Well, I couldn’t resist. The news this week that Top Canadian Anglican Fred “Hide the Bodies” Hiltz has honored yet another child rapist, former Toronto Archbishop Terence Finlay, prompted me to brush the mothballs off this piece I wrote some years ago. Laughing at the criminals may fall short of putting them away, but it’s one of the next best things.
by Kevin D. Annett
In his more coherent moments, my big buddy Crazy Walter from Vancouver’s skid row would wander from his voyeuristic pastimes around First United Church. Sometimes he’d seek the greener pastures of the University of British Columbia campus, where abounded plenty of thrown away food, comfy couches and young nubile female students. Walt also knew that I attended the seminary there. So much to his delight and mine, the guy would show up unannounced at the Vancouver School of Theology (VST) and seek me out, usually in a loud voice. And then he’d spend the day hanging with me in the student lounge or sitting in on various classes where he’d pretend to be a visiting scholar.
His ruse worked more often than not, since your average seminarian or theology professor is about as sharp as an eraser. Walt never got shown the door at VST because nobody there quite knew whether he was not indeed some eccentric savant rather than a local bum. And even though the long hair and beard definitely gave him an arcane messianic quality, Walt couldn’t help but unnerve the official Christians. And so my seminarian colleagues gave Wally and his ripe odor a wide berth whenever he ensconced himself in the VST lounge, regaling anyone within earshot about his latest ecstatic revelation and proving that he could bullshit as good as any egghead.
And Walter was thus poised the day the Primate came to visit.
Anglicans are generally odd, and not just because they’re Englishmen. Their Wannabee Papism makes their pretensions not only comical but downright inscrutable. Take “Primate”, for instance. That’s what the Alpha Male is called in the Anglican Church in Canada: the top-of-the-food-chain official, who lies just beneath the Archbishop of Canterbury. And guess who was coming to dinner at VST that day?
I could tell something was up as lunch time approached, and the Sycophant Index among the school crowd began climbing steadily. Well dressed big shots and their mink-coated wives started clustering in the VST rotunda, and students began hurrying around, speaking in hushed and excited whispers. Principal Bud Phillips actually emerged from his office for a few moments to flash his perfect smile and pump the flesh of all those potential donors.
Walter never let anything slip by him, and pompous bullshit always set him off like a cat in heat. And so from his perch next to the coffee machine he suddenly proclaimed “What the fuck is goin’ on?”
One of the few students who associated with me until he was told not to, an American Methodist named Rich Lang, ducked out of the lounge to go and see.
“Probably another cluster fuck” mumbled Walt to me, emptying the last of the coffee from its urn with a bellowing slurp.
Just then I noticed out the window that a colossal limousine had pulled up from which emerged a scowling bearded fellow in a funny hat and a huge gold cross. He was adorned in a flowing purple and red robe.
Rich popped his head into the lounge and with a provocative grin announced, “It’s the Anglican Primate!”.
Exactly as if he’d been struck by a thunderbolt from the Almighty, Walter turned from his coffee and with an aroused look of joy he bellowed,
“The Primate? The FUCKING PRIMATE? He’s HERE?!”
Walt hurried as best he could to the hallway and stood facing the arriving dignitary, who of course stepped into the rotunda just as Wally did. And with his hips visibly quaking in anticipation, my buddy turned and thrust his considerable and rotating ass towards the cleric and his crowd of austere hangers-on while loudly emitting the kind of primal grunts and moans that no doubt does it for your average baboon in estrus.
It’s all a stage, for sure, and Walt had suddenly seized its front and centre. The Primate and his crowd were riveted into a shocked stupefaction as they watched the bearded lowlife perform his little mating dance for them. The entire place was instantly silent, save for Walt’s groans and the sound of Rich and I screaming our heads off with laughter.
“Oh god, boys, it’s those fucking colours he’s got on!” Walt gasped as his bum kept rolling and reaching out to the object of his affection, and we two soon-to-be-disciplined students rolled on the floor hysterically, trying to breathe.
George Orwell was right, of course, when he observed that the only thing the rich and powerful ever really fear is to be laughed at publicly. And so after its momentary eclipse at the hands of the unwashed and unruly, official church decorum quickly recovered. Reassuming their briefly-shattered authority, the Primate and his little flock turned their collective back on Walter with a decided sneer and hurried off to the reception hall where awaited not the Second Coming but lots of free food and booze.
Their retreat didn’t faze Wally one bit, of course, and he called out to the departing object of his feigned desires, “Oh don’t go! Don’t just up and leave me like that again without even giving me your fucking phone number! Prime me, baby, Prime me!””
Rich and I were somehow still breathing by then, although we were spent and quaking. The other students in the lounge had long since departed, hurrying past our irreverent shrieks with the kind of career-conscious disdain I would encounter only too often in the church during the years that were to follow. None of them would even look at Walter, whose lecherous gyrations continued as he flashed them a semi-toothless grin.
After the discomfited Christians had departed the three of us sat together once more, alone in the VST lounge. Walt’s eyes were aflame and deeply happy, and he let out the same high pitched giggle that he always employed whenever the collection plate was passed around down at First United.
“You crazy bastard, you could have got us lynched” I commented to Walter.
“Well?” he replied.