Meeting minutes 3

Now Peter, where were we?

Les cardinaux Beauchamp et Richelieu (29 October 2020)

God: Good morning, everybody. Please, be seated. We are gathered here today to discuss an urgent matter regarding case number 4,022,785,102. Peter, could you give us an update on the situation?

Peter: Yes, sir. Right away, sir. The subject, Florence Belleville, aged 22 years eight months, is currently on a plane headed to France, scheduled to touch down at Paris-Charles de Gaulle tomorrow morning at oh seven hundred hours, and from where she will take TGV number 763 to Le Mans, located along the Sarthe river in the Loire Valley with all its medieval and Renaissance castles.

God: Home of the 24-hour car race?

John: Love that race, sir.

Mark: One of my favorites, sir.

Luke: Two words, sir: Pierluigi Martini.

God: From Team BMW Motorsport?

Matthew: Mama mia, sir.

John: That suit with the zipper all the way up, sir.

Mark: You just want to rip it off, sir.

Luke: With your teeth, sir.

Peter: Sir?

God: Yeah, what’s up, Peter?

Peter: The urgent matter at hand, sir?

God: The what?

Père Joseph Bertrand LeBoeuf (30 March 2021)

Peter: Sir, we have an urgent matter on our hands. The subject Florence Belleville is currently on a plane headed to France, scheduled to touch down at Paris-Charles de Gaulle tomorrow morning at oh seven hundred hours, and from where she will take TGV number 763 to Le Mans, located along the Sarthe river in the Loire Valley with all its medieval and Renaissance castles.

Mark: To be honest, sir, I’m actually pretty jealous.

Luke: We all are, quite frankly, sir.

Jesús: ¿Nunca leísteis en las Escrituras: Aun en la risa tendrá dolor el corazón; y el término de la alegría es congoja?

All the apostles, buzzing off their hair, shredding their robes, rolling around in heaps of ashes: Forgive us, Lord, for we have sinned!1

God, smacking the table with a gavel: Forgiven!

All the Apostles: Praise and thanks to the Lord, our God!

Père Emmanuel Philibert Foucart (8 January 2021)

Peter: Sir, the subject will be met at the train station by some friends of her French professor who have agreed to house her until she can find her own apartment.

God, stroking his beard: Interesting. Homestays. Now that’s new.

Peter: Sir, the subject is not going to France on university exchange. The exchange was a year and a half ago, sir.

Mark: A year and a half ago, sir.

God: Then why in hell is the subject on a plane at this moment heading to France, boys?

Peter: Sir, the subject has completely defected from the plan.

God: That little bitch!2

Soeur Marie-Claudette des Bénédictions de l’adoration perpetuelle du Saint-Sulpice (8 November 2020)

Peter: Reports from our agents on the ground are suggesting interference, sir.

God: Somebody has got to bring those Russians under control!

Mark: Not the Russians this time, sir. A certain Mephistopheles.

Matthew: The Evil One, sir.

John: Sometimes called Beelzebul, sir.

Peter: Or the Prince of Darkness, sir.

God: Satan?

Luke: That’s the one, sir

God: Son of a whore!

Jesús: ¡Padre de mentira!

God: Shit-eating low-life snake!

Jesús: ¡Príncipe de los demonios!

God: Cock-sucking lying sack of horse manu…

Peter: Sir? We have in our possession a university bulletin dated 12 January in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred ninety-eight. John here will read the first point of interest in the section titled Campus news. John?

L’Evêque Anatole Dupuis des Augustines de l’Assomption (14 November 2020)

John: Right away, Peter. Reading from the bulletin: “Campus news. Dr. Paul Goodman to be replaced by Dr. Marjory M. Boar, effective immediately.”

Matthew: The circumstances are unclear, sir.

Mark: Something to do with a shag pad in that cozy little park behind Babbit hall, sir.

Luke: And a bunch of duct tape, sir.

John: All we know for sure, sir, is that the subject didn’t even last half a class with Dr. Boar.

Mark: None of the straight girls did, sir.

Peter: Sir, this has the Deceiver of the Whole World’s signature written all over it. But that’s not all, sir. There’s more. We have a letter. Mark, the letter, please.

Mark: Right away, Peter. If I may, sir?

God, nodding his head: By all means.

Mark, clearing his throat:

Office of the Most High

Once a Catholic, Always a Catholic Club

Department of Hopes

Re: Hope number 87, 435, 949 – that I won’t lose Eli by choosing to go to France

Dear Ms. Belleville,

Thank you for being a member of the Once a Catholic, Always a Catholic Club.

This letter is to inform you that your hope of not losing Eli by choosing to go to France will be dashed within months of your arrival there. As a result, the plaguing feelings of sadness and loneliness and emptiness, not to mention the nagging fear of abandonment resulting from a tragic childhood event you have yet to process and release, and which this relationship with Eli has afforded you a glorious repose, will return ten-fold, kind of like the way people who lose a ton of weight on crash diets put it all back on and then some. Likewise, in the absence of Eli’s words and acts to convince you of your physical beauty, the negative image you had of your body before he came into your life will not only pick up where it left off but grow increasingly warped. In the mirror, you will no longer see a sexy bitch staring back at you, but rather a monstruous and venomous pectus caratum which will excite in you near constant feelings of hatred, disgust and anger. Consider yourself warned.

Sincerely,

Magdalena A. Platz

Mère supérieure Marie-Marthe Desneiges (5 February 2021)

God: That’s a fine letter. I don’t see the problem.

Mark: There’s more, sir. Shall I read the rest?

God, nodding his head yes.

Mark:

p.s. Ultimately, I agree with your French professor: there will be other men. If what you have with Eli is meant to be, then he wouldn’t be such a pussy, and he would jump at the chance to join you in France for an adventure of a lifetime, just like you suggested. Okay so maybe you’ll have to wait many, many years to be banged as gloriously as only Eli knows how to bang you, but come on! France? You can’t not go to France! You’re 22 years old! Do you know when else in your life you’ll have this kind of opportunity? Never! Now pack up your shit and get on that plane! Trust me, you won’t regret it!

God: Damn right!

Peter: Sir, if I may point out that this letter violates our protocol.

God: Does it, now?

Peter, turning to page 98,104 in the Office of the Most High “Once a Catholic, Always a Catholic Club” Department of Hopes Handbook, and reading: “8a.5b.13, clause 1206.7b: In all correspondence with baptized defectors, the letter writer is strictly forbidden from offering advice of any kind. Violation of this rule will lead to immediate and indefinite banishment from the kingdom of God.”

God, biting the knuckle of his pointer finger and looking sharply out the corner of his eye.

Peter: It’s true, sir. I’m sorry.

God, pressing the call button on the phone: Nancy, I’d like to see Magdalena in my office this evening at seven p.m.

Nancy: Sir, the Red Sox are playing tonight. At Hooters. If you like, I could squeeze Magdalena in for high tea.

God: Do that, Nancy. Have James saddle up the horses and if you could see about a basket with a dozen or so crumpets with whipped butter and a couple jars of that fig jam I like, that would be great.

Nancy: Demi-saumur riding pants and that skin-tight jockey with the zipper open all the way down for Magdalena, sir?

God: I was thinking those mini daisy dukes and that chambray western shirt with the snap pockets.

Archevêque Ambroise Boniface dit “Le Sage” (30 December 2020)

Nancy: Tied up in a little knot high up on the midriff, sir?

God: That would be great, Nancy.

Nancy: Magdalena, high tea, mini daisy dukes and chambray western shirt with the snap pockets tied up in a little knot high up on the midriff, crumpets, whipped butter, and the fig jam you like. Noted, sir!

God: Thank you, Nancy. Taking his finger off the call button: Now Peter, where were we?

Peter: Sir, the subject has completely defected from the plan.

God: That little bitch!3

Luke: A real pain in the ass, sir.

Matthew: Thinks she can do things her own way, sir.4

Mark: Always tripping over piles of her own dried-up shit, sir.5

Peter: But not to worry, sir. We have a plan. I’m going to hand it over to John who will first articulate the mission, and then divulge the plan we will employ to achieve that mission.

John: Thank you, Peter. Thank you, God. Our mission is to get the subject to love you, sir. To ensure the success of this mission, we must first get her to like you, which means that she will have to get to know you, which means that she will have to read the Bible.

God: The Holy Bible?

John: That’s the one, sir.

God: Have you people read the Holy Bible? There has got to be another way!

Peter: I’m afraid there isn’t, sir. And unfortunately, the earliest we can get one in her hands is about 20 years from now.

God: Peter, that is two whole decades from now! Can’t we get her a copy right away?

Peter: Negative, sir. John, the plan please!

John: Yes, Peter. Sir, we know from experience that the subject is not likely to pick up the Bible of her own accord, so our plan is to force her into a circumstance where she will have no choice but to reach for it.

Matthew: We’re going to dump her in the middle of the Wilderness, sir.

Luke: That is to say, sir, into an existential crisis.

John: Sir, when the subject enters the Wilderness 20 years from now, we need her drowning in an extra high sea of regret and anger, feeling broken and rejected, empty and neglected, old and ugly, lost, and hopeless, meaningless, and unworthy of love. We also need her anxious and afraid, and completely stressed out.

Luke: In other words, sir, we need her divorced.

Peter: We understand how you feel about divorce, sir, but the subject will leave us no choice. We do hope you will forgive us for using this strategy as part of the plan. To remind you of your infinite capacity to love and forgive people’s trespasses, we have brought in Saul, whom you forgave even though he let those people stone your beloved Stephen to death that day, and who threw all those Christians in jail for no apparent reason.

Sœur Marie-Agathe de la Sainte-Miséricorde (28 November 2020)

Saul: Praise to the Lord God on high! And if you could all please start calling me Paul moving forward, I’d appreciate that.

God: Whatever you want, Saul.

Saul: Thank you, sir.

God: But Peter, come now. There must be a way around the divorce.

Peter: I’m afraid there isn’t, sir. Our entire plan hinges on the subject marrying and then divorcing her father, sir.6

Mark: Not her real father, sir. That would be a sin.

Laughter from Luke.

John: A certain Jerry, sir.7

Peter: If you remember, sir, part of the strategy of our previous plan was to build up the subject’s self-image with the assumption that she could only love you as much as she loved herself.

Mark: And you know what they say about assuming, sir. It only makes an ass of you and me!

Peter: Precisely. Based on some extensive research, we have since switched gears on this line of thinking. Sir, I’m going to hand it over to Matthew here who has prepared a PowerPoint presentation to share our findings.

Matthew: Thank you, Peter. Thank you, God. John, if you could hit the lights? Thank you. Reading from the first slide: “A self-righteous bitch operating under the assumption that she is in control of her life, will never reach for the Lord so long as a) life seems to be going well for her, and b) she feels good about herself. Therefore, only when she finds herself floundering in the Wilderness, profoundly wounded, scared shitless, angry and annoyed at herself, deathly tired, convinced of her ugliness, and in a state of absolute self-loathing will the self-righteous bitch concede to the fact that she has been wrong all these years in thinking that she could go it alone, and that she needs something greater than herself (i.e. the Lord God) to save her from the mess she has made of her life as a result of doing the very stupid thing of marrying a man whose gross neglect of her emotional and sexual needs has turned her into a frustrated, impatient, critical, miserable monster that no sane person would want to live with, least of all herself. Clicking the forward arrow on the remote, and reading from the second slide, which is animated with falling confetti and floating balloons: Thank you for listening. Fin.

Luke: , Matthew. The n is silent.

Matthew: Fã.

Les Archevêques Josephat Baduel d’Oustrac et Théodule Colrat de Montrozier (8 December 2020)

Peter: As you can see, sir, we have given this serious thought and consideration. The ill-suited marriage destined for divorce is unavoidable, and necessary, even. And we will take every pain to ensure that, when Jerry dumps her in the Wilderness 20 years from now, she is in the sorriest of states and averaging a daily stress level reading of 274 over 80.

John: Trust us, sir. When the subject’s hunky-dory churchy friend gives her a copy of the Bible shortly after she enters the Wilderness, she will not hesitate to open that thing up, nor will she be able to put it down. In fact, we estimate that she will be madly in love with you within two weeks of entering the Wilderness, sir.

Père Francis Maillard de la Morandais (10 December 2020)

God: So be it, do the divorce then. But answer me this: Why leave her in the marriage with her father for so long? Why not move up the date of the divorce a little bit? I mean, do you people have any idea how terrible the dating scene is going to be for her as a woman in her forties? In New York City? Jesus H. Christ!

Jesús, raising his hand by his face: Yo soy.

Peter: We are very aware of that, sir, and we agree that it is most unfortunate, but the timing will add to the stress and the anxiety we need her feeling when she enters the Wilderness. I’m sorry, sir, but it cannot be helped.

God: If you so say, Peter. Well, team, good work! Let’s plan on reconvening here in 20 years to close out the case. Nancy will put it on the shared Google Calendar once that has been invented.

The Apostles together: Let us give praise and thanks to our Lord God Almighty!

To be continued…

  1. The subject, too, is guilty of jealousy. See blog post #33: Pun intended (17 September 2023). ↩︎
  2. Self-righteous bitch, he means. See blog posts #22: Consider yourself warned (2 July 2023) and #34: Dumb as bricks (24 September 2023). ↩︎
  3. See footnote number 1. ↩︎
  4. Matthew’s not kidding! See blog posts Into the sunset, #17: Consider the owl (28 May 2023), #28: What a silly question (13 August 2023), #29: Over over (20 August 2023), #30: Don’t bring it with you (27 August 2023), and #35: Listen up! (1 October 2023). ↩︎
  5. Mark’s not kidding, either! See blog posts #4: The surgeon (26 February 2023), #12: A green turd walks into a locker room (23 April 2023), and #25: Yes, daddy (23 July 2023). ↩︎
  6. God’s opposition to this part of the plan does not mean he will not do what is necessary to help the subject. See blog posts #1: Art is a fortune teller (5 February 2023), #2: But first, the dog (12 February 2023), #3: Get to it (19 February), and #10: The watchmen (9 April 2023). ↩︎
  7. If you’ve read any of the blog posts referenced in the other footnotes of this text, Jerry needs no introduction. ↩︎

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