd that Jenkins, who infamously believes that atheist marriages are less likely to be happy than RTC marriages, all evidence to the contrary aside, makes marriage just as normal and expected in Atheistopia as it is in our present world. Additionally, there is never the slightest hint that Dangler’s long marriage, or the marriages of any of his sons, are anything less than excellent.
Indeed, so grief-stricken is Dangler that he goes for a walk on the Aare, ignoring the protestations of his aides, and half-hopes he’ll fall through the ice. Oh, and turns out that more than one nameless grandson has died, too. Poor guy. And he still has to lead the free world.
Jenkins makes a point of telling us that Dangler now sees life as “worthless, hopeless, pointless.” HA, just like ALL atheists do, amirite? What with their not believing in God and all! I just knew that if God murdered half a man’s family, he would feel bad about life!
But Dangler powers through his grief, because, apparently, he is just that awesome a leader. And his thoughts turn to the most important hero is the history of ever, Jerry Jenk—er, Paul Stepola.
Dangler, like Felicia, is absurdly, almost hilariously (in a cry-until-you-laugh way) forgiving of Paul. Granted, Dangler doesn’t know it was Paul himself who authored the manifesto praying for the genocide, but he does know that this guy spent hours in his company, eating giant sammiches and talking philosophy, and never even sailed close to the area of even hinting that there might be a God who was ready to kill millions of babies and little boys and grown men.
Nope. It is implied that Dangler was angry at Paul for about an hour or two, but now, with his son and grandsons two days dead, Dangler can admit that Paul was right…um, even though Paul never actually told the chancellor what he was really thinking.
God had needed to act in this dramatic fashion to get his attention. It had been his own fault.
God needed to kill my innocent son and my little grandsons! It all makes sense now!
Another one bites the dust.
The punishment for the crime of not believing shall be the deaths of children. The atheists have created a world with no cancer, homelessness, or pollution, but since they have partaken in a thought crime that never hurt anyone anywhere, their children are sacrificed where they stand. The sins of the fathers really are visited on the children.
Thinking about this just never stops being hideous.
Having this Stockholm-Syndrome-like epiphany, Dangler has only one thing to do…
GET ME PAUL STEPOLA!
Oh yeah. He’s in hiding. And Dangler knows that. Whatever.
I’d like to think that Dangler just wants to get his hands on Paul so he can slowly strangle him, but we now know that won’t happen. Wouldn’t want anyone to have a normal reaction to this event for more than a minute, would we?
Well. We are barely a third of the way through Shadowed, and already it is more horrific than I imagined. And if memory serves, it only gets crazier from here.
So for a change of pace, I got a Christian movie from the library. One set, unlike every other piece of entertainment ever critiqued here, exclusively in Bible-Type Times.
And an odd thing happened.
I kinda…enjoyed it.
No joke. I liked this movie. As in, would rate it above a five out of ten. It’s not a great movie, it’s far from perfect, and it suffers from so many of the same problems as so much of our other fare. And yet, I liked it.
It’s another movie from the folks over at Pure Flix, who also brought us the joy and delight of Christmas with a Capital C.
This is a rather different animal, though…
What do you think of a critique of this being our intermission at the halfway point of Shadowed?
Let me know what you think. Because I’d like some second opinions!
Felicia Thompson hated working late, but that was nothing compared to risking her life to join the resistance.
“Of course, all that was nothing compared to losing her son 48 hours ago.”
Oh wait, Felicia doesn’t actually say that.
For years she had thought working for Paul Stepola in a high-security-clearance job in the Chicago bureau of the NPO was the very definition of stress.
“Then her son died, and she truly learned the very definition of stress.”
Oh wait, Felicia doesn’t say that, either.
Okay, so she does have this to say:
Losing a son—a bright, beautiful, overachieving, in-love twenty-seven-year-old—had doubled her over with grief.
Though not so much that she hasn’t stayed at work almost from the moment it happened.
When was Felicia so doubled over with grief that she couldn’t answer Paul’s phone calls, or call him herself? Or do his dirty work for him?
To top it all off, Sensitive Felicia is afraid her husband, a middle school teacher named Cletus, will commit suicide, he is so grief-stricken.
But she’s still at work. But don’t worry, she calls Cletus to tell him that she’ll be home in only a few hours. So you can see how devoted to her family she really is.
And in between doing Paul’s dirty work for him, she’s been pestering him on how to convert. Because now that God has shown himself real by murdering her son, she wants to make sure she ends up where her son isn’t, and be able to worship the being that murdered her son, ASAP.
What a great mom.
Paul, in a odd little surge of foresight, has left a secret file at work, just in case he ever can’t make it into work but still wants to instruct a coworker on how to convert.
Of course, I suppose Paul could just tell Felicia over the skull phone, but I guess he doesn’t feel like it. Instead, he leaves her a skull phone message to tell her how to find it.
“It appears to be random notes about the crazy believers,” his message said, “but it is a prescription for receiving Christ.”
This prescription is a short three paragraphs, condescendingly ending with this:
People “receive” Christ by what they call the A-B-C Method. Accepting this truth. Believing in God and Jesus and what he did on their behalf—dying on the cross for the their sin [sic]. And Confessing this, or telling someone else.
I get that this ABC thing is a Thing, but that doesn’t make it any less silly.
(Although there seems to be some disagreement on what the A, B, and C should stand for. This site, for example, has the A as Admit and the C as Consider. (And they have a D… for Do.))
The transaction, as some like to call it, happens when they acknowledge this in prayer—that they are sinners, need God’s forgiveness, and receive it and Him.
And I’m sorry to keep harping on this, but it seems to me that it’s God that has just committed the truly unforgiveable sin, by offing all those men, little boys, and little babies.
Reading this file in her car (Sorry, Suicidal Cletus, I guess you’ll just have to wait a bit longer to see the mother of your dead son!), Felicia admit to herself that she had always really believed in God, “until it had been all but shamed out of her in elementary school.”
Really? The same elementary schools where “God was simply never mentioned“? Okay.
Felicia checked her rearview mirror [she has pulled into a random parking lot]. The last thing she wanted was to attract attention, particularly of a cop. How would she explain sitting there in the dark, reading a top-level-security-clearance federal file by the tiny car ceiling light, and weeping?
Well, first of all, I can only imagine the cops have more important things to do right now. There are (respectfully) naked, dead corpses and stolen cars to deal with, after all!
Secondly, I can only imagine that that two days after the incident, the sight of people breaking down and weeping in public would be an all-too-common sight, and not something that would shock anyone, let alone a cop.
Finally, how would the cop or anyone else know, just by looking, the clearance level of the paper Felicia is reading?
Gotta love the priorities of our newest (almost) RTC!
Felicia further reflects on how she doesn’t really want to go home (even though her son didn’t die at home, but at his own home, in his fiancée’s arms). This is a sentiment that strikes me as understandable, but still self-serving in the way it always feels self-serving to me when people claim, “Oh, I hate hospitals!” or “I hate funerals!” Because the rest of us love them so much. You may not want to go home, Felicia, but your son is dead and your husband needs you. Get your ass home and quit stalling!
Yanno, I’m a big enough evil atheist to admit when I’m wrong, and I was wrong in my recollection that this chapter actually contains Felicia’s transaction. She actually comes only so far as “no more pretending God didn’t exist,” but demands in prayer an answer as to why he would kill her son, since that act doesn’t exactly seem one of a god who loves her. Go figure. She considers this question a “sincere challenge,” so she figures it’s only fair that God will answer it. Then she’ll make her decision.
I’ll say this for her—ridiculous as the whole thing is, that’s still way more thought than Paul or Jae put into their conversions.
Yeah, so this is pretty much happening every chapter: a new way for the underground zealots to be unspeakably horrible.
Paul is awake in bed and Jae is asleep next to him:
Was she finally sound asleep, feeling secure, warm, and fuzzy at the thought of her family under one roof? [Paul wondered]
It has been two days since the deaths of Jae’s brother and mother. However she might be feeling, I doubt it is warm and fuzzy.
Then again, Jae is RTC now, and is already abdicating parenting duties to her third-grader, so maybe I am giving Jae too much credit here.
Anyway, Paul is awake because he is thinking about the latest scheme of horror to be proposed by a zealot:
Pudgy Jack wants to flood the planet.
Yup. The slaughter of men, little boys, and little babies two days ago is not nearly enough to sate this man’s bloodlust. He calls this prayer plan “Operation Noah,” and even has a handy work-around to God’s promise never to flood the Earth again: “selective floods,” which Jack characterizes as basically flooding the entire planet except for Los Angeles, which would remain the refuge point for Christians.
“Believers can flee there. For anybody else who tries, it’s feast or famine. Get washed away in a flood or die of dehydration in L.A.”
I know I say this a lot, but wow. Just wow. The bodies are barely cold. People are still trying to even find the naked, carless bodies of their loved ones. And Jack wants all those survivors dead. The whole planet.
Though the thought occurs to me that “selective” flooding of the entire planet except one city is exactly the sort of “Gotcha!” I would expect from this God: “Ha ha, suckers! I promised never to destroy the whole planet by flood again! But I never promised not to destroy 99.9999999999999999999999999% of the planet by flood!”
(Still, it’s a pretty dumb plan. A worldwide flood only worked the first time because it had never rained before and nobody else had a boat. But there are rather more boats in the world now. I don’t think the evil atheists’ odds are as bad as Pudgy Jack assumes.)
Regardless, Paul is awake because he is very vaguely opposed to Operation Noah, not quite because he doesn’t want other innocent people to die, but because “he was weary of judgment, of mayhem, of chaos.” How big of him. How compassionate.
Stay tuned next week—I broke this chapter into two parts because the rest of it is taken up by paragraph after interminable paragraph about Felicia’s conversion.
Another super-short chapter from Dan Brown-wannabe Jenkins.
Even in a chapter this short, though…I mean, I knew things were going to get even more jaw-droppingly horrible as we progressed, but I had still somehow forgetten about some of the little horrible things. Like, say, this gem:
Jae watched carefully as Brie rejoined the kids and sidled up to Connor. On one hand Jae worried how such news would hit him, but on the other she trusted Brie to share it better than she herself could.
She trusts her eight-year-old child to deliver news like this to the six-year-old.
IN A ROOM FULL OF OTHER CHILDREN BECAUSE IT IS STILL JESUS STORYTIME.
Jae is some kind of stone cold bitch, I’ll say that for her.
Mother of the Year, too.
Bizarrely, it’s actually not quite as bad as I first assumed…I mean, I thought Jae had tasked Brie to deliver the news of Uncle Berl’s death to little Connor. But no, Brie is instead just telling him about the whole on-the-run-from-the-gubmint. Connor takes it well, because this means they’re now “bad guys” and that is awesome.
But I still wonder…does Jae think Connor will remain six years old forever? Sooner or later, he is going to learn about Berlitz and all the other firstborn sons. And she’s already establishing that her eight-year-old daughter will be the bearer of news to her six-year-old son?
I just don’t even, at this point. The kindergardener needs to know they’re in hiding because of Jesus, but not that Jesus killed one of his most-loved people last night?
And yanno, I can’t even get over this—I already knew my mother was awesome beyond measure, but she also never made me break life-changing news to my little brother when I was eight and he was six.
Anyway, back to our new pal, Greenie! (He’s Irish, don’tcha know!)
Jack has tapped Greenie to be in charge while he (Jack) takes his little field trip to the surface world. Paul, who has been a part of this organization, let’s remember, for less than forty-eight hours, starts grilling Greenie like this is all some job interview:
“People respect you around here?”
“You want the responsibility, the head job?”
Is it just me, or does Paul seem just a leeeeetle bitter that Jack didn’t offer the position to him? I mean, surely Paul couldn’t take it, since I’m sure he has much more important things, no doubt of global importance, to do, but still…it’s always nice to be asked. To be respected.
Greenie is fine to take up the mantle of Supreme Dictator of the D.C. Underground, in and of itself, but a new problem has reared its ugly head:
“Okay, we’re seeing some evidence that someone might be hacking into our server.” [said Greenie]
“How can that be?” [asked Paul]
“I don’t know, and you wouldn’t either if I told you, would you?”
“I don’t suppose I would.”
Am I just tired, or does that exchange make no sense?
Paul heads out into the hall and makes a skull phone call to the one useful person in this story so far: Felicia.
SHE IS STILL AT WORK.
Her son is dead. Her SON is DEAD. And she is still at work.
Felicia was “about to call [Paul] anyway“…yanno, to inform him of the hacking and all. Apparently Paul completely sucks at being a double agent, because he hasn’t spotted any of the other agents all around the USSA, who are all doing a bang-up job themselves, since the various undergrounds are on the verge of being, “contaminated,” “compromised,” and “exposed.”
We haven’t mentioned this in quite some time, but Atheistopia just always does a great job at…well, everything.
Also, I amuse myself by imagining that Felicia is lying through her evil atheist teeth, and never had any intention of calling Paul, and was just waiting for the moment he would be captured and napalm-barreled for praying to his enforcer to kill her son.
But no. Sadly, my little fantasy only lasts until the next line of dialogue, when Felicia tells Paul that she is “pretty well committed to your side now” and “what I need is God.”
Another one bites the dust. Sad,
Paul knows rich people!
Isn’t that exciting—isn’t that just almost as exciting as being rich yourself—knowing the right people???
Of course, sometimes you have to be careful of rich people…they can be just a bit self-absorbed:
[Arthur Demetrius] just jumped right in to his own agenda. “Paul, I miss you, man. Wish you were here, counseling me, teaching me, guiding me.”
“After all, you’ve been a Christian for a couple weeks more than I have, man!”
Arthur proves himself just as sociopathic as the next LaJenkinsian RTC:
“I can’t for the life of me figure how anyone can doubt God now, can you?”
Well, granted, Art, you got a personal miracle in the form of your murdered-by-silver brother. Not everyone was so “lucky.”
“How long will God put up with this? Doesn’t He have to intervene, even more than He has, if you can imagine that?”
Hot damn. The bodies aren’t even cold yet, and Arthur wants more “intervention” from God? That is some bloodlust, pal. Even Paul isn’t that bad. Usually.
Anyway, Arthur proposes a scheme that floors even Paul: he’ll put half his money “in a protected Swiss account,” from which he will donate five million dollars per month to each region’s underground.
Even assuming forty years’ worth of inflation, that still seems quite generous, so I guess that’s nice.
Paul is all excited, since this would “even the playing field between the international government and the zealot underground.”
That is some kind of sense of proportion Paul has, given that, again, the (naked, car-less) bodies aren’t even cold.
Meanwhile, one member of the Apostle family has an actual human reaction to the horror of this whole situation: little Brie bursts into tears in the middle of Jesus-storytime (seriously, do these kids ever study math or spelling or anything except how awesome Jesus is???). Jae, of course, prays about the problem, though I’m not sure she understands what the problem is, since Brie herself seems fuzzy on what has actually happened.
[Jae] wanted to tell the truth, but a lot of this was way too much for an eight-year-old.
Well, Jae, maybe her father should have thought of that before he wrote the manifesto praying for the deaths of millions, including his allegedly-beloved wife’s brother.
After chatting up their biggest “partner,” who is no doubt wiring his love gifts to Switzerland even as we speak, Paul heads back down to Roscoe’s cell. This scene serves little to no purpose, other than to reiterate that Roscoe is “whiny,” and that Paul has somehow managed to fool himself into genuinely believing that “we don’t kill people we don’t have to. It’s not what we’re about.”
But the really hilarious part (and, indeed, it is played for laughs), is that Roscoe hates God, and that Paul (and, presumably, Pudgy Jack) wants to kill Roscoe. However…
“That’s just our flesh talking. God would have us spare you. So be careful how you refer to Him around us.”
“That’s for sure.”
Back at the
ranch Bible study class, Jae tries to explain Uncle Berlitz’s death to little Brie, a task somewhat hampered by the way that Jae couches it in terms of Poor Daddy and how the government is oppressing them all. No talk of how God oppressed Uncle Berl into the grave—indeed, Jae pulls the good old RTC not-quite-lying trick and says that Berl died in a car accident, not that God killed him…and then the car crashed because he couldn’t drive it, what with being dead and all.
Damn, I tell ya, this book is a gift that keeps on giving—no sooner have we gotten past discussion of Roscoe Wipers’ “retail shop” name than we are introduced to a new lovely character…
Greenie (“Please don’t ask”) Macintosh
Yeah. Oh, um, he’s Irish. Just in case there was any doubt.
I get the feeling that Jenkins thinks all of Ireland is like this:
And of course, there’s a whole story behind Greenie Macintosh’s name (because we all need to know just how clever Jenkins is with non-American names, even though he has already more than proved it with such classics as Baldassare and Calvino, Hannah Palemoon, and Ming Wong Toy Woo).
His mother (‘scuse me, his “ma“) named him Grenadier.
“Somebody who lobs grenades. We’re a warring people in a warless world.”
Okay. Okay, first of all, I don’t think you can call yourself warless now, not with all the stripped corpses lying in the streets.
Secondly, are people really so concerned about the meanings of names? I mean, my name means something, and I have never once in my life had anyone so much as make reference to the meaning. It’s just a name.
So, young Grenadier tries to get his friends to call him Gil, but they just tease him that he “looked like a fish and a little green around the gills,” so they call him Greenie.
Which doesn’t explain why he still goes by Greenie as an adult in the USSA, but hey, isn’t it clever? Greenie? Macintosh? From Ireland! It’s perfect!
Greenie is Pudgy Jack’s first officer. And on that exciting note, the chapter ends.
Jenkins weirdly goes out of his way to tell us that Jae wakes up at nine in the morning on Wednesday, January 23. Meaning that he has access to the internet, so he can tell us for certain that the slaughter of the innocent firstborn sons will take place on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2047, 6:00 p.m. EST.
Good to know.
Jae reflects as she lies in her palatial apartment:
So this was what it meant to be a believer. Grief over her brother. Mourning her mother. Horrified at the unspeakable magnitude of loss around the world. And yet a deep sense of peace. She wasn’t happy. Jae couldn’t call it that, not with everything that had happened. But there was a bedrock contentment that God was somehow in control.
So much in control that he killed her brother and let her mother die of a heart attack. So much in control that Berlitz is in Hell, now and forever, and nothing anyone ever says or does will get him out.
I suppose there must be some bizarre sense of contentment, a really warped version of it, at least, when you know an evil dictator is in charge of everyone’s life and death and afterlife. In a certain way, it would make decisions easier—like whether to resist said evil dictator, or worship him. Paul and Jae and I all find this an easy decision.
Speaking of Paul, we find that he has another amazing James Bond-like ability!
…he had the ability to recover from extended exhaustion with one good night’s sleep, as long as he got in enough hours.
Wow. Real special, Paul.
(I will add that there is no way Paul got “one good night’s sleep,” since he got to bed pretty late, then woke back up at four to pretend to shoot Roscoe. That is pretty much the definition of not a good night’s sleep. Gorammit, Jenkins, keep track of the details you take such pains to tell me!)
Paul and Jae don’t even see each other in the morning, since Jae heads off with the kids to hang with Angela. Paul has breakfast with Pudgy Jack, and sensitively volunteers to P.J. that he “slept like a gravestone.”
Tell that to your dead and innocent brother-in-law, you prick.
Meanwhile, Jae prays that her little children will convert quickly to the worship of the being who killed their loving uncle.
Meanwhile meanwhile, Pudgy Jack reveals to Paul the “pleasant surprise” that he teased a few chapters ago—what the loving, generous, spirit-filled Christians do with the cars and clothes of the recently slaughtered.
Just as several of you deduced, they’re stripping corpses.
What a bunch of winsome witnesses.
As if reading [Paul’s] question, Jack said, “No, we don’t steal their money. We assume they have left families who need their resources.”
So they take clothes and cars, but not cash. Does Jenkins really think that most normal humans carry around more cash than their car is worth? Because the current Bluebook value of my car is about $8,000, and I can guaran-damn-tee you I am not carrying anything close to that amount of cash on my person. Just sayin’, I would rather my surviving family have my car than the cash in my wallet.
“But if they’re dead, they certainly don’t need their clothes, their driver’s licenses, that kind of stuff.”
Oh, yeah—they take identities, too. Because that is the loving, Christian thing to do.
Yanno, I may well be missing something here, but I don’t even understand what stealing an identity would accomplish for the zealots. The usual goal in stealing an identity is to spend someone else’s money, and Pudgy Jack claims they don’t want to do that. And how long could anyone from the underground pretend to be a person who has just been declared dead, complete with body, as a result of the biggest massacre in human history?
That aside, though, we can be reassured on one point:
“Trust me, we respect those bodies, even though we’re stripping them of clothes and ID.”
Gee, thanks, Jack, good to know that you’re not posing the bodies in humorous ways, I guess.
(I also think neither Jack nor Jenkins has any idea how difficult it is to remove clothes from a dead body, let alone one that has probably been mangled in a car accident. Wrestling your rebellious three-year-old into his pajamas doesn’t really give the proper sense…)
And another thought occurs to me re: clothes…clothes are some of the cheapest things in the world to get. There are five used-clothes stores within walking distance of my home, and hell, since the zealots see nothing wrong with thievery, they could just raid the donation bins of the very generous Atheistopia.
In addition to the “respect” they give the bodies of the men now roasting in Hell forever, Jack has this justification:
“And we are on the right side, after all.”
“Of course.” [said sociopath Paul]
Jack also points out that a majority of the elders have agreed to this whole strip-bodies-and-steal-cars-and-identities plan, but he really has a much bigger issue in mind that he wants to discuss with this man he barely knows:
See, Pudgy Jack wants to go topside. He’s basically been completely in hiding since the death of his brother in Soon, so it’s been awhile.
Trust a zealot to have only his own desires in mind a few hours after the biggest disaster to ever befall the planet. He and Paul will get along swimmingly, I’m sure.
One final thought about Pudgy Jack: He comes across as all innocent, but he reminds us here how upset he was by the napalm-barreling death of Andy. Given that, there is an extra level of heartless evil (and, perhaps, conscious or unconscious revenge) to Jack’s glib justifications of corpse-looting.
Something to think about.
Well, thanks to all this talk about the Christian Sasquatch movie, I now need to watch MST3K: Boggy Creek II today.
And that is no bad thing.
Something unique was happening with the kids, Jae decided.
Mostly because she’s shocked that instead of asking questions about what has happened, the kids just want to sleep after the movie. This has been a big day for them, what with their uncle and grandmother dying and being yanked around a grief-stricken world to an underground apartment. And it was also movie night. So I’m honestly not too surprised that they’re tired. I’m more surprised that Jae is surprised.
But this newly-Christian mom respects that exhaustion little enough that she keeps them awake to tell them about how she prays before she sleeps, and about how Jesus is real and not “a fairy tale…a make-believe story” as Brie asks.
Wouldn’t want the kids exercising any critical thinking at this important faith juncture, after all!
Speaking of the make-believe story, is anyone else surprised that the RTC underground is capable of making movies that can entertain Atheistopian children, who are used to the entertainment extravaganzas described in Soon? I mean, we have plenty of evidence from the movies critiqued at this very blog, that Christian movies are, by and large, low budget affairs that tend to sacrifice plot and characterization on the altar of…the altar call. So I can’t imagine Brie, especially, being impressed.
But enough of the kids! Back to Paul and his spy games:
In answer to a question asked about the last chapter, Wipers lied about the code words he uses in his communications with Bia. Paul knew this, not because of his own “prodigious intellect” or anything, but because Felicia found out for him.
Paul heads to the apartment for a nap before the Bia-call, and he and Jae engage in some pillow talk regarding Jae’s dead mom. Jae thinks her mother as good as converted before her death, and Paul really doesn’t say yay or nay to this. As I’ve said before, this seems a less formal standard than Jerry Jenkins usually has, given that Margaret didn’t make “the transaction,” but I’m sure this is far more comforting alternative to Jae than imagining her mother being tortured forever in the newly-believed-in Hell.
Yanno, like Berlitz is. Right now.
At ten to four, Paul meets back up with Pudgy Jack. Their conversation consists of Paul’s self-absorbed observation that he is currently “the most recognizable and vulnerable fugitive in the USSA,” and Jack’s commentary on Roscoe’s name:
“Where’d he get a name like that anyway?” Jack said. “Sounds like a retail shop.”
Paul stared at him. Surely Jack wasn’t expecting an answer. Where does a man get a name like Jack Pass either?
I am utterly ashamed that Paul and I are in agreement about something…anything.
Also, did Jenkins just poke fun at himself? Mind blown.
At least I can take comfort in the fact that Roscoe Wipers doesn’t at all sound like the name of a “retail shop” (seriously, who even says it like that?). Roscoe Wipers sounds like a two-bit thug in a 1930s gangster movie, which I can only imagine is what Jenkins was actually going for.
Given that they know the difference between the real code words and the fake code words, Paul and Pudgy Jack come up with a plan:
“We get him connected, make sure he says the right stuff, have him tell this woman’s machine that we have moved out of Washington. Then, just as he’s starting to tell her where we’ve gone, we interrupt him, tell him he’s been made, fire off the gun, he drops the phone, end of threat.”
Well, unless they’re actually tracking him and are ready to move. I mean, gorammit, what are even the point of these stupid skull phones if you can’t keep track of your spies?
They purposefully and unnecessarily slam open the door of the cell, startling Roscoe, who “whines.”
Damn, people who lose loved ones are just so whiny in this book!
Amusingly, Paul is surprised when Bia actually answers Roscoe’s call, instead of letting it go to “machine.”
Turns out that she was up anyway, because her son is dead, too.
Anyway, the dumb spy games continue, as Roscoe spews some nonsense about everyone moving but nobody telling anybody where they’re actually going (?), and Paul and Jack pull the ridiculous “oh noes, he’s been found out, shoot him!” ruse, and that’s that.
Still seems like a really bad plan, but okay.
And a new thought occurs to me—are Paul and Pudgy Jack and the other believers really this unconcerned with being thought murderers by the NPO? Granted, the NPO already knows that they successfully prayed for the deaths of millions, but now they also shoot suspected spies in cold blood.
They’re the good guys…remember that.