THE TRUE GRAIL

 

God loves pious men.
God hears the prayers of pious men.
Michael Pence is nothing if not pious.

Michael Pence loves to pray.

It is evening. Michael Pence kneels at his bedside, hands folded reverently in the attitude of saintly supplication.

Praying is hard. Praying requires humility. But, it is hard to be humble when you know your smile conveys the grace of God to millions of good, white Evangelical Republicans. Humility comes even harder when those same white Evangelical Republicans tell you they see beams of glory streaming from your saintly white hair. Especially, when, as you are calling them to a stern republican repentance, you remind them that Donald Trump (and incidentally, you, Michael Pence) were placed in the highest office of worldly power by the very same God they claim to worship.

Eventually, Michael overcomes the distraction of acquiring humility and focuses on convincing God that it is he, Michael Pence, who should be sitting in the Oval Office, at the huge desk with the big red button; not that orange pretender. Indeed, as he subtly suggests, God needs to get on with it and make it happen, preferably before the next election. Michael also gently reminds God that if he, God, were to wait until then, the process might become unduly complicated because Michael Pence, as he continues to remind God, has had varying success at being electable. Better to arrange for a sudden departure or demise. An event General Kelly could easily organize.

It is during the moment of deepest communion that Michael has a remarkable epiphany. While considering his true place in the scheme of white national politics, it occurs to Michael that his own given name may be the key to realizing the destiny to which he was born. Surely, might not it be, that his name was given him as a witness that he is the earthly manifestation of that dreadful being, Michael, the archangel; God’s own warrior angel and defender. Michael Pence Quis ut Deus.

Enraptured with this new self-realization and still bowed in fervent prayer, the door to Michael’s bedroom opens. Ever-so-quietly, “Mother”, his wife Karen, slips in to bid him goodnight. Mother, gratified at seeing the angelic radiation, but not wanting to disturb God’s soldier, slips back into the hallway and returns to her own bedroom, the tiny storage area nestled between the furnace room and the basement laundry. Like any good white Evangelical woman, Mother Pence knows her place.

But now, the mortal requirement for sleep overcomes Michael. Still in the rapture of his epiphany, he raises his sleepy eyes to the mirror, strategically positioned at the side of his bed, and gazes at his reflection to reassure himself that the radiance persists.

While noting that the hair seems to have become just a bit whiter and even a little more lustrous, he senses a strange presence in the room. Slowly, the lights begin to dim and are gradually extinguished. Suddenly, to Michael’s despair, the holy effervescence disappears, Michael’s halo has been snuffed out.

Frozen in the attitude of prayer and now trembling in fear, Michael looks about but finds the darkness impenetrable. Then, abruptly, the bed collapses at the bottom end. Mysteriously, the head of the bed begins to rise, and Michael is certain that it is levitating. Without warning, the table lamp is switched on and a whining voice grumbling in the dimly lit bedroom complains, “Why is all the furniture in this place so fucking cheap?”

Searching for the source of the voice, Michael notices a huge pile of orange fur sprawled at the end of the partially collapsed bed.

Recovering a splinter of his failed courage, Michael yells “Who the hell are you? I just rang for security, so you’re gonna regret pulling this little stunt – BIGTIME! What’s with tearing bedrooms apart? Do you know who I am?”

“Of course I know who you am. You’re Mike Dense. At least that’s what they call you over at the White House. Or haven’t you heard?” At that, the enormous orange mass rolled to the center of the bed, triggering its final collapse and then succumbed to wheezing fits of squealing laughter. “Incidentally,” the thing gasped, “I left a dozen 30-packs in the Secret Service lounge. So much for your security.”

By now Michael’s eyes had adjusted to the dim light. He could just barely make out that the intruder appeared to be an enormous primate with long, matted, orange fur and weighing at least 600 pounds.

After making a grazing visual search of the room, the huge beast let out a grunt, pulled its long, prehensile limbs into a primitive walking mode and ambled over to the night stand where housekeeping had left a tray filled with week-old fruit. Sniffing each item and then flinging the unwanted pieces to splatter against the wall, the orange monster finally settled on an overripe banana. Without peeling it, the thing squoze the mushy core directly into its mouth, paused, and then as if taken by surprise, sneezed, blowing slimy banana mush onto Michael’s face and beautiful white hair. “Walmart!” sneered the beast. “Looks like they sequestered your commissary funds again,” This observation followed by another fit of primate laughter.

At once, baffled and impatient, Michael demanded “So, why are you here?”

“How soon they forget” the thing sighed. “Do you recall that only thirty minutes ago, you were on your knees pleading with me to grant you immortal glory? Remember that Archangel business? How about wanting me to put out a hit on your boss? Fool! And, by the way, I’d appreciate you shortening up the praying-with-humility act. I can’t listen to that drivel forever.”

Slowly, the reality began to seep in to Michael’s awareness that this thing was claiming to be God. If that were true, he’d better up his game a couple notches. This could be Michael’s big break. After all, God, if that’s who this hulking monstrosity really was, apparently did hear his prayer.

Then, with an assumed air of skepticism, Michael challenged: “OK! So, if you’re God how come you look like something that just broke out of the Zoo? Don’t you know God is a Northern European, unemployed white male?

“Listen,” said God. “I went through this same bullshit with your boss. It went completely over his head. I thought you’d be a little quicker on the uptake. Like I told him, I made you all in my own image.”

Michael Pence was astounded! Nothing could be worse (except that the banana slime was beginning to dry and harden). “God cannot be an ape” raged Michael. “If mankind is really made in your image, how come all those paintings of you in the museum look like me?”

“I admit it. I screwed up!” retorted God. “I let the damned snake break you out of the garden. You were supposed to take to the trees. But no, you stole the fruit off the tree, fermented it, and whupped yourselves into a drunken orgy. Wasn’t long after that, your DNA broke and you devolved into the mess you are now. YUCK! I did a much better job on Neanderthal.”

“Next,” God continued, “I thought I could save the planet by drowning the lot of you. Screwed that one up too. I saved Noah, thinking his offspring would evolve back into my true divine form. That, obviously, didn’t work either.”

“So, you’re saying we’re all supposed to look like big, orange monkeys?” Michael snorted.

“Just what, exactly, do you think ‘created in mine own image’ is supposed to mean?”

“OK. So how do you aim to fix it?”

“Well, I think I’ve got it figured. After what seemed a never-ending search, even for ME, I found one of you who still had a strand of my DNA.”

“How did you know you’d found it?” asked Michael, suddenly curious. This was real Bible stuff. Michael Pence loves Bible stuff.

“Simple,” replied God. “He’s orange! And there’s only one, thank God. Hmm … I guess that would be ‘thank ME’.”

“Well, I suppose that solves your problem. Now how about mine? I was praying pretty humbly you know.”

“Oh, I guess you mean the Oval Office thing?”

“Well, that too. But if you were really listening, you would have got it that I want to be the archangel. Got the name for it y’know.”

“Job’s already taken. Besides, I got him working on Steve Miller. Real hypocrite, that one, but he’ll eventually get him. Come to think of it, the sub archangel job’s open. Maybe I can use you there.”
“Oh, thank God … err … ’thank YOU’. What’s involved?” Michael Pence was now certain that he was being considered for a genuine heavenly assignment – divine recognition at last.

“You want me to carry around a big sword and whack a bunch of Democrats. Is that it?” By now the slime had hardened and Michael was attempting to peel it off. But, to his despair, bright red welts remained, leaving the impression of a severe case of acne.

“Nope, no swords” said God. “However, you will need a stretch limo from the White House motor pool.”

“Why is that?”

“You’ll be picking up girls, fool! Why else would you need a stretch?”

“Hey!” Michael yelled, “You know I don’t ride alone in a car with any woman but Mother!”

“Relax! You’re just giving ‘em a ride over to the White House.”

“What? For whom? You mean they’re for … him?”

“None other.”

“Why!” cried Michael. “Why is it always him? What’s he got besides being orange?”

“Just that. He’s the GRAIL!” God snapped.

“Holy Rosaries! more Bible stuff” thought Michael. Michael loves Bible stuff – but, you already knew that.

“Oh! Oh! Oh!” Shouted Michael, raising his hand like an eager school boy and excitedly waving it in God’s face. “I know! I know! Call on me! You’re talking about that song. The one I loved to sing when I was a choir boy. Hey, I’ll sing the chorus for you. Goes like this:

Follow, follow, follow the gleam;
Banners unfurled o’er all the world;
Follow, follow, follow the gleam
Of the chalice that is the Grail.

“OK, can it! You sing worse than you pray.” God moaned. “You don’t read do you? Just like him. I bet you’ve never heard of The Da Vinci Code. I bet you never even seen the movie. Dan Brown got it right you know. The Grail isn’t some fancy wine glass, it’s the carrier of my Divine blood line. Of course, it’s only figurative, but that’s a little subtle for your kind”.

“Thing is,” God continued thoughtfully, “when you’re out in that stretch, you got to make sure the girls you pick up are orange. Y’see, I got to re-populate this place, so we’re starting up a new breeding lab. If I’ve figured this right, the offspring should re-evolve in a couple million years. In fact, I think we’ll put out an IPO on the lab – bet that’ll be a unicorn heee-heeee!” (Primate squealing again).

“What? You mean your orange monkeys will be taking over? They’re going to inherit the earth? What about humanity? My kind of humanity? The white kind? What’s going to happen to us?”

“That’s what the big red button’s for.”