Contrary to nunpopular opinion, I, The Little Nun Spy of Probatia, am not dead, in jail, or locked in an asylum. Anymore at least.
I came close to all three in the last few weeks, and escaped two by a narrow margin. Now I’m back to spying, and I’m better at it than ever. But let me backtrack for a moment and tell you where I have been for the last month or sow.
Readrrr, have you ever heard of “near death experiences”? If you haven’t, you should visit a convent; you will definitely have one!
I hexperience these on a day to day, sometimes hour to hour, basis, and I am starting to think it comes with the terror-tory. Last time I was able to write you, Readrrr, I was on my way to Resurrection Day (also known as East-err) and I was in the middle of a move from one abbey to another. If you are not of the School of Recollection, let me remind you: I had been given news by The Vat that an order of protection had been placed on me and that I was to be sent to a safe house abbey for little naughty nuns whose safety had been compromised in some way. This safe house, called Oberon Abbey, is located in a far off land that can only be found by the clergy. It has a country-motif-ed Garden of Eden aesthetic, rife with daffodils, and it is in the woods, where it is run by Headmothers Marlin and Woods. I was to go there for my “safety” (i.e., to get me to shut up about the conditions at the Shabby Abbey) and I was to be separated from Sistrrr Lin.
Well, what a mess, Readrrr, what a mess. I was not even there for two days, getting my sock lint stuck in a glorious bathmat that the blessed “holy” (i.e., well-) water at the abbey simply could not power-hose away, when (no sooner) I was dragged back to the Shabby Abbey by The Vat.
Messengers from The Vat came into my bedroom wearing bald heads with swastikas tattooed on them. They visited torments upon me on, of all nights, the night of East-rrr. On my first night at a new abbey, I had been experiencing the terror and separation anxiety of having had Sistrrr Lin, the nun I was hiding in my room at the Shabby Abbey, kept from me; as if this was not enough, The Vat surrounded me in the night. They surrounded me while I was already crying from first-night-at-a-new-abbey-anxiety, and they held up a picture in front of me of Sistrrr Lin with a ghastly looking ignoramus whom, I swear, was the spitting image of Father Danno. The photo looked like an old daguerreotype. It was Sistrrr Lin leaning against a corpse of a zombie-priest. Oh, terrible. Oh, horrible.
The messengers began singing a very scary rendition of “happy birthday”– something out of a horror film, and, paired with the shiny bald bodies surrounding my bed, I could no longer handle my fear. I practically shit the bed, excuse my language, when I began convulsing. I had heard about this kind of initiation ritual held by The Vat before… it was the clergy’s form of psychological (toilet)waterboarding. I lost it. I began screaming for Sistrrr Lin, and that was it. Headmother Marlin heard my screams and rushed to see the cause of the commotion. The Vat’s messengers, by that time, had already thrown me in a sack and dragged me out of the abbey, into the woods, where they left me blindfolded and sitting down, tied to a pine tree. I could not see a thing. Could not hear a thing. I could feel, though; I could feel my skin tingling from woodland insects. I wept and cried out for help. The next thing I knew, I was staring at Sistrrr Lin, who was tied to a tree directly across from me. I had somehow fallen asleep, it appeared. But when I awoke, the blindfold was off and Sistrrr Lin was in front of me.
“What is going on?”
I demanded. I was in no mood to mince words with a former Lutheran deacon-s. The mosquito bites were irritating me, and I had a big one on my nun bum that was nunbearable.
“What is going on,” I repeated.
She said nothing. She shook her head but she said nothing, as if she could not speak.
But I was not convinced. I was convinced she was refusing. I was mad. I was so mad.
“Tell me what the hell is going on. Now. I thought we agreed to be loyal to each other. Tell me what happened. Why? Why? Tell me.”
Nothing. Just eyes, maybe pleading, and head shaking. I became irate.
“Now. Tell me now or I will turn you into The Vat. Talk to me now or I will expose you and tell them what we’ve been doing in my room.”
I had resorted to a kind of blackmail. I was desperate. I was tied to a tree. I had been tortured. I was full of doubt and feelings of powerlessness.
She spoke but not freely. “That would be a very bad idea.”
“Oh, yeah. Like lying. Like letting me suffer. Like letting me be tortured so you can remain safe and sound. Tell me everything now. Admit who you are and what is really going on or I will tell them everything I know.”
I had resorted. To this. I was angry. I didn’t know why exactly, but I felt betrayed.
“If you continue going on like this, I will have to stop talking to you. I will have to ban you from the abbey.”
Oh, that did it. She threatened me with the one thing she knew would hurt me the most. Then I swore at her. I swore I would betray her and tell them everything. I could not understand why she would not just tell me exactly what she knew.
Then we were silenced. A messenger walked up and escorted Sistrrr Lin away. I was left tied to the bottom of the pine tree.
I passed the time crushing a pine cone near my left foot until a group of messengers returned. As soon as they came near me, I began shouting. I began telling them everything I knew about Sistrrr Lin. About how I let her spy on the nuns. About how I hid her in my room to give her refuge from the Lewtherans. About how we were when we were alone in my room together. About the treasure chest. About the secret Shakespearean codes. About us. I told them about how Sistrrr Lin likes to wear masks and role play with me. About how she dresses up like Sistrrr Shakespeare to make me happy. Why was I such a fool? I walked right into their trap!
They listened. Silently. They recorded me. And then they escorted me into a car. I realized then: it was not the little nun bus but, rather, a police limo. Never heard of one? It’s what The Vat uses to scare people. It looks like a police car, but it’s not a real one. It’s extra long and lanky, and it’s used to intimidate and scare little nuns with big mouths. While I was in that big scary police limo, a clergyman by the name of Father Dick turned on an episode of “Law and Order” and pulled me onto his lap. He strapped me in. He then made me watch it with him. But it wasn’t just any episode; it was about a nun who had questioned The Vat and tried to stand up to The Vat. She was murdered brutally with a corkscrew and her murder was labeled a suicide. There was law but no order, and The Vat got away scot-free. No justice whatsoever. And Father Dick, who looked like one of the sausages in Sister Danita’s sausage stew, then climbed on top of me on the seat and screamed into my face:
LISTEN, GRIM. SISTRRR LIN DOES NOT EXIST, DO YOU HEAR US, SISTRRR GRIM. GRIN DOES NOT EXIST. ARE WE CLEAR ON THIS. YOU ARE THE CULPRIT. YOU MADE HER UP. YOU INVENTED HER. ALL TO CREATE A SCANDAL IN THE CHURCH. A SISTER NAMED LIN DOES NOT EXIST AND IF YOU EVER TRY TO SAY SHE EXISTS, WE WILL DESTROY YOU. YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL; WE ARE. YOU WILL NOT SAY ANYTHING MORE ABOUT THIS. YOU WILL STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING. YOU WILL STOP MAKING UP THESE LIES. DO YOU UNDERSTAND. DO YOU. DO YOU UNDERSTAND. YOU WILL STOP MAKING THESE OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS. YOU WILL STOP SPYING ON THE NUNS. YOU WILL STOP ALL OF THIS OR YOU WILL BE REMOVED. NOT JUST FROM THE CONVENT BUT FROM THE WORLD. WE ARE BIG AND POWERFUL AND WE HAVE MORE MONEY THAN YOU COULD EVER HOPE TO HAVE, AND IF YOU DO NOT DO AS WE SAY AND STOP YOUR SHENANIGANS, WE WILL HAVE YOU TAKEN OUT OF THIS WORLD. YOU ARE GUILTY OF TREASON AND ANYTHING ELSE WE SAY YOU ARE GUILTY BECAUSE WE ARE IN CHARGE. BECAUSE WE ARE BIG AND YOU ARE SMALL. BECAUSE WE ARE POWERFUL AND YOU ARE NOT. WE CAN LIE AND BE IN DENIAL AND DENY OTHERS THEIR RIGHTS AND OVERREACT AND DO WHATEVER WE PLEASE, BECAUSE WE ARE THE VAT. AND DON’T YOU DARE QUESTION IT UNLESS YOU WANT TO DO HARD TIME. TIME SO HARD YOU NEVER COME BACK FROM IT. YOU WILL DO WHAT WE TELL YOU; GOT IT? YOU WILL DO AS WE SAY OR WE WILL LOCK YOU AWAY IN A CELL AND YOU WILL NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY AGAIN. YOU ARE TO TELL THE WORLD THAT YOU ARE MAKING UP LIES AND YOU ARE TO NEVER SPEAK OF ANY OF THIS AGAIN OR YOU WILL DISAPPEAR. LIN DOES NOT EXIST AND YOU ARE SICK AND TWISTED FOR SAYING LIN EVER DID.
YOU ARE TO LET OTHERS BELIEVE YOU ARE INSANE AND YOU WILL SPEND TIME IN AN ASYLUM TO CONVINCE EVERYONE THAT IT IS TRUE. IF YOU DO THIS AND YOU OBEY, YOU WILL BE RETURNED TO THE ABBEY OF OUR CHOICE. IF NOT, YOU WILL BE REMOVED.
I tried to close my eyes and stay calm during his tirade, after all: this would not be the first time The Vat has put me through this “plead insanity and go to the asylum” ritual, but Father Dick’s breath of rotten-watermelon turned my stomach inside out and, worse, he brutally held open one of my eyelids with his pointer finger and his thumb the entire time he berated me. Scared out of my mind and bewildered as to how Sistrrr Lin could betray me like this, I agreed. Even though I wanted to shout into the LYING FACE of VAT MAN. Of this pretentious ignoramus. Of this FOOL. Even THOUGH— I agreed to go to an asylum and to deny her existence and to tell everyone I had made everything up and to plead insanity. I did this to save that nun-existent Sistrrr of mine. My cellmate Lindon Lynchpun Mandolyn Lynxalot, whom I just call Lin. The experience was deeply hu-miliating. Terribly degrading. But worst of all, it was just plain wrong. It was wrong, knowing that I was in the right and that my Sistrrr did exist and that everything I said was true. Alas, that is how The Vat operates. It’s not about what’s true; it’s about The Vat’s fatter-than-fat ego.
But, honestly, I did not care one bit about The Vat. That was typical Vat behavior. I had been through that kind of thing with them before. They threaten, they bully. They never attempt diplomacy. That is their way. It was that Sistrrr Lin had done this to me, had colluded in this terrible act of falsity and betrayal, that I could not fathom.
That is, until I found out that The Vat was actually, in a weird way, right. Sistrrr Lin never existed. Turns out that Sistrrr Lin was really a plant. That is, she was planted in the abbey by The Vat in order to catch me in the act. Cliterally, the act. There is nothing The Vat hates more than clitoral stimulation, Readrrr, especially when it happens through the use of literature. The Vat cannot stand the clitoris. The Vat hates the clitoris. And that is why they sent “Sistrrr Lin” into my wing of the abbey. They planted her as a test. They planted Lin to see if Grim would cliterally fall into their trap. They wanted Lin to destroy it. Cliterature, that is. They are not readrrrs; they hate cliterary anything.
As it turns out, Sistrrr Lin was really a robotic nun named Sister Bin. Laden. Sister Bin is a high ranking nun who goes into abbeys to weed out any cliterary studying that’s going on. The Vat is aware of the nuns’ love of cliterature (or they somehow recently became aware of it), and this is what prompted them sending a drone nun in. She is actually made of metal. Heavy metal.
Sister Bin, I mean. She’s a robot nun. I don’t know how I was so easily deceived. I have been called gullible a few times (okay: every day), but how does one not realize that one is sharing a bed with a droid? All those times she insisted on reading cliterature with me, I had no idea that underneath that skin was electricity and wires and art-ificial intelligence. I have had hex with a robot, Readrrr! This was a revelation to me. I have been brought to ecstasy by a drone, Readrrr! And I have brought a drone to ecstasy! (Is that even possible? I don’t know. My mind is too blown.)
Well, The Vat may have fooled me this time, but The Vat has not succeeded in destroying cliterature. Cliterature lives on! I am the self-proclaimed spy-o-logical Mother of Cliterature. And you are one of the few select first-readrrrs of the genre. Be safe, Readrrr; don’t let The Vat be on (y)our tale!
I wish I could tell you that all of this is just some silly story and that I am kidding, but I can’t. It’s absolutely nunfathomable, I know!
Another thing I know is that I am not going to go gently into the night. The Vat will pay for this. Spiritually. And I will continue on my quest to spy my way back to Sistrrr Shakespeare.
Speaking of witch, I am currently on my way to a new abbey. Actually, an old abbey. My first abbey. It is not the Shabby Abbey. My Shabby Abbey days are nearly hiss-story. No, I am on my way back to The Friary Priory. After the traumatic incident with the robot and the messengers and the police limo, I decided I could not go back to the Shabby Abbey. I pulled some strings, and now I am on my way back to the land of friars and prioresses. This is actually quite frightening, Readrrr. There are a lot of nunknowns ahead. But it is what I must do to save the nuns and to tell the world about the real lives of the nuns, which is what I set out to do from the start.
To do this, I will be a Shakespearrre Kid. I will spend a summer studying Shakespeare at the Friary Priory, which is currently being run by Father Whoknows. I’m not really sure about how I feel about Father Whoknows yet; I’ll let you know when I get a more accurate picture. Nuntil then, hold tight to the knowledge that the drama will continue to nunfold.
Ah, the drama.
Did you know, Readrrr, that one of the Elizabaethan dramatists who came before Shakespeare was a fellow by the name of Kyd? Thomas Kyd. Unlike Shakespeare, Kyd was not and is not, aside from in small circles of Renaissance (and smaller circles of Elizabethan) scholars, what anyone would call a “household name”; however Kyd did make a bit of notoriety for himself and became a bit of speculative fodder as a result of his play, The Spanish Tragedy.
It would be tragic if Kyd never got his day in the sun, outside of the fluorescence of the classroom, but I am a probationary nun incapable of making miracles. What I can do is make sure Kyd gets his day in the nun, so I have been reciting lines by Kyd to my sistrrrs– lines like this:
“I’ll trust myself, myself shall be my friend.”
(What I say to Sistrrr Myself every single morning!)
“Aye, danger mix’d with jealous despite / Shall send thy soul into eternal night.”
(What I say to Sister Danita when she sees the nuns Woolf-ing down my clam chowder and thanking God her sardine stew is a thing of the past!)
“I am never better than when I am mad: then methinks I am a brave fellow; then I do wonders: but reason abuseth me, and there’s the torment, there’s the hell.”
(What I have trained the nuns to say whenever they are told that being a nun is MADNESS!)
“My soule, poore soule thou talkes of things / Thou knowest not what, my soule hath silver wings / That mounts me up unto the highest heavens.”
(Oh, this is just a little thing I say whenever my soul has silver wings, which is always, except when my soul has gold wings.)
And there you have it: come backs, by Kyd.
Kyd is said to have had a hand in laying some of the foundation for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but I’m merely a hiss-story an’ I wouldn’t want to give the old rumor mill a spin since hiss-torah-call d-tails always have a way of washing into and out of my mind in a great big blur of impressionistic nunsense , much like watercolors on soft soaking canvas. Wonderfully beautiful. Always errotic. Kodifiable. Nun-translatable. Difficult to d-scribe.
Are my spell-ing air-oars bahthering you, Readrrr? Let them. They are there, purrposely and intermittently, to dark force you to see language in new ways and to see qualities and meanings in language that you would not otherwise have been able to see. That is why codification and kowd-crac/king is an art, a science, and a hexcellent hexercise for the mind.
I dew it here and there, as the inclination strikes me and I do it inconsistently, to get you to pay attention: to language, to symbolism, and to the heights to which language is capable of reaching.
But back to Kyd. I only mention him because Kyd wasn’t just any Kyd. He was a comeback Kyd. In fact, he was the Kumback Kyd who, before making a comeback and coming back from the never-dead, paved the way and set the stage for the stargh of the show: Shake. As in: Spear. Because Shakespeare had pirates and piracy built into his very name, kynda like Kyd had Kumback built into his. Strange how predictive language can be. And even stranger how prof-etic. If only one is primed toward prof-ecy or is taught to see.
Shakespeare fans should be sure to be on the lookowt for the comeback Kyd. Because wherever there be Shakespeare, there be.e. a comeback Kyd. A Kyd is built into Shakespeare, just like adaptation was born of Shakespeare: given that Shakespeare was a product of the world of adaptation in which shared scholarship and renditionism reigned but without supremacy.
Since you might not know Kyd, though surely you know Shakespeare, it might be hard for you to give into the surreality of fusion (and to accept that there is always reality in surreality, as the hexual definition of surreality is “subjective reality, or, in other words, co-existing, emulsified realities”). There’s your nub of theory for the daye, Readrrr.
One other thing on the misstery hisstory to point out: plays, like Hamlet, could be considered homoerotic collective tales, told from one (as far as “history” tells us) male dramatist to another to another to another. Passed along. The play-writing tradition in which Kyd and Shake were enmeshed was, not only homoerotic in origins but also, driven by fellowship and a kind of brotherhood. Without the boys club element, all that is left is fellowship. Shared credit and shared identities. Very similar to what happens in a convent.
Oh, about that. About what happens in a convent. Some might have you believe whatever happens in one stays in one. But I’m here to tell you other-whys. And by telling you otherwise, I am proving otherwise. Hearsay is heresay is hearse-aye! (Readrrr, if you don’t yet understand how word play creates new realities and new meanings, just keep hanging on; I promiss yew sewn Will…cat/ch…on…).
Here, the word on Shakespeare Street is that a comeback Kyd-nun is on her way… on her way… on her way