ONE SCIENTIST SAYS “YES!”
Most professors of Art History and a hefty amount of podiatrists conclude that there are three images of art, recognized all over the world: The Crucifixion, da Vinci’s The Last Supper, and SpongeBob SquarePants.
When this reporter heard that there were secrets of da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” that have been kept under wraps since the late 1490s, his nostrils flared. Then, again, this is hay fever season. Your scribe contacted the author of that rumor and, within moments, was whisked away to the smoking-room of “The I See That! Brotherhood.” (Actually, it was a half-block down the street over the dry-cleaners.)
In a room with low lighting, and high ceilings, and filled with ancient bulbous people, it was easy to spot Professor Antoine Spanke. As if he’d just stepped out of the jungle, the tanned man wore brown khaki shorts and shirt topped off by a pith helmet. Yes, he looked like a UPS guy wearing a pith helmet but he was the only one in the room not murmuring or drooling in his sleep. He was in his sprightly sixties.
He got down to business. “What do you know about da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper?’”
This reporter carefully considered his answer: “It’s nice?”
“That would have been my next guess.”
He explained that da Vinci, in creating this masterpiece, both chose to and was forced to use different mediums than his usual and that his “boss” considered this “work,” not “art.” For whatever reason, once it was finished, the painting started falling apart. It was in a constant state of disrepair and people started to copy it like mad, just in case the original collapsed. One perfect copy, done in 1520, was used to finally restore the colors of the original in fifty-odd years ago.
THE SECRET DISAPPEARS!
He pulled out a file and slapped it down onto the tabletop, upturning his drink and giving him the look of a UPS man with limited bladder control. “When the repair work commenced, various x-ray and scans were done to see what changes were done to the painting over time. They were lost. Years later, they were recovered, and using that information plus newer scannings, my team of researchers got to a point where we couldn’t ignore what was right before our eyes! The Last Supper was a celebrity roast!”
It was at that point that this scribe’s eyeballs collided. “What? How? Who?”
Spanke pointed to a series of photos, starting with the original painting. “Now, watch what happens as we head back to see all these elements take shape. You notice how detailed the finished painting is. Judas is carrying a small bag, perhaps filled with silver. Peter seems none-too-happy and has a hand on the knife handle. See? Pretty normal. Now, watch as an extra figure slowly appears as we go back and, then, disappears in front of the table. He’s addressing the group!”
Sure enough, a figure did appear and disappear. “But how do you know he was a roastmaster?”
“The way he smirked. Plus, for a little while, Jesus had a rubber chicken on his plate. At the very least, it shows Jesus was in on the gag.”
This ink slinger frowned. “There are, uh, some gaps in the logic there; tractor-trailer sized.”
COUGHED-UP HERRINGS AND STAND-UP COMEDY
“I would’ve said that myself had I not received this in the mail a year ago!” He slapped down a laminated sheet of plastic containing fragments of papyrus onto the table with enough force to waken a nearby club member who resembled a walrus. The club member coughed up a herring and fell onto the floor before going into a deep sleep.
“This,” Spanke stated. “Are the remnants of notes from one Jerusalem Jeff. He played weddings, bar mitzvahs and funerals. He must have been courageous because humor in Israel during the Roman occupation was pretty risky.”
“I can’t read any of this.”
“It’s in Hebrew.”
“I knew that.”
“Jeff’s the one who played the Last Supper, and this is what is left of his script!”
“Well, slap me hazy and call me Maisey,” this newshound theorized.
Spanke began to read the excerpts of The Last Supper Roast.
“Whoah, look at this crowd. I’ve seen more enthusiastic rocks. Seriously. What did you guys order, the UNhappy meal? Or are you just here for the foot wash?
“Now, some of you don’t know me, but I’ve known Jesus since we were kids. I used to have lunch at his house, ya know, just plain folks: the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, the other father, the mother and assorted barnyard animals. I always thought the Holy Ghost, the dove, was a pet or, possibly, a dinner.
“Our parents were friends. Then, we had to move. My father became a moneychanger at the temple. I know, right? A couple of years later, Jesus shows up with a whip and just flogs the holy heck out of the moneychangers, including my father. Jesus and I went out for crab cakes, afterward. It was good to catch up.”
“JUDAS. WHAT’S WITH THE LIP BALM?”
“We’ve always been connected. I ran into him at the Wedding of Canaan; where he turned jugs of water into wine. I was standing too close to a jug. I was pissing Cabernet Sauvignon for a week.
“And when he’s on the road? Don’t let him crash at your pad. His idea of take-out? A loaf and a fish and a jug of water. And, again, stay clear of the jug. It will save on doctor bills later.”
“I love, you Jesus, but you’re full of yourself. When you rode into Jerusalem this week and everybody was saying “What a great ass,” you puffed yourself up. They were talking about your donkey!
“Ah, but I kid. Yo! Judas. What’s with the lip balm? You’ve been layering it on for the past hour. Your lips look like a candle. You going to play the kissing bandit tonight? Smoochie. Yeah, Judas, just call yourself Smoochie.
“And…you might want to hide the silver coins there, Smoochie. Peter’s pulling a shiv.”
Spanke lowered the plastic sheet. “Just one more fragment, here. ‘Watch your back, my brother.’”
Spanke and this reporter sat in silence. Finally, he said, “I don’t think I should release this right now.”
“If people today don’t believe in scientific fact, how will they react to scientific conjecture? They’ll be gnawing each other’s ankles off, thinking about Jesus and a rubber chicken. We no longer are interested in curiosity.”
He rose to his feet and extended a hand, which this journalist shook. “I guess I just needed to share this before I buried it, again,” he said. “You have a good reputation. Take care.”
THE PLATTER SECRET
As this correspondent brooded over Spanke’s assessment of people, six members of the Surf Patrol ran in with a stretcher, then bent over the club member on the floor who resembled a walrus, covered him with pitchers of water, hoisted him up and out of the room. He’d actually been a walrus all along.
By the time this correspondent returned his gaze to his table, he noted that a special dish had been delivered under a dome. He lifted the dome.
There was a rubber chicken sprawled on a platter.
My lips are sealed.