Thursday, June 01, 2006

"Loot the Church" Fundraiser!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Brothers and Sisters — where you see a far-reaching clergy sex abuse scandal, I see opportunity. It just takes a brilliant, World Domination-worthy mind to tap into it.

So here's what I'm up to, Bees 'n' Esses:

As you may know, the Boston Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church is — how to put it? — hard up for money these days, what with the dozens of million-dollar lawsuits naming the Church as a defendant to sex abuse claims, and the offertory plates around town filling up with indignant congregationers' pocket fluff. Cardinal O'Malley, himself a vow-of-poverty kind of guy, needs to gin up some money straightaway, or a number of his Indoctrination Centers (my umbrella term for churches and schools) will be turning into Jiffy Lubes.

Enter the Catholic Church's latest Savior, Francis X. Phutatorius. All right, all right — maybe "Savior" isn't quite the word to use here — but you have to admit, the "Francis X." I just appended to my legal name is a nice touch. It really helped build trust with Father Sean during the negotiations process —

Cut the self-celebratory crap, Phutatorius, and tell us what you're up to.

Fair enough.

Just this morning I wrote the Archdiocese a check for $20,000 — in exchange for a single day's rental of one of its bigger and cathedral-y churches in Boston. This figure bargained down from Father Sean's initial quotation of a full $40K — it's really a testament to my dealmaking acumen, I tell you, B/S —

But for what, Phutatorius? You rented out the church for what?

I'm kind of digging this Socratic Method we're falling into, B/S. Question, then Answer. It's kind of catchy. And rhythmic.

Well, I'll tell you. I've rented out the church for a fundraiser — a fundraiser like you've never before experienced. No fancy-pants $500-a-plate dinner-and-speech planner am I. I've crafted a fundraiser that will appeal to the Everyday Joe.

Here's the concept: you hide big bags of cash all over the building, and you challenge the public to come in and find them. You sell tickets (say, forty, fifty bucks a pop), you admit 200, 300 people at a time, and you give each group of looters ten minutes to turn the place upside-down and find the money. It's an anything-goes, rules-are-there-are-no-rules kind of environment inside the church — there will, of course, be waivers to sign, and I'll hire a security detail to keep people somewhat in line — you're basically buying yourself a chance to loot a sacred place for good-sized chunks of money. And who hasn't always wanted to do that?

This will be the can't-miss event of the season, B/S. Date TBD, as we have certain details to hammer out in the coming days.

Right now I've got PePe working the numbers: i.e., how much to charge, how much money to make available at any given time, that sort of thing. You want to maximize your returns, which means calibrating your ticket-price-to-prize-money ratio just right. And of course you have to factor in incidentals, like the outlays for security and the ads I'm gonna run in the Herald and Globe. But PePe's a whiz with the adding machine — he's already spit out fifty yards' worth of paper tape running his calculations.

For my part, I'm setting myself to the task of mapping all the fun little nooks and crannies in the church where I'll be hiding the money. I'm also getting in touch with some local institutions — Dunkin' Donuts, Gillette, D'Angelos — about sponsorships. I'll scatter voucher and coupons around the joint, too. Every paid entrant will take home at least something with him.

I'm so excited about this project, I can't even think straight. There's no way I don't at least double the money in the World Domination Fund by the time this thing is over. But first, organization and planning. More to come, Bruthas & Sistas, as I deem necessary and appropriate to divulge. Watch for it!

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