I was in my study, contemplating the beingness of nothingness and slugging back a quiet whiskey when a powerful rumbling shook the Bockschloss to its foundations.
What the- I ejaculated as I sprang upright and dashed to the window.
Outside, on the rolling lawn, I could see a familiar little figure gesticulating at me. He seemed agitated and as I flung open the casement, the little tyke leapt into my arms, trembling.
Good God, Ratzo, I gasped. What’s happened to you? You’ve never behaved like this before.
Ach, I have the rounding-ups barely escaped, mein Bockfreund. Die polizei, they are arresting alles hunden in den Strasse und them up are locking! I only the miraculous evasion make by into a paper bag jumping und mit mein kopf only peeping out, you see, and so they are gedenken that I only a midget am.
And not a bull pontiff, I finished for him.
Ja, he gasped. Was ist los mit den Welt, mein Bockfreund?
I don’t know, Ratzo. I think they’re arresting everybody who knows any secrets, and the dogs in the street are the obvious target.
As I spoke, something outside in the grounds of the Bockschloss caught my eye.
Ratzo, I said. That terrible rumbling I heard?
Ja? Ratzo looked shifty.
Was that you driving the giant military transporter I see parked on my lawn?
Ratzo said nothing.
Well – was it?
Ratzo rolled on his back and panted.
Don’t give me that crap Ratzo. You aren’t a dog. For Christ’s sake, you’re half Pope.
I only it to try out vanted, he pleaded pathetically.
That was when the penny dropped. You took the Desecrator again, didn’t you, Ratzo, damn you?
You might remember my design for a mobile Consecrator. The idea came to me when I heard that Mayo County Council were going to bless the roads to cut down road deaths. I felt it could be done more efficiently by machine, and all it would take was a County Council driver instead of a highly-trained killer-priest.
Then, the other possibilities started to take shape. Graves. Multi-denominational graveyards. There you are with your priest or mullah or whatever, and he’s blessing the grave of your loved-one, but he can’t spray this sanctity stuff in an exact right-angled shape, so he accidentally blesses his neighbour with the wrong flavour of religion. Not a nice notion. So I thought, maybe the lads from the Council could just back the Consecrator over the grave, turn the knob to whatever religion you need and just switch it on. Let it run for a few minutes while they’re having their tea, and the whole thing is done.
It was a short step from there to the military version. The Desecrator, capable of cursing your enemy in all known religions simultaneously, would be towed behind an armoured personnel carrier and fire curses horizontally at your opponent, at approximately knee height. No soldier with cursed legs would be able to fight you properly.
So that’s what the little Pontiff-dog was up to!
You were going to launch an attack, weren’t you? Ratzo, you little hound.
No. I promise, I was only to Croke Park mit it going, the earth to bless before the grosse rugger fussball match tomorrow. For the Peace in alles der Weld.
What?? I had an idea. Damn Ratzo. Maybe you’re onto something after all.
Forgetting about the little Papahund, I raced outside to where my Desecrator was housed.
Quick, Ratzo, I said. We must work all night at this. If we can re-balance the sanctity-malevolence matrix generator and reverse the polarity on the inertial prayer-curse dampers, we could fire an evil Delaney-seeking version of Faith of Our Fathers straight through the walls of Croke Park. Take out Delaney with the world’s first military Smart-Curse, and the whole rotten FAI edifice will crumble. Mwoo-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!