Ecclesiastical custard creams (each engraved with a station of the cross) are dipped into a brew of Barry’s Gold Blend (boiled water courtesy of Lourdes). The pleasure of soggy biscuit consumption is slightly marred by the apprehension in the air. They’ve been bold and he knows it. What is to unfold?
The Swiss Guards clear their throats in unison and the low murmur of idle banter filling the hall suddenly ceases. The heavy doors swing open and there he is. The supreme pontiff. Resplendent. He goose-steps into the room, managing to maintain a distinct austerity whilst distributing perfunctory fraternal kisses. A riot of anxious happy butterflies flutter in the stomachs of twenty-four trembling Bishops. Is it so wrong to have a crush on him?
His Holiness takes his throne at the head of the chamber, framed by the heavily ornamented mantle and an invaluable fresco depicting the martyrdom of St. Clement. The bishops sit before him, backs straight in perfectly attentive poise. He regards these errant Irish befoulers of the immaculate franchise. He nods his head resignedly and sighs. ‘Achtung!’ he suddenly demands in his trademark Teutonic bark. There is going to be trouble. There’s going to be a telling off. The Holy Father prepares to deliver an ecumenical dressing down but then something distracts him. His eyes bulge, his jaw drops and what little colour there is in his face drains from it. What has overcome him? What could be upsetting him so?
The congregation turn in their seats, looking behind them to see what he sees. There, at the back of the room, stand five children, toy drums hanging from each of their necks by string. Each wearing a mask in the likeness of an animal: a pig, a rabbit, a duck, a cat, a goat. His holiness is dumbfounded and disturbed. His Irish guests are aghast but recognise the trespassers. ‘They followed us,’ croaks Cardinal Brady as the children produce drum sticks and begin to rattle out a satanic tattoo. . . rat a tat tat, Rat a Tat Tat, RAT a Tat Tat, RAT A TAT TAT!!! The rhythm builds in speed and intensity. The assembled holy men become disorientated. Their minds swirl in fearful mesmerisation. RAT A TAT TAT, RAT A TAT TAT, RAT A TAT TAT TAT TATTATATATATATATATATAT . . . BADumph! The manic beat abruptly concludes. Quiet falls again. The irrepressible sobbing of Archbishop Martin breaks this new silence. He is told to pull himself together, stop letting the side down.
Then comes another sound, a sound like scuttling thunder, if you can imagine such a thing. A chain of distant detonations upon the rooftops of Vatican City, coming ever closer to the Apostolic Palace itself. It grows closer and louder, closer and louder, closer and Louder and then . . .the sound concludes with an impossibly loud CRASH from above. Frescos flake, fragment and fall. The ceiling collapses. The immense green patina chandelier plummets, killing bishops Joseph Duffy of Clougher and Dennis Brennan of Ferns.
She shows herself, her great arachnid mandibles gnawing into the hall from above. A colossal spider leg finds its way inside. Nyx has come to Rome! ‘Mummy. Is. Here,’ herald the masked children as they float into the air, bang out their demented beat, revolve and giggle. Nyx squeezes her frightful frame through the aperture in the roof and bathes the interior with webbing. Trapping the remaining prelates, she descends upon them and pumps their wriggling bodies with paralysing venom. The smooth 16th century decorated marble floor runs with slippery blood but most are not dead, merely immobilised. Unable to do anything but scream . . .and wail . . .and beg. Nyx gathers up her victims and fashions them into a grim necklace. Twelve prelates to one side (including the chandelier smashed Duffy and Brennan) and twelve to the other. In the centre is the supreme pontiff, hanging like a petrified medallion. His face frozen into a wide eyed expression of eternal horror. A blood curdling scream issuing from his mouth, forever agog.
Nyx clambers from the Apostolic Palace, the bawling necklace dangling from her neck. Her animal headed children pirouette in the sky around her, laughing and urinating upon the ill gotten gains of the Borgias beneath them. They are not here to right wrongs, merely to devour those who possessed our souls in their absence. They descended upon this hypocritical beatific wart and laid waste to it. They caught the next Aer Lingus home. Fair enough to them on this last venture but something will have to be done. Surely there is someone who can vanquish the Goddess of Night and her malign minions?
That aside, all in all it was the usual boring old week. Watched Jedward on the telly, they’re still gas. Up to anything yourselves?