Soon: Chapter 14: Checking in with the Ladies
Jenkins sure wants to get a lot done in Chapter 14. Paul’s conversion, plus seeing what Jae and Angela are up to, plus another miracle (well, two, really). I may have almost as many posts for Chapter 14 as I did for Chapters 1 and 2, where the whole world had to be explained.
So, let’s check in with the ladies. And by “the ladies,” I mean only Jae and Angela. Bia, I’m sure, would not be a “lady” by Jenkins’ definition, so she will not be included.
Well, that, and something much more interesting happens to her, so I’m giving her a post of her own. 😀
Angela, underground Christian just like her father The Dork, meets up with a couple of her co-conspirators under circumstances that are not at all unusual or suspicious: they all attend a show at the Albert Einstein Planetarium. I take it Jenkins is a pretty big fan of the Air and Space Museum, or at least checked out their website for a few minutes, because he cites a number of the exhibits there. (Not that I blame him, as the Air and Space Museum is gorram awesome.)
Oddly, though, he seems to make a mistake of dates, or maybe he just didn’t double-check himself. Let me lay this out, to be sure I’m not making a mistake…the dates switched over on January 1, 2010. 2010 became 1 P3. It is now May of 37 P3, or 2047. Paul, we are told, was 36 at Wintermas, born during the war. However, Jenkins now tells us:
Angela’s favorite flying machine was the scarlet Breitling Orbiter balloon, the first to fly nonstop around the world just before the turn of the century, about six years before she was born.
Problem: The Breitling Orbiter 3 completed its journey in 1999. Which puts Angela’s birth in 2005, making her 5-6 years older than Paul, around 42. This does not jive with Paul’s earlier statement that Angela is “around thirty,” nor do I believe for a second that Jenkins would have his hero be attracted to a woman who is both over forty, and older than him, even if by only 5-6 years.
So, either Jenkins got the date wrong, or he or an editor accidentally put in a “six” instead of a “sixteen,” which would put Angela at the proper age.
And I have digressed on that one number waaaaay too long…
Angela and her cohorts get tickets to a mid-afternoon showing at the now-quaint planetarium. Yeah, three unrelated, non-tourist adults meeting up here, when at least one of them may be tailed. Not suspicious at all. (Um, don’t you people have jobs? I know Angela does: something about the Library of Congress or somesuch…) Then the following glorious event occurs:
A couple entered, taking seats on each side of her. The three clasped hands and, as the powerful bass line of the soundtrack boomed, shared a silent prayer.
That cracks me up every time.
Angela (whispering): My brother and sister, we meet today under fearful circumstances. Our very lives may be in danger as we speak, so let us pray for the success of our righteous cause and for our safety, should God will it.
Man (whispering): After we’re done here, can we hit the gift shop? I wanna get some space ice cream.
Woman (whispering): Sure, dear.
The Christian threesome decide to further make themselves suspicious (and to disturb everyone else who is trying to enjoy the show), by whispering the entire time. Angela passes on Paul’s message of a possible raid, and they make plans for Angela to leave town. Because nothing says “I’m innocent” like snatching your kids out of school and fleeing the jurisdiction for no reason whatsoever.
And you know Angela’s desperate, because she’s fleeing to…Detroit.
Meanwhile, Jae, who is apparently (gasp!) older than thirty (that’s what you get for pursuing an advanced degree, you harpy), has decided to move Paul’s sorry ass out of the den, where he has camped out since he got home weeks ago, and back into their second-floor bedroom. She cleans up all his clothes and bedding and shit. (If Paul hasn’t been up to the second floor yet, how has he showered? He must be really stinky by now.) Then…
…she also came upon a note crumpled and soft from fingering, from Angela Pass Barger.
Ewwwww!!! Jae, put that note down and go wash! I don’t even want to think about what Paul has been doing with it!
Speaking of…why does Paul still have the letter, and why did he leave it at home while he skipped off to Washington? Why didn’t the blind man who is dependent on his wife destroy the letter before he came home? It didn’t cross his mind that this might happen? I mean, I know I’ve ragged on Paul’s intelligence in the past, but now I’m starting to get worried–this is more than mere dumbassery; he doesn’t even appear to grasp basic cause and effect.
And now, let us rejoice in the fact that Jae is allowed a moment of anger. Sure, this is it, but let’s enjoy it while it lasts:
How could her blind, seemingly helpless, definitely depressed husband have met a new woman, corresponded with her, and made a secret plan to meet her in Washington? And right under the nose of Jae’s father?
No wonder Paul wanted Straight to go with him. He must have been Paul’s accomplice all along. Who else could have read him the note? It amazed Jae that she had been so naive and accepting–waiting on Paul hand and foot, enduring his mood swings and angry outbursts, defending his temper to the children. All the while she had hoped he was coming to terms with his blindness, he had been trolling the waters of a different future.
It was the same old story, Paul and his other women. And he always acted like her jealousy was crazy.
I’m pretty sure that the reader is supposed to think, “Hey! She is totally wrong about Straight! Good Christian Straight doesn’t condone what Paul is doing!” And he doesn’t. Still, Jae is not entirely wrong (not that she’ll be vindicated, mind you). After all, Straight cheerfully went to lunch with Paul and Angela, never dropping so much as a hint that this wasn’t on the up-and-up. Which is pretty unfair both to Jae and to Angela, who still is in the dark about Paul’s relationship. In fact, one of the oddities about this love triangle is the way that no one–not Paul, not Straight, not the author–has said a word about the situation being so lousy for Angela.
And this is all Jae gets. The poll of Paul’s asshattery will be just as bad, IMHO, for the next bunch of chapters, even if he is now-a-Christian Paul.
But I’ll let you all be the judge. 😉
1. The winner of the Paul-asshattery Poll #1 is…
“Why can’t you handle simple electronics?…Grown woman and you can’t even–…Are you crying again?”
But, as Vermic pointed out, every quote is a winner!
2. Did no one want the Riven CDs? I’m so hurt! (Not really. :D) If you did, please say so!
Next up: a new miracle.