Apocalypse for a Dissociated Creator
by Bertil Falk
|3. The Third Lock|
The Mope was back in Rome with her escorts, and against a backdrop of music by Joseph Haydn she carried out her first audience. As usual, the transfer of power implied a paradigmatic shift in the series of wire-pullings that always were in progress in the Vatican.
The former pope’s favorites in different contexts found that their elbow room had been tightened and turned into blind alleys. At the same time, Mother Saulcerite’s old friends infiltrated all the nooks and corners, using diverse and more or less sophisticated means to send people to Coventry, as the euphemism went for freezing people out.
Even the dreamer with its seven sharp pupils saw clearly that some kind of marginalizing was in progress. Virginia Vaginia — the Pirate Queen — once the terror of the space bays, had backed out and painted out the white skull of the Jolly Roger with its crossed bones on the black fuselage of her old time-leaping space hulk. And then she sold it for scrap to the recycling center on Mercury.
She could have become a fistula in the ass of her old fiancé Cardinal Björn Personit, but it did not happen. She took a quick glance at Carolus Brainflower but found soon that she was put in the shade there. Since he had moved to some place along the 37th parallel with his old mistress, Virginia concentrated instead on pinning the unfortunate Xavier Pascal. It had its points.
When they were having café au lait on some piazza, he could suddenly be sitting there with a yellow document that had got stuck to the outside of his left hand. As he tried to get rid of it against his cheeks, it got stuck on his forehead until it suddenly ceased to exist. He used to curse all quantum-players with their recording/playback heads. However, the two had at least one common interest.
There was not a week that they did not drive around the Solar System in an old Carson cruiser. They had trimmed it so it could make the orbit in less than 24 hours.
It was irritating, however, that Lieutenant Sigourney Nagy was showing signs of jealousy. She seemed to be of the opinion that she had some kind of preferential claim and ownership as far as he was concerned.
Sigourney caused him to feel insecure. Virginia, on the other hand, made his self-confidence climb many degrees. She was very good at peppering him to commit minor great exploits.
They took an outside curve along the level of the ecliptic and were passing the orbit of Saturn when the asteroid alarm began screaming. The autopilot unraveled the situation as usual, but the incident nevertheless hit Xavier with the power of a punch.
According to all several-dimensional space maps of the Solar System, there should not be anything at all to warn them about in this part of space at this particular point of time, be it Terrestrial time, Saturn time or Solar time.
“Something is wrong,” he said.
“I know what it is,” Virginia screamed after computing the time and the space co-ordinates. “We have met with an asteroid imitator.”
“Can that little monster affect us?”
“I am not talking about an animal. I am talking about a pirate ship sending out asteroid signals to affect our asteroid alarm and cause us to veer straight into some interplanetary ambush. Right now I guess that the rat-trap is being slammed behind us — if we don’t do anything, but fast, before it is too late.”
“Good that we have a specialist on piracy with us,” Xavier said and scratched one of his armpits, where a yellow phenomenon found it difficult to decide on whether it should exist or not. It came and went and itched. Xavier added: “This confounded quantum-itching tells on my nerves.”
At that same moment, Virginia, who had switched off the autopilot, saw to it that the Carson cruiser slid out of phase and took a short cut through RoomSpace. It came out under the cover of an artificial planetoid, consisting of Kanchenjunga, which some thousands of years ago had been detached from Earth and located in the immediate surroundings of Saturn, where it performed the functions of an old people’s home for single beings. A joint galactic organization answered for the service, and similar homes for old beings were spread all over the Space Federation.
“There it is,” Virginia said, and Xavier Pascal saw the space vehicle equipped with death’s heads banking in utmost confusion because the victim had escaped so easily.
“It’s a pity this jalopy isn’t armed,” Virginia said, “otherwise we could have asked that pirate for a ring dance around Kanchenjunga. The associations go without saying: Per Westerlund, Ralph Lundsten, Milarepa, the spirit of the mountain.”
“Let’s touch down as a matter of precaution,” Virginia added, and Xavier agreed.
She lowered the Carson jalopy down through the stylized atmosphere of the top layer, and they sank through an exposed opening. They were soon able to park inside the space harbor, which was bustling with life.
They were allotted a spot and taxied to it. Enormous cruising-shuttles formed lines, and new spacecraft landed every second through the many approach holes.
They rushed over to the space restaurant that swarmed with oldies, many in wheelchairs. A group of reptiles from Galatrism entertained with polyphonic choir singing. They performed all the sounds they mastered in the form of digitally, anally, orally, brutally and pedally structured intonations. They were singing one of the most popular corny trash songs in this part of the universe.
affections’ hopeless dreams of treacherousness
deceivers moving on in honeylessness
the pelars pink and rocky scratchingnesses
and badly shielded tired and tendernesses
the ratter’s dreary drolly doubtfulnesses
to feel like being thrownawayessnesses
the traitor or so damned uncertainessness
and ev’ry fiancé with softheartessness
and new kids on the blocks necessnessisness
and real lovers’ fallingoutwithessness
as well as also sleeping dreamlessness is
throwing its shade across the hoppsan necess
and lo, behold and dream and kiss at hot dogs
hell! damn! I love this dirty businessshit
“These simple hits are always about the same heart-and-painnesses,” Virginia remarked. “I know for I have jumped from one century to another. It’s always the same old song.”
Xavier pinched Virginia’s arm and nodded meaningfully in the direction of the entrance.
It was none other than Urban Collectus who entered.
“What the heck is he doing here?” Xavier Pascal exclaimed.
“Who is it?”
“One of the Mope’s lap-dogs. He has clung to her for decades with his tongue hanging out.”
“You know him?”
“Nyet, I’ve only seen him in connection with the big papist concentration at Rigel. I was in charge of security on that occasion. What is he doing here? I just wonder if he is alone.”
Urbanus Collectus made his way between the wheelchairs. He looked round the room and all of a sudden he walked straight towards them. He was dressed in his coal-black cassock with a simple wooden cross around his neck, a man of God with humble eyes and a visible partiality for solitude and silence.
“Virginia Vaginia,” he said and blushed a little as he pronounced her last name. Such a provocative last name could cause any Celibateur to fear temptation.
“Yes,” she said.
“It has come to our knowledge...” he began, but did not complete his sentence. Instead he ran his eye over Xavier Pascal.
“It’s okay,” Virginia said encouragingly. “I’ve no secrets from Xavier. But please, have a seat.”
He sat down and a strained smile shone forth on his face at arm’s length from the surroundings.
“It has come to our knowledge that you once were very near to Björn Personit.”
“You could not have put a razor blade between us,” she admitted. “That’s right. What is this about? You want to get at him? If so, you have turned to the wrong person.”
He shook his head. “No, nothing like that. It’s just that he says that you’re the one who knows how to open an ancient seal in the right way. He maintains that you have broken many similar seals over the millennia.”
Virginia and Xavier looked at each other in surprise.
“What seal, and why must it be opened?”
Urbanus Collectus cleared his throat. “I don’t know how to say this... but two of the dragons of the Ragnarök have been set free and the third dragon, the black one, as prophesied on Patmos, scrapes impatiently with its talons behind the seal.”
“I don’t understand what you’re talking about? Do you, Xavier?”
Pascal shook his head.
“It’s about an old prophecy,” Urbanus Collectus explained.
“A prediction. Something foretold. Something that will happen.”
“And I’m the one who is supposed to realize that prediction?”
“Something like that,” Urbanus Collectus admitted.
“Well, why not?” Virginia said. ”What do you think?”
“It’s all right with me. Shall we move straight away?”
Urbanus Collectus smiled and they could see that he was relieved. “No need,” he said. “I have the seal here.” He produced the old-fashioned lock out of his black cassock.
Virginia took it and twisted and turned it.
“Can you open it?”
There was a sign of anxiety in the voice of the Celibateur.
“I need something sharp! An arrow, a needle or something like that. Preferably of metal.”
Urbanus Collectus detached a pin with his Order’s emblem from his cassock. “Will this one do?”
“That’ll be all right,” Virginia Vaginia said, and put the pin into the keyhole.
She did not even have to jiggle it. There was a click and the seal opened.
And into the premises, across the tables, where the oldies sat eating, a black dragon with a human face rushed forward, and the rider held a scale in his hand to weigh what was good and what was bad.
For the blackness is what is false and represents the want of light, just as hell is not at all, as Jean-Paul had thought, the presence of others but the absence of God.
In a haze of black clouds, the black dragon galloped through the hallways of the old people’s home, breathing coal-black fire through its enormous nostrils.
The message that Urbanus Collectus had been killed in connection with an act of piracy on board a Carson cruiser struck the Vatican like lightning and made a stir in the rest of the Universe. In passing it was mentioned that the former pirate queen Virginia Vaginia and a certain Xavier Pascal had also been killed during the attack.
Only Björn Personit and Lieutenant Sigourney Nagy took that part of the news hard. From a brick-enclosed pudendum, the horse with Ehrensvärd as its rider leaped forth.
And evening and morning were the third day of Mother Saulcerite’s pontificate.
Copyright © 2002, 2009 by Bertil Falk