The Vigil

There is a school of thought that postulates that there is little of no difference between religious fundamentalists and Star Trek fans. That both suffer from a narrow tunnel vision that doesn’t allow them to see the benefit of anyone elses point of view, that keeps them isolated from the rest of society and heaps scorn upon them from the uninitiated. Although Heather was now standing outside the lads flat, getting increasingly damp, waiting in severe vigil for Loz to ablute so she could exorcise the vileness as it passed from his body, it wasn’t her presence that Loz would have been worried about, not if he had seen her bedroom.

Heather had never quite managed to make if off of campus. Nobody was quite willing to share a house with her so she had ended up back in halls of residence not too long after leaving them. Resembling part of the set design for Prisoner Cell Block H, Heathers room consisted of a bed (with graffiti proudly proclaiming “Darren’s sperm marathon ’92” just above it), a small sink a a wardrobe. Every other available space, including the window, was covered in phtographs or drawings of Loz and pieces of scripture written in a meticulously neat script. Comparatively, she had already done the equivilent of learning Klingon and building her own replica of the ENterprises bridge. This did not bode well for the Ginger Warrior.

Loz emerged from the bathroom looking rather green, clashing with the purple scarfe he had wrapped around his face. “Good god man, that still smells!” he grumbled.

Alex however paid little attention, he was looking out of the window. Heather appeared to be chanting something or other and rattling a tambourine.

“Beer?” he asked Loz, sticking to the agreed forms superbly.

It obviously worked as Loz ceased his grumbling and accepted the tin of sustinence that Alex proffered from the beer fridge. A smell not dissimilar to lavender began to waft out ffrom the bathroom. , showing that Heathers exorcism may have had an effect. Either that or the airfreshner was rather more potent than Loz had given it credit for.

“I say me must. We only have tinned sprouts left and whilst I am a big Rankin fan, I have no wish to dine on sprouts endlessly. Or for that matter to allow Alex to do so.” said Loz firmly.

Saving the world was once more being interrupted for the lads by the more mundane practicalities of avoiding being gassed to death in their own home. Alex said nothing, for once slightly ashamed of the power the humble brussel exerted over him.

“Why is it,” said the potent expeller of noxious fumes, “that you never see James Bond popping down the corner shop for some cornflakes or nipping out for a curry? All this world saving derry doing is hungry work but the food doesn’t magic itself up out of nothing does it?”

Harry considered beginning a long ponder and then decided against it. He was hungry too and too much thinking on an empty stomach always made him grumpy.

“Lets just troop along to the corner shop, I reckon we can replenish our depleted stores there without the need for another epic trip to the supermarket just yet.” said Harry.

The other lads agreed and soon the expeditionary force was ready to depart. Loz sidled up to the window and peeked out through the net curtains. Heather was still resolutely there. In fact someone appeared to be giving her some money, Loz noted. He hoped and prayed that this had little or nothing to do with tambourine playing.

“Do you mind if we take the long way round? And go in disguise? And possibly wait until its dark and the moon isn’t quite so full?” worried Loz.

“Nonsense, she is but one person and has your best interests at heart- it doesn’t aid the plan to ignore her too long you know.” said Alex.

“Ah but she thinks I’m up here meditating on certain texts and trying to teach you chaps the error of your ways.” fretted Loz, “she’ll do her nut if she gets even an inkling of what’s really occurring.”

“True, but proper zeal blinds the most ardent of people.” said Alex, “Hmm, that’s pretty good actually, sounds like a proper philosophical quote. That’s copy righted as of now.”

“Hey!” exclaimed Harry, “We have an hitherto unspoken tacit agreement that there will be no official copy righting of phrases between us you know.”

“Now you come to mention it, I was tacitly aware of that self same agreement.” said Alex, “and I withdraw my ill thought out statement involving copy righting. Sorry.”

Mollified by Alex submission, Harry mentally stepped down from red alert to a mauve alert status. Things were still somewhat precarious, what with roaming wild beasts, fundamentalists, sex crazed cheese lovers and of course insane megalomaniacal plans to poison all the beer in the country but at least he didn’t have to worry about being sued for saying the wrong thing.

The front door opened so slowly that it would have taken a really keen eye to see any movement in it whatsoever. Unfortunately since the hinges were in considerable need of oil, anyone who wasn’t completely stone deaf could not help but hear the drawn out creak of opening.

“Funny isn’t it” whispered Alex, “That the tone of the creaking varies with the speed of opening the door. For instance, we’ve been opening it really slowly and the noise is somewhat akin to Brian Blessed with a sore throat. But, if I move it backwards and forwards quickly, it sounds like Mickey Mouse on helium.”

Alex then proceeded to demonstrate, as Loz turned an even whiter shade of pale behind his proto beard.

“Sush..” he began, only to suddenly stop as he heard the approaching jangle of a tambourine with the safety catch left off.

“Loz, is that you?” a voice called out from round the corner. The voice was soon joined by a moderately attractive girl. Her attractiveness would doubtlessly have been much improved by the removal of a tambourine from her left hand and the strange breed of luddite fundamentalism from her very personality. So, Alex thought to himself, if we removed her very essence and made her something she’s clearly not, she’d be attractive. Perhaps it’d be easier to start from scratch with someone else.

“Oh, I thought I heard Loz.” said Heather, subconsciously rattling her tambourine slightly every time she mentioned the ginger lodestones name. “Where is Loz?”

Where indeed was Loz, was the very question that Alex and Harry found themselves now pondering. That he had been present mere moments ago was pretty unshakeable fact but presently he did not appear to be there. Harry caught himself lifting his feet to make sure he somehow wasn’t standing on him, and grinned sheepishly.

“I’m sorry, you’re mistaken. Just me and Alex here, going about our pagan ways. Loz doesn’t like to hang about with us that much now days for some reason or other and when he does he spends most of his time repudiating. He’s become a bit of a bore actually.” said Harry.

Heather glowered at the alleged pagans whilst somehow simultaneously managing to look extremely love lorn. “And well he should!” she replied, “Loz is in the arms of severe temptation whilst living with you two manifestations of the evil one. That is why I am performing my silent vigil outside”

The shorter of the two manifestations leered suggestively at Heather, causing her to back off at pace. “Well I’ll be back when Loz is about then.”

With that Heather made a hasty departure, her tambourine beating the retreat. Quite how she was intending to keep silent vigil with the aid of a tambourine was anybody’s guess.

“Has she gone?” enquired the rubbish bin.

“Well, that certainly answers one question that sprung to mind. Yes, she has gone, back to take up her silent vigil outside our sitting room window.” replied Alex, as Loz clambered out of the wheelie bin.

Picking banana skins off his jumper, Loz wrinkled his nose. “It’s a good job we live mostly on lager and prepackaged stuff, otherwise that had some serious scope for being deeply unpleasant. More unpleasant potentially than a conversation with that wretched girl would have been.”

“Well, I reckon we can slip off down the alley way to the corner shop unimpeded now.” said Alex, jumping up and looking over the wall, “she’s removing the bells from her tambourine to give them a bit of a polish by the look of it. The cross eyed concentration she’s displaying is almost cute.”

And so the lads did, carefully avoiding the oversized piles of feline excrement that told a tale that they’d rather not hear at this point in time. The alleyway told a story different to the street out front, progress had not progressed to round the back of the flats, cobble stones had not been replaced by Mr. Macadam’s finest and some of the drains had a quaint open aspect to them. Even the odd rat looked, as well as hunted, somehow old fashioned. It was back alleyways like this that harkened back to the towns Victorian industrial heritage. If a chap had stepped into view wearing a bowler hat and sporting a huge handlebar moustache, none of the lads would have been particularly surprised.

“Psst, over here.” whispered a man wearing a bowler hat and sporting an enormous moustache. The lads turned their heads as one, focusing on the a jar gateway that the gentleman was leaning out of.

Once he was sure that he had the entire attention of the lads, the behatted fellow once more whispered, “Beware the fishmongers wife, for she knows!” in a loud theatrical whisper before slamming the gate shut and bolting it from the inside, leaving the lads to ponder the extremely cryptic warning that they had just been given.

“Now, there’s something you don’t see everyday.” mused Alex.

“What, some bloke who looks like he’s stepped out of a period costume drama, extolling the virtues of being prudent around nosy fish sellers?” queried a slightly confused Loz.

“No. Well, yes but in all meaningful relevant terms, no. I was thinking more of that large Bengal tiger that’s sitting on that shed roof over there.” Alex pointed at the silhouette of a rather large big cat that appeared to be grooming itself three door down. “I suggest we temporarily relocate ourselves to somewhere else.”

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