The Time Mike Foiled A Jesuit Conspiracy To Infiltrate And Seize New Brunswick
The following story is meant to be humorous, and is not intended to represent the real-life Mike Pence. As far as we know he did not, in fact, foil a Jesuit conspiracy.
In part one, Mike, Bryan and Romney were spending a summer keeping a lighthouse, as the regular keeper had jury duty. On a dark and stormy night, two men were shipwrecked on the Island. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that they were Priests.
The Thrilling Conclusion
It took all three of us to get the big one before the fire.
Once our visitors, Fathers Shem and Shaun, were drying—their great yellow raincoats hung by the fire—and had had a few glasses of water, the interrogation began.
“Saints alive,” I said. “What were you two lads doing in the waters at this time of night?”
Your men looked cagey.
Glances were exchanged between them.
“We were,” Shem said. “Hoping to find some lobsters!”
They were met with the combined silence of ourselves: Michael, Romney and me.
“We were told that Maine was Vacationald and we were hoping to explore its vast, beautiful wilderness?” Shaun suggested.
“But, wait!” Michael said. “Outside earlier, during the first part of the strange incident—you know, it almost feels as distant as Monday—you said you thought this was New Brunswick.”
There was a great, uneasy silence.
“Alright,” Shem said with a sigh, “We’re Jesuits.”
“Careful, friends,” Romney said, stepping in. “I have heard of these fellows. I suggest that we exercise an abundance of caution in our diplomatic relations. It’s my understanding that they work for the Vatican and represent a secretive and pernicious sect, a mystery even to the faithful of their religion.”
“Well, I wouldn’t say sect—” Mike began.
“Michael,” I interrupted. “You might not be the man best placed to speak on the issue at hand, given your, er—”
“I prefer ‘faith journey’.”
“—faith journey, thank you,” I said. I rounded on your men the Jesuits. “Now you two listen to me. As the representative bead teller and Friday Fish Fry partaker on this glorious island I want the two of you to understand something. By Clement the Fourteenth you’ll give us the straight dope and the God’s honest unequivocal truth and if we don’t get it you’ll find yourselves suppressed into the North Atlantic faster than you can say Dominus ac Redemptor Noster. Secondly, though no lesser in importance: I know my Catechism back to front and there’ll be no heresy on my watch.”
“But we—” Shaun began.
“—are Jesuits, and let us leave it at that.” I turned to Mike. “They’re all yours.”
“But wait,” Shem said. “Is there an order you would prefer?”
“The Dominicans,” I said without hesitation. “Many’s the Saint with the OP after his name. A nobler and a holier order than the Greyfriars you could not find.”
“That’s true of many orders; why the Dominicans?”
I put the knuckles of my clenched fists heavily on the coffee table.
“I don’t see any Albigensians around, do you?”
Shaun turned to Shem and Shem turned to Shaun.
“I have to admit he’s got us there.”
“Michael,” I said. “Have at them.”
“Thank you, Bryan,” Mike said to me. He clasped his hands behind his back like a country lawyer of days gone by, like your Atticus Finch himself—nobody could be Gregory Pecker than Michel at his most lawyerly—and turned his attention to the soggy fellows on the couch.
“Thank you for your eventual honesty on the question of who you are. But, I ask, friends, why are you here, stranded and soaked to the skin on the bold coast of Maine?”
“We were hoping to evangelize—” began Shem.
I cleared my throat.
“—We were trying to sneak into New Brunswick,” Shaun admitted.
“I don’t understand. What reason could you possibly have to infiltrate our neighbors the Néo-Brunswickoises”
They eyed me, cautious.
“Why did you have to sneak in?” Mike asked with frustration in his voice.
“How else were we supposed to get in?” Shaun said.
They turned on each other.
“You told me that wouldn’t work!” Shem said.
“The Superior General told me to prepare as if it might end at Mount Unzen, I didn’t think we could just, you know, walk in!”
Real vitriol in the air, now.
“I spent two weeks hidden in a shipping container full of raw cuttlefish and we could have just waltzed into Fredericton. I am having very uncharitable thoughts about you right now, Father.”
“At least you didn’t have to consort with grave robbers and get smuggled into Tangiers in a sarcophagus you shared with one of the Pharaoh Inyotef II’s lesser wives, Father!”
Mike cleared his throat.
“It seems,” he said. “That you gentlemen have gone to extreme lengths to get here.”
“Do you want to tell him about the sled dogs, or should I?” There was finger pointing into the bargain now.
“No one told me not to give them chocolate macadamia nut cookies!”
“We were 30 miles outside of Kwethluk in January, that’s no time for questionable doggie treats!”
“At least you still have most of your toes!”
“That’s not the point and you know it!”
“Gentlemen, gentlemen,” Mike said, quietening them. “Let’s just stipulate that you went through a monumental effort to end up here.”
They shuffled until they could be no farther apart and still be said to occupy the same couch, each with defiant, folded arms. They glared pointedly away from each other. It was then that I began to understand Mike’s prosecutorial strategy. He’d managed to divide them and had pitted them against each other. From now on, I suspected the information would be flowing more freely, out of fear that the one would incriminate the other.
“Gentlemen,” Mike began. “The established facts so far are these. You, firstly, have, at great effort and expense, sought illegal entry into New Brunswick. Do you disagree?
“No, sir,” said Shem.
“Secondly,” he continued. “This evening you, to the uncouth end aforesaid, have been dishonest in your dealings with us, your rescuers. Do I characterize this aright?”
“Yes, sir,” said Shaun.
“We, your rescuers,” Mike said. “Given the facts stipulated to just now, have reason to suspect your intentions. Do you disagree?”
“No, sir,” Shem again.
“One of you,” Mike was laying out his case, methodical. “I don’t know if it was Father Shem or Father Shaun who uttered it, suggested that your destination was the capital of New Brunswick, Fredericton. Do you deny it?”
“No, sir,” your man Shaun this time.
“What were your intentions once you’d arrived in that fair city?”
The two of them eyed me, fear in their countenances. My eyes were as cold as the Arctic frost. They were silent.
“Michael,” I said. “I’m no canon lawyer, but I suspect we may be seeing the equivalent of the pleading of the fifth amendment in their silence.”
“Hm,” Mike pulled me into a sidebar in the kitchen. “What do you suggest?”
“Well, it seems to me,” I said. “If one source of evidence has dried up, perhaps we should pursue another.”
“What do you mean?”
“We search their belongings,” I said. “Cast a wider net for new evidence. If they will not betray themselves, we let their belongings do it for them.”
I’d the auld twinkle in the eye then. There was no way—no way!—your men the Jesuits didn’t have incriminating documentation upon themselves.
“Romney!” Mike called to him from the kitchen. “Search them. It is long overdue.”
There was a scuffle in the other room but when Michael and I reentered order had been restored.
“I found nothing more incriminating than this,” Romney said, tossing over a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book.
“It is not,” I spat. “Uncommon to find upon a cleric a copy of his holy text.”
“But, friends,” Mike said. “We have searched the men themselves. But has our search been thorough enough?”
He turned his eye to the fire, about which hung the great, yellow raincoats your men the Jesuits had worn.
“Romney,” Mike said. “The raincoats.”
There was a brief fracas as Romney pounced upon the raincoats in question and the Jesuits dove haphazardly and, ultimately ineffectually, toward the fireplace. Romney then stood, victorious, with a sheaf of paper ensconced within a zip-top bag.
He tossed it to Michael.
The Jesuits re-arranged themselves on the couch, now looking more cowed.
Michael opened the bag and took out the document it contained.
“‘For your eyes only’,” he read. “‘Plan To Establish The Holy Roman Empire Of Canada’?”
“What is this about?” Mike demanded. “Out with it!”
Shem let out a great sigh.
“We were sent to infiltrate the government of New Brunswick with an eye to turning it into a Jesuit enclave.”
He sank into the couch.
“Ave Maris Stella!” I shouted. “You can’t be serious, man. This is an international incident we have on our hands, here.”
“Bryan,” Mike said. “Bind them. We have a few phone calls to make.”
A few hours later some federales; from an agency unknown to ourselves had taken them off our hands quietly and, luckily for us, it was on Romney’s watch. First one he’d made on time that summer. He was never late again.
You’ll be pleased to know that Father Shem is now a most holy chaplain at a federal prison in New York and Father Shaun is now a Dominican Friar well known for his piety, laudete Jesus. Or was it the other way round?
Sometime I’ll have to tell you about the time Mike met his Progressive neighbors. Actually there’s no story there; they don’t discuss politics when they socialize and, in fact, Annie makes the best ziti and Pam is more than happy to look after the Pence family’s pets whenever they vacation.