TSoA: Chapter 24: Second Choice

Having been rudely rebuffed by Good Christian Murphy, Shane Barrington seeks out Paul Wallach.  Paul, you may remember, was injured in the church bombing in Babylon Rising.  Not, mind you, that Shari (who invited him to church in the first place!) or Murphy ever seemed to give a damn.  Indeed, Shari took a page from Levi Abrams’ book, literally punching Paul where she knew it would hurt him most.

Paul is entirely alone in the world.  His mother abandoned him, his jerk of a father is dead, and he has no brothers or sisters, and apparently, no other relatives or friends.  So it did seem like a real miracle to him when Shane Barrington swooped down and offered him a scholarship from Barrington Communications, allegedly because Shane wanted to help a kid who reminded him of his recently-murdered son, but really so he could worm his way ever closer to Michael Murphy.

And now Shane is going to double-down on Paul, since he failed at his mission to get Murphy to come and work for him.  He finds Paul in the library, strikes up a friendly “just checking up” conversation, and offers him a job at Barrington Communications when he graduates.  But there’s a condition: Shane wants to monitor Paul’s writing skills, so asks Paul to do weekly write-ups on what he learns in Murphy’s class.  (He’ll even pay Paul for his time, in addition to the money he is getting from the scholarship!)

This is a pretty shrewd move on Shane’s part, and will probably go a ways in making The Seven (They’ll stop at nothing!  Not even offering people incredibly lucrative jobs!) a bit less angry about the whole Murphy thing.

Still, I doubt Paul’s class notes will be particularly enlightening:






Shane closes by telling Paul that he thinks of him “as a son,” and even inviting to fly him up to New York so they can go to The Phantom of the Opera together.


Well, except for the part about Shari, who has been watching from afar and, when Shane heads off, badgers Paul about stuff that is none of her gorram business:

“What did he want?  Did he come here just to see you?”

Paul had intended to steer the conversation in another direction, but Shari’s tone was getting under his skin.

Gee, I can’t imagine why.

“Why shouldn’t he?  He takes an interest in my work, that’s all.”

“Why should the head of Barrington Communications be interested in your work?  You’re a student, Paul, not a world-famous professor.”

Wow.  Now there’s an interesting topic-change, Shari.  Jesus, why don’t you just marry the guy?  Murph’s single now, yanno.

Paul felt himself going red.  “Oh, that’s right.  I don’t have crazy ideas about proving that fairy stories in the Bible really happened.  Not like world-famous Professor Murphy.”

Paul, you magnificent bastard!

(I’ll add that I have my own doubts about Murphy being world-famous.  A few cable specials do not necessarily qualify someone as world-famous.  And yeah, there was that whole golden head thing from the first book, but Murphy found it under very dubious circumstances, and it hasn’t even been mentioned once since.)

Of course, Shari is offended by the “fairy stories” remark, but immediately switches gears back Shane.  (Maybe she realizes that bringing up Murphy was a bad move, one just a leeetle too close to home.)  Instead, she brings up Murphy’s point about Shane’s network’s shows being “trash.”

“You don’t even watch TV,” Paul countered.  “Maybe if you took your nose out of your Bible once in a while, you’d get a different perspective on things.”

Paul, you ROCK.

Also, WHY ARE THESE TWO EVEN TOGETHER???  (And I use “together” in a very loose sense, since we know that their dates only involve Shari’s attempts to convert Paul.  So, we know why she’s “with” him, but not why he’s with her.)

And due to the Phantom invitation, Paul bows out of their Bible study group “date” (OMG hawt!).

Okay, Paul is my new hero.  Too bad he’s currently hellbound.

Way more fun than a Bible study group.

Posted on November 17, 2012, in Babylon Rising, Books, The Secret on Ararat. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Paul’s basic problem here is that the narrator, which is functionally the same thing as God, hates him. Not much he can do apart from knuckling under. I wonder if he’s looking for a spot on a zombie apocalypse team?

    Hmm. Night of the Living Fundy. Sooooouuuuuls…

  2. Holy cow and a sacred milk bucket . . . Paul is my new favorite character! I think . . . I think he might even surpass Isis (in this book!) because I know Isis’s ultimate fate is to be Stepfordized.

    Oooh! Here’s an idea! Isis becomes Paul’s mentor. They go off and form their own team of awesome, make huge discoveries in the fields of language and linguistics, and maaaaybe form a romantic attachment, although that last part would absolutely not be mandatory.

    I think Shane may have overplayed it a touch, though. Offering to fly a young man into New York so they could take in an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical sounds a bit more like a proposition of a non-business type. Still, though. Beats Bible study with a passive-aggressive RTC girl who’s only interested in getting you to say the Magic Words!

  3. If Shane wanted detailed info on what Murphy teaches, he only needs to ask the Dean. He’s been keeping a file about it no doubt, and since he seems somehow unable to fire Murphy for refusing to do the job he’s being payed for, I’m sure he’d be thrilled if Shane told him he’s planning a damning expose of Murphy’s teaching methods.

    Furthermore, does Shane assume that Murphy will tell his class all the not-yet-public details of his search? Even if he does, he’s going to have a hard time teaching anything from Turkey, which is where the only interesting part of his search is happening. And even if THAT wasn’t a problem, how hard would it be for Shane to pay an intern or something to sit in Murphy’s classes? Just pay the tuition fees, throw some money at the school to ensure them the new student really has taken all the prequestite classes elsewhere (not that you NEED any prequesite classes for what Murphy teaches, if you have a KJV Bible and the webadress of Answers in Genesis, you’re set).

    Is Shari psychic BTW, or did we skip over a scene where Murphy tells her about Shane and his offer? Yes, we know her remarks about ‘world famous professor’ match that Shane talked to that professor first, but how does she know?

    I do like how Shari instantly knows what an evil man Shane must be. Look at him, he acts nicely and generously to someone of lower status. He must be a commie pinko. RTCs follow the teachings of Ayn Rand (except for that little bit about the atheism) and kick any looters who got their fingertips close to their own ledge. Or they just punch them in their injuries and use those to remind him how close they got to death and that he should convert to Christianity RIGHT NOW because the time Shari drags him somewhere he might really get killed.

    • Is Shari psychic BTW, or did we skip over a scene where Murphy tells her about Shane and his offer? Yes, we know her remarks about ‘world famous professor’ match that Shane talked to that professor first, but how does she know?

      She doesn’t know. I’m sure it’s just that Murphy and Shari are both Good Christians, and thus have precisely the same opinion of Shane’s shows. (Which is interesting: we know now that Shari doesn’t watch TV, but I guess Murphy’s watched quite a bit, what with having specific opinions about late-night “porn,” reality shows, sitcoms, and everything else Shane produces.)

    • Ah, the RTC hivemind that taught Buck fluent Christianese overnight is at it again. Gotcha.

  4. So here’s my question. Murphy is already famous for the shit in the last book, and since he’s the protagonist in Christian fiction we can assume he’ll be successful in all his endeavors.

    Will the third book actually address the supposedly world-changing consequences of proving the reality of Noah’s Ark? Will we have legions of conversions and all of Israel turns into Christians?

    • Doubtful, the world has to become more wicked, else TurboJesus can’t come back.

      As far as the ‘Israel goes Christian’ bit is concerned: I give it about 50/50 odds that the authors realize it, but finding Noah’s Ark is still old testament stuff, so if anything it would result in a rise of ‘Torah-inerrancy’ Judaism.

  5. I wonder what The Phantom of the Opera did to LeHaye to make him hate it so much that he had to make it a Thing that evil people do? Did someone invite him to go to it but he had to go to a boring Bible study because it was the part of the Bible where Jesus says to be nice to people and it wasn’t even any of the cool REVENGE! parts? Does he feel some sort of insecurity when he compares Nicolae to the Phantom? Did Andrew Lloyd Webber whiz in his Cheerios? Or is he getting his revenge on Cats by going through Phant?

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