Writing this, I thought at the time is was the last installment. Late last night, more drunk than normal, I saw a little more about Faustina. Looking at what my then-self wrote, I’m not entirely thrilled with it. After I post this, I’m going to see if they allow me to ‘soften’ what I wrote.
She’s still going to be fundamentally good, but what eight year-old, who can move effortlessly between the machine’s home and ours wouldn’t end up a little disturbed or drunk on power? Anyway: plan on the curtain coming down on WWE on or about installment #10.
Let’s wrap up the Pope’s visit!
“Certainly…” He replied.
Gary could tell that the Pope was still a little unsure of his situation.
He pointed at Henge as she stood.
“I’ve spoken with you before… Hangie?”
“Henge,” she gently corrected him, rolling her hand to her left. “Would you care to sit down?”
For someone in overalls and no shoes, she was surprisingly elegant.
He turned to his right, surprised first to see the curule chair and second to see the small marble topped table with an unopened can of Cherry Coke Zero next to two glasses: one with ice, one without.
“Thank you.” He sat and poured the Coke into the glass with ice. He looked up at the two of them.
“Are you two not sitting?”
Henge sat into the thin wooden chair just behind her. Gary glanced back to make sure that he had one, too.
“Ahh! Wonderful!” The Pope put the glass down. “I seem to recall, from our talk about baptism, that you and your family are… different.”
“That’s true, Holy Father.”
“And where am I, now?”
“This is a construct, made by my father, at the behest of my aunt, to allow us to appear and interact with humans.”
“My beloved shares the same ability: she’s made a beautiful beach and sea,” Gary said, thinking he should say something.
“Uh, huh.” He took a small drink of Coke. He shot Gary a look over the glass’s rim. “And you are…?”
“I’m Gary Hartmann.”
Gary watched the man’s eyes flick from his to Henge and back.
“Yes, I’m hu-”
“He’s my fiancé,” Henge said, reaching her left hand out. Gary took it. “We are to be married.”
“I see.” He sat the glass down again. “And that’s why I’m here?”
“Not at all,” Henge replied briskly, taking her hand back from Gary. “The situation is…”
“I see,” he said about five minutes later. “Yes, having me bless their union should be fine.”
“And there’s no problem doing it via telepresence…?”
“My dear young Henge… I’m the Pope!”
“Of course, sir.” She replied, bowing her head.
“We should go ahead and get this done; I’ve been away for a little too long – ”
Henge looked up and held his eyes.
“Your Secretary of State assumes you are either asleep, praying, or thinking of another way to damage the Church.” Even from the side, Gary could see her eyes grow redder. “At present, he is distracted by the Neolithic Venus to the right of your desk.”
The Pope looked at her in wonder.
I like that! Gary thought.
“Do you people know everything?”
“No!” Her denial was complete. “We know what we know.”
She stood and walked toward the edge of the platform closest to the canyon and the cylinders. A laptop stood on a short marble column. Gary and their guest followed.
On the screen they saw Susie and her new husband, Jeff. To look at the background, they were in their dining room.
“What did you need, Henge?” Susie asked.
“To sacramentalize your marriage,” she replied without a beat. “I’ve someone here that can do that. Do you understand and accept?”
They watched her look at her husband. He shrugged with a tiny smile.
I’ve never met him, but I like him. Odd.
“Okay! What do you want us to – oh my gosh!” Susie exclaimed, crossing herself.
The Pope had taken Henge’s shoulders and eased her out of the way, prompting Susie’s outburst. He spread his arms wide with his palms up.
“Almighty God, I ask you to bless the union of Susie and Jeff…”
He continued on for just over a minute, concluding with “…the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Only Jeff failed to cross himself. With an ally such as this, I’m not worried.
“Sank – thank you, thank you… so much!” Susie cried. “You’re the best, Henge!”
The image faded.
“I shall send you – ”Henge began.
He crossed his left arm across his chest while holding his chin with his right, slowly shaking his head.
“Is the Secretary still distracted?”
“Yes, Holy Father.”
“Show me your beach.”
The three of them stood atop the strand looking out at the sea. A breeze blew.
“Beautiful!” They heard him breath. “But… what’s that? That huge island mountain?”
Gary looked to where he was pointing far out into the water. He perceived nothing.
“Purgatory.” She turned to face him. “You have unusual eyes.”
“What?” He was genuinely surprised. “Really?!”
Is he rattled more from what he sees or my beloved’s manner?
The Pope turned away, facing inland.
“I am not worthy to see something like that…” They both heard his mutter.
He gestured with his hands. They came around to face him.
“When you first brought me here – and thanks for the Coke, by the way – you said you two are engaged?”
“Yes,” Gary replied. “For ten years. It will be another four before my father allows us to get married.”
“So long…” He whispered. “But, even with you two being… different…?”
This time it was Gary tightly taking Henge’s hand.
“I love her and shall never part from her!”
“Desire and intent, good!” The Pope smiled. “And… children?”
Gary felt Henge shudder from her feet to her hair.
“My… my Aunt Dorina – God willing – will come up with something!”
Her face remained blank, but I have never heard such heated words from her!
“Oh, He is!” Now their guest was smiling. “I’ll see to that! Now! Lower your heads and pray for God’s blessing!”
They did, feeling him place his hands onto their heads.
I cannot hear what he’s whispering. Perhaps Henge can…?
“Amen!” He cried.
“Amen,” the echoed.
Henge and Gary stood alone. The surf was quiet.
“He seems nice,” Gary said.
“Pius XIII?” Henge said. “Yes. I hope he can marry us.”
She turned to her Intended: eyes closed, lips parted.
Gary took her into his arms.