Shadowed: Chapter 12: Appropriating
Jenkins weirdly goes out of his way to tell us that Jae wakes up at nine in the morning on Wednesday, January 23. Meaning that he has access to the internet, so he can tell us for certain that the slaughter of the innocent firstborn sons will take place on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2047, 6:00 p.m. EST.
Good to know.
Jae reflects as she lies in her palatial apartment:
So this was what it meant to be a believer. Grief over her brother. Mourning her mother. Horrified at the unspeakable magnitude of loss around the world. And yet a deep sense of peace. She wasn’t happy. Jae couldn’t call it that, not with everything that had happened. But there was a bedrock contentment that God was somehow in control.
So much in control that he killed her brother and let her mother die of a heart attack. So much in control that Berlitz is in Hell, now and forever, and nothing anyone ever says or does will get him out.
I suppose there must be some bizarre sense of contentment, a really warped version of it, at least, when you know an evil dictator is in charge of everyone’s life and death and afterlife. In a certain way, it would make decisions easier—like whether to resist said evil dictator, or worship him. Paul and Jae and I all find this an easy decision.
Speaking of Paul, we find that he has another amazing James Bond-like ability!
…he had the ability to recover from extended exhaustion with one good night’s sleep, as long as he got in enough hours.
Wow. Real special, Paul.
(I will add that there is no way Paul got “one good night’s sleep,” since he got to bed pretty late, then woke back up at four to pretend to shoot Roscoe. That is pretty much the definition of not a good night’s sleep. Gorammit, Jenkins, keep track of the details you take such pains to tell me!)
Paul and Jae don’t even see each other in the morning, since Jae heads off with the kids to hang with Angela. Paul has breakfast with Pudgy Jack, and sensitively volunteers to P.J. that he “slept like a gravestone.”
Tell that to your dead and innocent brother-in-law, you prick.
Meanwhile, Jae prays that her little children will convert quickly to the worship of the being who killed their loving uncle.
Meanwhile meanwhile, Pudgy Jack reveals to Paul the “pleasant surprise” that he teased a few chapters ago—what the loving, generous, spirit-filled Christians do with the cars and clothes of the recently slaughtered.
Just as several of you deduced, they’re stripping corpses.
What a bunch of winsome witnesses.
As if reading [Paul’s] question, Jack said, “No, we don’t steal their money. We assume they have left families who need their resources.”
So they take clothes and cars, but not cash. Does Jenkins really think that most normal humans carry around more cash than their car is worth? Because the current Bluebook value of my car is about $8,000, and I can guaran-damn-tee you I am not carrying anything close to that amount of cash on my person. Just sayin’, I would rather my surviving family have my car than the cash in my wallet.
“But if they’re dead, they certainly don’t need their clothes, their driver’s licenses, that kind of stuff.”
Oh, yeah—they take identities, too. Because that is the loving, Christian thing to do.
Yanno, I may well be missing something here, but I don’t even understand what stealing an identity would accomplish for the zealots. The usual goal in stealing an identity is to spend someone else’s money, and Pudgy Jack claims they don’t want to do that. And how long could anyone from the underground pretend to be a person who has just been declared dead, complete with body, as a result of the biggest massacre in human history?
That aside, though, we can be reassured on one point:
“Trust me, we respect those bodies, even though we’re stripping them of clothes and ID.”
Gee, thanks, Jack, good to know that you’re not posing the bodies in humorous ways, I guess.
(I also think neither Jack nor Jenkins has any idea how difficult it is to remove clothes from a dead body, let alone one that has probably been mangled in a car accident. Wrestling your rebellious three-year-old into his pajamas doesn’t really give the proper sense…)
And another thought occurs to me re: clothes…clothes are some of the cheapest things in the world to get. There are five used-clothes stores within walking distance of my home, and hell, since the zealots see nothing wrong with thievery, they could just raid the donation bins of the very generous Atheistopia.
In addition to the “respect” they give the bodies of the men now roasting in Hell forever, Jack has this justification:
“And we are on the right side, after all.”
“Of course.” [said sociopath Paul]
Jack also points out that a majority of the elders have agreed to this whole strip-bodies-and-steal-cars-and-identities plan, but he really has a much bigger issue in mind that he wants to discuss with this man he barely knows:
See, Pudgy Jack wants to go topside. He’s basically been completely in hiding since the death of his brother in Soon, so it’s been awhile.
Trust a zealot to have only his own desires in mind a few hours after the biggest disaster to ever befall the planet. He and Paul will get along swimmingly, I’m sure.
One final thought about Pudgy Jack: He comes across as all innocent, but he reminds us here how upset he was by the napalm-barreling death of Andy. Given that, there is an extra level of heartless evil (and, perhaps, conscious or unconscious revenge) to Jack’s glib justifications of corpse-looting.
Something to think about.