In Western Washington, Orthodox bishops, wearing gold-threaded vestments from their neck to their feet, visit parishes. They wear fat miters with pictures of Jesus on their heads. Bed bugs crawl through their beards that reach their sternums. When the Orthodox bishops stand on their pedestals in the church, parishioners cup their hands for blessings. Master, bless, they say. If the parishioners are women, they are given a soft hand to kiss. If they are men, they are given a soft penis. The people don’t see the penis because it is adorned with gold lamé.
In Western Washington, Orthodox priests and deacons and sub-deacons and readers dote on the bishops like they are new babies. The clergy dress them and wash them and feed them bread and veal. When the Orthodox bishops walk from their pedestal to the altar, the sub-deacons follow the bishops like Russian Terriers and place little rugs on the floor for each step they take. When the Orthodox bishops arrive at the altar, they burp, and the sub-deacons wipe their glossy mouths with golden rags. The rags are never washed but are kept in a sacred drawer next to the relics of Saint Vladimir. At night, priests and rats fight for the rags, holding onto the edges with their teeth.
After hearing confessions and giving penitence to old women and young children, Orthodox bishops in Western Washington eat the body and blood of God. Once God is eaten, platters of potatoes and meat, beaten and shaped for hours by sad women the night before, are placed before His Grace. Discussions follow the meal. Peckish, the bishops say, stroking their beards. I feel peckish.
The clergy whisk the bishops away to a pub for schnitzel and Pilsner.
Crème brûlée? The bishops purr, pouting.
In haste, the clergy find a café, and while still in their cassocks, grab the jaws of tourists and push them aside. His Eminence requires crème! The clergy holler.
As the bishops lap the white goo, the clergy nod.
The bishops bid adieu and scurry back to their hotel room where they pop the clasps of their suitcases. Out wriggles traveling sub-deacons who unfurl their shaved legs. Sadnesses of sadnesses! Nestled in the crotch of the young men are limp bichon frieses, the bishops’ favorite.
What shall we do? ask the man-servants, petting the dead, fluffy pups.
There is only one thing we can do, the bishops say.
The men servants nod.
They clear the table of the leather-bound menu. The sub-deacons chant, Guard the doors! Wisdom! Let us be attentive. The sub-deacons place a red cloth on the table. The bishops carry the beasts above their heads and lay them down.
Take. Eat. This is my body, which is broken for you, the bishops say.
They surround the table and begin.
Issue #6 CONTENTS
MAKE DO AND MAKE MEND
STORM CLOUD RAIN, GRAVEYARD DIRT
THE BLUE BOY
MURDER AND CRUELTY FREE
S Van Sickel
A PROPER FOUNDATION