Anyway, these next two chapters are a jarring shift in tone. Basically Lionel goes out in search of his uncle and what follows is a gangster-novel that tries to convince is it's in the hood when really it's written by a middle-aged white guy. Jerry Jenkins ain't no Mario Puzo, that's for sure. These chapters feel like they belong in another novel, not one where all the children have disappeared, save for those too tall for the rapture line.
So anyway like I said, Lionel goes to meet up with his uncle's fiancee and they have a few conversations.
Lionel tried to talk to her, mostly to simply change the subject. "So, Talia," he said, "where were you when the disappearances happened?"
"What?" She said, as if demanding to know what in the world he was talking about. "Where was I?"
"Yeah. Simple question. Everybody remebers where they were. I was slepping in my basement with Andre. Where were you?"
This conversation isn't too bad except that Talia should be able to instantly answer where she was when all the world's children disappeared. In fact this parody of a gangster film shouldn't be happening; both Lionel and Talia should be hold up in their houses, hoping and praying that the rioters leave them alone as they count their slowly dwindling supplies of canned food.
Talia starts crying and Lionel, being the compassionate guy that he is, takes this opportunity to chalk up another on his fuselage.
"It's not too late, Talia," Lionel said. "I'm a believer now, and so are three of my friends and lots of other people--"
"No! No! It's too late. When Jesus took the Christians away, the Holy Ghost left and nobody can be saved anymore!"
I take Ellanjay is using this opportunity to attack a popular end times belief. Fred can probably dissect it better than I but for a while, the belief was the Rapture was it. No more chances, no more nothing. Those left behind were damned and there was nothing they could do about it.
Okay, so we finally meet Uncle Andre and I kind of like him even though the book says I shouldn't. Why? Because Uncle Andre is acting like a man who has lost everything that ever mattered unlike his smarmy asshole of a nephew. Here's his description:
Andre was barefoot and wore a pair of old, shiny suit pants and a sleeveless T-shirt with food stains down the front. He appeared not to have bathed for days. His hair was matted, his facial hair patchy. His breath smelled of alcohol, and his dark eyes were bloodshot.
This is how people respond to a crisis of the magnitude spoken of in the book: they fall to pieces.
Of course Lionel is too busy looking down on his uncle for drinking and smoking to offer him any comfort and we get some evidence that Lionel's mother, Lucinda, was like Irene Steele: a preachy harridan that was generally no fun to be around.
There had never been cigarettes or booze in Lionel's house. When guests asked his mother if she minded if they smoked, she always said kindly, "Of course not. I have an air-conditioned facility for you just beyond that door." It was the door to the driveway.
Apparently a RTC woman doesn't just say "I'd prefer it if you don't smoke in my house." An RTC woman goes the passive-aggressive route. Between this and Irene Steele's fanatical insistence upon Raymie not knowing his father drank, no wonder Beverly LaHaye responded by moving a thousand miles away from her husband; any less would tarnish her purity.
Anyway not much happens in the second chapter except a continuing parody of a gangster novel. Strangely enough, I find myself wishing for more preaching. At least it would give me something to talk about since it's so wrong-headed.
I think I'm starting to develop Stockholm Syndrome thanks to these books.