Edge of Apocalypse: pages 151-155 (Chapter Twenty-Seven)
The Roundtable’s all wrapped up, and it’s just Joshua and Abigail by themselves now. This chapter can be thought of as a bookend to the previous one, in that it allows the two of them to catch up with one another about events recounted in the book.
I titled this “New Directions”, because in a sense, what this (as well as the previous chapter) chapter notes is that Josh is taking a new tack in his offensive against his opponents. In addition this chapter sets the stage for Josh’s introduction into being an RTC, which will also be a new direction in his mission-specific life.
Let’s join the couple now, shall we?
“In the north wing of the twelve-bedroom ranch lodge, Joshua and Abigail had their own private quarters and master bedroom. There was a terrace off their bedroom that opened out to a vista of the valley during the day and a canopy of stars embedded in a black sky at night.”
That’s actually not bad writing to set the scene. Incidentally, I’m thinking the house probably looks something like this one. Big and sprawling with twelve bedrooms! Good lord. And the kitchen, dining area, and living room must make this place a bloody mansion. Why, again, is Cal not invited? It’s not like they’re desperate for space.
“‘Is that the Milky Way?’
‘Yeah. It looks like a trail of diamond dust across the sky.’
‘Could you navigate using only the stars? I mean, if you had to?’
‘We were taught to do that in flight school. I’d like to think I still could.’
Then Joshua turned toward his wife with a funny look on his face. ‘After all the years we’ve spent sitting on this porch looking up at the stars, why is this the first time you’ve ever asked me that?’
Abigail had to think for a moment. Then she answered with a smile. ‘I don’t know. Just occurred to me, that’s all.'”
As a husband and wife interaction goes, this is not bad either. It serves as a segue into what’s really on Abigail’s mind. It’s been a bit soft-pedalled with the action going on, but Abigail has been trying (analogously to Irene Steele) to have Josh more fully embrace the version of Christianity she believes in.
“Then after a beat she added another thought. ‘Astrologers say our lives are wrapped up in the stars. Which I think is a bunch of malarkey. But I do think that God set the stars in the sky for a reason. Don’t you?’
‘And that reason would be…?’
She took a second before she answered. ‘Well, the Bible says the heavens declare the glory of God…'”
Why she’s trailing off at the end I’m not sure. LaHaye and Parshall seem to have a problem with overuse of trailing ellipses.
But this also allows Abigail, after some back and forth about the Bible, to start talking about her friend Darlene. Now, remember that she spoke of Cal Jordan’s confidences – her own son’s confidences – to her husband without shame. Guess what she’s going to do here, when Judge Ricemeister doesn’t even know?
“Abigail was struggling over how much to tell her husband, but she needed to share this with her soul mate. ‘Something came up today when we had lunch.’
‘Yeah. Some personal stuff.’
‘She’s still grieving over Jimmy.’
‘I think about Fort and Darley losing their son like that. Bam, out of nowhere. Just when Jimmy was beginning his life as a man. I don’t think a parent ever gets over something like that.'”
Oddly, Josh seems almost human in this chapter. I wonder if Parshall realized even controlling assholes can show concern and care for people they give a damn about.
“Abigail decided just to lay it all out. Her husband needed to hear it. Not only because Darley and Fort were friends, but because Joshua and Fort worked so closely together with the Roundtable.”
Ok, stop right there. What gives Abigail Jordan the right to set herself up as the moral arbiter of other people’s lives?
By choosing to discuss private matters without the consent of the person who has disclosed the matter to her, she’s breaking a trust. Granted, this involves drug use, and as I noted in the Cal chapter, if Cal had been abusing drugs it might warrant breaking a confidence.
The fact that she seems to not mind breaking confidences without at least some evidence that she thought it over and really checked her motives before going ahead seems to be forming into a pattern, though. And this makes me wonder if her real back story was that she was disbarred for breaking attorney-client privilege by knowingly revealing privileged communications without permission.
“‘ […] Now she’s constantly dosing on valium. This has been going on since her son’s death. Josh, she came right out and admitted she’s addicted to prescription drugs. She says she can’t get through the day without taking something.’
‘Oh, boy. Poor Darley. Does Fort know?’
‘Not exactly. Although it may be what the law calls deliberate indifference.'”
Not sure why Parshall had her throw that legal term in there, unless it’s for Abby to show off or something.
“‘I think people who deeply love another person are naturally going to think the best of them, not the worst. Fort may be seeing a lot of clues but unconsciously turning a blind eye. He really doesn’t want to picture his wife as an addict. Who would?’
‘So, what did you tell her?’
‘I offered to help. Get her into a rehab place maybe. And I told her to tell her husband. He has a right to know, and she needs his support.’
Joshua looked intently at his wife. He took her hands, both of them, and kissed them. ‘Thank goodness she’s got you for a friend. You’re outstanding, Abby. Really.'”
Oh, please. When I took this up in the previous review of that chapter, I noted that her insistence to Darlene that she tell her husband could have unintended adverse consequences, especially if things are “interesting” at home.
And some ‘outstanding’ friend she is, breaking confidences without even thinking about whether she should hold back and wait until things evolve.
Anyway, they switch to chatting about the AmeriNews thing and then horseback riding, only for Josh to remember he wanted to do 18 holes with Rocky Bridger:
“‘So, after you wrap up tomorrow, then maybe you and I and Deborah can do some trail riding the next day?’
‘Uh, oh what, dear?’ Abigail was already translating the unspoken part of her husband’s reply.
‘I just remembered I am supposed to shoot eighteen holes with Rocky Bridger.’
‘Well, you could get up early, be the first to tee off, and still be back here in time for at least a half-day of riding with us. Right?’
He smirked. ‘Yeah. That’s doable. I can take orders. I was a good Air Force officer. Flight plan modified by cencom.'”
That’s CENTCOM, if I remember my US military lingo correctly – which I freely admit I may not. I recall seeing the term used by an overly enthusiastic ex-Army person who loved discussing helicopters and guns.
And LOL at Josh taking orders. It’s so hokey here. It seems to be a way for Parshall to push against the boundaries of what might be considered an acceptable RTC marriage, in that the woman’s telling the man to change his plans.
Incidentally, in regard to marriages based on sexually dimorphic gender roles, one thing I’ve noticed is that men in such marriages often make “joking” remarks about their wives nixing their ‘toys’, and they complain – whether in jest or in reality – about their wives controlling their spending, household and personal.
It’s kind of odd, actually, that a marriage envisioned with a “husband knows best and is the breadwinner” paradigm often delegates to his wife the role of managing the family’s money, which is almost certain to set her up in conflict with her husband. So comments from men about their wives controlling them may be an unintentional admission that theyalso attempt to control their wives through enforcement of things like not permitting her to work, or things like that.
In the case of the Jordan marriage here, Josh’s joke is kind of silly and a bit over the top. Married couples should have a normal amount of give and take in any case, but here it’s presented as kind of special event.
Parshall seems to think writing an approximately forty year old adult speaking like a teenager doesn’t look silly as hell:
“You are sooo overly dramatic” She grinned with a twinkle in her eye.”
And yes, there is no punctuation after ‘dramatic’ in my printed copy of the book.
Ok, now for the RTC stuff.
“‘When we get back to New York, Pastor Paul Campbell is doing a special series of evening talks over at Eternity Church.'”
Ba-bing! Abigail manages to entice Josh into it by noting that it may have to do with his Roundtable project:
“‘But this is different. I think this series of messages are more for you than for me. The topic is right up your alley. Really.’
‘Well-played, madam lawyer. So I’m the one who’ll regret it if I don’t go…’
‘Absolutely. And if you do go, I think you’ll be surprised. Actually, I think it fits into what you are doing with the Roundtable…’
She had his attention.
‘You’ve got my curiosity aroused. At least tell me what this is all about.’
‘Better than that, I’ll let you read the brochure I got from Paul. It tells all about it.’
‘Okay, I’ll read it. But no promises…’
And there’s that. Note the abuse of trailing ellipses again, and that for a person who hasn’t practiced law in many years, Parshall sure seems to love reminding us how lawyerly Abigail is.
Next chapter we move to Moscow.