They’ve arrested the Pope, muttered Gonad the Ballbearian.
What’s that? I looked up from my escritoire and removed my meerschaum. The devil you say!
The Pope, he said. You know. Busy chap in Rome. Tall hat, curly slippers. Former head of the Inquisition. German chap, if memory serves.
Good God, man, I know who the Pope is. Who arrested him?
Gonad shifted slightly on his chaise longue and sipped another drop of laudanum. This is becoming tiresome. I’m going to write a sonnet.
My dear Gonad, I entreated, please, I pray you: tell me who apprehended his Holiness and why.
Oh, said Gonad, it was the Portuguese police or some such foreign Johnnies.
The what? I started back, aghast.
Yes. Under Portuguese law, it seems, a policeman’s theory is always right. They’re obliged to make all the facts in the world fit in with it.
What has that to do with the Pope?
Well, continued Gonad, languidly, it seems the Pope may have met certain English people and heard their confession. Portugal has declared war on the Vatican. They sent in a team of special forces, they’ve abducted the Pope and even now, as we speak, they have him under guard at the high-security Shrine of Fatima in Portugal.
I could hardly believe my ears. I say, Gonad, pass me that bottle of laudanum, there’s a good chap.
Yes indeed, mused Gonad. I believe they’re beating the confession out of him as we speak. Portuguese law is very strict, you know, on doing things correctly.