do not believe in Belief.

 E.M. FORSTER, What I Believe


       The retired Reverend Saul Serval had fire in his eyes when it was reported to him that President Shane Simba had requested that the lion, Aslan, be made the First Church of the Ascending Predator’s deity. 


“Indeed not,” he hissed to the Reverend Calvin Cheetah who had replaced him upon his retirement.  However, Saul Serval was still influential in the church, presiding most Sundays as the associate rector. 


“Well, pardon me for asking, Reverend Serval, but exactly what and who is the god associated with this church?” asked Calvin, who was truly perplexed at the nebulous aspects of just what they were worshipping when they gathered so ornately each Sunday in the sanctuary replete with flowers and choral song.    


“We were allowed to be a part of the Episcopalian church diocese of Kenya until former President Ralph Lyon insulted the Bishop and well, that was that.  We were kicked out most unceremoniously,” groaned Saul. 


“And so what is the current situation?”


“A predator in the sky,” announced Saul Serval, pointing a paw toward the heavens. 


“Which species?” dogged Calvin. 


“Not a lion, Calvin,” snapped Saul Serval.  “This church exists due to the generosity of Sylvia Cougar and she is a leopard.”


“Shall I call a committee meeting?” inquired Calvin.


“Yes, I suppose we have to do this.  After all Shane Simba is our president,” agreed Saul Serval.


“And not an animal to be dallied with,” reminded Calvin.


“Indeed not.”


the semi-retired Reverend Saul Serval.......


            The presidential limousine pulled into the Lyon Pride Compound and disgorged Shane Simba at the door of Mildred and Ralph Lyon’s retirement home.  Mildred greeted him and called Ralph, who was at his computer enjoying a bit of porn.  He quickly turned off the computer.  Ralph greeted him with a hug


“Would you like to have a cup of jasmine tea, Shane?” offered Mildred. 


“Hell no, Millie, Shane wants Scotch.  We’ll make that two,” said Ralph. 


The two sat on the comfortable couch – older lion and his younger protégé.  A young lioness brought a tray with Scotch and two glasses. 


“Ralph, you go every Sunday to the Church of the Ascending Predator.  I was wondering what your beliefs are, if I may be a personal,” asked Shane, lighting his cigarette as Ralph packed his pipe with fragrant tobacco. 


“I just go to church to satisfy Millie,” said Ralph, accepting Shane’s lighter. “I usually fall asleep and Mildred pokes me in the side.”


“What are your religious beliefs, sir?”


“Booze, barbecue, sex, my heating pad, green grass and trees…not necessarily in that order,” chuffed Ralph.  “My arthritis has begun to kick in.”


“But, sir, you don’t believe in a god?” pressed Shane.


“Lions don’t believe in god, my boy.  That’s human bits and pieces.”


“Do you ever think about Aslan?”




“Yes, sir, he is the lion god in the Chronicles of Narnia,” explained Shane.  “Did you see that film?”


Ralph furrowed his brow.  Mildred, going about the room chimed in.


“Dear, he is the lion in the film we watched with the grandcubs one night.  We rented it, remember?” she prodded. 


“Oh, yes.  That computer generated chap.  His voice was entirely too soft for a lion, I thought,” remembered Ralph. 


former President, Ralph Lyon expresses his views on religion with Shane Simba...



            Solly Simba met Evangeline Cougar for a second time at the Watering Hole Pub.  This time he hit pay dirt. 


“Wanna have a drink at my place?” she purred.


“Your ‘place’ would be where?”


“Next door at the condos.”


“Let’s go.”


            After her invitation to "just call me Ang", the couple got down to the business of glorious sex.  Her room was cozy with a king size bed.  They made good use of it. 


Ang and Solly get together at her condo...



            My house on Leoparde Drive had the front porch light on for I was expecting a guest.  Between preparing a few simple snacks and a drink tray, I muttered incantations to those above in the wish that Bertram Baboon not pop in this evening.  He had an annoying habit of doing just that.  I pranced to my door at the first ring, opened it to find Gabriel Chui standing there.  He was expected.  He removed his jacket and took a seat on my sofa while I fussed about making drinks and presenting the finger food.  I was rather nervous.  I am getting too old for romance, I told myself.  The chat went smoothly in spite of my initial anxiety. 


At one point, Gabriel asked of my former lover, “You broke up with him?”


“Yes, he was a bi-sexual and had an affair with a lioness,” I sadly admitted.


“Bisexuals, in my opinion are confused.  I know exactly what I am,” he declared, green leopard eyes afire”Gay to the bone.”


We laughed together, further warming the evening.


            Betty Chimpo Simba got an indication of her husband’s growing religious fervor when they awoke on a bright Sunday morning.  She put a hand out and stoked his thigh.  He swung his feet off the bed and sat up.  She tickled his back. 


“Shall we make love, darling?” she asked.


“It’s Sunday, Betty.”




“It’s a holy day, Fifi.  I need to abstain.”


He padded to the bathroom and closed the door.  She heard the shower come on.


“What the pluperfect hell is this about?” mumbled the puzzled Betty.


a perplexed Betty watches Shane leave the bed....


She made her way to the breakfast room where their son Solly sat with a cup of coffee.


“Want some coffee, Mom?”


“Yes, pour me some,” she said, holding out a porcelain cup.  “You look happy this morning, Solly.”

“I had a great time last night.  Managed to score with a very nice female.”


“That must have been nice.  I failed to ‘score’ with your father this morning for religious reasons – at least that was his explanation,” carped Betty. 


Solly held his maned head back and laughed with gusto. 


“Don’t take it personally, Mom.  Haven’t you noticed Dad getting all weird lately about religion and this lion dude in Narnia?”


“I have noticed that book around…even on the bedside table.  What is this about, Solly?”

“Dad is going to try and bring a new god to Kenya whether they like it or not,” giggled Solly.


“Oh, shit,” moaned Betty, lighting her first Kool of the morning and enjoying the buzz.


            They were joined by Shane, who looked elegant in his custom made suit, shirt and tie. 


“Get ready.  We are off to Sunday school and church.  Haven’t got that much time,” he announced in jolly fashion, lighting a cigarette. 


The first couple breakfast before a full Sunday of church activities.... 



            The main committee of the First Church of the Ascending Predator met for coffee, donuts and some heavy discussion.  On the committee were, among others, Masai Mara Mayor Maude Hyena and Sylvia Leoparde Cougar.  The topic, presented by the Reverend Calvin Cougar, was President Shane Simba’s desire to see Aslan the lion, made the official deity of the church.  Mutters were heard around the table broken only by the strident statement made my Maude Hyena.


“Why doesn’t Shane Simba just declare himself the deity?  He has the balls and ego for it?” she declared.  “What crap!”


Titters were heard until the voice of the Reverend Saul Serval announced that it was time for the group to get down to business on the matter.


            I could see that Bertram Baboon’s arse was planted firmly on his shoulders as we sat down to lunch in OKAPIS. 


“Your front porch lamp was on last night, Maurice,” he exclaimed.


“Yes, Bertram, it’s my right to burn one.”


“I saw a cat enter your home,” he grumbled.


“And your problem with that would be?” I asked, in what I hoped was the proper amount of hauteur. 

We were interrupted by the waiter taking our drink orders.  We both requested double martinis.  We were set for verbal action. 




"The story continues..."