Kevin Annett reads excerpts from his upcoming satirical work.
From my upcoming book Unrelenting …
The Plague reached out and punished us after we counted coup on it that day at the Cathedral. It especially hated Billy Combes because, ennobled and emboldened by his capacity to stand up against it, he went on to undress its horror even more, and name a name, on our airwaves.
We didn’t expect the counter-attack, as elated as we all were by the media fireworks that followed our church occupation and similar seizures by friends of other churches in Toronto and Winnipeg.
The Thing was on the defensive. Ottawa announced an “official investigation” and a possible upcoming “apology” for the residential schools, goaded by Members of Parliament who, echoing our line, began calling for a return of the children for a proper burial. And like a strategic missile launched at a dying foe, our year-in-the-making documentary film about the Canadian Holocaust entitled Unrepentant was released precisely at that time, and was watched everywhere: including in the corridors of power.
All of this made even our most dejected aboriginal members become cautiously hopeful: Billy Combes in particular.
Before our seizure of the catholic Cathedral, he couldn’t even approach a church without becoming ill, no doubt recalling his sodomizing and torture on the rack in the Kamloops residential school basement. But that day of our action, Billy had been there with us, wandering up and down the church aisles, giving leaflets to aghast parishioners and grinning in triumph. And the week after the event, he was actually able to stop drinking rot gut booze, for the first time in many years.
“I couldn’t let you guys down” he explained to me shortly after, when I’d asked him how he’d found the nerve to walk into the cathedral with all of us.
“Now it feels like some of the fear’s gone for me”
So inspired, Billy began to share even darker remembrances on the airwaves of Hidden from History. And one day, he named a perpetrator who calls herself the Queen of England. As through the mists of time …
None of the children knew who she was. All they knew is that they were actually fed and given new clothes the day before she arrived. She wore an expensive suit and bright white boots that laced up the front. The boots were remembered by the children who survived what followed, because all of them had to kneel before it and kiss it.
Billy Combes was barely eleven, and he and his buddy Jessie Jules tried to get out of attending the picnic with the strange woman, since they smelled trouble. But all of the children in those two dorms of the Kamloops Indian School were herded by catholic priests with cattle prods into the front hallway of the school, and from there, into the school bus that took them to Dead Man’s Creek, two miles west of there.
The woman was called “Your Majesty” by the priests who accompanied her, and she was joined by a thin and cold-eyed man that one of the priests called the Prince. It was a short ride down a dusty gravel road.
Once they’d arrived at the Creek, the woman and the Prince stood apart from the children and examined them like they were cattle at an auction. The woman even pointed at several of the children. The priest in charge, a Brother Murphy, began separating ten children from the main group: seven boys and three girls, all of them from that part of central British Columbia.
None of them was older than ten years old.
The Queen and the Prince left with the children soon after that, while the other kids were given lemonade to drink. Billy remembers the lemonade. It had a strange taste to it, and all the remaining kids were forced to drink it. Billy remembers nothing after that until he awoke in his bed back in the dorm.
None of the ten children who left with the Queen and the Prince were ever seen again.
Brother Murphy heard Billy asking questions about the absent children a week or so later, and after pummeling Billy unconscious he placed him in a closet for two weeks where Billy almost died. But he never forgot about the ten missing children, or the strange woman with the white laced boots, on that day of October 10, 1964: a date whose numbers, like the disappeared boys and girls, all add up to ten.
“And Job had seven sons, and three daughters … and behold, there came a great wind from beyond the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, which fell upon the children of Job, and they were killed …” (Job 1:2, 19)
Billy Combes began speaking about that day when the Kamloops Ten disappeared; not just on my radio program, but in interviews, at rallies, and even once to a reporter who quickly hurried away when he realized what Billy was saying.
That went on until the day that Billy was killed at St. Paul’s catholic hospital in Vancouver, just before he was to come to London, England and speak about what he knew before a public Tribunal.
A Warning for the Slow Minded or the Uninformed: This Piece is Rife with Satire
Breaking News Update: September 1, 2015
Vatican to Relocate to America
The Vatican announced today that it will be permanently relocating to Washington, DC.
On the eve of a state visit to the United States by Pope Francis, Jorge Bergoglio, it was disclosed that the administration of the Church of Rome, including all of the assets of the Vatican Bank, will be transferred to the American capitol.
Fr. Giuseppe Arnoldi, Vatican press spokesman, elaborated,
“This relocation has nothing to do with recent claims of our financial insolvency or anything else you might hear from Mr. Putin, that tight-fisted cheap atheistic bastard! America, on the other hand, is a client we can do business with, anytime, anywhere.”
Speaking from Chicago, where he is renewing his old acquaintances in the Catholic Archdiocese, U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters today,
“We’re absolutely thrilled by this move. Jorge is such a nice guy, and he needs a helping hand these days. Yes we can, Vatican!”
Pope Francis is scheduled to address both Houses of Congress on September 24, after an equally unprecedented address to the United Nations’ General Assembly in New York.
A breaking interview with the Pope follows.
1 September, 2015
Today, Rome … Tomorrow …?
Hello, this is Richard Baleriani with CNN. I’m speaking today to his Most Exalted Supremeness the Magnificent One from Rome, Pope Francis the First.
Pope: Hello Richard.
Baleriani: Let me begin by saying how abjectly honored we are to be speaking with you …
Pope: Excuse me, but you don’t have to call me all that, you know.
Pope: No. Forget all the titles. I’m really a simple soul. “Your Supremeness” will do.
Baleriani: Thank you for clarifying that, Supremeness.
Pope: You’re most welcome, mortal.
Baleriani: So let me begin by asking you what millions of people are wondering: why this move to Washington, DC?
Pope: Well, it’s not exactly Terra Incognito to us, you know. We designed the place.
Baleriani: That’s true, Supremeness, but is there a specific reason for you to just up and leave Italy like that?
Pope: Yes, there is.
Pope: Well, what?
Baleriani: What is the reason?
Pope: Why should I tell you? I’m the Ruler of the World.
Baleriani: So is it a state secret, is that it?
Pope: State? What state?
Baleriani: Uh, you know. The Vatican.
(The Pope chuckles)
Pope: Oh, yeah. Right. I keep forgetting. (pause) No, I wouldn’t call it a “state” secret. Just an arrangement.
Baleriani: We understand that you and Premier Vladimir Putin had quite a mix up back in July when you met in Rome. Rumor has it that a deal that was in the works between you and Russia fell through …
Pope: No comment.
Baleriani: Is this about the claims that the Vatican Bank is about to fold?
Pope: Now I won’t allow that kind of alarmist talk, Richard. I don’t want to have to ask my associate to smite you.
Baleriani: Excuse me? What “associate”?
(The Pope gestures to the ceiling)
Baleriani: Your Supremeness, look, I didn’t mean to imply …
Pope: All it takes is one prayer by me, you know. Maybe even just a phone call to some people I know in Argentina …
Baleriani: Okay, okay. Never mind about the bank …
Pope: You’re a good Italian boy, Richard. You know the score. (pause) But back to your original question, I can say that your wonderful President extended the invitation to me personally to move to your beautiful country.
Baleriani: Mr. Obama asked you to relocate to America?
Pope: No, no, Barack couldn’t find his way to a piss house with the instructions written on his ass. He was asked to invite me, obviously.
Baleriani: Asked by who?
Pope: Richard, do I have to make that call?
Baleriani: It’s a fair enough question, your Supremeness.
Pope: (sighing) I can see you never graduated from your catechism class.
Pope: I’m the Ruler of the world AND of the heavens, Dick.
Baleriani: But I thought, well, what about God?
Pope: What about Him?
Baleriani: I always thought He was in charge.
Pope: No, my son, it’s a tag team operation. Just Him and Me. And we don’t have to answer to anybody, anywhere.
Baleriani: Not even to your creditors, Supremeness?
Pope: Dick, now I warned you …
Baleriani: We know for a fact that there’s a group of offshore Chinese investors who have bought up a major share of the Vatican bank debt, and Russia was helping to broker the remaining acquisition. But with Putin out of the picture now, well …
Pope: Well what?
Baleriani: I’ll put this plainly, Supremeness: since China is rapidly taking over the American national debt as well, is this move to Washington being engineered by Bejing?
(Pause, then Pope begins humming to himself)
Baleriani: I assume your silence means you’re not disagreeing with me?
Pope: This is a nice studio you have here, Dick. Very nice. Is it insured?
Baleriani: (nervously) Uh, well …
Pope: And I noticed your wedding ring. Any kids?
Baleriani: Anyway. So speaking of children …
Pope: Hey! I never touched one of those little bastards!
Baleriani: Excuse me?
Pope: You’re talking Buenos Aires, right? 1982? Okay, so I made some arrangements with the Generals, but I never laid a hand …
Baleriani: Um, sorry, but I was speaking about Mr. Ratzinger …
Pope: Oh. Okay, never mind.
Baleriani: Anyway, will your predecessor be accompanying you in your move to America?
Pope: I can’t speak for Joe …
Baleriani: I mean, there he is, holed up in Vatican City, evading lawyers and reporters alike. I just assumed you wouldn’t leave him there, high and dry.
Pope: No comment.
Baleriani: Some people have even speculated that he’s still the actual reigning Pope. Like, I noticed you don’t wear the papal ring.
Pope: Oh, I am just a simple deity, Dick. I like mingling with the poor. I actually gave it away to some street guy the other day.
Baleriani: You did?
Pope: (cautiously) Yeah. It was, well, a while ago actually. I think. I was out one night, doing my midnight stroll …
Baleriani: What, all on your own?
Pope: Yeah, you know: just like my name sake, that hairy little guy …
Baleriani: No papal security? Not even a bodyguard?
Pope: Consider the lilies of the field, Dick.
Baleriani: Flowers aren’t sitting on trillions in real estate, Supremeness. (pause) But be that as it may, and it probably isn’t …
Pope: Hey, that’s funny!
Baleriani: Let me ask you what you plan to do once you set up shop in Washington?
Pope: It’s a merger deal, Dick. Do you want all the details?
Baleriani: Yes, I would. So would our viewers.
Pope: Then go ask the people who know. I’m just the guy in charge.
Baleriani: A merger?
Pope: Well, duh.
Baleriani: I don’t get it.
Pope: Obviously. (Pause) OK. Confidentially, our stock is dropping. Has been for years. Too many hands to grease, way too much overhead. You know how much it takes to run our company?
Baleriani: A lot, I guess.
Pope: Are you kidding? Over a billion whimpering, pathetic bozos, all looking to me to fix their sorry little lives. You know what air conditioning costs these days?
Baleriani: To say nothing of your obligations to the Orsinis and the other Families …
Pope: Hey, you a smart boy Dickey! Anyway, the Chinks made us a good offer: the same one they did with the Americans. They’ll take the whole thing off our hands and cover all the debts, slam dunk, quicker than you can say The Second Coming!
Baleriani: (chuckling) Wow, you’re a funny guy, Jorge!
Pope: Thanks. I shoulda been in the pictures, you know. That’s what Momma wanted. She said I had a born acting talent …
Baleriani: Well, you’ve proven that, for sure, Supremeness. (pause) But getting back to the Chinese …
Pope: Oh yeah. A fucking god send. Now I don’t have to worry about a repo team barging in and hauling out all the Vatican furniture …
Baleriani: So what does Bejing get in return?
Pope: What do you mean? Everything!
Baleriani: The entire Roman Catholic church?
Pope: (guffawing) Jesus Murphy, Dick! I’m talking everything. On heaven and on earth!
Baleriani: I don’t understand …
Pope: (sighing) It’s all in the contract, dummy. We signed over the entire franchise. They get to run everything now. Not just the churches either, but our whole fucking investment portfolio! Goodbye, Monsanto! Plus all that absolution horseshit and the power to save and damn, all the indulgences income, and of course the weekly take from the collection plates …
Baleriani: Wow. That’s quite the enchilada …
Pope: You bet your pretty wop ass it is, Dick!
Pope: Of course, it’ll require some theological adjustments …
Baleriani: Such as?
Pope: We gotta redo all the official paintings of JC, for one thing. Give him more of an Asiatic look. And of course the Book’s gotta be re-written, again.
Baleriani: Yeah, well Rome is pretty good at doing that …
Pope: You know, like that bit about the Kingdom of Heaven being within you. Uh uh. Not a good thing to say to the Chinese Politbureau.
Baleriani: Or love your enemies, for that matter …
Pope: Well shit, Dick. Nobody likes that one.
Baleriani: So the US government is cool with the Chinese takeover deal?
Pope: (chuckles) Am I a catholic?
Baleriani: Your mother was right, Jorge. You really have to try the stage and screen route …
Pope: Funny you should mention that. I have received a few offers recently …
Baleriani: I wouldn’t doubt it at all, Supremeness. (pause) Any final thoughts for our audience?
Pope: Yeah. Keep up those tithings and offerings. God needs you!
Baleriani: This is Richard Baleriani and … what should I call you now?
Pope: Your Supreme Being … China, Limited.