Monthly Archives: June 2017
Murphy heads off to the diner to see Pastor Bob, just like he went off to the diner to see Pastor Bob in the previous books. And once again, we learn again that the diner is old-fashioned and features a fat waitress named Rosanne. (HA! It’s funny because she’s fat!) (At least according to LaHaye and Phillips.)
And she waddles. Because of course she does.
And good to know that Pastor Bob hasn’t changed a bit, either. Paunch, slacks and polo shirt, golf. Gotcha. And the men order what they order each and every time. Because new experiences are scary for the world-traveling archaeologist, I guess.
Anyway, Bob, the PASTOR OF THE CHURCH, has contacted Murphy, one of his parishioners, for advice on a spiritual matter. Yep, that’s how wise and spiritual Murphy is—his own pastor needs his advice.
On faith healing, of all things. See, there’s a new faith healer in town, a tent evangelist by the name of J.B. Sonstad. Bob finds the man “disturbing,” because he does the ole “Yes, Lord? There’s a lady named Gloria in row B who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome. Be HEAL-AHD, Gloria!”
“I don’t think that is how God works. Do you have any thoughts?”
This is the PASTOR. Fishing for assistance with a rival preacher from one of his parishioners.
Murphy thinks this whole faith healing thing is “some kind of put-up job.”
And he opines that ole J.B. might be some sorta end-times false prophet, like my woobie, Leon Fortunato.
So they decide to go to one of the ten revivals in person to check it out.
Also, Bob is concerned because he’s heard rumors that “some of the young people might be experimenting with the occult. You know, things like using a Ouija board and table tipping.”
Table tipping, really? That’s still a thing? I mean, wasn’t that the hot thing with the young folks back in the days of Harry Houdini?
I guess it’s still a thing, though, because Murphy “witnessed” it in college. (Or course he only witnessed it, and didn’t participate. I can just picture a 20-year-old Murphy, sipping a lemonade and giving the stinkeye to giggling friends doing magic tricks.)
Murphy found it “eerie,” and at the time, dismissed it all as “crazy” and “some type of trick.” Now older and wiser and with “a lot more experience with ancient gods and pagan worship,” he thinks that “some of the things are fake and some of them may be real.”
Hmmm…could it be…
Yes, that’s right: with age and experience has come the realization that there are evil spirits out there, tipping tables and releasing ghosts with Ouija boards.
Bob expresses a desire to “nip this in the bud,” since “people are beginning to ask questions” (HORRORS!!) and as a pastor, he never thought he’d be called upon to answer people’s questions about spiritual matters. That’s what random parishioners are for! Good thing Murphy, the true expert on God, is around to handle such things.
Granted, neither man has the slightest idea how to “nip this in the bud,” so they just cut the scene with a joke about Roseanne and table tipping—she wants a 20% tip.
Murphy hurries to his class, and thinks…
If there was one thing he hated, it was being late for anything. He didn’t like it when other people were late for meetings with him, and he was fanatical about promptness himself.
Huh. A few things:
- Wow, hates it when people are late to meet him! How unusual! What a unique character trait!
- If you hate lateness so much, Murphy, maybe don’t call your pseudo-lover for the first time in weeks mere minutes before you’re supposed to be in class.
Murphy “had traced this idiosyncrasy” back to fifth grade.
See, back in fifth grade, Murphy’s class was going to take a field trip to the Hershey factory. And Murphy “loved chocolate and was excited about going.” (Wow. Murphy is so unique and unpredictable it hurts.) But he was late and missed the bus.
So I guess Murphy grew up near enough to Hershey, PA, to get there by bus for a school trip. So, hey, we learned something new about him!
And Murph gets to the classroom with three whole minutes to spare! Whew, that was a close one, Murph.
The most hilarious part of class is that “class clown” Clayton Anderson is still in it. Remember, this guy was the class clown not only in The Europa Conspiracy (which took place, presumably, only a few weeks ago), but also in Ararat, which took place last year.
Anyway, Clayton saunters in late and slams his books down, then gives the patented “who me” gesture…
This sends the class into uproarious laughter, so we get a little peek into the intelligence level of your average Preston University student. And there’s more to come!
Murphy starts his lecture, which is about pagan gods. He immediately jumps into the issue of child sacrifice, because pagan gods were eeeevil, don’tcha know, unlike his god, who only fakes you out with child sacrifice.
Look, I’m sorry, but brief digression here. Murphy presents all these awful child sacrifices, and doesn’t even touch on his own god (in his biblical archaeology class, mind). Now, this god demanded that Abraham sacrifice his long-awaited son FOR NO REASON. Seriously, God offers nothing in the way of justification for slaughtering your own child, and in fact, when the fake-out is complete, God makes an innocent ram appear, just so Abraham can sacrifice the ram instead. So God is out for blood no matter how your slice it or dice it.
Anyway, as Murphy is blathering on, a pretty lady enters the classroom.
Whoever she was, she certainly looked like a professional model.
Hey, just like Isis! Nothing but the best for our Murph.
So instead of asking this stranger what she’s doing walking into the middle of his lecture, Murphy just keeps going. How much do you wanna bet that Murphy would have stopped the lecture if a Moar Arab had entered his classroom?
Back to Clayton: he makes reference to a pagan god he thinks is like a merman, and when he cracks wise about what kind of bait to use, Murphy responds:
“Well, personally, Clayton, I’d use wisecracking Preston University students.”
Everyone laughed and went “Oooooh.”
“He got you, dude!” said one of the students. Murphy gestured for quiet.
Yeah, he really brought the house down with that one, that Murph. Missed his career as a comedian.
Then again, I’m starting to think that Clayton might in fact be the greatest troll ever. He signs up for every class Michael Murphy teaches, apparently, and tells the same stupid kinds of jokes, and manages to distract the eminent professor every time.
Back to the “striking blonde“: she has vacated by the time Murphy ends the lecture. Can’t say as I blame her.
Murphy was still thinking about the blonde when he entered his office.
Well, isn’t that loyalty for ya? He’s spent the whole last two books pining for Isis, and admitting his love for Isis, but the minute one pretty blonde enters his field of vision, all bets are off. Quite a guy, that Murph.
But he is re-distracted when Shari informs him that Levi Abrams called.
“Levi! That’s great! After he was shot, I got him to the hospital and then he just disappeared. That was months ago.”
Okay, now I think Bob Phillips is just trolling us. Did he really not stop and think about that dialogue after he wrote it? Yeah, when my best friends are shot and then “just disappear, I too wait months before trying to get in touch with them. I just let them take the lead, in such places.
Also, it’s been months since the George Washington Bridge incident? Because that would make it seem like we were in the middle of summer and graduation has already happened and Shari would have to go out and start her life, but we obviously know that is not the case.
Also also, the horrific bureaucracy that is the FBI finally got back with the college professor about the mysterious fingerprint that has nothing to do with anything…and there is no match. So now that Murphy has so patiently waited for Levi to get back in touch with him following the shooting and disappearing, maybe Levi can help with the fingerprint.
‘Cause that’s what shot friends are for.