Soon: Chapters 25-26: Apostle. Paul Apostle.

Morty Krispy Kreme has kidnapped the button-cover covered Angela at gunpoint.  You would think Paul might want to do something about this, and you’d be right, but he’s decided to stake out Angela’s stakeout from several Las Vegas Strip blocks away.

Paul backed up and pulled into traffic, wondering if he would do better to leap from the car and run three blocks, gun drawn.

Really, Paul?  Really?  You want to run down the Las Vegas strip with your gun drawn?

Did they teach you that technique in Secret Agent School, you dork?

Traffic was gridlocked.  Should have called Chicago, played it by the book, got some help.


Paul doesn’t run down the street, gun drawn, but he does call Chicago:

“I’m going to bust this guy, hopefully within the hour.  Get local NPO to the Babylon, but tell them not to move till I say.  Mort Bagdona is Jonah.  He has a hostage.  It’s all going down pretty fast.”

Koontz: But Paul, if he has a hostage, don’t you think you should have some help, since you have no experience with situations like tha–

Paul: *click*

I guess Paul still doesn’t want Vegas “trampling all over my case,” even though he is waaay out of his league here.

Nope, instead he follows Morty and Angela back to the Babylon.  Angela, to give Miss “Oooo, Pretty” credit where it’s due, keeps talking about where they’re going and what they’re doing, even saying the room number out loud so Paul hears over those stupid button microphones.  Go Angela.

Morty kidnapped Angela because he wants her to participate in his rituals of sex and drugs.  So we’re still going with this idea that Morty really believes he’s Jonah.  But he’s also an abusive pimp employer.  And now he’s resorting to kidnapping when he apparently can get all the women he wants in his cult.  Why do something so monumentally stupid as kidnap a woman who (as far as he knows) has friends and family who will be looking for her?

And indeed, for someone who has convinced dozens of people to follow him, Morty has to tie Angela to a chair.

As Paul convinces hotel security to give him the key to the penthouse level, Morty talks to Angela about his plans:

“By the time we leave for the ceremony,” Mort was saying, “you will not feel forced.  But you will have been converted.  God made the substance that will free your mind.”



“That’s nothing but mescaline, and natural or not, it’s still illegal.”

“According to the laws of men.  But can you fathom the presumption of man trying to outlaw something God created?”

Yep, in Atheistopia, prostitution is legal, but drugs are not.  As I’ve mentioned before, this makes NO FREAKING SENSE.  Support for (at least) marijuana legalization right now is huge.  Legalized prostitution, not so much.  Remember, Atheistopia is only 30-odd years down the road.

It’s especially odd because of the common assumption that atheists live lives of selfish hedonism.  Hell, you’d think one of the very first acts of the new Atheistopian regime would be to make all drugs legal, right?

Eh, guess not.

Paul decides not to bust into Morty’s own suite, because…

Well, I’m not really sure why not.  After all, he can hear everything of what’s going on, and could choose a moment when Morty is distracted and has put down his gun.

But no, Paul enters the apartment next door and hides when the occupants show up.  Which is a good thing, since they are two of Jonah’s lackeys.

That is one hell of a racket Morty has: enough profit to afford two semi-permanent penthouses on the Las Vegas Strip.

Which again raises the question of why he would resort to kidnapping.

The goons order room service, and Paul takes the opportunity of a goon bathroom break to grab one of them and make the other one drop his gun.

He then has the one goon tie up the other goon, and neither of them think to rush Paul.  Then he orders the other one to tie himself up.

Then, the goons’ room service order arrives via dumbwaiter. 

Now, I have certainly never ordered room service from a Las Vegas penthouse suite before, and maybe I just don’t get it, but wouldn’t room service orders be delivered by a person?  Just off the top of my head, how would the guests return the meal if there was something wrong with it?

Then again, this does appear to be a high-tech Atheistopian dumbwaiter, so I could be wrong.

A lightbulb (40W) goes off over Paul’s head, and he decides that the best way to get into Morty’s suite next door is not to use the key that he has, but to enter via dumbwaiter.

Before I detail how Paul does this, I should mention something.  This whole go-to-penthouse-don’t-get-help-tie-up-goons-find-dumbwaiter plan is taking forever, and Morty wants Angela to swallow the drugs so she’ll be ready for the “meeting” in one hour.  Hell, according to the book, TWENTY MINUTES go by while Paul screws around with elaborate tyings-up and removings-of-panels-from dumbwaiters.

Anyway, here is Paul’s genius stealth technique for apprehending Morty and saving Angela:

Back in the bathroom closet, Paul found the back of the column [of the dumbwaiter] enclosed by screws and a thin sheet of metallic ductwork.  His car key was all he needed to painstakingly and quietly remove the back panel.


It opened onto the dumbwaiter, where there was a horizontal floor every five feet or so.  A flange on each floor could apparently be programmed to trip a lever, which would open the sliding door in the room and display the delivery.

Paul squeezed a leg between the exposed floors and tested the load-bearing strength of the platform.  It floated some but seemed solid enough.  He gingerly slithered all the way in until he was crouching, facing the sliding door that opened into [Morty’s suite].

Too late, Paul realized that he really should have thought this through, and that dumbwaiters for room service in luxury Las Vegas resorts are probably not engineered to hold a six-foot-three man for minutes on end.

“IEEEEEEE” was Paul’s last word.

Sadly, not really.

Instead, Paul hears that Morty has stuck the drugs into Angela’s mouth, and gone to the bathroom to get water to forth her to swallow it.  This would be a totally awesome moment to sneak up on Morty using THE KEY TO HIS ROOM.

But no, Paul pushes the lever on the inside of the dumbwaiter (I just don’t get this part), and hops into the room.  He hides and waits for Morty, and then elects to use his gun as a club instead of as a gun.  He smacks the gun onto Morty’s arm, which seems like a recipe for a tragic accident, but of course works because he’s Paul Apostle and God is probably helping.  Morty’s arm is broken and the evil/misguided pimp/cult leader/kidnapper/drug dealer/guy-who-thinks-he’s-really-Jonah is foiled! 

Congrats, Paulie.  James Bond himself would be proud.





Posted on January 7, 2012, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. A lightbulb (40W) goes off over Paul’s head

    I was thinking more like a 15 W. :p

    In all seriousness, your snark, it is deliciously snarky. 🙂

    I don’t understand why Jerry Jenkins wants to write James Bondesque adventures. He definitely seems to like the idea, but he can’t carry it off very well. His James Bond characters always come off as childish jackasses.

    See: Williams, Buck.

  2. That is just so…unimpressive. Paul is like a kid playing at being James Bond. Actually, I’d like to see a flash fic where they meet.

  3. Grammar Police

    This so-called action sequence illustrates why Jenkins should never ever ever attempt action sequences. (And why I skimmed so much of “Left Behind” I missed at least half the plot and ended up both confused and annoyed, rather than just annoyed.)

    Peyote? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! It’s not a brainwashing drug, Morty, you idiot! It doesn’t make you suddenly change your mind about everything you believed previously. (That would be Jenkins’s version of Christianity. 😀 ) Why not just anesthetize her and charge extra for people who have that kind of fetish? — please don’t assume I condone that sort of behavior, just that it makes more sense than thinking peyote would suddenly turn Angela into a happy willing prostitute.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      And Peyote in its natural form tastes awful and makes you puke your guts before the peyote high begins.

      As a certain Phineas Freek (of the Fabulous Furry Freak Bros) found out when he tried to invoke Mescalito, spirit of the peyote plant.

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Absolute Proof that Jerry “Buck” Jenkins is an Ian Fleming wanna-be.

  5. He puts drugs in her mouth… then leaves the room to get water to get her to swallow it? That gives her nearly a minute to spit it out, doesn’t it?

    This whole dumbwaiter deal reminds me of Boondock Saints, where the two inexperienced protagonists try to sneak in via an airvent, which collapses and they win the ensuing firefight through sheer dumb luck. The cop mentions that no pro would ever crawl through a weak, enclosed, noisy space before a gunfight, because of the obvious risk of being killed while being so restricted. And it counts here too. If Paul goes via the door, he can walk in. If he goes via a tiny slot intended for food, he has to slowly and noisly wring himself through it. Note he has no way of knowing exactly when his mark will be back (filling a glass of water can’t take more than a few seconds), and he’s a sitting duck if Marty returns while he’s trying to get out.

    I am reminded of Edge of Apocalypse now, even though Jenkins didn’t write that one. The Return-To-Sender Anti Missile system seems to have been thought up by a 13-year old trying to find something cooler than a laser just plainly shooting missiles down, with no consideration of the impractical consequences of that decisions. In EoA’s case, making the system in fact completely useless against ballisitic missiles which is the only kind of missile a normal anti-air missile can’t shoot down.

  6. Oh, man, Morty should just have set up shop in California. You can get all the cultist chicks you want there.

    Is the illegality of drugs even necessary for the story? I wouldn’t have thought so – giving people alcohol without their consent is still illegal now, after all. Perhaps J simply didn’t think of the legalisation of drugs as even possible?

    Cars still use keys because the radio things are crap – easily cracked with basic tools. See Schneier, at length. Keys with chips in them at least offer some challenge to the thief.

    Jenkins has clearly come up with a Great Idea (“I shoulda been an inventor”) and wants us to know how wonderful it is. Actually it’s much easier to do that sort of thing in software these days. Lift stationary on correct level + delivery to side A = unlock door A. That way you can tell the system to open them for maintenance or whatever.

    (James Bond is quite often kind of a childish jackass too, to be fair. But there are plenty of better examples.)

    • Yeah. My dad rented a hybrid toyota recently. It needed a key to get in, but the actual start button was, well, “Start” 😛 It needed the battery-powered remote unlocker to be in proximity to start up, though, so I assume there’s some kind of authentication mechanism, but how easily cracked that is I don’t know.

      • The proximity key is actually something you can disable or enable. When enabled, the key just needs to be nearby the car in order for the doors to unlock or the power button to be enabled. This draws a bit of power, however, because the car’s radio is constantly querying the area around it for the appropriate signal.

        I tend to leave the prox disabled in my car. I don’t know exactly how much of a power drain it is, and I don’t know how easy it is to spoof the RFID in the key.

  7. Anyone remember that scene towards the end of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, where Huck and Tom are trying to help Jim escape? Just getting him out would be childishly simple, but Tom insists that they do it ‘properly’ in a dramatic, overblown, and ultimately pointless set of escape attempts.

    That’s what this reminds me of. He can’t do it the simple way, that’s not cool enough.

  8. Yes, room service to a Vegas penthouse suite would be delivered in person. The penthouse suite is for “whales,” and they get top-notch service in every little detail. Having real live people cater to your every whim is part of having a penthouse suite in Vegas.

    I think Jenkins just saw the “sneak into the room via dumbwaiter” on Scooby Doo when he was a kid, and it stuck with him for the rest of his life.

  9. Jenkins is way too old to have watched Scooby Doo (unless it was with his kids). He probably saw it performed by some intrepid boy hero in one of his adventure comics.
    Also, wouldn’t a phone embedded in your skull and operated completely silently be really useful for all kinds of situations – for instance, when you’re kidnapped and tied up by an evil cultist mastermind? Wonder why nobody in Atheistopia thought of that?

  10. The ‘brainwashing with peyote’ nonsense reminds me of the some of the stupid anti-occult propaganda that fundamentalist Christian groups came out with during the big ‘Satan scare’ period of the 1980s/90s. These groups would always wheel out some self-proclaimed ex-witch / ex-Satanist / ex-Satanist Black High Witch Priestess Queen Of All The Fairies to confess how they used drugs to brainwash people into joining their baby-eating cult. I caught one or these on a TV show once; she claimed that she had drugged people by sitting them in a room with lots of burning candles that were infused with LSD and heroin. And for extra efficacy, the candles were made from the fat of aborted babies!
    Which brings me to another point. Has Jenkins told us yet how women in Atheistopia can get free abortions on demand right up to the ninth month? If not, then he’s slipping very badly!

  11. So, the dumbwaiter thing was stupid and, as someone pointed out, not possible. The peyote was stupid, and as another person pointed out, also impossible. The get-a-glass-of-water bit was also stupid, and it was entirely possible that he have a goddamn glass of water already before he feeds her the damn drugs.

    But really, what gets me the most is that Paul whacked Morty on the arm and it just done broked. HOW. Bones don’t work that way! If he dislocated the arm at the shoulder or elbow, that would make sense. You’d have to catch the arm and twist just right, but the bones? No. Unless he’s got brittle bone disease or osteoporosis, that doesn’t happen in the arms. The bones are damn strong and the flesh around them absorbs a lot of the force.

    And beyond that, yeah, you’ve got a person you don’t want to get hurt somewhere in the scene. But in pretty much any situation, gun beats blunt object. And if you’re using the gun as a blunt object–excuse my Atheist–what the fuck are you doing. If it’s not empty, it’s liable to do what guns are supposed to do and go off!

    tl;dr Humans: They are not like gingerbread men.

  12. So Jonah is using mescaline, which is derived from peyote… and still isn’t exactly known for being particularly dangerous.

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