Last week, we finally made it through Chapter 30. Hopefully Chapter 31 won't take as long. :crosses fingers:
Rayford is still being held in the KK...well, I thought about calling it the Keystone Kidnappers Kompound, but that felt more than just a wee bit wrong. So we'll shuffle away from that joke.
As you can probably guess, Rayford is working with Rehema to chalk up another Saved on his fuselage. And for some reason, she's just going along with this instead of punching him in the throat or tasering him in the dick, either of which I would do. If I couldn't do either or both of those things, well, you know The Simpsons episode with the parody of The Amityville Horror? I would totally be like that house, destroy myself rather than have to spend another minute in the presence of Rayford Steele.
But he may have more of a hope of converting Rehema than any of the other KK, because while she is dark and swarthy, she's not as dark and swarthy as her compadres.
She was fairer-complexioned than most in the compound, despite her dark brown eyes and hair so black it could have been dyed but clearly wasn’t.
I would love to see how Ellanjay would defend this as, y'know, not being racist, but I should really stop indulging that masochistic tendency I have. It never ends well and I should accept that. Plus, given that Tim LaHaye is dead, if he were to show up again, I think we'd have bigger problems to worry about and my question would probably seem kind of piddling and insignificant.
Out of curiosity, in the event of a Zombie Uprising, what would you all use as your weapons? Obviously, the smartest thing to do, would be to hunker down and let the National Guard take care of this via tanks and machine guns. Be nice if that bloated military budget was finally put to good use. But okay, suppose for some reason, hunkering down isn't an option. What are your weapons?
For close quarters, I'll go with a baseball bat with nails hammered into it. As cool-looking as katanas are, they require specialized training to use properly and at the End of the World, I'm a firm believer in Keep It Simple, Stupid. As for ranged weapons, obviously, guns are the best, but they need reloading (which can only be done with bullets) and they make a helluva lot of noise. So while I'm okay with having them around in the Zombie Apocalypse, I do feel that we should have some quieter ranged weapons. I'm leaning towards a crossbow, myself. You don't get the range and force of a bow and arrow, but crossbows require little, if any, training to shoot and use. Plus, they do look cool. I may be about Keeping It Simple, but even I'm willing to acknowledge the Rule of Cool, just so long as it isn't ridiculously impractical.
Anyway, regarding Rehema, well, I'm trying to envision some kind of Character Morality Spectrum and where each character would fall. I thought about trying to draw one as part of the post, but couldn't figure out how. Sorry, guys. Y'all will either have to make one yourselves or use your imaginations.
Anyway, it would be a spectrum with the left side of it (natch) representing the evil of the LB-verse; the closer you get to the right, the less evil a character is. Of course, Nicky/Satan are at the very end of the evil spectrum, because they're supposed to be the greatest evil in the LB-verse. We can and will quibble about it, but let's just go with Ellanjay's interpretation for now. Characters placed in the middle at 0 are basically NPCs: they appear in one or two scenes, maybe even say a line, but overall, hang in the background. Though furthest right, I'm wondering if I should place Zod or TurboJesus or since St. Rayford and Cam-Cam are the greatest forces within the universe, does that mean even on a morality spectrum they outrank Zod and TurboJesus.
My long, rambling point is, based on this spectrum idea, I keep trying to figure out where Rehema would fall. She is female, which makes her somewhat suspect in the LB-verse. But women in the LB-verse tend to be more Ineffectual Irritating Evil, rather than of the pure, cold-hearted variety. She is brown which further pushes her towards the Evil end of the spectrum, but that mention of her being lighter-skinned than her compatriots makes me wonder how an LB character determines the Brown factor. Do they keep paint samples with them and compare them against a character's skin? Though a slightly lower melanin count does put Rehema closer to the right.
I suppose I could quibble some more with my calculations, but I don't think I will. Like I've said before, math scares the crap out of me. Though if everyone is considered a child until they reach the age of 100 in the LB-verse and Rehema is 90, I find myself wondering what she would look like. I imagine it as being like Tolkien's elves where they age very slowly until they reach adulthood, after which they just stop all together. In fact, Tolkien's elves do sound very similar to citizens of the MK, minus the long tragic history, the pointed ears, and the cheekbones that are to die for.
Anyway, for Tolkien's elves, puberty is over when they reach the age of fifty. Before that they look like and resemble children; in their twenties, they physically resemble seven-year-olds. Like the MK citizens, Tolkien's elves are considered full-fledged adults at the age of 100.
But all that speculating, doesn't help me get much of a picture as to what Rehema looks like. I harp on this point so much, because later in the conversation, she mentions having a four-year-old son, even though she isn't :gasp: married, so I find myself wondering if she had a kid when she was barely out of puberty or was the conception the product of statutory rape or what? Though I suppose it could have been a consensual affair. Rehema, after all isn't an RTC, and thus would view sex as an act of love, rather than a grim necessity needed to produce more believers. Though having a child out of wedlock does put her further to the left on the spectrum.
Anyway, poor Rehema is stuck with Rayford until midnight and I sympathize. In a just world, she would have a taser or something to use on him, but this is the LB-verse, so no go. Just that I would totally sympathize with her tasering Rayford in the balls after this line:
“Poor girl. You’re going to know more about me than I know about myself, because I plan to talk until I cannot go on.”
She chuckled. “That will keep me awake. Keep me out of trouble. But I am supposed to be talking to you, propagandizing you, selling you on the inevitability of our cause and the certainty of our victory in the end as evidenced by all the work you see being accomplished on the screens. This will continue for centuries until we are invincible.”
“Oh, dear one,” Rayford said, “you have already lost. Victory is ours. You have so little time, really. Follow your heart and mind, change your course, join the forces of the one true and living God before it is too late.”
I'd ask if there was a way Rayford could sound like anymore of a patronizing jackass, but experience has taught me that every time in the LB-verse where you're like, "Okay, that was bad, but it'd be hard for things to get any worse," Ellanjay rises (or falls) to the occasion and produces something that makes you fondly long for moments like Rayford smirking about an unsaved coworker who committed suicide in the wake of losing his family.
Okay, I'll assume that Rayford probably can't be killed. He said The Prayer by the time TurboJesus showed up to burninate the heathens, but does that mean there still aren't ways to take him out? Like could we encase him in concrete and bury him underground? He'd still be alive, but the weight of concrete and earth would leave him unable to walk around and be a patronizing ass towards everyone. It'd take some work, but frankly, the benefits would far outweigh the costs.
Of course, what keeps me from having too much sympathy for Rehema (though I do have some)is again, the KK's scheme is even more poorly thought-out than the Underpants Gnomes' path to riches.
Rehema turned and faced Rayford. “You are a nice and well-intentioned man. But it is you who are out of time.” She looked at her watch. “In fewer than seventeen hours, your God will have been shown incapable of delivering you from our hands in time for your meeting. Then we will know whose god is worthy.”
Uh, guys, you do realize that even if Rayford isn't there, Saintly Irene, Token Jew, Chaim, Mac, Mr. and Mrs. Barnes will be, so I'm fairly certain they will still be able to rack up converts and do damage to the cause. Though wait, that would be going against the rule of the LB-verse: Our Buck and Rayford are the single, greatest forces in the LB-verse. So much so that when either character isn't onscreen, I have a hard time believing that anything goes on. Probably everybody just hangs in the wings, waiting for them to show up so the play can continue. Or maybe when they're not in the scene, the LB-verse resembles the world before the creation, as told in Genesis chapter 1, which describes the world as being formless and void. But then again, even when they're onscreen, it's formless and void.
The section ends with Rehema being all "Tell me about your family," and I'm shouting "NO! Please don't give him an opening to recite any more non-specific generalizations about the people he's supposed to love above all others!"
Anyway, after all this, we're back with Abdullah who is still working on his Sooper Sekrit Mission to
Abdullah sat across from Mudawar in his office, leaning toward him earnestly. “So you feel, as you have expressed it, that you ‘owe me one.’ ”
“Yes. You earned it. You deserve it. One for your side. What will it be?”
“I have no idea what you have in mind. You know my heart’s desire: that you and Sarsour come to faith.”
And my heart's desire is that the TOL Panthers or the TOLstapo show up and tear gas the living hell out of you, but we're not likely to get that, are we?
For the record, of the two names, I prefer TOL Panthers. It seems to better fit with the TOL motif of fighting for their right to exist and express themselves in whatever manner they see fit, so long as it harms no one else in the process. The Gestapo weren't known for their sterling beliefs in the rights of others, I'm just sayin'.
Though I suppose I will have to console myself with fantasies about the TOL Panthers coming in and dragging Abdullah off. Because like I've said before, Mudawar and Sarsour have been ridiculously tolerant of Abdullah, allowing him to hang around and use their facilities to loudly proclaim that they are horrible people deserving of nothing but hellfire and damnation. This building is their property and as the owners/operators, they have the right to say, "I don't want you around. Get out before I call the authorities!"
If nothing else, if the TOL Panthers did show up in full tactical gear and go to town on Abdullah, he would at last have experienced some actual suffering for his faith, which would give him all kinds of street cred and boost him further to the right on the Good-Evil spectrum. Of course, being beaten with a nightstick probably pales in comparison to the very real anguish and suffering experienced by White Christian Males when the over-worked, under-paid cashier :gasp: :choke: :pearlclutch: wishes them a "Happy Holidays," but still.
Mudawar offers Abdullah a chance to be able to preach in front of a large gathering of TOL. And I'm like, "Finally!" Because I thought this whole scheme of Abdullah's was that he would go to the TOL and hang around and preach at them in an office or on a street corner, if needed. Yet all he's done so far is hang around an office, sit on his fat ass, and harass Mudawar and Sarsour.
Once again, the Satanic-Worshipping Godless Heathens are way more respectful of the rights of others. Because can you imagine one of the RTCs allowing a member of the TOL to hang out on their property and try to win converts. :Insert So Much Bitter Laughter Here:
Though at the same time, you do feel like shouting at the TOL, "Oh come on! Stop being such pushovers!"
Much of the conversation is taken up with, well, I suppose this is supposed to read as high-tension sly spy manipulations, but lordy... There is so much stupid that I may just do a linkstorm, dump a whole lot of spy-related clips/songs, starting with Secret Agent Man, seguing into Austin Powers, Inspector Gadget, and Maxwell Smart.
And I really wish I could just keep going at this for all time, bringing in The Pink Panther, The Avengers, and just about any other spy/espionage show theme I can think of, but I should probably show some work ethic and get back to the review. I'll let you pick your spy music of choice to read these scenes to. Just know that any fictional spy, even Inspector Gadget, is way more competent than any character in the LB-verse.
Though of the themes I've just linked to, have to say The Avengers is my personal favorite for its grandeur. Then again, it was composed during an era when people gave a shit about TV show theme songs.
I have to admit that the overwhelming amount of stupid kept me from getting much of the conversation between Abdullah, Mudawar, and Sarsour, but from what I can tell, he's still all "Kenny might be an infiltrator!" and Mudawar and Sarsour are vaguely blackmailing, threatening to make it look like Abdullah is working for them via editing and such. Given what we've seen with Kenny proves that RTCs have no problem immediately believing the worst about someone they've known and cared about for a long time, they might actually be able to set up Abdullah and have it work.
Anyway, we might need to have a candlelit vigil for Abdullah, because just think of the immense amount of suffering and pain he's going through.
Abdullah’s mind was too jumbled to even think about crafting a message. Soon it would be time to make his daily run for Mudawar’s coffee and Sarsour’s snack. Should he continue to do that, to serve his enemies out of love while they stabbed him in the back?
Poor Abdullah...Jesus was only repeatedly whipped and scourged, before being nailed onto a cross to die a painful, excruciating death for the sins of humanity. Whereas you may find yourself enduring something far worse: buy coffee and snacks for people who don't like you. I mean, sure, crucifixion was the kind of death where, if the Romans felt like being merciful, they'd send someone out to break your legs with a club, so you die from asphyxiation, rather than linger for days on end, but you face being mildly inconvenienced and having spend an amount of money that probably doesn't add up to $20.
:hums "We Shall Overcome" for Abdullah while playing the world's smallest violin:
On an unrelated note, if I keep communicating in brutal sarcasm, how soon until I won't be able to communicate in any other form?
There's an interlude with Cam-Cam and Chloe. Chloe is all weepy and female, but believes that Kenny-boy isn't a traitor. Cam-Cam is all steadfast and manly, but still unsure about whether Kenny-boy is a traitor. Like I said, given how quickly everyone's willing to accept the worst about Kenny, I feel like telling him to give everyone the finger, meet up with your boyfriend, and attend a Black Sabbath concert. Kenny is such a moral prig, but the nature of all the stupid, forces me to have a quark-sized amount of sympathy for him.
After the interlude, Sarsour shows up. He and Abdullah talk and surprise surprise, Abdullah's steadfast assholishness has earned him another convert. He also tells Abdullah that the eeeevil TOL infiltrator is Qasim. :dramatic prairie dog:
Again, since the RTCs have been just such absolute shitstains towards Qasim, I totally have no objections to him working for the other side. In fact, I'm looking for my pom-poms so I can do a proper cheerleading routine on his behalf.
Mouse's Life Lesson to Anyone, Young or Old, Reading This Post: Don't reshape or completely change yourself, just so shitstains will stop bullying you and let you live your life with some peace and dignity. One, it never works, and two, bullying is always wrong, regardless of the victims age/sex/race/orientation, regardless of how terrible their fashion sense is, regardless of how weird and socially awkward the victim is. Don't waste time and energy trying to make shitty people like you. They never will like you and it's never worth it.
There's a brief interlude with Kenny-boy that I'm quoting because, well, if I'm going to be doing Beavis and Butthead laughter until I die, so should the rest of you! I'm a firm believer in Misery Loves Company.
Kenny had sketched out some handicraft projects for the kids that would help drive home the current lessons from the life of David. It hadn’t been easy to concentrate. There had been times when he slid off his chair to the floor, moaning in frustration and crying out to God for relief. A knock at the door made him wipe his face and straighten up. He peeked out to see Ekaterina. Thank You, Lord.
Like I said, if perverted thoughts could ever be converted into a viable fuel source, a Utopia may ensue.
Based on the contents of this paragraph, I'm assuming the handicraft projects for the kids involve making a diorama of when David saw Bathsheba on the roof. :wicked grin:
The rest of the paragraph...I want to say it reads like a letter to Penthouse, but given that there are kids in the room with him, I'm like, "Oh for the love of God, Kenny! Either think about baseball or grab a box of Kleenex and duck into the men's room for a bit!" Do something before the kids starting going, "Why are Kenny's pants bulging like that?"
OW! Okay, that's as far as I was going to take it, thank you.
After that brief bit, we're back with Sarsour, Mudawar, and Abdullah. Sarsour announces to Mudawar that he's converted. Mudawar is all angry and pissy.
Then we cut to Kenny-boy and Kat. Apparently Kat has finally rubbed together her two braincells and realized that the email is :gasp: fake. Granted this decision took place entirely off-screen as we were given no indication that Kat had found something that might convince her to stop automatically believing the worst about Kenny, but hey. I'll just stop ranting and raving and make more sex jokes. That's what you guys are here for, right.
She rose and approached him, but before he could stand, she sat on his lap and buried her head in his chest. “I just want the truth to come out so everyone will know. You know the others are suffering too.”
"So is that a Bible in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"
The chapter ends with Kenny-boy getting a call on his skull phone. I'm assuming it's Abdullah telling him that Qasim is the mole, but I'm more focused on how Kenny called Kat, hon. Which is totally something one twentysomething says to another. As if he wasn't enough of a patronizing jackass.
And that's it for this week. Take care until I see you all again. For those of you wondering we've got two more chapters until this is all over, though there is an afterword from Tim LaHaye. I don't really have much planned after this book. I think I'll finally go through with my threat to do some copy and paste, cut out the mothereffin' front matter and the passages with the Biblical figures reciting copy and paste from the Bible, just to see if this book's wordcount would even qualify it as a novella, never mind a novel. Maybe I'd make my Kingdom Come Abridged available to everyone else, but I'm not sure if I should. Sounds like a good recipe for a lawsuit.
Afterwards, I'm not sure what I'll do, though I do want to rest on my laurels for a bit. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to let me know.