Babylon Rising, Chapter 48

Chapter 48 is a case of callbacks-to-people-you-might-have-forgotten-are-part-of-this-story.

First is John Barthlomew of The Seven, they who will Stop At Nothing to get the pieces of the Brazen Serpent.  As you may recall, The Seven instructed Talon not to harm Murphy.  As you may also recall, I pointed out that killing a guy’s wife is a pretty good way to harm him, but I also said I would wait on this point, because The Seven happen to agree with me.

Bartholomew chews Talon out for killing Laura, due to the possible “distraction” it gives Murphy from digging up Biblical artifacts.

Talon protests that Laura was “in the way and could have exposed me.”  He neglects to mention to Bartholomew that Laura would not have been in the way had Talon not Left Behind his keys at the bombing site.

Anyway, Bartholomew basically decides to let bygones be bygones, with warnings not to harm Murphy, and this time I also literally mean not killing people he cares about, Talon!

Scene change, as Murphy works through the anger stage of his grieving process.  He has taken his archery equipment out to the woods and is shooting arrows at trees while he has a good cry.  And yanno what?  This seems to me like a pretty healthy thing to do–he’s releasing his anger by releasing some arrows, but in a safe location where no one will be hurt.

So clearly, we can’t have any of that!

Remember Levi Abrams?  Murphy’s “friend,” whose idea of a fun time is exacerbating other people’s injuries?  Well, like The Seven, he’s back, just when we were starting to forget he existed.

“I’ve been sent by your Smokey the Bear to protect the trees.  With all your anger shooting all these arrows into the trees, you could kill more trees than a forest fire.”

Yeah, LaHaye and Dinallo have the speech patterns of a recent Isreali immigrant down pat, I’d say.

Levi spent a lot of time punching Murphy where it already hurt.  Now, he gets to do the same thing, but this time on an emotional level.  Fun!

Despite Murphy asking him twice to go away, Levi sticks around.  While admitting that what happened to Laura sucked, he wastes no time getting to the grief-off:  “When my first wife and daughter were killed in a bus bombing in Tel Aviv five years ago, I didn’t think I could go on.  For me it wasn’t a bow and arrow.  It was two hundred and ten rounds of ammunition on the firing range while I put away a quart of whiskey in record time.  That was just the first night.  It took me six months to get a grip.”

Levi’s point is that the six months were wasted time.  And, I dunno, six months seems pretty realistic when your wife and daughter were killed.  In any event, this conversation is taking place a couple of days after Laura died, so I really don’t think Levi is in any position to lecture the new widower about wasting time.

Levi has sought out help from two sources to “help you get going again, as you must.”

Yeah, it’s been five whole days since the death of your soulmate!  Suck it up, dude!

Levi looked up Pastor Bob and asked for help with Murphy.  Bob was kind enough to tell Levi that although he (Levi) is destined to be tortured forever after death, like all Jews and other non-RTCs, Laura got to go to Heaven, and Michael will get to go to Heaven too.

Okay, okay, maybe Bob didn’t use those exact words.  Still, we all know that’s what he was thinking.  😉

So Levi instructs Murphy to “Look forward by faith to that event, and in the meantime, get back to work!”

Then, Levi says he called up Isis McDonald (go, Isis!).  She has the translation of the Serpent piece ready for Murphy.  Meanwhile, I ponder the creepy implications of Levi having any idea who Isis is.  Remember, Isis and Murphy only met once, briefly, a few days ago.  Before that, they only knew each other through a few phone conversations.

Murphy thanks Levi for coming and interrupting his healthy grieving process, telling him: “You would make a good Christian if you ever decide to come on over.  You know I’m praying that you will.”

Sigh.  Good old Murphy’s back…

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Posted on July 8, 2010, in Babylon Rising, Books. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Yeah! RTC Indiana Jones doesn’t get to mope about just because his second favourite person in the whole world is dead! (His favourite is TurboJesus, of course.) After all, being dead in the Lord is great, and everyone should want to be it (but not to the point of, y’know, actually taking steps to become dead, because – even though it’s where you want to be – getting there on your own is a sin).

    Everybody knows Isis. She’s just one of those people one doesn’t forget.

  2. There are a few literary characters who I want to see get hit with something large and heavy and non-fatal but unpleasant. Levi has become one of those characters. I want someone to go up to him and say, ‘I’m going to start hitting you now. I’m not sure when I’m going to stop.’

    Sigh. I hope LeHaye never has to go through the horror of loosing close family members, since it’s clear that he hasn’t. It’s bad enough when you know they’re going, but when they suddenly go it’s absolutely traumatic. You do not beard the tiger in his den, you do not mock the sage amongst his books, and you do not taunt the guy whose wife was just brutally killed when he is shooting arrows into trees.

    That being said, it does seem like Murph is going through the recognized stages of grief. It means there’s an actual writer at the helm.

  3. “With all your anger shooting all these arrows into the trees, you could kill more trees than a forest fire.”

    Um, is that possible? The arrows aren’t flaming or anything, are they? It might not be great for a tree to be shot full of holes– openings for insect infestations, I suppose– but surely not destruction at forest-fire level?

    Or does he mean Murph’s anger is going to kill the trees through some mystical, magical power of ill-wishing? Doesn’t sound very Christian to me, and still less Jewish.

    If it were me, or I were “Smoky the Bear,” I’d be more worried about any hikers who weren’t expecting an arrow hazard on their favorite trail. (I don’t know how many people walk in these woods, but if they have a Smoky keeping an eye on them, presumbably they’re publicly-owned and open to the public.)

  4. Shooting arrows at trees shouldn’t kill them. Unless Murphy’s using some sort of hand-ballista with exploding arrowheads.

    But yeah, he is actually being slightly stupid with the arrow shooting. Forgivably so, but the first rule of all ranged weapons is that you only use them in an area that you’ve specifically set aside for that purpose, where in order to get in front of you someone has to walk past you.

    Still, as I said, given his mental state this is a forgivable slip, and provided he checks for hikers to either side before firing a shot it’s probably safe enough. Plus, this way there’s a chance that he’ll accidentally hit Levi in the leg as he’s walking up/away/standing around being smug. It’d make the book more tolerable, anyways.

  5. “You would make a good Christian if you ever decide to come on over. You know I’m praying that you will.”

    Talk about damning with faint praise. Literally.

  6. “It was two hundred and ten rounds of ammunition on the firing range while I put away a quart of whiskey in record time.”

    I was under the impression that alcohol at firing ranges was a big no-no. Don’t the people running them generally want the people shooting the guns to be clear-headed so they don’t, say, shoot somebody by accident?

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