So anyway Rev. Jason Arrabiata, CFSM, in search of a suitable chapel, nook, hall or vault to host the semi-periodic meetings for his Pastafarian church was nigh unto rending his holy pirate dashiki in despair.
The island was so well-endowed with scads of churches all the best locations had been taken. The Episcopalians had seized the prized corner on Grand and Santa Clara, the Catholics occupied two entire blocks with their Basilica and rectory and school in the Gold Coast, plus they had also outposted the Church of Our Lady of Incessant Complaint across Encinal. The Unity church had the Home of Truth further down Grand, the Buddhists had their temple further up Santa Clara, the Methodists, Baptists and Chinese had Central all sewn up, while the Lutherans had secured the only modest parcel left in between. The Presbyterians owned the oldest building, so they had enjoyed the leisure of building it in one place, then moving it to Oak Street and then there were the scad of sects and divisions, charasmatics and heresies, including the church of El Luz de Occupado Parking Space and El Mundo de Malderor y Disharmonia. The Albagensians sat kitty corner from the Merovingian Dynasty with Huguenots occupying a humble cottage that doubled as a martial arts studio. Wiccans divided time between Crab Cove and a ramshackle place by Washington Park. Here and there Satanists gathered in livingrooms for tea and scones.
As usual the Jews got their synogogue tucked into a far distant corner of Harbor Bay while the Islamic Mosque got positioned far off to the West End.
It seemed there was hardly any room to plunk down a decent church anywhere.
Jason had just about given up and was soon to resort to standing on a milkcrate in the park, which idea is not so good for respectability or indications of sanity, especially when your God of Creation happens to be an invisible flying ball of spaghetti and meatballs.
Some people might consider the Flying Spaghetti Monster to be if not outlandish, then somewhat parodic, but Jason would say, "Look dude. All these churches tell you to worship some flying invisible being nobody has ever seen and who is described in several books written thousands of years ago which have undergone umpteen translations to the point nobody really has any idea what the first text really said. If you have to worship something, you might as well consider something tasty. After all, since the Kansas School Board said Creationism is on the table because we want to consider all points of view, here is my view which everyone can say is just as valid, sane, scientific and reasonable as Intelligent Design. The Universe was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster."
Eventually Jason worked out a deal with the Native Sons of the Golden West, Parlor 33 1/3, and so he got to setup his rig and hang his banners of joy once a week in the hall where the pirates of faith would gather on Fridays, the Holy Day, to roister and sing and drink.
"What's with the pirates?" Pahrump asked Jason.
As it turns out, Pirates are God's Chosen People. This image of them being bloodthirsty, lecherous, thieving cutthroats is entirely a product of a vast Christian conspiracy to conceal the truth. The original pirates possessed very polite manners, unlike those rude Somalian punks, and were soft and affable folk who cared for their mothers and looked after lost children and dogs. They did say "Arrrrgh" a lot and wear eyepatches but their cutlasses were used largely for carving beef, bread and nasty Christians looking to burn witches and pirates both.
Witches have also been much maligned, but don't get me started, Jason said. As for being made in God's image, all that is clearly claptrap. God was drunk when he made the human race and we have only to look at Occasional Quentin and George W. Bush to understand this truth. Quentin! get your finger out of your nose! Right now!
Lutherans are midway between Pirates and Sodom, you and they will have to agree. The original Vikings were very much like pirates and the modern day Norwegian Bachelor farmer, well, is very much like a pillar of salt, and most Lutherans ride the crest of the waves somewhere in between, so there you have it. In fact should any Lutheran decide to try out the CFSM for thirty days we offer a 100% guarantee that if dissatisfied, the old church will have you back. Even Martin Buber would have approved of such a deal.
So the Island welcomes, with some reservations, the newest addition to its pantheon of churches. And this is especially good news to some folks for journalistic research indicates that in the Golden State there are but three entities given the power to administer marriage banns.
1. The County Clerk
2. Deputies of the County Clerk or a fully paid up Marriage Commissioner for the Day.
The County Clerk is a government employee with many duties. He is often too busy to officiate marriages, hence the allowance for deputies who generally have to fork over big bucks to officiate, while the Commissioner for the Day pays some $200 to be effective for only 24 hours. Then he has to start all over.
Clergy need submit no articles of proof of status -- to the State at least. They pay nothing, which is usual for them. So people in a checkered status seeking marriage need to find a clergyman and we really doubt the local pastor or priest will officiate a same-sex marriage. Hence the CFSM. Voila! We have on staff an ordained minister who can marry you at any time. So long as you pay the State fees for the filing of course.
And now proud couples of any stripe can write home to mom and dad and state entirely with truth that they got married within a Church.
It seemed after last week's set-to between Quentin and Sgt. Rumsbum, which Reverend Arrabiata moderated and eventually cooled, could have led to a round of public accusations and general nastiness, however Quentin remained at the end of the day, even though he was wronged by being attacked, reticent. Lawsuits are not his style. Rumsbum regained his proud Spartan dignity and reasonably considered the consequences of pressing charges against the helpless halfwit Quentin.
O you big strong man, that was you shrieking for help? Tsk Tsk.
At the end of the day, Rumsbum returns to work as a somewhat useful member of society and Quentin returns to his life as a somewhat addled member of society, but important thing here, due entirely to the noodliness of the FSM, nobody dies.
That night the Editor sat late at his desk as all the other staffers signed off and people caught rides home. The hours ticked into the far reaches of the night, when shadows congeal solidly to their posts and everything becomes difficult to move. The streetlights outside become still-life Hopper paintings and the offices become cut-blue ice under the flourescents with all sharp shadows slicing across the desks into cubicles where chairs sit waiting for human warmth to make themselves nervously whole again during another hectic day.
A motor whined somewhere on the second floor and the smell of hot copier toner began to dissipate.
The Editor sat in his cubicle office, his remaining white hairs flying about his balding pate like an aureole. A glass of Maker's Mark with ice sat on the desk next to the papers and those irritatingly slippery galley sheets that always threatened to slide off into nothingness from his knees. His dinner, a slowly gelling cup of microwaved ramen sat on his desk. Lights governed by automatic timers began shutting down one by one. Leaving one man in a pool of light, surrounded by darkness. Doing all for Company. Or perhaps the FSM.
In the Estuary a periscope silently descended after observing all of these things. Captain Mohammed of the Iranian spy submarine, AIS El Chadoor, noted everything he had seen in his notebook. For many years the spy sub had been lurking about the Port of Oaktown and the Island, taking notes and sending weekly reports back to Teheran. For many years the crew and captain had felt their original mission had been forgotten and their own enterprise had become lost in the Byzantine labyrinth of bureaucracy. Their reports were being filed, unread by some government bureaucrat. Without initiative, everything had continued like this year after year. Even the ship which provisioned them was just following a routine set up long ago without thinking about what it all meant. No one now even cared about the US and what it had to say. Teheran had more pressing matters.
Nevertheless, year in, year out, the Captain dutifully filed his reports, kept everything aboard shipshape - which some of you know is more than a full time job in itself on an active vessel at sea -- and continued to process the endless paperwork associated with being a captain of a crew of some 12 souls all laboring in the service of the Republic and the Prophet.
Some of these duties were more mundane than others. The Captain summoned the Cook and made inquiry of him as to the mess that evening.
"Noodles, Sir. Eight bells."
"And the sauce?"
"Tomato, Sir. With balls of chopped lamb."
"Of course sir. Is Halel."
"Very good. Carry on."
With a command from the captain the spy sub dove and ran silent, ran deep through the Golden Gate out to the Pacific Ocean.
The long howl of the throughpassing train ululated from far across the water, across the waves of the estuary, the riprap embankments, the noodly grasses of the Buena Vista flats and the open spaces of the former Beltline, as the locomotive glided past the dark and shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off to parts unknown, touched by His Noodly Appendage.
That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.
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