Space Pope: Chapter 1
“Daaaaaddd, it’s the Pope's wife on the phone for you and she sure is mad!” My daughter was enjoying this. I, the adult authority figure was in trouble, and she, the non-adult, non-authority figure was not.
“Honey, ask her want she wants.” I said, and added, “ tell her I’m washing the dog. She loves dogs.”
“But Daddy,” Kara sighed, “I don’t speak Japanese or whatever. She wants to talk to you, now!”
“It’s Sino-Nouveau,” I muttered “and she invented it when she a judge on that show Asian Idol.”
Kara knew it, I was sure. Kids all used it now for instant text-messaging. The kanji characters looked great even on a phone’s small screen and were fast to use once you got to know them.
These phone calls from Princess made it hard to enjoy my job. “Princess” is not actually a title in this case. It’s her name, or so she says. Princess Meow Spanky-Creeks. Her publicist presents her as ”Royal,” her detractors say she was a karaoke club “take-out girl.” Either story was fine with me as long as I got paid. Usually getting paid was not an issue. Her husband, Papa Enorme (the one and only), was good for it. He knew it was my work promoting his image that won the last two Papal elections for him.
Sure, he was big in Mexico before (big anyplace really, at over four hundred pounds), known as “The Wrestling Pope.” I made him wear a miter that made him over seven feet tall. His now famous incense censor routine was mine too. You’ve seen it. He gets smoke in the referee's face, then chokes his opponent with the chain. The Last Supper was already tattooed across his back. I made him shave his back so TV cameras could pick up the image. So a long campaign story made short, we won North and South Americas. There was a lot of media fuss, but the other candidates weren’t serious players. I mean honestly, would you vote for a “Robot Pope”, or a “Cowboy Pope” and that idiot “Zombie Pope” guy was never a contender. That couldn’t match the image I had created for Enorme.
Maybe I don’t like to admit it, but credit where it’s due as they say. Princess really saw the future. They started dating for the publicity. The press loved them! Who wouldn’t? She was the biggest thing ever in Asian hip-hop, and he was, well, really, really big. Their courtship complete with rumors, spats, extravagant gifts, and finally marriage was so huge that tabloids dropped any other coverage to salaciously dote solely on the happy couple. The wedding cost an absolute fortune! It was televised worldwide and the coverage lasted for days! Thirty-second commercial spots were bid up to twice Super Bowl prices. Then the World Tour Honeymoon. Stadium shows, mostly. Princess would do a really hot first set, then intermission so the crowd could buy pricey souvenirs, and then the extravaganza-of-a-lifetime final set. Dancers did gymnastics off Papa while he and Princess sang love songs to each other surrounded by the laser-show. They closed the show with Papa Enorme in Papal spandex blessing the crowd while his theme song “Mariachi Star-Wars” blared through the house, and Princess kneeling adoringly at his feet. Quite an amazing show! People couldn’t get enough. About this time, like I said, Princess saw the future.
What could they do next, what could she imagine (that I would be obliged to make happen) that could possibly in the whole world be bigger? And that’s when see saw the future. We would take it beyond just Earth and go off-world. Make Papa “The Pope of Outer Space”. That was my assignment, that’s why she’s on the phone and that’s why I’m in trouble.