As though aware of their status as NPCs (whereas Judd is a Main Character), everyone throws a big huge party to welcome him and to a lesser extent, Lionel, back.
It's really a dull scene. Before Judd and Vicki go off alone to talk, there is a weird moment where Zeke does some Alpha-Male posturing about how as Vicki's substitute dad, he has to make sure Judd's intentions are noble. I could make the obvious statement by pointing out that Vicki is a nineteen (according to previous chapters which said five years had passed) and is by anyone's definition, a legal adult capable of screening guys on her own, but given Ellanjay's dim view of women and the fact they probably have the same mentality as the people who host/attend Purity Balls... I don't really need to say anymore, do I?
I know, I should probably stop posting that clip about Purity Balls, but I just can't help it. It never stops amusing me how everyone involved, fails to see just how freaking creepy they are. Especially the father who says to his daughter, "Anybody who wants to date you has to go through me first."
Judd convinces Zeke that his intentions are honorable and he and Vicki go off together, which is kind of racy when you think about it. Given that RTCs somehow believe that two people of the opposite sex can't be alone or even :gasp: hold hands or kiss without immediately jumping each other's bones...I'm surprised that there aren't a few scandalized RTCs decrying Ellanjay for trying to corrupt our youth by having this long passage where two single nubile adults of the opposite sex (Vicki is nineteen and Judd is twenty-one) :gasp: :choke: hang out together and talk to each other without a chaperone present.
I'd suggest that maybe they're not worried because Judd is as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll but that just feels like an insult to Metatron somehow. Even he demonstrates more of a sexual drive than Judd ever does.
Anyway, so Vicki and Judd go off together and Ellanjay try their hand at doing some description of the scenery. As always, they fail to realize that the whole world should look like Hiroshima, circa August 6, 1945, but it's so rare that they put forth any effort at all that I actually welcome descriptive passages, however badly they may suck.
When they had seen all the cabins, Vicki led Judd through the woods a short distance to a knoll overlooking the camp and the surrounding countryside. It seemed like years since Judd had been outside in daylight and he loved it, even if the devastating fires still raged. Smoke hovered over the valley, and in the distance Judd saw houses and farms ablaze.
The fire hadn’t touched the woods surrounding the camp, and Judd was amazed. Like the other plagues, this could only be explained by the awesome power of God.
I can go on about the characters' sociopathy but I've done it so many times. Plus, I want to save my angry ranting for a later part of this chapter.
Most of my quibbles involve, "Okay, so how is it that the GC aren't immediately storming their camp come nightfall? Obviously if they still have Internet (and they do, because heaven forbid the characters suffer), then they still have satellites and you'd think that if the whole world looks like Hiroshima, after the bomb went off, except the damage conveniently stops at this one spot that's still all green and vibrant like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting or something (even though all the poisoned water should have killed off all plants and animals), you'd think the GC would want to check it out. Not necessarily because they'll immediately make the connection that the camp is full of RTCs, but because THEY HAVE A DESPERATE, STARVING POPULACE THAT THEY HAVE TO FEED AND SHELTER, SO OBVIOUSLY THEY'D PROBABLY WANT TO SEEK SHELTER AT THE ONE PLACE THAT HAS BEEN SPARED BY THE HORRIFIC DISASTER! THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE DO IN A CRISIS! HELP EACH OTHER OUT DESPITE DIFFERING VIEWPOINTS!
:deep breath: I know, I shouldn't be shocked by all this. I'm starting to think we have the makings of a business venture that were it not for copyright issues, could make us a lot of money. My venture is this: we make a bunch of leather-bound Bibles, complete with gold writing on the cover and pages, but instead of putting the scriptures in between, we put in the text of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Because even though Ayn Rand was :gasp: an Atheist who supported abortion, you know the Christian Right probably relates to John Galt much more than to some weird hippie who said a bunch of Islamo-Commie-Fascist BS about how we should love our enemies(rather than sic drones and cruise missiles on them) and that we should care for the poor and needy, rather than let them die in a gutter like God intended. What Christian could get behind that kind of nonsense...
On a lighter note, this is how I always see things ending, every time some idiot talks about "Going Galt."
Whew...I really hadn't intended to spend so much time on that one paragraph...it just kind of happened.
After Judd does his obligatory self-flagellation scene where he talks about how ashamed he was about how he treated Vicki in the past, Vicki, for some reason, asks to know more about Nada. I admit to being a little puzzled myself. After Nada was Stuffed Into the Fridge, I didn't think we'd ever hear from her again.
So Judd talks about her death and reads a letter Nada had written to him. And even though Judd had apparently been carrying this letter with him for several books, there has been no mention of it until now. Because that's the kind of writers Ellanjay are.
I would snark the letter, but there's really not much to snark. Apparently even Nada recognizes that she's basically the disposable obstacle, a minor bump in the road en route to Judd and Vicki getting married. Naturally, as par for the course in these stories, she gives Judd permission to go after Vicki.
Judd then asks Vicki about Chad Harris, who basically served the same purpose in the story as Nada. Or in other words, a speed-bump that temporarily slows the Judd and Vicki narrative arc in order to possibly build suspense, but more likely allow Ellanjay to pad things out even more.
After this talk, Vicki and Judd return to the main cabin to watch the news. This, of course, allows for more padding and exposition as they find out that Commander Kruno Fulcire isn't going to just meekly roll over and show his belly, but actively seek out and arrest those responsible for the horrific disaster. Quelle horror! This is so evil and so very different from human nature! After all, following the terrorists proving the superiority and might of their god on 9/11, we Americans did the sensible thing and converted to Islam in droves. Now you can't walk down the street without wearing a burqa or seeing someone being stoned for adultery.
Of course, this announcement causes the Tribbles to make a bunch of "Yeah rights" with a few eyerolls as well.
Anyway, the chapter ends with Judd walking Vicki back to her cabin at night. And here's where we come to that part that made me see red and wish I knew more variations on the F-Bomb. I admit, the passage in question seems innocuous at first, but it doesn't take long to see why it makes me see red, once I point out a few pertinent facts.
Judd pulled out a small package and Vicki gasped. “I ran short on wrapping paper,” Judd said.
Vicki unwrapped the newspaper and opened the box slowly. Shelly peeked out the cabin door, then closed it. Vicki heard snickers from inside, and Judd blushed.
“When we moved from Indiana to Ohio, we met a doctor who treated Lionel’s arm. His wife had disappeared in the Rapture, and he’d kept this ever since he found it on her pillow.”
Inside the box was a beautiful gold chain with a heartshaped pendant. A diamond sparkled in the middle. Judd turned the heart around and pointed at elegant writing on the back that said Ich Liebe Dich.
“What’s that mean?”
“The doctor said it’s German for ‘I love you.’ He had studied in Germany and brought that back as an engagement gift for his wife. When I told him our story, he wanted me to give it to you.” Judd took the necklace from the box and fastened it around Vicki’s neck.
If you're wondering why this passage makes me see red, it's because if you actually paid attention to what came before, than the doctor Judd mentions, can only refer to Dr. Rose. AKA THAT GUY WHO WENT OUT OF HIS WAY TO HELP BOTH JUDD AND LIONEL DESPITE HAVING THE MARK, WHICH ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN THEOLOGY, MEANS THAT HE'S DAMNED FOR ALL ETERNITY!
As if that isn't horrifying enough, if you clicked on the link I posted, Dr. Rose ends up committing suicide and since he never mentioned or showed said necklace to Judd or offered to let him have it, that means Judd's response, upon hearing the gunshots, WAS TO START PAWING THROUGH THE GOOD DOCTOR'S JEWELRY AND POSSESSIONS LIKE THE FUCKING GHOUL THAT HE IS, IN HOPES OF FINDING SOMETHING THAT WILL GET HIM IN VICKI'S PANTS! I HATE YOU, JUDD! I HATE YOU SO MUCH!
I suppose in the greater scheme of things, this bit of sociopathic behavior is kind of mild, compared with some of the other things these characters have done, but I still it's definitely worth more than it's share of "Good Lords." It's crap like this that makes me continue to believe in Discontinuity. Because the fact that a basically good person, who went out of his way to help out Judd and Lionel even though it could have ended very badly for him if he had been caught, is damned for all eternity, while Judd, who has never done anything for anyone without any ulterior motive (yes, being nice to people in hopes of racking up another convert and getting brownie points from God, does count as having an ulterior motive) gets to shrug his shoulders and help himself to the guy's cherished possessions...that's why I insist that Dr. Rose isn't dead. He fired a gun into the ceiling or the floor or something and he's run off to meet up with Taylor and Hasina, who also aren't dead. Together, with help from Joel (aka the guy who took the Mark in order to keep himself and his brother from starving to death), they'll gather up all the help they can find to mount a massive war against heaven.
And when they meet up with Judd and the other tribbles, I picture it playing out similar to the rich man and Lazarus story. Or if you want something with cruder language and a more upbeat, catchy tune...
That's what I'll believe until I die! [/yet another rant about Discontinuity]
Okay, now that I'm done with that rant, thought I'd bring up another question for discussion. In the past, I use to do polls, but I've since stopped because of a combination of laziness and the fact that no one but me seemed to be into them. But periodically when I read about the characters' sociopathic behavior, I find myself wondering whether this is worse than the Cavalcade of Assholery as depicted in the single digit books, where Judd, Lionel, and Vicki basically behave like complete assholes towards a twelve-year-old boy, whose parents are roasting on a spit in Hell for all eternity, because the almighty creator of the universe can't apply the brakes. There's always that question as to whether any of the actions the characters have done, has topped the Cavalcade, or if the Cavalcade set the gold standard for assholish behavior and will never be topped no matter how many books pass in this series.
BTW, when discussing assholish behavior, I deliberately leave out the Actions of Zod mostly because if I was to include him in the "Who is the Biggest Asshole in the LB-verse?" discussions, there wouldn't be any contest, because he trumps everybody. Even when Rayford patronizingly mansplains to Hattie about the wrongness of Abortion, he's still being less of an asshole than Zod.
So that's this week's post. Hope I've provided good fodder for discussions. I did read a chapter ahead and will report that maybe I won't have to ragedump or use the word "asshole" until it loses all meaning next week. But you never know. Until then, take care of yourself and each other.