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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)

TITLE: Pulpitum’s Persona
By Corinne Smelker
11/20/07


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When the pastor asked for the baby’s parents to step forward and the man in front of me jumped up too, I lost it!

It had been a mistake from the beginning. Not just going to the church, but dating Nicol at all. To start off with I couldn’t even say his name correctly insisting on ‘Nickel’ when it was ‘Neekol’. Secondly, although we spoke a common language, it was my second, his first and we were cultures apart. But he was a doctor and my mother had aspirations of her daughter marrying ‘up’.

Her dreams were demolished quicker than an old Las Vegas casino when Nicol invited me to his church. Oh I went to church — my free-wheeling, dancin’ in the aisles, ‘Thus says the Lord,’ kind of church. His required an engraved invitation to enter the inner sanctum. I dressed in my most conservative best for this is momentous event.

Nicol opened the imposing double-baized doors but I stopped dead in the entrance. “Are you kidding me?” I said. “I haven’t seen so much ornamentation since I watched Princess Di’s wedding on TV.”
Nicol chuckled and propelled me to a pew about halfway down the cavernous cathedral. I glanced around reminding myself to breathe while doing so.
“What’s that?” I nodded my head towards a huge protuberance about three-quarters of the way up the front wall of the building. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before. “Did Michelangelo make a stop here on his way to Italy?”
“It’s the pulpit,” Nicol explained.
“No way!” I lowered my voice as a woman seated in front of me gave me both beams of her heavily made-up eyes. “Does the pastor think he’s like God or something?”
“Shhhh.” I could tell Nicol was amused, but trying to hide it. Part of his attraction to me was my irreverence, but we both knew I probably wasn’t good ‘doctor’s wife’ material.

The pastor/reverence/his holiness (what did they call him?) stepped into the pulpit and raised his hands. I waved back.
“Stop it!” Nicol hissed.
“Sorry.”
I couldn’t help myself. “ But it’s a good thing he’s not scared of heights right?”
Nicol held his hymnal in front of his now-reddening face. “Sing.” He commanded.
I cast my glance around for another hymnal as the music began for a well-known hymn. I lustily sang a few bars until I realized I was singing in the wrong language. Nicol discreetly moved a couple of paces away from me. I got through the remainder of the hymns without further mishap then sat with the congregation for the homily.

I don’t remember a word of the sermon, engrossed as I was in watching both the demigod in the pulpit and the couple in front of me. She, I had already seen, but I only ever saw the back of the other person’s head, and it mostly nodded. Five minutes into the sermon he let out a genteel snore and his wife, ‘harridan lady’ nudged him. “Wha…” he shook his head and pretended to focus his attention on the high muckity-muck but it was only a matter of moments before his gaze dropped from the lofty spires of the platform and his chin rested on his chest.

At some point in the proceedings the most revered one motioned to one of his minions who in turn gestured to a young couple holding a baby. Obviously a baptism was about to occur. The exalted one regally spread his arms. “In Christ’s name I abjure the parents of the baby to come forward NOW!” Maybe he always yelled at the new parents, I’ll never know.

The slumbering man in front of me rose out his seat as though he’d been stung by a thousand wasps. “I’m here!!” he yelled.

That was it. That’s all she wrote. I completely lost it. Giggles of mirth turned to gales of laughter, and the most holy one glared down at me from his ornate stage. Nicol sat with head in his hands, shaking it gently. At that moment I knew all hope of becoming a doctor’s wife was gone. I crept alone out of the claustrophobic atmosphere into the freedom of the non-sanctified air where I could whoop and holler in sheer abandon.

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Names have NOT been changed to protect the entirely innocent!


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This article has been read 811 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/22/07
Such fun! I enjoyed this very much.
Sharlyn Guthrie11/23/07
I love your humor. Still, I wish the romance had worked out. What fun to read. I could see it all.
Betty Castleberry11/23/07
This is fun. Love the originality.
Joanne Sher 11/24/07
Just fun - great stuff. I loved this piece.
Dee Yoder 11/24/07
Love the descriptions of the "man of God" and the "pulpit". The ending made me smile, and I for one, am glad she wasn't to be the doctor's wife! Can you imagine having to go through that kind of service every week?!
Gregory Kane11/27/07
Deliciously irreverent – I loved it. How refreshing when we can poke fun at ourselves.
I did wonder about the allusion to Princess Di’s wedding. That took place back in 1981 so either the story is set in the past or the narrator’s no spring chicken herself.