A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

His University days over, Josiah makes his way to his first official posting, a curacy in a village called Goosebury


The trouble with University courses,” grumbled Josiah to his room-mate, “is that they have to come to an end.”

You mean, you want more of the twaddle we’ve been subjected to for the past four years?” demanded Eddie. “I’ve heard enough hogwash to last me for my entire lifetime, believe you me!”

Well, I’ve quite enjoyed the backwards and forwards of debate and the analysis of old texts, looking at them in a fresh light and learning from them,” Josiah told him.

I know about old texts,” almost sneered Eddie, “they were written on parchment by academics from a different age, when they still believed that the world was made in seven days, when they were absolutely certain that the Earth was the centre of everything in the Universe, that it was the Universe, else why would God have bothered to make it at all. And they went on to swear that swore black was white when they believed there must be a war going on in Heaven and Satan was the bad guy putting witches in villages as spies! I mean, why in the name of goodness would gods have to fight, and why would any devil capable of being an arch enemy to the one true god need spies?”

You see everything from a simple perspective,” sighed Josiah. “Look, we’ve argued about it on and off for four years, we’re both qualified now and can go forth into the world as curates and help the populace to see a vision of Heaven. So let’s part in peace as friends at least.”

Oh, we’re friends all right, and when I’m Bishop I might find a very lucrative little living for you. And you’re right, I’m going to preach what the people want to hear and although most of it utter tosh and rubbish the deepest essence of faith has something good about it. You know, caring for the weak, that sort of thing. And, you know, you might be driven by different beliefs yourself, but you’ll preach the same stuff as me, won’t you?”

I suppose so,” murmured Josiah.

And that was how they parted, as reluctant friends, never to meet again because in his way to his new curacy Eddie was involved in a rail accident in which he was killed outright when a goods train chanced to be on the same branch line as the local train he was relying on, and Josiah wasn’t.

Josiah had a very different destination, so while Eddie was coming to terms with whatever does or doesn’t lie beyond life, he found his way to Goosebury.

That destination relatively close to his original home, to the village of Goosebury, which was also under the banner of Brumpton when it came to both secular and religious governance.

The church at Goosebury (there was only the one) was a Victorian building in need of repairs to its roof, which tended to drip into a few well-placed buckets when the weather was particularly wet. It had a congregation that hardly ever reached a dozen souls in search of enlightenment. Saint Gertrude’s Church, though, was still acknowledged by church authority as somewhere the prayerful might go to, and had a vicar, the Reverend Simeon Crow, who was perfectly happy with the limited official calls on his time and even more happy with unofficial calls on his time. It was said by many that he had an eye for the ladies, though apparently much of the rest of his time was spent lecturing all and sundry in the bar of the local pub, The Bull and Crow, often until well after closing time.

He had been without official help in his calling for years beyond count, and it came as a blinding shock to him when one Reverend Josiah Pyke was imposed on him as his curate.

I don’t really need a curate,” he told Josiah when he knocked the door to the vicarage (an equally Victorian building to the church and with a similar roof). “Goosebury isn’t a particularly religious parish, I’m sorry to say, but it does have one tremendous advantage...”

It does?” enquired Josiah.

Oh yes,” almost chortled the Reverend Simeon Crow, “there’s never a shortage of domestic help.”

I don’t understand,” stammered Josiah in a turbulent fit of confusion.

You will,” grinned the Reverend Crow, “if you’ve got the right turn of mind, that is. I know that a man can look after his own affairs perfectly well, can prepare and roast his own goose, if you’ll excuse the play on the name of the village, can wash and iron his own underwear, but there’s nothing so fluffy and kind to the private parts as a pair of boxers that was last lingered over by a lady of quality...”

Josiah still didn’t understand, but thought it inappropriate to repeat his ignorance so he merely shook his head.

I’ll show you your room,” said the Reverend Simeon Crow, “I hope you’ll like it. Janice might still be in it. She’s supposed to be giving it a final fettle with her duster, but she should have finished by now...”

Josiah found himself being led up a staircase and onto a landing with too many doors off it to make any sense for a Vicarage that surely rarely housed little more than one male person at the time.

The room straight ahead, that’s your room, right next to Janice’s,” purred the Reverend Crow.

And Janice is?” asked Josiah, hoping that it was confusion rather than fact that was misleading him.

Oh, Janice?” grinned Simeon, “I mentioned that there’s no shortage of housekeepers in this neck of the woods, and she’s one of them. I let her stay here, in her room, because it’s nice and convenient for all concerned. I am a single man, you know, and single men have various needs, as I’m sure you’re already aware of.”

Oh dear, thought Josiah, I hope this isn’t going to turn out to be the sort of place it looks like on the surface … a single man, a girl in a room, convenient for all concerned…

The reverend Crow pushed open the door that belonged to what he said was Josiah’s room, and they stood at the entrance looking in.

It was a lovely room, not too big, had an adequate supply of bookcase room all ready for his own collection of reading matter, a nice big wardrobe and bedside table, but it wasn’t the physical appearance of the room that shocked him.

In the middle and against the far wall was a double bed, neatly made and he was sure antiseptic, and that was all right. It was what he had expected.

What he had not expected was the woman lying stretched out on it. She was young, possibly still in her teens, but Josiah was no judge of age, she was pretty as many a picture with the sort of hair that had always intrigued him, long and he could guess what it’s scent was from its obviously clean appearance and the smile on her luscious lips. She was dressed in a short sleeved lemon tee shirt and the tiniest skirt he had ever seen, orange as fruit, so orange he almost believed for a moment he could detect its citrus fragrance in the air.

And peeping out from that minuscule skirt was a minuscule pair of panties that, too, were as orange as any orange fruit anywhere.

Really Janice, can’t you say good afternoon to our new curate?” murmured the Reverend Simeon Crow, “Let me introduce you, the Reverend Josiah Pyke meet Janice Thrushwell, one of my housekeepers and a perfect angel to boot.”

And he left Josiah standing open mouthed whilst Janice smiled the prettiest smile at Josiah, slid across the bed in order to make space, and in very cultured, very beautiful, tones said,

Come and sit for a moment, sir, I’ll bet you’re almost dead on your feet after your journey.”

And she winked at him.

© Peter Rogerson 20.03.18

© 2018 Peter Rogerson

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Added on March 20, 2018
Last Updated on March 20, 2018
Tags: discussion, religion, truth, fiction, curate, housekeeper, vicar, confusion



Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 78 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..