I FOUND Qasim hilarious,” Ekaterina reported, plopping herself on Kenny’s couch and declining his offer of grapes. “I’m stuffed. He took me to the Valley Bistro, where you had your meeting.”
“Your Millennium Force meeting. Anyway, it was great. Did you just love it? I did. And Qasim was chivalrous, full of stories, talked a mile a minute—in fact, I feel like I’ve just now caught that from him. Have I? Am I just talking incessantly? Stop me if I am. I don’t mean to be. He wants to see me again. I probably will let him, but I didn’t promise.”
Kenny is being out Nice Guy’ed by Qasim. Oh, no! What’s an incel to do?!?
Kenny’s mind was whirling. He liked the quiet and shy Kat better, and he hated that she seemed so intrigued by Qasim. But her knowing about the Millennium Force troubled him most.
Yes, the “nice guy” likes his women quiet and compliant. Not too much of that talking business and getting ideas in your head, woman.
And he’s upset that she knows about his secret club for not doing anything. I bet she’s going to want to join and then what? Guys can’t spit anymore or walk around the locker room naked. She’s gonna make you wear a towel into the sauna! The sauna!
So Kenny tries the “What’s a Millennium Force?”
And Kat’s not having any of it, saying that she thinks it’s exciting that Qasim is infiltrating the Other Light for… reasons… some sort of reasons. Though no one exactly seems to know what the purpose is. You have the manifesto. You could just go to them and talk about it. Could discuss their questions and doubts with them. You could write and publish your own manifesto rebutting their points and distributing it out via official government channels.
Oh, you’re going to do nothing for most of the book instead?
Yeah, I’m sure that’s cool too.
Kenny stays petulant and jealous until finally, this steamy hookup happens:
“I don’t know. Maybe that instead of giving you a brotherly warning about a guy, I was just being jealous.”
“Jealous of what?”
That seemed to stop her. She looked genuinely surprised. “Don’t tease me, Kenny.”
“You needn’t be jealous of anyone seeming to have my attention. I’ve wanted your attention since the day we met.”
“Seriously? I’ve been afraid to—”
“I just figured you saw me as too young, too new in the faith, a little flaky because it took me so long to become a believer. I don’t know; maybe you thought I was too immature, hadn’t had enough real ministry experience. Or maybe you just didn’t think of me in, you know, those terms. Attention terms.”
I think we just found someone worse than George Lucas at writing romantic chemistry.
Meanwhile, Chloe calls her dad, Rayford who doesn’t know if he can make it.
“I’d sure like to be there, and we both know your mother would. We’re scheduled for Siwa tomorrow, which is more than six hundred miles from you.”
Mostly I’m just including this because Siwa reminds me of Bayek of Siwa and how very much I’d rather be playing Assassin’s creed than reading this drivel.
And back to Kenny and Kat discussing how evilly evil Qasim is with being evil and all.
And back to Rayford where God finally turns the water back on in Egypt. Rayford asks “Why now?”
But God was silent. Rayford knew well that the Creator took His own counsel, had His own schedule and agenda and clock. If it was time, it was time, and no one else had to know or understand.
Yeah, that’s just being a dick. Of course, so is collectively punishing a nation for the sins of two assholes, so at least God is consistent.
Back to Kat and Kenny’s riveting conversation:
Kenny took her elbow as they walked. “I was struck from the first by your obvious passion for the Lord,” he said.
If by “obvious passion for the Lord”, you mean attractive face, boobs, and legs, this is technically true.
“It’s something I have to work on,” he said. “How bad is that? I’m living in the millennial kingdom with Jesus right here on the throne and ever-present, and still I struggle with the flesh.”
Porn, Kat. He’s watching a lot of freaky porn.
“We’re not in heaven yet. The glorified-mind-and-body people seem to have no distractions to their devotion.”
I want the lobotomy now, Lord! Why can’t you turn me into a mindless celibate robot?
“The undecideds trouble me more.”
And yet, nobody seems to think to go to Jesus and say, “Hey, Lord, it really kind of sucks that you’re actively torturing Uncle Bob because he was a Buddhist. Is there some way to knock that shit out?”
“If it’s hard for me to be as devout and consistent as I want to be—with my heritage and my work—I can’t imagine what it’s like for those who stubbornly want to insist on their own way.”
Or maybe they just don’t like the idea of being a brainwashed, sexless Jesus zombie robot.
“They’re easy targets for the Other Light,” she said. “What a name for the resistance, huh? They really worship the Lesser Light. The Way Lesser Light.”
It’s like RAAAAAAIN… on your wedding day! Obvious irony is obvious.
They fell silent as they neared Ekaterina’s home. She reached up and intertwined her fingers with his.
And now Kenny has to change his underpants when he gets home.
“So is it my turn?” she whispered at last.
“To tell you my first impression of you.”
“That’s your call.”
“I found you courtly.”
“I told you wearing a full plate mail suit of armor would pay off one day, Mom!”
Kat decides she doesn’t want to work with Qasim anymore and wants to transfer departments.
“It’s unlikely my parents would put you in my area. My mother was on to us from the first day.”
“Oh, how embarrassing! It showed?”
Inappropriate erections are always noticeable.
“Well,” Kenny said, “if our relationship is going to be educational, we ought to start on the way to work tomorrow, wouldn’t you say?”
“Just tell me when to be ready, Professor Williams.”
I don’t mean to beat on the George Lucas comparison, but we’ve just found more nauseating flirtation dialog than, “I hate sand.”