NRA: It was the worst of books

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist: pp. vii-1

Every book in the Left Behind series begins with a prologue summarizing “What Has Gone Before.” This is good to know because it means you can skip ahead to Book 12 and just read the prologue instead of slogging through the horror of the previous 11 volumes.

The prologue here in Book 3 presents a challenge for Jerry Jenkins. How do you recap what happened in Tribulation Force when nothing actually happened? Those who joined in our tour of Book 2 here will recall that the first 400 pages are uneventful, then the story abruptly skips ahead 18 months to the outbreak of World War III. That’s the book: 400 pages of treading water, then “18 months later” and our heroes get stuck in traffic only to discover, second-hand, that Washington, New York and London have been destroyed.

Jenkins’ recap of the previous book is almost entirely focused on those final 50 pages — paying particular attention, of course, to the enormity and inconvenience of the traffic jam. Here is nearly all of what he writes to sum-up the earlier four-fifths of that book:

Rayford, Chloe, and Buck, along with their mentor — young pastor Bruce Barnes — become believers in Christ, calling themselves the Tribulation Force, determined to stand against the new world leader. Nicolae Carpathia of Romania becomes head of the United Nations seemingly overnight. And while he charms much of the world, the Tribulation Force believes Nicolae is Antichrist himself.

Through a bizarre set of circumstances, both Rayford and Buck become employees of Carpathia — Rayford his pilot; Buck, publisher of Global Community Weekly.

This helpfully reminds us of key aspects of both the setting and the plot of these books.

Regarding the setting, it shows again that this story of “the end of the world” isn’t about the end of this world, but of the end of a fictional world very much unlike our own. In this fictional world, becoming the “head of the United Nations” means becoming the most powerful person on earth. The UN, in these books, is a kind of planet-wide federation to which every nation — except the United States and Israel — belongs in the same way that the American states belong to one, united nation.

This framework is never stated outright, but it is assumed and implied because, apparently, this is how Tim LaHaye understands the actual United Nations. This is what he thinks the name “United Nations” means — just as he seems to think that the word “Christianity” refers to a kind of cheerful maltheism. In LaHaye’s mind, this is how the world works. He seems to think that Ban Ki-Moon has more power than the actual president of a country like Romania — that Ban has more power in Romania and over Romania. In LaHaye’s imagination — and thus in his fictional world in these novels — the UN secretary-general outranks every actual head of state, with the various presidents and prime ministers of every nation obediently answering to the secretary-general. This is, of course, radically different from the actual United Nations — a mostly toothless international diplomatic gathering with a figurehead diplomat whose minimal influence comes mainly from issuing strongly worded statements that the world is free to ignore.

The point here is that LaHaye’s UN is radically different from the real UN in a way that makes his supposed “Bible prophecies” more possible and plausible. This is true of all the ways in which the fictional world of these books differs from our own. LaHaye can’t imagine changing his prophecies to make them even remotely possible in this world, so instead he changes this world into one in which his prophecies might have a chance. Sometimes this requires a massive revision of the structure and function of institutions like the UN. Other times it involves something even more radical — such as rewriting human nature to eliminate parental affection, national pride and religious devotion.

The world of these books bears some resemblance to our world — but only at the most superficial level. It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of familiarity due to all the recognizable names and places. You recognize words like “Chicago” or “Israel” or “United Nations” and assume you know what they mean here. Don’t be fooled. The world of Left Behind is not our world. It is an alien universe inhabited by alien creatures and ruled by an alien god.

Regarding the plot, the excerpt above reminds us that we can’t read these books with the usual expectation that the heroes will be heroic, or that their actions ought to make sense. Here are the two things we need to know about these heroes: 1) they aim to “stand against” the Antichrist; and 2) their plan for doing so involves working for him and following his orders. Neither these characters nor the authors seem to understand that resisting and assisting are not the same thing.

The phrase “through a bizarre set of circumstances” seems to be Jenkins’ way of summarizing the first 400 pages of the last book. The circumstances there aren’t really bizarre as much as belabored. Rayford and Buck vow that never, ever, under any circumstances would they ever work go to work for Nicolae Carpathia. And then they both agree to go work for Nicolae Carpathia.

The truly bizarre set of circumstances comes next, in Jenkins’ unintentionally hilarious summary of the beginning of World War III:

They [Rayford, Amanda, Buck and Chloe] discover that Bruce is in the hospital, but on their way to visit him, global war erupts. American militia factions, under the clandestine leadership of Carpathia-emasculated President Gerald Fitzhugh, had joined forces with the United States of Britain and the former sovereign state of Egypt, now part of the newly formed Middle Eastern Commonwealth. American East Coast militia forces have attacked Washington, which lies in ruins.

Carpathia, whose hotel was leveled, is spirited away safely. His Global Community Forces retaliate by attacking a former Nike base in suburban Chicago, within sight of the hospital where Bruce Barnes was suffering from a deadly virus. An assault on New Babylon is quickly thwarted, and London is attacked by Global Community Forces in retaliation for Britain’s collusion with the American militia.

I’d read all of that at the end of Tribulation Force, but there it was padded out over a whole chapter and muffled by pages of tedious prose. Seeing it distilled here into two paragraphs highlights just how deliriously weird this is.

The authors’ idea of World War is like some dadaist game of Risk. (“My 13 armies from Kamchatka invade Baltic Avenue with Professor Plum and the candlestick … Uno.”) Each step seems random, nonsensical, and unrelated to whatever just happened. The Americans attack and destroy Washington and in response to this American invasion of America, Nicolae bombs the Chicago suburbs. An Egyptian army tries to march undetected all the way to Iraq and gets wiped out by Antichrist fighter jets on their way to obliterate London.

Jenkins’ two-paragraph summary above is such a jumble of arbitrary non-sequiturs that one almost suspects it’s his deliberate attempt at Pythonesque humor. But then one remembers that Jenkins is simply listing the events from LaHaye’s End Times check list in the prescribed and prophesied order, and thus neither author sees anything absurd or humorous about any of this. It’s something they believe will actually happen, very soon.

After this, the prologue stops summarizing and just starts reprinting. The remaining iv pages simply repeat the final four pages of Tribulation Force, recounting Rayford’s anguish over the death of Bruce Barnes and the traffic on I-94.

It’s worth noting some of the many things this introductory recap did not review from the previous books. It tells us twice about Rayford’s marriage to Amanda White, but says nothing about Buck and Chloe tying the knot. Nor does it say anything about the Two Witnesses, about Tsion Ben-Judah, or about the Tribulation-initiating peace treaty between Israel and the Antichrist. We’re reminded of the details of Rayford’s recent flight schedule, but not of any of the prophetically significant events from the End Times check list.

Those “Bible prophecy” elements were what initially prompted the authors to write these books, but now they seem distracted from them. They’ve gotten so caught up in the fantasy of their “heroic” Marty Stu surrogate characters that even LaHaye seems less concerned with the fulfillment of his prophecies than with reminding readers that studly pilot Rayford Steele is widely respected and envied and is getting laid by his hot new wife.

Which brings us, at last, to the pages with Arabic numerals and the proper beginning of Book 3, Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist.

Here is Jenkins’ first sentence:

It was the worst of times; it was the worst of times.

Ugh.

First of all, this isn’t even accurate. We’re only 18 months into the seven-year Great Tribulation, so Rayford knows better than to imagine that this is “the worst of times.” This apocalypse has barely gotten started. We’ve got five more seals, seven bowls and seven trumpets of divine wrath still to come — with each septet progressively worse than the one before.

The worst of times? Rayford has seen the Big Chart and has been studying the check list for months. He knows he ain’t seen nothin’ yet. He’s only half-way through the horsemen. If he somehow manages to survive another few years, he’ll be dodging demon locusts and flaming hail while the stars fall and the oceans bleed and he’ll be looking back to this time as “the good old days.”

And second, if Jenkins wants to play with classic opening lines, then he needs to put a bit more effort into it than this lazy, half-baked spoof of Dickens.

Dickens himself certainly did. Here’s a bit more of his original opening sentence from A Tale of Two Cities:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way …

Dickens establishes his setting and his theme at the same time while making it sing. That’s genius. Appropriating that genius was a smart idea for Jenkins — “steal from the best” — but he makes a mess of it. He was aiming, I think, for the kind of playful twist that would evoke all the poetry and emotional force of the original. But the clumsiness of the allusion instead just invites an extremely unflattering comparison.

Jenkins would have been better off taking a cue from Snoopy and ripping off Bulwer-Lytton instead of Dickens: “It was a dark and stormy apocalypse.”

Or maybe borrowing instead from an American classic: “You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of Tribulation Force, but that ain’t no matter.”

We could play this game all day:

  • In a plane in the sky there lived a pilot.
  • It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single Antichrist in possession of global power, must be in want of two assistants.
  • This is a tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly odd white men on a planet which was dying fast.
  • Call me Nicolae.
  • There was a man called Rayford Eustace Steele, and he almost deserved it.
  • Real, true Christians are all alike; and every sinner is sinful in the same way.
  • God is a sick god … god is a spiteful god. I believe there is something wrong with god’s liver.
  • Only the real, true Christians would have believed, in the last years of the 20th century, that this world was being watched by a divine intelligence greater than humanity’s; that as people busied themselves about their various concerns they were being scrutinized and studied, even more narrowly than a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.
  • You better not never tell nobody ’bout God.
  • A screaming comes across the phone.
  • Hattie, light of my life, fire of my loins.

I hope you’ll add to this list in comments below.

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  • Andrew C.

    The most merciful thing in Christianity, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.

  • Makabit

    OH, oh, oh, oh!

    “It will be a pleasure to burn.”

  • jordin

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX666XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    The next day I woke up in my bedroom. It was snowing and raining again. I opened the door of my coffin and drank some blood from a bottle I had. My coffin was black ebony and inside it was hot pink velvet with black lace on the ends. I got out of my coffin and took of my giant Steven Curtis Chapman t-shirt which I used for pajamas. Instead, I put on a black leather dress, a fish necklace, combat boots and black fishnets on. I put on four pairs of earrings in my pierced ears, and put my hair in a kind of messy bun.

    My friend, Buck (AN: Timmy dis is u!) woke up then and grinned at me. He flipped his long waist-length raven black hair with pink streaks and opened his forest-green eyes. He put on his Michael W. Smith t-shirt with a black mini, fishnets and pointy high-heeled boots. We put on our makeup (black lipstick white foundation and black eyeliner.)

    “OMFG, I saw you talking to Nicolae Carpathia yesterday!” he said excitedly.

    “Yeah? So?” I said, blushing.

    “Do you like Nicolae?” he asked as we went out of the Slytherin common room and into the Great Hall.

    “No I so fucking don’t!” I shouted.

    “Yeah right!” she exclaimed. Just then, Nicolae walked up to me.

    “Hi.” he said.

    “Hi.” I replied flirtily.

    “Guess what.” he said.

    “What?” I asked.

    “Well, Amy Grant is having a concert in Hogsmeade.” he told me.

    “Oh. My. Fucking. God!” I screamed. I love AG. She is my favorite singer, besides SCC.

    “Well…. do you want to go with me?” he asked.

  • c2t2

    They’re out there.
     
    Nikolai and Hattie in the back of my plance commit sex acts while I pilot and finish before I can catch them.

  • Tybult

    You’re over thinking it. That opening line is pure crap, all the way through.

    A lesser man would have thrown the book across the room in disgust. But Fred has the steely eyes of a daredevil pilot, the steel-shod fists of a Robert E. Howard hero, and the soul of Neil Degrasse Tyson.

  • gocart mozart

    Fortunately, just when things were blackest, the war broke out.
    Catch 22

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    You know nothing, Buck Williams.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    “Nicky Bolivar Carpathia, I arrest you on the charge–”

    I was waiting for the word charge, I thought it made a nice touch that way. As he said it I pressed the button that set off the bombs over London. The EMP pulse settled and all I could hear of him was a tinny voice over the telephone. It sounded a bit annoyed.
    “… On the charge of global conspiracy, murder, mind control, and damaging telephone services.”

  • parvomagnus

     That line might truly be the best possible summary of these books .

  • redcrow

    Imagining everyone in those books being played by Tilda Swinton makes it much more tolerable.

  • http://twitter.com/Jenk3 Jen K

    You can’t kill the Christ.
     - Buck Williams

    Nothing is impossible to kill.
    It’s just that sometimes after
    you kill something, you have to
    keep shooting it until it stops
    moving. And that’s really sort
    of neat when you stop to think
    about it.
     – Nicolae Carpathia

  • Kris Jensen

    ((Not a great opening, but eh, should be fun))

    Observers, the world is in want of heroes and what has come forth are passive watchers, men all too happy to help build the clockwork system that will grind their fellows to pained dust, all because they think they will be spared, perhaps even be allowed to turn the gears. Perhaps it isn’t fully their fault, they believe that all is predestined, that all is as it is because it must be, that they are meant only to do what they are willed to by a greater power, be it God or Satan. It is a morality that strips away any meaning to Good and evil, for if all is preordained and choices irrelevant then how can Nicolae, the proposed Great Dictator be a villain or those who would claim to stand in defiance of him be heroes, for apparently they can do nothing else. As to who I am, I too am an observer, constrained by a force greater than the god and devil of this book, and tortured far more than any could imagine. For I am the perspective narrator, bound by the Authors strange and dark whims, and while you, dear reader have hope of escaping I am here, trapped forever, entombed in poor prose. 

  • KarenH

    With my depest and sincerest apologies to Dr. Seuss:

    The traffic stood still
    On the post ‘pocalyptic day
    After Chicago was bombed
    Yup, just nuked all away

    i sat there with Rayford
    We sat there, we two
    Then Buck said, how I wish
    Bruce was here with us, too

    Too gridlocked to drive
    As the fall out dust fell
    So we sat there in traffic
    Amongst sinners bound for hell

  • Chris

    “The night was humid anti-Christ-y.”

    This should be pretty good.  It’ll be my first LB starting at post one; kind of bummed about waiting a whole week for the next one.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that an antichrist in possession of a Global Community must be in need of a pilot.

     

  • http://twitter.com/EyeEdinburgh EdinburghEye

    Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble
    was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every investigative reporter, strong
    of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego.

  • Parisienne

    ONE day  when Buck Williams had something quite important to do but wasn’t doing it, he thought he would do something, so he called Rayford on the phone to see what Rayford was doing. He expected Rayford to be sitting waiting for the phone to ring, but the phone rang and rang and Rayford didn’t answer.

    “He’s  out,”  said Buck sadly. “That’s what it is. He’s not in. I shall have to go a  fast  Thinking  Walk  by  myself. Bother!”A hum came into his head, and it seemed to him a good Hum, such as is hummed hopefully to others.The more the nuclear winter snows(tiddley pom)The more it goes(tiddley pom)The more it goes (tiddley pom)On snowing radioactive falloutAnd nobody knows(tiddley pom)That the end of the world is on its way(tiddley pom)Because I could have told them but I didn’t.

    A hum came into his head, and it seemed to him a good Hum, such as is hummed hopefully to others.

    The more the nuclear winter snows
    (tiddley pom)
    The more it goes
    (tiddley pom)
    The more it goes
    (tiddley pom)
    On snowing radioactive fallout

    And nobody knows
    (tiddley pom)
    That the end of the world is on its way
    (tiddley pom)
    Because I could have told them but I didn’t.

  • Parisienne

    I hate you disqus :os

  • Bificommander

    The UN president in black went into the desert to New Babylon, and the gunslinger-wannabe followed.

    Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the
    Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.
    Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an
    utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose not-at-all-ape-descended-but-created-as-humanoid life
    forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think Tim LaHaye’s prophecies make any fucking sense.

    I tried to think of something with the Wheel of Time intro, but I’m not feeling it.

  • Mau de Katt

     

    “…Carpathia-emasculated President Gerald Fitzhugh….”

    And that word right there — “emasculated” — is the crux of the thing.  Anyone not a Real True a-Murrican Christian just wants to castrate all the Real True a-Murrican Christian Men!!!!   It’s the same mindset behind TruckNutz, and why so many men won’t neuter their dogs (and tangentially, the reason for the invention of Neuticles).  

  • DorothyD

    *googles, boggles*

  • Mau de Katt

    … but it is assumed and implied because, apparently, this is how Tim LaHaye understands the actual United Nations. This is what he thinks the name “United Nations” means….

    I’m pretty sure they view the United Nations peacekeeping forces as the UN co-opting sovereign nations’ militaries, the same way the President can co-opt various states’ National Guards, and thus proof of the Head Rulership of the UN.  “We don’t want Our Boys wearing the Blue Helmets!” is their rallying cry, any time the subject comes up.

    The authors’ idea of World War is like some dadaist game of Risk. (“My 13 armies from Kamchatka invade Baltic Avenue with Professor Plum and the candlestick … Uno.”)

    It’s “Calvinball-The Board Game”!!!  

  • Mau de Katt

    > DorothyD
    *googles, boggles*

    At what — TruckNutz, or Neuticles?  lol….

  • Garageman

     “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
    Rayford Steele, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the
    vile wind, slipped quickly through the patio doors of Steele Mansions,
    though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering
    along with him.”

  • Matri

    “You think you know me. You think you know what I am. What I am capable of. You know nothing.”

    Source.

  • christopher_young

    On my naming day when I come 36 I gone front fone and callt a wyld Annie Cries she parbly be the las wyld secret ginnel on the Benited Nation any how there hadnt ben none for a long time befor her nor I aint looking to see none agen.

  • Ethics Gradient

     ‘Twas Buckie, and his endless phones
    Did bore and bother all who read;
    All loaded was Ray’s flying home,
    And all the Good were dead.

    “‘Beware the Antichrist, my son’
    It says here in this holy book
    Beware his many tongues, and shun
    His pacifist outlook”.

    They dug a hole in Chicago,
    Short time their toothsome foe they sought,
    Till hired were they, by Nicolae,
    And not a bit they fought.

    And as they loafed, and all got hitched,
    The Antichrist, with great big nukes,
    Did start a war, and Raymond bitched
    Of traffic jams and routes.

    One two, one two, and through and through,
    The phone calls told the sorry tale;
    With satire dead, the public read,
    The third book with a wail.

    “And did you write this pile of crap?
    Get stuffed, you hack and raving loon.
    It has less God than ‘Spinal Tap’;
    It’s worse told than ‘New Moon’”.

    ‘Twas Buckie, and his endless phones
    Did bore and bother all who read;
    All loaded was Ray’s flying home,
    And all the Good were dead.

  • guest

    OK, have to say…there were a lot of expectations on Fred to take up the LB saga again, and I was prepared to be disappointed, or at least not extremely impressed. But not only did we get what we’ve come to expect and enjoy in terms of humour and worthwhile analysis of LB itself, Fred went on to show what an honest to god genius he is…by giving us a GAME.  Which has not only given my friends and me literally hours of entertainment, and has not only been educational (‘damn, what WAS that book?  wait, how does x start anyway?’) but has led me at least to go look for some books I haven’t read in a while, or haven’t read at all.  And so I’m extremely impressed.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

     And that was brilliant, Ethics Gradient.

    I’m going to try for Good Omens, as it seems suitable, but I don’t have the skill of others displayed here.

    TRiG.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    It was not a nice day.

    None of the days had been nice, not since the disappearance.  And clouds massing east of New Babylon suggested that a thunderstorm was on its way, and it was going to be a big one.

    ***

    I’m sure someone else could do better with that source. I don’t have the knack.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    trafficjam, past Route 53 and Side Streets, from words of war to end of days, brings us by a dubious checklist of interpretation back to New Hope Village and Environs.

  • christopher_young

     Kubricks_Rube, that is simply awesome.

  • http://twitter.com/nedlum Alden Utter

    “The New Hope Village Church lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts…The church was theirs, just as the third silence was theirs. This was
    appropriate, as it was the greatest silence of the three, wrapping the
    other inside itself. It was deep and wide as the world’s ending. It was
    heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower
    sound of  a Tribulation Force who is waiting to die.”

  • DorothyD

    Both.

  • Amaryllis

    So. The Trib-Force, in tomes gone by,
    and the pilot who ruled them had no courage nor greatness.
    We have heard of those  quislings’ fear-filled quiescence.

  • Diona the Lurker

    To your phones listen!We have heard of the thriving of the Force of Tribulation
    how those fundies flourished in future days,how those Real True Christians earned false glory.Was it not Raymond Steele who shook the airports, took unearned praise, taught many readers
    contempt for him – who, as an emperor, lacked clothing? Yet he lived and prospered, grew in strength and stature under the heavens until the Antichrist settled in New Babylon neighbouring over the air-road must obey himand give him Airforce One. He was a good pilot!

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

     I just about fell out of my seat laughing at that >_< Nicely done!

  • http://twitter.com/nedlum Alden Utter

    When he was nearly forty three my father-in-law Raymond got his knees badly bruised at the kneecaps.  When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the militias started it all, but Rayford, who was fifteen years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Bruce came to us, when Bruce first gave us the idea of making Nicolae Carpathia come out.”

  • JonathanPelikan

    Yeah. I noticed that word, as well. Conservatives have really made that one of the most frequent words in their culture vocabulary, haven’t they? Not exactly on the tier of Freedom and Constitution and Kenya but you still sure do hear it a lot from them.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    I think the bit that’s getting me the most (at the moment) is the aptly nicknamed “Dadaist Risk” bit.

    I mean, it’s not like I’m surprised at this point – L&J have shown *repeatedly* to have about as much strategic and tactical sense as a toasted cheese sandwich… but in spite of this I can’t help but roll my eyes.

    Let me put it this way:

    I’m expecting the battle of Armaggedon to play out like someone tossed all their toys onto a wargame table and had them duke it out.   Fighter aircraft, tanks… and cavalry, musketeers, and knights, and why not some Roman legions while we’re at it?  Oh and a flying saucer, that’ll be neat!

    Also – I realize this was probably written before Iraq and Afghanistan, but has Nick never heard the whole “Hearts and Minds” thing?  Cause yeah, that’s actually a thing you do when you have a rebellion/insurgency type situation – just blowing everyone up tends to just solidify support AGAINST you, and then you’re fucked.  (See Iraq and Afghanistan.)

    Of course in these books it’ll probably work just fine for him.  Because hey, who needs logic or people behaving remotely like they actually do when you can have immutable boring ass prophecies?

    —–

    Alright that’s all the ranting I can really do about the last book at the moment, I have Torchlight II beta to play >_>

  • Amaryllis

    “Heaven won’t be heaven without any airplanes,” grumbled Rayford, lying on the floor of the hideout.

    “It’ll be dreadful to be phone-less,” sighed Buck, looking sadly at his old phones.

    “I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have lots of stars in their crowns, and other girls none at all,” added little Chloe, with an injured sniff.

    “We’ll have TurboJesus, and Bible Patriarchs,” said Bruce contentedly from his corner.

    (We could keep this up all week.)

  • Kirala

    Buck Williams, Rayford Steele, and the rest of the gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about the End Times, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the dates of the event, and that only because there is brilliant decoding yet to be done, I take up my pen in the year before Christ 3–, and go forward to the time when a fourth beast, dreadful
    and terrible, and strong exceedingly, with great iron teeth shall
    devour and break in pieces….I’m starting to wish that everyone would include hints regarding the sources of their quotes for those whose memory, knowledge, and google-fu all fail at piercing the mysteries. Or for those like myself who are merely far too impatient to try very hard.

  • HelenLouise

    In the land of Left Behind, where such things as an all-powerful UN and erotically-charged cookies really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be a friend of Rayford Steele.

  • Caravelle

    THROUGH A BIZARRE SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES ???

    You can see Jenkins tittering : “heehee, I really didn’t see this happening, but as the plot unfolded and characters do what they want to do don’tchaknow and before I knew it they were both working for the Antichrist, how bizarre !”

    That’s a phrase that should make one go “wow, how strange, I wonder what circumstances might have led to this, it must be a fascinating story”, not code for railroading.

    Besides, what were those circumstances anyway ? Nicolae and/or Hattie wanted to hire Rayford and Buck, they got talked into it eventually, they accepted ? BIZARRE.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    There’s hope – truck testicles get ticketed in South Carolina.

  • frazer

    “For a long time, before I met Chloe, I went to bed early.  Alone.  For some reason.”

  • OnlyMe

    “As Buck Williams awoke one morning from pleasant dreams he found himself to be still a monstrous, cowardly,  jackass.”

    “It was a bright cold day in April, and the airport departures displays flashed over to 9:00.”

    “On Friday noon, July the twentieth, —-, World War III started and caught four Real True Christians into a traffic jam with no cellphone service.”

  • caryjamesbond

    Oh man….something that hasn’t already been done.  

    “It was the year when they finally immanentized the Eschaton.”  That doesn’t even need to be changed. 

    Or:

    “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, GIRAT Buck Williams was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover telephones.”

    Or:

    “With the coming of the Rapture, many eyes in free Europe turned hopefully or desperately toward the dictatorship of the Antichrist. Manhattan became the great embarkation point. But not everybody could get to Manhattan directly…” 

    Or this: 

    Tablet I

    “He who saw all, who was the foundation of the land,
    Who knew (everything), was wise in all matters.
    Buck Williams-GIRAT who saw all, who was the foundation of
    the land,
    Who knew (everything), was wise in all matters.
    He saw the Not-Very-Secret Antichrist, discovered the Not-Very-Well-Hidden,
    he had information of (the time) before the Antichrist (But
    was scared and did not publish it)
    He went on a distant journey, pushing himself to exhaustion,
    but then was brought to the other end of Manhattan.
    He considered writing in a magazine of his toils (but
    he didn’t)
    and he dug the hole of Bruce-Haven,
    the hole of the sacred New Hope Temple, the holy sanctuary.
    Look at its wall which gleams like linoleum,
    inspect its great hole, the likes of which no one can equal!
    Take hold of the threshold stone–it dates from last
    Thursday, at Lowes for 24.99
    Go close to the New Hope Temple, the residence of Chloe,
    such as no later king or man ever equaled!
    Go down in the Hole of Bruce and walk around,
    examine its foundation, inspect it thoroughly.
    Is not (even the core of) the structure made of sheetrock
    and pine studs?
    and did not the Great Sage Rayford himself lay out its
    plans?…
    …Find the copper tablet box,
    open the … of its lock of bronze,
    undo the fastening of its secret opening.
    Take and read out from the lapis lazuli tablet
    how Rayford and Buck were put to minor inconvenience.”

  • JonathanPelikan

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6TmTv6deTI&feature=relmfu
    This is how you accurately do the ‘best of times, worst  of times’ thing.

  • o2n2

    Verna Zee gave us some clothes n stuff 4 free. She said she wud help us wif makeup if she wunted koz she was relly in2 fashin n stuff. (shes bisezual). Tisoin kept shooting at us to cum back 2 Isreal. “WTF Tison?” I shouted angrily. “Fuck off you fjucking bastard.” Well anyway Willow came. Tosion went away angrily.
    Wel anywey we wunt 2 da cancert. Carman was da sexiest guy eva! He locked even sexier den he did in pix. He had long raven blak hair n piercing blue eyes. He wuz really skinny and he had n amazing ethnic voice. We moshed 2 Slam and sum odder songz. Sudenly Carmen polled of his mask. So did the other membez. I gasped. It wasn’t Creman at all! It was an ugly preppy man wif no nose and red eyes… Every1 ran away but me and Buck. Buck and I came. It was…….Nlocolaz and da Death Deelers!“U moronic idiots!” he shooted angstily. “Jerry, I told u to kill Dirk. Thou have failed. And now……….I shall kill thou and Buck!”“No no please!” We begged sadly but he took out his knife.Sudenly a gothic old man flu in on his broomstick. He had lung black hair and a looong black bread. He wus werring a blak robe dat sed ‘jaci velazques’ on da back. He shotted a spel and Darth Noxcolea ran away. It was…………………………………DUMBLYJESUS!


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