It is, with certain, a time of the changes this balmy (or, in the least I am lead to believe it is balmy—lacking in both access to the dry world direct and an olfactory sense that could appreciate its charms, I must go by secondary reports, and the view from my Oval Office window, which does show a world quickly grown a-green and beblossomed) April Fools' Month: Terry O'Schiavo did pass out of this vale of tears and beyond the aether, as did the King Pope of all Cathol. While it was clear that Terry of Schiavo should and shall simply be succeeded by the next most eatingly disordered American—much as Miss America Deidre the Downs, should she be assassinated, would be replaced by the First-Vice-Miss America, Jenn-if-Fur Dew-Point—who shall be the new Cathol King was a matter a great deal more curious. As near as I could ascertain there is not a Vice-Pope, and it seemed unlikely that his mythical Man God Mother Father would deign to Him/Her/Itself personally name a replacement. Or, in the least, the Magical Sky Faerie had yet to do so. I grew concerned.
Traditionally, it would be my assistant Rob to whom I would bring such requests for comments, but as I have had him on so many varied and sundry tasks since taking office, he is oft-times unavailable to clarify matters properly. As such, I have found much and fortunate use in the primary (in fact, at this time, yet still the sole) member of my Cabinet, the Ex-President George Double-Yew. I fear Double-Yew grows fearfully bored in his Cabinet, because he was much excited to speak volubly on the topic.
"Okay, Squidgy; back in 2003, when the Pope got so sick, good ole Karl walked me through the whole process—Hey . . . " there was a quizzical pause of the voice eminating from my Cabinet, and then the Ex-President continued, "What's Karl up to in this here new administration?"
"You ate Karl Rove?" he asked.
"Who ate Karl Rove?"
"Robert Mugabe ate Karl?"
What a troublesome houseguest has that Mr. Mugabe proven to be! Lucky it is for him that he is such a fine player of the cribbage. Each afternoon, in the rain or in the shine, Mr. Mugabe does sit in the Rose Garden, without my office's once-french and now french-fortified doors equipped with quite cunning waldos, and we do cribbage until we are done. It is hard to find of the fine crabbageurs. Their occasional eccentricities can thus be excepted. "Yes. Well, he ate significant portions of Karl Rover.
"Is he still staying in the Lincoln Bedroom."
"Yes; Mr. Mugabe dwells in the Lincoln Bedroom with his trophies. Karl Rover is mostly buried in the Rose Garden." I did not choose to mention Mr. Mugabe's new Throne.
"Has Mugabe eaten anyone els—"
"Double-Yew!" I had become vexed, "I see not how this is of the moment! Can we leave Mr. Mugabe's dietary habits for another time? Yes," I punctuated by knocking my primary hunting tentacle atop the Cabinet, "Mr. Mugabe has grown quite fat and listless; yes," another sound knock, this with my secondary, "We all fear for Mr. Mugabe's health. Nonetheless, these matters Vaticanial are of the essence; might not the smoking gun present itself in the form of a catholic mushroom cloud?"
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Please stop banging on my box; it's scary in here when you bang on the box."
"I apologize, Double-Yew. Please, please continue, without distraction."
"Well, a'right. As I recall, once the Pontiff-in-Chief goes to the Better Place—"
"The roiling volcanic rifts of the mid-Pacific?"
"— eh . . . nnnno. Um, dies. Once he dies— did he die?"
"Did I not mention it?"
"When did he die?"
"Early in this Month of April Fool."
"Okay. Well, once he's out, then the Holy, uh . . . Collective? Yeah, the Holy Collective of Cardinals—"
"Saint Louis' Cardinals?"
"No. These are priests, with the Catholic Church."
"So, then, Mr. Mark Mac Wire will not be called to the process?"
"Well, firstly, McGuire retired from the Cards in 2001— has he come back out?"
"Okay, then secondly, it isn't the ball club, it's the priests that decide. That's what I'm trying to get to."
"Yes," I nodded solemnly, "I was the joshing."
"I understand. It's hard, when you don't have the speech writer."
"I have a speech writer."
"I mean when you've gotta talk off the top of your head, without the speech writ out in front of you. You get all confused. It's okay."
"Nobody knows the troubles I have to see, Double-Yew."
"I know Squidgy. I'm with you. We're strong. Do you want to hear about this Pope thing still?"
"And you'll stop interrupting? 'cause you're getting us all off-tracked. No writers an' all..."
"Yes. Please continue without even the narrowest lacuna."
"Right, so, the Pope dies— which he has— and the Holy Collective of Church Cardinals has, like, two weeks to pull it together at the Sistine Chapel, where they all sit down in secret and vote on little slips of paper. Each Cardinal— and there's, like, a gross of 'em— gets one vote, and can vote for any Catholic man, although they usually vote for some other Cardinal. If two-thirds of the Cards go for the same fella, then he's it. If it's less than two-thirds, then they burn the ballots and start over again. The no-decision ballots burn black, and the black smoke goes out the chimney, and so folks know nothing's decided. The decision ones burn white, and when folks see the white smoke, they know that the new Pope's been chose. There's some other age rules and such— and some sort of rule about how long the recounting and such can go on before they switch over to using a simple absolute majority— but that's the meat of the deal: one Card, one vote, two-thirds majority."
"So, then, if I am correct in my understanding, then you are telling me that these 144 men—"
"Old men. Real old men."
"Yes, these 144 elderly males decide the Pope—who is leader in supreme of how many Cath-o-Licks?"
"Like, a billion. Karl'd know, if . . . that's the sorta thing I'd ask Karl. You shouldn't of let Mugabe eat him. Karl was a swell guy, and a good staffer. Couldn't you ask your lab buddy."
"Rob is in Detroit on business. One billion is close enough. Are you sure it is one billions?"
"World wide? Hell yeah. At least. There's 120 million in Africa, and that isn't the most Catholic place around, if you take my meaning. Mr. Mugabe is from Africa. Catholics aren't known for eatin' up on well-meanin' ex-Senior Advisors." I detected the lightest piqu in Double-Yews voice, a peevish snippishness, but let it pass.
"144 men run, at their whim, the lives of one billion. Do you know what this sounds not like, dear George?"
"I . . . your, the way you said the question is sorta confusing; could you restate—"
"Democracy, Double-Yew!" I fear, in my excitement, I did pound most forcefully and fearful-making upon Double-Yew's Cabinet, which brought a cry of fears piteous. "This sounds not like Democracy! If 25 million of the Iraqis deserved of our intervention to wrest them from the clutches of that sinister Saddam Who Is Sane, then it is certain that one billions of worldwide grunt chimps deserve no less!"
"It is decided, Double-Yew. We are to liberate Vatican City from its captors, and let the Cath-o-Lick ex-patriates of the world choose their new King Cathol with the democratic free elections!"
There was silence from the box; I do believe that George the Double-Yew was much struck of the awe at my leadership in this troubled and troubling time. I was charmed, both at his advising service, and that I had so much impressed such a distinguished Ex-President with my admittedly novice Presidenting.
"George of DOuble-Yew; would you care for a window in your Cabinet."
"Yes; its really dark in here."
"It is settled! Democracy for the Cath-o-Licks, and a window for you! And for America, bereft of their Schiavo these two-weeks past, I guarantee the Vice-Schiavo shall be coronated and incomatated afore this April Fools' Month is out like the Lamb-Ion!"
And America, this promise, I do promise it to you.
Your Giant Squid
These United States
Post-Scriptorum: After this important meeting, our enemy was finally named. Benedict The Sweetest of the Sixteenth, you shall hear us of the coming, for we come for you, sir.
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