Talking of Faith

1 Oct


bishop photo: Fantasy Chess Bishop FCBishop.jpgJodish Pariah was at the end of his tether. Nothing was going right for him, and now the Bishop was calling.
He hated the Bishop – or the Great Critic on Legs, as he called him privately when nobody was around to hear what amounted to blasphemy.
There had been rumours about the Bishop, The Very Reverend Cedric Goldfish. His eminence had been reported to be In Doubt.
“I’m not at all sure that anything’s been proved,” he had said to a Sun reported, and being a Sun reporter that worthy journalist had elaborated the quote to “I just don’t believe a word of the claptrap”
And that potential disbeliever was due to call on Jodish at any moment.
“I can take one of several roads,” Pariah told himself. “I can clap his Eminence on the back and tell him I’ve been thinking along those lines for as long as I can remember and it’s only the parishioners that keep my shoulder to the grindstone and my sermons straight.”
He struggled with a weasel in his cardiovascular system. “But that wouldn’t do,” he muttered, shaking his head, “I’ve been taught all my life that the good book is, indeed, good, and I’ve mentally ignored the bits that are of dubious merit, like the verses advocating the beating of slaves and wives and the stoning of sons to death. I know bits and pieces of horrifically cruel advice are in there, but I look upon them as normal for the age in which they were composed. It was necessary to stone disobedient sons, once upon a time. And wives who failed to please their husbands were beaten quite severely back then, I believe. But times have changed and it’s no longer acceptable, so I ignore those bits.”
“Or I can suggest that His Eminence takes a break. A break would do him good. Why, I could quite fancy a break myself but my church is well nigh empty these days and the offertory plate almost always provides lean pickings. Not enough for a holiday, I fear. But the Bishop – he could take himself off to a tropical island where there are grass-skirted wenches ever-ready to suck him dry (metaphorically, of course) and barmen inventing ever more intoxicating cocktails… he could go there, all right. His stipend is probably enormous, and I’ve heard he’s got quite an interesting sideline in smuggled tobacco products. But me: I’m stuck here, and if were to take a break it would have to be no more than a weekend in a grotty caravan near the beach at Skeggy… not the sort of place his Eminence would think of going to and certainly nowhere near grass skirts.”
He looked up at the clock on the wall and almost wept. The Bishop would be here any moment and he was far from prepared for the visit. His old friend Gringol Barnacle had stayed over-night and there were things that needed clearing away. Gringol was a great companion, a good chap, but he couldn’t half bleed if you stabbed him, and he, Jodish, had been forced into stabbing him around midnight when the dratted man just wanted to talk and talk and talk. That would have been all right, but his conversation tended to run along a single one-way track, blaming the established church for the many restrictions he felt society placed on his numerous amorous relationships. So he had stabbed the man. It wasn’t the first time and it certainly wouldn’t be the last, but it did shut him up for a while whilst he bled.
There was a chiming from the doorbell, and he groaned.
This would be the Bishop, all doubts and tears and frustration.
He opened the door.
The first thing he saw was the mitre. It was one mighty great headpiece and for a moment Jodish fancied he saw, in the colourful get-up, the shadow of long ago and far away, of witch-doctory and sorcery and all manner of magical things.
“I fancy a cup of Earl Grey boomed the Bishop, forcing his way through the door, pushing Jodish to one side.
“Your Highness,” burbled the Reverend Jodish Pariah, “do come in, I’ll have the kettle on in a trice.”
The Bishop settled in the best chair in the front room, the only one without annoying springs almost poking through thinning fabric. Jodish made him a cup of tea and as he had no Earl Grey he sprinkled a few herbs in the tea-pot hoping the Bishop wouldn’t notice.
“Is there a great something in the air, your Eminence?” he asked, meaninglessly.
The Bishop grinned at him. He had a gold-toothed grin, one that in many another man would have looked lascivious.
“I want you to be the first to know,” he boomed, “that I’m off to a south-seas island where native girls dance their lives away and alcohol bubbles in every stream! And I’m not coming back! I need to spend the remainder of my days teaching the natives all about our Lord and all that nonsense! The native girls, of course. The native lads are too busy creating fascinating new cocktails, I’m afraid.”
Jodish looked at him, eyes open wide, unable to think of anything to say.
A drop of crimson blood dripped through the light fitting in the middle of the room, and landed on his thinning carpet.
© Peter Rogerson 01.10.14


4 Responses to “Talking of Faith”

  1. pambrittain October 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    Good grief, Peter. This is really good and quite visual.

    • Peter Rogerson October 4, 2014 at 8:06 am #

      As ever, Pam, you are too kind… but thanks anyway.


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