ask the Bishop

He looked just like fat Doctor Snickerby.

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Copyright © 2016, Michael M Wayman

The new vicar was much better, still hopeless with the Religious Instruction, but without the fumbling. I got to thinking about the last vicar, he had been found naked in a cupboard and he then disappeared for good.

I asked everybody about him, but nobody knew, nobody wanted to talk about him, only about the new vicar.

No, it was clear, he had not disappeared, he had been disappeared. He had been given a new job somewhere else and hopefully far away from children. The Matron was in charge of all the carers in the home, so who was the chief of all the vicars? I asked the new vicar.

“Aha, good question. The Bishop is in charge of all the priests in the diocese. This is the diocese.” He helpfully drew a finger around it on the big map on the wall. “And here in the middle is the cathedral. It's a very big church for our Bishop. There are about twenty dioceses, each with a bishop or two. And I know what your next question is. The Archbishop is in charge of all the bishops and there is only one of her.”

Hopefully “our Bishop” had done the right thing and put the last vicar where he could do no harm. But no, something very bad had happened.

“You are bigger than us, you know more about things than we do, the carers are scared of you.” What did little Fiona want? “I gotta tell you something.” We sat down together and she told me and she showed me.

I put my arms around her and hugged her, very gently, I did not want to hurt her wounds. “Put your hand in my left pocket, there are two doughnuts. No, no, both for you.” Fiona ate them and I cried.

“He did that to you?” “He said I had the Devil in me and he had to drive them out of me with a whip. It hurt so much. He did it every week. I'm glad he's gone.”

I promised Fiona that I would go to the big town and visit the Bishop in his big cathedral and tell him what the last vicar had done to her. Something had to be done.

Easy you think? Just disappear and reappear fifteen kilometres away in the big town. No, it doesn't work like that. I used my white bicycle. I had found it in an old shed in the garden, cleaned it, repaired it and painted it white with some paint from the shed.

I had a good look at the map, got on the bike and off I went wearing a white blouse and a pair of white jeans borrowed from a washing line. I was the girl in white.

I had never been so far on the bike before, but the big town was easy to find and so was the cathedral. It was really big with a huge spire and really big inside. A service was just starting, I took a seat and stood. The organ played, a big procession of men in frilly clothes walked up the aisle to the altar.

That must be the Bishop, him with the big hat. My heart sank, he looked just like fat Doctor Snickerby, one of the governors of the home. The governors visited the home once a year, we had to dance and sing for them, otherwise they ignored us. They had a long chat and a big meal with the Matron and that was all. They were full of themselves and food and had no time for us.

I rode home, the day had been very interesting, though a failure. I would have to use the thing between my ears, my cunning, everything I had to find the last vicar.