NRA: The antichrist power

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 165-174

I finally figured out what this scene reminds me of, and it’s given me a new sense of how the Antichrist’s supposed mind-control mojo works.

It reminds me of Improv Everywhere – the “New York City-based prank collective that causes scenes of chaos and joy in public places.” Specifically, it reminds me of what Improv Everywhere often does to its “audience” — to the unsuspecting members of the public on the street who are initially unaware that they’re witnessing an act of guerrilla theater.

Think of it: It’s January and you’re riding the subway on your way to work in the morning. A dozen people enter the car at the next stop. One of them appears to be a businessman, a stock-broker maybe. He carries a briefcase and has a newspaper tucked under his arm. He’s wearing a suit jacket and tie, and an overcoat because, again, it’s January.

But he’s not wearing pants.

That’s bonkers. Pants are not an option in public or in January, and particularly not in public and in January.  The social mores requiring pants are firmly established. We all know this. We all know that one cannot just walk out the door, get on the subway and head to work without putting on pants.

But what we’re less sure about is what we’re supposed to do when someone else seems unaware of this rule. It seems like we ought to do … something. But we have no clear idea what that would be.

It would be one thing if this otherwise unremarkable commuter seemed drunk or high, or if he seemed to be having some kind of mental breakdown. We would be able to explain and accept this sight if it seemed this was just some college student dropping trou for some kind of “wacky” hijinks. But this guy isn’t acting wacky or drunk. He seems utterly nonchalant and perfectly normal — except for the bonkers fact that he’s not wearing pants.

This being New York, someone says something. The man looks down, as though he hadn’t realized. “Dammit,” he says, “I was in such a rush this morning I must’ve forgot.” Like he’d left his cell phone on the nightstand. Or like he’d left a window open and the forecast calls for rain.

This man is on the train without pants. Bonkers. But exponentially more bonkers is his apparent inability to acknowledge how bonkers it is.

This is not a thing that happens. This is not something that actual people actually do. Yet here is an actual person actually doing it. And he’s so calm and nonchalant about the whole thing that you can’t help but start to second-guess yourself.

Well, he doesn’t seem to think this is weird, so maybe … You start involuntarily grasping for some correspondingly casual and matter-of-fact, sensible explanation for this very strange thing — some way of reinterpreting it as some kind of normal you hadn’t previously realized could be normal. Maybe it’s like he said. Maybe he just was in a rush and he somehow forgot

A dozen more people get on at the next stop. Two of them aren’t wearing pants. They seem like otherwise normal people, yet neither of them seems aware that they’re not wearing pants, or that three people riding the subway without pants is a full-gonzo bonkers thing that never happens.

On the one hand, the pants-less newcomers just made the situation three times more strange. But on the other hand, the nonchalance of the first guy now has social support. You’re now faced with three people whose demeanor quietly insists that your bewilderment is uncalled for.  The number of witnesses silently testifying that this is all perfectly normal is increasing, and thus so is the pressure to consider that view. Plus, what you’re seeing now is no longer unprecedented. Some part of your brain says, “Oh, look, more people who forgot their pants. I’ve seen this before. This is something that sometimes happens. …”

Another bare-legged commuter gets on at the next stop, and the next. Both ideas get a little bit louder. “Something very, very strange is happening” vs. “How is it I’d never noticed people doing this before?”

Finally, at the eighth stop, a street vendor enters the car with a big duffle bag filled with pants he’s selling for $1 and at last it becomes clear that this was all some kind of joke — a show. The audience laughs and cheers and applauds.

They’re laughing because it’s a funny joke, but they’re also laughing because they’re relieved. They’re relieved to finally have the explanation they’d been trying to figure out, and they’re even more relieved to have that explanation confirmed as Possibility No. 1 rather than Possibility No. 2. Possibility No. 1 was “this is not normal.” Possibility No. 2 was “If this is normal, then I must not be normal.” If their nonchalance is correct and this is not bonkers, then I must be bonkers.

As with many good pranks, there’s an element of something like cruelty involved. It’s a bit like gaslighting, this trick of causing people to second-guess themselves. That initial tension enhances the delight that follows, so in the end it’s all good (although I do worry a little about anyone who got off the train before the big reveal).

The No Pants Subway Ride seems to draw its inspiration from the classic Hans Christian Andersen story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” That’s such a familiar story that it’s gotten reduced to something of a fable about the perils of flattery and pompous hypocrisy. We thus sometimes lose sight of what it reminds us about the incredible power of social pressure to align ourselves with whatever it is we’re told to understand as normal. Improv Everywhere’s subway stunt highlights that part of the story. In their version, the emperor is in on the joke — making that pressure all the more powerful.

It’s not surprising that a bunch of unsuspecting commuters can be semi-convinced to accept pants-less subway riders as somehow normal — as a thing that apparently just happens. What’s more alarmingly strange? The sight of a businessman who casually forgets to put on pants? Or the sight of a human being, addicted or traumatized or both, sleeping on the sidewalk unaided and unnoticed? Once you’ve been taught to overlook the latter, overlooking the former isn’t that big a stretch.*

This is my new theory, then, about the source of the Antichrist’s “mind-control” mojo. This is a feature of the power of antichrists in the biblical sense (as opposed to the pop-culture idea of “The Antichrist,” embraced and read back into the Bible by “prophecy scholars” like Tim LaHaye). Antichrists — in the Bible itself, the word is always plural — seduce us into being “conformed to this world,” as St. Paul said.

By “this world” Paul wasn’t referring to the Other — to those nasty unbelievers, Ninevites, humanists and liberals with their rock music, R-rated movies, two-piece bathing suits and other degenerate symbols of their “worldliness.” For Paul, as for Jesus, “this world” refers to a system — to the oppressive, unjust status quo of The Powers That be, which compels and cajoles us all to participate in its oppression and injustice.

In this system, any nail that sticks up will get hammered down. But, as Andersen’s story reminds us, the real power isn’t in the hammer. The real power lies in the ability to convince us that we don’t want to stick up. That power is so effective that very little hammering is ever required.

We can imagine an evil tyrant –a The Antichrist — who was able to re-enact the parade in TENC as a demonstration of his unchallenged power. He would be able to parade down the street naked with all the people marveling over the splendor of his imaginary finery. And they wouldn’t entirely be pretending — in a sense, they would actually see the new clothes that weren’t there. Such power would be indistinguishable from supernatural “mind control.”

(In this version of the story, of course, the little child who exposes the emperor’s nakedness would be quickly and efficiently silenced and permanently disappeared. That’s how emperors do things — employing the hammer when necessary so as not to need it most of the time. This is why if you’re denouncing the emperor it’s prudent to do so in coded symbolism — writing of multi-headed beasts and dragons and the like.)

I’ve now strayed rather far afield from my initial point, and from the scene in Nicolae that we’re supposed to be discussing this week. So let’s get back to that.

Rayford Steele and Hattie Durham are sitting in a restaurant discussing the sorry state of her relationship with Nicolae Carpathia. That’s what’s going on here — a conversation about a woman’s relationship with her boyfriend/fiancé.

On that level, the scene doesn’t work very well. Hattie is such a straw-woman caricature of the authors’ idea of women that she seems wholly unreal and unbelievable. They portray her with such condescending contempt and then, through Rayford, treat her with such condescending contempt that this whole scene winds up repulsive and unreadable. Hattie isn’t recognizably human, yet we’re instinctively forced to side with her due to the abuse she’s suffering from Nicolae, Rayford and the authors, so we wind up, as readers, pulling for the one character against whom the deck is obviously stacked. That makes for an unpleasant reading experience.

We could delve into more of the specific reasons that this scene fails as an attempt to portray a conversation about the state of one woman’s relationship. We could highlight the hilariously unnatural dialogue, or the hideousness of Rayford’s narcissism.

“Rayford was biding his time,” Jerry Jenkins writes, after Hattie complains that she’s just become “a piece of furniture” to her boyfriend. It’s a telling description of Rayford’s role in every conversation he ever has. The man never listens, he just “bides his time” until he has a chance to say whatever it was he was going to say anyway.

“There was so much he wanted to tell her,” we’re told, although we’re never told what that might be, because Rayford winds up biding all of his time and never tells Hattie much of anything — not even the things he knows that she really needs to know for her physical and spiritual survival. For most of the conversation, instead, Rayford peppers Hattie with questions about how much Nicolae knows about himself and Buck and Chloe. He learns what he needs to learn from her and that’s all he seems to care about.

We might also step back a bit to explore the punitive function of this scene. Hattie is intended here as an object lesson for all the women and girls reading this book. She is being punished for not being a chaste, submissive “little wife” like Irene Steele. That punishment is clearly intended to warn any women who might be considering any other possibility in life beyond becoming Irene: Faithfully serve your unfaithful husbands without complaint. Cook dinner and collect knick-knacks and wait for the Rapture and never worry that you’re just a thing — a replaceable object wholly interchangeable with Amanda White or any other subservient “little” woman. Otherwise, you’ll end up unloved and pregnant with Satan’s baby.

But all of the many ways we could critique this scene as an ordinary conversation about the state of one woman’s relationship would be beside the point, because the biggest problem with this scene is that it attempts to present an ordinary conversation about the state of one woman’s relationship.

That’s bonkers. Hattie isn’t just dating some random guy. Her “boyfriend” is The Antichrist — the global “potentate” who just spent the previous two days nuking dozens of cities and carrying out the worst mass-murder in the history of the world.

That never comes up in this conversation.

Whatever the merits of analyzing what it means for her marriage prospects that her boyfriend seems a bit stand-offish of late, the fact that he’s just indiscriminately slaughtered tens of millions of people — including everyone in Hattie’s home town — would seem a bit more urgent as a factor in the status of this relationship. Yet Hattie, Rayford and the authors themselves completely ignore that. (I’d think of this as Hattie’s “Don’t Cry for Me Global Community” moment, but Nicolae’s crimes are so much greater in scope than Peron’s atrocities that it almost seems unfair to Evita.)

So we start this scene wondering what Hattie and Rayford will say about this slaughter. Then we’re gradually unnerved as we gradually realize they’re not going to discuss it. Then we’re further unnerved as we realize they are, instead, going to discuss trivialities that it ought to be utterly impossible for them to discuss without in some way accounting for the fact that Chicago and New York and London and a dozen other cities were just obliterated.

It’s bonkers. But Hattie and Rayford are nonchalantly behaving as though it’s not. The authors themselves steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the mind-blowing, delirious bonkerosity of the scene they’re presenting.**

This happens all the time in these books. Reading the Left Behind series means constantly being gaslighted by the authors, constantly second-guessing one’s response to the deeply weird scenes unfolding as though they were completely normal.

That glib presentation of normalcy sometimes half-lulls us into playing along, shrugging off the sense that — “Omigod, none of this makes any sense because all of these people lost all of their children a week ago.”

Either the authors and their characters are completely bonkers or we are. Fortunately, in these books, we’re never seriously forced to consider Possibility No. 2.

- – - – - – - – - – - -

* I’m not trying to lead us into a discussion here of our obligations or best-practices when we encounter the homeless on the street. That’s an important conversation, but a separate matter from my point here, which is that in New York, as in almost any other great city, it would be impossible to function without the ability to see homeless beggars as normal. Or, I guess, to not seem them, and to make not seeing them normal. “This world” is the system of this world, and to live in this world forces us to get with the system. That’s why antichrists are so powerful.

** I have to wonder if Jenkins even realized what’s going on here. Had he planned this conversation and then inserted it here in Chapter 9 without realizing that the events of Chapter 8 had rendered it impossible? Did he even notice the problem with locating this conversation in this context? Or was he just typing so quickly, with so little care, that it never occurred to him?

We should always try to presume incompetence, rather than malice, so I suppose it’s better to suggest that Jenkins is a horrifically shoddy writer rather than an evil huckster deliberately selling a shoddy product that he knows is full of gaping plot holes like this one. But either way, the scope of the incompetence and/or malice is so staggering that I marvel at how he was able to do it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    And even if they do, it’s the my-divorce-is-~special~-syndrome.

  • gpike

    My bro and I just realized something: Left Behind is SO MUCH FUNNIER if you imagine it as a poorly animated, badly written, and horribly dubbed 90′s anime. Buck has a tiny head, 6 ft. long arms, and huge “yaoi hands”. Nicolae is a hot bishie, but acts really “evil-gay” and sounds like James from Pokemon. I would say that Hattie has huge boobs… but then… I’m pretty sure that’s already how the original authors envisioned her anyway. >_>
    The important thing, of course, is to imagine every line being delivered as though from a really terrible dub actor – in a manner in which no human being would ever actually speak.

  • Lori

    To the best of my memory I’ve never had the naked dream. I’ve had other versions of the anxiety dream, but not that one.

  • http://kadhsempire.yuku.com/ Matt

    I have only known two people who use that ‘like a schoolgirl’ phrase. Both of them were born before World War II. I don’t know what that means.

  • http://kadhsempire.yuku.com/ Matt

    Thanks. Now when I think of Hattie, I will think of Mel Brooks “The Producers” or Springtime for Hitler in said film.

  • arcseconds

    yes, it seems they get a bit distracted from their overall plan by their MarySuing.

    At any rate, they clearly don’t love the world they’ve created, their characters (apart from Buck and Rayford), their story, or their craft, because they spend no time polishing these things. Not even in a clumsy, amatuerish kind of way.

    (And they love Buck and Rayford in the way the worst sort of fault-blind, doting and aspirational parents love their children… there’s something a immature and creepy about it)

  • Ima Pseudonym

    Someone somewhere–most likely, several tens or hundreds of thousands of someones–said or thought exactly the same thing as you did here while reading these dogs…only it sounded like a completely rational and reasonable reaction to them. As Aunursa keeps pointing out, there are fans of these books who think that not only were they Bestest Books Evar, they practically treat them as Bible 2: The Revenge.

  • Ima Pseudonym

    “Heck, why not have it that he legitimately believes he’s doing good
    because the world he, and those near him emotionally or physically, sees
    is different from the one non-mind-mojo’d people see? That would be
    chilling.”

    You’ve just put a hundred times more depth into this in the two minutes or so that you used to post this that the authors did over a decade and more than a dozen novels. Unfortunately, the authors don’t *like* depth–they honestly seem seem confused by it–and many of their fans don’t particularly like any degree of ambiguity, grey areas or anything other than the absolute black-and-white (if alien and utterly horrifying) morality Timkins try to depict, either. It seems to make a little more sense if you keep in mind that, in the authors’ heads, Good and Evil aren’t anything you actually *do,* they’re just teams that you pick before they pick you.

  • WingedBeast

    So… God performed an abortion.
    Abortion is evil.
    Abortion is evil because God hates it.
    Therefore, God hates himself.

    And suddenly the entire series and, indeed, the L&J theology makes so much more sense.

  • http://algol.wordpress.com/ SororAyin

    I had a dream where I was naked and walking through a crowded shopping mall. I was upset at my nudity at first, but nobody seemed to notice. After a while, I started to feel sexy and sensual walking around in public without a stitch of clothes on. I’m not sure what that says about me, and I’m not entirely sure I want to know.

  • Laurent Weppe

    The worst part from your post is that it’s not even hard to make a much better version of the chapter: just include in the miiddle something like:

    «Rayford knew that Hattie was beating around the bush: she kept talking and talking about her fiancé’s coldness because she did not dare mention the [insert susperlative depiction of the recent slaughter]: the horror of it all all lay behind every word she spoked, every frightened glance she made around her.

    Rayford wished he could burst the abscess: push Hattie to say out loud how wrong all of this was, but he feared that any attempt on his part would cause Hattie to snap at him, or worse, to wall herself up in silence, so he bid his time, hoping that, if Hattie could not bring herself to say out loud that her fiancé had treated millions like cattle to be slaughtered, she’d at least give him informations about the Antichrist and how much he knew about him, Buck and Chloe

    The moral would still be as fucked up: it would still be “try to be anything else than one obedient little wife and you’ll end up unloved and pregnant with Satan’s baby”, but at least the lampshade hanging would provide enough she’s-not-completely-heartless-she’s-just-so-terrified-by-the-enormity-of-it-all-that-she-behave-that-way sugar coating to make the heinous core not so fucking obvious.

  • Miff

    I’ve never had a dream of such, although I’ve had dreams when I’m “back in school” despite having been homeschooled…

  • Matri

    Only “tens or hundreds of thousands”?? Have you been paying attention at all?!??

    There are millions!!

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

    Now I’m imagining Nicolae as the The Pyro. This amuses me.

  • Daniel

    I think Chloe calls Buck the Cookie Monster.
    I would like to see a recast, reimagined sesame street a la Christopher Nolan’s terribly serious Batman films starring David Bowie as the Cookie Monster.

  • Ymfon

    Yet another example of Jenkins’ unintentional humour: Hattie complaining that Nicolae treats her as a piece of furniture, while Rayford patiently waits for the chair-filling on the other side of the table to stop making noises so that he can talk about himself.

  • bificommander

    For a darkly humorous take on the subject.

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20110927.gif

  • Ima Pseudonym

    I was foolishly hoping that the number might actually be relatively small, like the number of people who have surgically-implanted Spock ears. Naive, I know. Welp, there goes my sleep tonight…

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    Of course he is. He’s a sociopath. It’s not like he’s going to be influenced by emotional appeals to compassion or decency….

    Re-reading these books through Fred’s lens has shown me how to write a self-centered sociopath. Two different flavors of them, Buck & Rayford.

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    I have a lot of dreams like that, where I’m in a play and it’s opening night, but I don’t know my lines, or my role, or what play it is. Oddly, though, I’ve never had a naked dream. My theory is that it’s because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so appearing in front of a crowd completely unprepared would be worse to me than appearing naked.

  • Ethics Gradient

    I’m getting slightly worried we’ll never make it out of this restaurant alive. We’ve been here since July 19th, and it’s boiled down to “Ray is an arse. Again.” We made the date for the meal back on May 17th, and that was a little earlier in the day – and Ray did nothing in between.

    I’m seeing the NRA posts like Zeno’s Paradox – each time we revisit, we make it half the distance to the end of the bistro scene, but that means we’ll never get there. It’s an infinite geometrical series, each term half the size of the previous one.

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    Also, there are no Nazis. Now I feel a bit cheated on that end. :/

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    Curious. Does that mean you’re back at your house? Or sitting in a school you’ve never attended?

  • GeniusLemur

    Actually, that explains a lot about how L&J and their followers think:
    Jesus’ life on earth is done, so they don’t worry about it.

  • christopher_y

    The tick list theory of fictional composition.

  • VMtheCoyote

    I dunno, we have a couple of regulars here who are sociopaths, and any one of them is a better person than Buck or Rayford – by any measure you care to use.

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    When I first read Left Behind, I thought it was a collaborative story where LaHaye and Jenkins each took turns writing the next scene. And I remember thinking how well it turned out for being a story with two separate authors, each with their own agenda.
    Even though I know better, sometimes I still imagine that’s how it was written. It makes the story far easier to swallow.

  • http://checkpoint-telstar.blogspot.com/ Tim Lehnerer

    Six years after I graduated college, I still have astonishingly vivid dreams of having to write a paper that’s due tomorrow for a class I skipped fourteen weeks out of fifteen. When I wake up I invariably have to remind myself that I’m not actually going to college any more. I haven’t had the “forgot to put clothes on before going out” dream, but this appears to be my own personal anxiety rerun.

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    Agreed, Mia Farrow is wonderful. Although watching Rosemary’s Baby for the first time after 20 years of watching The Last Unicorn was a vaguely traumatic experience.

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    Isn’t it later revealed that her baby’s death was caused by Nicolae trying to poison her? Or something?

    Then again, since God’s plans and Antichrist’s plans always seem to align perfectly, I guess it was God’s abortion either way.

  • Elizabeth Coleman

    It was called the S.L.U.T., but then someone noticed and changed it to the South Lake Union Streetcar. :-( You can still get the “I rode the S.L.U.T.” t-shirts though.
    Also, I think you have your maps upside down….

  • general_apathy

    Yeah, I get that one too (though I’m still a student). I did actually miss an exam once, due to a region-wide transit failure, and since then it’s always been in the form of missing the train. I always thought the idea of a “realistic dream” was just people exaggerating, but this is accurate down to the smell. It’s bizarre.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    We’re stuck in Global Bistro for eternity with Rayford and Hattie. It’s like No Exit but too much fun to try to leave.

  • http://rapturepractice.wordpress.com/ Phoenix Feather

    This is unrelated to today’s post, but maybe you guys can help me with something? I’m trying to find a post Fred wrote a while back. It was something along the lines of how the Tribbles think the message of Christianity is not about kindness or forgiveness but “about God and the Antichrist” (I believe that is the exact quote by Chloe, and she’s telling Ray he needs to tell Hattie about God and the Antichrist when they meet up, but I my memory is vague and I may have fudged it up a bit.) The point of quoting that passage, says Fred, is that the RTCs define themselves by their opposition to the Antichrist rather than any Christ-like qualities.

    I want to quote Fred’s passage on Rapture Practice, but I’ve searched for over an hour and I can’t seem to find this post. Any one have any idea what I’m talking about?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah, neither have I.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think it’s more that they’re narcissistic, but narcissism has considerable overlap with sociopathy.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    What you did there. I see it.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Me neither. I’ve had plenty of the “it’s the end of the semester and I’ve never been to class” dream, but not the naked dream.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Yeah, I have to go with the “malignant narcissist” diagnosis for Rayford, at least (and for Paul Stepola). Buck and Michael Murphy are a little different–many narcissistic qualities, to be sure, but I hesitate to label them with full-blown malignant narcissism (I’ve known too many people who think anyone they don’t like is a narcissist). Buck and Murphy are perhaps more of the histrionic bent, but there is actually significant overlap when it comes to personality disorders.

  • FearlessSon

    Gah! Stalactite / stalagmite! Yes, I got that backward. I meant to say that the street care is north of downtown, while south of Lake Union.

    And yes, it is officially the South Lake Union Streetcar, but I cannot think of anyone who actually calls it that.

  • FearlessSon

    “One shudders to imagine what inhuman thoughts lie behind that mask, what dreams of chronic and sustained cruelty…”

  • Lorehead

    That’s so much funnier if I read it with a British accent.

  • Lorehead

    I’m sure there’s an audiobook, so the answer is, in all likelihood, sadly yes.

  • Lorehead

    No it wouldn’t. Rayford was Nicolae’s personal pilot. He was there, he saw everything, and Nicholae knows that. More importantly, the objection here is not even so much that Rayford doesn’t take a risk to warn Hattie of the things he knows from being a RTC, but that they behave as if the bombs had never dropped at all. Everyone knows that they did.

  • lampwick

    What I keep wondering is what the _readers_ think. Out of all the people who read these books, didn’t some of them stop and wonder about these questions, or others? This says something about basic reading protocol — that the writer is supposed to give us a lucid and consistent story, and if he/she doesn’t, the idea is that we fall out of that story. But, apparently, some people (many people) don’t.

  • Daniel

    Hell is other diners.

  • banancat

    I know it’s a near-universal dream, but I’ve never had it. I have been naked plenty of times in dreams (aside from the sexual ones), but it has always had a theme of either (non-sexual) intimacy/comfort or rebellion, rather than embarrassment. For example, I had a dream senior of college that everyone in my class was just hanging out naked, with lumps and hair and everything normal about bodies that we usually try to hide even when naked. After going through all the late nights and tough tests and job interviews together, I felt a sense of closeness to them. In another sense, I’ve had a few dreams where I was naked for comfort (like on a hot day) at hypothetical places where it was socially acceptable but against a rule for that specific place (like a public pool).

  • banancat

    Also, isn’t God’s abortion basically a reward for Hattie becoming a RTC or at least considering it? Not sure if I’m remembering that right though

  • elephantasmagoric

    If the writers were any good, Hattie’s arc should read kind of like ‘The Last King of Scotland’ with her in the place of McAvoy’s doctor.

    She’s someone who feels specially selected by a charismatic man who, sure, has grey areas but being in charge is tough, right, and you have to be hard sometimes, especially when times are so difficult. All the children are gone and people are going utterly crazy and, really, he’s trying to do the best he can. Once the necessary evils are done, things will get better, right? Somebody has to make the horrible choices. Somebody has to be the uniting figure. He’s the only one with the vision to guide them through this mess.

    Besides he’s offering her so much more than a sexual relationship- he’s her mentor and he gives her so much confidence, when everyone else doesn’t see her for who she really /is/. He encourages her and doesn’t treat her like meat, like all the other men she knows.

    Except that the rumours start reaching her and she doesn’t want to believe them, she really doesn’t, but sometimes, when it’s the middle of the night and she’s missing her niece, she can’t help that uncomfortable niggle. And eventually the rumours start adding up until she feels like she’s drowning in them; until she has to admit it’s true. But if she does that, then she won’t be safe anymore. And she’s all her sister has left after her family died in that car crash during the disappearances, so she has to keep her safe. She knows her life isn’t the only one at stake or she would have run a long time ago. There are islands, tiny, yes, disapearing under the weight of climate change, yes, but they’ll go unnoticed until everyone else has finished destroying each other. But without taking her sister…

    She’s scared to displease him, because his charisma is terrifying and she knows he holds a grudge. So she goes through the motions and hopes he gets bored and forgets all about her so she can slip away and forget everything. But the paranoia is mounting and she feels like she’s being watched every day.

    She heard that her ex-colleague is in some kind of resistance movement so she meets with him. She can’t come out directly with her problems, so she coats it in banal relationship troubles hoping he’ll pick up the hint, the code she’s weaving through the dialogue. Half the world has been nuked- surely he’ll realise this is a cry for help?

    He doesn’t. He spends the whole time starring at her tits.

    Maybe Verna Zee will be more useful.

    (apologies for both the abuse and/or neglect of proper punctuation)

  • Antigone10

    A friend of mine does nude modeling for art schools, and she had a dream where she was supposed to get naked, but underneath her robe was clothes. She kept trying to get them off but there were more and more clothes underneath them.

    The human brain is weird.


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