The Vision, pp. 311-324
So, here we are at the TLP, in the middle of a Bible study. Remember, Asher’s brother Levi has come, and has brought his militia to start packing up the compound to move it, due to terrorist threats—but no one at the Bible study knows about that yet, and it’s a good thing, too.
As the Bible study winds down, Yancey stands and announces that everyone has unwittingly come to his wedding. The doors open, and Julie walks in wearing white. Bobbie Jo has changed into an evening gown because she’s singing. At Julie’s wedding. Which is now. Dusty is slated to sing as well.
Dusty stepped up behind Yancey and began to sing Yancey’s marriage vows, which were a series of Bible verses put to music. After each verse, Dusty waited for Yancey and Julie to answer with the proper, I do.
I feel like this is something that Debi either saw happen once, or thought would be cool. It does not sound like something Yancey would cook up. Or Julie, either.
Bobbie Jo sings, but she’s distracted, because Levi has come back.
She unabashedly stared toward the back of the room where Levi now stood. Longing was written on her face. Cheyenne looked over her shoulder. Levi no longer looked like a hardened soldier … he looked like a man. His stare was primeval. Cheyenne felt heat rising in her face. She chided herself. Why am I blushing? I’m not the one acting like … like .. that.
Levi isn’t even a soldier. He’s a volcanologist. What exactly is a “primeval” stare? And why couldn’t Bobbie Jo hold it together long enough to get through singing at her best friend’s wedding? She and Julie and Cheyenne are supposed to be the inseparable Trio, and here she is making a scene at Julie’s wedding. Gosh damn, I get the feeling Bobbie Jo doesn’t get to see men. Like, ever.
Girl needed to get a flat in the city and spend some time at bars. Or somewhere. Anywhere has got to be better than living on an armed compound in in the hills of east Tennessee.
Oh no. Oh no what is this. Cheyenne. What.
What had Asher told her a few months back about Levi? Oh, yeah, now I remember. Asher had been flushed as if embarrassed. He had also been so tickled that the girls had trouble understanding what he was saying. He told them that Levi had always said that he was waiting for an Amazon woman, a girl that was tough, big, and luscious. As of yet, he had not found such a creature.
JFC. This is such a WEIRD BOOK.
Well if Levi thinks he’s found his Amazon woman, he’s got another thing coming, because Bobbie Jo isn’t about to marry someone who isn’t a Christian, and Levi isn’t about to convert. So they can each put their eyes back in their pockets and knock this off already.
Ever since Bobbie Jo had been thirteen years old she had been singing at weddings. Cheyenne, always bugging her friend about her extra ten pounds, had a standing tease at every wedding. Now the thought of this silly tease seemed ominous. It ain’t done ’till the fat lady sings.
I … can’t … what does that … what.
What about this seems ominous? I’m so confused. Also, don’t be that friend. The way Debi writes Bobbie Jo is so odd. She’s gorgeous and makes every guy’s jaw drop, but all her lady friends are like “stop eating that extra cookie Bobbie Jo, you need to lose weight.” Like … what?
No One Talks to Julie
But then we get this:
Levi was no longer held captive by Bobbie Jo. Cheyenne saw Levi’s strong jaw tightening, his eyes flash with an absolute knowledge as he stared at Yancey. Fear caused her hands to tremble as she silently cried out to God, “Oh, God, help Julie. Help us all.”
Cheyenne’s silent battle raged. Why hadn’t Julie sought counsel?
I don’t know, maybe because everyone here treats everyone else like crap? Bobbie Jo is a bully, and Cheyenne isn’t the picture of innocence either. Everyone knew Julie wanted to get married and felt she was getting on in years, but no one offered a solution. Who did she have to latch onto but Yancey? And also, Malachi and Cheyenne let Yancey hang out with the inner circle, and no one told Julie about his iffy past history, so how was she supposed to know he was a persona non grata?
These people are awful.
When Cheyenne and Asher start exchanging their own longing glances, Hope looks at her daughter and mouths the words “love potion number nine” (which are apparently from “an old 60s song”). This wedding is the busiest wedding I’ve ever seen. Are they trying to mess up Julie’s moment?
Oh, my dear Asher! You’re lucky Mom has other things to keep her busy. If she ever had the time to devote herself to a special brew for you, you’d never know what hit you!
A tiny giggle escaped the emotionally wrung out girl. Mom could make a dead man laugh. Cheyenne didn’t know, but in a few short days that was exactly what Hope would do.
This book is about to end, and this is never revisited. But frankly, this makes me even more upset about Magdalene’s death. Did no one try the potion that literally raises the dead on her?
Okay, moving right along…
NASA Is On the Case
Asher’s loud voice rattled the fun out of those sitting before him, “Wait, before you all go.”
He stepped forward. With urgency he explained, “My brother is privy to NASA surveillance of terrorist activities.”
That sound I just made is the same sound Michael Hobbes makes when Sarah Marshall reads him something absolutely ridiculous, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about you should definitely try the You’re Wrong About podcast, because it’s amazing.
NASA surveillance?? WHAT.
I am assuming Debi meant NSA.
Levi steps forward and informed everyone that their graphic novel Bible in Arabic is converting so many people that “even some militant Muslim are now laying down their arms due to their newfound belief in your Jesus.” He says Islam is under so much threat that “their leadership” is calling on Muslims to kill their relatives on sight if they’re found with a graphic novel Bible.
“Islam is a violent religion. Now Islam has a new enemy that terror has failed to subdue—your brand of the Christian religion. In fact, it seems the more the leaders forbid their people to read your book, the more the people want to know what’s in it. The violent leaderships is losing their hold on the Muslim people. Those people are beginning to realize that their leadership does not care about them.”
That was some serious mishmash.
There is no one single “leadership” of a diverse religion that is shared by almost a third of the global population. This is nuts. Religions don’t work this way. There is no “one” leader.
Conversions don’t work this way either.
“Some in the U.S. government do not like the instability you’ve created, especially now as the economy is failing worldwide. Others think it’s a godsend. Israel will not look a gift course in the mouth. If it works, it works to their favor, even if it’s Christian. We Jews like to pay our debts. Furthermore, it’s to our advantage that this movement keeps going. In the last sixty-five years, Christianity has proven to be a friend of Israel. Islam has always made itself our enemy.”
No wait. What.
I’m pretty sure Islam has historically been more tolerant of Judaism than Christianity has. We’re talking a thousand years ago, five hundred years ago. And the Holocaust was not carried out by Muslims—it was perpetrated on the Jews by Christians. But then, Debi does have Levi say “in the last sixty-five years,” so I assume she is at least aware of that. And it’s also true that nearby Muslim-majority nations did wage numerous wars against Israel after its founding as nation after WWII.
I think what’s bothering me is that everything Levi says reads like a fundamentalist Christian guessing at what a Real Jewish Person would say. Would someone like Levi actually say “We Jews like to pay our debts”? It’s weird! Also, Levi isn’t even an Israeli Jew! He’s American!
This Book Has Been All Peace and Harmony
Malachi is incredulous:
Malachi looked around, still struggling to believe this was really happening. “Do you really think it necessary to follow through with all that now?”
These people were unlike any Levi had encountered. In Israel, people jumped for cover first and hoped to live long enough to ask questions later. This was frustrating. He realized he would have to exercise a bit more finesse to capture their trust. He made a mental effort to shake off his military mindset and think in terms of people who, as a rule, lived in total peace and harmony.
Not that many pages ago, someone slammed a door and everyone jumped for cover so quickly that folding chairs collapsed. Debi told us that everyone is on edge after Omar’s house was burned down and Magdalene was shot and killed, which came only months after the Super Center bombing in which Cheyenne was almost killed, not to mention the burning of flats of books in the TLP warehouses before security was increased and the threats on the Herb Den—not to mention Dan being murdered.
These are not people who have lived in total peace and harmony. This book is almost consistent in its inconsistency.
Militant Muslim terrorists have planned another 9/11 attack. It will be a series of coordinated attacks against Christian targets, all to take place on September 11th.
A stunned Malachi answered, “Against us?”
If Malachi’s books really were creating this much of an uproar, you’d think he’d at least have been asked to be on Oprah. This book feels so disjointed. If they were actually creating this level of uproar oversees, I’d have expected the state department to be in some sort of contact with them, if only to make sure certain things are coordinated (for example, releasing this book in a new language has the potential to upset whole new geographic areas, something the state department would likely want to be abreast of).
“I never thought it would come to this,” the Old Gent said, “but we should do as the man says.”
Levi grinned with relief. “Trust me. Having spent several years in Israel, I’ve become a master of survival.”
Everything is fine.
I wish we knew more about Levi. How did he come to spend several years in Israel, after growing up in the U.S.? It’s not that abnormal, it would just be nice to know more about what motivates this U.S. government volcanologist who has spent the last several years studying Yellowstone.
See? You forgot he’s a U.S. government volcanologist who studies Yellowstone in the midst of all of his “my time in Israel” and “soldier” persona, didn’t you? It’s like Levi is two completely different characters shoved together into one body for god knows what reason. But it’s a hot body. Apparently.
A hot virgin body. Somehow.
Everyone scatters to pack and carry out their orders. Cheyenne runs for the last of the brew, and the special leaves etc. Levi says that anyone just here for the Bible study and not actually part of the TLP operation should go on a long vacation. Which is cool. I guess.
Here are the very last paragraphs in the whole book:
“Daddy! Daddy! Are we going somewhere?” Young Tina ran to Omar, who scooped his daughter up into his arms.
Omar’s questioning eyes met Levi’s.
There was a shift in the mood, a relaxing of hte warrior’s stance. Trust and respect showed in Levi’s eyes. “Are you familiar with the story of Gideon? How God chose his army?”
Omar gave the slightest nod. “Judges, chapter seven, verse six and seven.”
Levi acknowledged Omar’s quick familiarity with Old Testament Scriptures. “Well, let’s just say this is the final elimination before the battle.” Now his tone took on more force. “There will be a battle.”
Omar’s eyes never wavered; his voice was firm. “Count me in. I’m ready.”
Wait what? What battle? I thought the point was to create a hideout in the caves and wait out Yellowstone. Wait, are we talking about a figurative battle? Regardless, this really is the end of the book. Everyone is running around collecting whatever’s most important in preparation for being relocated (into the caves?) by Levi’s militia of government operatives and scientists.
Next week, I’ll cover the epilogue and share some general overall thoughts about this book. I’ll also include a surprise: a recipe for Debi’s magical healing berry brew. No, really!
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