Silenced: Chapter 4, Part 2: Baldwin Dengler and His Giant Sammich
Time to meet the leader of Teh Ntire Atheistopia, “peacenik” Baldwin Dengler.
Paul shows up at the gorgeous gubmint building where he will be spending the night, and the first thing we learn is that Paul keeps a disgusting stash of undercover disguises in a plastic garbage bag, which he totes around the planet with him so the clothes will stay dirty and stinky, and Paul can pretend to be somebody gross.
I mean, somebody who is gross on the outside. The inside part, Paul already has covered.
As usual, we get far more description of secondary characters than our mains:
The chancellor was as tall as Paul, sixty-five years old, slim, trim, tanned, with thinning gray-and-white hair. He extended a hand, and when Paul shook it, Dengler clasped his other hand around Paul’s, too. Exceptionally long fingers, Paul thought.
They eat, and once again, Jenkins provides better description of food than he does of people. For effect, the meal is served out of fancy lunch bags:
Servers simultaneously opened the men’s bags and set on each plate a gleaming green apple, a triangle of Swiss cheese the size of a piece of pie, a two-inch-square block of chocolate, and what appeared to be a large wrapped sandwich.
I love cheese, but I cannot imagine eating a whole piece of it that is as big as a piece of pie. Jenkins must have been really hungry when he wrote this.
Paul unwrapped his sandwich and found the thin-sliced summer sausage piled an inch and a half high between two ridiculously thick slices of fresh, soft white bread with moist, chewy crust. He also noticed a thin layer of brown mustard and a generous dollop of mayonnaise.
Sounds disgusting, thank you very much. I’ll pass.
“Follow each bite with a slice of the apple,” Dengler suggested, “and the occasional piece of cheese. Save the chocolate for dessert.”
Well, fine, Mr. Bossy-Pants!
Yanno, I hate to defend Paul at any time, about anything, but he is a grown man, and probably knows how to eat lunch. And geez, save the chocolate for dessert? Well, thank
God goodness you are here, Baldwin, because I could never have figured that out for myself!
Also, that piece of cheese is the size of a piece of pie (no, I am not ever getting over this!); I think it will take more than “occasional” bites to finish off that monster.
Maybe it was the exotic combination of foods he wouldn’t have predicted in a million years. But Paul found the meal the best he had ever tasted.
Exotic? Oh yeah, there’s nothing more exotic than a sammich and a piece of cheese and an apple!
Then again, this apparently is a man who has to be told that chocolate is for dessert.
Now, one might consider that many hundreds of people have just been brutally murdered, and several world landmarks destroyed, and Dengler and Paul might have important things to talk about, but hey, they have to eat, too. I get that.
What I don’t get is that the next few minutes are taken up by an interminable conversation about the crabby chauffeur who drove Paul in from the airport. Dengler gets a note that the man was rude, and the two men debate and debate and DEBATE what should be done with him. Paul argues for leniency, but this is not so much about being kind and understanding, as it is about Paul’s need to prove that he is above being bothered by such trivialities:
“…I suppose my self-esteem is healthy enough to weather that…”
“…I would feel terrible if I got a man in trouble for something that barely registered with me.”
The driver is fired without severance or anything, which does not seem very in keeping with the ideals of Atheistopia, Mister Chancellor.
And Paul and Dengler finally start discussing the situation at hand.
Not that we’ll hear anything of it.