Soon: Chapter 20: The Most Exciting Kidnapping Ever
On the way to Toledo, Paul and Straight are followed by a sedan.
They manage to shake it.
It’s really boring.
At the hotel in Toledo, Paul heads to Straight’s room for a “practice game.” But three guys tackle him, truss him up like a Wintermas goose, toss a pillowcase over his head, and wheel him out of the hotel on a cart.
How they manage to accomplish this without any hotel guests or staff noticing is beyond me, but no matter what, these guys are awesome. In fact, I kinda think this should be a daily event for Paul. No one deserves it more.
carovee brought up a really good point in the last entry:
I could forgive Paul this incredibly weak-ass excuse for leaving his family if he were really going to the super-sekrit salt compound, but apparently he is actually going to a chess tournament.
Turns out, he is going to the Super Secret Squirrel Salt…Senter…but he didn’t know it when he left.
But Straight did!
Paul hears Straight’s voice and realizes he’s in on it–but Straight isn’t answering any questions.
“Where are we going, Straight?”
“You’ll see when we get there, Paul–but let me just say it will be more than you ever could have imagined.”
They drive Paul to the salt mine and take him down in the elevator, still tied up and blindfolded. When they are finally at the bottom, Straight releases and re-sights Paul, who sees that he is in a salt mine.
“Southwestern Detroit or northeastern Ohio, right?” Paul said.
Um, what? Paul, dude, you were raised in a world where no such place as “Ohio” exists. Detroit and Toledo are both in the state of Heartland. Oh, and Detroit is one city. And there happens to be more to southeastern Michigan than Detroit.
(Southwestern Detroit is a pretty small area, especially compared to northeastern Ohio. This feels like a typo on Jenkins’ part–like he really meant Paul to say, “Southeastern Michigan or northern Ohio, right?” Although, it is still dumb to say…hell, why not use the name of the state you made up??)
I hate to harp on this (well, not really), but it just makes no sense. If Ranold or someone else from that generation called places “Ohio” or “TEXAS” out of habit, I would be fine with it. Hell, it would actually be an interesting character bit, an indication of how we hold on to childhood facts even if they change as adults. But for Paul, who was born during the war and never knew any Ohio or Texas or California, it just makes no sense. It yanks us right out of Atheistopia, as though Jerry Jenkins can’t keep track of his own storyworld.
The vast boringness continues apace, as Straight fills in Paul on all kinds of stuff we, the readers, already know from several chapters ago.
Then we get to the potential murders, and things suddenly aren’t so boring. Or, as Straight tries to diplomatically explain:
“We don’t like to think about [what would happen if anyone ever got to the underground salt mine and discovered people were there], but we have a plan.”
“Like I say, we don’t like to think about it.”
“You’d have to kill them. And then what?”
“Procedure calls for taking the body to the surface, putting it in the vehicle it showed up in, and moving that vehicle somewhere so the body would not be traced to the mine.”
“How do you justify that?”
“We don’t, Paul. We pray it never happens.”
What a fun way to introduce Paul to the underground! Murder plans!