Soon: Chapter 24: The Big Date

So, does this sound like a date to you?

“…let’s get dessert or something.”

“I’d love that, Paul.”

Sounds like one to me!

Paul and Angela head out, and gaze deeply into each other’s eyes over coffee and dessert.  They talk shop, which is apparently a huge turn-on for Angela.  And she lets a piece of information slip that is simultaneously important to the plot, and hilarious to me.

Remember the sad prostitute Paul talked to, the one who told him about Angela’s meeting?  Well, Angela has talked to her on multiple occasions, and she’s scared of her extremely legal pimp employer, Mort:

“Wait–what?  Who’s she worried about?”

“She’s one of Morty Bagadonuts’s girls.  I don’t think that’s his real name, but he’s notorious.  Lives in a pent–”

“Penthouse at the Babylon, yeah.”  Paul told her what he knew.

She looked ashen.  “Lucy’s Mort is Jonah?”

Paul nodded.  “You could help me nail this guy.”

“I’d be happy to.”

Hell, she should help nail this guy, since she’s done a better job than Paul has at his own investigation, and SHE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW SHE WAS DOING IT.

This is just beyond pathetic. 

Paul was talking to one of Jonah’s disciples.

Face to frakking face.

AND HE WAS SO OBSESSED WITH HIS LATEST CONQUEST THAT HE FAILED TO ASK THE WOMAN IF SHE KNEW THE MASS MURDERER AND CULT LEADER AND OH YEAH, SHE DID.

It is time, once again, for the epic double facepalm:

Oh, and just as an aside, it bugs the crap outta me that Paul INTERRUPTS ANGELA WHEN SHE IS TALKING.

It is difficult to even encapsulate how much Paul is failing in every conceivable sense, but let’s just look at a few:

Failure as an agent of the NPO: it is Paul’s JOB to track down Jonah.  And even as a double agent, this is a mission he wants to complete–Jonah is a “false Christian” (and he’s hurting people).  And while the Chicago and Vegas bureaus are doing Paul’s work for him, he’s busy chasing a skirt.  So busy that he failed to notice that HE WAS HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH ONE OF JONAH’S DISCIPLES.

Failure to tell Angela the truth: During their dessert-eating (which lasts for HOURS), Paul conveniently forgets to mention the fact that he is married and has two little kids.

BUT HERE IS THE BEAUTY PART: When Paul takes Angela back to her hotel, she tries to kiss him, but he ducks and she gets his cheek.  FOR THIS, HE CONGRATULATES HIMSELF for “upholding his marriage vows.”  He ADMITS that he has been dreaming about Angela, staring at Angela, but only counts the actual kiss as worthy of guilt.

Now, he does feel guilt (refreshingly, he feels guilt both for Jae and for Angela) but his conclusion is this:

He would have to set things right [and tell Angela about Jae].

If nothing else proved God was working in his life, that did.

Funny thing: some people manage not to serial cheat on their spouses for eight years even without having God in their lives.

Funny, that.

Two more notes:

Note #1:  Out of all the times Paul has lusted after another woman, this is the one time you could at least make an argument that it’s okay.  Paul and Jae are separated at this point.  Now, he certainly needs to tell Angela that, but it’s very strange that he barely seems to register that there is a difference in his life.  Then again, it was Jae who left, and Paul doesn’t exactly have a history of taking her seriously.

Note #2:  Angela has great self esteem.  Here is the scene:

He took Angela back to her hotel and walked her to her room.  She looked up at him expectantly.  “Until tomorrow, then,” he said, and she reached for him.

She pulled him toward her by his shoulders, and he offered her his cheek.  Giving him a peck, Angela whispered, “Chivalry lives.”

Now, I am no RTC, but that would not be my reaction were I to move in for a kiss, and the guy ducked.  I would just think that the guy did not want to kiss me.  So, go Angela, I guess.

I suppose that now that the atheists have cured wars, cancer, and homelessness, God has enough time on his hands to make sure Paul doesn’t return Angela’s kiss.

And on the note of The Date That Wasn’t Really, I’m going to take a break from Soon and move on to wintery-er pastures.  Starting on Black Friday (the real beginning of the Wintermas Season, don’tcha know?) I will be doing a review of Jerry Jenkins’ Twas the Night BeforeSoon will resume after Wintermas.

Ho ho ho!

Picture from Chronicle of the Old West

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Posted on November 23, 2011, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I just don’t even. D-X

    Is Paul Stepola even useful for the CO2 he breathes out? Because holy fuck, what a waste of oxygen this guy is. He’s useless in every conceivable sense. How did a bumbling arse like this guy become head of the Atheistapo, anyway?

    *double facepalms*

  2. This Angela-subplot is just so Jenkins can get his Rayford-Hattie or Buck-Alice boner, isn’t it? Yeah, he’s a great godly man now so he’s going to be faithfull to his wife (that is, not engage in sex with other women. Not stop lusting after them or stop lying to her or respecting her or anything), but what’s that faithfullness worth without throwing several lovely ladies at our hero that he can date and flirt with to the point that it’s obvious he could have them if he wanted to, then turning them down to prove that a godly man has great self-control? And there goes Jenkins to his bedroom with the tissues.

    I will say however that for a proper RTC wife, Angela is doing okay. As far as she knows, Paul is a single guy and he’s managed not to act like a raging asshole in front of her, and her father liked the guy, and you can bet your sweet ass a Jenkins hero is attractive, so I can understand why she might think he’s a decent catch. And she’s still decently independent and self-assured doing so. She actually tries to kiss him, and takes it well when he’s ‘not ready’. Much better than Chloe’s 18 months of “Well, I’d like to marry him but I won’t kiss without his and Bruce’s permission”.

    Then again, it was Jae who left, and Paul doesn’t exactly have a history of taking her seriously.
    I totally believe that. Yes, his wife told his sorry ass she’s done with his lies and cheating, took the kids and left him. But Paul is still married to her. He hasn’t divorced her, and that’s all that matters. She’s just being hysterical and uppity, and Paul is humoring her for now by not ordering her to stay, shut up and make him a sandwich, but it should be obvious she can’t actually make any decisions that Paul doesn’t approve. That’s totally in character for him.

    • Yep, Angela is definitely okay where Paul is concerned. Paul has been on Best Behavior with her so far (at least as far as jerkiness goes), so I find her blameless on all counts. Which is kinda strange since we’re talking about a LaJenkinsian “heroine,” but I think Jenkins is using all his Evil Nagging Wife stuff on Jae.

      Angela is really dodging one heck of a bullet here. It would be awesome if she and meta-Jae got together and compared notes.

  3. “Let’s get… dessert… or something. If you know what I mean.”

    Hey, Paul, Matthew 5:28. Ever heard of it?

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Well, Jerry “Buck” Jenkins has already demonstrated is God-Given Talent for Romance Scenes in Left Behind. (Synchronized Cookie Snarfing, anyone?) Did anyone expect anything different?

    You know it’s bad when you can read My Little Pony fanfics with a better take on sexual morality and its presentation.

  5. Wow oh wow…
    My friend Rappy Winters linked me this and I’ve been working through Soon today on the bus and train and what have you and really…wow…

    It is surprising how many Americans who claim to religious but actually know very little about their religion, and so you get this hell fire and death type of if-you-do-not-follow-x, you will get y type belief. And the idea that all atheists are hedonistic dicks just annoys me. We are only human, we have our flaws, but in general we try to be good people, not because of any divine threat hanging over us, but that is the right thing to do. I’ve got religious grandparents who go to church every week, big in the church community, canons at the local cathedral, friends with lots of vicars and they aren’t good people because they fear punishment, they are good because it is the right thing to do. This seems to be a mainly American thing.

    Another thing that annoys me is this laziness. It doesn’t matter about what you do here, rapture is coming, world will be destroyed, faithful ascend etc. Surely, if this is gods creation, you should look after it. It would be like going to a friends house, you are going in a minute, so you decide to wreck his shit because it doesn’t matter, you are going soon. And surely one of the tenant of Christianity is love your neighbour, so if they are ascending to heaven soon, please do not screw up the planet for those who do not ascend?

    Rantish over, keep up the great work, I look forward to reading more 🙂

    • Hi Alex, welcome to the flock. If you have the time, the other full book review, and the movie reviews on the site are also worthwhile IMHO.

    • *waves hello* Welcome as well.

      You’d think something as simple as leaving the place for those who might not be going with you would make sense to the Rapture-enthusiasts, but apparently not. 😐

      • Even if there was a rapture, I would rather stay here. This whole universe is bloody marvellous, did you know there is a white dwarf star made of diamond? That is fantastic!

        • This whole universe is bloody marvellous, did you know there is a white dwarf star made of diamond? That is fantastic!

          Are you secretly the Doctor? You sound just like him.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          A year or two ago, through the Christian Genre Writers’ Guild I belong to, I read one Guildsman’s take on The Rapture, a flashfic that went like this:

          Rapture goes down in conventional manner, RTCs bamf up to Fluffy Cloud Heaven. Then Christ returns to Earth to rebuild and restore the Cosmos to its intended perfection in the Ultimate Tikkun Olam, without the interference of the RTCs whose only goal was to Escape from Everything.

  6. Question BTW. Not that it isn’t incredibly stupid that Paul didn’t know he was talking to a lead because he was busy looking for his pseudo-mistress, but is there any important new information he now has? If he knew the guy was in that penthouse already, and there doesn’t seem to be any new evidence he hears from Angela, what has changed? Other than that Paul thinks he can impress Angela by going out and persecuting the wrong kind of Christian?

  7. but what’s that faithfullness worth without throwing several lovely ladies at our hero that he can date and flirt with to the point that it’s obvious he could have them if he wanted to, then turning them down to prove that a godly man has great self-control?

    Ah, this, so much this. It’s so frustrating to me that these books are kind of like Bond books (from what I’ve heard of them) except instead of sleeping with the TOTES AVAILABLE WOMEN, the Righteous Hero just shrugs them off. It’s the same misogyny in a slightly different wrapper.

    • True, though the Bond books have at least two things going for them in that respect:

      First, the original books were written back in the 1950s and 1960s (by a Naval Intelligence officer), so more of a degree of misogyny is expected; unfortunate, but expected.

      Second, James Bond, in the original novels at least, was in many ways more of an anti-hero than a hero. The man was an alcoholic, a methamphetamine user, a womanizer, an adrenaline junkie, often arrogant, and a high-functioning sociopath. Unlike Paul here, his behaviour was not treated as something that most people were expected to emulate as righteous.

      • Indeed, in fact Ian Fleming had an utter *loathing* for James Bond, possibly even more than Arthur Conan Doyle had for Sherlock Holmes. He deliberately made Bond into a total jerk. And it chagrined him that people found Bond so appealing.

        I sometimes wonder if poor Mr. Fleming wept a little while he wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, just because it wasn’t Bond and he liked the hero more.

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