Soon: Chapters 21-22: Vegas, Baby!
Paul has his next assignment: investigating a “Christian group” in Las Vegas. I put the words “Christian group” in “quotation marks” because it is obvious that we readers are supposed to know that these are not Really Real Christians like the Watchmen. Nope, these folks are one of those fakey culty thingies and haven’t said the proper magic words so that they will be spirited away in the Rapture.
I’ll let Jenkins tell us all about this cult, since it’s quite a tale (ha!):
Sixteen people had been discovered dead, all of drug overdoses, before an altar under a cross. The deaths had been traced to a self-proclaimed prophet who called himself the reincarnation of Jonah. Friends of the victims claimed “Jonah” spun a story about having been swallowed by a whale off the coast of San Diego a few years before, then belched up onto shore three days later, suffering superficial burns from the creatures stomach acid.
While inside the whale, Jonah claimed God had told him to build a congregation that would have direct access to heaven through the miracle of hallucinogenic drugs. The prophet, according to friends of the victims, also espoused free love, saying God told him this was his intention from the time of creation.
Several hundred people in and around Las Vegas were reportedly linked to the Jonah cult.
Yes, the “friends of the victims” thing is stated twice in three sentences. Copy-editing is your friend.
But I’m sure you can see right away why we need to be concerned. Drugs! And even more importantly, SEX! Filthy, unChristian SEX!
Oh, and some people died.
Almost seems like an afterthought.
Straight is understandably concerned about this potentially dangerous situation:
“You’re going to Sin City?” Straight said.
“Early next week. Boss thinks this looks solid.”
Straight sat back and studied Paul. “Better get yourself some blinders, boy. You’re pretty young in the faith to be going there, especially with your family gone. It’s all gambling and sex.”
“I can handle it.”
“Famous last words. Sounds like you’ve decided.”
Because, as we all know, Good Christians don’t gamble! And I’m sure they don’t take advantage of the other awesome aspects of Vegas, like shows and buffets and the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop!
But the primary point here is that Straight doesn’t trust Paul. Paul questioned Straight’s trust in him during the kidnapping, and Straight brushed it off by explaining that anyone going to the Christian Salt Mines is blindfolded. But now we know that Paul’s concerns are legit–Straight doesn’t trust his miraculously-healed friend to keep it in his pants during a few days in Vegas.
Honestly, I’m starting to get the feeling now that Straight is just jealous. Straight visits the hospital every day, “an in-patient baby-sitter” as Paul sensitively called him, nudging grievously injured and depressed atheists towards Christ, as long as there is no possible risk to himself.
Now one of his converts gets to trot around the country, converting billionaires and witnessing miracles. Guess it’s not surprising that the only power Straight thinks he has is to snidely imply that Paul is just a naive noobie without Maturity and Wisdom in the Faith.
But Paul ignores Straight (and who can blame him?) and wings off for VEGAS!!!
I love Vegas.
(Picture from Wikipedia)
As I mentioned in my post about Atheistopian population statistics, Jenkins is fond of dropping city stats on us from time to time, usually with no real point that I can see. Here, Jenkins informs us that Atheistopian Las Vegas has a population of half a million people. This doesn’t seem to mean much, because Vegas right now has a population of about half a million people, according to Wikipedia.
Jenkins also liked to tell us exactly where the NPO stashes Paul in various cities. In New York, it was The Pierre; in Vegas, it is a hotel at Fremont Street.
There’s not all that much to know about Atheistopian Las Vegas. Picture our Las Vegas, but more pornographic and with legalized prostitution (much more on this later).
Paul was amazed that so many people would travel so far to the heat of the desert to lose their money.
Gee. I have never heard that before. *eyeroll*
Also, it’s called fun, Paul. I know that you need to needed to check it at the door when you said the magic words, but do you also feel the need to deny others?
Actually, don’t answer that. I already know.