Portraits in Alienated British Youth Circa 1989-90, Part Eight:

Flushed Down The Toilet

There’s a question I just know you’re dying to ask right now—“dude, if you’re talking about True Faith, why do you have a cover scan of Preacher #1 at the top of your article?”

It’s a reasonable thing to wonder, to be sure, but as we’ve already mentioned before, the core conceit at the heart of Preacher—namely, that Jesse Custer is out to kill God himself—is the very same one at the heart of True Faith, and since this segment focuses on would-be God-killer Terry Adair, it seemed an appropriate enough way to really drive the point home visually.

Besides, truth be told, despite the fact that Warren Pleece’s art for True Faith—complete with watercolors done by his own hand—is absolutely spectacular, it’s damn near impossible to find many good reproductions of it online, and I don’t have a scanner, so—there ya go. I’ll show some art when and where I can, of course, but don’t sue me if they’re not the finest examples, or if the images reproduced don’t directly correspond with the chapters of the story under discussion. I’m making due with what I’ve got here—you’ve been warned.

Anyway, Terry Adair. His story runs concurrently with Nigel’s in chapter one (“The Warriors”), and is pretty damn bleak. As we’ve already seen, his language is replete with plumbing metaphors, and there’s a reason for that—he’s a “toilet and toilet-related products” salesman, and is obviously quite “into” his job. And why not? It’s all he’s got left now that his wife and son are dead.

When we first meet Terry, we learn that he’s a devout Christian—or was, at any rate. On September 12th, 1989, he’s praying in front of a statue of Jesus at his local church, begging God to help his wife through what’s sure to be a complicated delivery at the hospital. He tells his purported savior that he’s very thankful for his new job and that he wants to make the most of it for his soon-to-be-bigger family because he “loves them more than anything in the world”—before correcting himself and adding “except for you, Lord.” So, yeah, he’s definitely a true believer at this point.

Later that day, however, that would all go out the window when his wife dies of, according to her doctor, “massive internal haemorrhaging” after giving birth to “a male infant” who lived for exactly one minute. When next we see Terry, it’s three days later on September 15th, where he swears on the gravestones of his son and wife that he’s gonna find the Lord of Hosts and finish him off once and for all. (We learn via her stone’s inscription, that she was 22, although Terry appears to be be more of a mid-30’s guy himself—not sure if he married somebody younger, or if tragedy just ages you that quickly.)

Ennis intersperses a darkly comedic scene with some “mourners” at the funeral who don’t even know Terry’s name yet feel qualified to offer up the less-than-helpful advice that “there’s lots of fish in the sea,” but when next we encounter our burgeoning deity-slayer, it’s September 19th, and he’s at the bar (in part two, “The Wolf And The Sheep”—as discussed in our previous installment).

And, of course, that’s when Nigel decides to follow him, semi-surreptitiously, and see what this “entertaining nutter” (in his view, at any rate) is all about. Bad move. But we wouldn’t have much of a story without it.

Which brings us to part three, “The Scheme Of Things.” Terry ducks into his apartment and quickly re-emerges carrying a backpack-type bag full of who-knows-what, at which point Nigel, finding the door unlocked, decides to enter the residence and have himself a look around. The place is pretty well trashed, but he finds a journal that more or less lays out the complete backstory of his mysterious new “friend,” written almost entirely in those aforementioned toilet-themed metaphors. Oh, and there’s a big old fucking uzi on the table, too.

Where’s Terry at while all this amateur snooping is going on? Why, he’s down at the church—the very same one he prayed to God to look after his wife and child in—and he’s fire-bombing it and machine-gunning the preacher. I guess now we know what sort of crap he was hauling around in that sack, don’t we?

Upon reading the journal’s final entry, wherein Terry lays out the full extent of his plans, Nigel understandably freaks out and makes a mad dash for the door while intoning “get the pigs get the pigs get the pigs” to himself—but it’s too late, and he’s hung around far too long. Terry’s back home, in the doorway, “scattergun” in hand, and refers to Nigel as “blockage”—which, as any plumber knows (and Terry says) is “very bad.”

And things are about to get very bad for Nigel, indeed. As well as for Terry. In ways they can’t even possibly begin to imagine. We’ll be tracking that downward trajectory in our next segment—hope to see you then!

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Ryan Carey maintains a B-movie (with occasional comics-related content) blog at trashfilmguru.wordpress.com, and writes about films and comics for sites such as unobtainium13.com, dailygrindhouse.com, geekyuniverse.com, and now Sequart. You can follow him on Twitter @trashfilmguru.

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