Figurski at Findhorn on Acid


— Computer, retrieve Virtual Zanger; begin Nguyen Holo-Program "Zanger at the Vatican with Mechanical Pig"; engage Random Plot Generator.

Eugene Zanger and his entire extended family attend Mass at the Vatican, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Nguyen, in the aisle seat of a middle pew of St. Peter's, wears a rosary and a crucifix but is dressed in flowing Buddhist robes, reflecting the powerful religious ambivalence of his upbringing. Everything is perfect until, at Communion, the mechanical pig comes blinking and snorting down the aisle like the Energizer Bunny. The Pope hesitates, peering over his little half-glasses. So far, the scenario goes as usual.

But now, this time, Nguyen feels something large and metallic between his feet. He reaches down under his robes and pats the head, strokes the metallic flanks, and now he understands the direction the Plot Generator is leading. By the time the first mechanical pig reaches his row, services have been suspended, people are standing and jostling anxiously, and the blue and yellow costumed Vatican Swiss Guards are rushing up the aisle. Nguyen squats down amidst the general confusion and deftly makes the switch, replacing Rosellini's 1737 simulated original with van Gelderschott's 1884 simulated forgery. He slides back into the pew with the Rosellini now between his feet. No one appears the wiser, with the van Gelderschott continuing down the aisle.

The Swiss Guards spear the annoying pig from both sides and lift it from the floor. It continues blinking and snorting and waddling in the air until the Cathedral is cleared and the specially-trained Swiss Guard Bomb Squad arrives.

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