Meeting minutes 4

That sounds like a win-win to me, boys!

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 43 years, has completely defecated on the plan.

Laughter from Luke.

Peter, putting on his reading spectacles: Defected, sir. The subject, Florence Belleville, aged 43 years, has completely defected from the plan.

Mark: We’re terribly sorry, sir.

Matthew: We totally suck, sir.

Jesús: Padre, perdónalos, porque no saben lo que hacen.

God, smacking the table with a gavel: Forgiven!

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

Peter: Not to worry, though, sir. All is not lost. The good news is that we were successful in dropping the subject deep in the Wilderness. She is currently floundering around in there, averaging a daily stress level reading of 274 over 80 just as planned.

John: She thinks her life is over, sir.

Luke: Also just as planned, sir.

God, high-fiving Luke: That is fantastic news! Good work, team! You should be proud of yourselves!

All the Apostles, high-fiving and slapping each other on the backs: Good game! Good game! Good game!

Père Joseph Bertrand LeBoeuf (30 March 2021)

Jesús: Abominación al señor es todo el que es altivo de corazón; ciertamente no quedará sin castigo.

God, speaking lowly to himself: How in hell does he remember all this shit?

All the Apostles, tearing at their robes, shaving their heads, pounding their chests, weeping, and sitting in piles of ashes: Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy! Lord, have mercy!

God, smacking the table with a gavel: Mercy granted!

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

God: Now let’s get back to the matter at hand. Peter, where were we?

Peter: I was just about to tell you the other good news, sir. The other good news, sir, is that the subject’s hunky-dory churchy friend was successful in delivering a copy of the Bible to the subject. It is currently sitting in the subject’s West Elm industrial storage coffee table.

Matthew: It’s like a big drawer for stuff you don’t want cluttering up your space, sir.

John: Stuff you don’t have any use for, sir.

Mark: Junk, sir.

Luke: All kinds of junk, sir.

God: That little bitch!

Père Emmanuel Philibert Foucart (8 January 2021)

Peter: Which brings me to the bad news, sir. The bad news, sir, is that the subject still doesn’t love you.

John: Not even a little bit, sir.

Luke: Sir, she doesn’t even like you.

Mark: Sir, I think it’s more a question of pure indifference.

Matthew: I agree with Mark, sir. Pure indifference.

God, looking down at his phone and reading softly to himself from “1: the quality, state, or fact of being indifferent. 2: absence of compulsion to or toward one thing or another. Synonyms: apathy, casualness, complacence, disinterestedness, disregard, incuriosity, incuriousness, insouciance.” Looking up: Peter, do we have a cause for the subject’s absence of compulsion to or toward me?

Peter: We do, sir: the subject simply does not know you. But don’t worry, sir, we’re going to change that. 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.

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

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.

John: Sir, to get the subject to read the Bible, we first need her to read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way.

Mark: Cheesy as fuck, sir.

Matthew: With all its God the Creator shit everywhere, sir.

Fake hurling noises from Luke who pretend pukes into an imaginary bucket.

John: Sir, the exercises in this book will revive the subject’s inner artist child, otherwise known as Toothpick1, whose mission it will be to get the subject to enter into communication with the only person who can lead the subject back to you, sir.

Peter: Which is to say Jesus, sir, here present.

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

John: We are going to introduce that book to her through a certain Dr. Felipe Martinez.

Matthew: A shaman, sir. Argentinian.

Mark: Caliente, sir.

Luke: Muy caliente, sir.

John, wetting the tip of his pointer finger with his tongue and touching it to his behind: Tssss.

Mark: You just want to lick him up one side and down the other, sir.

Luke: And then some, sir.

Peter: Sir, to get the subject to see Dr. Felipe Martinez, we are going to increase the pressure reading of her lichen sclerosis from the dull roar she’s been dealing with since her separation to an enraging, torturous, and relentless flare-up.

John: She’ll want to kill herself, sir.2

Mark: You would, too, sir.

Peter: But before she does, sir, she’ll go see her primary care doctor who, after examining her again and growing even more convinced that most of this is probably in the subject’s head, will do the very unexpected thing for a Western doctor to do of suggesting that the subject see the spiritual healer that some of her other patients with chronic ailments have sworn by.

Luke: Dr. Felipe Martinez, sir.

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

God: Excellent work, boys! Do we have an appointment set up with this Dr. Felipe Martinez?

Peter: We do indeed, sir. It is scheduled for this coming Tuesday the eighth day of October at eighteen hundred hours. They are going to celebrate what he calls small victories, and then expel a bunch of crap from her body through a hole in her abdomen.

Luke: Not a real hole, sir.

Matthew: Real crap though, sir.

John: Shit piles of it, sir.

Mark: Stuff she didn’t even know was festering in there, sir.

Luke: Poison, sir.3

Peter: Sir, once the subject is freed from this shit pile of crap festering inside her, we will be able to enter the homestretch phase of the mission. I am going to hand it over to Matthew who has prepared a PowerPoint presentation that breaks down the different steps of this homestretch phase.

Matthew: Thank you, Peter. Thank you, God. John, if you could hit the lights? Thank you. Reading from the first slide: “1) October – February: Five one-hour long sessions with Dr. Felipe Martinez from Argentina.”

John, wetting the tip of his pointer finger with his tongue and touching it to his behind: Tssss.

Matthew, reading from the rest of the slides: “2) November – April: Reading of The Artist’s Way and execution of the exercises contained therein. 3) March break – May: Reading and study of the Bible. 4) (Animated by fireworks) Early June: Love fest. 5) (Animated by 30,000 dancing chickens) THANK YOU!!!!

Mère supérieure Marie-Marthe Desneiges (5 February 2021)

Peter: As you can see, sir, we have given great thought to the timeline of the homestretch phase. Once the subject is back in your fold, we will be able to draw up the closing report and draft up the new plan for her life. We will have these documents ready for you by mid-June, sir.

God: This is fantastic, boys! I’ll have Nancy schedule a closing meeting for June 15th at zero eight hundred hours!

James, bursting into the room, pulling Peter aside, and whispering: Peter, we have intel. The subject has just bought tickets to Columbia for March break. Handing Peter a letter: Read this.

Peter, reading the letter to himself then whispering under his breath: That goddam blockheaded thick-skulled manure-for-brains little bitch! Try to help this woman and what does she do? Shits all over your house, that’s what! Give her a roadmap to heaven, she rips it up and throws it right in the garbage! Hand her a solution to all her problems, she turns around and pisses all ov-

James: Peter?

Pater: Thank you, James. Go in peace. Waving the other apostles over to read the letter.

Mark: Dumb broad!

Matthew: Idiot tramp!

Luke: Moronic hussy!

John: I don’t know, I kind of like her.

Peter: Somebody’s got to tell Him.

Lots of scuffling and whispering, some name-calling, finger pointing, and bitch slapping followed by several rounds of Rock-Paper-Scissors.

Matthew, emerging from the huddled mass: Sir, we have intel. The subject has just bought tickets to Columbia.

God: Fantastic! She’s going to love it!

Matthew, showing God the letter: If I may, sir?

God, nodding his head: By all means.

Matthew: clearing his throat:

Office of the Most High

Once a Catholic, Always a Catholic Club

Department of Rhetorical Questions

Re: Wouldn’t I be better off dead?

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 the answer to your rhetorical question, “Wouldn’t I be better off dead?” is no. Only God, and on very rare occasions one’s mother or father (with the authority invested in them by God), can end anyone’s life. Ending your own life is a sin punishable by an eternity in the flames of hell, as all members of the Once a Catholic, Always a Catholic club know.

Sincerely, Magdalena A. Platz

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

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

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

God, nodding his head yes. By all means.

Matthew, reading from the letter : p.s. Sounds like someone might need a little healing and self-care! Have you thought about a meditation retreat? I know this kind of thing never did much for you when you and your ex were exploring it, but maybe it will be different this time! Especially if you go somewhere beautiful and exotic and really far from home! You have a whole two weeks off for March break! Why not use that time to go meditate in the mountains outside Medellín? Believe me, it will be worth the time you will put into planning it, the sleep you will lose on the overnight flight, and all the stress you will surely experience worrying about whether you can make your connecting flight from Bogotá to Medellín in the 42 minutes allotted for this. Just pack super light, and don’t check in any luggage. If I were you, I would start looking into it right away; today, in fact! Good luck!

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

God: Does it, now?

Peter, turning to page 102,194 in the Office of the Most High “Once a Catholic, Always a Catholic Club” Department of Rhetorical Questions, and reading: “11c.9g.45, clause 789.9d: 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: Magdalena is on vacation for two weeks, sir. In the Bahamas, sir. I could set up a Skype for fourteen hours today, sir.

God: Do that, Nancy.

Nancy: The tiny little hot pink bikini, sir?

God: Make it the peeny weeny little turquoise number with the scalloped bottom. The one that has all those skinny little straps that crisscross on the back.

Nancy: You’re thinking of the white one, sir.

God, closing his eyes for a moment: With the sailboat pattern?

Nancy: That’s the one, sir.

God: Perfect, let’s go with that.

Nancy: From under a parasol, sir?

God: How about from one of those changing tents at the edge of the beach?

Nancy: Alone or accompanied by a couple friends, sir?

God: We can do that?

Nancy: We sure can, sir.

God: I like that. Okay, then. Go ahead and throw a couple friends in there, Nancy.

Nancy: Magdalena, peeny weeny little white bikini with the scalloped bottom and all those skinny little straps that crisscross on the back, fourteen hundred hours, from one of the changing tents at the edge of the beach, accompanied by a couple friends. Noted, sir!

God: Thank you, Nancy. Taking his finger off the call button: Frankly, boys, I see absolutely no problem with a meditation retreat in the mountains outside Medellín. That sounds like a beautiful place to sit down and read the Bible.

John: Very beautiful, sir.

Mark: Perhaps the most beautiful, sir.

Luke: It’s where I’d go, sir.

God: And let’s not forget that I’ve got a plague scheduled to hit the Americas right about then. Anybody dumb enough to get on a plane out of the country during a plague is not getting back in without quarantining for fourteen days. In fourteen days, she could get through that Bible at least one more time!

John: Possibly two, sir.

Matthew: Maybe even three, sir.

God: That sounds like a win-win to me, boys!

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

Peter: Sir, the subject will pack light: one carry-on backpack and a small tote. That Bible will not make it into either one of those bags, sir. If she is not home for March break reading the Bible, she will derail the entire timeline and set us back for who knows how many more years. We cannot let the subject get on that plane, sir.

God: Let’s get the folks at the news stations to talk non-stop about the plague then! Have them use some nice war vocabulary! Scare her into staying home!

Peter: Sir, that’s a very logical proposition, but the subject doesn’t really listen to the news anymore.

Matthew: You wouldn’t either, sir.

John: Same old shit, sir.

Mark: Depressing, sir.

God: I see. Do we have any ideas?

Peter: If we may confer, sir?

God: Five minutes.

Apostles huddle in a corner. Whispering, charades, crumpled up paper accumulating on the floor.

Peter: Sir, after much conferring, we have reached consensus on the best plan of action. We need Aunt Rita over at the CDC to advise her against traveling.

God: Who’s Aunt Rita?

Mark: Ritza Cotts, sir.

God: Oh, Clarice Coleman.

Peter: Right. Like we said, sir, we need Julie over at the CDC to advise her against traveling.

God, pumping both fists proudly in the air: Yeeessssss! Good old Julie! I knew I put her on the path of infectious diseases for a reason! Let’s get that phone call rolling, boys!

John: Unfortunately, sir, it won’t be that easy.

Luke: They’re estranged, sir.

Matthew: Haven’t talked in years, sir.

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

God: This human race and its petty family dramas! I should just wipe it from the face of the earth and be done with it once and for all!

Mark: You told Noah you wouldn’t do that again, sir.

God: Did I?

Matthew: You made a promise, sir.

John: A solemn one, sir.

God: Even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood?

Jesús: Si siete veces al día pecare contra ti, y siete veces al día volviere a ti, diciendo: Me arrepiento; perdónale.

God: Just a partial annihilation? A little something to put them in check?

Jesús: Siete veces.

A long silence during which God and Jesús engage in a staring contest.

God, blinking and then turning to the Apostles: Okay then, let’s get back to business. Peter, the phone call. Do we have a plan to make it happen?

Peter: We do, sir. Kickoff is set for the end of February, right before the plague hits. I’m going to hand it over to Mark who will guide us through the play.

Mark, blowing into a whistle, and then hollering through a megaphone while scribbling a bunch of x’s and o’s and lines on a 27 x 34 Present-It Easel Pad mounted on the wall: After the snap, we will execute a screen pass, forcing a flea-flicker that will turn into a hook through which the subject can slant by establishing either an option route or a fly route, to be determined by the speed with which she can get to the skinny post where she can chose to either drag, post, or hitch!4

All the Apostles, huddling around Mark, with one hand in the center of the circle, which they release up towards the ceiling, and yelling: Go team!

Mark, blowing his whistle: Go get ‘em, boys!

Père Francis Maillard de la Morandais (10 December 2020)

God, nodding approvingly: Impressive play, boys. Impressive play.

Peter: Guaranteed to succeed, sir.

God, pressing the call button on the phone: Nancy, please schedule a closing meeting for case number 4,022,785,102 for the 15th of June at zero eight hundred hours.

Nancy: The usual coffee and donuts, sir?

God: Make it foie gras and a couple bottles of champagne, Nancy. Krug Grande Cuvée Brut.

Nancy: Closing meeting, 15th of June, zero eight hundred hours, a couple bottles of Krug Grande Cuvée Brut. Noted, sir!

God: Thank you, Nancy. Taking his finger off the call button: Gentlemen, excellent work here today. Go in Peace.

All the Apostles: Let us give thanks and praise to the Lord, our God!

To be continued…

  1. If you’re just joining us now and have no idea who Toothpick is, see blog #52: Left to right (28 January 2024). ↩︎
  2. He’s not kidding. See blog #27: What can it hurt? (6 August 2023) ↩︎
  3. He’s not exaggerating. See blog #20: Dear dad (18 June 2023). ↩︎
  4. Does she drag, post, or hitch? See blog post #21: The J in your face (25 June 2023). ↩︎

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