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Chapter 11

As Jainy walks into the last row of seats in the megachurch at which Chris would soon be giving his speech, she looks around to see the place filled. There are perhaps over a thousand people present, not to mention the dozen or so camera crew members who are walking around the aisles while setting up their equipment. Jainy can’t believe she actually came to Chris’s speech on a weekend night, but who knows? Perhaps Chris would say something that would actually change her life. She needed something to help her… anything to fill the void she felt.

Meanwhile, Chris paces back and forth behind the stage. “Where IS zat man!”

DeGreedio Sr. was running a bit late, but that was nothing unusual. After a few moments, DeGreedio Sr. and his thugs burst into the room through the back door. DeGreedio Sr., wearing one of his usual top-of-the-line pin-striped suits with his top button undone and his tie a little crooked, smokes a cigarette with a disgruntled look on his face.

“Richard!” Chris yells. “You should have been here an HOUR ago!”

DeGreedio Sr.’s face tightens up as he pulls his black fedora down to his eyebrows. “Yeah? Well I wasn’t, so deal with it.”

“Where ze Hell were you?!”

“I was out fetching some more Uranium.”

“What ze Hell?! Do you just carry zat stuff around in your back pocket?!”

DeGreedio Sr. becomes annoyed with all the questions. “No, Chris. I had a few extra bags of the stuff in my apartment just in case. Turns out my Nazi customers changed their minds and want my business again. I had to meet with them before returning to my apartment to pick up the Uranium.”

“Vell, isn’t zat nice, I’m very happy for you,” Chris says, sarcastically.

“Put those over there!” DeGreedio barks at his thugs as they put multiple bags of Uranium in the corner of the room. “We’ll be delivering them to our Nazi buddies right after this circus show is over, and I don’t want those bags out of my sight!”

DeGreedio Sr.’s thugs make their way around the back of the stage and observe all windows, entrances and exits.

“Alright, boys,” DeGreedio Sr. says as he throws his cigarette on the ground and smashes it with the tip of his hand-made Salvatore Ferragamo shoe, “take note of all the exits to this place. After we go off-air and our Catholic friend is finished having his little argument with Chris here, you’re going to make sure that Captain Catholic exits for good after his final stage performance.”

Chris looks at his watch and then stares DeGreedio Sr. in the eyes. “Your thugs better do their part, Richard! Alright, it’s show time.”

Chris walks out on stage to thunderous applause. His wealthy audience loves him, and they are thirsty for their self-centered preacher to give them more reasons to hoard their money and live as they please.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” Chris says, with the largest, fakest smile on his face. The counterfeit nature which he was slowly developing was more than enough to make any sane person vomit. “Welcome to my show! I have quite the night planned for you all!”

The audience erupts further into applause. Jainy covers her ears.

“So,” Chris says, haughtily, “I’m going to switch things up a bit to talk about a particular religion – no, a cult! Ladies and gentlemen, we are here tonight to discuss the cult of Catholicism!”

The curtain opens up a bit further to reveal a large Vatican flag hanging from the ceiling.

“You see,” Chris continues, “zis flag here represents ze Catholic Church. It is ze flag of Vatican City, ze city in which ze Pope lives. Now, zis little cult has been under my skin lately. And do you know why zat is, ladies and gentlemen?”

“Why, Chris?!” The crowd shouts back in unison.

“Somebody shoot me,” DeGreedio Sr. mutters under his breath.

“Vell, I’ll tell you why,” Chris quietly says into the microphone before raising his voice. “Catholicism teaches zat Christians should help ze POOR!”

The audience scornfully gasps.

“Yes, zat is right! Zis pathetic man-made religion teaches zat God loves ze poor and zat we should help them! Can you believe zat?! Ze Catholic Church wants to waste time and money on those good-for-nothing SINNERS!”

Just then, one of DeGreedio Sr.’s thugs sees a tall figure draped in a long, swaying cape rush in the back door through the shadows. The figure makes his way to the back of the stage. DeGreedio Sr.’s thugs allow the figure to pass by undisturbed, knowing that they cannot attack him until after the cameras are shut off. The thugs gesture a thumbs-up to DeGreedio Sr.

“Right on time, Captain,” DeGreedio Sr. coolly whispers to himself as he takes out his lighter and lights up another cigarette.

“Now,” Calvinist Chris continues, “it is my opinion zat we must not allow such RUBBISH to be spread in society! Before you know it, we will all be expected to help ze poor if we don’t put an end to zis silly Catholic trash talk.”

“This is absurd,” Jainy says as she gets up out of her seat and begins to climb over top of people’s feet, making her way to the nearest exit. “I have no idea why I came here tonight. I should have known I wouldn’t learn anything from this jerk!”

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Chris goes on, “we must ensure zat ze Catholic belief of doing good works does not spread ANY further! So I am going to take ze time tonight to show you why Catholicism is nothing more than a man-made cult!”

The audience erupts into applause once again as Jainy nearly reaches the center aisle.

“And furthermore… furthermore,” Chris suddenly stops talking in mid-sentence as an idea pops into his head. He motions toward DeGreedio Sr., who simply shrugs, not understanding what Chris wants.

 “Lighter!” Chris angrily whispers. DeGreedio Sr. takes out his cigarette lighter and swiftly tosses it to Chris, who catches it with ease.

“Furthermore,” Chris continues, “I will prove to you all tonight zat every Catholic in zis world is going to burn in HELL along with all ze rest of ze poor sinners on zis planet!”

The audience begins to cheer as Chris raises the lighter up toward the Vatican Flag. As a flame begins to glow from the top of the lighter, Chris smiles maliciously.

Just then, right before the flame touches the very bottom of the Vatican flag, it is blown out by the breath of the Original Captain Catholic, who is now standing side-by-side with Calvinist Chris.

“Whoops,” the Captain says, his voice booming with strength. “Looks like you got a bad light there, Chris! Too bad you didn’t have the light of the Catholic Church!”

“Vell, vell, vell,” Chris says with a devilish glow in his eyes as he drops the lighter on the ground, “what a surprise it is to see you here, Captain.”

The audience shrieks in panic, confused as to what is going on. Jainy, who is almost out the door, stops dead in her tracks and turns around, setting her eyes on the Original Captain.

Captain Catholic puts his hands on his hips, standing up straight with sheer confidence. Just by glancing at him, one knew that he stood for the right thing. “I see you didn’t take my advice, Chris.”

“Oh, no, no, I did take your advice, Captain. I prayed over everything, and just as I expected, God confirmed my belief zat your precious Catholic Church is nothing more than a man-made cult!”

The Captain looks Chris dead in the eyes without blinking. “I don’t believe that’s what you felt when you prayed.”

Suddenly, Chris loses his confidence for a second as he gulps. “Uh… You see…”

As DeGreedio Sr.’s thugs begin to move in closer to the back of the stage, one of them whispers to DeGreedio Sr. “Hey, boss, you want me to just shoot ‘em now?”

“Not yet, you fool!” DeGreedio Sr. says as he keeps his eyes focused on his bags of Uranium. “Like I said, we wait until after the cameras are shut off! Once that caped-freak makes his exit, then you can shoot him. Make sure you have your silencers on, boys.”

“Well, Chris,” Captain Catholic says, “are you going to say something, or what?”

Chris snaps back into his normal self. “Uh… yes! Yes I am.”

Cautious members of the audience begin to stand up and leave, not wanting to get caught in the middle of any sort of fighting that could have occurred at any moment.

“Where are you going?!” Chris shouts out at the audience members. “Oh, ladies and gentlemen, don’t you worry about a thing! Our unwelcomed guest here may actually prove to be a valuable part of our show!”

The audience begins to calm down just a bit.

“Don’t worry, everyone, everything is just fine,” Chris says, calming down a bit himself.

The camera crew attempts to shut off the cameras, not wanting to broadcast another embarrassing interruption of the show, when Chris suddenly stops them.

“On no, no, you can leave the cameras on! I want ze world to see me prove zis Catholic heathen wrong!”

As the camera crew turns the cameras back on, DeGreedio Sr. punches the wall with the side of his fist. “What the HELL is he doing?! That’s not part of the plan! Those cameras need to be shut off so we can make the hit! This stupid speech has gone to his head. Boys, see to it that the cameras are turned off IMMEDIATELY! I’m not taking any chances!”

One of DeGreedio Sr.’s thugs runs around the back of the megachurch behind the curtains and walks over to the camera crew with his gun revealed. Quietly, he says, “Shut those damn things off if you know what’s good for you.”

“Uh,” a cameraman says, “y-y-yes, sir!” All cameras are then shut off. Chris is now too deeply absorbed in his speech to notice.

“So, where was I?” Chris says. “Oh yes! As I was saying, every Catholic in zis world will burn in Hell!”

The Captain laughs quietly to himself, having heard this ridiculous nonsense many times before. “Is that so? And why is that, Chris?”

“Vell, I have always found ze fact that the Catholic Church teaches in helping ze poor to be very suspicious, so I decided to look more closely at your precious Church! And when I did… I came to ze conclusion zat Catholicism is not of God! It’s simply a man-made cult!”

“Oh, please do continue, Chris,” the Captain says, knowing what’s coming next. “This sounds absolutely fascinating.”

“Vell… let me ask you a question, since surely YOU are a well-informed Catholic, Mr. Captain Catholic!”

“Actually,” the Captain says, “you can’t really put the word ‘mister’ in front of Captain, Chris, it doesn’t make any sense.”

The audience laughs.

“Whatever!” Chris says, his annoyance with the audience showing. “Vell, Captain… let me ask you… is ze word ‘Catholicism’ ever found in ze Bible?”

“Why, no, Chris, it’s not.”

“Ah ha! You are correct about zat at least, Captain. Ze word ‘Catholicism’ never appears in ze Bible. Not once! Let me ask you another question. Does ze word ‘Pope’ ever appear in ze Bible?”

“Nope, not once.”

“Hahaha! Not once! Not even ONCE! What do you say to ZAT, Captain?”

“Nothing, yet,” the Captain says, smiling, “What’s your point, Chris?”

“What is my point?! WHAT is my POINT?! HA!” Chris looks toward the audience, laughing at the idea that Captain Catholic is not upset at the fact that the words ‘Catholicism’ and ‘Pope’ are not found in the Bible.

“My point, Captain,” Chris continues, “is zat Catholicism is completely made up! It is a FABLE! A CULT! A creation of men! In the entire Bible, there is absolutely no mention of ze words ‘Catholicism’ or ‘Pope!’ Zat means zat God never intended for us to follow ze Pope! God never intended for us to be Catholic!”

“And what makes you think that, Chris?”

“What makes me think zat?! What… what are you joking?!”

“Does it look like I’m laughing?”

“Captain,” Chris says in disbelief, “I just showed you zat ze words ‘Catholicism’ and ‘Pope’ never appear in ze Bible! I have just proved to you zat Catholicism is nothing more than a falsehood!”

“No,” the Captain says, stepping forward as he clenches his Rosary tightly in his fist, “you certainly haven’t proven that. The only thing you’ve proven is that you’re very narrow-minded.”

“What are you TALKING about, you heathen FOOL!”

“Chris,” says the Captain, “let me ask you a question.”

“You want to ask me a question?! Vell, you SHOULD! You have much to learn from me!”

“Perhaps I do, Chris, perhaps I do. Does the Bible ever mention the word ‘Bible?’”

“Uh,” Chris stutters. “What… what are you talking about?”

“Answer my question, Chris. Does the Bible ever mention the word ‘Bible?’”

“Uh… haha! Captain, this, this is completely beside the point –”

“DOES,” Captain Catholic interrupts, “the Bible… ever mention the word ‘Bible?’ Answer me, Chris!”

“Vell,” Chris says quietly, “no. It does not.”

The crowd is silenced.

“No, you’re right, the Bible never makes a reference to itself… Not it’s ‘entire’ self, at least. The New Testament mentions the Old Testament several times, but that’s about it. The individual books and letters that would one day be compiled together to form the book now known as the Holy Bible would not be compiled into one single collection until the Catholic Church put it together in the fourth century. Thus, since the Bible was not compiled until after all of its individual parts were written, the Bible obviously never references itself.”

“What?!” Chris says, offended, “zat is PREPOSTEROUS! Ze Catholic Church did not put together ze books of ze Bible!”

“Oh yeah?” The Captain asks, amused. “Why don’t you read a history book, Chris. It’s a fact. Now, Catholics believe that it was God Himself who determined the information that would be presented in the Bible, and we believe that God worked through the Church in order to compile the Bible, but in reality it was truly the Catholic Church who put the books of the Bible together into one cohesive book.”

“Zis is BLASPHEMY!” Chris is once again beside himself.

“No, Chris, it’s not blasphemy. It’s the Truth. Now, let me ask you another question.”

DeGreedio Sr. smacks his forehead with his palm. “Holy HELL! I don’t know how much more I can stand of this!”

“Chris,” the Captain continues, “does the Bible ever tell us that it alone is the only way that God speaks to us?”

“What do you mean?” Chris asks, confused.

“What I’m asking is… is the Bible the only source of information that Christians should use to form theological beliefs?”

“Vell, YES, of COURSE!”

“And why is that, Chris?”

“Because it is ze Holy Bible! Ze Bible is all zat Christians need!”

“Actually, Chris,” the Captain continues, “you’re wrong. The very idea that the Bible is the only source of truth for Christians falls flat on its face. Christianity is not meant to be a narrow-minded religion that worships a single book. The Bible itself tells us that, while it is very important, it is insufficient for Christian teaching.”

The audience gasps, in shock from hearing a supposed Christian say that the Bible is not the only source of truth. How dare he! Catholics must indeed be heathens! But of course, the audience would soon discover that Captain Catholic is actually correct.

“Surely,” Chris says, confident that he has won the debate, “you have lost your MIND, Captain! As ze great Martin Luther taught, ze Bible is in fact ze only source of truth! Nothing matters outside of ze Bible! Ze Bible is completely sacred!”

“Indeed it is, Chris,” the Captain continues, “you just don’t know how to interpret it, that’s all. The 2nd letter to the Thessalonians, Chapter 2, verse 15 states, ‘Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.’ This verse proves that not only the letters and books of the Bible are sufficient for knowing the ways of God, but oral statements made by the Catholic Church are just as necessary.”

“What?!” Chris says, appalled.

“Furthermore,” says the Captain, “the Bible itself tells us that the Catholic Church is the foundation of truth, not the Bible. The 1st letter to Timothy, Chapter 3, verse 15 states, ‘You should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.’ Again, this verse states that the Catholic Church is the foundation of truth, not the book that would one day be called the Bible.”

“You… HEATHEN!” Chris protests.

“And let’s not forget the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 16, verse 18 in which Christ says to St. Peter, ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.’ This verse shows us that Christ made Peter the first Pope, or the first leader, of His Church. You see, Chris, Jesus instituted the Catholic Church with the intention that the Holy Spirit would constantly work through the Church over the years. As a part of God’s plan, the Catholic Church would eventually produce the Bible, but the Bible and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church are equally important.”

“You must STOP teaching zis MADNESS!” Chris says, infuriated.

“The truth is, Chris, the Catholic Church is proven to be the one true Church instituted by Christ throughout the Bible. Yes, the word ‘Catholicism’ is never found in the Bible, but that’s simply because the Church was not formally known as the ‘Catholic Church’ until long after the Bible was written. But it can be seen that the Bible is constantly referencing the Church that would one day be formerly called the ‘Catholic Church.’ The actual name makes no difference.”

The audience, and Jainy among them, listens intently to the Original Captain Catholic as he speaks. They are all impressed by his knowledge and his ability to accurately explain his points, proving everything he says with credible sources to back him up. He is much more convincing than Calvinist Chris, who simply misinterprets the Bible and takes random verses out of context while failing to prove his points.

“In addition,” the Captain continues, “while the Bible never mentions the word ‘Pope,’ this is again because the leader of the Catholic Church was not called the ‘Pope’ until many years after the Bible was written. But, as I just demonstrated, the Bible constantly refers to the leader of the Church whom would one day be known as the ‘Pope.’ But again, it makes no difference what we call the leader of the Church. We simply ended up calling him the ‘Pope’ over time.”

“Zis,” Chris begins to stutter once again, “zis cannot be true!”

The Captain unclenches his fist, opening his palm up to the audience as his Rosary swings in the air. He continues to speak in his calm but stern voice. “Face it, Chris, this is the Truth. The fact of the matter is, the Bible – and in particular the book of The Acts of the Apostles – constantly speaks of a Church where there is a hierarchy of supervisors, elders, and deacons. This is exactly the hierarchy of the Catholic Church today, except these positions on the hierarchy now go by different names – we have bishops, priests and deacons, but their role is the same as the roles of the supervisors, elders and deacons that are described in the book of Acts. When it comes down to it, there is nothing in the entire Bible that teaches what you teach, Chris. In fact, the Bible proves that the Catholic Church is the one institution established by Christ Himself.”

The audience erupts into applause for the Original Captain Catholic, realizing that he is correct and that Calvinist Chris has been wrong all along. In fact, Chris realizes this, as well.

Chris’s faith in Calvinist Christianity is entirely destroyed, and in this moment, Calvinist Chris sees that the Catholic Church contains the fullness of Truth. But… he doesn’t care. Chris just wants to be right, and he wants to be in control. He wants to live however he pleases, and he wants power… He wants to be the best. But most of all, Chris is consumed with hatred for the Original Captain Catholic, the man who surpassed him, and it is this hatred that will be the driving force behind all of Chris’s actions for the rest of his life. It is this hatred that ultimately destroys Calvinist Chris.

“You FOOLS!” Calvinist Chris screams into the audience, “Zis man is nothing but a SINNER! You cannot POSSIBLY believe a WORD he says!”

But it’s too late. The audience has sided with Captain Catholic.

The Captain wraps his old Italian Rosary around his fingers and extends his hand out to Chris once again. He begins to speak amid the loud applause. “Chris… will you join me?”

Chris’s nostrils flair as his eyes nearly pop out of his skull. “Join you?! I DESPISE you and EVERYTHING you stand for!”

Calvinist Chris swings at the Captain’s face, but Captain Catholic ducks and backs away from Chris.

“Looks like you need time to cool down,” the Captain says. “But I beg you, Chris, when the time is right, pray over everything once again, and then… come find the light of God within the Catholic Church.”

With that, the Captain runs off the stage and toward the back door. The audience begins to trickle out of the building, but Jainy stands still in awe. Something about the very presence of the Original Captain Catholic has touched her deeply.

As the Captain heads for the back door, one of DeGreedio Sr.’s thugs blocks him by standing in the door frame.

“Going somewhere, Captain?” DeGreedio Sr. says, calm as ever.

Captain Catholic spins around to face DeGreedio Sr. “DeGreedio! We meet again. What a pleasure this is.”

“Oh,” DeGreedio Sr. says, chuckling to himself, “the pleasure is all mine. Now listen, Captain, I believe you have a little something that belongs to me.”

“Me? No, not anymore. Sorry.”

“Look,” barks DeGreedio Sr., growing with anger, “I don’t have time for games! Tell me where my Uranium is before I have my boys here blow your head off.”

“Well,” the Captain says, pointing towards the bags in the corner, “I believe you have plenty of Uranium right over there.”

“I thought I TOLD you… that I’m not screwing around! Tell me where my Uranium is… NOW!”

“Sorry, Dick, it’s been disposed of.”

“That quickly? I don’t believe you.”

“Richard,” Chris snarls as he walks backstage to join everyone, “what are you quibbling about?! He says he doesn’t have your precious Uranium. Will you just get on with it and shoot him?”

DeGreedio Sr. sighs. “Well, I suppose I do have enough Uranium for now. I’ll make enough money from selling what I have in those bags over there to feed all of Africa… not that I’d waste my money on a silly cause like that. So, with that being said, I think I’ll just take the time to say goodbye to our Catholic friend here. Well… goodbye.”

DeGreedio Sr. motions to one of his thugs to shoot the Captain. A bead of sweat drips down Captain Catholic’s forehead as he realizes there’s nothing he can do aside from duck. But… he doesn’t have to duck.

All of a sudden, DeGreedio Sr.’s thug is hit in the back of the head by the cigarette lighter that Chris had dropped on stage, causing the thug to drop his gun.

“What the Hell?!” DeGreedio Sr. twirls around to see Jainy shaking in terror.

“I’ve had ENOUGH of you bastards!” Jainy says, trembling violently. “It’s bad enough that you filthy pigs use me night after night, but now you’re going to kill this innocent man, too? Do either of you have ANY morals at all?!”

DeGreedio Sr. snickers as he watches his thug reach down to pick up the fallen gun. “Funny to hear a street whore questioning my morals. This doesn’t involve you, sweetheart. Or at least, it didn’t involve you… but now that you’ve caught us in the middle of something a little naughty, we can’t let you leave. Ugh, how very unfortunate.” DeGreedio Sr. motions to his thug. “Cap her.”

As the thug raises his gun to shoot Jainy, Captain Catholic jumps on the thug’s back, knocking both of them to the ground. The thug twists around on the ground to point his gun at the Captain, but Captain Catholic elbows the thug in the back of the head, temporarily knocking him unconscious.

“Miss,” Captain Catholic shouts at Jainy, “get out of here while you still can!”

Before the thug nearest Jainy is able to turn his gun away from Captain Catholic and toward her, Jainy kicks the thug in the shin. The gun drops to the floor. Jainy and the thug begin to struggle.

“Am I going to have to do this myself?!” DeGreedio Sr. yells in a fury. He spins to the third thug in the room. “SHOOT her.”

“But boss,” the thug says, “I can’t shoot her, I’ll end up shooting them both!”

“Do it,” DeGreedio Sr. says, coldly.

As the thug aims for Jainy, he misses and shoots the other thug in the shoulder, causing him to fall to the ground. Before Jainy is shot, Captain Catholic charges at the gunman after a running start and rams him to the floor with all of his might. The gun slides across the floor. The gunman quickly gets back up and punches the Captain in the face.

As Captain Catholic and the gunman engage in a vicious fist fight, Calvinist Chris hits Jainy in the back of her head, causing her to sway around the stage before falling over. Jainy hits her head on the wooden floor, cracking her head open and causing her to bleed all over the place. “Sorry, sweetie, looks like you are finished,” Chris says with a faint smile.

As the gunman fights with Captain Catholic, he cries out to DeGreedio Sr., “Can I get a little help here?!”

“No thanks,” DeGreedio Sr. says, “this is actually proving to be very entertaining. Besides, I wouldn’t want to get my suit dirty.”

Captain Catholic punches the gunman in the stomach. The gunman elbows the Captain in the chin. Captain Catholic spits out blood as he slams the gunman into the nearest wall. The gunman rams his knee into the Captain’s chest and punches the Captain in the face. Captain Catholic grabs the gunman’s shoulders and throws him on the floor. The gunman looks over to his left and sees the cigarette lighter that Jainy threw only moments ago.

After the gunman quickly grabs the cigarette lighter, he lights it up, jumps up and shoves it into Captain Catholic’s side. As Captain Catholic screams in pain upon having his side burned, he reaches out to grab the gunman’s arm and accidentally twists the gunman’s arm in a direction it is not meant to be bent. The gunman’s arm cracks loudly as he drops the lighter, setting the wooden floor on fire.

“You FOOL!” DeGreedio Sr. screams at the gunman. “Look what you’ve done!”

A trail of fire moves quickly toward the bags of Uranium.

DeGreedio Sr. looks around desperately for help, only to see that one of his thugs is unconscious, another is lying on the ground with a bullet in his shoulder, and another is trying to bend his arm back in the right direction. “Chris, help me move these bags!”

“Are you kidding me, Richard,” Chris says in a panic, “we have to either put out the fire or get ze Hell out of here!”

“I think we’re going to have to take the latter option, boys,” Captain Catholic says as he grips his burnt side, “look!”

The Captain points toward a propane furnace in the corner of the room. The fire is quickly making its way over to the propane furnace.

“Once that fire trail reaches the furnace,” the Captain yells while running over to Jainy, “this entire building will go up in flames!”

Chris and two of DeGreedio Sr.’s thugs start for the door. “Richard, RUN!”

            “My – MY URANIUM!” DeGreedio Sr. turns from left to right, twisting in terror.

            “Fine,” Chris yells as he runs out the door with the two thugs, “suit yourself!”

            DeGreedio Sr. runs over to his bags of Uranium and begins to drag one of the bags across the floor.

            Captain Catholic runs over to Jainy and picks up her limp body, putting her over one of his shoulders. He then makes his way over to the body of the unconscious thug and drapes him over his other shoulder.

            As DeGreedio Sr. looks toward the fire trail, he sees that the fire trail is only a few feet away from the furnace. He lets out a loud cry of frustration as he drops the bag of Uranium and sprints out the back door.

            As the Original Captain Catholic makes his way over to the door with Jainy propped over one of his shoulders and the thug on his other shoulder, he grunts at the immense weight of the two bodies which he now carries despite the severe pain of his burn wound. But pain won’t stop the Captain. He runs out the back door as fast as he can, only yards away from DeGreedio Sr.

            Suddenly, the deafening sound of a massive explosion fills the air as the fire trail finally consumes the propane furnace. The megachurch goes up in flames along with DeGreedio Sr.’s bags of Uranium. Captain Catholic throws Jainy and the thug onto the ground and covers them with his own body. They manage to escape the blast radius by only a few feet.

            The Captain looks ahead to see DeGreedio Sr., Calvinist Chris and the two thugs jump into a car and speed away. If only he had time to chase them down… but he has no time. Jainy’s head is still bleeding from the impact of her fall. Luckily, Captain Catholic remembers that there is a hospital just a few blocks away. Unable to carry both Jainy and the thug much further, the Captain drags the unconscious thug far away from the fire and leaves him behind, observing that he has no serious injuries.

            As the Original Captain Catholic sprints to the hospital with Jainy in his arms, Jainy finally regains consciousness, muttering, “What…. what –”

            “Hold on, Miss,” the Captain says, “don’t worry about a thing. We just need to concentrate on getting you to the hospital.”

            “Please, put me down!” Jainy says, airily. “You’re running so fast, and it’s… my head, it’s pounding.”

            Captain Catholic puts Jainy on her feet and holds her up with his right arm so that she can walk next to him.

            “Just walk with me, Miss,” the Captain says. “Try not to bob your head up and down.”

            “You… saved me.”

            “Just keep walking, Miss, we’ll be there in only a few minutes. You’ll be just fine.”

            “If I don’t make it, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, anyway,” Jainy says as she walks clumsily down the sidewalk.

            “Don’t be ridiculous, Miss. Your life is an invaluable gift to the world.”

            “Ha!” Jainy laughs as if the Captain was making a joke. “No one gives a damn about me. Just like DeGreedio said, I’m nothing but a street whore. I’m dirty… all used up. My life is a dead-end road.”

            “No one’s life is ever a dead-end road, Miss, and you’re certainly not dirty or ‘used up.’ You can always start over. Can you tell me, Miss, are you religious in any way?”

            “Well,” Jainy says, her head pounding as if it was hit by a sledge hammer, “I guess I was raised Catholic.”

            “Perfect,” the Captain says. “After you get out of the hospital, examine your life and regret any mistakes you have made with all of your heart. Vow to change your life around for the better. After you do that, I want you to go to Confession as soon as you can. Get everything off your chest and start your life over again. After you step out of that Confessional booth, you will be a sweet, innocent girl all over again. Any mistakes you may have made will be in the past, and you can simply concentrate on the future, guilt-free. You have many gifts to give to society.”

            “You know,” Jainy says, about to slip into a deep sleep, “that sounds… nice.”

            As Jainy falls over, unconscious from losing far too much blood, Captain Catholic picks her up in his arms once again as the old Italian Rosary that is wrapped around his hands rubs up against the back of Jainy’s head. The Captain rounds the corner to see two paramedics outside the hospital taking their dinner break.

            “Good grief, what is this?!” one of the paramedics say, looking back and forth between Captain Catholic and Jainy, unsure of which site is more distracting.

            “Take good care of her, boys,” the Captain says, lying Jainy down on a nearby stretcher, “the world needs this woman.”

            “Listen,” the same paramedic says, his back toward Captain Catholic as he properly positions Jainy in the stretcher, “you can’t just drop her off like this! We need –”

            But as the paramedic turns around to face Captain Catholic, the Captain is nowhere to be seen.

            “Uh… well,” the paramedic stammers in confusion. “Alright, help me roll this thing into the emergency room!”

            Meanwhile, Calvinist Chris and DeGreedio Sr. are sitting in the back seat of a car being driven by one of DeGreedio Sr.’s thugs.

            “Richard,” Chris yells, “will you lower your voice?! I can’t stand your incessant screaming anymore!”

            “That SON OF A BITCH!!” DeGreedio Sr. screams, more furious than ever before as he hurls his black fedora at the back of the passenger seat. “Not only did he get away, but he destroyed all of the Uranium that I have left in this country! There’s no way I’ll be able to salvage that Uranium from the burning building, not to mention it will probably be confiscated by the firefighters and the police anyway.”

            “You’re not ze only one who’s having a bad day, Richard! Zat freak RUINED my entire show!”

            “He didn’t need any help doing that,” DeGreedio Sr. says, sarcastically.

            “Very funny, Richard. I cannot BELIEVE he got away with zis!”

            “Listen,” DeGreedio Sr. says with clenched fists, “I’m through with this! The Hell with Captain Catholic, this isn’t worth it! I’m leaving for America tomorrow and I won’t be back for a long while… if ever!”

            But from this point on, Calvinist Chris doesn’t care much about whether DeGreedio Sr. stays or leaves. All Chris knows is that he despises the Original Captain Catholic. He cannot believe that Captain Catholic once again outdid him and proved all of his points wrong. Chris wants to do everything in his power to get revenge on Captain Catholic.

            As Chris returns to his apartment room later that night, he begins to pack his things as he prepares to move to another part of Germany, not wishing to stay in the same city after being humiliated twice. In the middle of packing, Chris falls on his knees in despair.

            Chris realizes that everything he has ever believed in has been false. As he begins to pray, he once again understands the Truth about God. He once again realizes that the beliefs of predestination, faith alone and Scripture alone hold no salt, and he yearns to convert to Catholicism. Chris begs God for the strength to change his ways. As he heads to bed for the night, Chris closes his eyes peacefully, feeling absolute relief. He feels free. But then, suddenly, his eyes are forced wide-open.

            “Zat wretched FREAK!” Chris’s thoughts turn back to Captain Catholic. “I… I cannot change! I cannot admit zat Captain Catholic was right! I WILL not admit zat! I hate every bone in his BODY for humiliating me!”

            Chris jumps up in his bed as drops of cold sweat drip off his face.

            “And I… I have NO desire to change my ways! I LOVE ze way I live! I LOVE it! I have all ze money in ze world which I can spend however I please! What has gotten into me?!”

            Finally, Chris directs his words toward God Himself, shaking his fists in the air. “And YOU, Lord! How could you let this happen to me! All along, I thought you favored me, but instead… you allowed me to be HUMILIATED! You allowed that Captain Catholic to make a FOOL of me! I… I DESPISE you, Lord!”

            Calvinist Chris lays his head back down on his pillow as his thoughts run wild. Again on the verge of changing his life around for the good, Chris throws it all away. Full of pride and enslaved by his hatred for Captain Catholic, he refuses to change his ways and remains cut off from God and cut off from true happiness. Calvinist Chris could not be anymore dead while still being alive.
‘CAPTAIN CATHOLIC’ ©2006-2011, Tony DeGennaro. All Rights Reserved.