TEC: Chapter 30: Rio de Conspiracy

With a clear plan to confirm Murphy’s wild conspiracy speculations, we now check in with The Seven (TSAN!) during their planning meeting.

This time, they’ve opted to meet in Rio, which is cool.  What’s not cool is the way the story manages to contradict itself immediately:

John Bartholomew thinks that Rio is a great city to meet in because it’s “one of the most crowded cities in the world.”

Then he thinks how nice it was of Señor Mendez to book them a huge villa at Copacabana Beach, “a secluded spot where they would be alone.”


Then he thinks how funny it is that they’ll be planning to “destroy Christianity, the rule of law, and set the stage for the Anti-Christ in the shadow of Corcovado Mountain with the giant Christ the Redeemer Statue on top.”

Okay, admittedly, that is fairly bad-ass.


Or it would be, if they were actually DOING something instead of once again hitting the planning phase of the…plan.  Man, three books in, and they’re still going over hard-copy (REALLY???) to-do lists of their nefarious schemes.

Admittedly, it is hilarious the way they talk about their plans.  I kinda like these planning stages, just for the way they phrase things:

“We have begun to plant the suggestion into the minds of key UN leaders to consider moving the United Nations organization from the United States to Babylon in Iraq. … Rebuilding Babylon will bring back Arab pride and give them all something to focus their energy on. … The United States would still have to support the UN or be accused of being Arab-phobic.”

I wonder if LaPhillips are speaking from experience with this whole weird accusations-of-being-“Arab-phobic” thing.


(I’ll never get tired of that line.)

Then they talk about their plans for wars and rumors of wars:

“We have begun a plan to create a crisis between India and Pakistan. … We have already started stirring up the North Koreans over the nuclear issue.”

I’d love to know how they’re actually accomplishing this.  I have a feeling they’re just taking credit for what’s already happening.

Then they talk about trade and it’s just as boring as talking about trade always is.

Then they get to the smallpox and anthrax attacks they’re planning, which also sound like a bad-ass way to spread panic, but once again, we’re given no details.

Then on to the stock market.  Zzzzzzzz…

Okay, now the fun stuff:

“We will infuse money into the Americans’ next presidential election.  Our plan is to support those candidates who are more liberal and socialistic in their thinking.”

Because we all know that those eeeevil libruls are but a step from the Anti-Christ himself!

Oh, and then they have this bizarre sub-plan to set a bunch of fires.  Yes, actual fires.  So that…firefighters will be kept busy, or something:

“The plan is to cause erosion problems, which will lead to increased runoff, mudslides, and flooding.  Hopefully this will damage crops, structures, and transportation.”

Everyone nodded in agreement.  The plan sounded wonderful to them.

If you say so, man.

On to the religion plans!

“We will begin funding various religious leaders and also begin to call for all faiths to unite.”

“We’ll fund individuals and also work to bring everyone together equally!  This is sure to work!”

“We will push for the universal brotherhood of man.”


“We will support and encourage the homosexual community.”


“Those who oppose them will be ridiculed, threatened, punished.  We can do this by instituting legislation that will take away critical tax advantages for churches and religious organizations.”

It’s hilarious that this would qualify as threatening or punishing.  Still, the tax idea?  Nice.  I approve.


“Any who oppose our plan can be accused of hate speech and jailed for nonconformity.”

Jailed for nonconformity?  Are they for real?  This is what LaPhillips think American secularists are into?  Jailing people for nonconformity?


Man, American Christians have it so tough, don’t they?  In a novel written by two RTCs, fictional villains talk about the possibility of jailing people…for nonconforming thoughts on gay rights.  No wonder preachers are constantly prepping their flocks for persecution.

Oh, and The Seven (TSAN!) end the meeting saying it will all come together if Talon does his job.  Which I wouldn’t bank on, given how he still hasn’t even managed to kill Murphy, a man who takes zero precautions whatsoever with his own safety and security.

Damn, looks like the atheist-theosophical-UN-librul-LGBT-Catholic-feminist-socialist-Arab-forest-fighting worldwide conspiracy is screwed.

TEC: Chapter 29: Theosopedia

Well, Michael had his chance to read aloud, and now it’s Isis’s turn.  She claims her readings are from “some of these other folders” but she can’t fool me–she’s just been checking Wikipedia on her iPhone.

Seriously, there is nothing Isis says about Helena Blavatsky that you can’t get from Wiki.  Birth and death dates!  Her imaginary friend (basically), an Indian man who would visit her dreams!  The symbol of the Theosophical Society!

Oh, and she wrote The Secret Doctrine.

“I’ve heard of that book,” Murphy said, excited.  “Adolf Hitler kept a well-marked copy of it beside his bed.”

Really, Murph?  Thoughts of Hitler get you excited, do they?

Sorry, my mind goes right to the gutter.  Guess I’m just not as up on Nazi occultism as Murphy.  I don’t have the History Channel, after all.

Actually, I’m not seeing a lot on this claim at all.  Granted, I’m not all that interested, but a did search a bit, and found repetitions of the claim at…well, let’s say questionable websites (like, say, this one).  Don’t get me wrong, I’m as amused by worldwide conspiracy theories as the next atheist, but it does seem like the Theosophists have put up a pretty good defense to this charge.

Anyway, Our Hero is still tickled pink by the whole thing, cracking that:

“[Blavatsky] sounds like Shirley MacLaine,” Murphy grinned.

Man, I feel like that joke must have been old even in 2005.  And seriously, has Murphy forgotten) yanno, again, that a man died so they could have these Wiki articles?  Be serious, Murph!

Isis mentions that Blavatsky “led a wild life of wandering the world for about ten years,” which sounds pretty bad-ass for a 19th-centruy woman, but I suppose is just more damning evidence of how unfeminine a creature she was.

Isis goes on to talk about Blavatsky’s protégées, Annie Besant and Alice Bailey.

“Besant was an activist in the feminist movement; she was especially involved in birth control.”

That BITCH!!!

(It’s also kinda amusing that Isis–formerly single, independent, free-thinking Isis–presents these facts as criticisms against Besant.)

Seems she has well and truly turned to the RTC Dark Side.  Sad.

More Wiki info that you can just get by reading the pages I linked, if you’re interested.  Because so far, it all comes to nothing–Isis hasn’t actually uncovered why this information is important for The Case of the Murder of Dr. Anderson or, for that matter, the Writing on the Wall, which I could have sworn played some kind of role in this book.

No matter, though.  Murphy makes another crack about Lucifer Magazine being the stuff of “Saturday morning cartoon programs” the three women being “triple-threat charmers for sure,” and vaguely mentions the eeeeevil United Nations…


…but we’re no closer to…well, anything than we were before.



TEC: Chapter 28: Strange!

Back with Murphy and Isis in the library, and in a five-page chapter, four of the pages are devoted to Murphy reading from Dr. Anderson’s notes, and the last page being Isis’s reaction to them.  And in all this, a certain word keeps being repeated again and again…

But first of all, Anderson has titled his own journal: “The Journal of Harley B. Anderson.”  Now, I haven’t had a diary since the age of 11, but is it really common for grown-ass men to title their professional daily journals as such?  I suspect Dr. Anderson’s diary has copious pictures of unicorns and kitties on the front cover.

But on to the science!

Today J.M. and I were contacted by three men from a group called the Friends of the New World Order.  They want us to artificially inseminate a girl for them.

So that’s how it works, huh?  Strangers just accost doctors who have never successfully managed to artificially inseminate anyone, and ask them to inseminate a random girl, with no reason given?  And you’re okay with that?

We met again with the Friends of the New World Order.  They promised to pay for a fully-equipped lab.

Wait…they came to you for help with this brand-new procedure, and you don’t already have a lab?

That will cost a great deal.


They said that they had one stipulation–that we would have to keep the entire matter in absolute secrecy.  They are very strange.


J.M. and I met the young woman to be inseminated for the first time.  She seems nice but a little frightened.  Her name is Calinda Anhuis.  She is Romanian, and J.M. had to translate and explain the procedure to her.

Wow, agreeing to inseminate a stranger, sight unseen, and she’s scared.  Nope, no medical ethics problems here that I can see!

Today we received the sperm and egg provided by the Friends of the New World Order.  They would not tell us who the donors were.  Strange!


You know what else is strange?  That they found another unethical doctor to subcontract out the extraction of the egg.

But, nothing doing, they go ahead and implant Calinda, and all appears to proceed as normal (well, as normal as it can be, considering that this is the first time this procedure has actually worked, a fact that causes surprisingly little excitement in the offices of Docs Anderson and J.M.

[J.M.] has fears that we may be doing something illegal.


We both do not care for the people we have met.  They seem evil.

Wow, and they seemed so nice at first!  With a happy name like Friends of the New World Order and dragging scared teenagers around to give them mysterious and untested medical procedures!

Despite being nervous about their possibly illegal actions and being warned by this mysterious group to keep things quiet, Anderson does some digging and traces the family tree of the new fetus.  Calendars parents are Carmine and Kala Matrinka Anguis.  Egg donor is Keres Mazikeen and her mother is Mariana Yakov and her mother is Zigana Averna.


Sperm donor is Alfred Meinrad, a scientist.  Huh.

The baby boy Antichrist is born on April Fools’ Day.  Six weeks later, J.M., who had expressed his fears for months, is killed in a car accident.  This is, according to Anderson, impossible, as it happened in the mountains, where J.M. didn’t like to go, and he “always [drove] under the speed limit.”  If you say so, dude.  I have no idea of my coworkers’ driving habits.

Anyway, cut to Isis and her reaction to all this:

“That does sound very strange, Michael,” Isis said thoughtfully.


Murphy dials it up, confirming that not only is the situation STRANGE, but also EEEEEVIL:

“In my talk with Dr. Anderson before he was killed, he was convinced that they were evil people who had an evil plan of some kind.”


“He even suggested that he might have helped in the birth of the Anti-Christ.”

“You mean the Anti-Christ of the Bible that you’re always talking about?”

“No, the AntiChrist from Alvin and the Chipmunks—YES THE ANTICHRIST FROM THE BIBLE!”

“The same one,” Murphy said, soberly.


Y’know, these books would be a lot more fun if I was drunk right now.

So Isis sits there and thinks about her faith.  She reminisces for a whole second on Noah’s Ark, which, hell, I would think about for longer if I was her.  She decides she needs to be “open-minded” and think about making a decision about God.  Sometime in the vague nearish future.

As you would.

TEC: Chapter 27: Supplemental Reading

Yanno, I make my little jokes and we all have a good laugh at Michael Murphy’s silly antics and talk of “more Arabs,” but when it comes right down to it, the vast majority of readers of these books will never be pressed into service as terrorist-hunters by their Mossad-agent best friends.

But 1 in 3 women will be victims of domestic partner violence in their lives (so will 1 in 4 men, but I really can’t imagine LaPhillips including an abused husband as a character in these how-to manuals).

And these books (at least since Phillips took over) have been how-to manuals for Christians: how to act with a new love after your wife dies, how to respond to a friend who is cheating on his wife, how to counsel a young woman in an unequally-yoked relationship.  And now: how to be an abused partner.

In other words, this is as real as it gets.  It’s darkly funny in a weird way: we’ve watched Paul Stepola rejoice over the deaths of children, yet this is what angers me more than just about anything else we’ve read.

And the weird thing is, there’s not even one clear teaching that I can be angry at.  Because the Christian view of spouse abuse is, at best, muddled.  At worst, it is fatally divided against itself.

What’s the first thing RTCs say about marriage?  That the wife must submit to her husband, of course.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  or the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

In everything.  Every single thing.

And gee, go figure that if you tell a person that he has absolute authority over another person no matter what, in every single possible issue in life, such a God-mandated power imbalance might have…unfortunate consequences.

So on one hand, we have the wives who must submit.  And on the other, we have the very human sensibility that says that a person should not have to put up with abuse.

See what I mean about fatally divided against itself?

RTCs twist themselves into some pretty complex knots to get out of this conundrum.  (Granted, some of them don’t.  Read a few blogs, and you’ll find an enraging number of accounts of women told by their pastors to go back to abusive husbands and submit harder already!)

Some examples:

  • This delightful gentleman thinks abuse is wrong, but not quite so wrong as to justify divorce.  He defensively protests that he is not condoning abuse, darn it…just making it impossible for an abused wife to get closure, move on, and try to find some happiness away from the beatings.
  • This woman at least thinks abused wives should be able to divorce…because any man who would abuse his wife is, ipso facto, not a Christian.  So the wife has accidentally gone and gotten herself unequally yoked and thus can divorce under 1 Corinthians 7:15.  So, points for getting the wife out, even if you have to convince yourself that only a horrid nonChristian would ever be capable of hitting someone.
  • Another vote for Leave, but no Divorcing.  (And the last sentence of the whole piece advocates involving the police!)

Now, being the unrepentant liberal feminist atheist that I am, I don’t want to leave out the supposed counter-argument to the idea that a wife submitting to a husband in EVERYTHING is sick and wrong and a recipe for disaster.  After all, any preacher knows to quickly add, “But husbands are commanded to love their wives!  So wives aren’t getting the bad end of this deal at all!”

Except I’m not so sure that the command to love would automatically convince a man not to abuse.  After all, this is the same Bible that commands fathers to beat their children, and I doubt that is supposed to imply that hitting a kid means you don’t love her.  So why would a Christian husband think that hitting is out of bounds for an insufficiently-submissive wife, of it is not out of bounds for an insufficiently-submissive kid?

As well, this is the problem that arises when one party is commanded to DO something (obey), and the other party only to THINK something (love).  I mean, isn’t “I’m sorry, babe, I love you” the rallying cry of abusive husbands?  You can’t prove he doesn’t love her, can you?

Oh, and that brings up another muddling point: the doctrine of forgiveness no matter what.

And again, people tie themselves into knots.  Many Christian commentators will claim that forgiveness doesn’t have to mean forgetting and reconciling…except that divorce isn’t an option and reconciliation should be the ultimate goal.

Now, I will add here that there are Christian blogs that advise abused spouses to go to the police and to separate from the abuser.  Some even call out church elders who side with the abuser (or maintain “neutrality,” which amounts to the same thing).

But honestly, all this reading makes me feel a tiny bit better for poor Stephanie Kovacs.  Seems that Shane actually did her a favor by not putting a ring on it.  Because Stephanie will never have to worry about reconciliation or how much God hates divorce.  Being a new baby RTC, she’ll probably have to immediately forgive him, but at least she won’t have to live with him again.  Filthy unmarried (monogamous, committed) relationship that it was.

Damn, that was depressing.

But next time: Michael Murphy tackles theosophy!

TEC: Chapter 27: Evil Shane

Yeah, we all know Shane is evil.  Granted, LaPhillips think he’s evil because he’s a nonbeliever working with The Seven (TSAN).  But he’s also evil because he’s a dickish employer and abandoned his Ambiguously Gay son.

And now he’s also evil because he’s a domestic abuser.

Stephanie comes home from South Carolina (where she was on her vague and pointless assignment for THREE WEEKS, it seems).  She’s made the decision to leave Shane, and now Phillips backbuilds a series of events in which Shane was on the edge of violence with Stephanie, punching walls and the like.  Which just seems highly out of character for Shane, but that’s just the beginning.

Stephanie still has her own place, but has been staying with Shane more often than not.  Despite all this backbuilding about how scared she is of Shane, Stephanie takes the time to pack two big suitcases with her things, despite not knowing quite when he’ll be back.  And, of course, Shane does come back, just in the nick of time to see the suitcases.

So he screams at Stephanie and slaps her across the room and throws her suitcases at her head.

And it is just so, so wrong.

I don’t mean just the domestic abuse.  Of course that is incredibly wrong.  But Shane just doesn’t seem the type.  And I know that asshole abusers don’t walk around wearing signs, but everything we’ve seen of Shane so far shows a man who solves problems (and people he considers problems) by making them go away, not by battling them head-on.  He hadn’t seen his ex-wife and son in years–out of sight, out of mind.  When anyone displeases him in the slightest, like one of his employees, he just fires them and/or ditches them.

So I just get the feeling here that Phillips wanted Shane to do something evil, because he couldn’t be bothered with the more complicated idea that Shane and Stephanie might have it out with words and their usual mutual manipulation.  And it’s only natural that Shane would be abusive.  He’s not a Christian, after all!  Never mind that it’s nonsensical character development.

In fact, after knocking her out with her suitcase, Shane carries Stephanie and the suitcases down to her car and deposits them all in it.  So when she comes to, there she is, beaten and bloody, with a lipstick message on the windshield that “NO ONE RUNS OUT ON ME.”

So this might seem like the time to go to the police, but Stephanie doesn’t.  And yes, I get that many women don’t leave and don’t report abuse, but Stephanie really has no reason not to.  She has no children to protect, and no concern over Shane’s reputation.  This is a relationship of just over a year, and she has no history of abusive relationships, either for herself and in her family.  In fact, she’s a nationally-known television journalist with a huge platform to expose Shane.

But no, she goes home, washes away all the evidence, and sleeps until she gets a call from Shane’s secretary, who tells her that she’s fired and Shane is going to blackball her.  Which seems like a plan doomed to failure, given Stephanie’s success and reputation.  You’d think after being fired without cause, Stephanie would be snatched up by another network within the hour.

Anyway, Stephanie just rolls over and thinks of God.  Yep, she calls Murphy’s words to mind about having happiness in the midst of sorrow, and she doesn’t have that (gee, shocking), so she talks to God and makes the transaction.  She also thinks this:

I’ve really made some poor choices, and they’ve affected my entire life.

Huh.  It’s almost like Phillips is implying that Stephanie’s choice to have a monogamous sexual relationship without a wedding ring was an obvious precursor to abuse and professional ruin.  Fancy that.

I dunno.  It’s just that making Stephanie into someone who doesn’t even consider going to the police when she’s been beaten into unconsciousness, followed by this talking to God about “poor choices“…well, I guess there’s only thing a good Christian woman should do when she is abused: pray about it.

TEC: Chapter 26: Womany Worries

Trying to sleep in his New York hotel room, Murphy plays over the events of the evening in his mind.  Which is all well and good, except for this little bit:

He could feel his fist strike the Arab in the temple.

Man, that really hurt, he thought, grimacing as he flexed his knuckles.

Okay, let me just preface this by saying that I don’t like the idea that people shouldn’t complain about things, because somebody else always has it worse.  I despise Oppression Olympics.


This is the second time in twelve chapters that Murphy has whined in his head about something quite minor, following somebody else experiencing something quite serious.

Remember when Murphy whined about standing in a security line at the airport?  Okay, been there, done that, I get it.  But this was the chapter following the tale of Daniel and his friends having their families murdered and their city burnt, being taken as slaves and eunichized.

And now, Murphy is whining about sore knuckles, following  a chapter in which one of his newfound friends was knifed and killed, and another was shot.

So, just sayin’, maybe Murphy should get just a bit of perspective here.


Before going to breakfast with Isis the next morning, Murphy decides not to tell her anything about the terrorist-fighting of the night before.

He would wait for a more appropriate time.  They had a lot to do today, and he didn’t want her to worry.

Yeah wouldn’t want the little woman to have to think about more than one thing at a time.  Might mess with her ladybrains.

Murphy and Isis go to the bank and get Dr. Anderson’s papers…thanks to Dr.Anderson himself, who so completely trusted Murphy mere minutes after meeting him.

Then they go right across the street to a library.  I assume it’s the New York Public Library, but it’s not explicitly stated.  They find a table to themselves on the third floor, after passing a librarian who is, of course, “dowdy” and “chubby.”

Well, I guess not every woman can be a supermodel fresh off the runway.

Murphy and Isis will get into the details (into a lot of the details) of the files in a bit, but for now, just know that this is apparently the Conspiracy of the New World Order and Evil Wimmins and Gypsies: the files have such enlightening names as “Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky–The Theosophical Society” (check out her Wiki page, because I’m sure it’ll be important!), “Annie Besant–Lucifer Magazine,” and “Friends of the New World Order.”

Oh, and Isis has a feeling that something is wrong and they’re being watched.  Being a wimmins, though, she quite naturally dismisses her own feelings internally, before even giving Michael a chance to do it himself:

That’s silly, she told herself.  Don’t mess up the excitement of Michael’s find with women’s intuition.

I’m not sure it’s accurate to describe the files as a “find” of Michael’s.  It was a gift from a an elderly gentleman who may or may not have had Alzheimers, and Michael was directed to the guy by his pastor.  So Michael didn’t really find jack shit.

A sad and troubling chapter is coming up.  Enjoy Lucifer Magazine while you can.


TEC: Chapter 25: More Arabs

Whew, boy.  It sure is nice to get a break from Daniel, so we can waste some time watching Murphy do things he has no training for expertise for.

Now, granted, Murphy was in the Army.  But that was during the Gulf War, so by the story’s timeline (2005), that was almost 15 years ago.  And Levi is a current Mossad agent.

Again, I think LaHaye and Phillips have lost faith (har!) in the excitement of their own story.

To the action: Levi and Murphy chase Arab #1 up the fire escape, and a point is made of Levi being winded by the time he gets to the top.  I thought Levi was this gym rat karate-do master, so what gives?  Abrams hears Arab #1, and blindly fires, missing because he is an idiot like that.

Murphy hasn’t even begun his ascent, but hears the shots:

Maybe there were more Arabs!

Yeah, Murphy has nothing against Arabs.  He just thinks they’re all evil supervillains who hang out on random Bronx roofs in the middle of the night, in case one of their comrades runs away from righteous do-gooders just happen to show up.

Hilariously, by the time Murphy gets to the roof, Arab #1 has Levi standing there with his hands raised.  Good work, Mossad agent!  Murphy distracts him, and Arab #1 still manages to flip Levi onto his back in the ensuing mayhem.

Damn, but this chapter is really committed to showing us how much awesomer Murphy is than Levi, isn’t it?

Arab #1 makes a break for it and tries to jump to the next rooftop, but doesn’t make it and falls the eight stories.  Hilariously and bizarrely, this makes both Levi and Murphy think that something must have happened to Jacob, down in the apartment, so they head back down, and turns out that Arab #2, the one Murphy punched out, also regained consciousness, and because he also wasn’t restrained in any way, he just peaced out.

Yup, these are crack agents for sure.  Like a well-oiled machine.  And is it just me, or did the crack team of Matthew, Jacob, Levi, and Murphy just fail pretty spectacularly?  Matthew is dead, Jacob is wounded, Levi got his ass kicked.  And Arab #1 is dead, but Arab #2 got away.  And all Team Mossad has to show for it is the word “Presidio,” and they only know what that means because Murphy read Phillips’ outline and Wikipedia bookmark.

But Murphy apparently sees things differently:

“I’m just glad I was here to help.  When I know terrorists are planning to do something to the country I love, how can I stand around and do nothing?”

Okay, now I’m sure they’re watching Team America and don’t get that it’s satire.


Oh, and all that taken care of, they head out into the alley to search the dead body of Arab #1.  They don’t find much, probably because they suck, except Arab #1 has a tattoo, a crescent moon with a star.  Levi thinks it’s an homage to “the flags of many Muslim countries,” but Murphy shows him (once again!) how wrong he is:

“No.  This is different.  Look closely, Levi.  In all Muslim symbols, the points of the crescent moon point to the right or up, with a five-pointed star or several stars.  This crescent moon is pointing down to a star with six points made up of two triangles, similar to the Star of David.  And look at the points of the crescent.  Three small lines are coming off each point.”

Yeah, that’s right.  Lily-white Irish-American RTC Michael Murphy just schooled Israeli Jew Levi Abrams on what a Star of David looks like.  That is a thing that just happened.

And to top it all off, Murphy then notes that the small lines coming off the crescent look like talons…which is course means that lone master assassin Talon is running a gang of Arab terrorists.

Because that makes all kinds of sense.

TEC: Chapter 24: Daniel Redux

So in the middle of the action of chasing Arab #1, we cut to another Daniel section.  Elderly Daniel is still in the lions den, and now, instead of flashing back to his eunucizing days (Oh, great), he flashes back to King Neb’s dream and his subsequent madness.

This is actually ground that was already broken by Greg Dinallo, so it’s kinda odd that we’re going over it again, but hey, it takes up a few pages, right?

And there’s not much to report that you can’t get by reading Daniel Chapter 4.  Back in the lions den, Daniel prays that God will keep him humble, unlike King Neb, whom God made insane, just because he felt like it.

Honestly, is there any wonder that there are people in this world who think that illness, mental or otherwise, is a punishment from God?  Because the Bible says so!

Man, that is so sad to think about.  I’m getting us back to chasing Arabs tomorrow, I am!

TEC: Chapter 23:Wikipedia and Well-Oiled Machines

After the terribly romantic, three-wheeled dinner, Levi has a “late appointment.”  Murphy offers to drive him, in a rental car, to this super-sekrit Mossad meeting.

After dropping off Isis at the hotel, of course.  Because this is all “men talk,” remember.

Bob Phillips proudly takes up Jerry Jenkins’ mantle of Provider of Travel Minutiae:

Murphy drove north and then turned east on 62nd Street to the FDR Drive.

“Michael, take the toll bridge over to Randalls Island Park and then highway 278 into the Bronx.  I need to meet my contact near Hunts Point Market.”

But Phillips also knows to stick with his strengths: regurgitating useless trivia…

Murphy had been to Hunts Point on one other occasion, on the way to the Bronx Zoo with some friends.

Murphy has friends?

They wanted him to see one of the largest food distribution centers in the United States.  He remembered them saying that it provided produce and meat for more than 15 million people.

Yes, Murphy always enjoyed hanging out with his good buddy, Wik I. Pedia, Esq.

Not to be outdone, part-time Mossad agent Levi Abrams is deep into useless trivia, too:

“Did you know that a number of famous people came from the Bronx? … Regis Philbin, Carl Reiner, and even Colin Powell.  I met him in Israel.  …  I also heard that the movie actors James Caan and Tony Curtis, along with Bobby Darin, the singer, and Ralph Lauren, the designer and perfume guy, lived there.  I think Al Pacino and Neil Simon came from the Bronx, too.”

What a story, Levi.

In a move of almost unbelievable stupidity and selfishness, Levi instructs his civilian friend in a rental car to make a series of painfully obvious signals to Levi’s spy pal, Jacob, in another car.  They hop into Jacob’s car, where Levi casually informs Jacob that civilian Murphy can be absolutely trusted with all their terrorism-fighting secrets.  These secrets include the names of the terrorists we met in the last chapter, including Asim, who “looks like a short Saddam.”

I’m frankly surprised that all Arabs don’t look like Saddam to these guys.

The only other information is that a vague attack is vaguely planned for New York, but they haven’t been able to decode anything else yet, because I guess they suck.

Then the guys go around the block to find the third sekrit squirrel Mossad agent, Matthew.  Sadly, Matthew has met a sticky end from a terrorist knifing, and Jacob concludes that they need to go after the terrorists RIGHT DAMN NOW, in the middle of the night, in an unfamiliar neighborhood, without backup.

Except for Murphy.  He wants to go.  And they let him.  Even though Murphy doesn’t have a gun and they don’t have a spare.

And it’s no problem, really, because the terrorists live in a building on that very block.  Again, you’d think that would be a great reason to stay put and call in reinforcements, but no, they all just barge up there and break in.

Abrams rounded the corner of the door with his gun read for action…


The first suspected terrorist (I’m going to start calling them Arab #X, because that is basically how Murphy thinks of them) is knocked out by Levi’s gun as he sleeps in front of the TV.

Then, despite Murphy’s impression that Levi and Jacob are “like a well-oiled machine” of terrorist-fighting, Jacob is immediately shot in the thigh by Arab #2, allowing Murphy to step in and, much like Batman, take down the terrorist without using a gun.  Instead, he uses his “twisting karate fist” to one-punch the terrorist into unconsciousness.

Jacob concludes that Arabs 3-7 are at some bar (because these are extra-specially evil terrorists who are religious zealots but still drink the demon liquor).  So in the meantime, Levi pulls the old scratch-on-the-pad-of-paper-to-see-the-previous-page schtick (I remember seeing it for the first time as a kid in North by Northwest, but I’m sure there are  prior incidents), and all that is there is the word “Presidio.”

Levi thinks this might refer to the Presidio military base, but Murphy knows better:

“There is also a sleepy little town called Presidio in Texas.  It’s on the border between Texas and Mexico.  The Rio Grande runs between Presidio on the American side and Ojinaga on the Mexican side.  Presidio has grown to about six or seven thousand people due to the amnesty program for undocumented aliens.  During the Mexican Revolution, General Pancho Villa used Ojinaga as his headquarters for operations.  It would be a perfect place to infiltrate the border.”

Okay, first of all, thanks again, old pal

During the Mexican Revolution, General Pancho Villa often used Ojinaga as his headquarters for operations and visited Presidio on numerous occasions.[citation needed]

Second of all, hasn’t the border already been infiltrated?  I mean, seven terrorists are lodging in the Bronx and have already killed a Mossad agent in their free time.

Oh, and speaking of the terrorists, while Murphy was expositioning, Arab #1 has woken up, and he jumps Levi.  So Levi breaks his nose.  As you would.

What a well-oiled machine, eh?  Didn’t even occur to them to restrain the guy.

And they still don’t.  Nope, that broken nose didn’t automatically kill the grown man, like you would expect.  Instead, Arab #1 makes a run for it, and before any of the three other men in the room can stop him (really?), Arab #1 has jumped out the window onto the fire escape, and makes for the roof.

So Jacob is left with one gun, in case any of the other FIVE terrorists come back (or Arab #2, also not restrained, wakes up, I guess), and Levi and Murphy give chase.

Well-oiled machine.


TEC: Chapter 22: Lovebirds and Arabs

As Murphy planned a couple of chapters ago, he and Isis are meeting up in New York.  They’re at a restaurant at the Pierre, which marks the historic second appearance of the Pierre on this blog!!

(I wonder how much money Murphy got from Laura’s life insurance?  Because he sure likes to hang at swanky joints.)

You’d think the two were here for a romantic date, but there are three obvious indications they are not:

Indication #1:  Isis tries to set the mood, and Murphy shoots her down:

Isis spoke softly.  “There’s something lovely about New York in the evening, isn’t there?”

“You’re right.  I think that since 9/11, when the World Trade Center was destroyed, everyone looks a little differently at the city now.  It sort of brought everyone together.”

Wow, how romantic.  Bringing up 9/11 on a date.

Also, Murphy, I think lots of people found New York romantic and beautiful before 2001.  Just saying.

Indication #2:  Murphy brought a third wheel.

At least two weeks in advance, Murphy invited Levi Abrams along for the ride.  So instead of spending some time alone with this woman he’s falling in love with, Murphy brings his wingman to dinner with him.  Which brings up…

Indication #3:  Murphy hasn’t told Isis how he feels.

Like an asshole, Murphy hasn’t been honest with Isis about his attraction to her.  Now, I hate to give dating advice to RTCs, but in this case, it’s basically biblical:  DON’T BEAR FALSE WITNESS.  If you like a woman, tell her.  Straight up.  Because you look like a slimy player when you play these little games of, “It’s good to see you,” but only want to talk about business, and bring your BFF along on romantic dinner dates.

It’s also interesting to note that Murphy and Levi have a more physical relationship than Murphy and Isis.  Levi gets a hug from Murphy when they meet, which is more than Isis gets.

But forget about Isis’s feelings!  In the space of four pages, Isis is referred to as “stunning,” “beautiful,” “lovely,” and “beautiful” again.  So we all know what’s really important about her.

And once Levi shows up, the talk unsurprisingly turns to business.  The second most important thing about Isis is that she can get funding from the Parchments of Freedom Foundation.  Then, bizarrely, Levi brings up the fact that he is going to Texas because of “rumors that an important transaction is about to take place.”

(I still find is hilarious that secret Mossad agent Levi talks at all times like he’s in the mob.)

When Isis asks what he’s talking about, Levi snottily says it is “Just men talk,” even though Murphy really doesn’t know what’s going on, either.  But this woman who went toe-to-toe with fanatical kidnappers and assassins and came out on top both times wouldn’t be able to handle talk of Levi’s semi-retired Mossad errands.


Oh, and during all this “men talk,” some terrorists are plotting some terrorism stuff at “Aladdin’s Magic Carpet” (no, I’m not kidding).

This is how terrorists talk:

Asim was the first to speak.  “I’m glad you all could make it tonight.  I have received a coded e-mail from Abdul Rachid Makar.  He has instructed us to ready ourselves.”

“You mean that we no longer have to be sleeping warriors?” Ibrahim asked, excited.  “When does our leader want us to strike?”

“Soon, very soon!  The infidel dogs will again face the terror of Allah!  They thought 9/11 was bad.  Won’t they be surprised?”

I think LaHaye and Phillips didn’t know that Team America was satire.

Team America came out in 2004, The Europa Conspiracy was published in 2005.  COINCIDENCE???



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