“You know he’s the pope right?” Tony said, peering over my shoulder at my reflection in the mirror.
I flicked my hand to dismiss him. “It’s just a joke T. Calm down. He wears a big hat, I wear a bigger hat and so on. There’s really nothing malicious about it.”
He sighed. “Well why do you think he escalated it then?” He brushed past me and my yellow-foam 20-gallon hat to get his toothbrush.
“You know, I can’t speak for the pope. But,” I said, taking the hat off, “I plan on winning.”
Evidently the my new challenge spread. Tony sent me snippets of Italian newscasts that aired just hours earlier. There I was, riding the train to work; the other passengers giving looks of both amusement and annoyance. Tony’s text dripped of I-told-you-so tone: You know who’s going to see this don’t you? I had pocketed my phone when it buzzed again. Tony again: See? The attachment directed me to the Vatican City’s official youtube channel. The pope donning a 25-gallon hat began to give me a warning the only way he could: against a cloudy backdrop with a thick german accent.
“Ve heuh at ze Vatican do not know who you ah oh vat your intentions ah. But! Know zis! Herr bic hat: Ve vill not stahp! Ve vill not rest! Ve vill not tolerate any mo of your insolence! Stahp vearing ze’s bic hats or you vill have Goed to ansah to.”
The video cut to black at which point I watched again. What in the fuck, I thought. Doesn’t the Vatican have anything better to do?
A few days later, after escalating to grander hats I came home from work and wanted to collapse on the couch. I keyed into the apartment and threw off my to-scale Kangaroo hat. Tony already comfortably nested in the EZ-boy watching the news.
“Hey T,” I said walking into the kitchen. “Do you know if there’s any ice in the freezer? My neck is killing me.”
“Couldn’t tell you.” He said flatly. His voice was flat and he almost definitely wasn’t listening to anything I said to him. I decided to test it out.
“Hey T. Your sis’s beach insta’s were fuego.”
“Hmm. Oh word.” Nothing. The television had sucked him in completely.
“Dude you have to check this out. Yo, the pope was wearing a to-scale Kangaroo hat today and fell down a flight of stairs. There haven’t been many details, but the Vatican say he’s in critical condition.”
I bit back laughter. The thought of an elderly gentleman falling down the stairs isn’t inherently funny. But this. This was different. Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Pulp Fiction said it best: Divine intervention. God had been watching this feud it seemed and he wasn’t a Catholic apparently.