I’m a Catholic man by religion, or at least I do fancy myself one. During legion routine boring days on the job contemplating my domestic plight, I, like most others, indulge myself from time to time in a micro dream of my fantasy job. Mine would be to assume the position of his excellency, the Pontiff. I should be the Pope. Come on, I would be a really boss Pope; the best Pope ever! Why should I be the next Pope? The more telling question is why shouldn’t I be the next pope?

Hear me out; I submit to you my face value qualifications:

I am a Catholic man by faith, or at least I fancy myself one. I paid my initial dues. I suffered through Catholic school for six consecutive years of my life, the best six years of my life, years that I will never get back. I was schooled by nuns. You heard me right: full body smock-wearing, no mouthwash-using, Dominique-singing, ruler-in-palm-slapping, ear-yanking, none in the morning none at night-getting nuns.

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Sister Ermelinda was my first grade nun. She would pinch us in our arm pits while she talked to us one-on-one. It didn’t matter what it was she had to say to us, good or bad, as soon as she got within arm’s reach, she started pinching. God it hurt. Who the hell even does THAT? What kind of name is Ermelinda anyway? We used to call her Sister “Melanda… er… Melinda”. We knew we were all going to Hell for that; no culpability of pretense. We were in first grade, but already had our career paths mapped out for us.

Sister Mariam, my 3rd grade nun was over eighty years old. Toward the end of the school day she would no kidding drift off to sleep sitting at her desk. Once we heard the chalk hit the floor we would quietly leave the classroom and play outside until the bus came. Sister Mariam would awake eventually to an empty classroom. We children enjoyed the fail safe that if ever we felt in jeopardy as a class we could merely stay real real quiet for a few minutes… and she would fall asleep as we quietly retired to the perils of the playground.

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We went to church every day; full blown/full caliber Catholic Mass shot in our faces with both 12 gauge barrels. In those days the communion host was placed on the recipient’s tongue only by the priest—never to be tactile. One daring day I received the host, but held it on my tongue instead of ingesting it right away. Once back in the benches (pews) I turned to my bud Frank and stuck my tongue out revealing the host in all its glory.

Just like in a movie I sat there, tongue hanging out with clinging soggy host… my view then focused from near to far at the horrified, petrified, transmogrified face of Sister Mariam glaring a glare at me that could stop a stampede of wildebeasts. I prayed extra hard for the remainder of mass: “Please dear Lord let a tractor trailer rig plow her sacrosanct ass into the curb.” Well now, that isn’t a very altruistic wish on a poor nun who is after all over 80 years old… “Please dear Lord let her get clipped by a light delivery lorry and lose a hip.”

As the church let out I was met outside by Sister Mariam… ruler in hand. Ever so faintly I heard the clinking of a fist full of coke bottles worn on the fingers and: “Warrior… time to come out and plaaaaaayyyy.”

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This was not some ordinary garrison ruler that she saved just for inspections, it was her combat ruler. This ruler was OD green subdued with all shiny surfaces sand blasted and duct taped. Sister had this ruler tied off to a rawhide lanyard around her wrist so she could hang onto it. It was light weight, carbon fiber in construction, one that she had cruelly embedded a whistle of sorts into, so you could hear it wail like a banshee as it sliced through the air at unimaginable speed. It put me in mind of the Nazi JU-87 Stuka dive bombers of WWII, air-driven sirens under the wings served no purpose other than to horrify the victims of its bombing runs.

Sister Mariam, you put me in mind of Nazis… what do you think of that? It’s not my problem; your behavior makes me think of Waffen Shutzstaffel bros, jack boot stompin’ around, rounding mofos up for a Polar Express death ride to “Damn It’s Freezing Here” Poland. You have issues, sister.

Sister Leocadia was my fourth grade nun. She was pleasant enough… just one minor annoyance… she wouldn’t ever SHUT THE FUCK UP! Nonstop flapping of that holy jaw. We began to call her “Lady-oh Cady-oh,” which in turn gave way to a playground rhyme that we chanted at recess: “There once was a nun named Lady-oh Cady-oh, talked so much we put her on radio, radio”… until of course we were caught by her, at which point we were all officially going to Hell; do not pass “Go” do not collect $200, straight to Hell, heathen children!

Having endured all measure of Catholicism, I can say in substantial Catholic conscience that I am in many ways owed the ecumenical and transubstantiated papal title of His Excellency, the Pope. Six years in Catholic school, friends… six years and no T-shit. There is a debt to be collected here, and that debt can only be paid up by “THEE” seat in the Vatican.

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2. I am at least 35 years old. Pope Benedict IX was the youngest known Pope, elected somewhere between the 11 and 20 years old (howz that for great records keeping):

“Name?”

“Benedict IX”

“Occupation, Mr. Benedict?”

“Pope”

“Yes and, age?”

“Eleven… or twenty…”

“Next!”

Most popes get appointed around 60 years old. At 55 years old, I feel I am close enough for a papal pardon for the five missing years.

3. I speak six foreign languages. Not a hard fast requirement but it has been a legacy of sorts that the papal priest speak several foreign languages in hope that he may relate to more folks on a catholic level.

4. I am a certified pastor. While I am not a priest, I am a certified card-carrying pastor. Thaaat’s right, baby… you can go right ahead and call me Reverend George Edward Hand IV!

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My Pastor Pass

5. I have a doctorate degree. Though I do not have a suggested doctorate degree in Theology, I do have a Phd in Holistic Science, issued to me by the same Southern California institute that
issued me my pastor’s license. Thaaaaat’s right baby… you can go right ahead and address me as Reverend Doctor George Edward Hand IV! AND, ahem, I believe I left Jesse Jackson and
Al sharpton in my sacrosanct dust. As for Bishop and Cardinal… I haven’t figured out how to get around that yet. It’s all red tape, totally negotiable.

6. I already have a papal-sounding name: George Edward Hand IV. I don’t need no stinking College of Cardinals to chose a cool-guy pope name for me. That step is already taken care of; let’s move on to something more important.

7. I am unmarried and willing to remain celibate forever. This was not necessarily my personal choice, but since my apocalypse of a divorce last year, I have made the commitment to stand farther away from women, and a little closer to beer nuts, because in the end you can smash beer nuts to a fine pulp with a 24-ounce, corrugated-head finishing hammer when you get sick of them.
Rather than wallow in self-pity, I am jubilant at the prospect of being one more step closer to my bullet-proof, transparent box chariot!

Being appointed pope is a strictly an inside job. The ~200 Catholic cardinals from around the world come together in Vatican City and elect the new pope by ballots cast in the Sistine Chapel. By “inside job” I mean no women need apply, and by no women I mean NUN! There won’t be any sneaking them through into the Vatican like they did with the women in Ranger School. The Vatican is probably the largest and most successful Boy’s Club in the world today… next to the US Air Force (sorry BK).

While I do agree with keeping women out of the Vatican, I am not necessarily keen on the idea of the cardinals-casting-the-votes crap for a bishop they have probably never even met. That sort of election just ends up being a numbers game or a big dick contest. I say let’s get me and the few other contenders up on the pundit and debate it out. Let’s raise and tackle the tough questions and issues, see what each other is made of.

If elected I promise to issue out Hillary Clinton passes to all priests accused of sexual misconduct with alter boys. Everyone else in the US will still get tried, convicted, and punished for the crime, except my specially privileged Catholic boys. That’s right you get a pass, and you get a pass… everybody gets a Hillary Clinton pass for naughty behavior.

Which brings me to final qualification: I was an alter boy for nine years. Now, before the confessions get too real here, I’ll have you know I made it through my Catholic rearing (no pun intended) still a virgin. How I did it, I’ll never know. Perhaps I just wasn’t attractive enough? Well that hurts my feelings I guess. How did I endure? I’m not sure, but perhaps some day a sound or a smell or something will trigger a floodgate of locked away memories, and I’ll crumple into the fetal position until the next coming of Christ—judgment day biotches!

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Yes, I’m a Catholic man, or so I fancy. I will be the Pope. I will sit on the papal perch and have cardinals fetch me a ginger ale and schweppes from the parlor. I’m of the “go big or go home” faith. I’ll be the Pope alright, or I’ll burn in Hell for the shit we said about Sister Leocadia and Sister Malanda… er… Malinda, I meant.

So maybe I will not make it to Pope on my cool-guy, papal-sounding name alone, but my son will have an even better chance once he reaches the ripe ol’ age of 35: George Edward Hand V. I think about it and smile at him; “What do you want to be when you grow up, Georgie?” “I want to be an astronaut, dad!” I laugh, wink, and pat him on the head: “That’s nice, son.”

I’ll be there when he beats the pants off the other wannabe bishops in the debate. I’ll have a sack full of dried leaves to dump into the fireplace, leaves that will give off a nice billowing white smoke. A new Pope has been appointed; Pope George Edward Hand V!

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We’ll both be shoe-in for heaven, my boy Georgie and I!

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His Excellency George Edward Hand V

Geo faithfully sends