21 Jan


water bottle photo: WATER BOTTLE GIVEN TO ME BY GLENN DANZIG IMG_0037.jpgThe morning after he died Mervyn Muckle wet his pants.

Mervyn had known he was dying and he’d done quite a lot about it, starting when his surgeon had shaken his head with that ‘sorry about this but I’d best tell you anyway’ look on his face and mentioned ‘no more than six months, so I’d put my affairs in order if I were you.’ in sombre tones.

The first thing he did was ask the inevitable question “Are you sure, doctor?”

The surgeon, being used to questions like that, clicked his teeth and told Mervyn that yes, he was sure, he was always right over such matters, it would take a fool to be wrong when faced with a heart as wayward as Mervyn’s.

So Mervyn had taken himself away and done the only thing that made any sense to him, and gone to visit the Priest.

He’d never been what you’d actually call a believer, but some things about religious affairs had him in thrall. For instance, he rationalised, if there was nothing to the God stuff, how come all the good old religious buildings had been the biggest and tallest for miles around when they’d been built, and in quite a lot of cases still were? Surely honest and intelligent men and women wouldn’t go to all that trouble if it was only a set of fairy stories that they believed in? So there most probably was something in it – and that was the depth of his contemplation on the matter.

Anyway, he went to see the Priest.

“I’ve been told I’m dying, and I don’t want to,” he said, blunt and to the point right from the start.

“Who told you that?” asked the Priest, who had guessed the answer but needed a few moments to work out what he was going to say in response.

“The doctors,” replied Mervyn. “I’ve been told I’ve got six months, not a day longer, and it scares me.”

“Doctors, eh?” sneered the Priest. “Let me tell you this, my son, that only the Lord knows the hour and moment of your death. No surgeon does, no doctor, no man of medicine or science … though they’re often quite good with their guessing! But I’ve known people given just months by doctors who’ve lasted years … decades, even. It happens. The Lord knows.”

“Is there anything I can do, Father, to help myself? You see, I don’t want to die. There’s a lot of stuff I’ve wanted to do that I haven’t done yet. Mary Splinter, being one! I’ve been wanting to do her for more years than I care to think of. And Amy Porter. Do you happen to know Amy Porter?”

“You’re being unholy!” snapped the Priest. “Here we are, discussing your last rites and all you can talk about if having … intercourse … with women – and no, I’ve never heard of the ladies you so roundly condemn to hell-fire with your irreverence!”

“I’m not discussing my last rites,” moaned Mervyn. “I’m here to earn myself more time! I want your God, who I’ve always revered in a better than half-hearted sort of way, to give me time to achieve my dreams, and Mary Splinter is one of them. Have you seen her, Father? A body to die for, that’s what she’s got, and she knows it!”

“An unfortunate sentence,” grinned the Priest. “I will include you in my prayers, my Son, but a great deal’s up to you, beseeching the Lord to spare you for the benefit of the ladies you mentioned! You must sink to your knees, my son, and pray but not let one wicked thought enter your prayers. Not one, hear me?”

Mervyn Muckle nodded, his face white and strained. “Do you think it’ll help, Father? Do you think he’ll listen?” he asked.

The Priest nodded sagely. “He hears everything,” he murmured, “but he can’t be coerced or bullied. No he cannot! If he thinks you deserve more time he’ll surely give it to you, but if he believes you to be a wastrel then he won’t. That’s what the Lord’s like: judgemental, but his judgements are always just and correct. You can’t fool him, not for a moment.”

“I will pray like nobody’s prayed before!” declared Mervyn. “And I will accost Mary Splinter and Amy Porter in the street, and beg them to pray for me also! I will promise them an eternity in Paradise if they help me live beyond six months!”

“You seem devout,” mused the Priest, who was fed up with the man and wanted to get rid of him, “so I will give you this bottle of holy water…” He reached under his desk for a shelf and picked up a small plastic bottle of spring water that he used to dilute his whisky with when nobody was looking.

“What do I do with it, father?” asked Mervyn, astonished.

“You carry it with you, and if you ever feel weak or like dying, just take a sip of it and you will be fortified,” smiled the Priest. “The water has been blessed! I did it myself! I prayed and chanted mighty oaths and powerful verses over it, and the Lord’s spirit entered into it. Now off you go, that’s a good chap! Carry this tiny bottle with you everywhere you go, and you will have your supplications answered.”

“This is wonderful,” sighed Mervyn, and he thrust the tiny bottle of spring water into his trouser pocket, and, bowing, left the presence of the Priest.

His heart sang as he made his way home, to his lonely flat and monochrome television set. The diseased muscle sang mighty songs as he settled in a chair in front of a flickering gas fire and felt its warmth suffuse his body.

And, in a state of joy, his heart, that feeble organ condemned by his surgeon, stopped working and neither Mary nor Amy were any the wiser.

It took a little less than a day, though, for his not inconsiderable weight resting on a small plastic bottle in his pocket to cause it to split like plastic can, and its blessed water to leak out.

Which is why the morning after he died Mervyn Muckle wet his pants.

© Peter Rogerson 21.01.14


2 Responses to “MERVYN’S WATER”

  1. georgiakevin April 7, 2015 at 1:55 am #

    I was in awe of your work as I read your post and your surprise ending caused me to bust out laughing! You are a master of your craft my friend a true master! Wow!

    • Peter Rogerson April 7, 2015 at 8:30 am #

      This kind of story is fun to write and, I hope, amusing to read.

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