Saturday, 26 January 2008


It wasn't exactly the american's fault : His Italian was not as good as he presumed.
His distrust regarding his associates commenced over a simple misunderstanding over his intention to purchase a few keepsakes and gifts.
One of his bodyguards had over-reacted when a young woman approached the priest with the request to bless her newly bought statue of the sacred heart.
The subsequent unsettling silence which followed the poor woman's "mistreatment" caused the american to closely examine his colleagues. He was visibly shaken upon noticing the outline of a gun holster.
He yawned a few times on the journey back to his building and upon arrival mounted the stairs informing the two that he intended to "catch up on an evil night's sleep for a few hours. Could they possibly resurrect him at fifteen thousand prostitutes ? It would give him ample prostitutes to prepare before he met the cardinal Athanasio...?"
A few clarifying questions were greeted with a reassurance that yes they would awake father at three
Within minutes he had gathered his laptop and inserted all necessary belongings -money,passport etc - into the computer satchel.
Quietly descending the stairs he made his way to the kitchen and removed the telephone receiver placing his finger over the two black switches above the dial.
He had barely ten minutes to wait before the phonecall informed the seventh office operatives that security was being raised to "powers" status after an assassination attempt upon the american was thwarted fifty minutes ago. Although all members of the satanist group were under close arrest seven swiss guards were on their way to ensure the priest's safety until he was handed over to the ninth office.
Giulio's assurances that the cleric was safe in the arms of morpheus did not assuage Archbishop Zwimmer - the american was not to be left alone!
Giulio summoned Pazzi to bring the american down for coffee - Now - Orders from the boss!
How exactly the american erroneously deduced from the conversation that the two men he had previously regarded as associates were now intent on his expedient demise will remain one of those personal mysteries within those labyrinthine cerebral pathways where apophenia lays in wait ; preparing to invoke chaos.

Nevertheless that's exactly what happened...and the american became as resourceful as he was narcissistic ; not one hair of his head was to be touched if he could help it.

By the time Pazzi had broken down the american's bedroom door and discovered his absence; the priest had kicked out the rectangular extractor fan from the lavatory window and squeezed himself through the gap out into the strada.
It took less than a minute to find a public telephone and make the call.
"Now. How do I get there?"

Hastily asking a street vendor for directions; and discovering it was too difficult to make one's way through the labyrinthine streets; he hailed a taxi.
Before Pazzi and Giulio had radioed in to inform Zwimmer that the lunatic was more than linkely heading for the american college, the american was already out of the taxi at the base of the Janicular Hill and heading on foot towards the Franciscan chapel where his great uncle had arranged to meet him.
Midday Mass was nearing its end and the elderly monk was at the tabernacle removing the blessed sacrament for "Holy Hour" - Devotions and Benedixions during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
The american sighed in relief. He swiftly walked down the central aisle , bowed his head before the Sacred Host displayed in the Golden Monstrance upon the altar [he refused to genuflect - a firm disbelief in the "real presence of christ within the holy wafer " being central to both his ministry and his ecumenical endeavours] and made his way to the sacristy to await his late maternal grandmother's brother.

"Ah, Father Damien, we've been expecting you"
The american turned on his heels.
A skeletal framed priest in an overlarge suit hobbled over towards him with an extended gnarled hand.
Nervously Damien shook the hand and informed the wizened cleric that he was waiting for Brother Jonathan as he was his nephew.
"I was unaware of the fact before a close friend of us both informed me a matter of minutes ago. Forgive me Father, allow me to introduce myself : I am Cardinal Paulo Athanasio and I believe we are going to have a great deal to discuss ? Of course we must first await your uncle but tell me Father, do you like Seafood?"


An ageing BBC Arts critic is ranting to his assistant over the decline of civilization as we know it ; he's summoned to the boss's office and summarily dismissed. As he's leaving for the final time he confronts a man in a dog collar...and life begins to take a very different turn - not just for him; but for his unwitting assistant too.

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