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Left Behind: Chapter 10
Rayford briefly shows up in this chapter to call his wife’s church and also remind us that he’s doing jack shit to move the story along.
“I was wondering what you make of this – how many people have disappeared, are you still meeting, that sort of thing. I know you have a service on Sundays and that you’re offering this DVD.”
“Well, you know just about everything then.”
Haha, yes, indeed we do. Perhaps something else should happen in this book, then. Just a thought.
Aside from that brief scene, it’s pretty much a Buck-only chapter. So…
Buck prepares for his trip to London by “convinc[ing] himself he should not call his and Drik Burton’s mutual friend at Scotland Yard”, which he already did in the last chapter, and by packing “both his real and his phony passport”, which is a thing he has for some reason. Some reason that would presumably be more interesting than being reassured he’s still thinking about not doing a thing he already thought about not doing last chapter.
Landing in London, he calls said mutual friend “in such a way that Alan would catch on quickly and not give away that they were friends”, acting like, oh, he’s just this journalist, you know, investigating stuff, trying to find a missing person, totes normal journalism stuff, let’s meet at a pub, like totally normal people do in London, normally, not at all suspiciously.
When they get to the pub, they immediately dive into business about their missing conspiracy theorist friend, who is seriously the only plot point currently guiding this story where the Rapture just happened.
“[Buck], you know what this is about.”
“Come, come, man. Dirk was a conspiracy theorist”
Because somehow this guy who had conspiracy theories about a civilization where the Rapture had not yet happened is the key to understanding what’s going on in a post-Rapture world.
Detective Alan immediately dismisses the official story that it was a suicide, and explains that he knows it was murder because the gun was found in Dirk’s right hand, but Dirk was left-handed. Now that’s a conspiracy theory!
But Alan’s just sitting on this information! As a
journalist real human with human feelings, Buck can’t understand why someone would do that.
“So what did your bosses say when you told them he was left-handed and that this had to be murder?”
“You’re the first person I’ve told.”
“Alan! What are you saying?”
“I’m saying I love my family.”
Huh, that’s some pretty decent, subtle writing. Given Left Behind‘s impulse to over-explain and work in casual misogyny into a surprising number of moments, I’m kind of impressed that-
“I have a former wife I’m still fond of. I wouldn’t mind snuffing her myself, but I certainly wouldn’t want anyone else harming her.”
Just in case the whole “Someone might kill my ex-wife, and that someone wouldn’t be me! haha, jk” angle wasn’t enough, Alan has to more explicitly warn Buck that if he doesn’t keep quiet and let this go, they might go after Buck too.
To explain the danger, Alan also shares that he was visited and threatened by a goon. Who Buck clarifies could also be called a heavy. Good share, Buck. Alan also went to try to meet with Todd-Cothran (a figure at the center of Dirk’s conspiracy theories, in case all these characters who don’t actually appear in this book but are apparently the most important to the story are starting to confuse you too). But when Alan told him that he thinks one of his employee’s might have been murdered, Todd-Cothran casually tells him that he sent the goon after him last night and for Buck to stay out of this!
Also, we learn that Alan is your friend who makes every story about how it makes them look good.
“I tried playing Mr. Brave Boy. I said, ‘I could be wired. I could be recording this conversation.’ Cool as can be, he said, ‘Metal detector would have picked it up.’”
Yes, character in Left Behind, we’re sure your penis is huge.
Buck shoved the plates aside and pushed his chair back. “Alan, you don’t know me well, but you know to know I’m not the type of guy who takes this stuff sitting down.”
Trust us, Buck. This is like the only thing we know about you as a person.
Alan finally makes the first interesting point in this entire book.
“Have you considered that they may own everybody?”
Even if “secret society actually runs the entire world” is sort of a weird plot for a book whose message is “nothing matters except your faith in God”.
They reflect on how there’s a secret society secretly running the world who just had one of their friends murdered and knows that the two of them have been looking into it.
Buck rested his chin on his hand. “Do you think you’re being watched? Followed?”
“I’ve been looking for that. So far, no.”
“Nobody knows where we are now?”
“I tried to keep an eye out for a tail. In my professional opinion, we’re here unnoticed.”
Suddenly, at that precise moment, one of the staff asks the whole restaurant if anyone in the parking lot left their lights on. It turns out it’s Alan’s car, but he doesn’t remember leaving the lights on. Odd, Alan thinks.
Buck reluctantly agrees to fly back to the States (via Frankfurt, because he’s already missed anything flying back directly that day) to get out of the country. While he’s on the phone buying tickets, Alan goes out into his car and it explodes.
Once again, Left Behind caters to the crowd that really likes Quentin Tarantino movies and The Bible, which is evidently a thing.
the door of the pub was blown into the room and a blinding flash and deafening crash sent patrons screaming to the floor. […] Buck stared in horror at the frame and melted tires of what had been Alan’s Scotland Yard–issue sedan. […] A leg and part of a torso lay on the sidewalk— the remains of Alan Tompkins.
Things do get a little interesting here, as Buck immediately picks up on the severity of the threat and throws his real ID and passport into the burning wreckage in an attempt to throw off whoever’s after him, letting them think the explosion did take out both Alan and Buck. Good thing he conveniently had that extra fake passport for some reason! He sneaks off and catches a cab straight to the airport, realizing he’s stuck leaving his laptop and the rest of his stuff in his hotel. This can only have consequences that pertain to the secret society running the world, as opposed to God who just did the Rapture and then immediately ran out of ways to stay relevant somehow.