The Pope Who Couldn’t Cope

“Forgive my weakness…”, was more what Ratzinger said, and it is understandable for a guy his age.

Story by Phil Sick -frankymachine@hotmail.com Photos by Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

So the pope resigned. First time in centuries. Like a normal CEO, Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict XVI, is too old to parade around in his wicked little pope-mobile anymore, too frail to rant his benedictions with that sweet German accent of his. Damn it. The little red Prada slippers will probably be sold on e-bay, for charity. Bye bye also to the little bullet proof glass tank where the Vicar of Christ shows himself to the public, a mix between a beautiful exotic fish and an old rockstar on wheels. I believe there is also a white and yellow (the Vatican’s colors) Segway stored somewhere. Who knows what the new one will have to say about transportation. What if they elect someone like Monsignor Emanuel Milingo or some other Nigerian holiness who says, “Now da Pope rides a Cadillac”…

“Forgive my weakness…”, was more what Ratzinger said, and it is understandable for a guy his age. I almost shed a tear myself, but then again I was coming down from a five-hour ayahuasca trip with a Peruvian curandero I met on the plane coming here. See, I don’t believe in Gonzo Journalism anymore. From now on, writing an article will be a strictly shamanic experience.

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Some fucking experience, I thought it would go down well with my mystic piece on the pope abdicating, because that’s it folks… Popes abdicate, they do not resign. See, a pope isn’t all that different from a monarch, and actually monarchs according to protocol must kiss his little ring first and then kneel before him, maybe only the catholic ones, but I’m sure even Queen Elisabeth has to curtsy or something in his presence. Maybe she winks, or does one of those freaky code dances Agent Cooper would get from Lil the dancer in Twin Peaks. Wouldn’t that be entertaining, a few white doves in the background? Sorry, maybe I should just stick to the pope. Okay… so at the end of this ayahuasca cleansing ceremony, which I realized just then should’ve been held outdoors (but not in front of the Vatican just yet), another dipshit friend of mine turns on the TV and there’s the pope crying and I start sobbing with him, at least that’s what it looked or felt like to me. Those around him say he was tormented; I can assure you guys I was once the shit kicked in. The curandero confirmed that I was telepathically interviewing the pope, only he woulnd’t answer me in Italian, forget English. Strictly Latin or a little German if he had to crack a joke.

“Shiiiiit…” I hollered, “… Isn’t there a fucking interpreter in this dope den, I’m interviewing the pope for goodness sake…”

“Sure, you are, buddie…” Someone was kind enough to reply. Perhaps it was my dog, since everyone else was busy chanting, sobbing, and throwing up.

Photo ©Icarus Blake

So finally this morning I’m well enough to go for groceries at this little Indian shop near the place I’m staying when I run into a North American lady in her late seventies. The Indian shop keeper, already a great buddy of mine due to the amount of beers I’ve been purchasing (though my shaman told me not to drink any if possible at least four days before the ritual, but I told him it was already too late since it wasn’t exactly ginger ale I was drinking with him on the plane), was ever so happy to practice his Apu English, and so was I. The lady said she was Canadian, at first. Then, once she decided I represented no menace to her, her husband, Fox News, and the pentagon, she proudly confessed to be from Bristol, Connecticut. Wow, “I smoked my first ever joint in New Haven”, I was about to say, but I was able to hold my horses there. I had just found a source on this pope business. An American protestant, not even an Irish granny, here to pay her respects. Good job, eh?… Well, I soon enough learn that she’s married to this Fox News correspondent, specialized in Italian affairs, wait not just Italian affairs, but strictly top notch Vatican stuff. I mean, if the pope liked basketball there would be photos of the two of them shooting hoops together. This guy probably farted next to pope, or at least had the chance to.

However, my source was right there, picking her pears, saying her husband wants “the ugly ones”.

When the lady asks me what brought me to Rome, I say “I’m a journalist too…”, grinning like an ape, hoping not to have anything in my teeth.

“You don’t sound Italian, don’t look Italian either…”

“I suspect I was adopted. There is some Mongolian blood in the mix, I’m not quite sure, but hey why did you say you were Canadian earlier on…?”

The lady, looks left and right, and then hand covering her mouth she goes “Because they’re everywhere…”

I nod, all conspiring like, mostly wondering who the fuck are “they”…

Photo ©Icarus Blake

“Wow, that’s a very Nixon like statement…” I blurt, already regretting my stupidity. Luckily the lady had made her mind up. I was a good guy.

“Why do you think Rome has the biggest mosque in Europe?”

“Ah!” I smile knowingly. I’m about to reply with something like “And why do you think Alamogordo, New Mexico has the biggest Pistachio in the world? Ever thought about that? Maybe the two things are connected…”

But fuck it, I have got myself a good God fearing quintessential republican American lady affected by a severe case of terrorist paranoia. In order to suck up to my new friend, I tell her my cousin went to West Point and his father was a CIA operative in Italy. Which, believe it or not, is true, though I suspect my uncle wasn’t exactly James Bond. (Although he did like his Martinis and didn’t give a flying fuck if they were stirred, shaken or given to him through an I.V.) The American lady reminds me of him; luckily it’s mostly her politics more so than her looks. We chew the fat a little bit, me hoping to mooch an invitation to lunch. Not because I’m hungry, but because I want to know her husband. But let’s face it, stuff like this takes time and by the time the lady will get silly enough to actually invite me anywhere, I’ll be flying back to Alamogordo, New Mexico, to see if the Pistachio thing checks out. So all I get from the lady is that the pope is simply too old and doesn’t want to get to a point where he’ll be drooling and twitching and pissing himself like the other one, God bless his Polish soul.

Photo ©Icarus Blake

“No shit…” I say, absentmindedly, and there goes my source. In return, I tell my Bangladeshi buddy that the lady he likes so much hates Muslims and probably gets wet every time she sees a member of the Bush family on television.

“Bastard American lady, shit on her, bad, bad, bad…” Says Zuba, pouting.

The real reason Benedict XVI left shop? Internal wars between cardinals, power struggles and modernity, and old age all combined in one deadly concoction that tastes like Muslim-gay-abortionist shit, to him at least. Who’ll come next? There are apocalyptic predictions that affirm the end will come with a black pope, and there are good black candidates at the moment. With all the turmoil in Africa, it could very much happen. I checked with a few Irish and English bookies and their odds for an African pope confirm this theory. Another German or Eastern European we can certainly rule out. An Italian… Maybe? I don’t know. Sure thing Berlusconi would love to give it a go. He wouldn’t be the first pope to chase whores around, would he? Remember Alexander VI from the Borgia family? We’ve had murderers and sodomites, so why not Berlusconi? I reckon he’s too busy. My choice? I’d pay and go to mass every first Sunday of the month to see a red faced Irish cardinal. Why? I just had this vision where headless Catholic priests look so much like pints of Guinness. So slainte, I mean amen. Hope grandma doesn’t read this, or has someone translate it to her. She’s mighty clever and sneaky. Too bad she’s not a cardinal, as she would make one hell of a pope. Also I could shop duty free in the Vatican and she’d be the first pope in centuries to sport a mustache…

6 Responses to “The Pope Who Couldn’t Cope”

  1. Elisabeth Iler says:

    Dear Sir, I enjoyed your article. I am sitting in India and it’s raining like hell…….

    Love, Lora’s cousin,


  2. johnny says:


  3. phil sick says:

    Well Dear Madame I’m glad you did. See, I rather be in India right now despite the rain… few nubers back I wrote about india’s rape epidemic on cbk… check it out

    Thanks Johnny.

  4. Annamaria V. says:

    Another fine article Phil Sick, I congratulate you!
    I think Pope Benedict is a man of our time….
    Is 85 years old and has decided to resigned, in other terms to got on a “pension”.
    I suppose his cause has not been as noble as Pope Gregory who stepped down in 1415 in a deal to end the Great Western Schism among competing papal claimants….
    Ayahuasca is not fun then: is that so?

    • phil says:

      Yup, let’s not forget Benidict was a Hitler’s Jugend, they must’ve taught him some “etiquette” alright, as for ayuaska don’t believe everything you read… cheers!

  5. Avalanche mati says: