Soon: Chapter 23: Angela and the Whores
Paul questions another sad prostitute–about Angela, not about Morty/Jonah–and learns that Angela is asking the women (Of course there aren’t any male prostitutes in Jenkins’ world! Don’t be ridiculous.) to come to a meeting at night, where she can tell them all about Jesus. This particular prostitute is too scared of her “employer” to go (and more on her later), but Paul decides to go.
The one and only thing he does all day to further his hunt for Jonah (yanno, the life-and-death mission for which he is getting paid?) is to call Bob Koontz in Chicago, and have the Chicago Bureau run a check on Morty Bag-of-Donuts. And I roll my eyes into the next state every time that damn name is mentioned.
“Sure. I’ll have somebody from the local bureau [in Vegas] run it over to you.” [Bob said]
“Okay, but I don’t want them trampling all over my case.”
PAUL, IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO STOP BEING AN ARROGANT ASSHAT FOR TWO WHOLE SECONDS?? I AM QUITE SURE THAT THE VEGAS NPO HAVE BETTER THINGS TO DO WITH THEIR TIME THAN TRAMP ALL OVER YOUR SEARCH FOR ANGELA.
Paul goes to the meeting, but decides to lurk in the shadows like an ineffectual Christian Batman rather than actually go inside.
Nine women come, and Angela begins the meeting in this odd way:
“I applaud your courage in coming tonight.”
I bet they come most other nights, too.
Sorry, couldn’t resist.
“I don’t plan to keep you long, because we realize it’s as dangerous for you as it is for us.”
Okay, getting serious now: THIS MAKES NO FRAKKING SENSE.
“As dangerous for you as it is for us.” Angela…honey…you are doing something illegal. They are doing something not illegal.
The sad thing is, this could have been a fascinating turnabout: putting the powerless in positions of power can be a great tool in fiction. As I discussed in the last installment, Joss Whedon played with this idea in Firefly–five hundred years in the future, when prostitution has become legalized and legitimized, classy Companion Inara Serra is by far the most respected person on Serenity. Her status in society is such that her mere presence can turn the tables. Being a Companion is, in the ‘Verse, something to which the most elite in society aspire.
Now, I am not for a moment saying that Jerry Jenkins had to do a Whedon-esque treatment of prostitution in Soon. But he brought this problem on himself by wanting to have it both ways:
1. Atheistopia is so depraved that they legalized the “out-and-out sin” of prostitution, but
2. Somehow, the prostitutes have none of the protections that come from living within the law and being part of a licensed profession.
Thus it may indeed by ironic, as Paul smarmily observes, that prostitutes’ lives are legal and Christians’ are not, but Jenkins has made this a fact of his world. And unless Jenkins comes up with some reason why the prostitutes lives would not change (Spoiler Alert: he doesn’t), Angela is laughably incorrect in her assertion that things are equally dangerous for prostitutes and Christians.
If law enforcement raided this little meeting, some people would be in for a lengthy prison sentence.
And those people would not be the whores.
But no, we are to assume that Angela is correct, and the prostitutes live lives of quiet desperation. Instead of saying “pimp,” they say “employer,” but it’s all the same–the prostitutes are scared and helpless and hopeless. Engaged in legitimate employment, they apparently just can’t quit working for one organization and go work for another, or work independently or open their own business. And I guess the Prostitution Licensing Association of Rockland (PLAR) isn’t looking out for its members as it should.
So, Angela blah-blahs on and on about Jesus and the “exciting news” that the helpful Christians can spirit these poor, whimpering women away from their legal employment and make them outlaws:
“You may be in trouble with your employer right now. He doesn’t know where you are, and unless you come up with a very creative and convincing lie, you’re going to suffer for having been here tonight.
We’ll put no pressure on you, we won’t force you into any decisions, and we’ll never ask you to do anything against your will. You will be presented with the claims of Christ on your life, and we hope you’ll see that God loves you and that Jesus died for you. If at any point you decide this is not for you, you, of course, free to go.”
Free to go straight to the cops and report a band of Christians who are enticing law-abiding citizens to worship God.
Then Angela lets a reformed prostitute called “Freda” talk. Remember, the room is full of lifelong atheists. These women will need a very compelling argument for the existence of God. But Freda has one, certain to convince the most hardened skeptic:
“I mean, come on. Look around.”
Well, you can’t do any better than that, and the prostitutes are sold. (Har.) Of the nine in attendance, seven leave in the van Angela has ready. Once the driver has pulled away and the other women have left, Paul decides to scare Angela to death by sneaking up on her.
Being Paul, he talks about himself for quite awhile–being blind but now seeing, neglecting his mission in order to stalk her, etc. Then he invites her our for dessert.
Oooo, I hope they go to Jean Philippe at the Bellagio!