Double hecky parkin! This really IS Pagan Purple!
I'm blushing as red as a Series Three service booklet. He smiles.
'Miss Boron.' He extends a long-fingered hand to me. Cripes, he'd be a cracking spin bowler, I think irrelevantly. 'I'm Pagan Purple. Are you all right?'
I dust off my crumpled blue cassock and get to my feet. 'I'm fine thanks,' I blurt.
So young. So young and attractive. I can't help myself, I break out into italics!
He's tall, too, in his grey Cerruti suit with a subtle pale lilac stripe, and his unruly copper-coloured hair that ought to clash with his beautifully tailored pure cotton lawn magenta shirt made by the Vatican outfitters in Rome itself, but somehow doesn't. His 22 carat gold pectoral cross with its cabochon amethyst surrounded by Tiffany solitaire diamonds glints in an understated and somehow upper class way, reminding me I am just a simple Yorkshire lay reader.
'Have a seat,' he says, and gestures with his long fingers to an L-shaped white leather and chrome pew lavishly upholstered in deep plush velvet the colour of African violets.
Triple buttered pikelets! Nobody should be this good-looking!
I sit. His intense bright grey yet strangely lilac-tinted eyes bore into mine shrewdly. I find my voice. 'Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Archbishop Purple.'
'You're welcome, Miss Boron.'
His study is way to big for one man, even if he is the archbishop of the entire northern hemisphere. I glance out of the vast window with its panoramic view across the private deerpark and the City of London skyline in the background.
Then I reach into my Sainsbury's Bag-for-life and get out my ancient dictaphone, blushing for some reason. I put it on the genuine Renaissance Spanish marquetry coffee table and knock it over a few times in my clumsy yet endearing way, blushing as red as the piping on a canonical cassock.
Finally, sensing that the reader is getting bored with all this pissing about, I tuck a lock of my unruly hair behind my ear and start the interview: 'Archbishop Pagan Purple, you are very young to have risen to this position of phenomenal cosmic power within the Anglican Communion. To what do you owe your success?'
His smile is rueful. 'The church is about people, Miss Boron. I'm good at judging people. I know what makes them tick and how to incentivize them. I employ exceptional priests, and I deploy them well. And obviously I pray a good deal,' he adds, pausing and fixing me with his intense stare, stroking his mesmerising lower lip with a long fore-finger. 'But in order to succeed, one must master the scheme. I make a point of mastery.'
He's so arrogant! I can't believe how arrogant this immensely successful young multi-millionaire archbishop is!
'You sound like a control freak!' I blurt in my blurty way, cursing myself for blurting and suddenly remembering how stupidly big my eyes are, and how blue. It must be this room. It's so swanky. I feel out of place, like the simple Yorkshire lay reader and cub reporter I actually am.
'Oh yes, I like to control things, Miss Boron,' he replies without a trace of humour.
And suddenly I'm aware of the reader thinking Yadda-yadda-yadda, when do we get to the sex? So I race on through the rest of my questions, pausing now and then to gush inwardly over how insanely good looking and rich he is, alternating this with cringing in mortification about my big eyes and blurting, to the bit where I ask him what he does to chill out.
'To "chill out" as you put it, I fly, I sail, I collect valuable 17th century icons and first editions of Tom Wright's scholarly works, and I indulge in various physical pursuits.' He flexes his long fore-fingers. 'I'm a very wealthy man, Miss Boron, and I have expensive and absorbing hobbies.'
There's a knock at the door. It's the blond chaplain chap in the heather leather chaps. 'Archbishop Purple, forgive me for interrupting,' he says hesitatingly, 'but your next meeting is in two minutes.'
'Cancel it, Andreas. We are not through here with the meaningful pauses and innuendoes,' he says.
With a graceful genuflection, Andreas leaves us.
'So Miss Boron,' says Pagan Purple, steepling his fingers rather appropriately for a churchman, 'Let me offer you a job for no particular reason.'
Strange muscles clench in my belly, and I abandon the chapter to continue with my glass of wine before my brain explodes out of my ears at the sheer effort of maintaining the narrative.
TO BE CONTINUED....
I'm longing for Howatch healing and exorcising power to begin too...!ReplyDelete