The Vision, pp. 67-72
Because we’re finally through the section where Hope told Cheyenne herbal secrets while Derek chuckled and choked outside and Asher wandered around the ridge freaking out, this section today will be somewhat more concise and less plodding.
The first bit is titled “Hope’s Visitation.”
“Hope, Wake up. Hope.”
Beside Hope lay Malachi in a deep sleep. Confused, she wondered why Malachi hadn’t heard the voice. Was her mind playing tricks?
Her foggy brain woke up as the voice again spoke. “Hope, wake up. I have something you need to do. Tonight, Hope! It must be done tonight.”
Now she knew the voice she heard was real.
Without delay, Hope jumped out of bed and searched for her housecoat. “I am here, Lord. Tell me what to do.” She trembled at the strange yet marvelous thing that was happening to her.
So here’s what’s weird about this whole section: none of this will matter. Usually in books like this, there is a narrative arch. If someone is literally visited by God it will matter. But not this time! Literally none of this will ever matter again.
Again the voice spoke with firm control. “Take two clean six gallon buckets and one length of 36-inch tubing. You’ll find it on the pantry shelf. Take it downstairs. Siphon the juice off the top of all 22 gallons of brew and fill the buckets. Take the two big buckets to your lab. Then, Hope, listen to me; this is important. You must add two drops of the contents of the small dropper bottle that is with the bag of herbs into each of the big buckets, mix it, then pour up the brew into the new, unbreakable jars that you sterilized yesterday. Seal them. Then package the jars for my servant, Timothy Vick. Go now.”
If your reaction to that was “WTF,” you are not alone. There is one piece I’ve kept from you, though—there was a very brief mention of Timothy Vick in the last chapter, so brief it could easily be missed, and I decided to leave it out, and bring it up this week by way of explanation.
Timothy Vick came up during Asher’s conversation with Cheyenne in the cellar the morning before, while Hope resurrected the family dog upstairs:
[Asher] fell silent as he mulled over the information [Cheyenne] had given him. Could [the brew] really be that good? Good enough that people would buy it? Maybe.
Asher suddenly boomed aloud something that struck him. “What about Timothy Vick? I guess you heard he was taken to the hospital yesterday. it doesn’t look good for him. If the stuff really works, even a little, then of all people Timothy Vick needs it.”
“Man alive! You scared me half to death,” Cheyenne screeched, nearly toppling forward on her head. “But yeah, he does need it.” The girl stood, stretching her cramped legs for a moment before squatting back down. “We do need to rush him some as soon as possible.”
Does it seem odd to anyone else that Cheyenne did nothing with this prompting from Asher? She apparently didn’t even bring it up with Hope. Cheyenne said “yeah, you’re right, we should rush him some brew” in the same way other people say “yeah, you’re right, I should sort all this laundry.”
Back to Hope’s “visitation.” What was Hope’s response to God’s weirdly detailed description of what she was to do with the brew and plastic tubing? Hope responded thusly:
Hope was conscious-stricken. She had heard Vick and fallen ill. She had not sent him the brew, thinking his illness was not threatening—something he would get over soon enough without any special treatment. Now she hurried to do what she should have already done.
How did Hope think Vick wasn’t very sick when Asher had heard that it “didn’t look good for him”? Does no one in this group talk? The lack of organization and communication here is somewhat stunning.
Does it seem strange to anyone else that it took God literally speaking out loud to Hope to get her to send Vick the brew, when Asher suggested exactly that to Cheyenne within minutes of learning about the brew’s properties? Couldn’t Debi have just had Asher say “hey, you should send Vick some of that stuff” when he came upstairs and saw the resurrected dog? It’s weird, man!
Let’s return to what God told Debi for a moment:
“Take two clean six gallon buckets and one length of 36-inch tubing. You’ll find it on the pantry shelf. Take it downstairs. Siphon the juice off the top of all 22 gallons of brew and fill the buckets. Take the two big buckets to your lab. Then, Hope, listen to me; this is important. You must add two drops of the contents of the small dropper bottle that is with the bag of herbs into each of the big buckets, mix it, then pour up the brew into the new, unbreakable jars that you sterilized yesterday. Seal them. Then package the jars for my servant, Timothy Vick. Go now.”
Unless the labels are completely fictitious, two six gallon buckets will only hold twelve gallons total. Presumably that’s why God said (I can’t believe I’m writing that) to “siphon the juice off the top” of each gallon. But later, when Derek comes by to steal the brew while they’re at church, the jars are all empty.
The other odd thing is that there are actually 23 gallons in the cellar—they explicitly stated that the gallon Cheyenne took downstairs was the 23rd. When Derek comes by to steal the brew, he finds one gallon remaining, and steals it (we’ll get to that). Presumably God meant the 22 gallons that had had time to cure (or whatever it is they need to be turned for), but that still feels unclear.
Also, what kind of jars are unbreakable?
Anyway! Hope goes and does all this, and then, while it is still very early in the morning, she calls Asher and tells him to come by. He says he’ll be there in five minutes, and shows up accordingly.
The boxes were addressed and ready when he walked into Hope’s lab. Evidence of much activity lay all around. Hope’s face looked so different that Asher remained silent. She looked resolute, confident, and resigned. Her face reminded him of old black and white photos he had seen of men who had been in a terrible battle and knew they had won.
Uhhh well okay then. But this is just weird. Do all people who have heard the voice of God look like they have been in a terrible battle, and won?
“Take these boxes to the airport. You know that John Mark and Pastor Bellmont are scheduled to fly out around 10 A.M. I want John Mark to hand deliver these boxes to Timothy Vick in two days. Pay whatever the cost. We will cover it. Just make it happen.”
Cool cool cool. Very convenient.
If this is confusing, I’ll tell you what Debi has failed to tell her readers,: Timothy Vick is a missionary in southeast Asia, who helps deliver their God’s Word story books aka graphic novels. He is a bit character who literally never comes up again. The only reason I know he’s a missionary in southeast Asia is that Asher flies out to do some work with him later in the book, leaving Cheyenne alone and super duper sad.
This is not the only time Debi does this, withholding important pieces of information. She does it, as far as I can tell, completely by accident. She’s not withholding who Vick is to do some big reveal later. She just needed an editor to get to this point in the book and say “Wait, who is Timothy Vick?”
Anyway, back to Asher:
Asher asked, “This is the brew?” Hope nodded. The young man quickly picked up his cell phone and headed out the door to back his truck up to the lab door for loading. He was relieved God had gone before him.
The previous afternoon, Asher had told Malachi of Derek’s activities. They agreed that he was likely after the brew. If Derek was planning on stealing the brew he would find it gone. Malachi had been confident God would intervene.
Asher was concerned that Derek was planning to steal the brew, but he couldn’t just … hide the brew? Move it somewhere else? Station a volunteer guard (say, Ben or Dusty)? Asher was sure enough that Derek was going to come back and steal the brew that he told Malachi as much, but it took God literally speaking aloud for anyone to do anything? I just … why?
Asher could have solved all of this by suggesting that they send the brew to Vick—remember, when he was in the cellar he told Cheyenne they should do just that. Debi could have written this story such that Asher solves this puzzle, and thus demonstrates his belief in the power of the brew and his commitment to keeping the family safe. Instead, she has God literally speak out loud.
For absolutely no reason.
Actually, when I flipped back to right after Hope called Asher, I found this bit suddenly of interest:
The number on the telephone ID brought immediate anguish. Last evening Malachi had agreed to deal with the situation of Derek after Sunday service. Asher groaned a plea, “Oh, God, no! Please God, don’t let it be that that slime-wad already got the brew.”
I don’t think this communicates what Debi thinks it does. It communicates that Malachi doesn’t care terribly much about protecting his family. Asher was worried enough about waiting that seeing the caller ID fills him with fear—but Malachi wouldn’t agree to deal with it until midday Sunday. What exactly is wrong with Malachi? Couldn’t God have done some inner prompting that he should listen to Asher? Wouldn’t that have been easier than God literally speaking out loud to Hope?
Also, if God is so up on speaking out loud, why didn’t he tell Asher to get off that damn ridge and go look up back of the farmhouse for a prowler? Would that have been so hard? Why prompt him in his heart that something was wrong, and then let him wander around like an idiot? What purpose was served?
The other question I have is exactly how much of this brew people need. If it takes twenty-two gallons to save someone’s life (or twelve gallons?), people are going to have to buy a whole lot of it to have any affect. Wasn’t the point of this brew that it’s super potent? This does not sound super potent.
After sending Asher off with the brew, Hope goes back to the bedroom to find Malachi still asleep.
Hope was staring at Malachi when he opened his eyes that morning. “Man, did I sleep well,” Malachi rem pared. “I can’t remember a night when I slept so heavy. It must be the clean spring weather. I sure like sleeping with the window open. I’ll be fresh as a daisy and wild as a tiger today.”
This is really overdoing it.
Malachi lunged at Hope, making tiger noises while rolling over and over with her in his arms.
Can we … not?
It was a child’s game they had been playing every morning for 40 years. This happy wake up time first started with the babies as they came along, laughing and playing, and blowing and snorting until everyone was giggling. The small children grew url, so now it was just the two old folks, but the happy wake up time was still fun.
I can’t figure out if Debi really has a relationship like this with Michael, or if she just wishes she did, and is creating her fairy tale imagined perfect marriage in this book.
Anyway, Asher takes the brew to the airport.
Although Pastor Bellmont had demanded to know what was in the boxes, Asher had not answered. Bellmont was a good Baptist, and good Baptists did not partake of brews, nor did they deliver them to missionaries. Vick was different. He would take anything that kept him alive and in the publishing ministry.
Um … why … is this.
Twenty bucks says Debi described her magic herbal potion as a “brew” and then, while outlining the plot to Shoshone, Shoshone made some joke about Baptists, and that’s how this ended up in here.
Michael and Debi teach parents to literally whip their children into submission, ignoring their cries or please for mercy, but it’s those darn Baptists who are weird, amirite?
As Asher drives to church, after leaving the airport, he notices a cream-colored Passat behind him—the same car that had sometimes followed him in Washington State. He can’t see through the car’s tinted windows, but he immediately concludes that the Muslims who killed Dan have found him down here.
At the next road he turned left. His eyes narrowed. Resolve settled deep in his chest. He reached under the seat, pulling his pistol into his lap. If they want to play … I’m ready. I won’t be an easy target. When he looked back again the car was gone.
Holy crap, Asher is written like a right-wing terrorist in the making. That is freaking chilling. Also, whatever happened to “turn the other cheek”?
The last thing in this chapter is Derek stealing the brew. He gets down there with two teens he hired to help him carry the stuff, only to find that the jars are all empty. Actually, that’s not quite what it said.
“What the &%#.?! The lids are off! Some stupid fool has left the lids off and now the fruit flies are here!” Derek raged. Only one gallon remained.
Remember, God said to siphon the top of 22 gallons of brew into two six-gallon buckets. Did Debi leave half of the brew in the gallon jars, and just leave them … open? Again, Debi is not communicating what she may think she is communicating. That is beyond careless—and wasteful.
Derek takes the last remaining gallon. He notices the quart jar—the one with the extra special resurrecting magic formula in it—but there’s a spider on it, so he leaves it.
Then he hears the dog barking. You know, the dog he killed brutally, that was definitely dead when he was done with it.
Something ugly passed over the fat man’s countenance. He hated to be bested.
I can’t say for sure, but I feel like if I killed an animal and then heard it alive, I would be less worried about being bested than I would be freaked out by a damn animal resurrection.
Derek knows how to get back at everyone:
“As soon as the brew gives me back my man-stuff I’m gonna get me a piece of that skinny Indian gal.”
I just … why?
Derek has erectile dysfunction. This will actually matter later—and believe me, I really wish I were making that up. That is the whole reason Derek wanted the brew: to cure his erectile dysfunction. This book reads like someone’s bizarre fan fiction—and frankly, that’s overly disparaging of fan fiction.
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