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.”

Oh, woooooowwwwwww…

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.”

“And…?”

“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!

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Posted on October 22, 2011, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. Okay, guys, how’s this theme (last experiment, I promise!)?

    • Readable, but not very pretty. I think I prefered the blue background, but it doesn’t matter that much to me.

    • I have no problem with the theme, but something about the font is not playing well with my computer – the text is very pixelated, which is ok for straight vertical lines but hell on curves and slants, especially the italicized sections. It doesn’t look decent unless I magnify it well above the size I’d choose for normal reading. I checked on both Google Chrome and IE8, same problem in both. Using Windows 7, if that makes a difference.

    • I like this one more than previous.

  2. I like this theme.

    As bad as Paul is, at least he’s willing to be honest about what they’d do to a person who found their lair as opposed to Straight who would rather tap dance around the issue.

  3. inquisitiveraven

    I don’t care for the green headers. Not that I have a problem with green in general. It’s that particular lime green that I find painful. Can you make it a little darker, maybe with less of the yellow undertones without messing with the rest of the theme? The rest looks good.

    Are we really surprised that Jenkins can’t keep his geography straight even though he invented it? I think it’s going to be this series’ version of forgetting the kids are missing in LB.

    • It’s the same problem as we had with the miracles a few chapters back. He has to conceive a world that oppresses Christians and is in the future, but he also has to make it relatable to the world of his readers. And since he has no idea how to deal in allegory or truly create a world with a different paradigm from our own, he just writes our world with token trappings of things unlike our own.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        I think it “he has no idea”, PERIOD.

        The only reason this guy’s books sell is because RTCs (forbidden from reading those Heathen books) read them as an Act of Faith. (After all, they’re CHRISTIAN (TM)!)

    • The lack of internal consistency in the geography is definitely facepalm-inducing. Why go to all the trouble of worldbuilding new maps and then not even refer to them? (>_>)

  4. So Paul is tackled, tied up, and covered with a pillowcase? Man, Straight’s into some kinky shit.

    Why is it that for being so opposed to homosexuality Christian writers create some of the best homoeroticism around?

    • 😄 That might explain the oddly slashy undertones between Rayford Steele and Cameron Williams.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        Repeat after me, everybody:

        UNINTENTIONAL CANONICAL SLASHFIC SETUP. A Buck Jenkins trademark, just like the Lesbo Action and German-Bashing is to S.M.Stirling.

        And have you ever noticed in all the scenes where the two Author Self-Inserts onstage together, not only are they serious Slash Setups, but Rayford LaHaye Steele is ALWAYS the dom on top and Buck Jenkins is ALWAYS the sub on the bottom? I wonder if that reflects the two’s business and professional relationship.

  5. Did Paul think it was a good idea to let his guess (in old coordinates) get known to the people who went through the trouble of blindfolding him before taking him. “Oh hey, I bet I know exactly where we are” “Then you know too much” *BLAM*

    But seriously, what’s the point here? If you’re not sure you can trust the atheistapo guy, don’t bring him to your lair yet. If he’s not trustworthy, you can’t let him go knowing that the place even exists. And if you kill him if he doesn’t seem trustworthy enough, you might as well let him see where the base is. If he thinks you trust him, his guard will be down.

    I like how one of the first things Straight sees fit to mention is how they have a detailed murder-procedure for any innocent dupe that wanders in, on the chance he might tell someone. Actually, it may be a clever move from Straight to show they are wholy unconcered other people as long as they themselves are alright. It shows Paul these really are his kind of people.

  6. “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.”

    It’s not their fault: Procedure calls for it! It’s not Straight, or David or Abraham or whatever ridiculous code names they’re using, owning up to what they’re sanctioning. It’s just Procedure.

    Even disregarding the moral aspects of premeditated murder,this is the worst premeditation ever. Who’s gonna move the vehicle? Move it where? How will they make sure it won’t be traced? What if the car gets stopped en route? What if there’s more than one intruder?

    And now I’m curious– who volunteered to do the deed? How will it be done? By Straight in the tunnel with the rope? Peter in the office with the candlestick? Sarah in the kitchen with the gun?

    Maybe they don’t trust Paul enough yet to let him in on the details, but then, why mention it at all? And if they want to reassure him that they won’t let their hideout be reported to the Atheistopian authorities, then surely, “we’ve worked out a detailed contingency plan” is a bit more convincing than “we don’t like to think about it.”,

  7. This setup is impressively slash-riffic even by the standards previously established.

    Somehow I can see the hotel staff saying to each other “oh, they’re kidnapping That Guy. The one who tried to seduce the waitress and then didn’t leave a tip. Couldn’t happen to a nicer fellow. Should we call the cops? Eh, maybe.”

    I wonder whether part of the non-use of the new states is a problem of writing with a word-processor: the setup/introduction was perhaps written later than the rest of the book, but JJ didn’t bother to go back and change things he’d already written.

    This murder procedure just feels odd to me – like the blood oaths sworn by a kids’ secret club, or the rites of Freemasonry, complex and vicious procedures which the people involved don’t really expect ever to carry out.

  8. How does Paul know that he’s inside a salt mine? What differentiates a salt mine from any other sort of mine, or indeed from any man-made hole in the ground? I’ve looked at images of salt mines and some of them don’t look any different from coal mines, or those underground flood chambers that are dug under some cities. Are we now going to learn that he studied geology as well as theology?
    Also, how does he know where this mine is? Sure, he could have guesstimated the distance he’d been driven, but he couldn’t have known which direction.
    But of course Paul is a Gary Stu, so he knows everything that JJ knows. So JJ can dispense with the tiresome stuff of having other characters explain things to Paul (except when it comes to RTC theology of course) or telling the readers how Paul worked out these thingst for himself.

  9. inquisitiveraven

    Okay, the purple headers are much better. Thank you.

  10. Just curious, but is Straight black? I’m too lazy to check previous posts, but my “Character has a black friend which means he’s hip and enlightened” sense is tingling.

  11. Also, was that sedan they lost part of Straight’s plan to kidnap him? If so, great job on having a plan A that’s even more public than a hotel kidnapping, and on just telling Paul “We need to take you somewhere, but I can’t let you know where”. Guess Straight hates Paul a bit too, even though they need him.

    And if that wasn’t a Watchman follower, I don’t think they should’ve brought him to their secret hideout if they are being followed. Sure, you think you lost them, but what if they found you again? What if they traced you back to the hotel? What if Paul has a transmitter, and the car was following them to see what was happening and decided to back off once they were spotted, but are still half a mile behind them? Good job planning the murders of innocent wanderers to keep you safe, but not thinking about the atheistapo just following your sorry asses back to the batcave.

    • “Also, was that sedan they lost part of Straight’s plan to kidnap him?”

      Nope. 😉

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        That was just a setup for a Big Car Chase. Which The Author forgot about including.

        But doesn’t that make it Spooky and Exciting (TM)?

    • Aha, so we’re at idiocy number 2 then. Arguably the worst one. From any other novelist, I would assume this is then a Schrodinger’s gun that the atheistapo is about to burst in. But this is Jenkins, so it’s a maybe. Perhaps there will be another Nicky-quizes-Buck moment where our nobel hero refuses to lie (note that Straight apparently lied about the chess tournament. I guess he tells himself that he just said they would be driving towards the tournament, and never said he would NOT kidnap Paul so it counts), but the atheistapo is once again too clueless to connect the dots and execute the traitor.

      Then again, the hideout might still get discovered. We haven’t seen any atheists slaughter RTCs for a while now.

  12. What in the ever-lovin’ sam hill? Straight arranges to kidnap Paul? Straight? The man who converted Paul? The only person in this world Paul cares about at all? But somehow he couldn’t just say, “go ahead and take a nap, Paul, I’ll let you now when we get there” and then drive to the mine? Apparently nothing really cements the trust in a relationship like a little light kidnapping.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      But this is more EXCITING (TM)!

      Just like James Bond!

      (And I’m convinced that Buck Jenkins is a frustrated Spy/Technothriller author with no clue as to how to do it. But This Is Exciting, Isn’t It?

  13. Headless Unicorn Guy

    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.

    Okay. Jerry Jenkins, Frustrated Technothriller/Spy Author, strikes again!

    Remember how in Left Behind, Jenkins tries a James Bond/Conspiracy Technothriller setup with his Author Self-Insert, then the End Time Prophecy Checklist starts up and he drops the entire attempt at a story arc? Same thing.

    This guy sounds like he has an obsession with Pulp Spy/Conspiracy Thrillers. But then Jenkins’ hackwork sets in and he comes across like some 12-year-old’s idea of how “grown-up” spies and conspiracies run.

    Maybe that’s it. He’s an arrested-development case who made it big on LaHaye’s coattails. “Just like Chris Paolini, Except CHRISTIAN (TM)!”

    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.

    I think that’s it. He said he wrote each Left Behind volume in four weeks; most likely he’s slamming it through the typer without thinking and being a CELEBRITY AUTHOR, his shit don’t stink and his best-selling prose doesn’t need editing or continuity check or proofing.

    The vast boringness continues apace, as Straight fills in Paul on all kinds of stuff we, the readers, already know from several chapters ago.

    “As-You-Know” idiot conversation (except face-to-face instead of over-the-phone) or Captain Planet Expository Lecture? If the latter, does it break the fourth wall for the Altar Call to the reader?

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