The Hit Drop Cafe - Coffee Cake
It was four sleeps before the jolly fat man fooled the burglar alarms and committed home invasions via the chimney.Â Then, laughing hysterically, he always fled to the North Pole, running the radar speed traps and with the police patrol cars in hot pursuit.Â Always they failed, and their long list of questions about sliding down chimneys and about too much Christmas cheer remained unanswered.Â It seemed as if it would take nothing short of a surface-to-air missile to bring down the crazed sleigh in the sky.
Four sleeps remained before the welfare of reindeers once more topped the list of Animal Liberation. But who was counting?Â All the children and the child-like were; and they were galvanizing into their best behaviour and switching on their early-to-bed mode.Â The entire commercial world was also counting down, releasing their plague of TV mosquitoes to gleefully inject a highly infectious buying fervour.Â A fever to send harassed shoppers into a shoving frenzy that would last until after the post-Christmas cut-price sales.
Even though it was four sleeps before Christmas, it was not time for bed.Â For it was still early evening, and a perfect time for saints to stroll leisurely along Hell Street in the precinct of Hades. Saint Nicholas was giving a running commentary on the history of the area, who did what and where, to saints Genevieve, Joan of Arc, Sebastian and Bede the Venerable.
The saintly group was an unusual sight.Â Nicholas, as always, wore his faded jeans, black T-shirt, armless sheepskin jacket and motorcycle boots.Â Here was your typical bikie who wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in Hades.Â Bald-headed Bede – in his long, dark monk’s robes and sandals – presented the unmistakable image of a holy man.Â Whereas many a gay heart would have pumped the harder for seeing Sebastian.Â He wore a white, gold-lined Roman toga, revealing muscular soldier’s thighs.Â Genevieve was clothed in a long-flowing white gown; and a sky blue mantle draped down from her shoulders.Â She was a sight to set any man’s pulse a racing.Â Joan of Arc – with short-cropped hair, and wearing a long red smock, with silvery chain-mail top – presented a sight to start the engine of any deprived red-blooded lesbian.
Saint Nicholas saw the lights aglow in the headquarters of the God’s Hitmen Motorcycle Club, and he ushered his companions into the former subway railway station.Â He jokingly told them that it was The Hit Drop CafÃ©, with coffee cake on the menu being a distinct possibility.Â Sissy often baked such a cake to appease her sweet tooth and to compensate for the lack of a man in her life.Â It was she who greeted the saints at the door and led the five of them to where Mongrel and That Bitch sat talking on stools fronting the club’s bar.Â All the rest of the Hitmen were out and about keepingÂ Hades secure; and conducting business which was best not spoken about.
After introductions all around, and with coffee and cake also served, they all relaxed in the deep armchairs that had fallen from the back of a truck.Â As had the bar, refrigerator, espresso machine, pool tables …. It had been a very large and most unsteady truck.Â This was not a topic of conversation.Â Instead, there was the usual inane small-talk about the weather and other equally meaningful nonsense.Â Then two sets of unlike minds were set to meet, with Saint Nicholas being a somewhat unsteady suspension bridge across a mind-set chasm.
“Are you going to a fancy dress gig?” began Sissy, wondering about the weird clothing of the Club’s guests.
That Bitch kicked her leg under the coffee table.Â She and Mongrel had long ago gotten used to the peculiarities of Saint Nicholas and the weirdos he seemed to attract.Â With the saint being a close friend, anyone with him was afforded due courtesy.
Having sailed too close to the wind, Sissy took another tack â€“ one close to her big heart.Â Eying that manly figure of a man, Saint Sebastian, but unsure what the toga signified, although she had her suspicions, she grasped the nettle.
“Are you gay?” she asked him direct, seeing no point in beating around the bush with Christmas mistletoe looming.
“Of course!” replied Saint Sebastian, who was feeling jolly, even though his command of English wasn’t the best.Â But he was working hard at it in case he bumped into Santa Clause.Â And thanks to Saint Bede’s English lessons and those of the adult movies, he was learning at a rapid rate.Â “I am very gay!” he added, beaming at everyone.Â “And you,” he said politely to Sissy. Â “Are you gay, too?”
Mongrel snorted in derision and That Bitch burst into a peal of laughter.
“No, I’m not!” Sissy said emphatically, going beetroot red.
“Oh, why are you â€¦.” began Saint Sebastian, looking at Sissy.Â “How do you say?Â Sad?Â “What’s the matter, you?”
“I’m not sad!” replied Sissy, and she wished the Italian with the knock-out but wasted looks would shut his big mouth.
“She hasn’t got a man!” That Bitch explained to all and sundry.Â “You know how it is,” she added to saints Genevieve and Joan of Arc.
The two French women nodded knowingly, and clucked sympathetically.
“It’s not fair!” blurted Sissy.Â “Everyone else has got one, except me!Â I haven’t got anyone.Â Why can’t I have a man?Â It’s just not fair!”
“May I offer â€¦. How do you say â€¦. My manly services?” Saint Sebastian said hopefully.
He tried to leer but wasn’t very good at it.Â It looked more like a sick grin.
“No thanks!” Sissy replied tersely.
Being teemed up with a queer would merely rub salt into the wound.Â She wanted a proper man!Â One with all cylinders firing!Â She addressed the scholarly looking monk.
“Bede!” she said, to fix his attention.Â “What do you think?Â Everyone’s got a man but me.Â I don’t want one who’s a real spunk â€“ you can’t trust them.Â But why can’t I have a nice one just for me?Â To give me a nice Christmas cuddle.Â Why is that too much to ask?Â It just doesn’t seem fair.Â It really doesn’t!”
“I’m also available!” Saint Genevieve said quickly, fluttering her eyelashes at that hard body on two legs, Saint Sebastian.
“Always available, and freely so!” snapped Saint Joan of Arc, the patron of virile men in uniform â€“ even though Saint Sebastian wasn’t wearing his sexy officer of the Praetorian Guard outfit.Â She beamed him a seductive smile.Â “I’m free,” she said in a throaty voice, “at Christmas.Â I have nothing on.”
“You never do!” Saint Genevieve said sweetly.Â “That’s why your boobs are sagging.”
Mongrel licked his lips at the image.Â French women had various reputations, and he was willing for them to be upheld with nothing on.Â That Bitch kicked his leg under the coffee table though she secretly drooled at those big muscular thighs splayed out of the toga.Â She idly wondered whether togas were like kilts regarding what was worn underneath them.Â Perhaps nothing.Â Her eyes glazed and she shivered.Â And Mongrel had no idea what he was in for in the cat house later in the night.Â He should be so lucky.
“Bede, is it fair or not?” persisted Sissy.Â “That everyone’s got someone except me?”
“My dear Sissy,” began Saint Bede the Venerable, “I think I might have touched on what is fair and unfair in my book, Historia Ecclesiastica.Â Though I can’t be sure.”Â He rubbed his chin, thinking back.Â “I wrote that a very long time ago.Â In the year of Our Lord, 731, I think it was.Â Yes, in 731 anno domini.
“You don’t look that old!” blurted Sissy, meaning that he didn’t appear to be a thousand plus years â€“ she wasn’t good at maths other than knowing that one and one equaled awesome times.Â But what anno did to domini in 731 was of no interest.Â “You look no more than a hundred!” she added truthfully.
Saint Bede’s eyes shone, and he surprisingly felt quite sprightly.Â He could even suddenly remember sins of the flesh â€“ gorging himself on roast beef and lamb and other such gluttony.Â He also recalled a young wench …. Ah, he should have known better!Â But it was long ago when he was young and hot-blooded.Â He sighed at the memory of those wild times in the bell tower and the resultant clanging of the bells at midnight which so mystified those in the village below.Â But it wasn’t his fault.Â If she hadn’t had those trembling breasts it would never have happened.Â But her raging hormones had been overpowering and she’d had her way with him.Â It wasn’t fair!Â It wasn’t his fault!Â And if his parents hadn’t dumped him in the monastery at the age of three to be educated by the abbots, who never mentioned trembling breasts, none of it would have happened.Â But he was the one who had to pay for it.
Like all the other newly arrived saints at the guesthouse, Saint Bede was slowly working his way out of purgatory, learning all the lessons he’d previously overlooked or thrown into the too-hard basket.Â But the saintly lessons he had actually learned had spared him a much hotter fate in a furnace best not thought about.Â But till the remaining lessons were learned, he and the other saints new to the guesthouse were wraiths and harbingers who walked the Earth in mortal guise.Â They were now deathless, with the countless years flowing by like cars on a busy street.
“You were saying?” Sissy said pointedly.Â “Something about anno in domini.”
“Age is all in the mind!” replied Saint Bede, somewhat befuddled by the cobwebs of memory lane.Â And Sissy was cuddly, in a chubby sort of way.Â “You’re only as old as the girl you feel,” he continued, seeing again the trembling breasts in the bell tower at midnight.Â “Oh, how stupid of me!” Â He laughed in embarrassment.Â “I mean, you’re only as young as the man you feel.”
Sissy rolled her eyes â€“ another queer!
“No!” interjected Mongrel.Â “Sissy was asking you about what’s fair.”
“Justice!” said Saint Bede, once more in his Venerable, scholarly mode.Â “Well, my dear Sissy, justice and vengeance are not the same.Â For to be just is to be fair, and not vengeful.Â Fairness and vengeance contradict each other.Â Justice is impartial â€¦.”
“Excuse me,” interrupted That Bitch, “but Sissy was saying that it’s unfair that she hasn’t got a dude â€“ a man â€“ of her own.”
“I was getting to that, Mrs Mongrel,” replied the elderly saint.Â “My dear Sissy, love and justice are not different.”Â He paused to reflect on whether he’d just painted himself into a corner.Â Linking love and justice could be curly â€“ but it wasn’t beyond him.Â “We are talking about love, are we not?Â You do mean a man to love?”
“Well, I suppose so,” Sissy answered slowly, thinking as she went.Â “That’d be the cream on the cake.Â I’d settle for the cake at Christmas, and the cream can come later.”Â She paused, shaking her head.Â “Love would be nice,” she continued dreamily, stepping out of the closet to unwittingly declare that she was a hopeless romantic.
Walking down the aisle in a white wedding dress and living happily ever after drifted across her mind.Â Her heart craved love, tenderness and companionship.Â She yearned to walk hand-in-hand with someone special, to build dreams and walk together into the tomorrow.Â But there was no one!Â And she burst into wracking sobs.
“I’ve got no one!” she cried, the tears flowing down her cheeks.Â “I’m all alone.”
Mongrel, sitting beside her, put a comforting arm around her shoulders, and looked at his wife as if to say, “For Christ’s sake, do something!”Â He hoped she’d invoke that mysterious woman’sÂ ritual of the powdering of the nose.
“Sissy, Sissy,” That Bitch said comfortingly, “you’re not alone!Â We all love you!Â Don’t we, Mongrel?”
“Yeah!” Mongrel said gruffly.Â He cleared his throat.Â “Now, for God’s sake, Sissy, stop blubbering!” he added uncomfortably.
Sissy sniffed and wiped the tears away with the back of her hand. She nodded at Saint Bede to continue with what he had been saying.
“Because love and justice are not different,” droned the saint, “because they are the same, does mercy stand at the right hand of God.”
“Amen!” chorused the other saints, for they all had much to be thankful for.
“I don’t know about that!” growled Mongrel, for the streets of Hades had taught him that blind justice came snarling out of the barrel of a well-aimed gun.Â “Don’t know about that at all!Â Life’s a bitch!” Â But he remembered to squeeze his wife’s hand.Â “Do unto others before the bastards do it unto you is my motto!”
“Without love is justice prejudiced and weak!” Saint Bede said firmly.
That Bitch looked at Saint Nicholas.Â “You haven’t said a word.Â What do you think?”
“Judge not!” he answered slowly.Â “Because you cannot!”Â He paused to collect his thoughts.Â “You cannot judge truly and impartially because it is impossible to know all the facts to do with everyone involved.Â Nor can you know all the future consequences of whatever judgment you make, and whether these are fair and just to all who are affected.Â You do not know if the innocent will be punished by the judgment you make.Â And because judgment must be about fairness, you simply cannot judge without risking injustice to those who don’t deserve it.Â So judge not!Â Let God decide.”
“Then I’ll be all alone for the rest of my life,” Sissy wailed dejectedly.
“Learn to trust, Sissy,” Saint Nicholas said softly.Â “Let Love decide!”
Mongrel glanced at his wife sitting on the other side of him.Â As she squeezed his hand, he looked deep into her eyes and smiled.
Saint Sebastian rose out of his chair and squatted on his haunches between Saints Genevieve and Joan of Arc.Â He put an arm around each of them â€“ he was feeling lucky.Â Perhaps there’d be no more countless years bleating alone in the wilderness.
But Saint Genevieve recalled her life in the dark ages of long ago, with years of austerity and praying on bended knees.Â And what good had that done her?Â No Prince Charming had come to sweep a religious nut off her feet; and there was cold comfort and no romance at all in life on one’s knees.Â And she squeezed Joan of Arc’s soft hand in the hope of a different, satisfying experience.
For her part, Joan remembered long ago when the voices in her head told her to help the King of France to regain his throne.Â She had obeyed, but what good had that done her?Â The English army had eventually grabbed her, and the French soldiers did nothing to save her from being burnt alive at the stake. Â And she’d been only nineteen years old.Â Where were the bloody voices then?Â All men were pigs!Â Absolute pigs!Â And she squeezed Saint Genevieve’s hand in return, promising a merry Christmas â€“ when two seething dynamos would be unleashed.
“Let love decide,” mused Saint Bede, repeating the words which the most venerable saint of them all had just spoken.Â Ah, if only he had learnt that lesson through all the long and lonely years.Â It had just never occurred to him.Â He looked at Sissy.Â “Let love decide what is fair and just, my girl.Â I mean about a man for Christmas.”Â He cleared his throat.Â “Perhaps even a somewhat more mature man.”
Sissy nodded.Â She looked at his bald head and idly wondered if it was a solar panel for a sex machine.Â And perhaps the gay Italian might be shown the error of his ways.Â Just perhaps, a couple of gays could be converted as a Christmas special from Santa – who probably was gay as well.Â With a bit of luck she might get double the bang for her buck.Â She smiled happily.Â For the time being, she could compromise.Â A real man of her own might come along any day.
For his part, Saint Nicholas also made a silent wish: let Love decide, and send Ms Right speeding his way and into his arms at â€“ at long, long last.
Tales from the Divine Drop Cafes