Mercy’s Mountebanks

Scene of cataclysmic satire. Place: the inner sanctum of Casa Sancti-Mony, wherein Cardinal B. is in conference with brilliant artist, Ambrosio the Fabuloso. At stake is a matter pertaining to the spiritual ecology of all…

Ambrosio the Fabuloso:
AND AS YOU CAN SEE, THE ENTIRE MONUMENT WILL MEET ALL YOUR REQUIREMENTS. YOUR CHISELED CHEEKS, YOUR WHITE-AS-SNOW SMILE,
YOUR OUTSTRETCHED ARM SIGNALS THE DAWN OF THE NEW AGE.

Cardinal B:
HOW TALL?

Ambrosio:
45 FEET, FATHER.

Cardinal B:
TOO SHORT.

Ambrosio:
BUT WE’VE JUST BARELY CLEARED OUR COSTS, FATHER JORGE!

Cardinal B:
I’M CRYING INSIDE FOR YOU, BELIEVE ME.
WHAT ABOUT THE MATERIAL?
{A knock at the door}
WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT?

{Door Opens. Father Tom pokes his head through.}
Father Tom:
HOLINESS, I WAS WORKING ON YOUR REMARKS FOR WEDNESDAY AUDIENCE. I’VE GOT SOME REALLY GOOD ZINGERS THIS WEEK.

Ambrosio:
A CLASSIC BRONZE, FATHER JORGE.
TO RIVAL MARCUS AURELIUS, AND GATTAMELATA.

Cardinal B:
SOUNDS LIKE PIGEON CRAP.

Father Tom:
HOLINESS, SORRY TO INTERRUPT.

Cardinal B:
SHUT UP AND STAND THERE, YOU IMBECILE.
I GET ZINGERS FROM SPADARO AND HIS BLUEBIRD PROGRAM.

Father Tom:
YOU MEAN TWITTER?

Cardinal B.
I MEAN SHUT UP, I’M BUSY!
{Father Tom turns to exit}
WHERE ARE YOU GOING?

Father Tom:
OUT OF THE ROOM, HOLINESS.

Cardinal B:
DID I TELL YOU TO GO OUT OF THE ROOM?
{To Ambrosio} I WANT SOMETHING SHINY.

Ambrosio:
YES, FATHER. {scrolls through tablet}
YOU CAN SEE HERE THE LUSTER OF THIS POLISHED NICKEL.

Cardinal B:
THAT’S MORE LIKE IT. FIFTY-FIVE FEET FROM BASE TO CROWN.
NOT AN INCH LESS.

Ambrosio:
FATHER, THE COST ALONE WILL TRIPLE.

Cardinal B:
WHAT DID I TELL YOU BEFORE?
{To Father Tom as he attempts to slink out the door.}
DID I TELL YOU TO GO OUT OF THE ROOM?

Father Tom:
NO, HOLINESS.

Cardinal B:
AND SAVE THE HOLINESS CRAP FOR WHEN THE CAMERAS ARE ROLLING. NOW GET OUT AND WRITE SOMETHING THAT’S GOING TO DRAW A CROWD. IF THOSE CROWDS GET ANY SMALLER THE TV GUYS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO ZOOM IN ON MY FACE AND STAY THERE.
LIKE THAT STUPID SALT AND VINEGAR PROGRAM.
IT’S SO OBVIOUS NOBODY WATCHES.

Father Tom:
ACTUALLY, I THINK IT IS CALLED SALT AND –

Cardinal B:
-YOU WANT SALT AND THE BACK OF MY HAND TO YOUR UGLY HEAD?

Father Tom:
NO, DEAR LEADER.

Cardinal B:
PISS OFF. {Exit Father Tom. To Ambrosio}
NOW YOU, COMPLAIN TO ME MORE ABOUT MONEY.

Ambrosio:
FORGIVE MY WEAKNESS. I WILL DO ALL I CAN.

Cardinal B:
{Scribbling on paper} HERE. I WANT YOU TO CALL THIS NUMBER. WHEN THEY PICK UP TELL THEM VITO SAYS THAT THEY’VE GOT 90 DAYS TO CLOSE A PARISH AND SELL IT. NO QUESTIONS. 90 DAYS. $2,500,000.00 AMERICAN DOLLARS.
{Exit Ambrosio. The phone rings. Cardinal B. Answers}

Cardinal B:
PRONTO. EUGENIO, HOW ARE YOU? {Kicks back and flicks on the television.} JUST WORKING ON A BIG CHARITY PROJECT. AND MY NEXT SERMON. YOU HEARD ABOUT THAT PROJECT, EH? WELL, THEN LET ME TELL YOU. IT’S GOING TO BE ONE HELL OF A MONUMENT. FOR THE NEXT THOUSAND YEARS PEOPLE WILL LINE UP THERE AND SAY,
“JUST HOW AMAZINGLY HUMBLE WAS THIS GUY?”

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