TEC: Chapter 8: Still a Mistress
This book reads like a very rough first draft, complete with the author’s notes-to-oneself:
“Dr. Murphy, I appreciate your taking time to meet with me. And thank you for allowing us to videotape your class,” Stephanie Kovacs said as she approached.
Murphy was waiting on the steps of the student center.
See, it’s like a note in the draft. (Scene takes place after class at the student center.) Because why should we care where Murphy and Stephanie are meeting? They could meet in the empty classroom or in his office or in a coffee shop and it means nothing to the conversation.
Why is she being so nice and polite? This isn’t her usual go-for-the-jugular attack. [thought Murphy]
For a college professor, Murphy sure isn’t a deep or nuanced thinker, is he? Why do people behave one way at one time and another way at a different time? Why aren’t people exactly the same all the time? This is so confusing!
(Hell, if nothing else, he should be worried that Stephanie is trying to sucker him in, put him at his ease, so he’ll relax and she can move in for the kill. But no, he doesn’t even consider that possibility.)
Stephanie actually just wants to ask Murphy some questions without the cameraman, though these questions seem the very type that would necessitate a cameraman. Specifically, she wants to ask about the ark:
“A few months ago you were in the midst of planning an expedition to look for Noah’s Ark. Did you in fact go to Ararat?”
Yes, he did. A few months ago. Way to keep on top of breaking news, Stephanie.
Oh, and this confirms what I suspected: that it took him several months to come clean to his pastor and “friend” Bob Wagoner about what happened.
Murphy bizarrely reveals that they did in fact find the ark, though there is absolutely no evidence, which you would think would just make him look like more of a crackpot to Stephanie. And he even tells her about all the deaths, while not mentioning Talon (!) or the brass plates. So, he’s lying to her, but even though we don’t see the usual LaJenkinsian dialogue, I’m sure he talked around the issue, saying things that were technically true without giving enough specifics that the listener could discern the actual facts.
But Stephanie doesn’t seem to notice or care:
Could there really be an ark? Murphy doesn’t seem to be one of those weirdo, right-wing Christian nuts that I’ve interviewed before.
HE DOESN’T??? Because you just now listened to him proselytize to his entire archaeology class. And say that he found Noah’s ark, though he conveniently has no evidence.
And the murders…did Shane have anything to do with them?
Um, no. They took place in Turkey, and he wasn’t even there, and Talon did it. But Stephanie remembers that Shane said that the Seven said that people like Murphy “have to be stopped” before they can persuade others that we’re gearing up to the Tribulation. From this, Stephanie bizarrely concludes that Murphy is in immediate danger, even though the Seven could certainly kill Murphy whenever they pleased. One sniper, job done, yanno? It’s not like the guy looks out for his own safety or anything.
But Murphy changes the subject again, asking Stephanie what she thought of the end of the lecture and the question of purpose in life. He also asks her if she’s happy, which did not come up in class and is a different question entirely.
Murphy had struck a nerve. She was not happy with Barrington. She didn’t want to be a mistress.
Good thing she’s not one, then.
She wanted to be loved for who she was, not what she could do in bed.
Which wasn’t presented as the reason Barrington proposed the relationship. Sure, he was attracted to Stephanie, but it seemed far more about mutual goals and his respect for her intelligence than about just a lay. After all, Barrington is incredibly rich, powerful, and handsome. Certainly he can get sex whenever he wants it.
But what this is really about is showing that a woman who has sex before marriage is a filthy lady whore. Not to mention the implication that enjoying sex is something only an evil, unsaved person would do. This isn’t really about a woman discovering she’s unhappy in her relationship. It’s about scolding her for being in it in the first place, showing that monogamous sex between two consenting adults will only lead to shame and sadness because they are unmarried unbelievers.
Because that is way more important than the discovery of Noah’s ark.