A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

My peculiar reverend gentleman goes to a conference



When the Reverend Jeremiah Pyke went to a conference in Midshire in order to discuss the relevance of medical intervention in human affairs as an obstacle when it came to entering heaven he met the Reverend Sugar Softpottle.

Sugar was one of a growing breed of female clerics and he hated the lot of them, so it came as a slowly dawning surprise to him that he started off by actually almost liking her on account of her pretty skirt and before the week was over praying to his Lord and Saviour that he’d bump into her at every corner.

It was alright, his developing what could only be called a near insane obsession because he was a widower and his only attachment was an unofficial one with Marlene Foster, his voluntary church cleaner, and that could only possibly be on Thursday afternoons when she came to the church to do some dusting because for the rest of the week she worked at the tobacconist’s on the High Street.

Then on the last day of the conference during which absolutely nothing had been decided because the original question was nonsense and everyone knew it, his heart almost shuddered to a premature standstill when she spoke to him whilst he was hovering out of sight behind an ornate pillar examining the way the hem of her aforementioned pretty skirt moved and getting quite resigned about never seeing it again, when she spoke to him.

Your reverence,” she said in a voice that sounded more like that of Billy Roundworm, the school bully when he’d been thirteen and at boarding school, than it did of the angelic-looking Sugar, “is it my imagination but do I seem to see you at just about every corner wherever I chance to go?”

Before he replied it must be remembered that he was almost continuously accompanied by Honey, a personal friend from the world of fairies, a genre he didn’t actually believe in even though he knew her very well but classified her in his mind as an angel from the aromatically pure land of Heaven. But Honey was with him at the conference even though clergymen spouting nonsense was, to her, extremely boring and she whispered so to him roughly every five minutes while the spouting went on.

Er.. madam… er… miss, do I know you?” he asked in a state of embarrassing confusion because he realised that as he’d been filling his unctuous spare time with ogling her, and she must have noticed.

Lost for words, eh?” she continued, “I’m used to men who find something unmissable about me, and it irritates me beyond measure. What is it, sir, that makes me so worthy of your attention?”

You’ll have to tell her how you get excited when her skirt moves,” hissed Honey into his ear, near which she contrived to invisibly hover.

Shush!” he hissed at her, and of course the Reverend Sugar Softpottle heard the sibilant sound and assumed it was intended for her.

What was that?” There was a peremptory quality to her voice that not only reminded Jeremiah of the school bully he had so despised as for a moment made him believe he was looking at the wretch only to see that the person he was by then facing was, in fact, called Sugar and was a Reverend lady in a skirt.

Your skirt,” he replied, grabbing inside the vacuum of his mind for a logical explanation for his apparently reprehensible behaviour, “it reminded me of my late wife.”

She looked like a skirt?” demanded Sugar, “she must have been a most peculiar woman if she looked anything like this garment,” and she did something that almost forced his heart toi a standstill again by making the fabric of her pretty skirt ripple before his eyes. Oh, how he desired to reach out and touch it, but even he knew that would be the height of foolhardiness.

I’m sorry,” he said, “I must go. Nice to meet you.”

Cowardy cowardy custard,” tormented Honey.

Shush!” hissed Jeremiah again,

Stay where you are!” rapped the lovely Sugar, making Honey snigger, and sounding so much like the frighteningly unpleasant Billy Roundworm that she almost turned into the wretched boy where she stood.

I’m sorry, sir,” he stammered, sounding exactly like he’d sounded himself when he’d been thirteen and decided the best way to placate the bully was to promote him to being a sir.

Are trying to be offensive or is it your normal manner?” demanded Sugar.

Touché,” giggled Honey.

It’s this bloody angel,” he swore, unable to stop himself, “always getting in the way and spoiling everything I do.”

I’m a fairy,” hissed Honey.

Fairy.” he corrected himself.

Are you calling me a fairy?” demanded Sugar, beginning to look angry.

No. Not at all” I wouldn’t be so presumptuous!” he replied.

Liar!” teased Honey.

I’m not!” he hissed back at her.

Are you insane, sir?” asked Sugar Softpottle, “because I can’t make any sense of a word you’re saying and if you behave like this in the pulpit, sir, I should think your miniscule congregation would soon be reduced to outbursts of noisy hysteria!”

Sugar had the sort of voice that, when raised even slightly, attracts a crowd and as there was already a crowd ready to be attracted anyway, one gathered. And as it did so Sugar’s skirt did the sort of wiggle that made its hem seem to beckon him towards her thighs in the sort of way he couldn’t resist.

So he didn’t resist it.

Just a moment,” he said, adding justification to his movement, “I think you have something here, maybe a cobweb or somethig like one…” and he reached out and brushed his fingers against the hem of that skirt whilst making quite sure he sampled a small amount of her thigh.

What he didn’t know and what nobody had explained to him was that the Reverend Susan Softpottle had been born with a disfigurement, in that one of her legs was missing. It was initially put down to her mother taking the drug thalidomide, but that had been all the rage years before she was conceived so medical science spent the odd day or two seeking for an alternative before arriving at the inevitable conclusion that something had gone wrong in the womb.

And the Reverend Susan Softpottle had been equipped with a very realistic artificial leg, the sort that it’s hard to notice if you haven’t been informed before, but when Jeremiah’s hand rubbed against it the sound it made wasn’t quite right.

You b*****d!” she hissed.

Oh dear,” taunted Honey.

And the Reverend Susan Softpottle slapped him firmly across the face, much to the approval of the small crowd that was jostling around them.

I didn’t mean...” he almost wept.

We’ll get you unfrocked!” raged a very elderly clergyman with a hearing aid and a walking cane.

A candidate for hellfire and brimstone!” added a second equally elderly clergyman whose voice was distorted by a tracheotomy.

Help…” squeaked Jeremiah Pyke, and he raced out of the building and paused by a bridge over a roaring river, trying to decide whether to jump in and meet his maker at a date earlier than nature intended or stay and hope everything would go away.

That was fun,” gloated Honey, “and goes to prove just how clever medical men can be! I mean, a plastic leg! And those two old men!

© Peter Rogerson 20.09.23


© 2023 Peter Rogerson

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Added on September 20, 2023
Last Updated on September 22, 2023
Tags: conference, skirt, medical intervention


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 79 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..


A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

2. WET 2. WET

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson