The assassins stood silently, waiting in the grass under a cool, dark April sky. There were five of them this time. The Devil Rays. Their previous attempts with three and then four trained killers had failed to stop the menacing beast whose weapon of choice was a 34 ounce barrel of wood. They crouched as they saw “DiPapi de Ortiz” slowly emerge from the underground bunker in which he had been waiting. Waiting to kill. Would he prevail or would this be their time?

The five arranged themselves strategically, using “the shift,” an ancient positioning ritual designed to overwhelm an opponent with such psychological uncertainty that they would collapse in a morass of self-doubt. Its ancient origins date back to 1918, but at the time was dismissed as just a myth. Circumstantial evidence of its existence was documented in 1978, 1986 and 2003, but then some believe it was vanquished completely in 2004 after the infamous and bloody “DiPapi uprising” in New York City in October of that year. It was in that year many claim the brute had been seen just to the right hand of the “Johnny Christ,” but that is now dismissed as heresy since “JC” was exposed as a fraud and his real identity revealed: Johnny Demon.

DiPapi strode ominously toward the oddly shaped pictogram some believe to be satanic in origin. Just before battle, the beast would strike the symbol with his weapon, then instantly fix his glare on his opponent, always positioned 60’ 6” away. A mystery beyond the comprehension of men, the monster did not initially appear threatening. He wore white with subtle red trim, and thick gold chains around his even thicker neck. What really shrouded the peril was his smile. It lit the night sky like the arc of a welder’s torch. It was the veil over the heart of a killer.

It happened in a flash of white ash. A small white killer orb, at once speeding threateningly toward de Ortiz was suddenly and violently soaring through the black night toward its preordained grave: the Green Monster. The impact sounded like an explosion, but that was impossible: “DiPapi” held nothing but the wooden shaft high above his head as he stepped from the mark in the dirt and began to run, albeit slowly, toward the five impotent Devil Rays now racing in vain toward the Green Monster.

Their effort failed, the five assassins retreated into hiding in the “fifth level’ of the hierarchy. There, they would conspire for their next attempt to silence the “DiPapi de Ortiz.”