Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Michele gets the Treatment

There is the scraping of a key turning in the lock, and the door swings open.

Michele steps into the darkened room and flips on the light "Marcus, are you here?" she says. Then she sees Marcus standing in the empty room. "Whatever have you done to my office?!?"

Before Marcus can say anything, Father Seamus, who is standing behind the door, pushes the door shut and throws the deadbolt. Almost simultaneously, with speed and grace that catches even Marcus by surprise, he sweeps his leg, aiming his foot at Michele's three-inch heels. He connects, knocking the heels off of Michele's shoes; she goes down like a clown in a dunk tank. "Tackle her Marcus!" shouts Father Seamus.

Marcus does as it is told, pinning Michele to the floor. "Get off of me, you ape!" roars Michele.

"Don't listen to her, Marcus. If she escapes now, we're both in trouble," says Father Seamus.

"Marcus, believe you me. I AM going to kill you." Michele's voice is strangled and other-worldly. She is having difficulty drawing a deep breath with her husband piled on top of her.

"Oh my God, it's the Beast!" Marcus looks with fear at Michele and then at Father Seamus.

"Don't worry, son. We have the upper hand, for the moment anyway. Let's get her trussed up proper!" Father Seamus brings the straight jacket and shackles. Michele sees what the priest has in his hands, and her eyes go wide with fear, then rage.

"If you think you're going to get me into those things, you're both fools. Who are you anyway?" she asks, looking at the priest.

"You know who I am. But for the piece of Michele that's still in there, I will say that I am Father Seamus, and I am here to perform an exorcism."

After a stunned moment, Michele begins to laugh hysterically, but the laugh turns into shrieks, mingled with animal grunts and growls, as Father Seamus begins to thread her arms into the straight jacket. Marcus realizes that the little priest is really quite strong. Michele tries to bite the priest, but Marcus restrains her. He puts his hand over her mouth to keep her from biting, and she bites his hand.

"Ow! Michele: STOP. This is for your own good." Michele does stop trying to bite when she tastes Marcus' blood.

In spite of her struggling, she is over matched by the two men, and it isn't long before she is half-sitting in a corner, breathing heavily, and wearing the straight jacket with her legs shackled together.

"My, she's a pretty thing," says Father Seamus, inspecting his handiwork.

"Yes, she is," agrees Marcus. "I so much enjoy picking out outfits for her and dressing her up. My little doll." Then Marcus sobs and says "That's the dress she wore to the State of the Union address when she came on to the President!"

"This is the last time I ever wear this dress, buster; you can be sure of that," hisses Michele. "Who put you up to this, Jim Ramstad?"

Father Seamus says, "Well, we'd better get started," and he pulls a small black volume out of his bag. The priest turns several pages with a bemused look on his face, then he brightens. "Here it is."

Father Seamus says, "Let us pray."

Involuntarily, Michele bows her head and closes her eyes. Then she jerks her head up, opens her eyes, and scowls at Father Seamus. "I'm not praying with you, you phony!"

"Suit yourself," replies the priest who prays silently for a moment, and then continues aloud:

"I command you, unclean spirit, whoever you are, along with all your minions now attacking this servant of God, by the mysteries of the incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the descent of the Holy Spirit, by the coming of our Lord for judgment, that you tell me by some sign your name, and the day and hour of your departure. I command you, moreover, to obey me to the letter, I who am a minister of God despite my unworthiness; nor shall you be emboldened to harm in any way this creature of God, or the bystanders, or any of their possessions."

Marcus looks at his wife expectantly, but all she does is sigh and roll her eyes.

"The demon doesn't seem to be taking you very seriously," says Marcus. "Ah, but it's early," replies the priest.

"Marcus, how on earth did you hoodwink a Catholic priest into doing this?"

"I told him we would become Catholics."

Michele laughs hysterically and then says, "Marcus, this man is the agent of the anti-Christ. Sorry Father."

"I forgive you, but the Heavenly Father may not if you continue this way."

"Ok, demon, I spit you out!" Michele spits in the general direction of the two men; they flinch.

"Ah now we're getting somewhere," chuckles Father Seamus, "The demon wants us to think it's gone. It knows we're on the trail of it. Time to take the next step." The priest turns around, reaches into his bag and extracts the false teeth. Then he whirls around and brandishes the false teeth within inches of Michele's face. "Behold the Righteous Rictus of His Excellency John Ireland!" bellows Father Seamus.

"Marcus, what is that? I don't have my reading glasses," says Michele.

"They're the false teeth of a dead archbishop from St. Paul."

Michele screams, "Marcus, don't let the priest bite me!"

"I told you Marcus that a relic would scare the demon."

Michele scrunches up and puts her head down. The priest dances back and forth chanting, "Leave Michele you demon," and "Leave her evil spirit," and clacking the false teeth like castanets. He does this for the better part of an hour, then he sits down, winded, and says, "Now it's your turn, Marcus."

So Marcus takes the false teeth and does his best to imitate the priest, but the Irish are in general better dancers than the Germans, and that is true is the case of Father Seamus and Marcus, too. After a time, Marcus becomes winded and sits down. From her rhythmic breath sounds, it is apparent that Michele has fallen asleep.

It is now the wee hours of the morning, and the two men are also exhausted, their adrenalin rush having worn off. "Let's jest sit for a minute," says Father Seamus. They sit back-to-back, and in a few minutes both are snoring.

Considerable time passes, and Marcus is jolted awake when Michele says, "Marcus, I really have to go to the bathroom." This was not an eventuality that Marcus had really thought about, so he rouses the priest and explains the problem.

"Ah, no," says Father Seamus, "we dare not free her now."

Michele pleads with the priest and says, "Don't make me pee on the carpet in my office, please!"

Father Seamus is adamant, but Marcus, also pleading, says "Isn't there something we can do to bring this whole thing to a head?"

"I suppose. It's a little early fer it, but I suppose we can try." Father Seamus goes over and retrieves the jug of distilled water. He performs a little ceremony with the jug, and then addresses Michele, "Beast, I am about to splash you with holy water which will burn you right out of Marcus' dear wife!"

In alarm, Marcus says, "I don't want to burn her!"

"It's extreme, I know," replies Father Seamus, "but it should smoke the devil right out, so to speak." He pours out a little water into his hand, and he dribbles it on Michele's feet. Nothing. "That's funny," he mutters and tries it again. Still Nothing.

Father Seamus gives a little sigh of bewilderment, shrugs, and then pours the rest of the jug of water over Michele's head. Michele coughs and sputters, her hair plastered down over her face.

Michele's shoulders shudder a couple of times as she begins sobbing softly. Her crying becomes louder and louder and more plaintive with each passing moment.

Father Seamus is quiet for a moment, and then he says softy to Marcus, "I think we've made a big mistake here, my son."

"What? It's hopeless?"

"Nah, that's not it. I don't think that Michele was possessed in the first place. A little confused maybe, but not possessed. Help me untie her so she can use the john."

They remove the shackles and the straight jacket and help the sodden Michele to her feet. Marcus and Father Seamus support Michele between them, and then walk her out of the office and down the hall to a restroom.

"I think I can make it now," says Michele, "and thank you Father for seeing that I wasn't really possessed." Michele walks into the restroom.

[N.B. there will be an epilogue]

Update: Added graphic from Tild

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