Sunday, 19 February 2012

#24 Rev. Cobb Waverley

Of course, the Bible tells us of the plague of boils, visited upon the house of the Pharaoh. Are you familiar? No? Few are these days I suppose. In any case, it seems plain to me that skin diseases of all types are simply manifestations of sin. In one way or other.

Take my own afflictions. Now I am not claiming to commune directly with The Almighty but I do believe that if you feel something strongly in your heart then this is The Lord’s way of lighting your path. And so I feel somewhat justified in saying that my problems stem from absorbing the sin of others, of taking unto myself their weakness, their evil, their depravity. It occurs simply in the course of my contact with parishioners. No one is totally “clean” after all are they? And some are quite the reverse.

It seems to me it is God’s will for me to draw the filth from the people of this town and take it unto myself. I take no pleasure in it you understand. But accept my duty. My role in His plan. Of course I feel…unsightly. Ugly even. I may even occasionally feel a pang of jealous despair. I am, after all, so far from The Lord’s splendid perfection. But the great and the low have purpose alike. Just as the Lion roars, the worm tills the soil beneath in silence.

Monday, 6 February 2012

#23 Sid Parker

You’d think it would be the blood wouldn’t you? The blood oozing from where their fingers used to be. From the slash wounds and the orifices. It’s not even the screaming that keeps me awake. No. It’s the laughter. Pat’s laughter as he’s doing it. Like a little kid in clover. Having the most fun. The best time of his life. That wakes me up some nights. I can never get back over after that. I hear it echo in my head for hours. Inescapable, just like the truth of what I done. My culpability.

But it’s not so unusual for a footballer to hang about with a gangster is it? Almost form isn’t it? Expected. I met Pat when I just moved back here, in my twilight, after my time with City. We moved in the same circles. I liked champagne and flesh and he like making sure I had all I could handle. He just loved the stories. Tales from the trenches. Cup finals, the European nights. The managers, the big personalities.

Then one night, a young lad bumped into him as he was telling one of his own tales. Just bumped into him. Knocked him off his stride and spilled his drink a little. Just a little bit. And then he made me come outside and showed me what he was famous for. After that he made me watch every time. Like having seen him once changed me in his eyes. Like it was all ruined. Like if the friendship was ruined he would ruin me. Ruin my peace. 

When I heard what had happened to him, I was relieved. Of course nothing like that should happen in life. Not to anyone. And you have to feel for his family. Who do I feel sorry for? The woman who bought the sausages. The police never got to her before she’d had them for her breakfast. But I was glad it was over. There’s the laugh. That’s what you get for finding comfort in the suffering of others.

Playing helps. When I’m on the pitch it all seems to blow away and I can be me again. The me I was before all this. But you can’t play forever can you? Eventually the whistle goes and you have to hit the showers. The floodlights go out and you have to face the big one. The match you can’t win. The one where the odds are stacked against you. The one that starts when the glass falls from your hand and you crash into the darkness.