Jane Austen Recaptured
It seems to be a fact that everyone enters this world complaining. I’ve always thought that death is the one time we cease to complain- and even then only because our problems have run out.
Ted, old, deaf and in need of a decent de-lousing, bends over the chalice. For a few seconds I amuse myself by pretending he’s bowing to me.
Blood of Christ be with you…
I have to force the cup, applying gentle pressure, out from under from his lips. When he raises his head there’s a faint smear of purple across his lips.
They do say, the verger says, dipping to the potato stew he’s heated on the community area hob, that Sally Shaker’s been seeing the Thompson boy.
You know. Seeing. He giggles dripping stew back into his pan.
Perhaps we’ll see them at the disco, I say. The stew tastes atrocious. Do you think a lot of people will come to the disco?
We had about twenty-five last year. Of course, that was the old vicar.
Thompson will come- he’s hoping to get the sacrament job next year. For his CV. We should probably put the decorations up soon.
Three schoolgirls are chatting through their cigarettes out by the bus stop. Their hair is blonde-streaked and straightened.
I do love the church discos, the verger says. A time to have a bit of fun with the young people. And then, as if considering,
I do hope those riff-raff from the estate won’t come again. I’d swear they just come for the free nibbles and the lemonade.
He takes a great gulp of potato stew, brown lumps cascading down his chin.
Body of Christ be with you, I murmur, gazing out of the window.