Patrick
Chapter 9

Copyright© 2011 by Pedant

Sarah and Al were watching the telly and we were looking at another story when Dad arrived home.

He said "hi" to Michiko and asked Mum what had transpired. She told him and then told him about Rob's suggestion where I was concerned.

"Pat, Rachel! Come to the kitchen."

"What do you have to say for yourselves?"

"Rachel thinks I'll look cute in the College uniform."

"That's not quite what I meant. If I were to phone in the morning, would you come to an interview and do you think you can preserve your decorum?"

"Yes, to all the parts of that."

"Okay. We'll make an attempt. You're to wear suit and necktie, if we go."

"Yes."

"Where's Rob?"

"He went upstairs to rest."

"Fine. Last, Weena, what are the dinner plans?"

"Why don't I have some pizzas delivered?"

"Is Chaz coming?"

"I expect so," said Michiko.

"Then there are nine of us. Three large?" asked Mum.

"One with hot sausage, please!" I said.

"Okay, but do you think your behavior merits special consideration?"

"Sure."

"You shouldn't be so self-centered," said Rachel. "Be more modest."

In the ancient monastery of Miidera there was a great bronze bell. It rang out every morning and evening, a clear, rich note, and its surface shone like sparkling dew. The priests would not allow any woman to strike it, because they thought that such an action would pollute and dull the metal, as well as bring calamity upon them.

When a certain pretty woman who lived in Kyoto heard this, she grew extremely inquisitive, and at last, unable to restrain her curiosity, she said: "I will go and see this wonderful bell of Miidera. I will make it send forth a soft note, and in its shining surface, bigger and brighter than a thousand mirrors, I will paint and powder my face and dress my hair."

At length this vain and irreverent woman reached the belfry in which the great bell was suspended, at a time when all were absorbed in their sacred duties. She looked into the gleaming bell and saw her pretty eyes, flushed cheeks, and laughing dimples. Presently she stretched forth her little fingers, lightly touched the shining metal, and prayed that she might have as great and splendid a mirror for her own. When the bell felt this woman's fingers, the bronze that she touched shrank, leaving a little hollow, and losing at the same time all its exquisite polish.

"That's a good story," said dad.

"I'm not certain that it isn't more about irreverence than vanity," I said. "I've never been in a mosque, but I would take off my shoes out of respect for others' beliefs."

Rob came downstairs, the pizzas arrived, Sarah and Al left the telly, and we lost that thread. Rachel and her family went home soon thereafter.

Mona called from the CSIRO office around ten the next morning. We had an appointment for 1400. Dad would call for me at 1330.

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