ItSo…C: Chapter 4

Despite it not being his job, Jesse spends all afternoon helping Lindsey get her farm ready for the wienie roast.  So long, in fact, that Jade gets there and gets all excited about the I’d Enjoy Going to the Wienie Roast Very Much.

Given the number of times [Lindsey had] asked him or Jade to church functions, she’d been pleasantly surprised when Jesse had agreed to come to the party.  He’d been more than clear on a number of occasions that spiritual issues were on his no-call list.

Ah.  So he’s made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t want to do these things, and you just keep asking him, anyway?  I guess “no” never means “no” when it comes to nonbelievers coming to church, right, lady?

We seem to be getting back to usual RTC ground, here.  Too bad; I thought we had been introduced to that rare, tolerant Christian fiction heroine.

Also, she has known them for one week.  How many times has she invited them to various functions?  More to the point, how many activities does this church have in a week?  Damn.

***

Jesse and Jade leave to freshen up and then come back for the I’d Enjoy Going to the Wienie Roast Very Much.  They get there about half an hour after it starts, and Lindsey is starting to freak out, except that she was the one who said the festivities would start at “sevenish,” so what’s she on about?

Oh, and it is mentioned that this I’d Enjoy Going to the Wienie Roast Very Much takes place under a “hunter’s moon,” which I did not know until now is the moon following the harvest moon, so once again, my blog teaches things!

We also meet the pastor and his wife, Cliff and Karen.  The pastor…

…had once spent more time in the county jail for drinking and disturbing the peace than he did in church.  Just looking at him reminded Lindsey and everyone else of the amazing redemptive power of God’s love.

Meanwhile,

Karen and Cliff had yet to conceive and every child held special interest for the pastor’s wife.

Okay, I’m sorry, but that phrasing is…kinda spooky.  Like the pastor’s wife is scouting for specific kids for her dark rituals under the next full moon or something.

Speaking of kids, a friend of Lindsey’s has just found out she is pregnant with Spawn #4.  Money is tight and they already have three and the husband is “shell-shocked,” but Baby Jesus hates birth control.

Also, they are playing volleyball, which seems a weird thing to play at night in October.

Once Jesse and Jade get there, the fun really begins, because Jesse is immediately suspicious of…well, everyone:

Some self-righteous churchgoer standing out there in the half darkness sucking down a hotdog…

Oh, wowwwww…

…might have even been involved in the shady deal that had left him a homeless orphan.

Dude.  Chill.

Lindsey made the introductions.  “This is my pastor, Cliff Wilson.”

Jesse’s surprise must have shown because the clergyman bellowed a cheerful laugh.  “If you were out killing preachers, you’d pass me right up, wouldn’t you?”

Wait, WHAT???

Cliff looked more like a pro wrestler than a preacher.

Um, okay.

Still, though, WHAT???  Killing preachers?  So that’s the first place your mind went, eh, Cliff?

Jesse meets a few more of Lindsey’s neighbors, but none of them are anywhere near as interesting as Pastor Cliff and his serial killer fantasies!

Lindsey’s church family, as she called them, was fast destroying his long-held view of Christians as either stiff and distant or pushy and judgmental.

Pushy?  Nah, in order to be pushy, a person would have to invite me to multiple church events over the course of a mere week, despite my firm and consistent “no” for an answer.

Lindsey goes to give the kids a hayride or somesuch, and Jesse is left alone with yet more random neighbors, who get to talking about Lindsey’s grandparents.  And they finally reveal their names, which is apparently a huge deal for Jesse:

At last, he had someone to blame along with his stepfather.  Lindsey’s grandfather, the man who’d stolen this eighty-acre farm from a teenage boy, was named Charlie Mitchell.

I like that it is admitted that Jesse is looking for someone to blame.  But I hope we get some actual evidence soon, because this is so far making Jesse look a bit thick for a grown man.  Does he know that the grandfather knew he was “stealing”?

And he still feels guilt, so that’s good.

The real takeaway from this chapter?  Lindsey’s preacher is one weird dude.

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Posted on December 11, 2013, in Books, Christmas, In the Spirit of...Christmas. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I hope we get some explanation for Cliff’s, um, odd introduction. A bookcase full of true crime or mystery novels or something. Because that’s some serious what going on there.

    Also, so… Stepdad sold Charlie, Lindsey’s grandfather the farm. Okay. I can see how that might feel like stealing to fourteen year old Jesse (especially after Stepdad turned around and threw him out – where were child protective services, anyway? I mean, he was fourteen. That’s too young to even legally work. WTF?) but I still don’t know what Jesse thinks he can “prove.” The only way that transaction would’ve been a problem is if Jesse’s mom had specifically left the farm to Jesse, in her will. Which means the only research Jesse needs to do is find a copy of his mom’s will. Which he’d about have to have in order to know that Stepdad didn’t have the legal right to sell the farm. (And how did Stepdad manage to sell the farm if he didn’t own it? Is this easier than it seems like it should be?)

  2. In my fantasy casting, Pastor Cliff is played by Macho Man Randy Savage, sunglasses and all.

  3. Another possible explanation for Pastor Cliff – he’s *really* into the whole apocalyptic Christian-persecution fantasy thing, to the point that he actively believes the U. N. death squads are going to show up in their black helicopters looking for preachers to kill. He’s got his “protective camouflage” well in place, and if that fails he’s got a whole collection of guns of varying sizes and degrees of legality. Sure, it could all be a paranoid fever dream, but better to have a fully functional bazooka and not need it than need it and not have it, you know?

    • Yeah, that was my first thought about that remark too. That he’s half-jokingly assuming that all non-Christians want to kill him.

      So not only is the Jesse’s assumption that Christians are “pushy” valid, but the “judgemental” part fits pretty well too.

      And yeah, Jesse’s starting to feel less and less realistic. If it’d been a few months or a year ago that he’d lived on the farm, and he’d still been a teenager, that’d be one thing. But for a grown man to harbor a grudge and assume a house he once lived in years ago is still his rightful property, and anyone living in it is a thief. that’s not healthy. The various wannabe-kings in A Song Of Ice And Fire weren’t this hung up on their birthright.

      • Stannis was. That guy would totally harbor a grudge for over a decade, and consider any interim occupant a thief.

        And you know, when the hero of your romance novel reminds people of Stannis Baratheon, you’ve taken a serious wrong turn somewhere.

  4. Four chapters in and I don’t like any of these characters. Jesse is immature, and I don’t understand how he thinks he still has any claim to the farm. Lindsey is annoyingly pushy, considering Jesse’s only been there a week and she won’t stop pestering him to go to her church events. Pastor Cliff has a persecution complex where he thinks all non-Christians want to kill him or something. I haven’t seen enough of any other characters yet, so I have no opinions on them so far.

  5. “…whereas when, IF, if I were out killin’ Heathens, I’d come right to your door!”

    Vermic: to me, “professional wrestler” isn’t that far from “masked Mexican wrestler”. So I’m going to picture Pastor Cliff in the El Santo Mask:

    One of the great things about El Santo films, after all, is the way nobody ever comments on this guy wearing a full-head mask at all times.

    And yeah, we’re back to the standard RTC problem: they can’t conceive of not being Right, so they don’t understand that people can honestly disagree with them. Not just in theology, but in such a minor thing as whether the new guy should be pushed into the social life of the church or given a choice.

  6. The introvert in me bristled a bit at that first quoted section. I probably wouldn’t agree to accompany them to church functions either – not because I’m not religious, but I seldom enjoy mass socializing with people I don’t know. And Jesse has clearly not been set up as a social butterfly. But it’s not “He doesn’t want to go because he doesn’t want to socialize,” but it’s because, “Ooooh, he’s been burned by church.” As if he’d jump at the chance to go to an office party instead.

    Now obviously the story IS setting up so that he’s been burned by church and Christmas, but I just felt the need to defend other possible motivations 🙂

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, December 14th, 2013 | The Slacktiverse

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