Just when ardent news-watchers thought the Ralph/Blat 2008 campaign could not possibly get any more perplexing or scattered – between one of its Presidential candidates under psychiatric observation in Canada, his running mate and fellow supporters petitioning for his release, and his other running mate performing in a series of karaoke bars in the Southwestern USA, headed toward Vegas – a new development occurred earlier this evening, disrupting an otherwise innocuous Wednesday night church service and alarming ordinary Americans in the Heartland.
It was a typical Wednesday Bible Study at the Militant Redeemer Baptist Church in tiny (population 283) Atalissa, Iowa. Seated quietly on folding chairs – one churchgoer snoring softly into his massive beard – the congregation was listening to Elvira Radishsprout giving testimony about how an image of Jesus had miraculously appeared on the inside of her compost bin.
That serenity was shattered with the arrival of RALPH. Whether it was the genuine Presidential campaigner or his mysterious clone cannot be determined from eyewitness reports, but what is certain is that he flung open the church doors and bolted for the makeshift pulpit (OK, it was a podium with a church logo velcroed to it, since the Militant Redeemer Baptist Church shares space with the Atalissa Fly-Tying Club), toga flapping around his knees, a take-out falafel desperately clutched in one hand and a piñata in the shape of a goat in the other.
To the astonishment of Reverend Augustus “Fred” Shinnybottom, RALPH thrust both items into his hands and seized the microphone from Mrs. Radishsprout, commanding instant attention from the congregation with his thunderous “BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!”
RALPH’s demeanor then abruptly changed, and he addressed the group more earnestly, even modestly.
“FRIENDS, I HAVE SEEN TONIGHT A GREAT MIRACLE!” he related. “AS I WALKED ALONG THE ROADSIDE TOWARD YOUR HUMBLE COMMUNITY, THE LORD HIMSELF APPEARED TO ME! IN HIS MAGNANIMITY, HE DID NOT STRIKE ME DOWN WHEN I FIRST SQUEALED AT HIM THAT HE WAS AN AGENT OF PIAPS!!! PIAPS!!! PIAPS!!! BUT THEN…”
With a tender gaze directed toward a toddler in the crowd, he continued. “THEN THE LORD REVEALED TO ME MY TRUE PURPOSE AND COMMANDED THAT I BRING HIS WORD HERE FOR ALL OF YOU, MY AND HIS FIRST AND BEST-CHOSEN FLOCK, TO BEAR WITNESS!” RALPH drew a deep anticipatory breath, and the congregation, spellbound, leant in, the better to hear. “THE LORD HAS DECREED THAT BECAUSE OF MY STEADFASTNESS, MY RELENTLESSNESS IN EXPOSING THE DEMLIB CONSPIRACY THAT THREATENS ALL THAT WE HOLD DEAR, HE IS RENAMING THE RAPTURE TO THE ‘RALPHTURE,’ IN MY HONOR!!!!”
RALPH dashed an uncharacteristic tear from his eye before continuing. “OF COURSE, I AVERTED MY GAZE AND SAID “LORD, I AM NOT WORTHY TO LEAD YOUR FAITHFUL AGAINST THE FORCES OF THE TERRORIST-CODDLING, AMERICA-HATING, PIAPS-LOVING DEFEATOCRATS!”
He actually choked back a sob before concluding, “YET THE LORD REASSURED ME THAT WITH THE HELP OF FAITHFUL LIKE YOURSELVES, THE MEGAPHONE OF THE INTERNETS AND THE CAPS-LOCK STRENGTH AND IGNORANT RESOLVE I HAVE LONG CULTIVATED, WE CANNOT FAIL! BROTHERS AND SISTERS, PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING – THE RALPHTURE IS SOON AT HAND!!!!!!!!!!”
RALPH was then caught up in the Spirit and began quivering and shaking in movements alarmingly akin to John Travolta’s choreography in Saturday Night Fever. When he finally shed this persona in a cold sweat, he gripped the podium like a lifeline and told the assembly, “GO FORTH AND AWAIT MY SIGN, FAITHFUL FRIENDS! IN THE MEANTIME, THE LORD HAS COMMANDED THAT YOU SHARE THIS FALAFEL – SAYING THESE WORDS, ‘EAT, FOR THESE ARE MY SACRED CHICKPEAS, WHICH I SHOWER UPON THEE’ – AND THEN YOU ARE TO STONE THIS PINATA AND DISTRIBUTE THE HOLY PEZ WITHIN TO THE MASSES. FOR INASMUCH AS YOU DELIVER TO THEM CHEAP CANDY IN PLASTIC DISPENSERS WITH HEADS, YOU HAVE DONE SO UNTO ME.”
RALPH then departed as he came – at top speed, and to the alarm of the congregation – leaving no sign of his future intentions or his planned whereabouts.
Rev. Shinnybottom, suspicious that RALPH was in fact a dangerous lunatic and not a true man of God, has turned over both the falafel and the piñata to authorities, along with a description and a current photo taken by an alert member of the congregation.
Not all of his flock were in agreement, however. “Everything he said resonated with my most deeply-held beliefs,” commented dismayed longtime church member Sonny Red, and his brothers Sonny White and Sonny Black. “I’m disappointed in Reverend Shinnybottom, to be honest. We should have been prepared to follow RALPH through hellfire itself…or at the very least, to the advanced levels of the ‘Left Behind’ video game.”
The Ralph/Blat 2008 Campaign could not be reached for comment, given their “official” current presence in Canada and the strong likelihood of their campaign phones abroad being subject to warrantless wiretapping.