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Thank God I'm An Atheist : Excerpt: Part I


Since Tasmania seized her independence from the Australian United States (AUS) the Prime Minister Kelvin Rutt declared, and enforced, a blockade of Tasmania’s apple exports. Tasmania’s President Paul Lemmon threatened Military action against the AUS, if the embargo was not lifted. A major confrontation with possible world-wide ramifications was looming.

To the amazement of everybody in the world, particularly President Lemmon, the Curia agreed Pope Luther Zugzwang I should make an appearance at the Republic of Tasmania to attempt to solve the impasse, breaking the embargo and restoring peace. Despite his initial reluctance God convinced the Pope he must go ...

Chapter 37:

After the Pope’s annual “World Communication Day” address meeting Cardinal Ignus Fatuus Finagle arranged a secret meeting with Cardinal Stroonz and Cardinal Verchoose. Finagle expressed his fear that the Pope was going bonkers, and that he had gone too far this time! Stroonz and Verchoose agreed to the meeting and confessed that they had met previously and discussed their fears.

‘Verchoose knows how to...’ Stroonz’s voice trailed away.

Verchoose glared at him.

‘You know how to what... what is it you know how to?’ Finagle asked excitedly.

‘Well I can’t really say, but I do know of a racing trainer who said he once did away with the favourite and made himself a lot of clean away with it. He said a forensic scientist friend of his on the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency concocted a brew for him which he said is absolutely guaranteed to leave no trace,’ Verchoose said.

‘I certainly wouldn’t want to see a poor helpless horse hurt, but... if... a friend of mine... Well let’s say, this person wanted to minimize risk in a sort of race... well, um, could your trainer friend obtain a vial, or whatever of this substance, so to speak?’ Cardinal Finagle asked.

‘I didn’t say he was my friend!’ Cardinal Verchoose snapped at Finagle.

‘Anyway, what’s the answer? Is this substance available, DAMN IT!’ Finagle retorted.
‘Shoosh, not so loud... I’m sure it could be arranged. Anything is possible, for a price of course.’

Finagle lowered his voice to a Whisper.

‘Could you find out how much it would cost for a small quantity... enough to bump off a small horse... actually a very small horse... or maybe an old goat... in size, I mean?’ Stroonz gave a wry smile.

‘Hey! You don’t think the Pope is using something? ‘Speed, or something like that... would explain a lot of things?’ Finagle suggested.

Verchoose thumped his hand down on the table so suddenly and hard that both Finagle and Stroonz jumped.

‘That’s enough of this hypothetical wish- wash brothers,’ he said.

Chapter 38

Cardinal Finagle was leaning against one of the columns in the great hall with his head bowed and his hand across his brow when Cardinal Stroonz walked up to him.

‘Hey Finagle, you look to be deep in thought there, something serious troubling you or have you just got a bee in your biretta?’

Finagle gave him a sickly grin. ‘I am extremely concerned about Pope Luther, he appears to be teetering on the brink of having his mental cookies crumble,’ Finagle said in a worried voice to Stroonz. ‘And to compound the problem we have this latest disaster, his World Communications Day Address. It is a real problem Stroonz... it was broadcast live to the world... God only knows what people might say about his batty ideas.’

‘Perhaps he should be in the loony bin... that’s where he belongs, Stroonz mused as he stroked his chins... but it’s a bit late dear Finagle to do anything about that now.’

At that moment Cardinal Verchoose head of Vatican Security walked swiftly around from behind Finagle’s leaning post, grunted, and held out a small folded strip of paper for Finagle. ‘Read it later in your room,’ Verchoose said, and continued on his way.

Cardinal Finagle watched him until he was out of sight, and with trembling fingers unfolded the paper holding it close to his chest. Stroonz leaned as close as he could towards Finagle struggling not to look as though he was leaning forward as far as he could trying to read the content, but he overbalanced and tripped onto Finagle, squashing one of Finagle’s patent leather shoes. Finagle limped a few steps away, and held his free hand up to discourage Stroonz from trying to read the note.

‘Don’t ever do that again, Stroonz, or I’ll whack you one across the kisser with my biretta.’

‘Oops... so-rry. But what does it say?’ Stroonz pleaded.

‘Nothing!’ Finagle replied. ‘Nothing I can talk about, anyhow. Just that, well...maybe a pressing problem could be about to be solved.’ The broad evil smile spreading on his face obviously meant there was indeed something in the note, which pleased him enormously. Cardinal Finagle swung his back to Stroonz, and could not resist one more quick peek at the note to assure himself that it was real. The typed note simply said: “US $100,000 in gold, followed by what he took to be a telephone number.” Still beaming, Finagle pushed the note into his cassock pocket.

‘Sorry Stroonz,’ he said excitedly.

‘But I must leave you now... have to... to, ah... do some phoning around some people who... ah, and call in some favours.’

Chapter 39

Several days later Pope Luther called a meeting of his staff including the Secretarial Cardinals:

Cardinal Adchoous, entered the room with his finger under his nose. Pope Luther pointed at him. ‘I hope you’re not going to be like Iffy here, and pick your nose.’
‘No your Holiness I was merely suppressing a rather violent sneeze,’ Cardinal Adchoous said with a tinge of defiance.

Cardinal Ignus Fatuus Finagle complained bitterly to Pope Luther for calling him Iffy.
‘Well you are a bit,’ Pope Luther replied.

‘Come in, come in,’ Pope Luther called beckoning Cardinal Barabbas who was standing at the doorway with his hands behind his back. He was followed by Cardinal Careah, the only completely bald Cardinal in the secretariat. Cardinal Felix was smiling at a joke which Cardinal Careah had told him involving Cardinal Grumpadim who was not at all happy about Cardinal Felix being happy about a joke about him. Cardinal Abidah was behind them huffing on his glasses trying to clean a stubborn mark from them and nearly walked into the door post.

Cardinal Finagle, Chief Advisor to the Pope, Cardinal Stroonz, Chief of Vatican Public Relations, and the Chief of Security, Cardinal Verchoose were already with Pope Luther.

‘Where is Cardinal Narcisa?’ the Pope asked looking around the faces before him.

‘Don’t worry about him,’ Finagle said.

‘He’ll be sleeping, as usual, with that big white cockatoo thingy, what’s-his-name, on his shoulder.’

‘Morris,’ Cardinal Abidah volunteered.

‘Morris that’s the name of his cockatoo.’

‘OK,’ the Pope said. ‘Now, you have had plenty of time to come up with some of your chapters Let’s get started on those you want to offer in the proposed draft for the next book I am writing, we can do without Cardinal Narcisa anyway.’

There was a plate of fruit and nuts for each Cardinal, and silver jugs of cold drink spread around the large table.

The Pope had a highly polished apple on a lace doily carefully spread on a gold salver with a gold paring knife next to it. He beamed when he saw it. ‘My thanks to whoever thought to give me my favourite fruit. I am most grateful.’ In his mind the voice interrupted the Pope once again:

‘Hear me well. You must call Cardinal Narcisa to be here before you do anything else... anything!’

‘I have decided it will be better if we do have Cardinal Narcisa here for the meeting. Iffy, go fetch him at once.'

Finagle stared at the Pope without moving. ‘Please your Holiness don’t call me by that name,’ he pleaded.

Pope Luther ignored him and clapped his hands – ‘NOW!’

While Finagle was fetching Narcisa the Pope casually picked up his apple and started to cut it into quarters ready to eat - the way he liked it.

‘Before you do ANYTHING else!’ The voice boomed in his head.

‘God, you’re becoming a real bossy boots... ’

Pope Luther nearly fainted as he choked on the words and was afflicted with a severe spasm of apnoea as he tried to look as if somebody else had spoken the words.

The Cardinals stared at the Vicar of Christ, who it seemed really had gone bonkers. Pope Luther waved his arms toward them.

‘Get on with it... whatever you are supposed to be doing... NOW!’ He yelled.

Cardinal Narcisa, complete with Morris on his shoulder was escorted into the room by Cardinal Finagle. Morris immediately leapt from his master’s shoulder, thrust out his large wings, and flew up in a flurry of downy feathers.

He let out a most outrageous ear- piercing squawk as he launched himself into a dive directly at the Pope.

[to be continued in next post]

Ron Thomas has served as an Australian Airforce Officer and also served in the Malay Emergency in the 1950's.He won inventor of the year 1988 for a method for typing Chinese characters with only five keys. It is now used by Chinese persons for typing sms text in mobile phones.

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