“The simple fact of the matter is that the Pope is trying to eat my brain via a remote hookup in my pillows”
That was how I started my day here at the office. Billy was sure that the “Papal Zombie Conspiracy” was active in his building and trying to devour his grey matter to ensure the future of the “Pope Child” a simian hybrid with the soul of the “Greatest Popes and Pop singers” in it. Billy’s brain containing the soul of John Lennon.
“Sure Man, whatever you say. Just keep your helmet on at night and you’ll be safe Man. Just keep the strap on tight, okay?” I passed him a large coffee from the place on the corner, with the hot Greek girl at the counter. Billy took the cup and drained the first half between sentences.
“It’s a fact Man, the Popes are gonna rule the world if I don’t keep my brain safe from their nozzles Man!” he swayed back on his chair, smoothing his hair and poking through it to check for new holes. “It’s the world Man! I’m saving the world!” He sat up straight and motioned over my shoulder.
My boss, the ever-cheerful ‘Mitzi’ Mitchell Fallon walked by us, smiling and patting Billy on the shoulder. I nodded a quiet hello and let him pass. The last thing I wanted in the morning was pep-talk from Mitzi the cheerleader from hell. There are morning people and there are night people, that’s the way of the world, right? Mitzi is an ANYTIME person, always on and always up for anything. Good for parties, shitty in a boss.
Mitzi caught my eye and stopped. “shit” I thought. “Hey Boss, how are things today?” I asked, hoping for a brief “Great”
Mitzi paused as if in thought and then grinned broadly; “Great! Things are great, you guys have the project in line, I woke up bright and early and watched the sunrise with James and we hit the gym for about an hour BEFORE work! Not even the Good Morning America guys were up yet! You know?”
He paused for a breath and Billy cut in: “hey, speaking of the project, let’s get down to it Man.”
I gave a curt nod to Mitzi and spun around in my chair to face the computer and get to work on “The Project”.
“The Project” is a seven months long refresh of the code behind our flagship website, moving it to modern versions of the scripts and taking advantage of new technology to make the site run faster and look a bit hipper for the marketing guys. The Project had been initiated by Mitzi as a side project but had become our primary function at the five month mark when it was clear that management wanted the site brought up to speed. “Wow Factor” was used alot in the meetings about the whole deal a few months back. So now Billy and I spent all day recoding and testing the back end to make sure that we could drop in in place and let the front-end guys work out the visual part of things.
Mitzi loved to get his hands into the mix but was so busy with department business that he couldn’t focus on it. Which suited Billy and I fine as it justified long hours and overtime for “consultation” at the local bars. Two hour Lunches are fine as long as when we came back we had notes about how were were going to overcome a problem at the end of the day. Sweet deal.
After about an hour or so of toying with conversions from old CGI pages to a single ASP I’d finally had enough work for the morning and stood up to walk to go to the break room. Billy snagged my arm as I left the cubicle and hissed in my ear “hey man, don’t forget that thing.”
I looked back at my desk and squatting on my keyboard was a fleshy pink miniature version of the former Pope, John Paul II.
“Bless you my son,” it squeaked at me, and made an air cross in my direction.
Billy shrieked and ran to the other side of the cubes, peering over the wall at the miniature pontif with obvious terror. He stretched his arm over the seperator and squelched “get that thing outta here, man”. He shrunk behind the seperator and began to hyperventilate loudly.
I tentatively reached for the squat holy man and snatched him from my keyboard. Gingerly, I carried the tiny Pope with me to the Break Room and deposited him on the counter while I made coffee and considered my next move. The Pope wandered around the counter space and alternatively blessed and condemned the various condiments and implements of coffee there. I sipped some bitter coffee and watched as the mini pope removed his tiny trousers and began to “water” the plants.
“Bless you my children” he squeaked.
I briefly considered dropping the tiny (but Supreme) former Pontiff in the disposal and just forgetting him; but my alter boy training stood in the way and reminded me that even miniature popes could damn my soul for eternity. Agnosticism be damned when you’re faced to face with a living, breathing dashboard prophet.
Snatching the pantless pontiff from the counter and walking down the hall to Human Resources, I left the Supreme Miniature Vox Deo in the hands of one of the HR A-As, I had left the last one with her and she was starting to build a collection.
Mitzi caught me on the way back to my desk, “I hear that we sprouted another Catholic Icon.” He grinned around giant capped teeth and walked along with me to my desk. Billy sat staring at his monitor, tapping away at a chunk of code, not acknowledging that I had returned. “Have you called the exterminator about these things?”
“No Man,” Billy coughed, “They just keep popping up, they’re after my brain man!”
“Well, we should get you a helmet or something Billy” Mitzi said, “I would hate to see you lose your brain to a miniature Pope Benedict the 9th he’d try to sell it.”
Mitzi cackled and wandered off to his office.
“Billy, you wanna go get some Vitamin B?”
“The Bar? Yeah. Lemmie finish up this line of code and we’ll tag out”
At the Bar Billy moped over a pint and snacked on some peanuts. It was obvious that another Pope had appeared somewhere and he wasn’t saying where. He had probably killed it or something in a panic. Billy was a strict pacifist and the idea of killing a religious figure of any size must have hurt him deeply.
“Bro, do you wanna talk about it?” I asked, putting a hand on his shoulder for a second.
“No, Man. I don’t, I want to never have to talk about it at all, Man. You know? I want Popes to be guys on the TV or in parades, not little elves that hang around my bedroom at night and piss on my plants to bless them. I caught one of them blessing my cereal this morning, you know? Killed him with my shoe, I think it was Pope Pius.” He sniffed a bit, and wiped his eyes. Billy grabbed his pint in both hands and lifted it over his head, pouring it over his dirty blond hair and black t-shirt. Soaking his jeans in the process.
“Two more” I motioned to the Bartender.
Back at the office, Billy was sullen but threw himself back into the Project. We were done for the day before he looked up from his screen to wave goodbye. I nodded a goodbye and wandered out of the office and into the street, stooping to catch a 6 inch tall Pope John Paul the 2nd on the way out.