Babylon Rising, Chapter 52

Okay, so I was originally going to do a breakdown of the King Neb and Daniel chapters (and I was going to do it Wednesday), but real life got in the way (and mostly in a good way).  But I had some time to think about it, and it occured to me that I should wait until the last In The Past chapter (which will be Chapter 69), to do a complete treatment on all of them, and whether or not it is right and Biblically sound of LaHaye and Dinallo to reword Bible stories in their fiction.

So we are just going to jump right into Chapter 52 instead.  As you may recall, Michael Murphy was berated by his “friend”, Levi Abrams, because Murph didn’t have the strength and fortitude to get over his wife’s death after nearly a whole week.  Then, Murph made an impassioned (if narcissistic) speech to his fellow church members, as though no one but he had suffered a loss in the recent bombing.

So, Murphy has traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet up with Isis McDonald (Wooooo!!!), who has deciphered the incription on the Serpent’s tail.

I am going to assume (though it is certainly never stated outright, and not even implied as far as I can see), that Murph is traveling to Washington so he can have a change of scenery and some time away from the home he shared with Laura.  Because there is no other reason I can think of that Isis couldn’t just convey this information over the phone or by e-mail.

Isis shows Murphy the safe at the Parchments of Freedom Foundation where the tail of the Brazen Serpent is being stored.  (I wonder if the PFF would be so eager to store it if they knew the highly questionable circumstances under which Murphy obtained it.)

Isis tells a story involving death.  (The vault makes her nervous, and she has nightmares about being accidentally locked up inside for years, and “when they finally opened the door, they’d just find a dried-up old mummy.”)  She immediately apologizes, and Murphy says it’s okay if she accidentally mentions death, and that it is even okay if Isis wants to talk about Laura.  And Isis says she does want to talk about Laura, which, not to be insensitive or anything, but why?  Isis never even met her, and saw her but once, on her deathbed.  Again, I’m not trying to be a jerk, but what’s to talk about?  Heck, her relationship with Murphy is (at this point, at least) strictly professional. 

But, since Isis never actually does talk about Laura, I’m going to assume that she is just being nice. 

Go, Isis.

After that little debacle, Murphy and Isis go grab some dinner, and Isis takes him to an Indian restaurant, because she is awesome. 

Over tea and popadums, they scanned the menu while the latest Hindi show tunes played in the background, Isis settling for a shrimp vindaloo while Murphy acknowledged defeat before the contest had even begun by ordering a chicken bhuna.

Okay, huh?  For what is Murphy acknowledging defeat?  The only thing I can think of is that vindaloo is a spicier curry than bhuna, according to the Wiki curry article.  (I like Indian food, but haven’t had enough of it to think of any other possibility.  Alternative suggestions are welcome.)

I am so amused by the idea of Murphy being emasculated because some chick ordered a spicier curry than he did, that I can’t stop smiling.  Really, at this point, how does Murphy even get out of bed every day?  How can he, imagining the millions upon millions of people in the world who will challenge (and defeat) his manhood every single day by enjoying spicier foods than he does?  Did Laura curtail all cravings for spice in her food because of Murphy’s precious macho issues?  I’m imagining exchanges like this:

Murphy (on the phone, natch): Hi, Thai Palace?  I’d like to place a carry-out order.  One red curry chicken, to start.

Thai Palace: And would you like that mild, medium, or hot, sir?

Murph: Um, medium, I guess.  *lowers voice* Like, light medium.  *To Laura*  Hon, what do you want?

Laura: Red curry sounds great.  With beef for me.  And haa– *sees Murphy’s face fall*  er–mild spice.  *Turns away, rolls eyes*

As Murphy nibbles at his bhuna, his manhood scarred forever, Isis tells him all about the incription on the Serpent’s tail, “quite the trickiest bit of Chaldean I’ve come across.”  Evil High Priest Dakkuri wrote the message both to lead followers to the second piece of the Serpent, and confound any enemies, so the message cites very minor Babylonian gods.  Isis turned to some of her father’s research, and has figured out that the second piece of the Serpent is hidden in the (fictional) Saudi Arabian town of Tar-Qasir, an “oasis” twenty days south of Babylon.

Looks like it’s time for Murphy to let Levi Abrams beat him up again, so our intrepid Indiana Jones can do some more free traveling and consequence-free illegal excavation!

*If anyone wants to play the Babylon Rising Home Game, here are some links to the dishes Murphy and Isis had at their dinner: Isis’s shrimp vindaloo, and Murph’s wimpy chicken bhuna.

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Posted on July 24, 2010, in Actually Not That Bad, Babylon Rising, Books. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Your entire summary had me in stitches 😄

  2. Does Levi come with horns and a tail?

    Ah, c’mon, his wife’s been dead for more than a week. Man’s hurtin’. Of course he’s going to leap at any excuse to spend time with the awesome and gorgeous Dr McDonald (who is of course much too good for him).

    Heh. I know a guy who plays the hot macho curry game (there’s a lot more curry in the UK than in the USA, I think). Waste of perfectly good meat. I tend to go for a korma by default: anyone can cover up mistakes with hot spice, but making a good mild curry takes skill.

  3. I never was fond of most spicy foods. Never mind the spice; it usually doesn’t taste good to me in return. (Admittedly, my taste preferences run towards the tart and the sour…)

  4. Ah, but if you make spicy dishes where the heat overpowers the other flavors, you’re doing it wrong. It’s perfectly possible to make enormously spicy dishes where the heat lives alongside the other flavors. It just requires skill, and being my mom. (In fairness to myself, I’ve learned the black magicks fairly well, too.)

  5. Now I want spicy food, and I’m in the wrong part of the world. 😦

    I would assume Indiana LaHaye would be able to eat anything, no matter what the Scofields. Maybe this is a “weakness”?

    The idea that even ordering dinner is a contest is exhausting. Order what you want to eat, and life gets much better. I’m sure Isis got shrimp vindaloo because that’s what she felt like. Or maybe it was the popadums. I’ve been known to go to restaurants just for the tasty starters.

  6. The idea that even ordering dinner is a contest is exhausting.

    Tell me about it. I’m a bit of a picky eater, and I have roughly zero spice tolerance (I top out roughly at black pepper. :P) so I’ve learnt to just order what I want to eat/drink and not care about what other people think.

    That said, I think that the whole contest framing was supposed to be in jest, a way to show that Isis has way more spice tolerance than not-Indy as a little bit of characterization, not a serious statement about food-wars.

  7. A very late comment:

    That shrimp vindaloo recipe linked is very tasty and really easy to make. Try it if you like spicy food!

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