BINGO’S OLD TESTAMENT

28 Jun

BINGO’S OLD TESTAMENT

 old man photo: OLD MAN ATT00115.jpg“Bingo” Boycott lost his faith when he was ninety-one.

All his life he had sort of believed in what he’d been taught when he’d been knee-high to the proverbial grasshopper without particularly thinking about it. But he’d been guided by the wisdom of those early lessons and had lived, in his own mind, a fairly good life.

As a boy he’d been given a copy of the Old Testament and had read it through and through, not understanding a great deal of it but it had, in truth, done him one fine service – it had been instrumental in teaching him to read. And it had guided him as he had ploughed his way to living that fairy good life.

Everyone he knew agreed with that assessment. “Bingo” was an all-round good egg. “Bingo” was the sort of guy you could depend on, a useful friend to have when the skies were black. “Bingo” was trustworthy.

As a young man he’d courted Mary-Jane and wooed her and made love to her in woodlands and by the stream down the Vale and married her when she fumblingly told him she was “expecting”.

Their son was an oddity. He seemed to be without the power to distinguish between good and bad, between kindness and cruelty, between what was acceptable and what wasn’t. When he was adult they threw him out, he with the reluctant acquiescence of Mary-Jane.

“It’s no good. We can’t take any more. We’ve done all we possibly could to give you a good home and a moral upbringing but you’ve gone too far this time. The drugs we could manage, and the drinking, but not this …”

It turned out that the son was gay and that was one fault too many, or so “Bingo” thought. You see, “Bingo” was a very moral man and that morality included adherence to what he saw as the rules for life that he found in his treasured Old Testament which he still consulted from time to time when the mood took him.

When he was still quite young Mary-Jane had died. It had been cancer that took her and it had been that cancer that, in his eyes, totally ruined his life.

“I’m dying, Bingo,” she had said, her breath coming in short painful bursts. “I’m dying and there’s something I’ve just got to get off my chest…”

“There’s no need to exert yourself, Mary-Jane…” he had murmured.

“But I must, I just must … I’ve lived most of my life with you, Bingo, and for most of my life you’ve been a bastard!”

He was shocked by those words, and when he asked her what she meant because he’d always done his best to be good and righteous he found she couldn’t answer because she was dead.

With her last breath she had called him a bastard! And he didn’t know why! How could it be … and in the end he decided it must have been the delirium caused by his Lord taking her soul by its hand and slowly guiding her to Heaven that had given her words she didn’t actually mean.

As I said, Mary-Jane had been quite young (in her late fifties) when she had died and that left a yawning space in Bingo’s life. He had to learn to do things that he’d never done before. He had to learn to cook and clean and change the sheets on his bed every so often and wash his clothes.

He had to learn so much that it confused him, and he never quite mastered the washing machine. It had complex controls which led to him boiling his woollens and shrinking them and failing to make any inroads on the garden stains that persisted on appearing on his best white shirts.

Not even a deep consultation of his Old Testament helped. It said a great deal about who a man or a woman should lie with and how often and why he should beat his slaves and wife, but nothing about washing machines.

It didn’t take him long to find another woman prepared to share her life with him. He bumped into Cynthia when he was trawling the neighbourhood looking for a suitable woman to take the burden of his life from his shoulders by at least explaining the washing machine to him if nothing else, and by some miracle she said she loved him and hadn’t they better get married if he wanted carnal things with her.

He didn’t really, but marriage offered a permanence that promised he might never have to touch the washing machine again, so he agreed.

They were married and she moved into his home with him and, miracle of all miracles, she produced a child even though they both thought she must clearly be too old for pregnancy to afflict her. Yet it did. She grew large and after the requisite nine months produced a second son.

In all honesty “Bingo” thought he was a bit too old for the nappies and vomit of babies and took to going to the pub instead, whenever he could, leaving Cynthia to do the woman-stuff of caring for the child.

And that son grew up to be almost an exact clone of his first venture into fatherhood. There was nothing right with it, not as a boy and not as a youth and not as a young man. It was a wretched piece of human scum, and took to drink and drugs like an expert when he was still quite young and got thrown (by Bingo) out of the family home when it turned out he wanted to be gay.

“This is too much!” raged Bingo, and he was so angry at Cynthia, declaring that the imperfections in the son were clearly her fault seeing as he hadn’t been around too often for much of the time, that he made her ill.

By this time, of course, they were both getting well stricken with years, and her illness became increasingly severe until she lay in her bed like a skeleton with skin stretched across it and was quite clearly dying.

“Bingo, … you’re a … bastard,” were the last words she managed to cough out before she died, and he thought it poetic that the only thing his two wives had in common was a mistaken doubt about the state of wedlock of his own late parents.

It wasn’t long before his renewed attempt at controlling a washing machine, after due consultation with his well-thumbed Old Testament, began to have an adverse affect on his own life and this was noted by benevolent Authority after his third almost-fatal electric shock, and he was admitted to a council-run home for the elderly and infirm.

He was getting really very old, being past his ninetieth birthday, when he met Gladys, a fellow inmate, and they got on so well that he decided to propose to her. He might, he thought, have another bash at the marriage game.

“If you like,” she grinned, “but I’d better warn you…”

“What?” he asked. “There’s nothing that could mar the perfection with which you lighten my days anyway,” he added, meaning it because, despite her age there was something riveting and captivating about Gladys and he knew that he truly loved her.

“Well, that’s nice,” she said, “then you won’t mind … I’ve been reassigned..”

Reassigned? What did that mean? He didn’t like to ask. It seemed too personal, some how.

And it was then that he lost his faith, when this most perfect of all women showed him her penis…

© Peter Rogerson 28.06.15

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3 Responses to “BINGO’S OLD TESTAMENT”

  1. georgiakevin June 29, 2015 at 4:12 am #

    THIS IS YOUR BEST POST! This is very very worth reading and the most surprising of all your surprise endings!

    • Peter Rogerson June 29, 2015 at 8:17 am #

      Thanks, Kevin. I thought it appropriate to write something that was in tune with changing attitudes towards homophobia.

      • georgiakevin June 29, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

        You done good sir!

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