THE BOOMING VOICE

9 Nov

creation photo: Creation BV_1989_creation.jpg

“There’s one good thing about growing old,” twittered the Very Reverend Vincent Pugh to himself as he carefully plucked a longish hair out of a mole from the chin in his mirror, “and that’s that hairs like this don’t really matter any more. Why, this one must have been here for a month if it’s been here a day, and I wouldn’t have noticed it had not Mercy Fairbright not mentioned it to me after the service on Sunday. She saw it and she was sitting ten rows back!”

He held the tweezers with the offending and freshly plucked hair in front of his eyes. It was really quite long, and dark. Not the jet black he remembered his teenage hair being back in the good old days, but darker than the white hair that grew sparsely on his head these days.

“That’s quite an achievement,” he whispered. “This fellow growing there for goodness knows how long, and me not noticing until dear Mercy told me! And even then I didn’t really care about it being there. It wasn’t until she offered to pluck it out herself that I promised I’d get my tweezers to it! I can’t have old ladies plucking hairs from my face, not with me being a Man of God and all that. I mean, what would people say?”

He poured himself a whisky from a decanter he found himself refilling remarkably frequently these days.

“I wonder who’s been helping themselves to this?” he asked himself irritably. “I seem to be providing the substance for someone else’s alcoholic habit! I only have the odd little drop myself and the decanter’s nearly empty again! I must check on the verger!”

Then a suggestion formed into words inside his head in the irritating way that suggestions sometimes did. “The verger never comes in here,” it said. “He wouldn’t know the way! He barely comes into the kitchen and this is my study, half a dozen rooms away from there!”

“It must be someone else then,” he muttered, audibly, though he didn’t know why.

“It’s me,” said a voice, also audibly. At least, he thought it was audibly, though these days he couldn’t always be sure.

“Who’s me?” he asked, again irritably.

“Ho, you know me all right,” exclaimed the voice, a booming affair that made the curtains waft about. “You’ve studied my words all your life! You interpret what I say and explain it to your congregation, though I must say you get some of it quite wrong.”

This was clearly going to be a booming session because he boomed back, “who are you to say I get things quite wrong? I’m a man of faith, I am, and I get things quite right, thank you very much!”

“But you’re mad,” boomed the voice, a little more gently. “You must have guessed that you’re insane! It’s just got to be clear to you! After all, you let hairs grow on facial moles until sensible old ladies offer to tweezer them out for you! And you drink too much. A great deal too much.”

“I never touch the stuff!” boomed the Right Reverend Vincent Pugh, taking an extraordinarily large sip from his glass, and consequently emptying it. Then: “Who are you anyway?” he asked again, refilling his glass and emptying the decanter.

The curtains rattled for a moment and the decanter refilled all by itself, making the Right Reverend Vincent Pugh swallow his extraordinarily large sip in one gulp.

“I’m God,” said the voice, “and I’ll thank you for stop spreading fanciful tales about me. “I’ve only ever done one exceptional thing in my life and yet you go around booming about how I was born of a virgin, allowed myself to be crucified, did all manner of unnatural things like turning water into wine in a trice when everyone knows it takes an age of fermentation, cured the sick and did all manner of impossible things like making lame men walk. They’re all fanciful but not the one exceptional thing in my repertoire.”

“And what’s that?” demanded the Right Reverend gentleman irritably. “I need to know so that I can keep my flock up to date, if you see what I mean.”

“Think of hat hair you plucked out,” said the voice in B-flat. “The one you gazed so lovingly at before you swallowed half a dozen units of intoxicant! Think of it growing from something so small you didn’t know it was there and then proceeding to develop day by day, week by week, until it was so huge even you could see it!”

“Like on oak tree from an acorn?” suggested the partly-inebriated Right Reverend.

“Exactly!” The booming voice sounded as though its speaker was beaming. “Like that! Well, in the beginning was my one big trick….”

“Creation?” muttered the cleric.

The boom shook its booming head. “Nothing as magnificent as that,” it said, “nothing as splendid and all-embracing as creation! No. In the beginning was the word. My word, sown sweetly amongst idiots where it would grow and divide and create opposing forces and eventually cause a catastrophic and humongous collapse of everything as fires raged where bombs fell! Bombs in my name thrown at people who retaliated in my name! You see, mine wasn’t the Creation…” The boom paused.

“It was the destruction!” it raged.

© Peter Rogerson 09.11.15

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