VILE - Golden Domer, the Vile Valley's leading tourism wrangler, usually gets what he wants. That's why he dropped into a deep funk when the Catholic Church's College of Cardinals didn't choose him as the new pope.
"I didn't know you had to be a Catholic," Domer told friends. "They told me later I would have had to take a vow of chastity, which my wife didn't like. But hey, I'm used to working out collaborative solutions. We could have found an answer."
Domer took his post-papal depression with him to Vile Mountain last weekend, hoping some freshies would brighten his mood. Toward the end of the day, Domer spotted a fog of white smoke coming from a tree well in one of Vile's Really Big Bowls.
"I thought the College of Cardinals might have changed its mind," Domer said, "So I skied toward the smoke."
Once he hit the cloud, things got a little hazy.
"I'm pretty sure I asked the guys in the tree well if they were cardinals," Domer said. "They said, 'Dude, we're Mariners fans, but we're cool with the Cardinals.'"
Stephen Broha, one of the Giants fans in the tree well, confirmed Domer's account. But, Broha said, there's more to the story.
"This happy bald dude skied up on us," Broha said. "I don't think he's used to the righteous tree we've got right now, 'cause he started mumbling something about the white smoke being a sign, and him being annointed and stuff. We told him the stuff we had was some holy herb. I think he took it wrong."
Since Domer's trip to the mountain, co-workers at the Vile Valley Tourism, Convention and Calliope Restoration Group say he's pronounced himself "Pope of participatory events."
"He's started wearing robes and a pointy hat to the office," co-worker "Hoppy" Conejos said. "He's even calling his memos 'encyclicals.'"
Domer said his recent trip to the mountain was a life-changer.
"Hey, Moses went to the mountain and came back with the Ten Commandments," Domer said. "What's so strange about my going to the mountain and coming back with a solid plan for summer air service?"
In a quiet moment, Romer said he understands he's not the real Bishop of Rome.
"But I like the robes and the hat - they're real comfortable," he said. "Besides, if just one person thinks I'm infallible, we might be able to finally land that Irish festival we've been working on for the last five years. That could bring $1.3 million in direct spending to the valley in May. And we all know that would be worth a hosanna or two.
"But that white smoke really did mess with my head for a while," he added.