The room lit up as the Pope walked in. This was Evil Editor’s thirty-second pitch that day, and the queue still stretched around the hall. EE stood and welcomed in the holy hopeful. “Please, take a seat.” He reached for the jug behind him. “Juice?”
“No. I’m Catholic.”
EE coughed. “No, no… I mean, would you like some Juice?”
The Pope sat down. “Cranberry? Better not. Don’t want to get it on the cassock.”
“Right -- nice threads,” EE said.
“You know how it is,” his Holiness replied. “Cops and popes: never off duty.”
“Editors, too!” EE laughed. The Pope didn’t.
“To be frank, I almost gave up on you. I usually keep them waiting. But you came highly recommended.”
“Really? How highly?”
“I’m the Pope. How much higher does it get?”
The reigning head of the Catholic Church reached under his robes and pulled out a heavy sheaf of manuscript. “So -- want to hear my pitch?”
“As the Pope said to the editor…” EE riposted, and laughed.
“I’ll take that as a yes.
“Okay, it’s a novel. A band of ruthless, vigilante Cardinals are in pursuit of an author who has written terrible things about their employer, desecrating the sanctity of that for which they work. They track him down, and exact a most righteous holy justice.”
“Hm. Are you sure this is a novel?”
“So far, Mr. Editor. So far. I believe it has a lot of potential. I see it as book one of a trinity. Well? Are you ready to take it on?”
EE sat upright in his chair. “There is only one way to deal with this manuscript.” He took out a Zippo lighter, reached for the cover page of the manuscript, and introduced the two. A think plume of white smoke wafted to the ceiling. “Well, Your Holiness: looks like you’re in.