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Heaven Sent Laughter
by margaret masson
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George the Vicar sat quietly in the pew, pen and paper in hand. He was having difficulty deciding which of the church newcomers to invite to the forthcoming barbecue. First there was Doris, a sweet looking old lady whom you would imagine to have all the grandmotherly charm in the world. However, there was word that Doris would speak about anyone and anything without giving any thought to the consequences. "Still," thought George, "I don't know for sure, I suppose I should give her a chance.

Up until this point, George had been alone with only his guardian angel Belfry to influence his thoughts. Belfry was glaring at a small demon that had just come in, this was unwelcome company. Belfry looked closely and could see that the demon had brought with him a package containing doubt and misjudgement. The demons name was Roachie and he was sporting a most unpleasant grin.

George moved on in his mind to think about Mandy. Mandy was a young woman with an eight month old daughter called Hannah. No-one knew who Hannah's Father was and George was fairly sure that even Mandy was not certain.

Belfry was coaxing George, reminding him of how Mandy had helped in the creche, giving long serving, tired out Vivian a couple of Sundays off to enjoy the service, all the children where very fond of Mandy too. "Hmmm", thought George, "it's really none of my business anyway." Belfry continued to remind George about how she shopped for Agnes, an elderly lady in the church who couldn't get around much anymore. No-one else had offered assistance as George recalled.

Meanwhile, Roachie was reminding George about how sometimes he saw her outside the church with a cigarette, and how many love affairs must she have had to be unsure of her baby's Father.

George had been a vicar for many years now, but he couldn't help the occassional unchristian thought, he was only human after all. Never the less, George was unhappy with himself for being judgemental and prayed for forgiveness and guidance from the Lord.

Jesus spoke softly to George, showing him that Mandy had a good heart, she was showing the gifts of the spirit in a way only people new to their faith do. She obviously loved everyone, turned up every Sunday without fail and was eager to help with whatever she could. "Apart from all this, people like her are the very ones we are supposed to help," concluded George to himself.

Roachie was looking disconcerted, he had mistakenly thought George would be a soft touch. Never mind though, they were moving on to Alex next, Roachie was sure he would be able to influence this thought at least.

"Alex" mumbled George. Green hair, nose ring, generally scruffy and if George was honest, the appearance of a junkie. Alex had in fact been a junkie, but with Jesus help had faught his addiction. No-one in the church new about his past as Alex was a very private man, he didn't really talk much to anyone. Belfry was suggesting to George that Alex and his green hair was really no different to Agnes and her purple rinse, and no one was making assumptions about her. Then there was that nose ring, not really different to all those pierced ears, was it?

Belfry at this point was holding back the over eager Roachie. he was desperate to remind George about the time he thought he had saw Alex drunk outside the local pub. It was not in fact Alex, but Roachie knew he could plant the doubt.... If he got the chance.

George by now was shrugging off his last doubts about Alex and his appearance and was reminiscing about his own past outfits. A pair of bright orange flares had come to mind and George was shaking his head in mock disbelief. "I probably raised a few eyebrows myself" said George out loud as he added Alex to his list.

Belfry now let Roachie go unexpectedly and Roachie siezed his chance. Unfortunately he was over excited, under balanced and out of control....he landed in a heap in the corner.

George sat quietly, unaware of the scuffle going on behind him. Belfry was holding Roachie by the head and his arms were lashing out wildly, but reaching nothing. Why did he have to fight with an angel twice his size with such strong arms, thought Roachie. Belfry was finding it all very amusing, he was in fact laughing hysterically, so much so that he was in danger of letting go. George however had decided to give his list no further thought. He would invite everybody and that would be the end of it. Why on earth had he decided to make a list anyway?. When had he got caught up in worldly judgement?. He did not know. Ah, but the barbecue, George would invite everyone and would personally make sure they all felt welcome. He would try and reach the souls that had not met Jesus and encourage the souls that had. That was why he was a vicar. Why had he been concerned with peoples appearances and pasts?. George caught a glimpse of himself in years gone by before he had met Jesus. It was not a pretty sight.

"Ah Yes" sighed George, "All are invited" As an after thought, George prayed, asking Jesus to help him lead a more christian life and to please dispel any satanic influences that may be lurking about. "In Jesus name Amen" he finished.

This time it was Belfry's turn to land in a heap. Just at the moment George had finished his prayer, Roachie had dissappeared in a puff of smoke. Belfry was left holding nothing but air where the demons head had been. This had caught him unawares and he stumbled to the ground, still beside himself with laughter. He picked himself up, dusted himself down and rejoined George.

George locked up his small church, and as he did so was gripped with an uncontrollable urge to laugh. Belfry was still in hysterics and George was approaching the same state, clutching his sides, tears streaming down his face and he hadn't the slightest idea as to why. George continued to giggle his way home, and in between outbursts, prayed for sunshine for the barbecue. As he continued laughing he decided that it had to be heavenly laughter, Jesus was sharing something funny with him.

George continued walking, and George continued laughing and Satan was listening.

Roachie and his Lord were not sharing the joke, they sat there scowling at each other. Satan did not like being laughed at and here was a vicar, an angel and none less than Jesus himself laughing at him. He tried to shut out the noise, but it echoed shamelessly through hell, three heavenly laughing voices......hahaha...hehehehehe...hahahaha.....it was not going to stop in a hurry....hahaha

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