TEC: Chapter 9: Shari and the End of the World
I gotta keep keeping track of the parallels between The Europa Conspiracy and The Secret on Ararat. As we’ve seen, Chapter 5 caught us up with Shane Barrington. Now, Phillips caught me off guard with the Chapter 6s: in Ararat, Michael condescends to teach an acquaintance about parenthood. But in Europa, he talks about the actual “artifact” he’ll be searching for.
But we’re back on track with the Chapter 7s, which are lecture/proselytizing chapters.
And the Chapter 8s are hilariously on target with each other. In Ararat, Murphy chats with some students after the lecture and proselytizes to them. In Europa, Murphy does the same thing, only with Stephanie Kovacs.
And so we continue now, as we spend a bit of time with Shari, sorta like in Ararat. I say sorta because in Ararat, Shari was giving lying, condescending advice to a vulnerable young teenager. In Europa, we just learn more about Shari and Paul’s latest argument.
In Ararat, the problem was that Paul was reading books written by evil atheists, compromising Shari’s plan to get him to say the Magic Words before graduation. There is no indication that the atheist-writers problem has been resolved in any way, but now they have a new topic of argument: Paul’s future.
Paul, you may remember, has a scholarship from Shane Barrington and a verbal promise of a job after graduation, conditioned on Shane approving his writings on Murphy’s class. Shari has been against this all from the beginning, because I guess she doesn’t want anything good to happen to Paul, and months later, it’s still a hot-button issue.
In fact, she’s sobbing when Murphy enters the lab, because “I know it isn’t the right thing for him.” [Emphasis hers.]
I know I’ve asked this before, but WHY ARE THESE TWO STILL TOGETHER??? All they do is make each other unhappy. Have they ever actually been happy together? They fight all the time, and on issues like religion and Their Future. These aren’t things that can be brushed aside, and they’re both frigging twenty-one or twenty-two years old only. Geez, just break up and see other people already!
And to top it all off, this silly drama is just a prelude to the really important point, which is Shari giving Murphy the message that Bob Wagoner called. When Murphy calls back, Bob has a really important thing for him—a newspaper clipping about a senile old man, wandering around Orlando and whining about the End Times. Apparently Murphy has a “collection” of such articles, and so Bob saved this one for him. Murphy’s collection must be crap, though, since this article is two very brief paragraphs with no details whatsoever. Nonetheless, Murphy declares it “a good one,” so we know it will be important later.
Just like Murphy’s collection of pictures of guys with sandwich board signs about the end of the world. SCIENCE!!!