Blog / Writing

I am going to run stories and other pieces of writing that I’ve published, or not, over the years, and change them on a monthly basis — or when I get around to doing it..

It is copyrighted by the author, and all use of this material, in the entire universe and beyond and for all venues, contexts and times, now and forever — as the Walt Disney Company writer contract boiler plate stipulates — is proscribed without the expressed, (well)written consent of the author. Any unauthorized usage of this material will be punished in this and the next world. (You can see why I dropped out of law school).

The following is yet another a piece that was rejected by The New Yorker for their “Shouts and Murmurs” feature.  Their loss.


Cathileaks has obtained the following transcript of conversations recorded in the conveniences adjacent to the Sistine Chapel, in Rome, on 12 March, 2013. We present it verbatim without editorial comment.

Cardinal Gnocci: Bonum dayo, Eminence Vourem.

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Bonum dayo, ad vos, Eminence Vourem.

Cardinal Gnocci: Habeo micturio male.

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Et tu, Giovanni?

Cardinal Gnocci: Mea prostate magnum est.

Cardinal Frescobald: Micturio ergo sum!

(Laughter. Enter Cardinal O’Leary.)

Cardinal Gnocci: Bonum dayo, Eminence Vourem.

Cardinal O’Leary: Good morning, Eminences.

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Quid agis?

Cardinal O’Leary: Che piccato, but my Latin rusty est.

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Of course. There is, no doubt, nil Latin spoken in the Chattanooga.

Cardinal O’Leary: Nil. Though the language remains on our twenty-five cent piece: E pluribus unum.

Cardinal Gnocci: Gratias Deo. So, pray tell us, whom supporting are you?

Cardinal O’Leary: We are taking a hard look at the Bulgarian.

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Cardinal Zhelyasko?

Cardinal O’Leary: Yes. He has impressed us with his piety and fiscal restraint.

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Perhaps, but, Eminence, does he shepherd sufficient sheep, there adjacio to the Mare Nero?

Cardinal O’Leary: We must, Eminence, enlarge our pastures.

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Certo, but we must address the scandals, must we not?

Cardinal O’Leary: Benedict, may his soul be glorified when he passes on to Heaven, has addressed the scandals molto bene.

Cardinal Gnocci: And yet they live on, alas. Checks we are still writing.

Cardinal O’Leary: Big time!

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Eminence, perhaps we can entice you for the Italian from Bologna. An excellent prelate. Immaculatum recordum.

Cardinal O’Leary: Cardinal Ossobucco? But is he not soft on homosexualatum?

Cardinal Gnocci. Un poco, perhaps. However, communicated it has been that he will, shall we say, harden up if we soften up on contraceptionatum.

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Support there is already for his candidacy among the French, who, entre nous, are un poco, how you say, picky?

Cardinal Gnocci: Cardinal Pointboeuf has let it be known that support he will Ossobucco quid pro quo an amelioration in the vintage of communion wine.

Cardinal O’Leary. Figures.

Cardinal Gnocci: Begging your pardon, Eminence?

Cardinal O’Leary: The French, as your Eminences well know, will imperil their souls for a good glass of burgundy.


Cardinal Frescobaldi: Quo vadis the Argentine?

Cardinal O’Leary: The Jesuit with the running shoes?

Cardinal Gnocci: Si. Some say he has the inside traction, non e verro?

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Much humility. Busses he takes with the unwashèd.

Cardinal Gnocci: Protégé di Benedict est.

Cardinal O’Leary: He has certainly been working the Chapel. He invited Cardinal Mahony and me to Buenos Aires after the conclave. Western hemisphere solidarity. Capisco?

Cardinal Gnocci. Si, si. Certo.

Cardinal Frescobaldi (whispers): I have heard that Cardinal Bergoglio adept he is at the dancing of the tango.

Cardinal Gnocci. Excelsias Deo!


Cardinal O’Leary: Un poco tango in the Vatican wouldn’t hurt, non e verro, Eminences?

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Benedict the polka danced.

Cardinal Gnocci: Molto male.

(More laughter.)

Cardinal Gnocci: Perhaps the white smoke will appear before evening.

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Velit Deus illam volunt ita.

(Urinal flush.)

Cardinal O’Leary: Should there be Fumus Bianco before seven, I have reservations at a charming trattoria on the via Margutta. Perhaps Your Eminences will join me?

Cardinal Frescobaldi: Magna cum volatate.

(Door closing; then faintly:)

Cardinal Gnocco: So? Bergoglio in quinto scrutinio?

Cardinal O’Leary: Amen.

Peter Lefcourt