Warming my hands by the fire, I snort in amusement. Above me one of my favourite reality sketch shows is just about to be acted out. I drop a few more coals in, then stoke the mass of burning embers before me. Very soon, high flames begin to rise, and I lean back on my easy chair, impatient for the first act to begin.
“Hurry up!” I shout, as the intrepid actors seem to tiptoe around the set. “I don’t want to see a happy ending!”
Eventually, Destroyer and Deviant open the bonnet, stick a pair of pliers deep into the engine, and an almighty bang lets rip.
“Ha!” I laugh in wicked glee. “That should do it!”
The scene switches to the entrance of an old people’s home, where Despair has already done a pretty good job. Mr. Sinclair sits waiting there, passively watching as nurses walk past from one room to another. A - dare I say it - Bible (the very word makes me shudder!) lies open in his lap. I snigger though, because at least he can’t read it now that his sight has gone! My pleasure is short lived however, as some irritating little voice reminds me that he has committed most of it to memory anyway.
And now - what’s this? Deceit and Disillusionment are standing right outside the door, just staring in at him. Why can’t they just go in? My blood begins to boil as I realise that the goody-two-shoes-brigade have got there just before them. A blinding halo of light, invisible to Mr. Sinclair surrounds the well-worn arm-chair. No wonder those two are locked out! I shout insults at them, as they just stand looking helpless.
“Well, duh!” Disillusionment replies cheekily. “We don’t have permission to go any further.”
Oh yes - Permission! I seeth as I watch the old man bask in content. It’s always there to remind me that authority isn’t ultimately mine. Why do I always have to ask to torment my victims? I shake my head at the two bumbling idiots standing out in the rain. Yet, they seem to stare back at their master questioningly.
I shove the poker into the fire with venom, knowing that the angels are there to stay. It has happened all too many times before. Just when we thought we were getting somewhere….
Hold on! What’s he doing here? I stamp my feet and shake my fist in rage. How could I forget that Johnny always gets a lift with Aaron on Thursdays? Not only has he got here, but he doesn’t even know that his car has broken down. That means that he’ll still be in a good mood! Why do my plans always backfire? I kick over the coal bucket.
Mr. Sinclair’s face lights up at the sound of Johnny’s voice.
Both grandsons exchange greetings with Mr. Sinclair, then talk about the weather for some time. They continue to talk about school and their part-time jobs. Good! I hope they don’t notice what’s sitting in his lap. I can barely watch.
Sooner or later, they do.
“I see you’ve got your Bible there, Grandad.” Aaron lifts the black book full of bookmarks.
“Would you read it to me, please?” Mr. Sinclair asks. “Perhaps you could take a Psalm.”
I take a step forward, as Aaron flicks through the pages. Perhaps a little distraction will do the trick. Maybe if his mobile phone were to buzz….
Aargh! Just as I reach the scene, the chain around my ankle tugs. I can’t go any further! This scene is one that is out of bounds. Writhing in fury, I glare at Despair, who is now cowering in a corner, and those two dopes, Deceit and Disillusionment have fallen asleep outside. It’s more than I can take, so I cover my ears, and close my eyes. Yet I cannot drown out the awful sounds I hear.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills -” Aaron begins. “Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber.”*
The curtain closes with a prayer offered up by all three, and the only applause to be heard comes from the gallery, where all the angelic hosts sit. I curse, as I am reminded again of my weakness. The script had never been mine to change.
*Psalm 121: 1-3 (NIV)
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