Silenced: Chapter 22, Part 1: Calandre Caresse
Time for Jae to be a total jerk again!
I feel for her, I really do, puppet as she is to Jenkins’ notion of what constitutes an amoral atheist slowly navigating her own way towards good little RTC wifedom.
…[Jae] found her mother more maddening than ever—her docile take-life-as-it-comes attitude, letting Ranold get away with whatever craziness he dreamed up.
Huh. A docile wife letting a husband do whatever he likes, no matter how many people he hurts? Hit a bit too close to home, Jae?
I wish I could believe that’s what Jenkins is doing here.
Anyway, Jae’s all-over-the-place emotions are just a lead-up to Ranold telling her all about the woman who will be luring Paul to
his doom sex.
And with all this hanging over her head, Jae feels the need to play Jenkinsian word games with Ranold:
“Name’s Calandre Caresse, and we’ve used her before. Shes–”
“Come on, Dad. That’s not her real name. That’s a stripper’s name.”
Oh, like you’re a one to talk about weird names, Jae Decenti Stepola/Apostle.
He cocked his head. “Far as I know, that’s her name. She’s classy, discreet, and can be trusted.”
“Listen to yourself!” Jae said.
Ranold looked genuinely puzzled.
“All right,” she said. “let me ask you something. How would you describe me?”
“Smart, pretty, loyal.”
“You’ve said that before. Be more creative. Am I classy?”
“I’ve always thought so.”
Heh, don’t bet the farm there, Ranold.
“Dad, you just described a woman who lures men to her bed for a living the same way you would describe me.”
Um, not really, Jae. Because despite your instruction that Ranold be “creative,” you fed him all the words. Face it, Jae, you’re just looking for ways to trap your dad. Now, if you’re upset about this whole scheme, that’s fine, but don’t make the problem into that of Ranold thinking of a Fembot the same way he thinks of you. Because he quite clearly doesn’t.
Also, why is this scheme even taking place? Again and again, we see that for all it’s “sinful” acceptance of such things as homosexuality, prostitution, and pornography, Atheistopia is oddly marriage-oriented for such a supposedly amoral society. So many questions remain: why, in this world, did Jae and Paul both stay in a loveless marriage for so long? Why are the NPO agents just as offended by Paul’s marital infidelity as by his betrayal of the organization and the “world system” itself?
Actually, Ranold clarifies why they’re doing this:
“You deserve to know what he really is, Jae! All this phony Paul’s-a-new-man malarkey…if we do decide to send you over there, I want you clear that Paul is the target, the enemy.”
Poor Ranold. For ten years, he has watched the marriage of his little girl die death by a thousand cuts (of Paul’s asshattishness), and he is now making one last effort to make Jae see the truth.
Of course, Jae then determines that she needs to get to Europe to SAVE PAUL, even if she has to lie to Ranold to do so. Which doesn’t seem very RTC of her.
Paul and ChappellShow have some Man Time alone together. Naturally, ChappellShow thanks Paul for humiliating and berating him in front of the people he’s supposed to lead.
And they talk about entrapping Styr Magnor. BORING.
Back to Ranold’s wondrous scheme: as Paul is returning to his hotel (WHY HASN’T PAUL BEEN TAILED GORRAMITALL???), he sees “a dark, attractive young woman heading for the door of Le Hotel Boutique across the street.”
No doubt next door to Le Bakery Baguette on one side and Le Gallery Monet on the other.
Anyway, Calandre pulls the INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS ploy of tripping over her own feet, which of course prompts Paul to play white knight and rush over to help her up. And she clings to him and mews and touches him.
Paul did not reciprocate but couldn’t say he found her touch unpleasant. He had been away from home too long.
I…really don’t think it’s been that long, Paul.
Hilariously (well, not really), Paul introduces himself as “Ray Decenti.” The two go to the bar in the hotel (no doubt called Le Lounge Champagne), and Calandre gets wine and Paul gets coffee, because good little RTC boys don’t drink.
Then she invites him up to her room.
And he goes.
Is Jenkins making the point that Paul can expose himself to so much temptation and still remain “faithful” to Jae? Because honestly, this all just makes Paul look either dumb, or like a big tease.
In the “palatial” hotel room (which no doubt has Le Bed Immense)…
He moved away. “You don’t fancy me?”
“Actually, very much. You’re really a beautiful girl.”
“I am more than a girl, Ray.”
“You know what?” he said. “I’m not going to do this. Don’t make me insult you or appear ungrateful for the offer, but I’m leaving. Thank again [for the coffee] and good night.”
Fun fact: you know what words Paul didn’t say during this entire episode? “I’m married” or “I’m in love with my wife.”
I mean, why would he feel the need to insult Calandre? Just tell her the truth. Isn’t that the Christian thing to do, after all? And if you were so annoyed that she wanted to sleep with you, (again) why go to her room at all?
I don’t get it.
In any event, Ranold’s plan failed because he didn’t know his target well enough. As we discovered in Soon, Paul doesn’t like take-charge women with attitude like Bia Balaam and Calandre Caresse. He prefers them half-drunk.
Next time, we’ll see why Chapter 22 requires two parts, and see Jae’s reaction to all this.