Silenced: Chapter 5, Part 2: Secret Watching

Back in Chicago, Jae is ready to call Straight to ask him over…but he calls her first.  The whole conversation is by turns creepy, more creepy, then stupid.

He said Paul had asked that he check in on her.  She was struck that he sounded so kind, not as if he were merely following through on a promise to a friend.

What does she expect him to do, bark at her?  “Mrs. Dr. Stepola, are you and the mini-Stepolas safe and secure?  Duly noted, I shall check in again in 48 hours.”

Also, it’s kinda odd that Paul thinks Jae needs looking-in-on.  After all, we’re in Atheistopia, where the crime rate is low, the rents are reasonable, and travel times are half what they are today.  And Paul can talk to Jae on his skull phone pretty much any time he wants.  So, why bother Straight about this?  I’m guessing it is yet another way to keep Jae as disconnected from her family as possible, or just general distrust of a woman-folk being alone, but then, I am not one to give Paul the benefit of the doubt in any circumstance.

Jae, sensing Straight’s Passionate Sincerity, volunteers that she is “struggling“…

“How so?  Missing your man?”

You’re gross, Straight.  I’m just putting that out there.  There’s just something in the way you say that, coupled with the secrets that you and Paul are keeping from Jae…

“Exactly.  That may be a surprise to you after what you’ve witnessed in our home, but—”

“Oh, no, ma’am.  I understood well all the pressures you both were under…”

“What with you both being filthy unsaved atheists and married, and we know how that always works out…”

“…and besides, Paul has kept me up to speed on how things have changed around there in the last few months.  And of course I noticed that too.”

Wow.  Okay, first of all, yeah, I am sure that Paul has been constantly telling Straight about what a fantastic husband and father he has become, with his new habit of not actually telling his wife to her face what a useless idiot she is.

And, it’s fantastic to know that Straight keeps tabs on the state of his friend’s marriage, while conspiring to keep a major secret from the other party to that marriage.  That is just so creepy I can hardly wrap my head around it.  Honestly, the way Straight puts it, makes it sound like he is peeping into the Stepolas’ windows every night.

Jae was nearly speechless.  Had she overestimated the distance she’d felt from this man?


Or had he just been shy?  Having seen him in action at the hospital poked holes in that theory.

Indeed.  Generally, someone who touches people who don’t want to be touched and talks to people who don’t feel like conversing isn’t someone who can be described as “shy.”

Jae invites him over for dinner so he can visit with the kids…and her.

“I do hope you can stay awhile.  I’d like to talk to you privately.”

“Whatever you wish.”


*cough cough*  Anyway…

Then Jae makes the monumental mistake of asking Straight what he would like for dinner:

“Well, ma’am, as long as you asked, I love fish.”

“Any particular kind?”


“What type?”


She chuckled.  “So I can’t go wrong.”

“Not with fish, ma’am, no.”

Jae chuckled?  If it was me, Straight would be lucky he wasn’t there in person, because that is pretty smackable behavior, at least coming from a non-friend who calls you “ma’am.”  I mean, I could see that kind of teasing between two people who are close (though even then…), but coming from this guy, it just feels incredibly obnoxious to me.

Jae’s in for just a lovely evening, isn’t she?


Posted on September 2, 2013, in Books, Silenced. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Oh, fish, huh? Real subtle there, Jenkins. I totally see wut you did thar.

    I’m guessing it is yet another way to keep Jae as disconnected from her family as possible, or just general distrust of a woman-folk being alone, but then, I am not one to give Paul the benefit of the doubt in any circumstance.

    You know, isn’t this Paul still being abusive? One mark of an abuser is that they will try to circumscribe the social circle that their partner travels in as well as their interactions with anyone else, so as to better control their activities. This sure doesn’t seem like Paul’s turned over a new leaf, contrary to all the loud protestations he’s made about it.

    • Just wait until Paul finds out (through Straight, natch) that Jae is even considering visiting her family…

    • Oh god, this will be removing Bella’s car engine all over again, won’t it?

    • Good call on the icthyus — I’ll bet you a fully-loaded skull phone you’re right about that.

      And yes, that would be Paul still being abusive. Jenkins’s heroes never actually turn over new leaves; he just says they do and expects the readers to believe it, despite actions to the contrary.

    • “So I can’t go wrong.”
      “Not with fish, ma’am, no.”

      Well … unless the, er, “fish” believe in transubstantiation, salvation through works, an allegorical Genesis, or post- instead of pre-millennial dispensation. Those fish are going straight to hell. The rest are okay.

  2. If this were a cop show, two scenes from now would involve knives and screaming, and the next scene after that would have CSI showing up.

    apocalypsereview, this is also the mark of a cult, and many religions that most people don’t regard as cults.

  3. Yes, Jenkins, yes, tell us more about how your hero has become a great husband during the timeskip that you didn’t show us.

  4. “But guys, showing is hard. Why can’t you just take my word for everything? I’m the GCAAT, after all. Since I’m an authority on the subject of writing, it means that however I write is automatically (I was going to say “perforce” here, but I don’t think Jenkins would know that word) the best way to write. So there.” (Again, would have said QED, but didn’t for the same reason)

    It will always bother me that this man possesses the temerity to “teach” others how to write. It infuriates me that he charges them thousands upon thousands of dollars for the dubious privilege.

    Sadly, that people pay it doesn’t really surprise me. Sucker born every minute and all.

    • I suspect that part of the course involves knowing what to say to which publisher, and indeed being introduced to them.

    • Welcome class, please be seated.

      For our first lesson, I’ll show you how to decide names for your characters.

      For forgein characters, it’s easy. Just write down the first stereotypical first name that pops in your head when you picture his country, then look at a map of the country and use the name of any of the terrain features as last name.

      For American female characters, determine if she’s a madonna or a whore, and pick a name accordingly. Biblical names for women (some managed to sneak into the pages, I have no idea why but god works in mysterious ways) are good, but names you remember from your childhood are also fine.

      First names for American males can also be picked like that. We’ll pick a fitting last name during the exercises at the end of this lesson, once we got the anagram-creator software installed.

      And the name of your protagonist should be whatever you wish you were called. If that name doesn’t contain any references to strength or erections yet, add some.

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