L.B.: Tony the flight attendant

Left Behind, pg. 18

Rayford and Hattie are milling about the plane, full of panic that so many passengers have vanished, yet also strangely serene in their incuriosity about what may be happening. Then Hattie discovers that one of their crew is among the missing:

She lifted a blazer, shirt and tie still intact. Trousers lay are her feet. Hattie frantically turned the blazer to the low light and read the name tag. “Tony!” she wailed. “Tony’s gone!”

Over the coming pages, we’ll learn more about who was taken and who was left behind. This is the great privilege for writers of fiction set in the afterlife. It’s a tradition that goes back at least to Dante, who settled political scores by writing his opponents into Hell.

L&J have some scores to settle as well — much of which gets played out in who gets raptured and who gets left behind, and why.

All we know about Tony is that he was a male flight attendant and he seems to have been a friend of Hattie’s. Neither she nor Rayford seems to have regarded him as a potential romantic rival for her affections and they do not mention that he was married.

Are we supposed to be reading something into this? Is L&J’s version of the rapture even more inclusive than they perhaps intended?


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  • Chris

    Now that is an interesting thought. Still I suspect that Tony is one of those monk types. Perhaps a gay man who refuses sex since it’s evil (more gnostic theology).

  • mondo dentro

    Queer Eye for the Raptured Guy?

  • Luke Francl

    Hey, you forgot to put this in the “Left Behind” category.
    Thanks for making the LB archive, BTW.

  • Fred

    Luke, good catch, thanks. Fixed it.

  • Bill S

    You’re forgetting that the L&J don’t live in the same world we do. It probably never occurred to them that a male flight attendant might likely be gay.
    I’m inclined to think the real reason Tony is such a vaguely drawn character is because the L&J are just inept writers.

  • Spinoza42

    Reading this 10 years later, one would think it is on purpose. The purpose would be to stir up a discussion in which the Evangelical side can show that of course they hate nobody, and everyone who repents their sins can go to heaven, even homosexuals. It seems hard to imagine now that people would make such an obvious hint by accident, especially for the first named individual to be discovered missing. But the world, and particularly the US, has changed in these 10 years. I think other commenters are right and this is just sloppy writing.