Procrastinating Pope (A Fantasy)


(my phone rings late yesterday morning)

Hello Big Al, my friend, this is Francis.

Hi Papa, Merry Christmas!

Not so merry I’m afraid.

Oh no, what’s the problem?

I can’t find my manger set.

You’re the Pope, ask for another set.

No, you don’t understand; I’ve had this set since I was a boy. Won it with coupons from playing Skee-ball. I know I packed it when I left Buenos Aires.

Can you remember putting it away last year?

I didn’t set it up last year. My room is not that large and one of the Cardinals gave me a miniature version of Radio City Music Hall with a 36 piece Rockettes ensemble complete with two dance outfits each.

Wow…so why not just set that up again?


Why not?

I broke it.

Oh…too bad.

You’re telling me.

Have you looked in your garage?

Of course I looked in the garage. It’s where I keep all my decorations.

Ok, sorry. Everywhere in the Apostolic Palace?


Room of Tears?


Sistine Chapel?

Of course.

Wait a minute, how about the Sobieski Room?

I thought of that too, but no luck.

Sorry Francis, I think it will show up but not this season.

Do you have a manger set?

No, but I visited one many years ago in St. Petersburg.

You were in Russia?

No Sir, Florida.

Ah, Florida…If I ever resign, I want to retire there. Oh well, I should go. I have two masses tomorrow and I need to prepare.

Merry Christmas Francis

Merry Christmas Big Al



About Alan G Billingsley

My career has been varied, including time as a newspaper deliverer, lifeguard, bubble gum maker, door-to-door detergent promoter, telephone book proofreader, short order cook, private employment agency counselor and owner, office and credit manger, infantryman, pots and pans salesman, Chinese restaurant cook, Chinese restaurant owner, public employment counselor, budget analyst, tax analyst, grant administrator, radio announcer, radio and television show host, disk jockey, automobile valet, child advocate, and now retiree. I've seldom been bored.
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