Edge of Apocalypse: pages 311-314 (Chapter Fifty-Three)
Hello all! Back to the flow of things. 🙂
So, here we are once again. Where we left off, Abigail was stuck because the last FCC Commissioner she needed to line up was unavailable. Cue the angst, ladies and gentlemen, after she tries to get a conference call with the last Commissioner, only to find his cell phone’s been turned off:
Daniels took a step closer to Abigail and whispered, “Already tried that. The guy’s got his cell phone turned off.” Then he reached out and squeezed her hand, said he was very sorry, and slowly returned to his inner office. Abigail grabbed her briefcase and stormed out of the building, down to the parking ramp to her rental car. Now all she could do was change her ticket to an earlier flight. Get home to Josh. Let him know she’d failed. And see whether by putting their heads together they could figure out some kind of Plan B. Even though she already knew there was no Plan B.
And thus begins the dun-dun-DUN funeral dirge, or so we think. Abigail goes on to angst moar:
She was able to enter Interstate 66 from the government center of D.C. much more quickly than she would have guessed and was heading west. But she didn’t have the heart to call Joshua. Not yet. How could she? Lord, why did You bring me this close to a miracle…just to have everything collapse?
Tears were starting to come. Then the traffic slammed to a halt, both lanes. Great. Now I’ll be late to the airport. I’ll be lucky to get a flight out tonight. This is a disaster…forgive me, God, but I am so utterly…
Now, as Deus ex Machinae go, the next part isn’t quite the most contrived that I’ve seen, but it does strain my credulousness a bit. While the odds are not zero you’d spot someone you were looking for on a freeway without knowing their origin point and time (or their destination point and time), they’ve gotta be pretty freakin’ small.
Then she noticed something off to her right, on an entrance ramp that fed onto the Interstate. A black limo. It slowed as the driver was obviously sizing-up the veritable parking lot of stopped traffic. But a truck about twenty cars ahead of Abigail managed to swing into the adjoining lane creating a gap. The limo driver sped quickly down the ramp trying to race into the space.
Abigail’s eyes lingered on the long stretch limousine and noticed the government license plate. It read “FCCOM 2.” Commissioner Lattig would have to be heading west on I-66 to get to his next meeting in the western corner of the state. She couldn’t believe it. The black limo squeezed into the traffic lane amidst angry drivers and honking horns. The line of traffic was still stopped.
Cue an OJ Simpson style low speed chase as she bounds up the emergency lane to catch up to the guy! She even (SHOCK) breaks her fingernail after slamming to a stop and yanking her briefcase out of her car. But just as she gets ready to run up to the commish’s car, guess what?
With the file containing the affidavit in hand, she picked up her pace alongside of the line of snaking traffic, heading in the direction of the black government limo. She was now only twelve cars from the limo. But the traffic started moving a little faster, up to seven miles per hour. She pumped her arms and went into a bigger stride. The traffic jam was breaking up. They were now up to nine miles an hour. Then ten. Abigail was now into a full-speed run and sweat was beading up on her face. The limo was just two car lengths ahead. A male driver next to her yelled something at her, but all she could hear was the word “crazy” as she ran past him.
Ignoring the fact that telling the exact speed of traffic would be next to impossible, as incidents of dramatic tension go, this beats Buck Douchebag bullying the car dealer into giving him the fully-loaded Range Rover’s number and trying to get hold of Chloe by about a country mile.
Now, this next part strains plausibility a bit. You’re a fairly highly placed government official, and in the post-9/11 world everybody’s had the “omg terrorists” mantra drilled into them from a half dozen sources. Suppose some random woman runs up to your limo while you’re being escorted to your next big meeting. Do you (a) just invite her on in, or (b) keep your doors locked and call the cops right away because better safe than sorry?
Surprise, the Commish picks (a) because of course, Abigail Jordan is too good and righteous to ever be mistaken for a terrorist!
Commissioner Lattig saw someone at his passenger side door and quickly slid over to the far side of the back seat with a startled look. She waved the file in front of the window. Then a look of slight recognition broke over his face. Lattig scooted over the seat and lowered the window half way down.
If I’d been him I’d have had the car phone in my hand in a split second, or failing that, my cell phone. Just in case.
Now, for the sheer jaw-dropping moment of discovery about why the Commish wanted to see her in person so badly (well, that, and the dialog I didn’t paste explains he didn’t think it was an emergency, though how that slipped past him I have no idea):
“It is. We have two votes in our favor,” she said breathlessly. “The chairman and, I think, Commissioner Copple. All we need is your vote…against World Teleco…it’s an outrage, Mr. Commissioner…has to be done this afternoon. Here’s the proof of deliberate viewpoint discrimination and censorship committed by World Teleco…” With that she stuffed the file containing the affidavit through the half-open window of the limo. Then she added, “Your staff said you demanded to see me in person. So here I am…”
“In person? Oh, that. Yes. But not about this case…”
“Then what?” Abigail blurted out almost in a shout.
“Well, to tell you something personal. About your husband.” Lattig lowered the limo window down all the way. Lattig’s face was fully in the open window of the limo. “I wanted you to know that I think your husband is a hero.”
Abigail couldn’t help herself; she started to laugh and cry at the same time.
“Now, about this case of yours,” Lattig said. “Get in, get in. Let’s talk.” With that he swung the door open. She climbed in just as the traffic started moving again.
I just – wow. Not only does this book practically genuflect and gyrate in paeans to Joshua Jordan, it does so in part by putting his wife through totally unnecessary turmoil! I normally don’t side with any Jordan family member except Cal, but If I were Abigail, I’d want to smack this hero-worshipping douchebag who made me break down crying in my car and then rush through traffic to catch up with him to get his freakin’ signature! Just because he wanted a personal visit for something that was completely unrelated to the subject at hand!
Hell, if Lattig was such a Joshua-worshipper, why didn’t he just automatically sign off on the whole thing the instant the chairman brought it up?
Oh, right. Because Parshall wanted ~dramatic tension~.
By Jenkinsian/Left Behind standards, it’s not as completely contrived or stilted, but holy balls, this comes close. We’ve already seen that in this book series, Parshall has manufactured aspects of the dramatic tension arc to push a particular agenda that presents the desirability of gender-role rigidity as well as contempt for civilian government, and Democratic-run governments in particular. In this segment, as unpleasant as the possibility is, given Abigail’s reaction to why Lattig wanted to see her in person, I think what Parshall has done is shown that Abigail is willing, under the right circumstances, to be a doormat for a man, even if that man is not Josh Jordan.
And that, I think, is a really uncomfortably chilling realization – that Deborah has probably been taught to sublimate her desires and wants and needs to a man, and when she meets someone who will one day be her husband, her only role model will have been her mother – a woman who alternately bullies and cajoles her children, while being the Stepford housewife to her husband.
It makes one wonder if Deborah had another reason for joining the military: to try and develop a career path independent of her parents, while appeasing the person she’s been taught matters the most. I think my fan fiction may have been more spot-on than I realized, since Cal is clearly the nail who just won’t stay hammered down, while Deborah silently appears to acquiece to what her family wants for her.
Anyway, so now that the last i has been dotted and the last t has been crossed, we’ll see what happens next in my next writeup. 🙂 See you then!