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**DISCLAIMER - If you are religious and very easily offended, please do not read this short story. The intention is entirely comedy, but I fully appreciate that the religious will not see it that way. So for pitys sake don't read it***

The Extraordinary tale of Trevor Monkfish and his peculiar legacy that sits in the crypt beneath St Peter?s Bascilla
? 2004 Martin Horton

Deep within the misty crypts that lie beneath the marbled floor of St Peter?s Bascilla, and indeed, if you take leave to focus on the treasured doctrines of the Holy See, lies a buried city that hides its secrets well. The dead only have spoil and generations, so let?s concentrate on the living, the nearly dead, and a technological astonishment made nearly forty-nine years ago.

Apart from the dreary recommendations to the Pontiff, the Revelations of Fatima and the blood soaked ruin of a thousand Martyrs; beneath the Vatican you will find a rather curious oddity. A Washing Machine. Or at least that is what it would look like to you and me, boy or girl, man or woman, or even the most ardent and learned Theologian of the Sash. A common, every-day, overburdened, no frills, no warranty, no guarantee Washing Machine. A once proud tumbler of his and hers, going a little grey around the edges, a bit of rust here and there, but still ? to all intents and purposes, a Washing Machine. You could have plucked it out of a rubbish tip; scrapped off some of the scum and discarded nappies, then dumped it in the Vatican as a curio, (a curio because of the fact that Trevor adorned it with inquisitive scripts and incantations) but nobody with less than passing concern would have batted an eye.

Except that this is no ordinary Washing Machine. It is esteemed as the result of a papal edict but, by most of the Orthodoxy, it is not revered. Oh no Sir, Madam, Miss or Master. This lump of metal, as I have mentioned before, is what you may at think at first glance is a Washing Machine, is however the product of what the Cardinals called an Infernal Engine from an Evil and Fevered mind. This fevered mind, this genius, this man, his name being Trevor Monkfish, walked into the sea off Wales and to his death screaming; ?There is no God!? Only the jellyfish, washed up onto the beach like the discharge of used condoms from a Russian Submarine, were the sole audience to applaud his suicide. The rest of us are left with his legacy, his lifetime of psychotic labouring - the Washing Machine left lying half submerged in the sand

Over and over, ever increasing circles. The gulfs, in their infinite demonic majesty, (long may they hold court and shit light onto the heads of the damned) decreed that something must be done to increase the paucity of flow of the children of indifference to the churches of the saved. So in a fit of fury of biblical proportions, they entered Trevor?s head (?Get out???.of?????my??????head,? he screamed at his reflection in the mirror) as they etched the plans of this Washing Machine onto his spine. So it came to be, and shortly after fell into the sweaty palms of covert brethren.

This Washing Machine, this aluminium consequence of a seeping wound on Lucifer?s backside, enabled you, once you stuck you head inside the door, chucked in the fabric softener and set it for acrylic whites, to see what was on the other side of death. Rather, the panel on the front on the machine would allow us to see the final thoughts of the user as he passed over to the other side. The very second until he was beyond our mortal reach. Let me try and assure you that there are no sleight of hand or seductions like those of the great magician and illusionist Carter, who thrilled and frightened audiences in the nineteenth century with displays of tormenting demons, and who was second only to Houdini in his trickery and mesmerism. Oh no, the grubby readings on the LCD display are the true, clear and fluid thoughts at the moment he or she dies.

So would the following description of events, written on a wrinkled piece of papyrus recently recovered from beneath the rubble of Rome, come as any surprise to you?

The Pope and Holy Father speaks from his deathbed; ?I am near death.?

?Holy Father, most pious and pure of spirit, with your dying breath, forgive us to ease you into the washing machine, ? pleads the Cardinal.

?I will comply, if only to enlighten people to the truth of the great transcendental.?

Several moments pass. Inside the Washing Machine the Pontiff?s head lolls to one side. He expels his last breath and leaves us to journey to, what some believe, is a better place, to become the consort of the almighty god. A surgeon moves forward and tenderly checks for the Pontiff?s pulse. He turns and addresses the conclave with a grave countenance. He shakes his head. Several of them splash to their feet in a puddle of sorrow.

Blink, goes the display on Trevor?s Washing Machine.

Despite their elephantine burden of grief, the conclave turns and lays their sanctified gaze upon Trevor?s Washing Machine and its blinking display. It blinks on and off. On and off. It has some important information, eager and willing to spill.

On and off.

Everyone squints. Everyone is so very so short sighted here. Everyone is so old. Yet one of the less ancient Cardinals dares to speak his breath. ?Father Pangloss,? he asks. ?Could you read to us our dear departed Father?s thoughts at the moment heaven was revealed to him??


Father Pangloss, a stern old relic, leans close to Trevor?s machine. He rubs the mist off his glasses. ?Brothers,? he says, after a moment. ?The thoughts of our dear departed friend, as he saw the hereafter, were??


Everyone is looking at Father Pangloss. The dust in the crypt stirs, it being younger than most of the Cardinals. He straightens and kneads his fingers, as if readying to pray. ?Brothers,? he commands, clearing his throat, ?This most holy of electronic wholesale goods imparts to me that our Holy Father said, or rather thought...?

?Yes, yes, OH YES,? the cry as one, ?What did he say, what did he see??


The cardinal purses his lips. ?He said...?

?Yes?? they plead, as they fart out a collective cloud of incense in devout anticipation.

?As he passed over he...?


The Cardinal takes a deep breath and lowers his blessed head. A beat.
He looks up. ?He said - ?Oh shit!? ?
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