Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò pushes Kim Davis through a set of oak double doors. She teeters on her kitten heels, stumbling into a dark, velvety interior. She blinks, swirls of smoke stinging her eyes and clouding her vision, and sneezes.
“God bless you,” says the Pope. He nods slowly. His voice is quiet and gentle.
“Could you speak up?” Kim asks in a nasal voice.
“Who are you?” The Pope replies in Italian.
“You should really try to speak English—you are in America, after all.”
Carlo, the Apostolic Nuncio, glides in, Joe (Kim’s husband, clad in blue jeans and a baseball cap) trudging behind. The smoke has cleared a bit, and it is now apparent that the Pope is sitting on a beanbag, head bent towards his iPhone’s glowing screen, scrolling. The Nuncio coughs dramatically in attempt to get the Pope’s attention. The Pope smiles at a picture of a puppy in socks, and double taps.
Carlo, in Italian, announces, “Your Holiness, may I present Kim Davis. She and her husband have come to see you from Kentucky. They are principled Christians.” He turns to Kim, in English. “I will translate for you.”
The Pope glances up from his screen. “Why is she here? Does she want to chill? I have enough weed for everyone.” He gestures to the young priest standing in a corner, holding a crystal bong in the shape of incense holder. The young priest is exceedingly quiet, possibly because he is quite stoned.
“His Holiness said he is pleased to meet a woman of such moral integrity. He has followed your story closely,” Carlo says.
“So, I was right to deny that gay couple a marriage license. You approve?” Kim asks.
She smiles, smooths her chestnut hair, and straightens her shoulders. She is ready to accept her status as the new favorite of the Pope. She wonders if he will ask her to move to the Vatican and act as his advisor. Her husband sees the ambition in her eyes, magnified by her rimless glasses. He winces.
“Why is she smiling at me like that?” the Pope inquires. “She must be really excited about the pot.”
Carlos turns to the Pope. “She wants you to know that she supports your recent declaration that pets can go to heaven, and she appreciates your endorsement of the “selfie” movement.” Then, to Kim. “He thanks you for your devotion to the sanctity of marriage.”
“Does she want to see my private Instagram account? I have a great Direct Message exchange with Elton John,” says the Pope. “I sent him a video of Marc [nods at the young man in the corner] and I singing ‘Tiny Dancer,’ and he adored it. God bless him—so talented.”
Carlo turns to Kim and says, “His Holiness apologizes for the brevity of this exchange and would like to communicate his blessings. His schedule is rather busy as you can see.” He gestures around the room. The Pope has closed his eyes and might be snoring. “He would also like you to sign a nondisclosure form on your way out. “
Carlo begins to herd Kim back towards the door. Joe steps to the side, leaning closer the Pope. Joe, unbeknownst to his wife, took three years of Italian in college.
Joe whispers in broken Italian, “You might want to fire this Carlo guy. Doesn’t seem to understand what you are saying. Also, we aren’t Catholic, but you seem great.”
Pope Francis seems momentarily confused. He puts down his phone and flashes a peace sign as Kim and her husband exit into the fluorescently lit hallway.