Christmas Town: Chapter Fourteen

So, Jordan has land that is worth millions.  Over the next few years, as construction gets started, the land will be worth many millions.

He made the mistake of telling Venita, who is now giving him a guilt trip.

Well, it has been nearly three days since anyone in town tried to guilt him.

He shouldn’t have told her about his deal going through.

Yeah, no shit, Sherlock.

She didn’t understand that he didn’t have any ready cash on hand.  Besides, he could hardly take his own money to cover somebody else’s mistakes.  Could he?  Nobody would expect him to do that.  Would they?


Even God couldn’t have had that in mind.

I’m pretty sure God figures you can suck it, Jordan.

“Is the money that important, Jordie?”


“I’d be broke.  Ruined.”

“Like Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Truman, you mean?”

The dry disappointment in her voice ate at him.

Oh, do you guys want to know where MISTERS Mitchell and Truman are, right now?  They’re at “the holiday luncheon at their club.”

They gambled away the retirement fund, ruined everyone’s lives, and they still have a “club”???  Where is this club?  Do these two asshats have any idea what they’ve done?  Do they honestly feel no accountability whatsoever?

It is so sad for Jordan that not even Venita is on his side.  Even knowing the truth, as she does, she still can’t bring herself to think even one negative thought about those two old fools.

“Listen,” he said, hoping to appeal to Venita’s reasonable nature, “I’ve been talking to my attorney.  He says nobody’s going to lock up anybody their age.  The worst that will happen is that everything will be liquidated to—“

Geez, then why have you been carrying on all this time, Jordan???  Holy crap.

“The worst that will happen is that two dear, kind men will end their lives in disgrace, when all they’ve ever wanted was to do right by everyone.”

What was it Nathan had called his father?  A creep?

Wo!  Language, young man!

If the shoe fits…  “Venita—”

“I thought they’d taught you that, too.  I was obviously mistaken.”

She leveled one final, searing look on him and left.

Wow.  I never thought I’d say this, but frak you, Venita.


This town…there really must be something in the water.  Honestly, Venita, how dare you.  How frakking dare you?  This guy has put his life on hold, done his best for everyone, and everyone just keeps shitting on him.

It really bothers me that nobody gives a shit what Mitchell and Truman have done.  Har-har, I guess if you’re a silly, blustery old man, if you do enough glad-handing and berate sheriffs about “important” little boys, everyone will forgive you every stupid, life-ruining action you ever take.  And we’re on the second-to-last chapter, so I have a sinking feeling that they will get off scot-free, with absolutely no consequences whatsoever for their idiotic asshattedness.

But maybe not!

Jordan has a plan!

He put the image of his father and his uncle out of his mind as he headed out the door.


Frak them both, Jordan!  They do not deserve you!

He heads right over to Joella’s house…


And hey, guess what?

You’ll never believe this!

Joella is Not Impressed.

“And everybody else in Bethlehem?  What about them, Jordan?”

Some of his boyish enthusiasm faded.  “I can’t save everybody.  But—”

“I don’t need saving, not the way you mean it,” she said, jerking beyond his reach, rejecting the tempting warmth and comfort.  “You know, the Bible is right.  It would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it would be for somebody like you to realize that money can’t buy the things I really want for Nathan.”

He just said he LOVES Nathan, you sanctimonious frakker.  Look, if you don’t love him and don’t want to marry him, then fine, but there’s no call for such personal nastiness.

But Joella’s just getting started.  She could not possibly hold Jordan in more contempt:

“You know, all you’ve ever seen me wearing is blue jeans and flannel shirts.  That’s not because I can’t afford glittery dresses and diamond earrings.  It’s because I don’t need them.  I don’t want them.  I want more important things than that.  And you’ve got so much money you’ll never be able to see that.”

Well.  I guess just excuuuuse the hell out of Jordan, little princess.

Oh, don’t get Joella wrong.  She feels really bad about saying these things.  After all, she married a bsuinessman before, and all businessmen are the same, so if she marries the kind, gentle man who’s been so good to her and her son, it will obviously be just like before.

Jesus, she doesn’t even make the excuse of “I have to lie to him to drive him away.”  Joella is a Christian and thus does not lie.  The things she said “were true and they had to be said.”

Cruel to be kind, except Joella is not beng kind to Jordan.  She’s being kind to herself.  She doesn’t want a rich man, so even though Jordan can no more help being rich than she can help being working-class, she tells him so.

“But Joella, that’s what I am.  That’s what I have to offer you.”

She smiled, her heart breaking for him.

YOU are breaking his heart, Joella.  Go ahead and do it, but you do NOT get to feel bad about his pain when YOU are the one making that pain as painful as possible.

“You have much more than that.  You just haven’t figured it out yet.  And with all that money, you probably never will.”

“Sorry I’m so much of a better person than you are, Jordan.  Just let me twist the knife a bit as a parting gift.”

Why didn’t you listen to me, Jordan?



Well, Nathan already knows how to poke around in other people’s desks, and now he shows he knows how to listen in on others’ conversations.  His mother tells the reverend about Jordan asking her to marry him, and Nathan just so happens to overhear.

Go figure.

Hmmm, I wonder if Joella told the good reverend about how she insulted Jordan for things that are in no way his fault, and how she ripped out his heart and danced on it.

Probably not.

Nathan is no fan of the idea of the marriage, either:

…he’d seen how mean and unfeeling his dad was, and it was clear to Nathan that, no matter how Jordan acted, the two men were just alike.  They dressed the same, didn’t they?  They were both rich, weren’t they?  And his mom had been so softhearted that she’d fallen for both of them, hadn’t she?

Yanno, I can think of a lot of words to describe Joella, but “softhearted” is not one of them.

Also, I’d just like to point out that Joella and Nathan use the exact same “logic” when it comes to Jordan.

In other words, Joella has the reasoning skills of a seven-year-old.

And that one phrase just says it all, doesn’t it?  No matter how Jordan acted.  No matter how many Christmas trees he buys, or how many hours he spends with Nathan, or how kind and loving he is to Joella, no matter what he says or does, he will always be That Rich Asshole.

And The Brat decides that he is in charge of everyone’s lives, so goes to have it out with Jordan:

“You can’t marry my mom.”

“‘Cause I know what you did.”

“And what is that?”

“About stealing the retirement money.  I’m the one who found out and told Mom.”

Intelligence is this kid’s Informed Attribute.  Yet it still doesn’t occur to him, even for a second, that anyone other than Jordan might be responsible for the loss of the money, even though Jordan hasn’t so much as set foot in Bethlehem for years until last month.

Jordan has no intention of playing Nice Guy, and tells Nathan that his mom said no, and he has no intention of pursuing her.

But Nathan is an evil little brat, let us never forget:

“But just in case, I think you ought to tell her you changed your mind.  ‘Cause if you don’t, I can see to it that everybody in town, maybe in the whole state, will know that you’re a crook and you stole all our retirement money.”

Hmmm, how to describe this kid?

Harrow: I know him, and I think he’s a psychotic lowlife.

Mal: And I think calling him that is an insult to the psychotic lowlife community.

-Firefly, “Shindig”

Instead of fleeing from this junior scumbag, or at lack smacking him upside the head, Jordan actually keeps talking.

Yeah, something’s definitely in the water.  And Jordan’s drunk it:

After all, as good-hearted as his parents had been, all the money had made it impossible for Jordan to feel that in his heart when he was growing up.  The money always got in the way.

Ah yes, the sound message of this Christian novel: Rich people can’t be loving parents.


Look, your parents kinda sucked, Jordan.  And they would have sucked whether they were rich or poor.  But let’s be clear about a few things: the fact that the other kids hated you wasn’t because you were rich; it was because they were jerks.  Same thing now: folks in the town hate you not because you’re rich, but because they are judgmental jerks.

So Jordan enlists Nathan’s help with a plan.  Looks like we’re back to the great theme of Twas the Night Before: woman is perfect as is, man must change.  Except instead of changing by starting to believe in a really real Santa Claus, Jordan must change to become not-rich.

Yeah, the last chapter is going to be a frakking blast.

I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but I’ve said “frak” a lot in this chapter.

Oh well.

Merry Frakking Christmas.

Posted on December 24, 2012, in Books, Christmas, Christmas Town. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. And a frelling happy new year to you!

    Ha-a-a-a-a-a-ng on a minute.

    I thought Jordan’s plan – to dignify it beyond its desserts – was to assert that he was the one who’d stolen all the money.

    So when the brat plans to spread the word that he’s done that… what’s the problem? Sure, kid, go ahead, it’s the same story I’m going to tell when the cops arrive.

  2. Since you started it, I am more and more seeing Jordan like this poor guy.

    No matter how hard they both try to do the right thing it is clear that the universe hates them completely.

    Also, what the frak Venita? You don’t “try to do right” by someone and then embezzle their retirement money.

    Finally, Joella, if you can afford diamonds and fancy dresses as you implied then why aren’t you helping hold things together, huh?

  3. I think I hate everyone in this town. Seriously. I didn’t quite hate Joella before mostly because I thought she was too insipid a character to really hate, but now? Everyone in this book but Jordan freaking deserves each other, they’re all so horrible.

    • I know. At this point, the only happy ending I’d recognize is Jordan going “Screw you all, you horrible people.” and hopping a flight back to his life and his successful stadium deal.

  4. I think Ruby might just finish Christmas Town before Christmas! It’s a genyooine Christmas miracle!

  5. Holy shit.

    Can anyone explain to me how it is that the Uncle Billy’s fuckup and the mill’s failure is Jordan’s fault? I mean, using actual logic, not town of Christian hate logic. Actually, you know, I can’t even figure out town of Christian hate’s logic.

    And is this book really saying that being rich (nebulously defined) is, itself, evil? Whut. While simultaneously featuring rather greedy supposedly sympathetic people? And letting people off the hook for fucking loosing their worker’s retirement money? What the hell is going on here? This book’s morals seem to be twisted beyond all recovery.

  6. I just realized that I hate every character in this book besides Jordan. He’s the only one who isn’t a complete jerk. If this book were written better, and didn’t have to follow the standard Christian Romance novel formula, it would end with Jordan leaving the town and all these assholes for good.

  7. I’m sorry to heap some criticism on Jordan, FSM knows he’s gotten plenty. But I have to ask, why does the guy who was just leaping at the chance to go to jail in place of his father and uncle now being prissy about spending his money to make sure no one goes to jail? Was he assuming that no part of his sentence would be to strip him dry to get some money back, and that his sentence would be short enough that he’d soon be back out and free to spend all his money? What I’m saying is, why does Jordan think it totally unreasonable to spend his own money to cover someone elses mistakes, but never doubts going to prison to cover those mistakes is reasonable?

    Also, exactly what is the money supposed to fix? The retirement fund, the mill’s immediate situation or both?

    Okay, that’s enough for poor Jordan, on to the other asshats.

    Yeah, evidentally uncle and daddy are ruined, as they are kicking back in their exclusive little club. Oh no, they couldn’t be asked to cancel that, or tap the old boys network for a little cash.

    We are now supposed to feel sorry that two men who fucked up the mill and fucked up the retirment fund will be publicly known for fucking up the mill and fucking the retirment fund. Oh, well, they didn’t mean to? Well, that’s all right then.

    Mangling of the camel-needle quote notwithstanding, that little note your brat send to his dad asking for computers and tickets kind of undermines your point even before you take into account that he’s done all the immaterial things for Nathan too.

    And it’s funny, we’ve seen RTC fiction cheer on assholes with financial success with all the enthousiasm of Ayn Rand (Edge of Apocalypse is the worst offender), and the one time we get one that does remember all the rallying Jesus did against the rich, it’s underserved.

    • The older the man, the more important it is that he be Respected?

    • …that little note your brat send to his dad asking for computers and tickets kind of undermines your point even before you take into account that he’s done all the immaterial things for Nathan too.

      Wow, this is a fabulous point. Nathan only ever wanted material things, and…he’s getting them. And Joella has spent much of the novel being sad that she can’t give Nathan everything he wants, notwithstanding her contention that nice things don’t matter.

    • What I’m saying is, why does Jordan think it totally unreasonable to spend his own money to cover someone elses mistakes, but never doubts going to prison to cover those mistakes is reasonable?

      It’s The Plot getting to him. He’s been stuck in this book and town too long. He’s changing, illogic is winning over and he’ll soon no longer be the man he was at the beginning.

      Though his objection that it’s not like he has the money available right now despite the deal looking good to go, well, that’s not unreasonable. Big deals take time and time is one thing the town doesn’t have. However much stalling he does, it’s not enough. In a better piece the rush up to deadline and the frantic effort to push it back could be pretty interesting, but it seems to have gotten lost in Joella’s (and the town’s) ongoing self-righteous fit, and Nathan the Devourer of Wordcount.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, December 28th, 2012 « The Slacktiverse

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