TEC: Chapter 49, Part 1: Here We Go Again

So Shari shows Michael some mail that he got: a mysterious box with a letter with some poetry in it!


We’re starting over!!!


We have already done this bit!  Meth already sent Murphy a poem, and Murphy already endangered himself to get the pointless clue.  It was about the writing on the wall or some shit!

Can you just imagine Meth over these past few weeks?  He went to all the trouble of meeting that kid in Colorado, giving him cigarettes and a complicated message in prison, then getting Murphy to him via a stupid poem, then suspending an envelope over a canyon for Murphy to shimmy to, and what thanks does he get?  Murphy dashing about to Orlando to chat with old men, and then to New York to have decidedly non-sexy dates and punch Arabs, and then to punch more terrorists on bridges!

I’d be feeling pretty neglected right now, too, if I were Methuselah.

So Meth has gone to all the trouble of sending Murphy yet another bad poem and some river rocks in a box, and because I love you guys so much, I will now reproduce the poem in its glorious entirety:

A golden opportunity awaits
Those who appreciate Cabarrus Debates
And search for the Hessian who deserted his session…
And later planted a seed which led to the weed of greed.

Yup, clear as mud.

Murphy immediately zeroes in on Cabarrus, because as a man who lives and works in South Carolina, he has an encyclopedic (or rather, Wikipedic) knowledge of all the counties in North Carolina.  Thus he knows that the county was named after Stephen Cabarrus.

Geez, you didn’t know that?  Stephen Cabarrus was only Speaker of the House of Representatives of North Carolina from 1789-1793 and again from 1800-1805.

“That must be what the word ‘debates’ refers to.”

Continuing to put it all together, Murphy decides that Meth must mean a Hessian soldier named John Reed from Cabarrus County, whose son found a giant gold nugget in Little Meadow Creek, leading to North Carolina being the first “gold rush” state in the U.S.

That’s all terribly interesting and all, but bear in mind that Murphy knows all these details right off the top of his head (or out of his ass, either way).

Shari is as skeptical of this as I am:

“Where do you come up with all of this trivia?”

Murphy snidely responds:

“It’s called reading, Shari.”

Well, fine, asshat.

But I don’t buy that for a second.  Sure, people cultivate odd and unique areas of knowledge.  Those of us who love various obscure areas can all identify.  But I don’t buy that Murphy just so happens to be an expert in every random area that Meth thinks up for his schemes (like spelunking and the history of Colorado prisons).  Nor do I think that Meth would have any way of knowing about Murphy’s various weird-ass areas of interest.  Cabarrus County certainly has nothing to do with biblical archaeology, after all.

Next up, Murphy heads back to a cave.  At a defunct gold mine in North Carolina.  Because that has everything to do with the Writing on the Wall.


Posted on October 11, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. So Murphy somehow knows all this random trivia about exactly the places Meth is referring to in his bizarre poems, yet he still spends most of the book going after Arabs, before getting sent back on track by Meth. Sounds like the authors forgot what this book was supposed to be about until nearly the last chapters.

  2. The only answer is that Murphy IS Methuselah!

  3. Huh, so even the authors realized they’d gotten so off track from their alleged main plotline that they felt they had to jumpstart it again.

    Is it just me or is Methy having the same problem as the authors, in that his writing keeps straying further and further from the biblical theme? Before we had the lions den and wrestling with angels, not speakers of the house and gold mines.

    And on that note, Murphy seems to get this riddle much faster than those biblical riddles. Going from his appallingly patronising comment to Shari that “It’s called reading”, we must conclude that Murphy never really read the Bible. Or at least not as often and thorough as the wiki entries for 19th century politicians.

  4. Christ, even Batman sometimes has to look stuff up.

  5. “It’s called reading, Shari.”

    Specifically, reading the script. Which is not supposed to be so blatant.

  6. I can’t help but imagine that Murphy is just googling the phrases on his phone as he reads the poem, and Shari is too oblivious to notice he’s not texting Levi about his totally legal actions to smuggle Murphy into Iraq. Hey, it’s still more believable than him actually knowing this stuff off the top of his head.

    Also, while I don’t think this is the case, I would find it hilarious if this was actually Methuselah giving a clue to the next leftover artifact he wants Murphy to find, since he probably expected Murphy to have found the writing on the wall by now.

  7. In crypto we call this sort of thing a trapdoor function – if you have information A it’s very easy to get to B, but from B it’s very hard to get to A. In this case A is what Meth wants Murph to do, and B is the clue set.

    One of the things that’s really difficult, when you know A, is to put yourself in the mindset of someone who only knows B and try to work out whether they have enough information to get to A – indeed, whether they’ll be led in a wrong direction. (Consider the example of writing a set of game rules – the designer knows what he’s trying to say, so won’t readily think of any other incorrect interpretations that the written rules might have.)

    OK, in this case I Wikipedia-search Cabarrus and in the third paragraph mentions the Reed Gold Mine. So actually this one’s kind of easy.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for October 14th, 2016 | The Slacktiverse

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