A farce in one act
A judge, a baker and an anthropologist are sitting in a jazz lounge. The unlikely trio are old college mates, gathered for the sad occasion of their professor’s passing. The funeral had been held the day before, at St. Thomas Episcopal. The men are sipping drinks, languidly discussing the incongruities of politics and rituals in the Catholic Church.
Baker: I’ve never been to a funeral where the casket was set up like that.
Judge: Joe was a deacon. It’s customary to turn the casket so that his feet are toward us, because deacons face their congregations.
Anthropologist: Death rituals are fascinating. Catholics have that extreme unction, while in China, the body is washed and placed in an upright position. It’s all about getting a good death on.
Judge: You amoral lout. Show some respect. These rituals prepare the gravely ill for passing.
Baker: I do the same thing with my loaves, you know. But it only takes a few hours for mine to rise. (He guffaws, drunkenly.)
Anthropologist: Morals are overrated. Don’t get me started on the hypocrisy of the Church.
Judge (nostrils flaring): You’d best leave off. Every organization has its skeletons.
Anthropologist: Yeah, but with the Catholics, we’re shooting fish in a barrel. C’mon! What about the Archdiocese refusing that lesbian priest a proper burial?
Baker: The hell?
Judge: Get your facts straight! If you knew anything about canon, you’d know women can’t be priests. She excommunicated herself by trying to become ordained.
Baker: Lesbian? Huhn.
Anthropologist (looking pointedly at baker): Yeah, a human being who died from a terrible illness. She wasn’t given the same care and respect as our Old Joe.
Judge: Shut up, Mike! That’s not true. I am so sick of non-Catholics trying to tell us how to run our business. Do I tell you where to dig your damned bones?
Anthropologist: Actually, yes. I had a restraining order from digging up the cemetery on the grounds that I was in violation of some stupid Indiana Grave Robber Law.
Judge: That’s different. There was precedent. You should have known better.
Anthropologist (triumphantly): Your priests should have known better! Don’t you have “laws” governing conduct unbecoming?
Judge: That remark is so full of isms, I oughta sock you in the mouth. I bet you park in handicapped spaces, too.
Baker (laughing): Good one, Tony! My delivery van gets ten tickets a month from those overzealous meter maids. I have a mind to give them a piece of my…
Judge: Please don’t say “mind”. You’ve hardly any to spare.
As if on cue, the drummer plays a rim shot.
Baker: Ouch, my chromosomes hurt. Speaking of which, didn’t they find a link …
Judge: I’m going to stop you right there, Luigi. You’re drunk as hell and babbling. Correlation studies are the weakest forms of evidence in all of science. Do you remember nothing from Old Joe’s classes?
Anthropologist: Ha! Remember that joke I made when we were discussing affirming the consequent? Old Joe said, ‘If the horse is fast, it will win the Kentucky Derby. That horse is fast, therefore it will win the Kentucky Derby.’ I piped up, ‘In 1978, that was consequently Affirmed!’
Baker (confused): I don’t get it.
Judge (chuckling): that’s because you’re a moron.
Baker (hurt): Can’t we all just get along?
As if on cue, the keyboardist and drummer break into a bluesy rendition of Parliament Funkadelic’s One Nation Under a Groove.
Copyright © 2016 by Mitchell Allen
Originally appeared on CreativeCopyChallenge #275.