Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)
TITLE: Pulpitumís Persona
By Corinne Smelker
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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‚Äôt even say his name correctly insisting on ‚ÄėNickel‚Äô when it was ‚ÄėNeekol‚Äô. 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 ‚Äėup‚Äô.
Her dreams were demolished quicker than an old Las Vegas casino when Nicol invited me to his church. Oh I went to church ‚ÄĒ my free-wheeling, dancin‚Äô in the aisles, ‚ÄėThus says the Lord,‚Äô 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. ‚ÄúAre you kidding me?‚ÄĚ I said. ‚ÄúI haven‚Äôt seen so much ornamentation since I watched Princess Di‚Äôs wedding on TV.‚ÄĚ
Nicol chuckled and propelled me to a pew about halfway down the cavernous cathedral. I glanced around reminding myself to breathe while doing so.
‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs that?‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôd ever seen before. ‚ÄúDid Michelangelo make a stop here on his way to Italy?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs the pulpit,‚ÄĚ Nicol explained.
‚ÄúNo way!‚ÄĚ I lowered my voice as a woman seated in front of me gave me both beams of her heavily made-up eyes. ‚ÄúDoes the pastor think he‚Äôs like God or something?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúShhhh.‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôt good ‚Äėdoctor‚Äôs wife‚Äô material.
The pastor/reverence/his holiness (what did they call him?) stepped into the pulpit and raised his hands. I waved back.
‚ÄúStop it!‚ÄĚ Nicol hissed.
I couldn‚Äôt help myself. ‚Äú But it‚Äôs a good thing he‚Äôs not scared of heights right?‚ÄĚ
Nicol held his hymnal in front of his now-reddening face. ‚ÄúSing.‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôs head, and it mostly nodded. Five minutes into the sermon he let out a genteel snore and his wife, ‚Äėharridan lady‚Äô nudged him. ‚ÄúWha‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ 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. ‚ÄúIn Christ‚Äôs name I abjure the parents of the baby to come forward NOW!‚ÄĚ Maybe he always yelled at the new parents, I‚Äôll never know.
The slumbering man in front of me rose out his seat as though he‚Äôd been stung by a thousand wasps. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm here!!‚ÄĚ he yelled.
That was it. That‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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.
Names have NOT been changed to protect the entirely innocent!
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