Pastor Pillow stirred in his sleep. He heard a soft jingling, and his sleeping consciousness assumed it was nothing more than 6,000 springs adjusting themselves in his Jab Anstoez-handcrafted Majesty VI bed. The bed was a gift from the Cubic Zirconium Cathedral Ministries Board of Ruling Elders, given to the good minister for his successful smashing to smithereens of all 2014 capital campaign targets. In fact, Sunday morning collections alone had hauled in enough dough to begin construction of the new Principalities & Powers Amusement Park next to the Noah’s Ark Baptismal Waterslide Park.
Yet this was no normal box spring jingle. Again, the treble plink of metal disc on metal disc. The Chief Pastoral Officer of one of the nation’s wealthiest megachurches began tossing at the distinct clink of coin. The sound of dancing currency was followed by a voice—an unmistakable rich, Lynchburg drawl—that caused Pastor Pillow to shoot up straight from his slumber.
Pastor Pillow tugged the ball of his Yves Saint Laurent nightcap. “Reverend Jerry!”
It was indeed none other than the Right Reverend Falwell, a specter version of the infamous Southern Baptist minister, who drew a deep breath and tossed another coin upon the great heap that surrounded him. “I still can’t believe a Jewish antichrist hasn’t taken over the planet yet. No chance Sam Walton’s family isn’t part of the Lost Tribe, I suppose?”
“I don’t think so, sir,” Pastor Pillow offered, “them hailing from Oklahoma originally.”
The Spirit Falwell repeatedly turned over a Kruggerand in his hand. “Oh. You know, it kind of stings that that Baphomet-loving S.O.B. Larry Flynt outlived me. Yet that of course is not the reason for my appearance to you on the week of our Savior’s birthday.”
“Can you believe Jesus is almost 2,014 years old!” Pastor Pillow exclaimed. “What do you get the Savior who’s given you everything?”
The Spirit Falwell rolled his phantasmic eyes. “Can it, Pastor P. I’m not some studio audience. I’m your mentor, for Pauline sake. I was dodging the SEC before you were born. Listen, we incorporeal beings do not in the least bit enjoy breathing this pre-tribulational air, so let me say what I have to say then head back to Abraham’s Bosom. I bear thee a message: tonight you shall be haunted by three spirits.”
Pastor Pillow’s countenance hung low—or so it at first appeared. In actuality, he was just reaching to the floor for a one-dollar Eisenhower coin that had fallen off the bed. He replied to the Moral Majority guru, “Let me guess, without the visits of these three spirits I shan’t hope to shun the path I tread?”
The Right Reverend Spirit began sinking into the pile of coins, as though it were quicksand, “I haven’t the faintest idea. Now, my final advice to you is that…”
The Spirit Falwell disappeared into the coin quagmire and along with him whatever sage words were intended for the Cubic Zirconium Cathedral CPO. Pastor Pillow spent little time dwelling on this, however, as he beheld the pile of coins themselves disappearing into an unseen fissure in the mattress. Fearing that he may be swept away into his mentor’s netherworld, Pastor Pillow leapt from his cashmere wonder mattress. In his birthday buff save for his silken nightcap, he backpedaled until his back met the resistance of a bony protuberance. Pastor Pillow turned to discover that his spine had bumped into the famous forefinger of Uncle Sam, who was clad in his familiar star-spangled top hat and looking billy goat gruff disturbed.
The Specter Uncle Sam stroked his white-with-age goatee. “I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
“Long Past?” inquired Pastor Pillow.
“Pre-World War II, to be precise,” the spirit replied.
And with that, Pastor Pillow’s bed chamber transformed into the scape of a raging inferno. A neoclassical building that looked altogether familiar was in blazing flame, and men ran about from all sides shouting in a language Pastor Pillow recognized to be German.
Pastor Pillow turned to behold his companion, the Specter Uncle Sam, who held in his arm a great red, white and blue lance upon which were impaled a string of large, star-shaped marshmallows. The spirit held the lance over a nearby smoldering piece of wood and proceeded to roast the confections.
The Specter Uncle Sam addressed Pastor Pillow, “February 27, 1933. The evening of the burning of the German parliamentary building, the Reichstag. On the day following this act of terrorist arson, Adolf Hitler bum-rushed the enactment of the Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat, the Reichstag Fire Decree, which nullified the civil liberties of the German people. The Fuhrer seized upon the false fears of Germans, who were more than willing to sacrifice their freedom in return for stomping the threat of Communist terror.”
Pastor Pillow plucked a sugary star from the lance. “And, of course, you wish me to make a parallel between this moment in time and our insidious Patriot Act?”
The Specter Uncle Sam nodded. “The thought had occurred to me.”
“Nice try, Sammy.” Pastor Pillow swallowed, “But you should probably know that the folks in my flock surrendered their freedom long before the Patriot Act. Don’t you know the fundamentalism trade-off? You give up your critical thinking faculties, and in exchange, I’ll supply all the enemies and simple answers you’ll ever need to justify your ignorance.”
And with that, Pastor Pillow was whisked away back to his bed chamber, where he was shocked to find Vice President Dick Cheney modeling his wife’s smallclothes.
The once and future Capitalist Wraith approached Pastor Pillow wearing his wife’s brassiere over his trademark black-as-evil suit.
“I am the Ghost of Christmas Present,” the former Vice President snarled.
Pastor Pillow reached behind the Specter V.P., unhooked his wife’s bra, and placed it back in his wife’s undergarment drawer. “Look, can we just cut to the chase, goodly phantom? I imagine this is where you take me on a tour of the oil fields and poppy fields, respectively, of the Iraqi and Afghani people, to show me the charred remains of wedding feast guests and U.S. troops who died needlessly?”
The Specter V.P. harrumphed, which Pastor Pillow interpreted as assent.
“Also,” Pastor Pillow continued, “probably a roundabout cruise of the vagaries of the American people, lost and blind to the needs of social justice from their drunkenness on the teats of social media, sports, bigotry and general Gordon Gekko greed.”
Again the Specter V.P. grunted.
Pastor Pillow opened another drawer and produced a powder blue chemise and presented it to his apparition guide. “Really, Dick, there’s no need. I’m well aware of the injustices in the world your vampire avarice gave us. And I gladly protect my parishioners from it—in exchange for a requisite tax of tithe and unwavering loyalty. So do you suppose we can just skip ahead to the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?”
By now, the Specter V.P. had already shed his formal garments and donned the blue nightie. With not even so much as a wave bye-bye, the Specter Dick disappeared. In the distance, the Cubic Zirconium Ministries bell tower struck 12.
Lifting up his eyes, Pastor Pillow beheld a solemn Phantom, draped and hooded, coming, like a mist along the ground, towards him. The Phantom slowly, gravely, silently, approached. When it came near him, Pastor Pillow bent down upon his knee; shrouded in its deep black hull were military markings. The good minister understood now that he was in the presence of a futuristic U.S. drone, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Bomb.
The Spirit Drone neither spoke nor moved but pointed onward with its cockpit. Pastor Pillow followed in the shadow of its flight, which bore him up, he thought, and carried him along.
Pastor Pillow perceived a cloud’s eye view of a future United States of America in which all the horrors of Tea Party gerrymandering and lazy progressive non-voting were made manifest. A nation further bathed in fear and hate. A police state, barely tethered to the secular origins of the Founding Fathers. Bombings and violent actions occurring regularly, the result of further empowering of religious fundamentalism. A society where black lives continued not to matter—where no human life continues to matter, let alone art and culture. The void of an economic system devoted to profit, the vacuum of a political system devoted to selfish ambition.
The drone carried Pastor Pillow back to his bed chambers. Pastor Pillow felt the stickiness on his hands from Uncle Sam’s marshmallow. He ambled to the bedroom master bath and washed his hands of all matters. The Ghost Drone of Christmas Yet to Bomb followed.
“I understand you, Spirit,” Pastor Pillow began. “But I care not. For I am prisoner to my own blind self-centeredness. You and I both know full well that I don’t give a shit about the Savior I supposedly represent. Christ is a means to an end—and the end is my $84,425 bed in the other room, its pure luxury made possible by all the dumbasses I have fooled into forking over their hard-earned salaries onto my platinum-plated offering trays.”
Pastor Pillow toweled his hands dry and climbed into his Majesty VI Spring Bed. With a wave, he dismissed the Spirit Done and pulled his Dreamsacks charmeuse silk covers over his head. Within moments, he fell asleep, deeply as a babe, and began dreaming of himself on a Christianity Today photo shoot with model Emily Ratajkowski.
“The world is my oyster,” dreamed Pastor Pillow. “Not some socialist Dickens fairytale.”
That’s a wrap!
Please open your hymnals to No. 911.
He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake
Progressives, the November Elections are—damn, you missed it. It’s too late. While we Progressives sat around drinking craft beer, more than one-third of our fellow fundamentalist countrymen rushed to the polls and elected the most idiotic group of human beings ever yet to rule a superpower.
But don’t worry. We’ll get another shot to right the Good Ship Civilization on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Hopefully our Little Blue Planet will still be alive and kicking by then. And hopefully we can all get off our Balaam’s asses this time and find a voting booth.
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