Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rocket Church

Richard turned to the pilot. "Tell me we can get this thing off the ground in five," he pleaded.

The pilot, dressed in a somber suit and wearing a cross around his neck, shook his head. "Sorry, Rich. The dilithium tanks are nearly dry, and the trilinear capacitators take a full five minutes to run up to spin, unless you want them to overheat and cook the whole east wing. I'm going to need at least eight minutes to get enough fuel to get us off the ground - fifteen, if you want us to get to Westland in one piece, and not as a pile of masonry."

"I don't have fifteen minutes," Richard told the pilot, desperation in his voice. "I don't have ten minutes! Every minute is another dozen Christians lost. Isn't there anything you can do?" he begged.

The pilot shook his head, his face impassive. "Sorry, Father. You'll have to manage this one on your own. I've got my own fish to fry." An indicator turned amber; the pilot pressed a few buttons, sending tones ringing out through the church "organ", and it went out again.

Distantly, Richard heard a crash from beyond the great wooden doors of the church's innermost sanctuary/engine room. The distinctive spit of energy bolts swelled in volume and number; churchgoers outside began to scream and cry out. Richard covered his head with his hands; then, as the noise died down, he moved to a side room. Quickly, scrabbling in the dark, he found the church's deepest secret. Then, knees trembling, he went before the engine organ, facing the door.

"How long has it been?" he asked.

"Five minutes," the pilot told him.

Richard had no time to fret over this latest revelation; the doors, gilted and covered in ivory carvings, crashed open. People filed in; some armed, some not. Some were children. Richards, aghast, gazed at the assembled masses. "Maria," he whispered. "Erich. Lawson. St-John. You were mine. What happened to you?" he cried out, anguished. "Why have you turned against me, the prelate of the Church of the Corner of Miller and Bollinger?"

The crowds said nothing, merely staring at him silently, swaying and shuffling as more and more filled the front of the sanctum to bursting. One whispered, at the edge of hearing, "He is coming. He is coming." A woman took up the chant; then another. It spread, echoing and rippling back and forth.

"Who is coming?" Johnson asked, despairing. "Who? The Cardinal of the Catholics, here to turn the congregation to his filthy popish deviltry? The Rabbis of the Jews, come to steal the New Testament from us? The Smith of the Mormons, shambling yet in some hideous unliving travesty of evil? Or that danged Father Sam from down the street, jealous of my success? Who?" he cried. "Who?"

The crowd fell silent, as the organ played ever more ominous chords, the engine warming to life. A gap formed, spontaneously, in the tight-packed crowd. And then, from the two vast double doors, a shape appeared, floating in the air.

Johnson cried out. "No!" he shouted, falling to his knees, clutching his head. He rocked back and forth, crying out: "No! No! Not you, not you, anything but!" He gave forth one last wail, then rose, transformed. Bowing, he spoke, saying "Of course, O Lord. I live for thine service." He paused. "Yes." Another pause. "It shall be done." He turned to the pilot. "Are you ready?"

The pilot, unperturbed throughout the battle, finally turned. His face blanched. "No," he said. "Hell no. I ain't helpin' no Kraft quick-cook dinner! I'm outta here!" He rose to leave; then screamed. Grasping feelers lifted him up, cast him down; and there he lay, breathing, but unmoving. Other feelers reached out, played the organ with inhuman skill.

In minutes, a rumbling arose; a trembling; a shaking, and with a burst of brilliant flame, lighting the dark Cupertino sky, the rocket church lifted unto the heavens. Strands of spaghetti twined out the windows, embracing the building, enveloping it from within; and so did the Flying Spaghetti Monster ascend once more unto heaven.


1 comment:

King Kessler said...