Vatican City:- The solemn and onerous task for Cardinals gathered today in The Sistine Chapel to elect a new Pontiff following the recent shock demise of Pope John Paul II and defrocking of his replacement Michael Jackson, took a dramatic, some would say, comic, turn earlier today.
As the dispirited band of red garbed Papal hopefuls took their seats and doors were locked behind them, a giant cake was spotted in the centre of the hallowed place. Quizzical glances were exchanged as the assembled company feared that their orders for man strength vindaloo curries, 400 poppadoms and ten crates of Carslberg lager to the local carry out restaurant had got muddled up.
A faint tingling of Christmastide bells could be heard from inside the cake and alarm spread round the room. Perhaps the big day had come, the Messiah, true to his word about to reappear and rule Earth with a spiritual hand most likely to deprive them of their chauffeur driven Mercedes Benz cars and pied a terre flats for entertaining backpacking nuns.
As the bell ringing increased in excited agitation, the top of the cake flew off showering those close by with hand crafted marzipan petit fours tableaux of Our Saviours' life and death and out popped a colourfully garbed Pope John Paul II exclaiming "April Fool".
The room reverberated with the sound of eyes raising to the roof, the very forms created all those years back by Michelangelo trembling at the somewhat pathetic attempts of the previously believed, deceased Pope, dancing round the room waving his jiggling stick and relating jokes which would shame the worst of those found in Christmas Crackers.
Tolerant smiles crept over those Cardinals whose odds on for elevation had enabled them to accept that kissing airport runways was to be a pleasure denied them but an air of tension could be felt building as 3-5 favourite, Cardinal Shakin' Stevens eased himself out from sitting by his piano out by the green door.
An air of a nasty scene developing could be felt as Shakey announced that April Fool jokes only count if completed by noon on 1st inst . Shakey went on to state, in no uncertain terms, that those gathered were now well and truly into the season of showers and perhaps John Pauls' somewhat cruel trick perpetrated on media organisations who had pulled out all the stops just to report on his last breath and broadcast tasteful images of the soles of his red slippers, well, perhaps it was time for PJP II to off himself up The Yellow Brick Road and have a look for Kansas.
In the true spirit of the passing of Variety Theatre, his act having died a death and realising he was no longer to be top of the bill, a disconsolate John Paul took a sweeping bow, the pom poms on his elaborate headgear sweeping the floor and he exited stage left.
Bellicose laughter could be heard from behind the Conclaves' closed doors and as a piano tinkled into life, a chorus of voices could be heard bursting into a vibrant rendition of "This Ole' house".
Pope John Paul II is believed to have left Rome to find work in a chip shop where he will assert the veracity of his claim to be Elvis.