Soon: Chapter 2: The Way They Talk
Jenkins’ characters have the oddest ways of expressing themselves. They often do not communicate in a straight-ahead kind of way.
Now, admittedly, making veiled threats could be seen as something of an art form, verbal or written. Perhaps something not to be attempted unless one knows what one is doing.
Now that’s he’s done spitting in cemeteries, Paul is back at the Decenti residence to get his despised family to the airport on time. And Ranold has a few last-minute words for his son-in-law:
“You may not have done the best for yourself, attending that funeral.”
“Paul, the agency is focusing more and more on homegrown subversives. If it comes out–the truth about Pass, I mean–and it’s known that you went to his funeral, that you were old friends–”
“I didn’t go as an old friend.”
Huh? Then what did you go as, Paul? An iguana?
Maybe Paul means he went as a “like a son” to The Dork Too Stupid. Which I guess makes him a son who doesn’t know he has a sister.
Hmm, I think I just officially creeped myself out re: Paul’s attraction to Angela.
“Whatever made you go, it was imprudent.”
“You’re saying it could hurt me inside the agency?”
My brother, Angus, was visiting this past weekend. I showed him this passage, and he laughed at this part, wondering why Paul couldn’t just say that he had known the guy for years, and went to the funeral to pay his respects, oh yeah, just like all the other guys from the Army who were there.
And, failing that, he added, why couldn’t Paul just lie and say he secretly suspected The Dork of being subversive, and wanted to do some recon of his own?
“That would require my knowing the truth before I went, now wouldn’t it?”
Ranold pressed his lips together. “You did know. I told you.”
“Then I would be in trouble only if anyone in the agency knew that you had told me. Am I right? Surely I can count on you to sit on that…Dad.”
Ooo, Paul, you’re such a clever macho-man, the way you turned that right around on that mean old Ranold!
And the original objections still stand. Even if Paul was improperly informed, he could still say 1) he didn’t believe it, or 2) he did believe it, and was spying.
Oh, and one more note. Angus’ reaction to this entire passage was, “Geez, this Ranold guy makes it sound like atheists would never go to funerals. Yeah, because we would never care about other people or want to pay respects and say goodbye.”
Welcome to JenkinsLand, Angus.