This has been my favourite chapter of Left Behind to write about so far. Today is my birthday, so some might say it was a birthday gift from Left Behind to me.
Left Behind Chapter 15
Buck listens to a voicemail from Hattie. She wants to grab a drink with him in New York sometime.
“So who’s that?” Steve called out as Buck hesitated near the bathroom door, waiting to hear all the messages before getting into the shower.
“Just a girl,” he said.
“Better than nice. Gorgeous.”
That seems to be the only way the writers know how to describe Hattie. I think if you asked the authors to describe her as a character, they’d just be like, “Have we mentioned she’s really hot?”
The police are also trying to get in touch with Buck to talk about that time his contact got blown up and Buck tried to fake his death.
Buck leaned out to stare at Steve, who looked as puzzled as Buck was. “What are you now?” Steve asked. “A suspect?”
“I’d better not be. After what I heard from Alan about Sullivan and how he’s in Todd Cothran’s pocket, there’s no way I’m going to London and voluntarily put myself in their custody. These messages aren’t binding, are they? I don’t have to act on them just because I heard them, do I?”
I like that Buck is basically ghosting Interpol and Scotland Yard. “I don’t have to call the police back, right? They’ll get the hint. We’re not even in the same country.”
Meanwhile, Chloe and Rayford go to pick up another video from Bruce at the church since theirs was stolen by some very lucky burglars. Boy are they in for a treat when they pop that baby into the stolen VCR!
Bruce gives some astute social commentary:
“It’s becoming epidemic,” he said. “It’s as if the inner city has moved to the suburbs. We’re no safer here anymore.”
Rayford isn’t interested in this, though. He can’t stop thinking about the fact that it was Chloe who suggested they replace the video that was stolen. He thinks she must really be coming around to his way of thinking, and he sincerely hopes that the burglary pushed her closer to Christ. Ray is dying to tell Bruce all of this (why, I can’t tell you), but doesn’t want to say these things in front of Chloe.
While they were out, Rayford bought items that needed to be replaced right away, including a TV and VCR.
I like that re-watching the pastor’s video is so crucial that a TV and VCR qualify as things that “needed to be replaced right away”. Wasn’t one viewing enough? I didn’t even read the actual chapter, just Matthew’s recap, and even I can remember the gist of it.
Ray talks to Hattie on the phone after returning home, and they have one of the stranger conversations we’ve been privy to in this book so far.
The weirdness of the start of the conversation foreshadows the even stranger things to come:
He told her what had happened at their home, and she sounded genuinely troubled.
“Things are getting so strange,” she said. “You know I have a sister who works in a pregnancy clinic.”
It never becomes clear how Hattie has linked these two things together and placed them side-by-side on the spectrum of weird things to happen after the Rapture.
“They do family planning and counseling and referrals for terminating pregnancies.”
“And they’re set up to do abortions right there.”
Hattie seemed to be waiting for some signal of affirmation or acknowledgment that
he was listening. Rayford grew impatient and remained silent.
“Anyway,” she said, “I won’t keep you. But my sister told me they have zero
I’m with Rayford on this one, where the fuck is Hattie going with this? So far we have Rayford was robbed -> Hattie’s sister works at a pregnancy clinic -> Business at the clinic is at an all-time low.
I’m not skipping over anything in this conversation. You need to see it in all its glory.
“Well, that would make sense, given the disappearances of unborn babies.”
“My sister didn’t sound too happy about that.”
“Hattie, I imagine everyone’s horrified by that. Parents are grieving all over the
“But the women my sister and her people were counseling wanted abortions.”
Rayford groped for a pertinent response. “Yes, so maybe those women are grateful
they didn’t have to go through the abortion itself.”
Is this conversation really going in the direction of, “I wish the unborn babies that were going to be aborted hadn’t been Raptured because my sister may be out of business. Everyone at the clinic is just wishing more women would get pregnant and demand abortions so our services are not rendered useless.”
Also, I love that Ray is basically saying that the Rapture was a fantastic abortion alternative. What an unforeseen benefit!
“Maybe, but my sister and her bosses and the rest of the staff are out of work now
until people start getting pregnant again.”
“I get it. It’s a money thing.”
“They have to work. They have expenses and families.”
“And aside from abortion counseling and abortions, they have nothing to do?”
“Nothing. Isn’t that awful? I mean, whatever happened put my sister and a lot of
people like her out of business, and nobody really knows yet whether anyone will
be able to get pregnant again.”
This feels like anti-Planned Parenthood propaganda. On the previous page, it just said that it’s a family planning clinic…which implies it offers far more services than just abortion referrals. 1) Wouldn’t counsellors be available for all these pregnant women that just lost their babies whether they wanted them or not? 2) Wouldn’t women still be concerned with birth control given we don’t have any evidence yet that all women are now infertile?
I can’t imagine that the people at this clinic are all just sitting around, angrily lamenting the lack of abortions. THE RAPTURE TOOK OUR JOBS!
Rayford had to admit he had never found Hattie guilty of brilliance, but now he
wished he could look into her eyes. “Hattie, um, I don’t know how to ask this. But
are you saying your sister is hoping women can get pregnant again so they’ll need
abortions and she can keep working?”
“Well, sure. What is she going to do otherwise? Counseling jobs in other fields are
pretty hard to come by, you know.”
Even if abortion counselling and abortions were all people at this clinic did…I’m pretty sure counselling of all sorts would be in super high demand at the moment and that there’s some job vacancies going.
He nodded, feeling stupid, knowing she couldn’t see him. What kind of lunacy was
this? He shouldn’t waste his energy arguing with someone who clearly didn’t have a
clue, but he couldn’t help himself.
“I guess I always thought clinics like the one where your sister works considered
these unwanted pregnancies a nuisance. Shouldn’t they be glad if such problems
disappear, and even happier—except for the small complication that the human race
will eventually cease to exist—if pregnancies never happen again?”
I get that Hattie is coming across as really dumb here, and I’m not exactly sure what purpose her stupidity/this scene is serving, but Rayford sounds equally as stupid. Why would they be glad if no one got pregnant again? These people aren’t just anti-baby. “Unwanted pregnancies are such a nuisance…I sure wish people just couldn’t get pregnant at all.”
The irony was lost on her. “But Rayford, that’s her job. That’s what the center is all
about. It’s sort of like owning a gas station and nobody needing gas or oil or tires
“Supply and demand.”
“Exactly! See? They need unwanted pregnancies because that’s their business.”
“Sort of like doctors wanting people to be sick or injured so they have something to
“Now you’ve got it, Rayford.”
Poor Hattie’s sister, the Rapture sure has been hard on her and her evil co-workers who just fucking love abortions.
Meanwhile, Buck and Steve go to their friend Marge’s house to watch Carpathia giving an interview on Nightline. This time we actually get to read Carpathia’s dialogue, and it’s fine? He spouts more facts about the U.N. and says the world needs to become a “global village”. More importantly, though, he’s asked about being named Sexiest Man by People!
“I do not know what that means, really. I submitted to an interview that was mostly about my childhood and my business and political career, and I was under the impression that they do this sexy-man coverage in January each year, so it is too early for next year and too close to this year’s.”
I know he’s the Antichrist and all but even I love Carpathia now. “This sexy-man coverage”.
What’s even better is the interviewer’s explanation for how Carpathia was named Sexiest Man even though it’s not the right time of year. Apparently, the singer who held the title damaged a hotel room, so they replaced him with Carpathia.
Carpathia is just not into this conversation at all, deflecting by saying the classic line, “I do not consider myself sexy. I am on a crusade to see the peoples of the world come together.”To be fair, that could be read a couple different ways. One of which is very sexy indeed.
Buck and everyone he’s with absolutely love Carpathia and his plans for world peace. Rayford and Chloe are also watching the interview (on their new TV!), and they just think he’s fantastic and not at all the Antichrist. I’m completely serious.
“What a guy!” Chloe said at last.
“I haven’t heard a politician with anything to say since I was a little girl, and I didn’t
understand half of it then.”
“He is something,” Rayford agreed. “It’s especially nice to see somebody who
doesn’t seem to have a personal agenda.”
Chloe smiled. “So you’re not going to start comparing him with the liar the pastor’s
tape warned us of, somebody from Europe who tries to take over the world?”
“Hardly,” Rayford said. “There’s nothing evil or self-seeking about this guy.
Something tells me the deceiver the pastor talked about would be a little more
They have the tape that gives them every piece of the puzzle, and they just completely reject the possibility that Carpathia could be exactly the man the pastor warned them about. It’s not even just that, it’s that they do it in a way that seems like a fake conversation I would write here to make fun of them.
It’s like the trope where a character is like, “Nothing can possibly go wrong!” but then things do go very wrong.
DO YOU THINK I’M JOKING ABOUT THIS?
“But,” Chloe said, “if he’s a deceiver, maybe he’s a good one.”
“Hey, which side of this argument are you on? Does this guy look like the Antichrist to you?”
“He can’t possibly be that Antichrist fellow!” Except he is absolutely the Antichrist.
Lest you think this is the end of this chapter that is already full of bad goodness, Rayford gets a phone call from Hattie.
Hattie wants to work on Rayford’s next flight to New York so she can meet Carpathia and see Buck. Rayford immediately interprets this to mean that she’s sexually interested in both of those men and thus has realized Rayford is no longer into her. Such a douche.
Things get a little heated:
“But can I apply for your flight?”
“Why don’t you just see if it comes up that way on the schedule?”
“You don’t want me on your flight! Why? Have I said or done something?”
“Why do you think that?”
“You think I don’t know you squashed my last request?”
Ray wants to wait to talk about this when Hattie comes to dinner, but she insists they talk now. Hattie points out he used to always want her to work his flights and wants to know why he’s being such a dick bag.
“And I do feel bad about your wife, Rayford, I really do. You’re probably feeling
guilty, even though we never did anything to feel guilty about. But don’t cast me
aside before you have a chance to get over your loss and start living again.”
“That’s not it. Hattie, what’s to cast aside? It’s not like we had a relationship. If we
did, why are you so interested in this magazine guy and the Romanian?”
Well, you could at least treat her like a human being. I know she’s pretty poorly written, and man, what the fuck was up with that abortion conversation, but you’re no picnic either, Rayford.
Hattie points out that the assumption she’s interested in dating Carpathia and Buck is really stupid leap to make. She also says if he’s worried about that, she won’t go because if she had a chance with Rayford she wouldn’t want to jeopardise it.
Rayford tries to convince Hattie that he still wants to have dinner with her even though he doesn’t want to be with her, and he keeps being like, “But maybe don’t fly with me on purpose, but if we fly together by chance, that’s cool.” He won’t admit that he just wants to have her accept Christ into her heart, which she kind of picks up on.
“Well, I know what the disappearances were all about, all right? I know what they
meant, and I want to help you find the truth.”
Hattie was dead silent for a long moment. “You haven’t become some kind of a
fanatic, have you?”
Rayford is like, “Kiiiiind of? But you should still come for dinner?” Hattie hangs up on him. Go, girl.
I know I’ve left you with a lot to consider. So here is this hilarious post about the film Left Behind, which not only starred Nicholas Cage, but also randomly Chad Michael Murray as Buck Williams. I forgot that he was a human who existed on this planet, once beloved by teen girls everywhere.
The Left Behind movie is basically just about Rayford landing his plane safely. Who read this series and was like, but what if the first chapter was just the whole movie? Now that’s a film I want to see.