Shadowed: Chapter 33: Restaurants…OF THE FUTURE

The Stepolas have determined that Straight should get in touch with Felicia to help her out (since they bizarrely have decided that she shouldn’t come with them to the Michigan Heartland salt mines), and so Straight gives Felicia a call:

In yet another bizarre decision, Paul tells Straight to call Felicia, but doesn’t tell Felicia to expect a call from a fellow believer.  So she’s understandably taken aback when a strange man calls her with the usual RTC “He is risen” conversation-starter.  She has to call Paul for confirmation that Straight is legit.  You’d think Paul might want to avoid confusing and scaring the shit out this (very) recently-bereaved and vulnerable woman, but no.

Straight asks Felicia to meet him at Ray Radigan’s, a supper club in Kenosha, WI.  (‘Scuse me, still Heartland.)  Although Felicia characterizes the place as “just up the road,” it’s a 90-minute drive (probably 45 minutes in Atheistopian travel times), so either way, it seems a long way to make someone go when they both live in the same city in the first place.

(It also exemplifies the danger of using specific places in stories that are set in the future—they might not be there in the real future.  Shadowed was published in 2005.  Radigan’s closed this year.)

Straight inserts the following clunky line into their conversation:

“Let’s just say both of us will be easy to recognize.”

And yes, dear readers…that is Jenkins’ way of saying that both Straight and Felicia are black!

As he had hinted, they were the only African-Americans in the place.

That strikes me as a tad bizarre.  I’m not as familiar with Chicago as Jenkins, but I do know a bit about Wisconsin.  And Kenosha is actually more diverse than the state as a whole.  I’m just surprised that Straight can so absolutely assume that they would be the only black people in the entire restaurant, in the liberal paradise that is Atheistopia.

Anyway, not much of great notes actually happens at this super-secret meeting of black believers—Straight basically just tells Felicia to get back to work at the NPO and stay in contact with the other believers there.  Not sure why he dragged her out to Kenosha to tell her that when they could have gone to the friggin’ awesome Frontera Grill instead, but whatevs.

***

Back to Bia and Ranold, and it’s kinda adorable how Jenkins takes the broadest brush available to paint Ranold as the bad guy, utterly oblivious to the fact that everything said about Ranold could far better be applied to Paul:

His ego knew no bounds…

…he had enough self-love to go around.

[thinking of Jae as] apparently a dim bulb under all that pretty hair.

Could he really arrange [an attack] that would annihilate this place and all these people?

Life and death were the price of war.

Yep, Ranold is actually having some qualms, before the fact, about raiding the underground.  And, like Paul in the previous two books, Ranold justifies the carnage (which will be many orders of magnitude less than the dessication of L.A. and slaughter of the firstborn men, boys, and babies) because This Is War.

In fact, Ranold finally admits to himself that there is a god, and that he is at war with him.  And I’m sure Jenkins means that to be the height of hubris and idiocy for mere man to fight against his benevolent, murderous God, but I just can’t help but admire Ranold’s moxie.  Hell, he’s got more guts than Paul could hope to have in ten lifetimes.  Ranold is going up against the all-powerful creator of the universe, armed with little more than his wits, to protect a world that has demolished homelessness and cancer.  Paul contracted an omnipotent bully to murder children where they stood.

So, Designated Hero or not, I know which man is really the courageous underdog.

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Posted on September 1, 2015, in Shadowed. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. As he had hinted, they were the only African-Americans in the place.

    Way to not draw attention to yourselves.

  2. I’m just surprised that Straight can so absolutely assume that they would be the only black people in the entire restaurant, in the liberal paradise that is Atheistopia.

    The website paints it as a classy joint. “Ray’s Traditional Fine Dining”. I wouldn’t be surprised that Jenkins reasoned Classy + Traditional + Fine Dining = No Urban Thugs. Or he’s been there once on a church outing and assumes that overwhelmingly white crowd was the typical clientele.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jenkins thinks he’s written a story about a horrible man who is redeemed by the grace of god. Yet all he has is the story of a horrible man who switches sides.

  3. Well, yeah. Remember when Bill O’Reilly was shocked to be taken to a nice restaurant full of well-behaved patrons in Harlem?

  4. “Hello?” “He is risen.” “This is a loyalty check, isn’t it?”

    The restaurant thing… yeah, seems as though there’s no benefit to setting this up, unless you assume your enemies are the sort of person who says “oh, two black people, obviously they’ll want to sit together”.

    Which, given that those enemies were Paul until recently, seems quite reasonable.

  5. The Chicagoland area is actually the most racially segregated in the nation atm. Can’t speak to Liberal Atheistopia, but if he set up a meeting there today, there are plenty of suburbs where being the only two black customers at a restaurant would be a safe bet.

    I’m not sure about Kenosha. It’s north of Chicago, but it’s too far north to be considered part of the north side. (The North Side is where the old money lives, and so is whiter than a vampiric polar bear at a country club.) Maybe Jenkins is trying to be clever, and in Atheistopia Chicago has expanded so far that Kenosha is now a “north side” suburb?

  6. How much you wanna bet that Jenkins gave himself a really big pat on the back for creating not one, but two Black characters? Because y’know Jenkins is the type, like so many on the Right, who thinks of racism in terms of: Racists go to cross-burnings. I have never been to a cross-burning. Therefore, I am not a racist.

    Even though there are many forms of racism, much more subtle yet no less pernicious than the cross-burning form. Jenkins would probably also act like the fact that he hasn’t been to a cross-burning is in itself a great accomplishment. Because you’re apparently supposed to receive a medal every time you demonstrate basic human decency.

    Though totally with you on Ranold. Jenkins will probably have him die or convert as some point, but really, Ranold is awesome. Because this is totally the kind of scenario where, if this was DC Comics or Marvel, someone would be calling up all the heroes on their rolodex to do battle with this eldritch abomination. Because heroes tend to fight hideously powerful beings who murder innocent people for no real reason; it’s kind of in the job description.

    In fact, that’s one of the things I loved so much about Avengers 2: Age of Ultron. Not to spoil too much, but in the big climatic fight, Ultron’s like, “Okay you can stop me from destroying the world or you can save this city full of innocent civilians” and the collective response from the Avengers is essentially “STFU! We’re doing both!” And they proceed to do so. Because heroes are supposed to value human life above all else. Heroes are the type of people, when given a choice between Option A and Option B, they try to find Option C, which is “All of the Above.” Because heroes are awesome that way!

    Never fails, how the Right accuses us of being murderers who have no value for human life (because we believe the life of an already-born woman matters more than the potential life of her fertilized egg and/or embryo and/or fetus), while they worship a god who cheerfully murders millions, possibly billions of already-born life just because He can.

    • Great minds think alike! (And/or the Avengers are just that awesome.) As Ranold was contemplating the nature of his war with God, “his most formidable foe ever,” I actually pictured him as Tony Stark…

      If I can’t protect Atheistopia, you can be damned sure I’ll avenge it.

      • That’s totally my head canon now. No matter what Jenkins says, as far as I’m concerned, Ranold looks like Tony Stark. I’d almost propose adding him to the League of Awesome on my blog, but since this is a different continuity from Left Behind, it probably wouldn’t work.

        Still I believe in Discontinuity, dammit! When Ranold gets stuffed into the fridge or the Christ-botomy or whatever Jenkins has in story, I’ll stick my fingers in my ears and create an alternate continuity where Ranold kicks everyone’s, including God’s, ass.

        Like so many have said before, who would have thought that Tim LaHaye was apparently a moderating influence on Jenkins.

      • inquisitiveraven

        Now I’m picturing Stark’s reaction when he finds out his most reliable ally is Cletus Kasady, aka Carnage. I don’t think he’d be too happy about that, but nobody else seems to be willing to take the fight to the RTC god.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for September 4, 2015 | The Slacktiverse

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