Usually it's just me but this time there were three of us; me, Andrew Gilchrist and his son. Andrew was commonly known as "Gills" not because of his surname but rather on account of very noticeable knife wounds on his neck. Mystery surrounds the origins of these sores. All the kids at school called Gills' boy "little Gills" even though the young lad had a scar free throat. Cruelly, the Red Indian sounding nickname gave the children at his school free rein to mimic Indian whooping noises and these war cries upset little Gills. In every other respect he was a normal carefree boy. Neutrally, everybody else just called the boy "Little".
To reach our destination we have to overcome a steep, narrow winding path. The road to salvation can be a treacherous one. By an act of God we arrive at the foot of the hill at the same time as Mr. Thomson who was known as "Zimmy" in these parts. The reason being that he could only travel incredibly slowly- with the aid of a Zimmer. The treacherous path was a path too far for Zimmy and out of luck it was our turn to proverbially, in providence, drag him up the hill. Placing his elbows on the top of the Zimmer, me and Gills lifted the frame so that Zimmy's feet were off the ground and we cart him like the Queen of Sheba up the incline. Breathlessly, we reach the top.
And there to greet us is Peter the usher, a man who was happy to let anyone through the gates to his citadel. He would never turn anyone away, the door is always open. The doorkeeper had one annoying habit. Peter always told stories about the Reverend Murray and then laughed profusely at his own wit.
"Good morning. Thank you for coming, especially your fine self Zimmy. It must have taken some effort to get here."
Gills and I looked at one another.
"You will never guess what? Murray has tried to enter the Big Brother show. Can you imagine what the voiceover guy will say? Murray is in the toilet. All the other housemates have their gas masks on." Then he laughed.
Entering the cathedral to the light air emanating from the church organ Little was looking awestruck by the surroundings and after taking our place at one of the pews Little remarked that there must be a big star about to perform. Emerging onto the platform of the stage was the reality TV hopeful the Reverend Murray.
"Welcome to the House of God. Let us sing Psalm 873, that's Psalm 873."
In a few seconds echoing sounds of worshippers rising to their feet resounded through the hall. The straining voice of Zimmy was the last thing we heard before we sang.
When we had finished singing Little cheered and shouted for more. Some of the congregation glared at Little with the expression "This is not America" on their faces or "We only do grave religion here". Kinder hearted folk moved their heads to the side looking at the lively boy and smiled a true Christian smile. This truly is a divided church, I thought. The reverend continued his service.
"I am now going to read from Walter Book One, chapters Eighty nine to Ninety seven. This is a savage passage describing unnatural behaviour which is totally alien to this church. After reading the script I will give you my interpretation."
"It's a good job it's not about how hard it is for a rich man to enter Heaven. You're very stingy, Gills." I said. Gills glared at me with his lumpy jugular.
This part of the show is a pleasant interlude and the churchgoers pass the time in different ways. The gothic Mrs Eldritch paints her fingernails black. The guardian of the Door, Peter looks at Murray, whispers something to a neighbouring worshipper and then laughs. The dashing Sergeant Major- Major shares his surname with a former prime Minister and rose to the heady heights of Sergeant in the army- reads his Sunday Times. Takes me a week to get through it so any down time is Sunday Times, says Major.
Murray is still preaching from his pulpit.
" ... so when the prophet Walter says there are many forked tongue languages with strange guttural noises, was he predicting that Christianity's non-believers will have their lying voices slashed and their throats THROTTLED..." Gills gulped.