THE NEW RECRUIT
The Reverend Bogus Pugh (semi-retired) was well into his seventies before he met his god for the first time.
It happened like this.
He fell ill, quite seriously ill with a sudden and uncontrollable tendency to hallucinate for no obvious reason. But he alternately shivered and sweated, felt deathly cold and hellishly hot, and sleep, when it came, was in fitful bursts.
They took him into hospital and did stuff, performed tests on every imaginable bodily fluid (and one no man likes to imagine when he's shivering and sweating), and diagnosed very little indeed.
They let him go home when it seemed there was nothing more to be done with him, but not before he met his god.
The Reverend Bogus Pugh (semi-retired) tossed and turned in his bed whilst his alter-ego skipped down a war-torn street in a black-and-white world, making for a light in the distance because lights fascinated him, especially when they were unnaturally bright and of an unknown origin. Of course, he reasoned with the unfailing lack of logic of the average clergyman, the light could be some new and dreadful Nazi weapon. There were such things about. He'd read about them.
But it wasn't. It was a cloud, shimmering and brilliant, with a host of seraphim all around it and a tribe of cupid-like toddlers, bows and arrows at the ready and angelic smiles on their pretty baby faces, sweet little things. But on a throne in the middle of the shimmering, glowing cloud, and receiving endless psalms and praises from the heavenly host in attendance, was the Reverend Bogus Pugh's god. He was a whiskery cove with a bald pate and a penchant for excessive smiling and benevolent gestures, and he looked exactly how the Reverend Bogus Pugh had imagined his god would look like during a lifetime of preaching well-intentioned but absurd sermons from a perspective that bordered on the atheist.
And for the first time in his life the good Reverend believed in his deity. Tossing and turning and sweating and groaning in his hospital bed with an alter-ego from a lifetime ago, he prostrated himself before the enthroned immortal and promised that from that moment onwards he would be as good as good could be.
â€œAnd you believe in me?â€ asked the god with twinkling eyes and an obvious erection.
â€œI fervently do!â€ gasped the Reverend Bogus Pugh (semi-retired). â€œI have never been so fervent in all my days! My Lord and Master, I am yours for ever!â€
â€œThen go and do my works! Go and spread my message!â€ chortled the divinity.
And the Reverend Bogus Pugh did just that. He returned to his hospital bed, and a deliciously well-bosomed young nurse who was clucking over him.
â€œBut, my Lord,â€ he almost wept from the dock, â€œshe implied I was delirious! She suggested I'd been having some kind of nightmare. So I had to kill her, don't you see? It was my Lord's work! I swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and that's what I've done! Judge me if you will, but there's another judge in Heaven who will be the final arbiter of my guilt!â€
Which, in part, explains why the Reverend Bogus Pugh ended up in the secure wing of Highdick Mental Hospital, and why, every now and again, his fellow inmates beat him up.
Â© Peter Rogerson 29.05.12