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T“Women billionaires! Have you ever heard the like? What next? Talking wardrobes? Solicitor pigeons?”
here is a secret church for rich people not far from Stephen’s Green. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but I happened to fall into it by chance a few years ago, and have been meaning to tell ye about it for ages.
It’s for billionaires only, so it wouldn’t be packed, but there’d be a few of them there. You wouldn’t recognise any of them, but they own everything, from the ridiculous to the sublime. One of them owns the alphabet, while another collects all the fingernail clippings in the country and turns them into aeroplanes, which he also owns.
They are large, well-fed men, with baby-soft skin, and snake eyes either side of their ruthless noses. They have extra mouths sown into their necks, so that they can eat and talk and yawn at the same time, and eat other people’s dinners as well as their own. They have talcum powder chests and frog crotches. Their leathery hearts also function as wallets, and they only dream in numbers. One of them has the Minister for Finance working for him as an executive PA, and their passports don’t have countries on them, just their names and a picture of the world.
There’s no women in it. Women billionaires! Have you ever heard the like? What’s next, talking wardrobes? Solicitor pigeons?
Now the rituals and intentions are more or less the same as in your common-or-gardener-type church, but these guys are entitled to the premium religious experience. They deserve it, after all they’ve achieved. The Bible they read from is the original one, written in God’s handwriting with a lamb’s blood font, on sheaves of pure gold shorn from the side of the original Golden Calf.
The Pope himself gets flown in every Saturday night on a private jet and whisked in through the back door. Places are limited to 12, with all of them sitting at one side of a long table made from bits of Noah’s ark, and Francis in the middle. They wear long cotton tunics in colours that have only just been invented, and they also put on shoulder-length wigs made fresh each week, shaved off the heads of Romanian supermodels that are kept as prisoners in a house near Tullamore.
Adorned on the walls, but separated from the room by a one-way mirror, are live-action Stations of the Cross, with sallow-skinned refugees playing the parts of the apostles and onlookers. Ah, they get a few quid for it, like; they’re well looked after. Retired guards play the Roman soldiers, just in case one of the refugees gets uppity.
They use a 300-year-old Chateau Margaux for the wine, and Gucci do the Eucharist, which is slivered bits of actual poor people flambeed in asparagus and chilli sauce, served on plates made out of bits of the Sistine Chapel.
The Pope then washes their feet in virgin olive oil (don’t ask) and dries them with what’s left of his hair. Then they hear his confession, and he apologises for not being as rich as they are.
He tells them that they’re more special than anyone else; that the normal rules of society don’t apply to them. That life is a game and they have won, and how God wants them to use other people as their playthings. He shows them that if the needle is big enough, a camel can pass through the eye of it fairly handy.
He tells them that no, their lives have not been a massive waste of time and energy, and that their relentless pursuit of money at the expense of family and friends, of the weak and vulnerable and of the planet itself, was exactly what God had wanted. That they are becoming more like him everyday. That sick and ordinary people were being punished for not being special enough. That poverty is self-inflicted. That they are right to be worshipped by other men. That society must serve them.
An actual beggar is then thrown up on the cross and crucified, and the billionaires do contemplate this until he dies, or they fall asleep.
At the end of it all, they head back out into the world, and invariably and weirdly, it’s always pissing down from the heavens when they do. Thank God.