Scene setting : St Luke’s Cathedral.
Razorbackwriter: Another Friday night has rolled around once more. It seemed that the bitter chill brought by the first days of snow had kept many of the die hard bingo ladies snuggled under blankets at home. The door to the church was open and a welcoming light shone from within. Only it was not as it truly appeared. Rufus had been setting out the wooden chairs for the procession of elderly that started to trickle in just after eight o’clock. The slow dragging of the wooden legs across the tiled stone floor creating a strange echo that resonated throughout the whole church. Rufus was more than just a bell ringer. Before being taken in by Father McGowan, he slept upon the streets and under bridges – pan handling when money was truly tight. Now, his future was brighter – somewhat. The Priest with the rugged looks and chiseled chin held a dark secret that the hunchback would come to discover, only by chance. None of this was spoken out in the open mind you. There are some whispers that should remain within the confessional – even if it is the Priest doing the confessing.
A long shadow hovered just above Rufus, who was putting the last chair into place on table ten.
“There we are Father. All’s ready. Are the sisters coming down tonight?”
The sisters he meant were the nuns that helped out at the Cathedral and were great supporters of the church’s bingo night. Father McGowan, or Father Tom as he was more commonly known folded his arms and stared down at his assistant with a look of disdain.
“No…they promised to deliver toys to the Children’s hospital. Bah. It’s just not the same without that brood of penguins.” Penguins being a pet name for what Father Tom referred to as the nuns. The sisters always made the tea and biscuit platters and handled the more annoying bingo ladies that often grated on Father Tom’s nerves. Rufus fidgeted nervously as he smiled up at the Priest. He knew what Father Tom would rather be doing this eve and it didn’t involve calling out bingo numbers. The Priest was a hunter. A hunter for God. The more souls he could send onto God…the better.
“I wouldn’t worry, Father. Saturday night is much better. More wicked sinners out and about. Heh. Right?”
If this was Rufus’s way of cheering the Priest up, it fell on death ears. No sooner had the hunchback spoken, when the first of the old bingo biddies started to parade through the door.
“Oooo Father Tom! You look handsome as ever. I’m feeling lucky in my waters tonight.” This was the first of many such compliments and the Priest faked a smile that would be sickly sweet.
“Just so long as you can hold your waters in till the end of the night, Mrs Jones.”
A light titter of laughter came from Mrs Jones, while the other ladies started taking their places and pulling out all manner of lucky charms, bingo marker pens and bottles of soda. The noisy chatter of the old moos, was like milking time at the shed. Slowly, the Priest made his way to the top table, where the bingo ball cage awaited. He took his seat and grumbled under his breath – low enough for no one to really notice. His hand reached for the crank and slowly he turned it as a wave of excitement went through the room.
“Two fat ladies…..eighty eight.”