Shadowed: Chapter 20, Part 2: This Is It

So it’s come to this: me, sitting here, enjoying my usual post-Easter 75% off chocolate cross.

I suppose, if I wanted to attempt some sort of depth, I could muse about the similarities: I don’t understand why anyone who holds a cross sacred would eat it when rendered in chocolate, and I don’t understand why the chacaters in these books are heroes of the faith.

Especially this particluar character: the Operating Room Man.

I mentioned that this was the one bit that stuck out to me.  In a series of books full of horrific, sociopathic assholes that might, once in awhile, make even Rayford Steele blush, this guy.

This Guy…

My mouth dropped open when I first heard what this guy was doing.  It was the audio version, and I was in my car, and I had parked and was listening for a good stopping place before I got out.  Surely, I thought, surely this character was meant to be wrong.  Surely Straight would be appalled, would set him straight (har) that this was not the way of a Real True Christian.

But it is.  It is.

And they just jump right into it!  (Well, they jump into after their stupid game of skullphone tag, and after they’re sitting down in the hospital cafeteria.)

“We need to trust each other,” [Dr. Gregory Graybill, The Operating Room Man] said.
“Do we?” Straight said.  “Why is that?”
“Because I know you are a believer.”
“You know nothing of the sort,” Straight said.  “You risk your freedom and your life by even talking like this, so I urge you to tread carefully.”

Is it just me, or is this a real departure from Straight’s usual speaking patterns?  Hell, he suddenly sounds like he’s got a bit part on Game of Thrones.

“The time is long past for that,” Dr. Graybill said.  “If it makes you feel more secure, I’ll declare myself first.  I am a believer.  I work with like-minded physicians to determine who’s with us and who isn’t.  When the enemy is under our care, we slow them a bit.”

At this point, one might think, he’s not saying what I think he’s saying, is he?

He is.

“You slow them?”
“We do not violate the Hippocratic oath, but let’s say it takes these people longer to get back to work than some others.”

This doctor, this DOCTOR makes sure his patients are atheists, and then doesn’t treat them properly so that they are slow to get back to their lives.  And he’s a friggin’ SURGEON.  Can you even imagine how much people must think he sucks, with the vast, vast majority of his patients being “slowed.”

This just freaks me out to no end.  We all have our horrors that are truly, personally horrifying, and for me, it’s malicious doctors.  I’m sure a psychologist could have a field day with that, but I’m betting it might have something to do with the fact that I’ve had one or two significant encounters with life-threatening injuries in my life, and had nothing but excellent doctors.  But the idea of my orthopedic surgeon “slowing” me for the crime of being an atheist, making my mobility maybe 10% or 20% less than it is…

I was also under the care of an “operating room man” as a week-old infant…and the only daughter of an atheist.

I’m sure, under the tender ministrations of Dr. Gregory Graybill, such a baby would be fine, though.  Just fine.

Straight shuddered.

And at that moment, when I was listening to this for the first time, I was sure I knew what was coming: Straight was realizing that this Graybill asshole was No True Christian, because a True Christian would never withhold medical care for the crime of being an atheist in a world where religion has been outlawed.

Is this what The Incident had accomplished?  It made the underground reckless?

That is what concerns Straight.  Not that a whole group of doctors has been denying proper medical care to 99% of their patients, but that now one of these doctors was actually fessing up to being a believer.

And to top it all off, not only does Dr. Murderous Graybill want to continue his campaign of “slowing” the helpless men, women, and children on his operating table, he wants to let Straight in on the fun!

“You know before we do whom we’re dealing with.”

As a former hospital volunteer myself, I highly doubt that, but whatever.

“I’m guessing you have a better handle on who’s who, whom we should target for, shall we say, more deliberate care.”

Target for more deliberate care.  He is a monster.

I mean, I really hate to Godwin up a post, but Dr. Gregory Graybill’s “deliberate care” would fit in just fine here.

And lest we think Straight is some kind of paragon of humanity…he jumps right in.  With the caveat that he is still quite interested in saving his own skin, and doesn’t quite yet entirely trust The Operating Room Man:

“If you get news about an incoming patient or two, you can breathe easier and act accordingly.  If, instead, you are arrested, you’ll know how grievously you have misread me.”

Won’t it be wonderful when the Christians win this war? Then they can show the atheists what true love and compassion are.


Posted on April 17, 2015, in Shadowed. Bookmark the permalink. 31 Comments.

  1. Oh, I’m pretty sure Hippocrates is feeling pretty violated. Christ on a tap-dancing cracker, I guess “spiritual warfare” is exempt from petty things like rules of engagement, where you don’t fuck with civilians.

    • Patrick Phelan

      ‘Strue. I don’t even see the fake justification. “We don’t break our Hippocratic oath to do no deliberate harm, but we do harm people. Deliberately.”

      • Ah, but see, they aren’t harming atheists. All they’re doing is not fixing the harm caused by their sinful lifestyle (to wit, being atheists while god was throwing a temper tantrum) and then lying about it. Totally different.

        Phase two of Dr Mengele’s plan, titled “Stop hitting yourself”, involves taping scalpels to the hands of unconscious or paralyzed atheist patients. hey, all the good doctor is doing is moving his patients arms around. It’s not his fault the atheists insist on stabbing out their own eyes because they’d rather be blind than look at all the evidence for god.

      • Not a problem, if you just define “people” correctly.

        • Or “harm”. If people have immortal souls, then their physical bodies which don’t even last a century are clearly only of minor importance.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy

            “So what if I rack him ’til he die? For I shall have Saved His Soul.”
            — “The Inquisitor”, Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

  2. There is no emoticon that accurately captures the expression I made upon reading that Dr. Graybill slows patients down if they’re atheists.

    On the other hand, good job, Jerry B. Jenkins, you’ve managed to make Paul Steppola look like a decent (or at least not as terrible) person.

    • Right? My usual “ew” gifs just don’t do justice to the horror.

      Honestly, for me, this might even top Rayford Steele playing Marco Polo with the hellbound secretary who just wanted to protect her family. Rayford was a sociopath of the first order, but at least it never occurred to him to “target” a career-long campaign against all nonbelieving civilians he encountered.

      • Seriously. All the downright awful characters I’ve read and was supposed to think of as the heroes of their stories cannot hold a candle to this doctor, and I’m pretty sure he’s a minor character.

        And knowing Jerry B. Jenkins, I’m not supposed to think of the doctor as easily one of the most vile characters in fiction. It takes skill to craft a truly vile villain, but I don’t know what it takes to create one by accident.

  3. Post-War Christian: “Oh, darn, they destroyed all the napalm barrels just before we used our superweapon. Guess we’ll have to invent our own means of torture-death instead.”

  4. Wow. Not even a passing mention that he’s only doing this to soldiers that are brought in, just to everyone. For no real reason either. I mean, other than extending suffering, what do the Christians gain from increasing the time a carpenter with a broken leg stays in the hospital?

    Who knew that Tim LaHaye was a moderating influence on Jenkins?

  5. Seriously, RubyTea, how do you manage this? Remind me to never get in a fight with you, because clearly you feel no pain. You take a lick and keep on coming. As a fellow snarker (of the For Kids! version of Left Behind), I’ve seen some of the awful writing Jenkins is capable of, but the Paul Stepola books…I’m afraid if I had to snark those books as punishment for all the horrible things I’ve done, my commentary would be just me screaming “Fuck you, Jerry Jenkins!” over and over again. After which, I’d find out where he lives and skull-fuck him to death with his own Bible. I don’t know how I’d managed that but I’d find a way. All I’d need is proper motivation. Again, when you make Tim LaHaye look like the model of Christian Compassion, what does that say about you as a person?

    I suppose that maybe Jerry Jenkins is doing a subtle Take That against the Christian Right by taking their horrific beliefs to the extreme (much in the way Westboro Baptist Church takes the anti-Gay argument to such extremes that other homophobes have to soften their rhetoric and distance themselves from them), but yeah, I have a feeling that that’s giving Jenkins too much credit.

  6. I think this shows insight into what Jenkins thinks he’s writing as opposed to what he’s actually writing. He’s thinks he’s writing, “Once alien general Gort is back on his psuedopods he’ll ship the population of Chicago to the Venusian diamond mines! Doctor, I know you can’t kill him or you’ll be caught, but can’t you slow things down and give us a chance to free the captives?” Only Jenkins has somehow got things so tuned around in his head he doesn’t realize his heros are the ones terrorizing the innocent people of Earth instead of his villains.

    I sincerely hope he meant that the doctor only messes with members of the atheistapo who actively hunt down believers, because if he seriously wrote a hero who messes with ordinary people… just yikes.

    Also, didn’t House have an episode where they had a fairly evil dictator in the hospital and the team had an ethical quandry about saving him to oppress his people further or killing him?

    • Yes, there is a mini-arc in House about that. And the doctor who does the deed has a long, moral morass to slog through for the rest of the season. (But not after the season, of course, because a couple months is plenty of time for someone who considers himself a spiritual, moral person to come to terms with committing murder, amiright?)

      • Never really could get into House because I kept wondering why everyone acts like he’s such a genius when it takes him three diagnoses complete with numerous invasive procedures, before he gets the correct diagnosis. Plus, even though I’m not in medicine, I couldn’t picture any hospital tolerating House’s shit no matter how much of a genius he is.

  7. I recently re-stumbled upon something that might be mildly entertaining to this readership. <A HREF=" guy deconstructs Justin Martyr, which was basically the Case for Christ of ancient times. It’s not as entertainingly horrible as the modern stuff, but it’s kind of interesting to see how the whole thing got started.

  8. Wait, why is this surgeon still employed by any hospital at all? Hasn’t anybody yet noticed how 99% of his patients make inexplicably “slow” recoveries?

    • inquisitiveraven

      I would expect that they have. Medical personnel have reps with other medical personnel to the point where one of my EMT friends had a list of doctors who if they were hir only option for treatment would say “Put my bloody thumbprint on the refusal.” This assumes, of course, that xe was in no condition to actually sign the refusal.

  9. In an attempt to polish a turd, I will point out that if an atheist child went under the knife, Dr. Mengele (the name I’m giving the guy in the book) would probably operate and behave like a proper surgeon. Remember that weaselly Age of Accountability thing that the RTCs believe in? Granted, though, that only covers you a bit. In spite of numerous studies pointing out that there are key differences between the brains of teenagers and the brains of adults, the RTCs continue to insist that as soon as you start to get hair around your pubes, God will try you as an Adult.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Could that be because once you “start to get hair around your pubes”, you are SEXUALLY mature?

  10. Hi y’all – having lurked for a long time, I’m moved to post my thoughts on the horror that is Jerry Jenkins’ mind. I know that he has co-writers, but he can’t escape the blame for the worlds he jerry-builds (pun not really intended, but it was unavoidable).

    The recent discussion on what expletive best described Paul Stepola made me think that the proper term for him is “shitstain” – something messy, stinking, embarrassing, and to be discarded with a shudder. He deserves it because from what I’ve read in your and Fred’s deconstructions, he’s the worst of them all, worse than Asshat Murphy or Goebbels Williams or Betrayford Steele.

    None of those three is a Mighty Whitey Gary Stu as much as Shitstain Stepola, who is not only more RTC than any other RTC before him, and who does tell his fellow believers how to suck eggs (and gets praised for it), but who is The One whose faith enables Yahweh’s wrath to fall upon unbelievers as never before. Asshat, Betrayford, Goebbels and Shitstain; but the worst of these is Shitstain.

    • Maybe you’re onto something with the “Shitstain” label. I was the one who mentioned in previous posts how my profane vocabulary feels inadequate when compared with the likes of Paul Stepola. Like I said, asshole seems inadequate, because for me, an asshole is someone who keys your car because he can’t stand you driving a nicer car than him. Whereas if someone had the gall to drive a nicer car than Paul Stepola, Paul’s response would be to drop a nuke and laugh as everyone is either vaporized or dies slowly from radiation poisoning. That’s the kind of guy Paul Stepola is.

  11. Only Some Stardust

    On the bright side, this fellow makes great inspiration for writing villains.

    • On the flipside of that, I created a character for a science fiction RPG and named him Nicolae Carpathia – a ruthless and amoral secret agent for a ruling House in the Imperium of Man. I also did some meta-fiction in which he forces the local versions of Buck and Rayford into working for him. Having them blindsided and helpless was tons of fun.

  12. I like how Dr. Graybill only identifies himself as “a believer”, without specifying what he is actually a believer in. Yes, I know it means he’s a believer in Christ, because in these books members of all other faiths didn’t really take their beliefs seriously and happily abandoned them after WW3.

    But if I may indulge in some alternative interpretation: Straight and Graybill have completely different beliefs, but neither of them ever realize this because they are too busy playing spy games with each other and too confident that their faith is “obviously correct”. After all, the recent deadly occurrences are a clear sign that the Great Old Ones are returning, and the doctor needs some help picking out suitable sacrifices to Cthulhu.

    • There was that phoney-cult in the first book, and the terrorist in the second.

      “Hmm, this guy says claims to be a believer, and he caused the deaths of dozens of civilians in bombings. He must be a phoney!”

      “Hmm, this guy says claims to be a believer, and he caused the deaths of billions of civilians in miraces. Sounds legit.”

      “Hmm, this guy says claims to be a believer, and he advocates drug-use and sex. He must be a phoney!”

      “Hmm, this guy says claims to be a believer, and he advocates making hospital patients suffer needlessly. Sounds legit.”

      • (Hmm, that copy-pasting of the first bit of the sentence for dramatic effect rather backfires when there’s a mistake in it :p)

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for April 24, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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