SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- San Narciso County loves a parade. Unfortunately, these affairs often end in panic, arson, animal cruelty, religious offense, accusations of racism and bloodshed. We painfully recall the rash of self-inflicted gunshot wounds and hangings that accompanied the botched Valentine’s Day “Misery Loves Company” event. Then there came the urgent demand to cancel a mime troupe from performing at the 2016 Christmas Parade, given the lawful right of residents to carry weapons in public -- a mandate that arrived tragically late. Of course, few of us will ever forget Mayor Manny DiPresso’s heart-wrenching, Hindenburg-esque speech during the parade’s terrifying conclusion: “My dreams will forever be haunted by the sound of children screaming, dogs heaving and the eerie, guttural retching of the mule before it vomited out one of its internal organs.” It should then come as no surprise that parents summoned police to Friday’s pageant at Our Lady of Perpetual Whapping, called “St. Patrick Beats the Naughty Snakes from Ireland’s Trousers.”
Troubled St. Patrick’s Day HistoryShortly after the police cordon disbanded, Mayor DiPresso announced that he would consider adding this holiday to a growing list of celebrations that council members may soon abolish. Since 2011, St. Patrick’s Day has represented a source of controversy and discomfort across all cities in the county, with the exception of the disputed North Viaduct area, which is always mired in some unpleasantness.
Frightening 2011 Sermon: St. Patrick as Church AssassinIn 2011, the festivities were overshadowed by an inflammatory speech given by a theology student, Juanito Guerrero. From the steps of the church, where a small group had gathered because of its proximity to a popular Irish themed pub, Guerrero read from his dissertation about the historical inaccuracies surrounding the saint. In it, he declared that St. Patrick was not a hero of the Irish people but a Christian warrior sent to destroy the pervasive and polytheistic culture of the land.
“St. Patrick was an immigrant. And like most immigrants, he did not travel to Ireland to befriend the natives -- in this case, the druid and pagan rabble,” Guerrero told the crowd. “He was there to spread the message of Jesus by any means necessary. The chiefs of numerous tribes attacked St. Patrick, but he responded in kind with the wrath of God’s justice and retribution.”
For over an hour, Guerrero described Patrick’s war against indigenous Irish heathens, attempting to correct what he called “centuries of unfounded and uninformed myth.”
St. Patrick, according to Guerrero, was a purely martial figure who battled with druids, overthrew pagan idols and cursed the kingdoms of unrepentant sinners. Where Patrick was credited with baptizing thousands of people and converting them to Catholicism, Guerrero claimed the saint had actually rounded up those who opposed him and then drowned them mercilessly in the river, as their women and children looked on in horror at the stranglehold of God’s encompassing love.
Tensions further escalated when a church attempted to prohibit gays from marching in the parade. At that time, Father Preternature -- who presides over the county’s only Catholic congregation -- defended his decision, saying, “First off, [homosexuals] already have their own parade. Second, St. Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday, not an ideological movement.”
Preternature enraged the mayor’s office for implying that gays had infiltrated the community. This Friday, Preternature again found himself at odds with local law enforcement for a disturbing, inappropriate pageant that, residents complained, placed children in compromising positions.
Inappropriate St. Patrick’s Day Children’s PageantAccording to witnesses, the overly long and poorly orchestrated musical was meant to glamorize the persistent myth that St. Patrick banished snakes from the Emerald Isle. Some parents objected to the play because, they claimed, it discounted the actual accomplishments of St. Patrick in favor of perpetuating a historical inaccuracy; evidence suggests that snakes never inhabited post-glacial Ireland. Preternature responded by condemning those parents as heretics and threatened them with excommunication for insinuating that the world was old enough to have witnessed an Ice Age.
Still, even the priest’s most devout supporters said they felt uneasy and spiritually conflicted as “St. Patrick Beats the Naughty Snakes from Ireland’s Trousers” unfolded before them.
In the play, several children -- all boys -- were lined up on stage, dressed in green jumpers and novelty leprechaun hats. Each child was fitted with a crude codpiece that depicted a section of a crudely drawn map of Ireland, seemingly rendered in finger paint. These devices were attached to the front of the boys’ costumes, below the waist and covering the crotch. Preternature later explained that this was to ensure visibility. A protruding plastic snake was glued to each codpiece.
“It would have been much easier to just stick green bags over their heads, as I’d done with the girls,” Preternature said. “But because of the height of the stage from the audience, and the importance of the snakes, I decided to make the codpieces. It tooks hours every day, measuring the boys’ inseams, remeasuring, re-remeasuring and then constructing molds of their crotches to fit the apparatus. It was truly a labor of love.”
During the initial musical portion of the show, the boys sang a collection of U2 songs that included “All I Want is You,” “Babyface,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Stories For Boys,” “Sweetest Thing” and “Sixty Seconds in Kingdom Come.” The incident that provoked a police response occurred after the conclusion of the final number when Preternature bounded onto the stage, attired as St. Patrick, and began vigorously beating the snakes on the boys’ codpieces. Stunned parents said this activity went on for nearly 45 minutes, continuing long after the band had run out of musical selections.
“All you could hear in the church was the sound of an old man heaving and panting over the tiny sobs of our kids,” one dad told reporters. “After it was over, and this is bizarre, the fire sprinkler system malfunctioned, leading to a terrible flood inside the building. I’d like to think it was Jesus crying for allowing this to happen.”
Preternature arrived at police headquarters late Friday morning around 11:30 a.m., having agreed to submit to formal questioning. His attorney showed up soon after. Authorities have yet to release a statement with more details on the case.
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