Members only

Members only

Members-3-s

The room was hot and stuffy making him sweat profusely and causing his shirt to cling uncomfortably to his skin. He wiped his forehead and neck with a large white handkerchief that was none too clean and stuffed it back in his jacket pocket. Thick velvet curtains veiled the windows shutting out most of the torrid sunlight of the Italian summer. Since he’d arrived in Rome, the temperature had unfailingly surpassed all records with a number of elderly people succumbing to the heat, or so the radio said. This was to be his last day and he relished the thought of returning to the rain and wind that prevailed in Aberdeen. His whole stay in the Vatican City had been given over to negotiating access to what he was about to see now. When he’d heard that such a thing existed, he had hardly been able to believe it. He had known getting access would be difficult, but he hadn’t anticipated the barriers he would have to surmount to get where he was now. In the beginning there had been denials and even threats. Later came the endless interrogations and questions about his motives. Finally, when all else had failed, came the time to take out his wallet and pay his entry fee as a new member of this most exclusive club not to mention various additional contributions here and there. His guide, a little man who barely reached his shoulders, halted in front of a plain metal door that offered no sign of what might lie within. Pulling a large bunch of keys from the pocket of his cassock, he sorted through them till he found what he was looking for: a long slender key with large handle. Pushing it into the lock up to the hilt, he then turned it till a resounding click was to be heard and the door sprang open on well-oiled hinges. The priest invited him to enter. Stepping over the threshold he was relieved to find the room cooler than elsewhere in the building. Maybe it was because there were no windows and the walls seemed particularly thick. Rows and rows of broad, squat filing cabinets made of varnished wood, separated by wide alleys filled the entire room which must have stretched from more than a hundred meters. Each cabinet, which reached up to his waist, had a number of drawers of varying sizes. “You realise,” the priest said, donning a pair of white gloves, “that the Church could not have such objects in full view of the faithful.” He then extracted a large black velvet cloth from his pocket, unfolded it and laid it meticulously on the top of one of the cabinets. “So they were removed with the greatest of care and stored here for posterity. We have thousands of them in our collection.” On the verge of pulling open one of the larger drawers, he hesitated a moment, saying: “You might wonder why we bother to keep them. The answer is simple. They are real works of art, many of them by the greatest artists of their time.” He pulled the drawer open and lifted out a giant marble erection, some forty centimetres long and placed the penis lovingly on the velvet cloth. “Note the exquisite curves of the head,” the priest continued. “And the way the artist has sculptured the bulging veins that run along its length. And here,” he went on, turning the sex gently on its axe to show where it had been severed from the rest of the sculpture, “you can see with what workmanship the member has been removed without leaving the slightest trace.” Replacing the sex where in its drawer, the priest asked: “Would you like to see others? We have them from all ages and sizes.”

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