I will warn you that this snark will briefly force me to defend the Tribbles. Please put down your torches and pitchforks; it will make more sense once we get there.
Chloe asks to see Kenny and Kat in her office. For some reason, though, Bahira is in this scene. And if you're wondering, we get right to the skin-crawling creepy sex stuff.
Bahira, Abdullah’s daughter, was with them. “I’ve just met Kenny’s Kat,” she said. “And I approve.”
Ekaterina looked shocked, and Kenny said, “Bahira! First off, she’s not mine. And second, there’s nothing to approve.”
"Until I get her father's approval, she belongs to him. Once I do, then and only then, will she be mine."
To borrow from South Park, that's actually what RTCs believe. According to the rules of courtship, girls are their father's property until a man that meets their father's approval, marries them. After that, they become their husband's property. Feel free to let your skin crawl all it likes.
Don't worry, I'm not going to post links talking about sexual abuse in the RTC subculture, even though the nature of that subculture gives it a perfect place to thrive. Like I keep saying, it's always about sex with that bunch.
Anyway, Chloe gets everybody seated and starts talking. I will warn you that her dialogue consists of so much corporate buzz talk that I'm still not entirely sure what the hell she's saying. Just that it's so dense and incomprehensible that...you know how editors have red pens that they use when going over works? This will make an editor long desperately for a red machete. No points for guessing who'd they use it on.
“You know, Bahira,” Chloe said, “it’s actually good that you’re here for this, because this is an awkward meeting. Back before the millennial kingdom, had Kenny’s father and I not gone to heaven, I can imagine having a meeting like this, probably when Kenny reached junior high school or so. I hear all sorts of gossip and talk and who said what about whose boyfriend or girlfriend, and it strikes me that it’s so juvenile for such a time as this. Scripture says that you all are to be considered children until you reach age one hundred, but because you’re twice as old now as my parents were when I died . . . I don’t know; I guess I expect you to be more mature.”
"Teenagers gossiping and expressing an interest in the opposite sex?! In my head, I hear Chloe swooning and fainting. Though for some reason, she'd get even madder if Kenny expressed an interest in the same sex, so my RTC hand-holding gloves would be too far off the mark. Though that probably wouldn't be enough to satisfy Chloe and ensure that her son never feels a stirring in his loins. We probably ought to come up with and market RTC burqas. Because the only part of those that the RTCs object to, is the Muslim part. So we stitch Jesus Fish and Crucifixes on them and we're in the clear. Your call as to whether both genders should have to wear them or if, as always, only the girls should, while the boys can get by with the RTC hand-holding gloves.
Though given that many believe that the Jesus Fish was originally a representation of that sinful hole where babies slide out and crucifixes are suspiciously phallic-looking, I don't know if those designs will work. Maybe I should think on this, just as I'm still wondering if we could make a good chunk of change, doing up posters with the Angel's words from Mark Twain's "The War Prayer." I'm still disappointed we can't make leather-bound books that look and feel like the Bible, but have Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged inside instead of, y'know, the actual Bible.
All right, I'll stop talking about potential business ventures, especially since it'll all likely result in a Misaimed Fandom anyway.
I suppose I could do the math or dig through a wiki to find out how old Chloe was when she died, but to heck with it. That level of nitpicking doesn't appeal even to me.
Though I do wonder how this whole slowed-down aging thing works. Because we just got a flat-out admission that the slowed aging means that until someone reaches the age of a hundred, they physically resemble children. Being the nitpicker that I am, I wonder the lengths of this. Does puberty only happen when they approach one hundred? If not, at what year would it start. Because I thought Ellanjay set the whole Age of Accountability thing at roughly around the age of twelve. Or to put it bluntly, as soon as you start to get hair around your naughty bits, God will try you as an adult.
But I'm still wondering, like I said, if you literally can't die until you're one hundred. I thought that was the case, that everyone would get to enact their Deadpool cosplays on a whole new level, but Buck had mentioned something about how if Cendrillion had died in an accident, it would be easier to talk with her parents. So accidental deaths still happen in the MK.
Of course from there, I wonder if one of the RTC parents knew that Junior hadn't said The Prayer with the precise amount of sincerity demanded, couldn't they kill their child before he or she turns one hundred? If they do, kid won't be struck dead on his/her hundredth birthday and will get to romp around Heaven for all eternity, whereas if the kid lived, he or she would be pitched into Hell. And we all know that Ellanjay believe that no sin, however egregious, permanently separates you from God, so long as you pray and ask for forgiveness afterwards. So RTC parents can kill their kids, the kids won't burn in hell, and the parents just have to ask for forgiveness afterwards and everyone's happy.
Given that numerous scientific studies prove that there is a marked difference in the functioning of a teenage brain as opposed to that of an adult's, I wonder if the Maturity at a Hundred thing, also has God deliberately stepping in to avoid the developments and changes that the teenage brain undergoes. Not too surprising, given the nature of the LB God, but given that science says that brain development goes on into a person's twenties, that only further muddies the waters on the nature of development in the MK.
All right, I'll shut up and get back to the chapter.
Chloe's next words only add to my confusion:
“It’s all of you,” Chloe said. “Ekaterina is the only one still living with her parents, but you’re all old enough to be on your own. It just doesn’t seem like you’re acting it. Shouldn’t we be above all this petty stuff now that we’re living in a time when Jesus is reigning over His millennial kingdom?”
Yes, Chloe, you really should be above all this petty stuff, just as this story, SHOULD ACTUALLY HAVE SOMETHING RESEMBLING A PLOT OR CONFLICT!
Though all this talk about how Kenny and Bahira are old enough to live on their own, but Kat isn't...like I said, it only muddies the waters even more. It makes you wonder at what age do they consider someone an adult, capable of consent. The youngest range it dips down into in the US is sixteen, with eighteen being the more common denominator across the board. In Japan, the age of consent is at thirteen. I could pull up depressing links that demonstrate that apparently RTCs believe that the age of consent should be much lower than thirteen, but I won't. You may think me in whatever manner you deem fit. Just remember, it is entirely too much to ask for grown-assed men, even if they're in their twenties or older, to control themselves around those very seductive twelve-year-olds.
Though it's probably more a case of because Kat and Kenny haven't formally tied the knot, Kat still belongs to her father and must live in his house, until a guy he approves of, puts a ring on her finger. Even if she is, like Jana Duggar, several years over the age of twenty and probably more than capable of taking care of herself, given that she's been raising dozens of siblings for God-knows-how-long. But my only problem with this theory is, as I recall, Bahira isn't married to anyone, yet she is :gasp: :choke: living outside her parents' home, despite being an unmarried adult female.
I don't know when I'll stop talking about Quiverfulls and Creepy Sex Stuff. Sorry guys...
Bahira is all "Maybe my brother should be here because it was his idea to enlist Qasim in the first place." She says something about how Creepy Raymie wasn't happy with the idea at all. Given that I've taken to envisioning Raymie as David Koresh, creating an insular cult centered around himself, I don't need to tell you why he wasn't happy with Qasim joining. I've got one word for you: Competition.
Like with the burqas thing I mentioned earlier, the only objections they'd have to the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints, what with their viewing women strictly as broodmare and marrying them off to old goats who are older than their fathers, while kicking out teenage boys because there aren't enough girls around for everybody to have dozens of wives, is the Mormon part. And dammit, will this snark ever stop making me want to scour my flesh with steel wool and battery acid.
Chloe talks about how she got all this information from Creepy Raymie in the first place and that he thinks the world of Bahira. So okay, maybe that's why Bahira is allowed to live outside her father's house; the transfer from her father's ownership to Creepy Raymie's has taken place, thus putting her under his jurisdiction. Bahira talks about how she loves Creepy Raymie in the way everyone who met in Heaven loves each other, without complications.
And I shudder some more. Because I believe in spreading pain around, I'll provide a link to another thing all this is making me think about, a short story called "The Screwfly Solution." We all know the RTCs would be enthusiastic Sons of Adam if the plague in that story came to pass. They pretty much only keep women around, because if they didn't, there would be a precipitous drop in the number of bodies in the pews and fewer bodies means less money.
And here's the part where I'm somewhat forced to defend the Tribbles:
“And that’s the way it should be. Our lives now should be filled with praising and worshiping Jesus and carrying out His mission on this earth. There are still millions of young people who will not live past their hundredth birthdays unless we stay at the task. That’s what COT is all about. And if you’re going to have a Millennium Force that mirrors the old Tribulation Force, it needs to be single-minded too. We had one goal, one mission, and that was to thwart Antichrist as best we could by what?”
"Occasionally thinking disdainful, but not too disdainful, thoughts in the Anti-Christ's direction?!"
Though much as it pains me to admit it, but the Tribbles are closer to a resistance group than the Millies. Nicky was actually killing and persecuting the RTCs for what they believed. But what has the TOL done to the Millies, aside from try to live their lives in peace? As I keep saying, the TOL aren't arresting RTCs for exercising their right to assemble nor are they sending in infiltrators to bring down the Millies from within.
All right, I'm done defending the Tribbles. I still feel kind of dirty about it, though.
For those of you wondering, here's how the Tribbles thwarted the Anti-Christ.
“By adding as many people to the family of God as you could.”
“Exactly. That’s what the Millennium Force ought to be about, and in talking to Raymie, I know that’s his passion. It sounds to me like it has deteriorated into a he-said-she-said free-for-all. And with Satan out of the picture for nine hundred or so more years, this all has to be self-motivated. I can’t see what part of the world makes this kind of thing attractive, so that leaves the flesh. Just something to think about. Will you think about it? I’m sorry to come off like the mom here, but you’re all coming off like juveniles.”
Given how many times the Tribbles zealously guarded the truth from everyone, even though it could possibly save people from an eternity of horrific suffering, FAIL! If that had really been the Tribbles' mission, they would have lined up outside buildings where the Mark was being given out, stood on street corners, or outside barbed-wire fences and preached until the GC dragged them away. But they didn't. Instead, they hide in a hole in the ground and smirked about how they have it all figured out, just like all the great Christian martyrs throughout history.
Though a few more things, before we get to the part with Abdullah: one, Kenny is your son, so it's okay for you to come off like the mom here. And two, by your own admission, since they are under one hundred, they are still physically and mentally juveniles, so what the hell?
Okay nothing really happens in Abdullah's section. Qasim shows up and they talk about the mission and blah-blah-blah. Like I said in comments for last week's post, I know this mission is all about Abdullah, so he can pat himself on the back and feel like such a big man. Though I will never stop praying that Qasim escapes somehow. Like I keep saying, stop trying to bend over backwards to win the favor of a bunch of shitstains, Qasim. It just isn't worth it.
We cut to Kenny, who continues to feel a stirring in his undercarriage from Kat.
Kenny found himself confiding more and more in Ekaterina. She had taken well his mother’s admonitions and proved more than spiritually mature in her response. Nightly now they spent hours together, talking until it was time to go to their respective homes. They told each other every detail of their lives they could remember. Kenny wasn’t entirely sure where Ekaterina’s heart was, but she had stolen his. He prayed his love for her would not interfere with his devotion to Christ, and that was the subject of his nearly constant prayer.
I suppose I should be grateful they told this in passing. Yeah, it's lazy, but I feel unclean enough about all the creepy sex jokes I've been making. Just that the more RTCs insist that their love for one another is purer than that of heathens who :gasp: make their own decisions as to whether to have sex, the more I'm like "Methinks the lady doth protest too much." Again, refusing to acknowledge sex as a basic desire, as an enjoyable activity and an expression of love, and spending all your time hating yourself for having these innate desires, only leads to a whole lot of misery and abuse. Yeah, sexual abuse happens outside the RTC subculture, but not at the disturbing rate it does in the RTC subculture. Plus, the heathen outsiders acknowledge the existence of abuse, carefully define it and address it, punishing offenders, whereas RTCs...
Yeah, I'll just wrap this up. Kenny got an email from the TOL. Now I'm going to bath in battery acid for a while.