In spite of all of the hopeful frenzy among the LGBT Catholic community about what the Pope may or may not say while on the gayest island anywhere other than Fire Island in July, I confess I remained circumspect. Not that I don't admire his spreading inconvenient truths about climate change and the dangers of excess in the world of the next i-anything, flying private, and super-size fries. The problem is the institution he fronts clings to dogma -created centuries after Christ's death- that states anyone not conforming to the chauvinistic patriarchy of the middle ages is somehow afoul of God.
Then I received a text that simply read: 1323 John Street, tomorrow noon. I assumed it was a mistake and by the following day word came John Snow might live, the British prime minister literally bopped bologna, and Carly Fiorina almost smiled; too much to think about errant texts. Running late, I hailed a cab that then stopped not anywhere near my destination but downtown in the financial district.
"He's waiting," the driver said in heavily accented Greek. Balding and stooped, he smelled as if he'd rolled in an ashtray.
"Who?" That's when I saw the address over the door of an old-fashioned luncheonette sandwiched between two forgettable fifties era office buildings: 1323 John Street.
"Just go!" he barked. "He gets snippy when he waits." Before I could protest further I found myself in a booth with cracked vinyl benches and a sticky tabletop. The Versace model looking stud seated across from me wore a sleek leather jacket and a crew neck T with Gauthier stripes.
"What a dump!" he said while tossing his flowing black mane out of his eyes.
"That's what Bette Davis said," I replied. "You know, 'What a dump,'" I did my best impression and it was still dreadful. He glared at me in that creepy celebrity way: not used to being spoken to unless granted permission.
"We love her!" he at last replied with a toothy smile that revealed clear braces? Before I could swallow my surprised gape, he slid pouty lips over imperfect teeth.
"I just got them," he said. "We didn't have orthodontists back then."
"He, we, then?" Why was I even there and why wasn't I more freaked out? Oh, yeah, he was that hot.
"Jesus is my boyfriend." He batted his Tiffany blue eyes, pulled out a fake cigarette, and vaped.
"I've been trying to quit since the Marlboro Man got lung cancer. "What a hottie, huh?"
"I thought you said you and..."
"It's been two thousand years, I'm allowed to notice."
"You think He has time?" He'd still not given his name.
"Who are you?" He didn't answer but waited. The text came to me. 1323 John Street. John 13:23 - John - the disciple Jesus loved. "You're St. John the Apostle?"
"We're in town for the Pope."
"He's busy keeping tabs."
"On the Pope?"
"And the reactions," he said. "Those are important too."
"Why am I here?"
"You outed Him, remember?" My first blog Jesus is Gay came to mind.
"That was meant to be satirical," I said nervously.
"Or maybe it wasn't." He smiled in a -you'll do anything I say to see my abs- way. "Maybe I had you write it." My mind flashed on my boyhood Lives of the Saints. The illustrations featured sexy-sexless angels leaning over canonical shoulders as they wrote or prayed.
"Am I a prophet?"
"Ha!" Not John but the gray, withered cabbie said.
"That's St. Jerome." John dagger-stared at him. "Legendary homophobe and hater of women."
"Says you, Ringo of the Gospels."
"Jerome's penance is to be my driver." He leaned in, dishing with family. "And I take him everywhere." He grinned, braces be damned. "At Men's Fashion Week he almost imploded."
"So you had me out Him?" I pointed up as I asked because I sensed my time was up.
"I want to get married. Even His mother is on board, finally. 'At least he's Jewish,'" John said mimicking his Queen of the Rosary future mother in law.
"She'd have preferred that Mary Magdalene." Jerome smirked.
"The Da Vinci Code made her too much of a diva for Him anyway." John spoke like we were alone. "He needed to come out, even if we had to push Him."
I just nodded because what could I say?
"Now, He just needs to see everyone is okay with it."
"His being gay?"
"It'll never happen," St. Jerome grumbled.
"That's what you said about Francis becoming Pope," John snapped. "About gay..." finger quotes "civil marriage," end quotes. "Women's suffrage, the abolition of slavery, the renaissance!" He took a deep cleansing breath, shook out his Raphaelite hair, and displayed a more compassionate expression. "Keep the faith," he told me. "Good things will come."
"You're awfully optimistic for the author of Revelations."
"Transfiguration made Him impossible for a couple centuries and I rebelled, kind of my psychedelic phase."
"And the wedding?" I asked as he trailed Jerome to the door.
"It has to be in the church," he said rolling his eyes. "But soon." He winked. "Thanks to you."