Soon: Chapter 12: Zzzzz…HATE!
Good to know I’m not the only one freaked out by Stuart
“Don’t Touch My Junk” “Straight” Rathe.
Chapter 12 is about chess and reading letters. It’s just as exciting as you might imagine.
Paul sinks even deeper into Emo Mode, though Jenkins puts it thusly:
Violent mood swings became Paul’s routine.
Except…he’s only really swinging between sulky and angry, and I’m not sure that counts as a “violent” swing.
Paul whines for several pages about how he can’t see the sunlight and it hurts when they work on his face burns. Now, I’m sure it hurts like a sonofabitch, but he doesn’t give a crap about any of the other patients who are burned a lot more than just a bit of face, and he doesn’t care that Atheistopian medicine has progressed to the point where it hurts a lot less than it used to and he’ll look completely back to normal when they’re done.
Oh, and he has a recurring dream about his despised wife and kids running towards him, but before he can actually hug them, he wakes up. So Paul almost constantly has his Sad Panda Face on, except when he’s yelling at the kids (ages SEVEN and FIVE, remember) for being afraid of him. I don’t blame them a bit for being scared of their horrible, abusive, distant father. Poor little peanuts.
Paul and Mr. Touchy-Feely play a bunch of games of chess, because there are either no other patients in the hospital to volunteer for, or they’ve all gotten wise and barred Straight from the room. And Paul listens to the New Testament and counts all the times blindness is mentioned. Because screw fighting the terrorists, we need to know how this affects The Most Important Thing of All: Paul’s feelings.
Speaking of Paul’s feelings, Paul gets Straight to write a letter to The Dork Too Stupid’s daughter, Angela. Angela lives in Washington, and Paul is going there soon to get some bogus medal for valor for selflessly chasing after a murderer and then ripping his goggles off his face in the line of
stupid duty. He dictates a short Sad Panda letter and basically asks her out for a date. Angela sends him back a very sweet and supportive letter and an audiobook about Delta Force, and manages to slip into the letter that her husband died of colon cancer, which makes no sense to me. (Did Jenkins forget that Atheistopia has cured almost all cancer, except for the “intricate” brain? What, the husband couldn’t have died of something else?)
And she signs the letter “Love.”
Straight sorta gently reminds Paul that he’s married, and that sets Paul off on a tirade of running down his wife to a stranger. Again. She doesn’t come to see him enough (Straight mentions that she might be looking for a job, which only pisses off Paul more), she’s not handling the kids well, she doesn’t tell him every little thing she’s doing. Then Paul laments that now that he’s blind, he won’t be able to chase chicks the way he used to, but maybe Angela could “deal with my blindness.”
Out of nowhere, Straight brings the conversation around to Paul’s Bible-reading (GEE I WONDER WHY) and now that they’ve both examined the meaning of signing a letter “Love” as if they were a couple of 11-year-old schoolgirls*, Straight actually finishes reading the damn thing and Paul learns the results of the tests on the letter, which is totally genuine. Shockingly, this discovery makes Paul even angrier (this time, at his dead father), and he becomes even more determined to crack the code he is convinced is in the Bible.
Sadly, in Atheistopia, the End Times timelines and checklists have been banned. So Paul has to start from scratch.
*I exaggerate. 11-year-old schoolgirls would never be such self-absorbed jerks.