Soon: Chapter 6: Lies, Damn Lies
“Caroline is incapable of wilfully deceiving anyone; and all I can hope in this case is that she has deceived herself.”
-Jane Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
Paul, the only survivor of God’s Wrath by Earthquake, is bloody but unbowed.
The Christians are calling the Frisco quake a miracle. And, on one hand, you can hardly blame them, what with God enacting his rumbly vengeance at the exact moment that the evil atheists stormed the innocent Christian prayer meeting.
On the other hand…it may be a bit crass to keep score, but God did kill about 16 Christians and 12 atheists. (And I’m not even counting the four shot by Paul.) So it kinda seems like the atheists came out ahead on this one.
Then again, I hear that God works in mysterious ways.
Paul still doesn’t have Jesus on his heart, despite being witness to this Miracle Directly from God. He’s just pissed that Coker and the others were killed. This being the second time in the entire book that Paul has spared a thought for any human being besides himself. Still, the empathy is somewhat lessened in my eyes by Paul’s whining over his injuries, which are nothing more than cuts and bruises from tumbling down the hill. Also:
His eardrums had ruptured, but with modern technology that required only a simple repair, done in the emergency room. He would need to be shielded from noise for about a week. That was a relief, because he was too banged up to endure more questions.
Oh Atheistopia! You’re my hero!
So his debriefing doesn’t happen until two weeks after the event. Um, again, I am no cop or soldier, but that just doesn’t seem right.
Anyway, Paul has to “remind himself” that he’s lucky, even though he is the only survivor of an event that killed 30-odd people, while he received only minor, superficial damage from which he will completely recover.
So, Paul stays home for two weeks with the despised Jae. She’s understandably dismayed that he was hurt on the job, but Daddy Ranold convinces her that this whole job-change thing is good for Paul–that it Makes Him a Man. So Jae practices for her upcoming role as a good RTC wife by bottling up her true feelings and not saying a word.
In all fairness about the timing of the debriefing, it’s not like Paul has anything important to tell Bob anyway. After all, Paul never even got to the porch of the house and saw nothing that went down after Coker and the SWAT guys and gals went in. Then Paul actually admits that he doesn’t know who started the shooting. (There’s no way he could have known for certain–I’m just surprised that he admits it.)
Then Bob starts going on about how the NPO “had our suspicions” that the Christians were armed and that the old lady’s house was a secret bomb factory. This just sounds like more of the same lying, much as Bob lied to Paul about The Dork Too Stupid–we readers, after all, know that the innocent Christians were not armed, and that the “bomb” was a miracle from God, so there could not possibly have been any evidence that there was a bomb factory. So once again, we have to ask ourselves: why is Bob lying to Paul? I mean, I get that this is supposed to be a thriller, full of thrills and doubts about who’s on whose side, but the lies Bob tells Paul are so blatantly obvious, so open to dispelling from a cursory glance at any official reports (to which Paul would have complete access) that the quote from Jane seems apropos. Is this a case of Bob stringing Paul along (for whatever reason), or is Bob actually that uninformed?
Damn, but this debriefing is pointless and boring. We know nothing that we didn’t know already.