The conspirators took a break to check the room service menu, and place orders. Lance insisted that he be allowed to wait until everyone was done eating, and he had their undivided attention, before addressing the problem of pirating.

“Have you two heard about Dolly Parton’s latest news,” Stephen asked of Kitty and Lance.

“I hope it’s not a double mastectomy,” Lance laughed.

“No, no. Good news,“ Madonna assured the boy.

“She’s pregnant, and some lucky kid is never gonna wonder where her next meal is coming from?” Kitty offered.

“Funny,” King said. “No. She’s donating a million bucks to research efforts to find a vaccine slash cure for the virus.”

“Good on her,” said Lance.

“Yes, indeed,” said Stephen. “But this is the interesting thing, although it’s not related to the money, money, money. She’s also started a free video service in which she reads bedtime stories for kids of all ages during the lockdown.”

Love Dolly,” said Madge. “But not everyone does. I actually saw people attacking her for it.”

“Seriously?” asked Kitty. “For what possible reason?”

“The idiots are saying she is just boosting her brand,” Madonna laughed derisively.

“She’s older than I am,” scoffed King. “She couldn’t care less about the financial value of her brand at her age. She’s not gonna be getting royalty checks in the graveyard. The cynicism is just astounding. And it’s not as if this is a new endeavor for her. She’s been involved in literacy programs for years.”

Lance said, “Good on her. But she is fighting a losing battle. People aren’t reading, especially young people. Nothing long, anyway.”

“Sad but true,” Lance’s father said. “No one seems to be able to read anything more than 140 characters these days.”

“No, it’s gotten worse than that,” said Kitty. “They can’t read anything more than a ten word meme now, and it has to have artwork, and be funny, or it’s not shared.”

“I think,” Madonna interjected, “the people attacking Dolly are males, who were not breast fed in infancy, pubescence, or any time since. I think they all secretly want her to show up in person, read them a bedtime story, and nurse them to sleep.”

“I wouldn’t mind that myself,” King laughed.

Madonna feigned indignation, “What? You don’t appreciate my bedtime stories? Let me tell you something,” she said, looking at the kids. “My bedtime stories are a Hell of a lot better than his.”

“Holy shit,” said Lance. “Come to think of it, I’m glad you weren’t around to read me bedtime stories when I was a kid. Insomnia would be a self preservation instinct. I’d be a zombie.”

Laughter ensued, and no one, not even the King of Horror himself, denied the veracity of what Lance said.

“I just can’t believe the gall of people attacking Dolly for giving money, and reading bedtime stories,“ Madge said. “Pretty soon it will escalate, and they’ll be calling her a monster, something akin to a Nazi werewolf, raping children like a legion of Catholic priests with the impunity of the POTUS.”

“You really don’t like the Catholic Church, huh?” said Kitty.

“Well, let’s just say that I backed Sinead when she did her thing on SNL, and everyone else derided her. You could say that I have had problems with the Vatican.”

“Yes, and the Vatican has had its share of problems with you,” laughed King.

Madonna grinned, and feigned protestation, “I’m a good Catholic girl.”

“Sure… according to Zappa’s definition of what a good Catholic girl is,” laughed King.

“Frank knew what he was talking about,” Madonna laughed. “But, no, I am not on the Vatican’s Christmas card mailing list.”

“Who in Hell would want to be?” asked King.

“Gaga,” Madonna said.

“Oh, boy, here we go,” King sighed.

“Seriously. You don’t see her taking on the Vatican. Not in full on battle mode, the way I have. And having been born into a Catholic family, I doubt she can legitimately claim ignorance of the problems the Church makes in any family that tries to evolve socially, and spiritually.”

“Sure,” said King, “But you also say her father was a Jew.”

“Look at that hook on her face!” Madonna answered.

“Like Roman’s are not known for hooked noses,” King laughed.

“That schnoz of hers is not Roman. There’s a difference.”

“Which is what, exactly? How much money is stuffed up it?”

“Ever see a hook-nosed rabbi blowing his nose in public?” Madge laughed. “No, you don’t. And you never see Gaga blowing he nose in public, either.”

“Well, case closed, then,” King laughed, “Gaga is a Jew, whether she likes it, knows it, or would even care if she were. At least she’s not a Satanist.”

“You got a problem with Satanists?” Kitty wanted to know.

“No,” answered King. “If we’re talking about the ones who are using the Constitution to erect monuments, and saying that if you’re gonna push religion in schools, you have to include Satanism.”

“Or LaVey’s acolytes,” Madonna added.

“I think they’ve all read the Satanic Bible,” King said. “And, in reality, all LaVey did in the Satanic Bible was riff on some of Rand’s ideas, in a more entertaining way. She had some interesting ideas, but she was not a very good writer, and her disciples would be better off reading LaVey riffing on her, than reading her stuff. At least they’d be entertained.”

Kitty nodded her agreement, and added “But the lunatics who take Satanism seriously, like sacrificing cats under a full moon and all that shit, are just as bad as any other religious fanatics. There are just fewer of them.”

“Which reminds me,” Lance cut in, “I got a meme a few days ago. Hang on,” he said checking his phone. A couple seconds later he said, “What the Hell am I doing? I can explain it faster than I can find it. Two panels. In the first are a girl and a guy in a room full of pentagrams, goat heads, images of the Dark Lord. The girl, puzzled, aghast, says, ‘What the Hell did you do?’ The guy says, ‘You told me to Satanize the place while you were gone.’ In the next panel the girl says, ‘Idiot! I told you to sanitize the place.’”

“Yes!” laughed Kitty. “Dyslexics in Hell!”

And then there was a knock at the door.




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