Shadowed: Chapter 9: Felicia Again

A few chapters ago, Pudgy Jack told Paul “how limited our resources are, especially space.”  It now appears that Pudgy Jack is a big fat liar, because the Apostle family is immediately given “a den of two rooms with a bathroom down the hall.”  It has “privacy, ample bedding, and seating.”  Because Hell forbid that our hero reside in anything even mildly uncomfortable for a even a little while.

(Honestly, does Jenkins even keep track of what he’s written?  I spent most vacations of my childhood in much smaller hotel rooms than this, four people on two double beds in one small room, and now the Apostles have a small apartment while the parents have death sentences hanging over them.  Pfft.)

Jae dozes off, praying here and there, “even” for Ranold and Aryanna.

Remind me, what did Aryanna ever do to her, except be really kind to her and her children?

And as for Ranold, aren’t Christians supposed to pray for their enemies?

***

We’ve been talking lately in the comments about Jenkins’ tin ear for names in specific generations, but it’s important to note that he also screws up common turns of phrase: Jack, another person born in the early 2000s, has this to say:

“I was never military or law enforcement, Paul.  Education was my game.”

“X was my game,” is a phrase whose unironic use I only associate with Baby Boomers like…oh, say…Jerry Jenkins.  Wanting to be sure of this, I even asked my own parents, also Boomers.  My father said it’s a phrase he’s rarely heard even among people his own age, and even then, usually referring to actual games.  (“Tennis is my game.”  “Poker is my game.”)

Oh, and Paul tells Pudgy Jack that if Wipers squeals to the NPO, “They’ll be on you like Elvis on felt.”

This from a man who would be an elementary-school-aged child right about now.

All this discussion of generational phraseology just to avoid the sadness of Paul’s next conversation with Felicia.

Oh, but first!  (I’m avoiding this for as long as I can.)

Jack has an exciting teaser for Paul about the underground’s plans in the wake of this global slaughter:

“Wait till you see what we’re doing with cars and dead people’s clothes.”

We won’t find out for a couple of chapters yet what this is, but trust me: just when you think these people can’t get any more monstrous, they manage it.  In fact, this book has a passage (much later) that is the only time in the whole series that my mouth actually dropped open in shock and horror.

Sigh.  Okay, enough stalling.  On to Felicia.

Paul calls her, and she’s working despite the fact that her son has been dead for only a few hours.  I can’t decide if this makes her really dedicated, really being deep in denial, or if Jenkins just forgot what he did to her again.

“I mean, c’mon, Paul, widespread death is pretty hard to argue with.”

“Well, if there’s no God, who killed all the men?”

That’s Felicia talking.  She never references her son as an individual, we don’t even know his name, and she refers to his death only as one of the “widespread” ones.  Her boy was one of “all the men.”

I’m going with Jenkins forgetting.

Under the circumstances, Felicia is astonishingly forgiving of Paul never saying a word to her about God or the fact that he was a double agent.  She excuses everything Paul ever didn’t say to her, even concluding “we still love each other in spite of it all.”

I don’t think Paul is capable of loving anyone, Felicia.  Just sayin’.

Oh, and if you think that Paul is calling his good friend and coworker to commiserate or apologize or express sympathy, you probably haven’t been reading these critiques for very long.  Paul just wants Felicia’s help.  Because he hasn’t done enough for her yet, what with praying for the death of her kid and all.

All he wants right now is for this griefstricken mother to access a file on our pal, Roscoe Wipers.  Felicia is pretty okay with this, and says straight up that it’s because she’s scared of God and thinks she’ll be “in trouble” with him if she doesn’t help Paul.

Paul, sensitive as always, has this to say:

“I’m not sure that’s the best motive, Felicia, but I do need your help and have to trust you.”

Yeah, Felicia, how dare you not have “the best motive” when you’ve just discovered that you live in a world with God who will slaughter innocents on the whim of his followers!

Man, almost-RTCs are so dumb sometimes!

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Posted on January 31, 2015, in Shadowed. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. “a den of two rooms with a bathroom down the hall.”

    Harsh! It’s like they’re being forced to live in a swank college dorm, like countless young people pay through the nose to live in. I do hope these fugitives can cope with the indignity while they’re on the run for their part in murdering millions.

  2. “I’m not sure that’s the best motive, Felicia.”

    What other possible motive could he have expected someone to have? The core of his entire faith — now made manifest — is “obey or die & suffer”. Why is Paul so stupid? Why is Jenkins so stupid??

    • Yeah, Jenkins has forgotten that these people haven’t “turned away from God” – they may have heard of the concept as one of those old historical things, but they’ve never read the Bible, they’ve never been to church, they’ve never had any of the chances to turn to God that he things are so important. The only things they know about God are: (1) it was a toxic meme that spawned all sorts of troubles, including the most recent World War; (2) since it was abolished things are great; (3) it’s just slaughtered billions of people.

    • God proves his existence by doing something incredibly scary, but being scared of God is a “bad motive”? I guess proving his existence by having a box of chocolates appear simultaneously in front of every human on earth was somehow not a valid option. Despite having supposedly created humans, God sure has no idea what makes them tick.

  3. Unbelievers can go through hideous agony and wish for the release of death without getting it, but for Chloe, “horrible torture” is being on short (but not too short–wouldn’t want her to pass out) rations for a few days and then getting praised for her strength in not giving in; for Paul and Jae, “such limited space” means having to go down the hall to use the bathroom.

    I see why this man did not see why it was not a compelling argument to protest comparing him to Muslim terrorists with “they’re not nice people!” He’s not just a bad author or a bad person–he genuinely has no conception of people who aren’t like him being people. It makes sense to care more about a real person being inconvenienced than about a wooden dummy being burned up, and in Jenkins’ mind, that wooden dummy is all anyone who isn’t just like him can ever be.

  4. “Wait till you see what we’re doing with cars and dead people’s clothes.”

    Um… But… This isn’t the rapture. There are no piles of empty clothes lying around. The dead people’s clothes are still being worn by dead people’s corpses. It takes a very special kind of person to just ignore all the dead bodies and think: “Hmm, there are some nice clothes on the streets just now. We could do something with those.”

    I’m trying hard to find a way I might have misunderstood this scenario. Because Jack’s line seems to imply that the believers have been going around, stripping clothes off the bodies of strangers whom they recently killed, and they see nothing problematic with this. And none of the other people consider stopping this bunch of weirdos from looting the dead.

    • Pudgy Jack doesn’t explain in detail until Chapter 12, but don’t worry: you’re not misinterpreting anything.

    • Maybe Jenkins played a lot of RPGs like Fallout or Elder Scrolls, where you undress the people you killed with the press of a button, then sell their clothes. It’s not that quick in real life of course. And, if you’re not a monsterous sociopath, not as pleasant either.

      Oh, and in those games, if those you killed weren’t trying to kill you at the time, you get evil points. Something to keep in mind for Jenkins.

      • I’m sure he tells himself that that’s because the games lack a way to recognize when people are being not-Christian at you, which is far worse than trying to kill you.

        (If he plays games like that.)

        • I doubt he does, unless someone’s made versions of games like that which specifically name-check Jesus and expect/force the player character to act like a good evangelical. Dude’s made a lot of money off the fact that people in his subculture aren’t supposed to consume “secular” media, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t adhere to that rule himself.

          • Well, there’s the Left Behind: Eternal Forces series (which by most accounts is a pretty poor RTS). But those games actually encourage you to convert rather than kill your enemies.

      • inquisitiveraven

        Looting corpses happened often enough in real life to make it into the Bayeux Tapestry. However, looting bodies made a lot more sense in 1066 than it does today. Good armor and weapons were expensive which made it worthwhile to take after the battle, and grabbing a fallen fighter’s sword when yours is broken could save your life.

        Clothing in today’s society is cheap and not worth stealing for the most part. And most of the dead aren’t going to be wearing significant armor. Presumably, supposedly peaceful Christians presumably don’t have much use for weapons.

        • Exactly. If you’ve already made the decision to use the chaos as cover to steal something, a better idea would be to walk into any store, grab stuff and walk out. Nobody’s looking at the stores right now. Everybody is, however, looking at the dead bodies. Stealing from the dead is not only slower, you are much more likely to get caught doing it.

          It’s like Ivan said above, this is video game morality. If you kill someone, that entitles you to take their clothes.

        • Why carry guns, when you have a god who’ll gladly wipe out all your enemies on speed-dial?

          Well, I suppose that these books have shown that it only works if you get a few hundred people to pray at the same time, so I guess guns still have a niche-use.

          But it doesn’t explain why the zealots keep bitching about all their problems when they could just start another prayer-round and ask to solve the next big problem. Or cut out the middle-man and just ask god to use his omniscience-ness to foresee all the upcoming problems and miracle them away as they come. (It is, of course, well established that god agrees with everything the zealots want.)

          That, perhaps even more than the monstrous sociopathy, is why this story is dead on arrival. After Soon you could conceivably claim that god only acted because of the direct emergency of the army gunning down RTCs by the hundreds. But in Silenced, an even bigger and deadlier miracle was ordered and delivered for basically no reason at all. Paul needed Chappel’s help in hunting down the false believer, but Chappel was feeling a bit blue after his son was killed, so Paul decided to cheer him up with some disproportionate retribution. That was it.

          If god’s willing to pull out the big guns for such flimsy reasons, why should we readers give a fuck about the dangers the zealots allegedly face? The obstacles could be overcome with a coordinated prayer session if only the zealots would bother to do so. Deus ex machina-endings are boring enough already, but in this case the protagonists have the remote for the machine to ex their Deus any time they want, and they know it. Now it’s both boring and stupid.

          • This is a point that the books don’t intend to make, but do quite effectively nonetheless: this ontological terror weapon is not self-motivated, it only does what its users ask, and they have limited human imaginations.

          • That gives me an idea for the most amazing twist ending to this wretched series.

            I’m reading Mere Christianity right now, on the advice of a friend whom I told that I don’t merely not believe in Christianity, but I often can’t even comprehend what Christians believe. There’s some interesting stuff there, though quite a few leaps of “clearly all the other explanations don’t work, thus Christianity” that I find insufficiently supported.

            But one of his points is how the devil is quite happy to let humans conquer their lesser sense by building up their capital-P Pride. He names the example of people who remain chaste by treating all the unchaste people as subhuman filth whose ways are beneath him. (A quick glance at the Tea party shows that technique is indeed fairly effective.)

            What if that’s what was going on with these miracles all the time? That every time the zealots called upon god to slaughter their enemies (or rather, randomly slaughter people who are near their enemies), it wasn’t the god who tells his followers to love their enemies. It was the devil, laughing maniacally at this joke. Not only did he get to kill lots of people, but the souls of the zealots got darker and darker every time they called down destruction upon others and (more importantly) only felt their Pride swell every time. Didn’t this massacre prove that they were right, and that god loved them especially? On and on they would go, saying, like Felicia, that the murder of a billion men was somehow proof that those who asked for those murders were the true source of wisdom and benevolence. Yet at the end, as the Bible says, god sends them away because although they fought their enemies in his name, he never knew them.

  5. I’m going to assume that Felicia eventually converts. Given that she is both Black and Female, there’s probably going to be plenty of Whitesplaining and Mansplaining. I can hardly wait.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for February 06, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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