Bill Brasky once visited the Pope,

OR, how Our Hero's life was saved by a Vicuña
a Tall Tale invented by a maggotty old Cheese, on October 31, 2003, inspired by all the surrounding Catbox Merriment

this Tale has been altered slightly from the comments actually typed in to the Catbox.

Bill Brasky once visited the Pope. The Pope was so impressed with Brasky's hat that he offered to swap hats, but ol'Bill couldn't bear to part with his.

This was the same hat, of course, that had saved Brasky's life after he fell off the cliff in Utah while running from Vinny 'Coffee Bean' Ambrosiano, head of the Salt Lake City crime syndicate.

Three weeks later, as Brasky staggered into a motel on the outskirts of Reno, he jumped into the swimming pool and yelled, "I LOVE THIS HAT!"

Brasky sauntered dripping into the lobby, put a quarter in a nearby slot machine, and won the $500 jackpot. He took the hat off to catch all the coins that were pouring out of the machine, and out fell a half gallon of water and a solid gold Book of Mormon, which he sold to the Christian Scientist Reading Room for $20.

After that, he gathered together some friends and they were off for frisco, but his car broke down in the Donner Pass and they were forced to kill and eat the frat boy. Several truckers offered him a lift, but ol' Brasky was a stickler for tradition and waited until the spareribs were done.

The conductor on the ferry from Oakland tried to make Brasky take his hat off. Brasky told the conductor, "I barely know you!" and tossed him in the bay.

As they pulled up o the Friscoside dock, Brasky leaped off the boat eight feet onto the Embarcadero. His trusty sidekick Hennepin attempted the same feat but missed by several inches. Brasky considered letting him fall, but decided his Workmen's Comp payments would go up too much, and reached out and pulled Hennepin away from a certain mangling.

For about six months, Hennepin worked as longshoreman while Brasky was the fancy man at a whorehouse in the Tenderloin. Then one day Hennepin disappeared, and Brasky was faced with filling out that Workmen's Comp form.

Brasky eventually discovered that Hennepin had been shanghaied onto a whaling ship returning to Nantucket. He hijacked a Vanderbuilt steamboat and set off in pursuit.

He caught up with the whaler just as they were rounding Cape Horn in a storm. Brasky rammed the whaler with his steamboat. Three days later, with all hands lost, Brasky dragged himself onto the Patagonian shoreline.

It took him two weeks to walk to Punta Arenas, having to chase down rheas for food and eggs. After working as a bouncer at a fish auction for six months, he had enough for his steamship ticket to Buenos Aires. By then, he had passable Spanish, and was able to get passage to New York as a tutor/bodyguard to a general's son bound for Princeton.

Brasky had to kill several crewmembers who attempted to compromise the young man's virtue. Their parting at Castle Garden was embarrasingly emotional but one of Barnum's agents spotted Brasky and offered him a ridiculous salary to be a fire eater.

After about six weeks of this humdrum existence, Brasky became restless again and decided to visit his old flame Angelique in Chicago.

On the train, Brasky received a telegram from Miguel back in Princeton, saying that the Provost was making 'googly-eyes' at him.

Brasky was arguing with a ticket-vendor in Altoona, trying to get his ticket changed, when someone tapped him on the shoulder. Brasky wheeled, fists at the ready. But who should it be but old Hennepin, now a vicuña hat milllionaire!

Hennepin sent one of his yes-men to New Jersey to get Miguel straightened out, and they continued on to Chicago where Angelique was delighted to see them both. Less pleased to see them was her husband, a former guanaco hat tycoon fallen on hard times due to the vicuña fad started by Brasky's former sidekick. The guanaco tycoon challenged Hennepin to a duel, but Brasky shot him before the glove hit the ground. They fled to Rome, always one step ahead of the Pinkertons.

Pinkerton himself bribed the head of the carabineri to haul Brasky in on a trumped-up vagrancy charge. But a magnificent vicuña hat arrived at the Lateran Palace one day. It wasn't long before Brasky was standing before Pius X himself, having to kiss the pontiff's ring. It reminded Brasky of Salt Lake City. Then he heard, "Cool hat! Wanna trade?" The Pope wasn't too happy with his refusal, no matter how polite, and so it was steerage back to New York.

THE END
(?)