Once upon a
time, there was a cozy little city-state called Vatican City. It
was a beautiful little place filled with astonishing architecture,
priceless artworks, and the biggest collection of red socks anywhere
in the world.
lived there hated the dump. Because it was run by the College of
Cardinals, a crusty group of conservative clergymen who clung to
outdated religious doctrine and who were so old that they farted
of the College of Cardinals were so old that they farted sawdust.
to change our image, screamed the ancient Cardinal St. Louis,
the dean of the college. The problem is that we always elect
a dried up old prune as Pope, so that everyone who perceives us
as old-fashioned and out of touch. We need a hip, young man as the
pontiff so that people will think of Catholicism as trendy.
a great idea, chief, responded Monsignor Monjunior, the ecclesiasts
sycophantic and mysteriously effeminate aid de camp, but you
elected the sitting Pope for life. How are we going to elect a new
one with the current pontiff still breathing?
out, responded old Cardinal St. Louis. Didnt you
see The Godfather, Part III? It said that everyone in the
Vatican was a ruthless bad ass, and its time we started living
up to that. Theres only one problem: We want a Pope whos
got a young, hip image, but is so completely empty-headed that hell
do and say everything we tell him to do. Where are we going to find
anyone that stupid?
At about this
time, a young muse named Jonny M. was being fired from his job at
Washington Mutual Bank. The deceptive muse had told everyone that
he was laid off because the companys headquarters had moved
to San Antonio, Texas, not wanting them to know that he was really
fired for getting drunk and inserting Xerox copies of his pale,
flat buttocks in customer statements for the month of July. Sadly,
Jonny logged onto Monster.com to look for a new job. Wanting a gig
more closely related to nature, he made a search agent based on
the phrase shit in the woods, and was returned with
one job listing:
Jonny looked hard in the mirror. Thanks to his daily regimen of
apricot scrubs, cucumber wraps and bikini line exfoliation, he had
the youthful appearance of a man twenty years his junior. And thanks
to his valuable collection of headgear that he had purchased for
the many photo composites he had posed for over the years to promote
his spectacularly successful acting career, there was no question
that the muse looked magnificent in hats. With his qualifications
in order, Jonny high-tailed it for Vatican City.
When the muse
arrived in St. Peters Square, he was stunned at the number
of freaks who were applying for the job. Pro-Life advocates, Pro-Choice
advocates, Pro-contraceptive advocates, Anti-contraceptive advocates,
women who wanted to enter the clergy, homosexuals who wanted to
enter the clergy, and countless other deviants who wanted to influence
their own personal cause. Seeing the multitudes that he was competing
against, Jonny knew his chances of winning the job were slim but
(knowing that he would probably get it, or this idiotic card would
have no story) the muse got in line and hoped that the priests interviewing
him never read Jonnys
stunned at the number of freaks who were applying for the job.
sex! screamed ancient Cardinal St. Louis after interviewing
a feminist lesbian who had just conceived a baby with rocker David
Crosby. All any of the applicants want to talk about is sex!
Abortion-this and contraception-that. With the exception of covering
up our priests natural attraction to those smoking hot altar
boys, I dont want to know about sex. What we need is
a Pope who is youthful and cool enough to update the Churchs
image, but repellant enough to both sexes so that no one would ever
think of sex when he was around!
Just as the
words were coming out of the Cardinals mouth, the drunken
figure of Jonny M. came stumbling through the door of the Sistine
Chapel. The College of Cardinals had made the mistake of directing
the interview line just past the closet where the sacramental wine
was stored, and the muse had broken the lock and guzzled down several
bottles before the Vatican Guard could overpower him and brutally
pummel his face.
to talk to God personally, slurred Jonny. Those bastard
guards smashed my new bridgework, and I demand retribution!
Louis gave Jonny a long hard stare. He thought the muses pierced
ear and beatnik goatee gave him a Johnny Depp-like quality which
the young people would like, but his ghastly complexion and animal-like
stench made the idea of sex with the muse revolting to even the
most desperate of believers. And Jonnys sloping forehead and
mindless stare betrayed a lack of sentient thought that made him
ideal for parroting the churchs narrow-minded doctrine. The
ancient Cardinal decided to test Jonny with the most basic question
he could come up with.
asked the old man, are you feeling about birth control?
control? mumbled Jonny while trying to choke back vomit. I
just tell women about my various genital sores and disgusting sexual
kinks and it ceases to be an issue.
abstinence! responded the septuagenarian holy man with delight.
Thats exactly what I was hoping to hear! I think Ive
found our new Pope!
muse was about to object that the abstinence was the womens
idea, not his, when the aged Cardinal lit up a Lucky Strike and
began blowing white smoke rings out of the Vatican window. Jonny
could hear jubilant cheers from St. Peters Square, and decided
to keep his mouth shut.
your name be? asked Cardinal St. Louis.
asked Jonny quizzically. I was called Hairless Hips
all through high school and I made porn films under the name Bruno
Rathburn in the eighties, but other than that...
Popes pick a new name for their Papacy, interjected the ancient
Cardinal. Most pick a name of a former Pope, but you may select
any name that you feel projects your own inner spirituality.
The noble muses
eyes lit up. All through his life, there had been one spiritual
beacon that had guided him through his many times of troubles. With
a gravity that surprised even him, Jonny gazed up at the graffiti-filled
ceiling above him (which he made a mental note to have painted over
as soon as he took over) and solemnly intoned the one name that
inspired him above all others.
be called ... Pope Elvis.
that he loved his new position as Pope. Aside from giving an incomprehensible
blessing from his bedroom balcony every Sunday and having the odd
meeting with Muslim officials to apologize for quoting 14th century
Byzantine emperors, there wasnt that much to the gig. And
unlike the muses other jobs, the management loved him because
he would happily sign any piece of paper they put in front of him
and he would parrot any archaic article of outmoded religious doctrine
that they gave him to recite.
It was a match
made in heaven, and Jonny loved it. Jonny did his best to update
the Papal image, granting audiences to hip, young stars like Paris
Hilton and Shakira, making sure that the meetings were heavily covered
by Tiger Beat and Teen People. As Pope, Jonny wasnt allowed
any poon tang, but if he was feeling randy he would go down to the
nuns in the rectory and say something off-color so that they would
rap the crap out of his knuckles with a ruler, which satisfied Jonnys
sick, primal urges better than anything he used to find on the Internet.
And when Jonny looked around at the perks that came with the position
- a fantastic wardrobe, opulent living quarters, people falling
over themselves to kiss his ring - he decided he could get in line
with this abstinence thing with no problem.
nuns would rap the crap out of Pope Elvis' knuckles with a ruler
Jonnys aide Bishop Flogda would come into his magnificent
apartment in the Vatican to give him his itinerary for the day.
Jonny would breakfast on consecrated host and waffles as the Bishop
would go over his personal appearances. Jonny was especially excited
as December had arrived and not only was it almost his birthday
on December 15 (in which gifts of alcohol continued to be preferred
over anything else), but he would be celebrating his first Christmas
as Pope. When the night before Christmas Eve finally came around,
the muse could barely sleep, he was so excited.
As I understand
it, said Jonny to his aide, Christmas is not only about
presents and parties and my cranking out this idiotic card every
year, but it is also loosely connected to this Christianity thing
that Ive been hearing so much about since I took on this job.
the last three Popes well into senility, Flagda assumed that Pope
Elvis had simply gone out of his mind ignored Jonnys rantings.
Instead, he was there to go over the Pontiffs appearances
for the day.
being Christmas Eve, we want a really good photo op, said
the Bishop, anxious to get back to the cute young altar boy he was
sodomizing in St. Peters Basilica. Youve got a
downtown soup kitchen to denounce. We got word that theyre
handing out condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS in the neighborhood,
so youve got to shut `em down before Jesus comes back and
gives us hell for it. It will be a great Christmas message for the
and soup? asked the unsightly Pope as he tried to push the
pleasure he was getting from rubbing up against his satin body pillow
out of his mind. Disgusting! I found a condom in my split
pea once and those bastards at Hometown Buffet threw my lawyer out
of their office. Those witnesses who said I put the condom there
myself didnt know what they were talking about. Now, its
payback time! To the Popemobile!
the Popemobile! screamed Jonny
The soup kitchen
that he arrived at to reproach was a far cry from Jonnys extravagant
living quarters in Vatican City. It was a flea-ridden rat hole crammed
with the lowest depths of humanity. It was the type of place Jonny
was seen in constantly before he became Pope but now that he was
the Holy Seed, he was revolted by the squalid conditions. A few
of the more disgusting hoboes remembered Jonny from the old days
and called him by name, but he pretended not to know them, saying
his name was Pope Elvis I, not Jonny, and that he was here to see
When he went
into the office, Jonny wasnt prepared for what he saw: the
enabler of these pathetic wretches was a member of a group not recognized
by the Church. It was ... a woman! Shocked at what he saw, the pompous
pontiff grabbed a vile of what he thought was Holy Water and threw
it at the trollop.
of Christ compels you!, screamed Jonny, not exactly sure what
he was saying but feeling like he was behaving somewhat Pope-like.
it off! yelled the woman. Thats all I have to
anoint the sores on these poor bums feet. Do you have any idea how
painful it is to walk around on unanointed sore feet?
held a crucifix in front of him like Dr. Van Helsing in an old Dracula
mind that, screamed Jonny, holding a crucifix in front of
him like Dr. Van Helsing in an old Dracula movie. I
know whats going on here. My network of spies tells me that
youve been given out condoms to these poor souls! Dont
you realize that every sperm is sacred, you harlot?
replied the woman. And cut the harlot crap. My
names Sophia, to emphasize the Italian setting of this moronic
story. As for the condoms, these poor bums can barely keep their
own lives going. Do you think that they can handle raising a kid?
Do us all a favor and start worrying about the people who are already
here rather than worrying whats dripping off Jenna Jamesons
you dare talk to me that way, yelled back the muse, hoping
to God no one realized just how gross that last paragraph was. Not
only am I the Pope, but Ive saved Christmas for all kinds
of freaks for the past fifteen years. Just check out my Christmas
Card library if you dont believe me. With the possible exception
of Jonnys Prison Christmas, I have an unblemished record of
making the world a better place for everyone!
you sit around your palace in Rome thinking that youre doing
the right thing because youve got religion behind you,
countered Sophia while straightening her pro-choice tee shirt. Your
cards used to be about saving Christmas for people who had lost
their spiritual direction. Now all you seem to care about are bizarre
religious rituals regardless of whether anyones spirit is
salvaged or not. Is that what Christmas means to you?
prepared for the Pirandelloesque direction this years card
was taking. He was used to being the pro-Christmas guy, and he didnt
like taking a back seat in this area. The muse took a long look
at his adversary, and was unimpressed by what he saw - she was covered
in sweat from working long hours in the kitchen, and her faded tee-shirt
looked stained and tattered from too many wearings. She didnt
hold a candle to the magnificence of his silken robes and designer
footwear. But she seemed to possess a spirtuality that Jonny lacked
for all his religious posing; and as Christmas Day was approaching,
the muse sensed that she seemed more attuned to the true spirit
of the season than he (although Jonny had to admit that part of
it was that she was a hot chick, and this abstinence thing was getting
on his nerves). Jonnys head was spinning - he never learned
anything new in this idiotic cards, he only pontificated pompously
at others. He quickly determined that this chick was messing with
his head, and hed better get back to the splendors of his
apartment in the Vatican to pull himself together.
been waiting for you, your Holiness, said ancient Cardinal
St. Louis, his senility too embedded to register Jonnys ashen
complexion. We need to go over the Bible verses for your Christmas
blessing tomorrow. Ive highlighted some stuff you might want
The muse was
stunned - Biblical verses in a Jonny Christmas card? Jonny took
the yellow-markered Bible from the old clergymans hands and
started leafing through the Cardinals notes. Not everything
in the Bible made sense to him (some of the passages in Deuteronomy
really grossed him out), but the more he read, the more he thought
that this Jesus guy had some really revolutionary ideas on how to
live life. The noble muse kept coming back to one passage in particular:
instructed His disciples that they should take nothing for their
journey, except a mere staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their
belt; but to wear sandals; and He added, Do not put on two
gives? asked the confused Pope to the decrepit Cardinal. I
thought this whole Christianity thing was about forgiving everybody
their weaknesses and casting aside worldly goods to pursue spiritual
enlightenment. Im supposed to be the leader of a whole sub-cult
of Christianity, and I live in unbelievable splendor. When I reflect
on my WWJD mood bracelet, I dont see him passing out parables
from a 900,000 square foot palace. Why dont we sell off all
our riches and do our preaching in poverty, like Jesus did?
The old Cardinal
stumbled for an answer as he reached for the Vatican Guard Hot Line
to have Jonny murdered in his sleep and replaced with some Italian
who didnt ask so many questions. But before he could reach
the phone, a brilliant shaft of light filled the room with radiance.
Jonny and the Cardinal looked up to see the smiling face of Jesus
beaming down on them.
before the old Cardinal and Jonny.
picking up the groove, Jonny, said the Savior. I like
where youre coming from.
asked the stunned muse. We werent expecting you. We
would have picked up the place a little if we knew you were coming
sweat it, replied Jesus. I just stopped by on my way
to a birthday party that Buddha and L. Ron Hubbard are throwing
for me. I just wanted to tell you not to be so hard on the old Cardinal
here. He may not be putting out the word the way you see it, but
hes doing the best he can. Thats all I ever asked of
anybody ... do the best you can with what Dad gave you.
about Sophia? challenged the pompous muse. Isnt
she doing her best as well? How can you have two such opposite factions
both claiming to represent you?
petty arguments dont have anything to do with me, responded
Jesus. I just provided the doctrine. Its up to you cats
to interpret it. But I wanted to drop by on my way to the party
to remind you what this season is about. Its not to focus
on our differences, but to remind us that whatever religious and
social differences get on your nerves throughout the year; youre
all the part of the same human family. And families need to get
along and love each other despite their differences. And if you
can really sit down and think about that on Christmas Day, maybe
it will serve as a gentle reminder all of the days of the year.
Is that the time? exclaimed the Savior, looking at his watch.
Ive got to run. Buddha invited all the old Greek gods
to the party and if I dont keep an eye on Dionysus, hell
spike the punch again and well have to stop Zeus from coming
down here and marrying another mortal. You think you guys have problems!
yourselves a favor and love each other, said Jesus as he disappeared
into a soft haze of light. If youre too thick-headed
to do it for yourselves, make it a birthday present to me. Its
all I ever really wanted anyway.
Jonny was pissed.
First Sophia had chewed him out about not knowing the true meaning
of Christmas, but now Jesus had stolen the big, inspirational speech
he always made at the end of the stories and delivered it himself.
The muse looked over to the Cardinal to continue the argument, but
was stunned to see the old man with tears in his eyes.
been a fool, yelled the churchman. Ive been so
narrow-minded that I forgot the true message of Christianity. From
now on, I vow to be less of a hard-line asshole!
asked Jonny. Does this mean that youll cast aside all
the worldly goods of the Church and do Jesus work in poverty?
not get carried away, replied the Cardinal, pouring himself
a snifter of $900 a bottle brandy. But I am going to try and
be more tolerant of other peoples points of view. I may not
agree with what theyre doing, but Ill try to open a
dialogue so that perhaps we can work together to make the world
a better place. And perhaps if I become more tolerant of them, they
will be more tolerant of us.
So all was happiness
in Vatican City. Jonny faked his own death to avoid assassination
by the Vatican Guards, and Cardinal St. Louis installed himself
as Pope Varian I, taking his name from the Latin word for the
changeable one and bringing a mission of tolerance to the
church until his death three months later under mysterious circumstances
after alienating himself from the Churchs conservative right.
Monsignor Monjunior left the priesthood to run off with a Venetian
gondolier named Romeo. Jesus continued to be the major religious
concern in the Western Hemisphere (except in Hollywood, where Judaism
and Scientology were the leaders by a wide margin). And Sophias
soup kitchen continued to be a place of hope and comfort for the
destitute until it was discovered that it was really a money laundering
front for a Roman cocaine ring and shut down by the Feds.
of all was Jonny M. As he looked around at his friends living in
peace and happiness on this Christmas Day, he felt a surge of pride
in knowing that he had contributed to it. So, with his nether regions
on fire after living in abstinence for the last six months, he raced
back to the soup kitchen to grab some condoms and beg Sophia to
throw him a mercy screw.
Sophia for a mercy screw.
to you, dear friend. Whether you are celebrating Christmas with
friends, Hanukkah with family, or commemorating the season by sending
gifts of alcohol to Jonny for his birthday on December 15, know
that you, too, are an indispensable member of the human family who
has an inexhaustible supply of opportunities to make the world a
better and safer place each and every day of the year. And know
that you always have a loving friend in Jonny M.
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