Dreamed 1981/7/24 by Chris Wayan
I'm at a big family reunion. Grampa and his old friends swap stories. The Pope even drops by, and spends half the evening talking with a cynical old friend of Grampa's. The pope likes him so much he nominates him as a successor. And he's not even Catholic! When the Pope dies, his candidate has to compete with several Church-backed candidates, but they deadlock: each one's made enemies. The old Pope's whimsical choice prevails.
As his first act, Pope Curmudgeon I sends out mustard greens and broccoli to bless the masses. The crowd sends back a complainer: "At least three worshipers committed suicide when they found they'd eaten mustard--that's a mutagen, you know! How could you poison the masses with mustard? Those deaths are YOUR fault."
Pope Curmudgeon says "I'll go out and meet the people. Though I can't remember their address..."
Most of his acts are bizarre from an orthodox standpoint, but to me they have a poetic resonance. The parable of the mustard seed all over again! And the masses reject the new body of Christ-as-broccoli, the new vegetarian loaves and fishes... well, they didn't appreciate Jesus much when they had him, either.
Mutagenic, inducing change... it's just too spicy and risky for them.
Now the Pope disappears! The Vatican officials are troubled, search all over for him. Was he kidnapped? Unclear. Turns out there ARE kidnappers, but they didn't go after HIM--they snatched the Pope's girlfriend! (What, you'd thought he become celibate just for some damn job? The old coot has his priorities straight!) So the crazy old individualist bastard went off to rescue her alone.
No ransom notes, so he hasn't been caught himself... but no messages from him either.
The Catholic hierarchy from the grassroots up were squealing to the skies about their eccentric Pope when they had him, but now that they don't... they all miss him! Start to appreciate his changes. Or at least his entertainment value.
As I start to wake, I'm walking through the empty, echoing domes and colonnades of the Vatican, alone in this vast place, like Jesus's empty tomb. Christianity's gone hollow! For everyone's out hunting, still.
Hunting for Pope Curmudgeon.
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