L.B.: Buck, incognito

Left Behind, pp. 205-206

We last saw Left Behind's other protagonist, Buck Williams, 20 pages ago, in Frankfurt, Germany.

Buck slipped off to Frankfurt after escaping London, where the same menacing forces of the global shadow-government that had killed his friend Dirk had tried to kill Buck by planting a bomb in a police car. He narrowly escaped but a Scotland Yard inspector named Alan Tompkins was blown to kingdom come.

Buck is traveling under the name "George Oreskovich," a false identity he uses whenever he goes incognito while hoping his enemies think he's dead from their unsuccessful bombing attempt. (The name just sort of came to writer Jerry Jenkins in June of '93.) Buck's undercover persona is "a naturalized Englishman from Poland."

So, this Polish Brit with an American accent and a Croatian name checks into a hotel in Germany. He wants his frighteningly powerful enemies in the international conspiracy to think he's dead, at least until he gets back to New York. So Buck knows he mustn't do anything to make them think otherwise.

He started by finding a pay phone in the lobby and dialing his father's number in Arizona.

It could be worse, I suppose. He could have dialed the operator and asked to place a collect call from "the very much alive Cameron Williams in the lobby of the Hotel Frankfurt."

He tells his dad not to worry if he hears something about him dying in a car bombing. "I just want you to know I'm all right," he says. "All right" here meaning "an all-powerful international conspiracy is trying to kill me, but they failed in their first attempt."

Buck's dad takes this in stride:

"Your sister-in-law and niece and nephew's memorial services are tomorrow evening," Mr. Williams said.

This is actually oddly true-to-life. Parents are like this. If I called my dad and told him that he was about to hear I'd been killed in the bombing of a police car, but that I was really still alive, traveling incognito to hide from the shadowy conspiracy that was trying to kill me, he might respond similarly, asking if this meant I wouldn't be able to come up for Easter.

The idea here of memorial services for the disappeared is another reminder of the larger background context that LaHaye and Jenkins, and their protagonists, continue to ignore. With 2 billion people suddenly gone, including all of the world's children, you might think that a few other people besides Buck's dad and brother might be conducting such memorials. You might expect every town square and stadium to be filled with candlelight vigils where the names of the departed are read in somber tones. You might expect a wave of public sorrow with omnipresent black armbands or ribbons. You might expect the now-abandoned churches and elementary schools to be filled with grieving, shell-shocked parents. And you might expect these millions of grieving parents not only to seek comfort, but to demand answers about what happened to their children — all of their children.

But none of that happens here.

L&J don't give a second thought to these billion missing children and so, in the story they're telling, neither do the children's parents.

"I'm not going to be able to play dead that long," Buck tells his dad. "Once the people at the Global find out I'm all right, the secret won't hold for long."

That secret is all that's keeping Buck alive at this point, and he put that secret at risk by contacting his family. But he's probably right that the secret could still hold at least until his colleagues at the magazine learn the truth. So as long as they don't know, Buck could still be safe:

Buck switched to another phone and called the Global

Sigh.

Disguising his voice, he asked the receptionist to plug him into Steve Plank's after-hours voice mail. "Steve, you know who this is. No matter what you hear in the next 24 hours, I'm all right. I will call you tomorrow and we can meet. Let the others believe what they hear for now. I'm going to need to remain incognito until I can find someone who can really help. Talk to you soon, Steve."

I'm thinking Buck could stand a refresher course on what "incognito" means.

  • bulbul

    dr. ngo:
    Now I’m curious. Is that interpretation still circulating? Does it (did it) have any validity?
    Yes it is. None at all. There is absolutely no evidence one of Jerusalem’s gates was ever called “Eye of the Needle”.
    Duane:
    I think it is a pretty good explanation for an otherwise fairly ridiculous comparison.
    I dunno… The comparison isn’t any more ridiculous than other similar figures of speach.
    In fact, there is a Talmud passage (Berakhot, I believe) with a similar, only this time it’s an elephant, not a camel.
    As for the Aramaic/Greek primacy controversy, it is generally considered settled in favor of the Greek text. The same cannot be said for Hebrew Vorlage for Matthew. The jury is still out on that one.
    Ha, found the link.

  • K

    “Like 9-11!”
    I thought the LB stories took place in the 90s. LB I does, at least, which is the timeline when the attack on Israel takes place. So how could the 1990s Israelis reference a 2001 incident?
    The sad, sad fact is that, like L&J, *most people do not think like this*, and thereby are suckers for the bad sensationalist writing of LB, which is why the books are so widely popular, and damaging. What to do, what to do.

  • Jonah Falcon

    And Buck…Buck, I still can’t get over that name…does his super secret agent squirell thing…How can this NOT be comedy?
    Ever heard of Bart Fargo, superspy star of Danger, Death Ray!?

  • aunursa

    K,
    Left Behind was written in the early 1990′s, but takes place during the first half of the 21st century.
    (Obviously the prequel was written post-2001.)

  • patter

    Disguising his voice
    Why do I envision the Monty Python boys in drag here: “OOOOH! INTERCOURSE THE PENGUIN!!!”

  • The Old Maid

    There are phones that illuminate character, and phones that … well …
    The charitable route is to suggest that Williams makes these mistakes because he is 1) in over his head, and 2) really didn’t see Terminator or The Fugitive. (TLJ got an Oscar nod for his Best Supporting Actor role, so it’s not like the hazards of telephones weren’t illustrated there. If memory serves, there were more like five phone scenes in that one.)
    A few pages ago, Chloe asked Bruce Barnes if God would use a telephone. I could accept this in a good work of fiction. (I watched Joan of Arcadia.) So I was prepared to give it a chance when Elijah (yes, that Elijah) called Tsion Ben-Judah on the telephone. After all, if the Two Witnesses (Moses being the other one) could perform miracles such as turning water to blood, making someone’s phone ring should be within their capabilities.
    “This is Eli. I spoke to you last night.”
    “Of course! How did you get my number?”
    “I called the one you mentioned on the [television] broadcast, and the student who answered gave it to me. Somehow I convinced her who I was.”
    “It’s good to hear from you.”
    Vol. 2, p. 398
    I could accept that Elijah could simply will Tsion’s phone to ring. But needing to go through directory assistance first is worth a raised eyebrow. (Well, that and Tsion should’ve invited him to dinner. Wasn’t that supposed to be the first thing Elijah would do upon his return, to dine with a family at Passover?)
    So, our intrepid reporter’s mistakes on the phone strike us as naive (at best), but maybe there’s something peculiar about the phones in this fictional world that makes people stumble. After all, Elijah couldn’t get straight through on the first try either.

  • Edward Liu

    aunursa: Left Behind was written in the early 1990′s, but takes place during the first half of the 21st century.
    (Obviously the prequel was written post-2001.)
    Actually, I took the 9/11 reference as a continuity gaffe that will eventually lead up to Ultimate Left Behind, the “re-visioning” of the original classic stories, updated for more modern sensibilities. This way they get to do another 16 volumes of the same stuff, but misunderstanding more modern technology.
    Hey, it worked for Marvel Comics. Where do I collect my No-Prize?

  • Scott

    Actually, I took the 9/11 reference as a continuity gaffe that will eventually lead up to Ultimate Left Behind, the “re-visioning” of the original classic stories, updated for more modern sensibilities.
    Left Behind is inerrant in it’s original manuscripts and was right about 9/11, as you can clearly see if you take Buck’s comment on p. 4 (where he says ‘nine’), Rayford’s on p. 35 (where he says ‘eleven’), and combine them w/ Rev. Barnes’ comment on p. 68, which contains the word ‘Muslim’.
    They won’t re-issue LB, they will write volume after volume after volume saying it was right the first time, and that ‘telephone’ really means “grape juice”.

  • Mark

    It’s funny. When I saw the name Oreskovich I immediately thought of Alesha. Glad to see you are fan as well, Fred.

  • Captain Slack

    ‘telephone’ really means “grape juice”
    *dies and iz ded yay*

  • bunny

    Another verse to send to phones, but I can’t cite chapter and verse: “Happy is he who dashes your children against the rocks!”

  • nick s

    I think he’d more correctly be a “naturalized British subject, born in Poland,”
    ‘Naturalised British citizen’, thank you: the whole ‘subject’ thing is outdated and legally incorrect. But yes, immigrants to Britain who take citizenship self-identify as ‘British’ rather than English/Scottish/etc, since the latter tend to be tied up with racial and historical stuff. (Hence ‘black British’ and ‘British Asians’.) Also, ‘naturalised’ is a very American term; though it’s the legal description in the UK for taking citizenship, it’s rarely used. But, yeah: think ‘naturalized Iowan, born in Brazil’.

  • Ken

    Jewish people play a very important role in the whole dispensionalist mythology, they wouldn’t dare.
    “A very important role”? Just another piece moving around on the End Time Prophecy game board?


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