Last week, an occurrence rarer than Haley’s Comet, a blue moon and an NHS management resignation occurred…
B: Your Holiness?
F: No, Your Holiness…
B: No, I insist, Your Holiness…
F: How about ‘Our Holini’? Latin plural.
B: Love the Latin. Do, sit.
F: Thanks. I still think a simple white rose in the lapel would have sufficed to help recognise each other.
B: I don’t know, I like the big hats. And I hope you don’t mind the Pizza Express but it gives us anonymity, while at the same time offering the Italian cuisine befitting two Vaticanisters.
F: Is that the technical term?
B: No, but speaking of technical terms, you’ll want the handover details.
F: Ha! Yes. Be good to know where the bodies are buried… That was a turn of phrase. There are no…
B: No, all you need to know is that the bathroom light needs flicking on and off a couple of times – never got round to fixing it, and you just get used to the quirk of it. Oh, and the password for the @pontifex Twitter account is (LEANS IN, WHISPERS) ‘password’.
B: Some of the cardinals do Dress-Down Fridays, but only under the cassocks. In fact every day is Dress-Down Friday under the cassock, now I think about it.
F: Brilliant, well I can’t wait to get started.
B: Me neither. Let’s eat. Waiter! I think he’s ignoring us.
F: Let’s take the hats off.
B: If we must. Oh, and these are the keys for the desk drawers. Top drawer there’s a Bible. Second one down, another Bible.
B: Third drawer is just paperclips. You can never have too many paperclips. Fourth drawer’s locked, apparently since the early 1700s, so (SHRUGS). And fifth drawer is more paperclips. Actually you can have too many paperclips.
F: Great. Well I thank you for your service, and wish you a happy retirement.
B: Oh I’m not retiring.
F: You’re not? Why’s there a glint in your eye?
B: See I was thinking, now there are two Popes, for a limited time only, we can make the most of this. ‘The Pope’ can do twice as many public appearances for a start. I’ll let you have the Popemobile, I’ll have the Pope-segway.
F: There’s a Pope-segway?
B: And a Popegostick. It’ll be great – like having a doppelganger! A papalganger!
F: You and your German words.
B: Sorry, but hey, if it’s Spanish you’re after, how about… ‘La La La La La La La Bamba!’
F: Sit down, Your Holiness, please! What are you doing?
B: Singing! It’s my second idea. You and me, together, on the road. ‘The Vatican Two’!
F: Like the council in the 1960s? I don’t think people will get the reference.
B: Album one: ‘Everybody Talk About Pope Music’. Album two: ‘The Vaticancan’. Album three: ‘Old Red Shoes Is Back’. Album four: ‘Preach For The Stars’. Album five…
F: Stop, stop. I don’t want to sing. I just want to serve the Church.
B: Fine, fine. This poping, it’s a young man’s game nowadays. How old are you now?
B: Exactly, whippersnapper. Speaking of which, neither of us are getting any younger – let’s order. Does the waiter even know we’re here?
F: We should have gone over the road: Frankie & Benny’s. Get it? Frankie & B…
B: It’s Emeritus now.
F: Yeah but Frankie & Emeritus doesn’t really work.
B: You da pope.
F: No you da pope.
B: Pope out.