By Nate Odenkirk | Staff Writer
In what’s being called the “heist of the millennium,” His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, has made off with the pope’s hat.
The breach was discovered early Wednesday morning, when Pope Francis noticed that his head was a lot lighter than normal. A quick look in the mirror revealed that the hat had mysteriously vanished. “I was really distracted, I was listening to a podcast,” said the exasperated pope in a balcony address to police officers. “The Dalai Lama must’ve come up behind me and swiped it, that sneaky crook!” The crime scene, now taped off by Cardinal investigators, is being blessed for prints. Very little was left behind, other than wire cutters used by His Holiness to disable the high-tech laser countermeasures, and an alms bowl—his “calling card.”
It’s a huge blow to the Catholic Church, which has managed to keep the hat in its possession until Wednesday, when the Dalai Lama nabbed it. Beyond the obvious embarrassment, the incident carries real political consequences for the Holy See. “Vatican law is clear on this: whoever has the hat is the pope,” said the Vatican’s record keeper. “So, technically, the Dalai Lama is our shepherd now.” In stealing the hat, the Dalai Lama also made off with the contents stashed inside. Luckily, Pope Francis only used the hat for receipts and a sleeve of emergency peanut butter crackers (in case he ever gets hungry). The receipts, at least, will not be missed.
For now, Pope Francis will have to make do with the backup pope hat, a novelty beanie with a propellor on top. “The propellor is awesome, I actually feel closer to god wearing this than the normal hat,” said the pope, flicking the propellor with his index finger. “That’s beside the point. We need to stop the Dalai Lama from escaping with that hat, or I’m toast!” Pope Francis’ career may very well be on the line— “The pope only has one job to do: protect the goddamn hat. Nothing else is important,” said a Vatican official. “At the very least, Francis’ll get a write-up with the big man upstairs.”
THE PERFECT CRIME?
One of the world’s most notorious thieves, the Dalai Lama has stolen millions of dollars of property throughout his journeys spreading goodwill. “It’s all an act. In reality, he’s got a rap sheet five miles long, and he’s very slippery,” said Freidrich Helms from INTERPOL. “When something goes missing, the messenger of peace is often the last person you’d expect… he’s very good.” His Holiness often uses disguises and commits even petty crimes. “I was wondering why the Dalai Lama wanted to visit my store,” said Jasper Wyce, the night manager at a 7/11 in Charleston, West Virginia. “It was a great honor to have him. He spoke about ending suffering and achieving a brotherhood of man. But when he left I noticed that two bags of Chex Mix and a Monster energy drink were gone. I have his photo on the ‘not welcome wall’ now, and I tell my employees to call the police if they ever see him in here again.”
“When something goes missing, the messenger of peace is often the last person you’d expect… he’s very good.”
The Vatican is considering retribution against His Holiness, but vengeance may be difficult. “What the heck can you steal from a monk? They don’t have any possessions. Ooh, he’s a clever bastard, that Lama,” said Pope Francis, wagging his finger. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church is offering a hundred communion wafers and a bible signed by the author as reward for the capture of the elusive Tibetan royal. China has also offered to assist the Vatican in the hunt for the Dalai Lama, though they may have other motives for doing so.
The public is advised to keep a lookout for the fugitive. An old, bald man in robes wearing what appeared to be a tall hat was spotted jetting through Rome on a Vespa, but that could have been anyone. ♦