The Vicar of St. Dunstan's Ep. 03byNigel Debonnaire©
The third of three episodes a new series about Fr. Alfred, Vicar of St. Dunstan's. Categorizing these episodes is tough, since there isn't a "Dramedy" category on this site. Suggestions for future episodes are welcome, if you'd like to see more of Fr. Alfred and his flock.
The Bishop's Daughter
Mary was the only one in the Quilting Room after I finished my tri-weekly run. Making sure the door was closed first, I came over to caress her from behind, give her a big kiss on the cheek and fondle her teardrop breast. She snuggled back against me as she paused her stitching. "Great to see ya, Vic. How's the lad?"
"Just fine Mary, just fine. How's with yourself."
"Grand, Vic, grand. Got to finish this one up before we go on holiday."
"Where are you off to this time?"
"Sheila and I are going cycling in Wales. Never been before, should be a laugh. Shame you can't come with us."
"I'm sorry about that as well. Have to save up my time off so I can have a proper visit to Australia next year."
Mary nodded her head. "Oh yes, our sister parish that our Brenda is taking care of. Did you have a good time with her while she was in town last month?"
I smiled to myself. "Yes, Mary, we had a wonderful time."
"That's grand, Vic, just grand. Give her our best the next time you e-mail her."
"Absolutely. Say, are you two going to Wales alone?"
"No, Vicar, our granddaughters are going with us. Her Jenny and my Agnes have been looking forward to this outing for months, ever since their eighteenth birthdays. It'll be a lark, that's for certain."
"You'll be a dangerous quartet, that's for certain."
She smiled broadly and kept at her work, as I inspected the newest quilt. It was a field of stars with the Star of Bethlehem in the center, with the outline of the village at the bottom and looked lovely. The sun was shining through the basement window for once: the light made Mary's red head of hair seem on fire. I noticed she had a lot to do, so I patted her shoulder as I made my way to the door.
"When does Mavis get back?"
Mary thought for a moment. "It's two weeks at least, Vicar, although I think it's more like a month. You know Mavis around a new grandchild; she can hardly tear herself away.'
"I'll send her a card."
"Do, Vic, she'd love it. Are you going to be all right without us?" she asked.
"I think so, Mary. Surely the girls here will take good care of everything. I'll miss you and Sheila. Celibacy won't be as easy since the Quilting ladies got involved with me. . ."
"Thanks, luv. Oh, did I hear that the Bishop was dropping by to see you?"
"Yes, His excellency Bishop Horace Delacroix is going to be here on Friday morning with his daughter Violette. There's staying until Tuesday morning. He wants to see how I'm doing, look over the records, visit with parishioners, and so forth. I'll be busy almost until the time you get back."
"Do you want some help with the lad before we go? It'll be a long, busy week without a chance to relax and be comfortable. Be happy to pop by after the quilt is done." She licked her lips suggestively.
"Now that you mention it. . ."
"Done, then. I'll miss your friendly John Thomas and your lovely spunk while I'm away. Later, Vic." She returned to her work, and I had to wait several moments before going over to the Vicarage in broad daylight.
I had a quiet morning making sure everything was ready for the Bishop's visit. Mrs. Longeran was helping me get the house organized in the absence of the Quilting Ladies, but her efforts were problematic since she didn't know where everything was. Niall Jones the music director dropped by to discuss the services: everything was ready there and I knew they would be flawless. A quick look at the church verified that my Quilting ladies had worked their usual magic with color and flowers, and they'd left instructions for their daughters for what changes to make for the different services. The liquor cabinet was re-stocked by Bert Button: he'd found some fine French Brandy as well as a stock of excellent table wine. Looking over the bottles, he said: "I've got some first class Scotch as well, Vicar, I'll send Hugo round to drop it off. You'll need some Gin and Tonic for the little lady; Hugo will bring that by as well."
"How much do I owe you for this, Bert?"
Bert gave me a knowing wink. "My contribution to the parish, Vicar, in gratitude for services rendered." He laughed at my discomfort and slapped me on the back. 'You're all right in my book, Vic, you're all right. If ever you need a favor, just say the word."
"Th–thanks Bert. I'll remember that."
"Do, lad. I owe you for keeping my home peaceful," he said as he bolted out the door. Most men would have been much less than peaceful if he suspected what his Sheila was doing for me; Bert was just glad to have her out of his way.
Later that day, I had a chance to visit with my neighbor, the Reverend Arthur Farnsworth, Vicar of St. Edward the Confessor. He admitted me into his Vicarage with a bear hug and showed me to his sitting room. Artie was a swell guy and good company, and he'd known Bishop Delacroix for years. After settling me with a glass of Scotch, he sank into his overstuffed chair and asked: "Well, Alfie, what brings you by? Sweet Niall tells me that all is going swimmingly at St. Dunstan's, but you're having a special guest for the weekend."
I nodded as I sipped my drink. "Yes, Artie, the bishop's coming by for a visit."
"Ah well, Alfie, that's a particular little bit of trouble for you, then."
"Horace's as nice a little old lady as you'd want to meet, easy to please if you've got good French brandy, croissants, a gay bar, and a nice French bistro to visit. Francophile if there ever was one. Family's rich, from his wife, of course, so they can indulge their whims out of their own pocket. The problem is that daughter Violette is a mantrap, and has her daddy's ear."
"Oh, how do you know?"
"One hears the whispers. She's now thirty and has already been married three times, all to Anglican priests. While they had her favor, daddy lifted them high, then, when she was done with them. . . Well, when she dumped the first three, they all were sent to the missions: one to Zimbabwe, one to Uganda, and one to the Falklands. Word has it she's looking for number four."
"Saints preserve us," I said, crossing myself
"Saints preserve you. She keeps saying she wants a man who'll keep her in line, but she's terrorized every straight priest in the diocese, and is as single minded as a buzzsaw."
"So you're immune?"
"Yes, she's a laugh if you're not on her hit list. She loves hanging out with gays, particularly at the clubs where the drag shows are."
"Does she have anything to recommend her?"
"Nothing. You'll find out for yourself when you meet her tomorrow. Try to stay off her radar."
"I'll try. Is there anything she likes I can buy her off with?"
"Sex and lots of it. Once you sleep with her, she thinks she owns you. Otherwise, you'll have to pretend you're queer, but that will put you on the Bishop's radar another way. . .
I took a big gulp of my Scotch.
The bishop's car arrived at ten o-clock; a black Peugot pulled up to the curb and deposited father and daughter. Bishop Delacroix was a short, portly man with a red face, huge nose and straggly, white hair that he wore combed over. Violette Delacroix wore a teal Laurent original with a V neck and slit skirt over black, four inch heels. A tall extremely thin woman, her mousy hair was swept up in an elegant coif, and her pale skin was almost ivory. Her face was heavily pancaked, rouged, and lined; her mauve eye shadow clashed with her dark eyebrows and green eyes. Her chin was weak, her front teeth were exposed, and her eyes bugged out; the entire effect was the opposite of allure. When she spoke, her tone was grating and her attitude arrogant. She tried to imitate a runway model as she walked up the sidewalk and up to the door, but tottered more than glided and almost fell a couple of times.
I showed them to their rooms: a bishop's suite was built into the house a hundred years earlier and his Violette had an adjoining room. My quarters were down the hallway on the other side of two other guest suites, and I thought the creaky old floor would be my help, as well as a lock on my door.
The first day the Bishop visited the choir school, toured the church and the neighborhood, then stopped at the Sailor's Home down the street. He was the soul of the avuncular pastor, reaching out with a kind gesture or word to all he met. Violette trailed him dutifully, keeping her eyes in my direction for most of the day. I avoided her glance religiously.
High Tea was a grand gathering of all the Vestry, the Mayor, and other prominent parishioners and local luminaries. The local pub catered the meal, and Mrs. Longeran acquitted herself admirably in the organization of the event; I could not help imagining of how it would have went if my Quilting Ladies had been there. They seated me between the Bishop and the Bishop's daughter.
Halfway through the meal, I felt a prodding of my left calf. A quick check told me that it was Violette's toe that was questing rather than her father's. I shifted my weight and moved my leg, but the assault returned periodically. Eventually, it progressed to a brush of the hand against my thigh, higher and higher; it must have been at this time she must have inspected the cut of my trousers, for my next eye contact featured a broad, buck toothed grin and hungry eyes.
Bishop Delacroix was a genial presence on the podium, but didn't know when to stop talking, and when he finished, I had to rush the rest of the program before the audience faded into oblivion. My people were kind and attentive, once they were liberated from the dull program, and the Bishop enjoyed visiting the Vestry members present. Afterward, he whispered that he wanted to see me in his suite for a drink afterward.
I brought the French brandy and Scotch with me, as well as a couple of glasses. In contrast to his formal talk to the Vestry, in person he was charming, witting, and warm as a drinking partner. He wasn't interested in business that evening, so I listened as he told his war stories of fifty years of ministry, every one amusing. It became clear that he was genuinely concerned for the priests in his diocese, regardless of orientation, and he never foisted his affections on anyone.
As he wound down, he leaned over conspiratorially and whispered in my ear: "My Violette has taken a shining to you, lad. She's a wonderful girl and would make any priest an ideal wife."
Gulping, I said: "I'm flattered, You Lordship, but I don't feel as though I'm ready for a mate at this time in my life. I'm so devoted to my people. . ."
"And it shows, lad, it shows, and we're grateful to you. You're doing a wonderful job here, and your people love you. But you may be underestimating your need for a helpmate, and my Violette needs a man to take care of her. I know she's not Angelina Jolie, but if you take a liking to her and treat her well, you'll get my undying gratitude," he said with a wink. "Good night to you, lad, we have a long day tomorrow."
I staggered down the hallway; the bishop was a hard drinker and I futilely tried to keep up with him. A note was thrown under my door:
I want that glorious huge cock of yours, every lovely inch of it. I want you to push your prodigious pud up my pee hole and my poop chute. Tonight's the night.
I hated being called Freddie; I'd always wished my parents had named me Albert instead of Alfred when I was young. My hands trembled as I remembered what Artie said the day before: "You'd have a better time sticking your John Thomas in a blender and then a belt sander than making love with Violette."
"Who said that?"
"Percy Smithers. You know him: he went to Darwin after the divorce last year."
A thought crossed my intoxicated reasoning: a locked door was no guarantee against a desperate woman like that. Three quarters of a bottle of Scotch remained, so I drank it all before retiring, falling into such a profound state of unconsciousness, I was lucky to hit my pillow on the way down. It proved to be good insurance: in the wee hours a thin, bony, cold hand fumbled its way into my briefs for attention, but my dissipation foiled her attempts to arouse me and she gave up after a while.
My eyes were tiny, red rimmed slits in the mirror that morning, and my bare footsteps on the carpeted floor far too loud. I managed to shower and stagger down to breakfast to meet the Bishop and Violette, where I nibbled feebly on a piece of toast and sipped a massive mug of coffee. The Bishop slapped me on the shoulder, bringing awful pain from both the touch and the sound of his voice. He bellowed: "I think the youth of today are soft. Look at me: I drank more than you did and I'm fit as a fiddle."
"Daddy, I wish you hadn't monopolized him so last night. I wanted to have a quiet word with the Vicar on my own." Her whine was a laser slicing through my eardrums without anesthetic.
"Perhaps after dinner tonight at the Café Ypres. I'll be more considerate and leave you two young people a chance to spend some time together." I moaned, the agony was becoming critical.
The morning was spent going over the parish records with the Bishop: dull statistics and no clear pattern emerging, but some little indications of growth. After three pots of coffee, some water and aspirin I was feeling almost human, and able to join them for lunch. It was a sunny day, and the grass was exceptionally green in the sunlight, and Violette looked out the window with interest. When the Bishop retired to the W. C., she blurted out: "Is that fence high enough for people to see over it?"
I winced as her voice severed another set of nerves and drove daggers into my brain. "No, it isn't. I've been in all of the overlooking houses at one time or another, and no one can see into that back yard."
"It's a sunny day. I think I'd like to go sunbathing."
"Please be careful. Your father's windows and the windows to my study overlook the yard."
"Really?" she beamed. Bishop Delacroix returned at that moment and stretched.
"An excellent morning, Father Alfred. All's well with the world, and since I'm not preaching tomorrow, I think I'll spent the afternoon sleeping in my quarters. What time is our dinner reservation?"
"Eight O'Clock, Your Lordship."
"Excellent. Do you kids have plans for the afternoon?"
"I need to write my sermon for tomorrow. Lots of pressure to be brilliant with the important guests present." Violette simpered, the sarcasm lost on her.
"Stout lad, stout lad. All right, work on your eloquence, and Violette, save your feminine wiles for the evening. A bientôt." With that he lumbered up the stair to his rooms.
I excused myself from Violette's company and she agreed easily. A bottle of water and more aspirin accompanied me as I went down the hallway. My stomach turned as I entered my study and locked the door behind me. There was another note.
Take a peek out your window at what you may see,
for a tempting young nymph sunning herself will be.
The sermon was slow going, and after about thirty minutes I noticed that someone was in the garden. Violette had reclined on a chaise lounge wearing naught but a pair of sunglasses. Her body would have trouble getting wet in the shower, her skin was pasty white, and her nipples were bare suggestions of bee stings on a perfectly flat chest. The wisp of pubic hair only accentuated her thinness and paleness. "She's showing off," I said to no one in particular, "she thinks that seeing her naked body will inflame me to passion." I chuckled at her arrogance and returned to my work. After a long interval, I noticed she had flipped over: her backside was no more appealing than her front. Her legs were spindly, her hips small and flat, and her back was covered by massive incursions of acne; her hair was a rat's nest. By the movement of her legs, I could tell she was posing, trying to tease me.
My hangover cleared, and a quiet tea did much to restore my spirits. Violette came in after three hours outside, crying, and slammed all the doors as she went up to her room. I met the Bishop at the bottom of the stairs around 7:30PM, where he looked rested and refreshed. He shook my hand and clapped me on the back.
"Well, my boy, it's just the two of us this evening. My dear little flower spent too much time in the sun this afternoon, and won't be presentable until tomorrow. Her room smells like a vinegar factory. She presents her apologies and looks forward to seeing you again tomorrow. Delicate skin she has, like mine and her mother's. I thought she'd learned. . ."
Our evening at the Café Ypres was convivial. I felt like I'd dodged another bullet.
The Bishop was my guest for the Morning Prayer and Eucharist. My people filled the church for once, and Violette sat in the front row, demure and covering as much of her lightly reddened skin as she could. The sermon that I labored over with such difficulty was well accepted. Everything went smoothly, and a parish picnic at the City Park capped the official activities. Violette managed to sit next to me at the picnic table, and leaned to whisper in my ear: "I still want your body, I want it as soon as I can get it. Take charge of me and put me in my place, you magnificent stud."
An impromptu football match started, fathers against sons, and the Bishop stood on the sidelines cheering lustily. The boys were short handed, so I volunteered to slip into the back line to help them out. My warped imagination tried to imagine making love to Violette's razor sharp body, and failed completely. She hovered in the shade, so I was able to keep my distance by staying in the sunlight.
After the match, someone suggested the local pub, and I gladly led those still remaining down the street in a spontaneous victory march, although I couldn't remember which side won. Once inside, I clapped the boys on the back and insisted on a game of darts. The Bishop joined us, and an idea for a spontaneous tournament was born. Violette had joined the ladies, but her eyes shot darts at me across the room.
A chance presented itself, and I was able to speak to the barman, Johnny Wickham, unnoticed. "Do you see that lady over there?"
He squinted. "The one who looks like a mop with bug eyes?"
"Do you want me to turn her out?"
"No, no, Johnny. I want you to send her drinks and keep sending her drinks. Tell her they're from different men on the other side of the room. I want her passed out, if possible."
"You got it, Vicar."
"It goes on my tab."
"Not a chance, Vic. Harry Hazelton's got you covered." I looked over to find him sitting in a corner, where he raised his glass to me with a broad smile. Another man who was happy his wife was busy tending the church for hours at a time. I returned the salute, and checked out how everything else was going.
The Bishop was getting along famously with Niall and some of the choir members in one corner of the pub. Violette took the bait, graciously nodded at the men who 'bought' her drinks and sipped them absent mindedly while the other women of the parish kept her talking about celebrity gossip. Most of the men were looking the other direction when she acknowledged them, and the one or two that did catch her beaming smile nodded nervously.
I relaxed a little and challenged Mary's grandson Derrick to a game of snooker. He was a kid almost my height and weight; a good natured lad whose innocence, geek- like intelligence, and facial ache kept him away from the girls. After he wiped the floor with me, I beckoned him out the door for a quick conversation.