Soon: Chapter 1: Paul is Dumb

Okay, we are finishing off Chapter 1 already!

As we saw in the Prologue, retired Delta Force Command Sergeant Major Andrew Pass was killed in a burning barrel of napalm, because he was, as commenter Inquisitive Raven put it, a “dork too stupid to call for help/send a warning.”

I like this, and have decided that I shall be calling Andy “The Dork Too Stupid” when I remember to do it.

Paul is watching the news alone on Wintermas Eve, and sees the news that The Dork Too Stupid has been killed, though of course it is presented as

…a tragic accident….

Yes, the news reports finding the charred body of a retired Delta Force commander in an abandoned warehouse in the middle of winter.

No, Paul sees nothing unusual about these circumstances.

I’m serious–he’s sad, but not even slightly suspicious.  It doesn’t strike our hero as the least bit odd that a retired military hero would be found burned up by napalm in an abandoned warehouse.

I hate the movie Dumb and Dumber, but Paul’s reaction to The Dork Too Stupid’s death reminds me of nothing so much as this scene:

It is left to Ranold to set Paul straight, as he happens upon his son-in-law downing four fingers of Scotch as a tribute to The Dork Too Stupid, who was

…like a father to me…

Remember that in light of what we will learn about their relationship.

Anyway, it’s good to see that at least one character around here is in touch with reality:

“Paul, don’t believe everything you hear.” [said Ranold to his dumb son-in-law]

“What are you saying?”

“Just that it’s debatable which came first: his being caught or the warehouse burning.”

“Caught be whom?”

“When was the last time you heard from Pass?”

“I don’t know–seven, eight years ago.”

Yeah, when people are like family to me, I stay out of touch with them for almost a decade, too.

Anyway, Ranold knows a helluva lot more about The Dork Too Stupid than Paul does, and smacks Paul with the clue bat: Andy Pass was the leader of an underground Christian cell, and his death was an example.  Ranold is quite happy that a blow has been struck to the subversives, and Paul wanders off to bed not knowing what to think: is Ranold right or is Andy the same “rock solid” guy he used to know?  And since there doesn’t seem to be enough room in Paul’s mind for more than one tiny thought at a time, it is not surprising that he can’t figure it out.

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Posted on January 1, 2011, in Books, Christmas, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Downing four fingers of scotch? _sigh_
    The really depressing thing is that the sheltered fundamentalist Christian types for whom this might be their only approved reading material are actually going to think that Jenkins actually knows what he’s talking about. Instead he’s got his mature and worldly hero sucking down scotch like he’s a kid at a club doing Jaeger Bombs.

    Plus, what’s the deal with Ranold bragging about his knowledge about Too Dork Stupid? Unless it turns out later that he’d outed Dork to the authorities, he’s just gone and confessed to a government official that he’s been sitting on information about anti-government radicals.

    • “Unless it turns out later that he’d outed Dork to the authorities, he’s just gone and confessed to a government official that he’s been sitting on information about anti-government radicals.”

      Well, Ranold now has a desk job with the NPO (National Peace Organization), and Paul works “in the field” for them, “consulting” because of all his alleged religious knowledge. So Ranold is in the know.

      Apologies if I didn’t make it clear what Ranold is doing. There is sooo much infodumping in Chapter 1! 😀

  2. It probably wasn’t good Scotch…

    Sooooo. the killing wasn’tdone to send a message? I think we established earlier that this is not the way a real secret police works. On this showing, when the RTCs take over the USA, they will at least be wildly incompetent and easy to subvert. (But it will probably be done by the real secret policemen, who will keep the RTC shell as justification for their own actions.)

    • “It probably wasn’t good Scotch…”

      If this was Paul’s house, I would bet not. Paul seems like the kind of world traveler Buck is, enormously impressed with the most minor conveniences of travel, like sinks and electrical outlets. I picture Paul as the kind of guy who raids the minibar like he has temporary access to Fort Knox, and his “liquor cabinet” at home is just a shelf above the kitchen sink with his collection of tiny bottles of the cheap stuff.

      Ranold, OTOH, seems like the kind of guy who would invest in the good stuff. Which is probably why he’s a bit pissed at Paul, who’s chugging his Scotch like it’s Miller Lite.

      • “…who’s chugging his Scotch like it’s Miller Lite.”
        Heh. I once tried to introduce some younger co-workers to scotch at a party. I had to take the bottle away when one of them declared excitedly that it would be perfect mixed with ginger ale….

        “Sooooo. the killing wasn’tdone to send a message?”
        I think the message sent by the killing is more of an Idi Amin message: The boss is batshit crazy and if someone disappears you know he died horribly even if they never find the body… It might fit if Jenkins was trying to create a world ruled by a highly unstable and paranoid dictator, but I don’t think that’s what he was aiming for here…

  3. This reminds me of a fake news report from someplace or other:

    “A nude body has been recovered from the river. Reports indicate that the victim was found handcuffed and gagged, with a wire around his neck, four bullet holes in the body, multiple stab wounds, and his feet encased in cement. Police suspect foul play.”

    But not Paul!

  4. i agree that secret polices get almost as much done by carefully offing and disappearing the high-echelon muckity-mucks who head up dissident movements and watching the house of cards come crashing down when someone below in the hierarchy starts panicking.

  5. Are there non-Christian underground religious cells in this world, I wonder? Or is every other faith else too sane and peaceloving–I mean, too sheepy and sinful to buck the order?

    • Not that I remember–and I think it’s more a sense that, as in LaHaye’s and Jenkins’ other works–that other religious people are “faking it”–that they know the “truth,” but are just too stubborn/angry at God to admit it.

  6. “Soon: Chapter 1: Paul is Dumb Heathen
    Critique” was a incredibly excellent article, .
    Continue authoring and I’m going to continue viewing! Thank you ,Desmond

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