This installment of theComedy is part of an original novel I am writing, called The Bishop Tripped: the story of a man, who, disillusioned, seeks to escape his life, only to be mistaken for a bishop--all the way to the miter, crozier, and diocesan bureaucracy.
None of this writing is edited. It is written as it happens, with every post I blog. No premeditation, other than a story trajectory in my imagination and the characters who will take it and run with it.
To start at the beginning of the story, either scroll down to, or click on, Episode 1.
So, live and as it happens, here is the next installment of The Bishop Tripped …The most difficult thing was going to be saying Mass, but Michael figured that he could beg off that for the time being based on his recent trauma, whatever that was. What bothered him most about this ruse was that he couldn't bring himself to violate the mark of the priesthood. Oh, he knew the Mass--how could he forget it? But to say it would be a defamation, a blasphemy. He wasn't a priest--but he seemed to be the only soul around this place that knew that!
Everyone fawned on him, except the housekeeper, Naomi. She didn't seem fazed by anybody. "Bishop Chris, I've seen mah share o' Bishops and Archbishops and what not. You all is men, with bellies and hearts and good souls. It ain't that I ain't a good Catholic or that I don't respect what de bishop do. Nope, I love you all. I jes always 'member that you is men. Y'know, I wash all de underwear, now don' I?"
He tried to stay around Naomi as much as would be plausible for "Bishop Christopher" while he "recuperated."
Speaking of which, he actually felt fine, like a load had been lifted. Yes, there was a dull ache for the mansion in his heart where Mara dwelt, but that room was locked up for the time being. He spent his time reading--mainly the General Instruction on the Roman Missal and Canon Law. Of course he said his Daily Office--he had never given that up, even when he'd left the path to the priesthood in his Diaconal year.
The Episcopal gardens were his favorite haunt. Easter was early this year, so the lilies were still blooming, and the Houston heat-miasma index had not yet reached the fourth-circle-of-Hades proportions that it would come Summer. He'd sit under the mustang grape arbor and read Morning Prayer, the bees around him humming like they had come alive straight out of the Papal Coat-of-Arms donated to the Archdiocese by John Paul II during his papal visit to Texas. He'd refused any advances from Matt regarding the media and exposure to the flock--things he knew he couldn't long put off.
"Your Excellence, the laity will be wondering what has become of you. As of yet, no one knows of how we found you in the Dallas airport men's room, unconscious and bleeding at the temples. Thankfully, Airport Security have not allowed the matter to reach the police blotter, but the media, especially the Catholic Press, are awaiting a statement and some sign that you have taken up residence. Moreover, your installment Mass is next Sunday."
Michael just nodded as he had walked down the ochre-carpeted hall to "his" study. "Well, Msgr. Morelli, a personage as distinguished as Abraham Lincoln had to sneak into Washington in disguise and under the cover of early morning darkness. He made out fine, I believe."
Matt paused. "Your Excellence, he was shot in the head by John Wilkes Booth."
Michael nodded and murmured to himself as he paused over the remembered conversation, "Well, it could've been worse--he could've been shot in the heart and bled out …"
"You'll more than murmur if one of them bees stings you!" said a voice from behind. He turned and saw the green-clothed, sweat-stained back of the gardener, a personage he'd had yet to meet. Name of Miguel.
When the gardener turned, Michael was stung by the face he saw … for it was himself.