Silenced: Chapter 22, Part 2: Instant Replay and Then Some
The reason Chapter 22 is so long is that Jenkins reproduces, almost word for word, the interaction between Paul and Calandre, this time with Bia and Ranold and Jae listening in.
Once again, the Decenti landline is used, and Ranold and Jae hover over it as “speaker mode” is used. Turns out the awesome Bia planted a bug on Paul during their small talk session!
Hmm, maybe if Paul had been paying a bit more attention to what was going on, he might have noticed…
But he was just too blown away by the fact that Bia actually spawned a couple of kids. What with her being so tall and angular and overdressed and all.
“I fear the bug was either malfunctioning or he was out of range all day. You’re going to find this strange and out of character, General, and you, Mrs. Stepola, may be encouraged by it. But don’t be fooled. One bit of intelligence we did pick up from Ms. Caresse is that Paul emerged from a car that was not issued to him by the French Bureau.”
“Is that so?” Ranold said.
Gee, if only we had had Paul followed, we might know more!
Jae was still stewing about Paul’s being out of character and her expecting to be encouraged by that. Maybe he was in character; had they thought of that?
Well, probably not. I mean, Bia is well familiar with Paul and how he has cheated on Jae right under her nose for a decade. She’s talked to Trina Thomas and seen the pictures and everything.
Then again, Bia doesn’t know that Paul once carried the luggage. So he’s a Changed Man now.
So we have to suffer through rereading the whole scene. Well, you guys don’t, but I do. It’s also quite excruciating on the audiobook, FYI. (Of course I’ve listened to the audiobook of Silenced. Don’t be silly.) Oh, and we get play-by-play:
Laughter. Footsteps. Elevator noises.* A door opening.
Jae was dying.
*I guess Jenkins forgot that he created “jetvators” in Soon.
“I am more than a girl, Ray.”
Jae closed her eyes and actually wished for the first time that she was a praying woman.
Sigh. She already believes. Because why else would you wish to be a praying person? No matter how bad things have been in my life, I have never wished to be a praying person.
“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 and good night.”
Good night and good luck. Wow, that is just as nasty the second time around, Paul, you ass.
“That’s all there is,” Bia said. “A bit of TV noise in his room after that, but that’s all.”
Jae felt as if she could fly.
Which, right there, shows that Paul is not in character. If someone behaves in character, you don’t become elated when they do what you expect them to do. I mean, if my dad turned down the advances of some random woman, I’m pretty sure my mom would be like, “Um…yeah.” Because that is what you are expected and supposed to do.
Oh, and just at that moment, Paul makes a skull phone call, so they can all listen in!
It’s Straight, of course, though they don’t know that. (This actually makes sense this time, since even a bug probably wouldn’t pick up an incoming skull phone call echoing in Paul’s ears.)
“It’s time to marshal the international underground church, everybody, to again pray that God will act.” [says Paul, to Straight, on skull phone]
“This could be huge.” [says Ranold]
OH, YOU FRAKKING THINK SO, GENIUS???
Seriously, they officially have enough to just Kill Him Now.
Oh, but it gets better. They get to talking about Jae:
“You’re kidding…You did? I know you told me God puts it on someone’s heart and—it’s just that when He was prompting you to pray for me, He was prompting me to pray for Jae. Go figure…Yeah, well, maybe He is working in her life. Nothing would make me happier.” [says Paul on his skullphone]
“Big question now is, has he flipped, or is he infiltrating the underground?” [says Ranold]
Gorramit, I love you, Ranold, my man. I hate it when Jenkins makes you stupid.
“Sounded pretty convincing to me,” Bia said.
THANK YOU, Bia.
I mean JESUS, can we please get with the program, here. Y’all should’ve had Paul disappeared like, months ago. Now you have actual evidence. I mean, why is it so hard for you guys to pull the trigger, both literally and figuratively?
Anyway, Jae figures this is her chance to get to Europe, so she fake-reluctantly volunteers to go. Ranold, to give him credit, at least suspects that Paul was talking to Straight. Not that he intends on bringing Straight in for any intense questioning or a show trial or anything. He’s just sticking by his theory until they can get more info.
Man, the NPO is just so decent and open-minded and evidence-oriented and committed to innocent-until-proven-guilty.
Worst evil dictatorship ever.