‘Twas the Night Before: Chapter 18: The Great Christmas Novella…er, Column

Tom wakes up in the hospital.

“Wristband says Zwingli, Zurich.  Switzerland?” [Tom asked]

“Zwingli International.” [the doctor “answered”]

Huldrych Zwingli was a Reformation leader from Switzerland, but I don’t see where he has a city named after him, or how the name “Zwingli International” means anything.  Then again, I don’t speak German beyond “bier” and “Auf Wiedersehen.”

Anybody have any ideas?

Tom explains that he looted the corpses, and has to explain which things belong to which victim.  Everyone is very kind and doesn’t mention the fact that they could have much more easily figured this out had Tom not looted in the first place.

Tom is counted “fortunate” that some kind stranger apparently found him in the middle of the Black Forest and lugged his ass all the way to the hospital.

Then he gets his phone back and is able to call his editor.  Because Walt doesn’t believe it’s really Tom, Tom has to convince him using the patented Information Only We Would Know technique.

“Rufus is my buddy!  Noyer is a butt!”

HA!

That’s our cynical, South-Side-of-Chicago-raised, globe-trotting reporter: the man with the insults of a first-grader.

It’s so cute when RTC writers are hampered by curse words making the Baby Jesus cry.

Speaking of Rufus, he’s the one who gets to call Noella and inform her of the joyous news:

***

“Hey, Rufe,” she said wearily.

“Sit down, hon,” he said.

“Did they find the body?”

“Tell me you’re seated, and I’ll tell you latest.”

Rufus was sweet.  A bit chauvinistic, but she humored him.

This is a common Jenkins theme, seen on a number of occasions in the Left Behind series: misogyny is cute.  It’s so adorable when the men’s condescension and fear cause them to belittle and insult you, but you just have to smile and let them have their fun.  Boys will be boys, and there’s no harm, is there?

***

Tom writes his Very Special Christmas Column on the way back to the States.  He has a stopever in London, where a big point is made out Tom discovering…

…an exclusive shop where he selected three perfect handmade gifts.

I’m sure he’ll have the money to burn, because the story of Santa’s workshop is apparently ZOMG AMAZING.  As Tom’s own editor puts it:

“…everybody says the series has Pulitzer written all over it.  Reader’s Digest wants exclusive magazine rights.”

And if that wasn’t quite enough of how UTTERLY FANTASTIC the trip to Fairyland was:

“We’re printing around the clock and already have more requests for copies than of any other piece ever, including the moon landing and all the Bulls’ championships.”

Really?  Huh.  So Jenkins’ Tom’s story of Santa and elves and a workshop is so incredibly amazing, so unheard of, that it has become, OVERNIGHT, better than the MOON LANDING?

I am officially calling bullshit.

***

And finally, Noella’s reaction:

Noella had devoured Tom’s account of the necklace-manufacturing process in the Tribune Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.  She loved Fairyland and the warm and wonderful Mrs. Kringle.

That is what stood out to Noella?  The opiate Smuckers?

But, Noella, there is so much more!  The enslaved elves!  The unjust denial of gifts to children whose parents don’t believe!

He wrote with the same passion as always, including specific, nitty-gritty things that made her feel as if she were there with him.

There she goes again, confusing details with emotions.  Just like learning the ages of poor children made her feel cold.

Tom and Noella have now switched places: Tom believes and Noella has convinced herself that her Forever and a Tree necklace must have been from her father.

HOW WILL THEY RESOLVE THEIR DIFFERENCES NOW THAT TOM HAS PRAYED THE PRAYER VISITED FAIRYLAND???

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Posted on December 24, 2011, in Books, Christmas, Twas the Night Before. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.


  1. I…what? What? WHAT!?

    He published his hallucination/visit with real Santa (and/or a Great Old One) and it’s not only not proof he got a head injury in the accident but people are buying tons of copies of it? This is not reality!

    Then again, a plane leaving Stuttgart for some part of the Black Forest managed to crash in Switzerland, having overshot the entire bloody thing, so, yeah, reality is not on speaking terms with this book. Wait, no, I think they must have missed the Black Forest entirely. Look at a map and tell me where the plane crashed that it makes sense that he ended up in Zurich. (I still want to know where in hell he and the red shirts with the printing press were going. Bet Jenkins never said, did he. *sigh*)

    There’s not enough booze in the universe for this book.

    • I have answers! 😀

      The printing press is being taken to Sankt Georgen im Schwarzwald.

      The plane appears to have landed in Germany, but it’s right on the border with Switzerland.

      It seems to me that the doctor is denying that they’re in Zurich, but I reproduced literally the entire exchange above, so your guess is as good as mine. 😉

      • “The printing press is being taken to Sankt Georgen im Schwarzwald.”
        Which, according to Google maps, is a medium-sized town with excellent road and rail links and lots of light industry. All it seems to lack is anywhere to land an aircraft.

        • Well, there’s an airport 20 minutes away, but, since it looks like Stuttgart is only a little over an hours drive away, that really doesn’t help.

          I suppose he can’t be bothered to fact-check his brain vomit.

  2. Perhaps “Zwingli International” is the name of the hospital in Zurich? (There isn’t one of that name as far as I can tell, but I don’t know enough about the place to know if it’s a reasonable invention.)

    “We’re printing around the clock and already have (heh heh) more requests for copies than of any other piece ever, including (snicker) the moon landing and (har) all the Bulls’ championships (can you believe he’s falling for this).”

    Noella probably wants the recipe for those knockout drops. She has Plans for Tom.

    The best lose all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Obviously Noella has to lose her faith. That way a real human being can put her right, which is something every woman needs (hack ptui).

    • This “Zwingli International, Zurich” stuff seems to be another of Jenkins’ brain-vomits. Zurich is a big place close to the Black Forest; Zwingli is the city’s most famous (for RTCs) historical personages; so OF COURSE they’ll have named a whole slew of public buildings and institutions after him.
      In fact, all Google could dig up for me was the Zwingli Gastro eatery in the city centre

  3. Well, of course the story that Santa has a workshop with elves who make toys for children is well known, even though many people do not believe in it. But that doesn’t matter: Once a Jenkins protagonist tells people this story, their mind is suddenly blown, blown I tell you, by this shocking revelation.

    So yeah, by Jenkins (and Jack Chick) standards, this is turning into a good Jesus parallel after all.

  4. Thinking about this,I’m seriously wondering if Jenkins is beginning to lose his marbles. OK, the whole bit about the hero having to charter a small plane to get into the Black Forest then ending up in Switzerland is totally standard Did Not Do The Research behaviour for him; completely expected and enjoyably snarkable. But putting a printing press on the plane for totally no reason (does it ever get mentioned again?); having a bunch of ordinary nameless people unpleasantly killed for no reason; a Father Christmas who doesn’t give toys to kids; a weirdly complex theology involving infinite worlds, an Old One and an elaborate system of rewarding people when they are in the proximity of True Believers….?
    It’s as if he’s just emptying the immediate contents of his brain onto the page.

    • Yeah. Were this any other writer, I’d have concluded this isn’t meant as a Jesus-analogy, just a small not-too-good fantasy story. But this is Jerry Jenkins, for whom the Alpha and the Omega really is the Alpha and Omega, and where ill-fitting and un-Christian analogies which are supposed to be perfect replications of the literal Bible are the norm.

  5. Extra, extra, read all about! Santa Claus real, according to crash survivor with head injury!

    Oooh! Here’s a thought: it’s an espionage story from the POV of the poor sap who got himself entangled in something he didn’t understand. Tom uncovered some Deep Dark Political Scandal his editor was involved with. Fearing for his own safety, his editor sends him on a cock-and-bull trip with two other “expendables” in a plane designed to crash. (Perhaps with a hallucinogenic gas being pumped into the air?) Tom survives the crash and a native finds him before The Agents can get to him. The Agents decide it’s more worth their while to make it look like Tom is a terrorist who caused the crash, and bring him to One of Their Own Hospitals. Especially since the hallucinogen combined with the head injury seems to have made Tom believe he’s been able to convince the entire world that Santa Claus is real. Thus, Tom has been “neutralized” without the mess of killing him.

  6. I’m curious about the “three perfect handmade gifts” now – is there any significance to the items Tom chose, or are they just the material component of Tom’s planned “I love you, and also I have realized your faith was correct all along” speech to Noella?

    • I bet that if they are actually described later on, they will have some (vague) similarity to gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

  7. This is the purpose for which Tom was allowed to escape: the entity has lodged a memetic information-virus in his thought matrix. As Tom tells his story, it replicates to other minds at a geometric rate. By Christmas, this belief-meme will have spread planetwide. Humanity will become pliable, as before; but this time the oversights of the past will not be repeated. The experiment will no longer remain uncontrolled. Following a necessary culling, the human species will be altered into a more useful configuration. Standardized. Classified. Calibrated.

    Oh, and Happy Holidays, everyone! 🙂

  8. Headless Unicorn Guy

    …an exclusive shop where he selected three perfect handmade gifts.

    Which are never otherwise described? If not, this sounds like a “Buck” Jenkins trademark. White-roomed all the way, with things that are only described in vague generalities, without any of the specifics that give the reader a “You Are There” experience. Just like “Steaming Piles of Fresh Produce” which the Resurrected Saved eat in Heaven in Left Behind: Volume 13 or 16.

  9. Headless Unicorn Guy

    HOW WILL THEY RESOLVE THEIR DIFFERENCES NOW THAT TOM HAS PRAYED THE PRAYER/VISITED FAIRYLAND???

    Altar Call Ending even re Santa Claus?

    Christianese writers DO have only one plotline and one ending, don’t they?

  10. Headless Unicorn Guy

    He wrote with the same passion as always, including specific, nitty-gritty things that made her feel as if she were there with him.

    Not further described except for undescribed generic mention, of course.

    Tell, Don’t Show. Because “Show, Don’t Tell” is how Those Heathens write.

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