Rome was not going to let them land. No one was supposed to land during the pope thing. They chattered urgently to the pilots in Italian. The pilots laughed. The jet was plunging, but they were playing a flight simulating video game instead of real flying…”
by gary moshimer
The Bieb was bored. He was taking selfies and watching his 100-inch. He snapped a picture of himself growling, and then yelled, “ME! I!” The TV switched to the Bieb channel, and he watched himself dancing around with the microphone like a midair turd in front of his lips. He thought about having a long sticky tongue so he could snatch a turd from midair. He thought about eating a turd. That would not be boring. Just the other night a hooker had crapped on him, but he thought she had gone too far. He nodded and grabbed his wiener. “Bored!” he said, and the TV switched to the news.
His mouth hung. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing, footage from the Vatican, millions of streaming fans, more than Bieb had ever had. He pressed the red button on the wall. They were saying that two popes were being canonized, he had to get there for that. “Albert! Come up here. They’re going to fire popes from cannons! Get the jet ready! And also, I’ll need a pope jumpsuit, in those pope colors. And the big hat, but with a bill.”
Albert appeared, a tall stooped man with silver hair, tired and patient. “Yes, sir.”
“And load up some boxes of my statues.”
Albert disappeared through the secret door. All he had to do was text the orders to the head little person in the Bieb lab, but he preferred to stand on the metal landing and make the announcement in his once booming but now crackling voice. “We’ll need the head box as well.” It was a bulletproof glass box that went around the Bieb’s head, unfortunately with air holes and a speaker for singing. His ribbed tank top was already bulletproof.
Bieb used his hair enlarger while singing, “Vatication. Vata-Vatication. Vatification!” He grabbed his wiener, which after this shall be known simply as Ween.
He watched the Jet rise from beneath the tennis court. Little people dollied trunks of his stuff up the back ramp. Alfred appeared with the jumpsuit. The Bieb knelt before it; he felt he would be as famous as Elvis or other dead saints. The tall hat had a bill which could slide side-to-side. The head box had to be remade to fit over it. The Bieb’s head was heavy, and he had to practice until his weaving walk looked normally fucked up. He stepped over the passed out bodies and piles of love letters with a jerky, newly-invented high step dance. He grabbed Ween.
Jet had a bill as well, out over the cockpit. It could be hydraulically moved and tilted like a cool flap, depending on the Bieb’s mood. It raised hell with the flight; there was rolling and rising and plunging. Air traffic hated them, but they were paid off, like everyone. And the pilots could fly just as well drunk or stoned.
Alfred strapped himself in with three belts, took his Valium with whiskey, and put a black mask over his eyes. Bieb stayed in his compartment, using his Ween and hair enlargers, looking through his trunk. He’d had this trunk since boyhood, filled with all his stuff. He liked to look through everything once a day. It made him not want to kill. There were pictures of his mother, and some of his baby outfits, his pacifiers. He chose one now to suck on. The purple one. There were all the retainers and training bras thrown by his fans, a mink-lined vagina, and a loaded .45. He held the gun to his head for a few seconds, and then put it back. The jet was rolling and vibrating. They were on auto-pilot: Bieb heard the pilots running in the aisle, smacking each other’s butts and giggling. He put on his head box and fired the gun. It was indeed bulletproof; the bullet sang, ricocheted, creating a sucking wound in the fuselage. He stuck Ween into the hole, enjoying the negative pressure.
Rome was not going to let them land. No one was supposed to land during the pope thing. They chattered urgently to the pilots in Italian. The pilots laughed. The jet was plunging, but they were playing a flight simulating video game instead of real flying. Albert had to burst in and take over. He had flown in some war. He spoke Italian, too, and the Bieb heard Albert say his name, and after that the air traffic controllers spoke English: “We love the Bieba! You must come and joina the party!”
The jet was under control, and Bieb reluctantly withdrew Ween. He put on his pope jumpsuit. He admired himself in a mirror, raised a hand in peace, and almost came, because he had no underwear…and the silk….He tried the hat; it looked like a big squid.
When they landed, they were supposed to have a limo, but Bieb decided he’d never get through the crowd. He ordered a copter, one with a long line to lower him into the chaos, perhaps onto the stage itself. They had to give copter man a lot of money. Bieb made an entrance standing on his box of merchandise, holding his arms up, so that the crowd looked up, saying “MIROCOLO!” Saint from the sky! Bieb got busy setting up his merchandise booth. He broke up planks for shelves, arranged his plastic statues, the eight and twenty inch versions. He even took markers and wrote SAINT BIEB on the bases. Some young girls chattering in Italian held bills out to Bieb, and he snatched the money but had no change in Italian, Where was Albert? Albert could do this. Bieb just tossed his statues for girls to fight over. He enjoyed them twisting and grunting and lifting peasant skirts.
But then there were the mothers, up in Bieb’s face screaming, slapping his head box with their hands and beads, lassoing him with their prayer beads. He tried singing from his speaker, but it split with fear, his voice, two voices, the little boy and the older boy, and they sounded scratchy and dissonant below the angelic chanting voices from the big speakers of the stage. One mother shouted: “Blasphemer!!”
“No! I’m the Bieb! That…Blast-femme…he’s a rapper!” He pushed a tee shirt and statue into her fists, and ran away. He ended up at the tattoo booth, where they were giving commemorative pope tats. “Awesome.” He put down a thousand U.S. dollars. He wanted the new pope on his shoulder, like someone with powers who could whisper in his ear how to act. It came out as the pope clinging to Bieb’s shoulder, hanging on for life. Bieb liked it. “I need to be there for so many people.”
“What time do they fire them from the cannon?” he asked some man. The man chattered at him in Italian. The man knocked on his box and laughed. He looked down at the suit. “Clown, no?” he managed in English. Bieb gave the guy a small, quick head butt and took off running along the motor path, between barriers.
Some people cheered, thinking this might be part of the ceremony. After all, this new pope was cool; he was of the people, he even tweeted. Having a clown pope acting out could be possible, lightening the age old burden of somberness. Now the Vatican guards were on him, but the Bieb used his Wang Tu Long training, slipping and rolling, his silk hissing. But the guards multiplied, beating his head box with their long black clubs with the carvings of pope heads like Mount Rushmore. The crowd cheered; Bieb’s ears rang. The hat slipped over his face. Boots came down on his ribs. The guards were hungry — they’d been waiting for something like this for centuries. Bieb was crying out for Albert, but Albert was fast asleep in the back of the limo at the airport, dreaming of younger days and girls like nuns with flowing gowns flitting around him.
The pope himself saw what was happening on the big screen. He addressed the guards in Italian, saying, “Bring him up here.” They carried Bieb to the stage. The pope seemed amused by the head box. He knocked on it, and the Bieb winced. The pope slid the box off, and the hat, so he could see the young man’s face. He threw holy water on that face, and Bieb sputtered, “Watch the hair!”
The pope blessed Bieb, whose legs were wobbly and whose rubbery body arched back. The guards wanted to help, but the pope waved them off. He lifted the Bieb to stand next to him. The pope raised his hands in the air.
Three hundred yards away there was a man in a window. How he was there no one would be able to explain. He had his high powered rifle on a tripod, locked in on the pope. He was not acting alone; he had been hired. The trail was long and complicated. This man was excited about the distraction, as it would give him added time before the shot was even acknowledged. He would race back down two flights and lock himself inside the wooden crate of new marble tiles.
The pope was facing his direction now, chest full on, and the man slowly squeezed the trigger. But in one strange, jerky nanosecond, to steal the show, the Bieb managed a Michael Jackson move which put him in front of His Holiness. Bieb grabbed Ween one last time. He and the pope slid down, the blood on Bieb’s chest forming the sacred heart, beating outside the fabric, so the pope knew it was the real thing.
“You have saved me,” the pope said, hugging Bieb. Other holy men were shaking his hand, not so worried about the blood loss inside his chest. These were mystical experiences. The heart was pushing out, creating the famous Catholic vision.
“Get the cannon! Saint Bieb! Savior of our world leader! First on our program to be a saint!”
Bieb was barely conscious of all this; it felt like a ‘lude or Ambien. He was stuffed into this really big iron cannon, feet first, and he couldn’t get to smooth his hair. His gold shoes were heating up, he knew that. He was tilting up; they wanted him to clear the city, to burn like a newborn star.
Finally the BLAST!
It was not important to find the body, the pope said. Now a saint, he’s in a better place where the body is not needed. He will live in eternal bliss.
The Bieb never came down; or at least was never found. There were those that said he circled the earth, and his golden hair and shoes could be seen as trails of fire. Countless stories and poems and prayers and songs and love letters were written, kept in diaries locked with keys.
(illustrations: troy dockins)
Gary Moshimer has stories in Frigg, Wigleaf, Smokelong Quarterly, Pank, and many other places. He works in a hospital in Pennsylvania saving lives. More From Gary can be found in the Vault of Smoke.