I woke to a pounding head. Eventually, I realized that the pounding was being supplemented by pounding at my door. If it was that fucking bishop, he was about to get his arse kicked.
I opened the door to see a seven-foot, three hundred pound gorilla (okay, not really a gorilla!) in a three-piece suit. He took up most of the doorway. He pushed past me and started inspecting all the rooms of my apartment. “Um. Care to tell me what this is about?”
King Kong ignored me as he was dialing a number on his cell. He rumbled into the phone, “All clear to bring in the bird.”
Then he turned to me. “Have a seat.”
I decided to obey, and took up my usual residence on the couch.
Another metaphorical gorilla came walking in, accompanied by a short, bald man in a black turtleneck. The turtleneck just exaggerated how short and round he was. Turtleneck sat across from me, with a gorilla on each side – neither one spoke for the rest of the “visit”.
Turtleneck seemed to be in charge. He gave me a thin, reptilian smile. “Paul, so nice to meet you. Thank you for accepting us on such short notice.”
If it came down to it, I thought I could take the fat morsel, but would be promptly torn to bits by the gorillas. That flavoured my response. “With all due respect, Sir, who’n fuck are you?”
The smile got wider. “I’ve been told about your foul mouth. You’ll find it doesn’t shake me as much as it did my colleagues you’ve already met.”
“Holy shit! You’re the next level up from that pansy-ass bishop?”
The smile disappeared. “You’ll find that I’m MANY levels up from your friend, the Bishop. He answers to many men within the Church; I answer to one.”
“And to The Almighty, of course.”
There was the smile again. “Of course. Paul, the Roman Catholic Church has been very patient with you and your little blog. I’m sure it has bought you some fame and fortune.” He surveyed my apartment, with a look on his face like he was smelling a bad fart. “But it is time to answer to your responsibilities.”
“To mankind. You have posted some disturbing information lately, with no regard for the consequences. People may lose faith in the church. Nobody wants that to happen.”
It was time to turn on the charm. “Asshole – may I call you Asshole – I don’t give a rat’s ass about the church. I’m just reporting this story as it happens. Don’t you think it could cause problems for me if I start misquoting the Word of The Lord? But I guess that’s what the Catholic Church has been doing for centuries anyhow, isn’t it?”
Turtleneck sighed. “When Joe was in charge, I could have had you beaten for that comment. My two associates were much happier in those days. Frank is a much gentler, weaker spirit: All beatings must be approved by him in advance. You can imagine how frustrating that is for us.”
“I feel horrible for you. Really, I do.”
“We’ll have to finish our conversation another day, Paul. Thank you for inviting me into your home.”