Ever since I was a little boy I dreamed of being a famous Catholic martyr. But who didn’t? England was Protestant and if you wanted the Holy Father to notice you then this was the place to be.
But I was nothing special. At that time there were more Catholic plots than Catholics, and sure people died for God, but who cared? A mass here, a relic there: it wasn’t enough.
I wanted my name in psalms, for the people to chant my name: ‘Praise be to the Great Guy.’ I wanted to be a saint.
The word was out that I was going to put on the biggest plot in town. I hung out the sign ‘Co-conspirators apply within, CVs necessary.’ My room was quickly swamped by grubby, dirty fellas whose brains had been amputated years ago and, frankly, I was delighted. But then in walked Maximilian.
“You’ve never done this before have you, kid?”
“Done what exactly, sir?” Remember, I had to keep everything real secret.
“Plotted, schemed. Don’t play dumber than you are.”
“You want to help me kill the king?”
“You won’t kill the king-no chance. But I wanna help you. I could make you a star, kid.”
“But, mister, I wanna be a saint.”
“Whatever, I’ll make you a sandwich if that’s what you want.”
“But how are we gonna do it?”
“Did you ever think that you could get more famous with a flop than with a hit?”
“But everything flops, no plot actually works.”
“That’s why it has to be the biggest flop in the world. To fail bigger than anything ever done before. And you’re so stupid it might actually work.”
“Are you Catholic?”
“Yeah sure kid, whatever, pass me some rosemary beads. Mary baby, I believe ya:’
Maximilian came up with the grand, foolporous scheme. We’d rent out the premises beneath the House of Lords, we’d stuff it with more explosives than the Apricots whorehouse on the Thames and then we’d let some ‘imbecile’ get caught guarding the stash. Having escaped to Continental Europe, Max and I would claim the credit of having gotten so close to killing the King, stopped only by that snivelling idiot. We’d spend the rest of our days living like princes, partying with the Pope.
“But what about my sainthood, Max? If I don’t get caught and executed how can I be a martyr?”
“God loves a trier, you’ll be a nearly martyr“
“A nearly martyr?”
“Sure. Just like what’s his name-Gee
“That’s the one, Fawkes.”
Max got the gunpowder while I sorted out the premises. My inability to remember a fake name really annoyed Max. It didn’t help that he kept saying ‘Fawke, you” because it was pretty convoluted grammar and just reminded me of my real name. In the end we went with John “Johnny” Johnson. I signed the lease for the rooms under the House of Lords with that very name. Sometimes people just deserve to be blown to smithereens if you ask me.
But here’s the twist of the whole story: Max betrayed me. Turns out he never did hire any ‘imbecile’ and while I was waiting for the ‘imbecile’ to arrive and take over watching the gunpowder all or some of the king’s men came and took me away. They’d been informed I’d be there too.
I don’t hold it against Max. I mean being tortured for days on end weren’t too nice but I never said Max’s name. I even threw myself off the scaffolding and broke my neck. In addition, I was hung, drawn and chopped into four. Also they put my head on a spike. I’m sure Max had his reasons for doing what he did. Apparently he’s now opened his own chain of store that sell decorative Chinese explosives, small bits of timbre and flammable mannequins. Good luck to him I say.
I hope I set a few things straight there. Let it be known that I was not the last man to enter the house of Parliaments with honourable intentions. I never wanted to kill the king. I just wanted to be a nearly martyr saint and hang out with his Holiness.