This Week’s Left Behind Friday: Narcissism and Unreliable Narrators

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As promised, here is the first of what I plan to be many posts connecting to Fred Clark’s magnificent weekly seminar in What Not To Do for writers, Left Behind Fridays.

This week’s edition:

What Would Rayford Do? (Do The Opposite)

For those of you who’ve had neither the misfortune to read the Worst Books On Earth nor the pleasure of reading Left Behind Fridays before, a bit of context:

Several years before this scene takes place, the Rapture occurred.  All prepubescent children (including fetuses) and Real True Christians (as opposed to Catholics, Mormons and other apostates – the acronym used on Slacktivist is “RTC’s”) were taken bodily to Heaven.  Rayford Steele and the other protagonists took this as a sign that they should dedicate their lives to Christ.  It would be wrong to say their behavior didn’t change – immediately upon conversion, they all started behaving like lifelong members of Tim Lahaye’s evangelical subculture – but they didn’t become noticeably better people.  In some ways, they became worse.

Just before the Rapture, Rayford – an airline pilot – was carrying on some sort of weird quasi-affair with his head stewardess, Hattie Durham.  Two years later, she’s the girlfriend and personal assistant of the Global Potentate (the Antichrist, Nicolae Carpathia.  Yes, really.), and he is said potentate’s personal pilot.  Despite the fact that Rayford supposedly belongs to an RTC resistance cell known as the Tribulation Force, he hasn’t taken advantage of any of the obvious opportunities this presents.

New York, Chicago, London, and a number of other cities across the world have just been nuked on Nicolae’s orders.  World War III has begun, but Rayford has transported Nicolae safely to his capital city in New Babylon.  Left at loose ends, Rayford has been invited out to dinner by Hattie.  Rayford’s primary concern in this scene, as an RTC and a married man, is to avoid all appearance of impropriety.

No, seriously.  That’s it.  He is concerned with neither: a) getting his legs broken by Nicolae’s bodyguards for nosing around Nicolae’s First Lady, nor b) pumping said First Lady for information.  But that’s for another post.


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