Chapter 28- Witches

The stars are cold tonight.
Outside the window; white
sparkling jewels of bright,
uncaring, icy light.

Can they hear me pray?
I curse and rage. Do they hear me bray?
Confusion! I bay-
a hungry, howling stray.

The stars are cruel tonight.
They neither reject nor invite
my pleas- neither smile nor bite.
They are indifferent to my plight.

Robert King/Journal

    I gave you an overview in simplified terms of what GLORY-GIRLS were , but as I said, they were much more than mere courtesans.
    There was a committee within the GLORY-GIRL hierarchy that calleditself ‘Dirty Tricks.' It was a play on both the ‘trick’ a prostitute turns and the name of the group within the Nixon White House that had assumed responsibility for political intrigue. The most famous of their projects was the Watergate affair that brought down Nixon's presidency. Our ‘Dirty Tricks’ department took on a flavor particular to Dominique.This episode began with a casual comment from me.
    “What we ought to do is figure out a way to consolidate all the major religions into one.”
    “Which one, my love?”
    “Why ours, naturally.”
    I didn’t think anything more about it. Months passed.
    Over the years my role had become defined. I was the figure head of our church, like the Pope was to the Catholic church. In retrospect, I see that I wasn’t any different than other men in our organization except that Dominique was my supervisor. She made me feel like I was so unique- indispensable. I suppose I was, but not for the reasons I thought. I was carefully deluded. Not that it took much. I was over my depth. I had no idea of the complexity of Machiavellian logic Dominique's plans encompassed. I never have. For years I had no clue how out of touch with reality I was. All I knew was that, as time passed I cared less and less about a lot of things that, once had been important. The ‘Truth’ was only one of many things that got lost in the shuffle.
    One day there was a meeting.
    “I just can't believe it! I mean it's the most bizarre thing we've come up with yet.”
    “It's great!”
    We were in the Dirty Tricks strategy room. Once, the grand salon of a Borgia villa that we had dismantled and reassembled in our recently remodeled headquarter or "Home Base", as it was referred to. it was an enormous but curiously graceful room with a lofty, vaulted frescoed ceiling and elegant, arched, windows and doors. The main walls, covered in a lustrous peach silk, had as a base, intricately carved wainscoting. Tiny, complex mosaic slivers of rare hard woods made up the parquet floor. The afternoon sun refracted rainbow patterns through a gleaming, ornate, crystal chandelier onto the faces of the group of coconspirators gathered around a huge, round, conference table.
    “It's true! It's been going on for months. She stays in one of the private villas just outside the grounds of the Vatican. It’s connected to his chambers by a tunnel designed by DeVinci. Popes used to have mistresses, even children, but now..." She laughed. “It's outrageous.”
    “Men are dogs!” Someone said.
    Wicked laughter erupted, filled with every nuance that jokes like this freighted with them.
    I stared at the rainbows that danced like disembodied spirits across the tabletop and the faces of the witches gathered to giggle and plot and enjoy the terribly funny joke. Beneath the table top someone kept grazing the inside of my thigh with a stiletto heel. I looked from face to face. I couldn't imagine which of them it was. It might have been all of them taking turns. They all nodded thoughtfully, and spoke with no hint of the secret games they played.
    I wasn’t sure what was worse: the scandal, the significance of it to the Catholic Church that had, like all traditional religions, lost the humanity that gave all belief life, or that we had come to represent what belief had come to.
    There had been too many fallen idols. Presidents, preachers and kings, leaders of every description, heroes to millions, tied to beds by cheap hookers in ten dollar rooms, beaten and degraded, their grotesquely made up, unshaven cheeks smeared against polyester couches. The newspapers were cesspools filled anew each day with sordid stories of every conceivable type of molester, and deviant. Many of them were responsible, upstanding civic leaders.
     Civilization teetered on the brink. We were doing great. Our scam worked. We provided something people could really use. Our seminars worked. The new drug and alcohol dependency programs cured thousands. We sponsored hospitals and free medical care for children, renewal programs for underdeveloped countries raped to disaster by bandit politicians, and countless other good will efforts. Why not? It was cheap publicity. Just because we wanted to rule the world that didn’t mean we had bad ideas. Every business, political, religious, philosophical and criminal organization on earth had the same dream. That was what success was all about. We weren't saints.
    “Were there any pictures?” I asked.
    Everybody broke into laughter. Dominique leaned back and smiled.
    “Yes, as a matter of fact, we do have some. Daphne, show him.”
    She tossed a fat, gold, manila envelope to me. I dumped a messy stack of stark, black and white sin on the table top. They depicted the Pope. His pure white robes were bunched above his flaccid waist. God's voice on earth was getting a blow job from a girl that seemed not much more than a child. His eyes were closed and his head uplifted. He looked like a saint at prayer.
    “Who is she?” I asked.
    “She’s one of ours.” Dominique answered.
    “How old is she?”
    “Let me see!”
    I tossed the photos to my right, one by one, each one a progressively more sordid station of the cross.
    “Oh God!” One said.
    "He looks like he's hearing Gods' voice real clearly.” Another answered.
    “Poor old bastard.”
    “Right! Poor. That's what he's going to be when we get done with him.”
    Daphne and the GLORY-GIRL next to her slapped palms and cackled. Loud, cruel laughter echoed through the room.
    “Do it to me daddy!”
    Dominique said nothing.
    I shivered.
    There was more laughter.
    I shivered again.
    The plan, outrageous as it might sound, was that we were going to blackmail the Catholic Church. We had an offer that the schemers in ‘Dirty Tricks’ were sure they couldn’t refuse. In exchange for silence about the Pope and other scandals that would be revealed as necessary, there would be a subtle amalgamation of the Catholic Church with the UNIVERSAL CHURCH OF GLORY. It would begin in small ways: interfaith conferences, joint relief programs, and the like, designed so not to be too blatant but to provide the beginnings of acceptance of a connection between the two churches. Our PR department would do the rest.
    This was no short term scheme. It encompassed a carefully thought out, brilliantly planned but barely noticeable drift toward commonality that would take years to come to fruition. It also committed billions of our funds to grease the wheels.
    My part in the scheme was to eventually become the leader of this amalgamated religion. The only thing I objected to was I didn’t want to dress like the pope or to have to do the mass
    I got up from the table.
    “King? Where are you going?”
    “I don’t know.”
    That proved to be a big mistake.