I am a Bible-basher. I bash my Bible. Usually, I bash it with my fists, bare-knuckled. Sometimes I wear boxing gloves. Occasionally I will give it a few hefty thumps with a rubber sap weighted with lead, more commonly deployed down dark alleyways by miscreants wearing trenchcoats in films noir. Or, if I am having one of my fits of hysteria, I will bash my Bible with whatever comes to hand, such as a plank of wood, a hammer, or a police truncheon. I am retired from the force now, but I still have a few truncheons lying around the flat here and there.
It happens from time to time that the din I create when bashing my Bible disturbs my downstairs neighbours. I am not sure if the ground floor flat is some kind of suburban seminary, but it is riddled with priests. Every so often one of them will come upstairs and reproach me. They let themselves in, being in possession of a set of keys to both my flat and my soul. It pains me that they think there is something sacrilegious in my bashing.
Letting fall my truncheon, or taking off my boxing gloves, or one of the other alternatives, as it may be, I try to explain to the priest what I am about. This bashing, I say, is done in a spirit of piety and devotion to Our Lady of the Crumpled Vestments. Invariably, no matter which of the priests has come up, there follows a theological debate so abstruse and hermetic and pernickety that you would not have a clue what I was talking about if I tried to summarise it in words of one syllable.
What I find most mysterious is that these debates are repeated every few days, with one or another of the downstairs priests, whenever I get a bit carried away bashing my Bible and make my floor, their ceiling, shake. Do they not talk to each other, down in their ground floor flat full of crucifixes and prayer books and censers? Do they never compare notes regarding the pious retired police officer upstairs whose devotion to Our Lady of the Crumpled Vestments is, at times, as I freely admit, maniacal? Do they not run through the theological debates and try to work out, among themselves, a method of defeating my compelling if abstruse logic? It seems they do not.
Things go a little differently with my upstairs neighbour, a voodoo worshipper whose terrifying devotions make an even greater racket than my bashing. But I do not reproach her. In fact, I have even offered to do her ironing for her. I am keen for her to take up my offer, one day, for then I will iron her voodoo robes and gowns in such a way as to reproduce precisely the creases and crumplings of Our Lady of the Crumpled Vestments’ vestments. And one more soul may be saved for Christ.