Meeting minutes 5

Before the cock crows, sir.

Les cardinaux Beauchamp et Richelieu (29 October 2020)

God: Good morning, everybody. Please, be seated. We are gathered here today to close out case number 4,022,785,102. Subject by the name of Florence Belleville. Peter, would you please read the closing report?

Peter: Right away, sir. Hit it, John!

John hits the play button on the boombox. In slow motion, to the tune of “Chariots of Fire,” and while the rest of the Apostles jump up and down and cheer him on with arms pumping high in the air, also in slow motion, Peter does 20 push-ups, 30 pull-ups, 50 crunches, 15 air squats, 30 mountain climbers, and 25 burpees before stealing third base where he uses the javelin to catapult himself up to the mezzanine where the closing report safety deposit box is stored in a locked vault, which he opens by turning a golden key three times to the left and then a silver one four and a half times to the right, and from which he draws a wax-sealed envelope, which he holds in his mouth all the way down the fireman’s pole to stand on the stage behind the microphone.

Père Joseph Bertrand LeBoeuf (30 March 2021)

Peter, cracking his knuckles, breaking the seal on the golden envelope, and reading into the microphone off the piece of paper he pulls from it:

Office of the Most High

From the Desk of God

Case number: 4,022,785,102

Subject: Florence Belleville

Mission: Get the subject to love God

State of the Mission: Accomplished

Case: Closed

Signed: God

Père Emmanuel Philibert Foucart (8 January 2021)

God, joining the Apostles in doing the wave, and clapping and cheering: Amazing work, boys! Amazing!

Luke, John, Mark, and Matthew join Peter on the stage behind the microphone where they pass around the golden Mission Accomplished trophy while crying and hugging each other.

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

Mark, taking the trophy and kissing it before holding it high above his head: Sir, we’d like to acknowledge the quintessential role Toothpick played in helping us accomplish the mission. We could not have done it without her!

Matthew: In fact, sir, we were thinking we could send her a little thank you gift. There’s this book called Morgan Morning that she loved and treasured, but that Ma threw in a bonfire one day along with some pucker brush and a bunch of other junk from the house.

God: Who in hell does that kind of thing to a kid?

John: Ma does, sir.

God: And this woman was allowed to have children?

Mark: A shit pile of them, sir.

Jesús: No juzguéis, y no seréis juzgado; no condenéis, y no seréis condenado; perdonad, y seréis perdonados.

God, speaking through a break in the cloud that has just formed in front of his face: This is my Son, whom I love; in him I am well pleased.

Silence as God and the Apostles watches Jesus be led by the Spirit out the door and into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

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

God, turning to Peter: Now Peter, where were we?

Peter: Sir, Matthew here had just suggested we pick up a thank you gift for Toothpick, sir.

Matthew: That’s right, sir. Morgan Morning.

God: That’s a great idea, boys! Pressing the call button on the phone: Nancy, I’ll need you to make an order on Amazon for a book called Morgan Morning.

Nancy: We boycott Amazon, sir.

God: We do what?

Nancy: Boycott Amazon, sir.

God: Since when?

Nancy: Since you read that article in The New Yorker, sir. You said that jerk Jeff Bezos wouldn’t get another red cent of your hard-earned money, sir.

God: I said what now?

Nancy: You said that jerk Jeff Bezos wouldn’t get another red cent of your hard-earned money, sir.

God: Nancy, what’s a couple dollars? Just this once, I swear. For convenience’s sake.

Nancy: A boycott is a boycott, sir.

God, to the Apostles: How the hell’s a guy supposed to get his trinkets?

Snorting and sneering from the Apostles.

Mère supérieure Marie-Marthe Desneiges (5 February 2021)

Nancy: Sir, I could order it from Greenlight Bookstore. Shall I have them gift wrap it, sir?

God: Do that, Nancy. And go with the free two-day shipping option.

Nancy: In-store pick up only, sir. Shall I mark it as urgent, sir?

God: Time sensitive.

Nancy: Morgan Morning, gift wrapped, in-store pick-up, time sensitive. Noted, sir!

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

John: Sir, we were about to acknowledge the help we received from Jesus, here present.

Jésus, transpiring through the wall all while munching on a fish, taking his seat at the right hand of the father, and raising his hand by his face: Yo soy.

God: Proceed.

John, taking the trophy and holding it high over his head: Sir, we’d also like to acknowledge the help we received from Jesus, here present.

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

John: Without his help, the subject would not be engaging in regular, fruitful conversations with you, sir. You would not, for example, be texting with her under the table right now!

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

Luke: You blew up into a fiery rage at me for doing that last week, sir. Singed off all my hair, sir.

Mark: And his eyebrows.

John: Nose hairs, too, sir.

God: Is that what happened? Sorry about that, Luke.

Luke: It’s okay, sir.

God: Still. Jesus, why don’t you go down to the garden of Gethsemane after this meeting, spit into some dirt you find there, and make your friend Luke here a nice revitalizing mud mask for his bald head.

Jesús: Hágase tu voluntad.

God: Luke, we’ll have everything grown back by nightfall.

Luke: I appreciate that, sir.

God: Well, gentlemen, unless you have anyone else to thank, I think it’s time we congratulate ourselves on a plan well executed! Let us lift our cups in celebration!

All, lifting their cups in celebration: Praise be to God!

Jesus: Pasa de mi esta copa.

God: I don’t get it.

Peter: He doesn’t want to drink the cup, sir.

God: Right, but this is Krug Grande Cuvée Brut.

Mark: Good stuff, sir.

Matthew: The best, sir.

Luke: I could drink it all night, sir.

Jesus: Velad.

God, looking down at his phone that has just pinged: That little bitch!

Peter: What is it, sir?

God, handing Peter the phone: Just read it.

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

Peter: “My heavenly God, Father, and Savior. Your goodness is as deep as the ocean, your patience as infinite as the stars in the sky. Though I am nothing but a sinner, you shower me with the gift of your love. In you I have refuge; in you I have everything I need. I sing my praises to you, Lord, my all-powerful, and all-knowing, and eternal God. I pray, Lord, that you would help me say goodbye to my father. I would do it myself if he were still alive, but he’s dead, as you know. I could really use your help on this one, Lord! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Luke, taking the phone: Not bad; she’s gotten pretty good.

Matthew: When did she move past petitionary mode?

John: Last week.

Mark: She needs to work on the confession, though. There’s no confession in there. Unless of course I missed it? Can you read it again?

Luke: “My heavenly God, Father, and Savior. Your goodness is as deep…”

God, in a loud voice: Silence!

All the Apostles, pissing their pants: Right away, sir!

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

God: Peter, where in hell is this coming from? The man is dead!

Peter: It’s Dr. Felipe Martinez, sir.

John: You can’t help but believe whatever comes out of that mouth of his, sir.

Matthew: You just want to make out with a mouth like that, sir.

Luke: All night long, sir.

Mark: And then the whole next day, sir.

Matthew: Hot, sir. Very hot.

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

God: Do we have a picture of this Dr. Felipe Martinez?

Peter: Sir?

God: Yeah, what’s up Peter?

Peter: If I may, sir, and I mean no disrespect, but there was also that Roz Chast book.

Mark: That was your idea, sir.

Luke: Totally one hundred percent your idea, sir.

Peter: Sir, when the subject didn’t pick up the copy you’d left for her on that stoop on Willoughby Street, you could have left it alone, sir. But no, sir. You led her home from work via Fulton Street the day Roz Chast would be reading from her work at Greenlight Bookstore, sir, and you insisted she pop in with you, sir. There was only one book left on the guest author bookshelf, sir.

John: The memoir, sir.

Matthew: You did it on purpose, sir.

John: She never would have picked that book up on her own, sir.

Mark: Never liked memoirs, sir.

Luke: Doesn’t even really like Roz Chast, sir.

Matthew: Understandably, sir. Cutesy little anxiety-ridden characters just aren’t that funny, sir.

God: Boys! Do we need to rescind this woman’s PhD? That book is all about saying goodbye to your aging parents before they die!

John: Before they die, sir, that’s right.

Luke: You’re not wrong there, sir.

God: Do I need to remind you that there’s a plague raging down there? Ma could die in it before the subject has done the work she needs to do! The woman’s a hundred years old!

John: Eighty-six, sir.

Matthew: That’s right, sir. Eighty-six.

Luke: Eight six, sir.

Père Francis Maillard de la Morandais (10 December 2020)

Peter: For once in her sorry life, sir, the subject may be on to something. This whole business with Pa must be laid to rest, and right away, sir. We must help her. She’ll go at it on her own, otherwise, and probably fuck it all up and make it worse.

All the Apostles, holding their hands in prayer and pleading: Let’s help her, sir! Please, sir!

God: Very well, then. Peter, let’s plan to meet you and me in my office tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn. You have 19 hours to gather up all the documents and draw up your report and mission details.

Peter: I’ll be there, sir.

God: At the crack of dawn, Peter, and not a minute later.

Peter: Before the cock crows, sir.

God: Go in peace.

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

To be continued…

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