Friday, 9 March 2018

The Local Vicar - Episode 8A - previously unpublished

It’s Tuesday and the day of the local infant school nativity play. Despite the local vicar’s best attempts to dissuade Gaynor from turning up, she’s there in the crowded pews amongst the delighted and proud parents, with the hapless and mildly intoxicated McGladdery for company. Last year, the vicar got such a roasting from the Bishop about ‘inappropriate and unwelcome behaviour at the service’ that he fears that a repeat performance maybe the final straw and come January, he’ll be down the labour exchange. McGladdery suspects Gaynor’s behaviour stems from being denied the coveted role of the Virgin Mary many years before, despite being the odds on favourite (in her version of events). The Church organ strikes up ‘We Three Kings’ and the procession of brightly costumed children slowly move down the aisle towards the altar. ‘So far so good’ thinks the vicar, Gaynor seems content puffing away on her Park Drive and even smiling at McGladdery’s attempt to hold the tune to this festive favourite hymn. However during the final verse: ‘Myrrh is mine: Its bitter perfume Breaths a life of gathering gloom. Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying, Sealed in the stone-cold tomb’ her mood noticeably changes and the vicar closes his eyes and braces himself expecting what he doesn’t quite be continued if one can be arsed.