TSoA: Chapter 21, Part 1: I Object to Your Methods!
Murphy is hard at work making Shari do all his work, when Methuselah gets in touch with him again.
As we know from Meth’s previous dealings with Murphy, he’s really on Murphy’s side, when all is said and done. It is established in the first book that Meth has given Murphy many amazing Biblical artifacts, though Murphy has to jump through hoops to get them. And most recently, Meth gave him the piece of the ark that will inspire Murphy to (SOMEDAY!) go on his quest to Ararat, AND funded the entire expedition,* so that Murphy can take off the rest of the school year and not have to pay a penny for his little Biblical mission.
*Yes, Meth funded the entire expedition. Murphy thinks he did, and Murphy is always right. I, however, think it would be a MUCH cooler twist if the anonymous donation had been the work of The Seven. But that would make the moral questions of the book more complicated, and we can’t have that.
It is worth noting that Murphy is hardly under any obligation to do Meth’s bidding. But Meth has “prizes” for Murphy, special Biblical treasures that have contributed to Murphy being cable-TV famous.
What with Meth giving Murphy valuable items, who needs to question the morality of accepting gifts from some anonymous rich dude who wants you to risk life and limb?
Indeed, much like Rayford Steele and Buck Williams in the Left Behind series, Michael Murphy does every bidding of the mysterious man of questionable motives, but he’s going to make his moral objections very clear by GRUMBLING at Methuselah.
Murphy is a Manly Man, he is.
“You’re all heart,” grumbled Murphy.
Meth offers Murphy “a little extra help” in his ark-quest that will presumably begin at some point in this novel.
But beggars can’t be choosers, and right now Methuselah seemed to have all the cards.
Well, don’t count your chickens before the iron is hot, Murph.
Meth has called Murphy to alert him to the arrival of a FedEx package. It contains only a card with an address in Morehead City, North Carolina, and a sentence:
In a circle is a square…the answers you seek will be found there.
Okay, I know my readers have been incredibly savvy in the past about figuring out these puzzles long before Murphy…any ideas???
I’ll let you think about it during Murphy’s drive to the fictional address. At least now we have some basis for locating the fictional Preston, North Carolina…
It was about a 130-mile drive from Raleigh to Newbern [sic] and then on to Morehead City.
On the ride from Preston to New Bern (not Newbern), Murphy muses on the history of Morehead City and some former governor. This is a) one instance of many in the Phillips books in which Murphy pulls a Wikipedia entry right out of his ass, and b) has nothing to do with anything, ever.
Next time, Murphy arrives in the exciting, adventurous, and exotic OTHER CITY IN NORTH CAROLINA.
He’s just like James Bond, really.