God's Shoehorn VII
Mrs Parsonage shifted from one foot to the other uncomfortably as she waited in the Lobby of the Crowne Plaza in Haifa. She ignored her reflection in the wall mirror studiously. If she had looked, she would have seen a tall, beautifully tan-skinned woman with long dark hair in lustrous curls and a sharp business suit. This was not what Mrs Parsonage usually saw when she looked in the mirror, and she found ‘glamour’ spells distasteful at best. However, needs must and now was definitely a time of need.
The receptionist at front desk was eyeing her suspiciously. This was most likely because she was also a tall, beautifully tan-skinned woman with long dark hair in lustrous curls and a sharp business suit that looked as if it could have been made by the very same tailor. Mrs Parsonage seemed to have been identified as a personal threat. She was too similar. Mrs Parsonage held back a sigh and tried to ignore the bitchy little death stares the woman was angling her way in between dealing with customers. The queue between Mrs Parsonage and the receptionist was diminishing. She started to sweat.
A burka-wearing lady sashayed away from the front desk and Mrs Parsonage fake smiled at the glaring receptionist nicely.
‘Hi there’ said Mrs Parsonage trying to soften her strong west-country accent, ‘I’m from the agency – I’m here to see Mr Adelaide.’
The receptionist blinked in surprise and looked Mrs Parsonage up and down in distaste. She knew very well who Mrs Parsonage meant by Mr Adelaide – it was a Pseudonym Justin Beiber had been using in recent weeks. Young Layla had coaxed the information from a security official she’d followed from the festival site into town. She claimed to have used her ‘feminine wiles’ which Mrs Parsonage would rather not think about but which her other apprentice had calmly informed her meant she’d ‘shagged the poor bugger’. That had earned her a punch in the ear from a red-cheeked Layla. It had taken Mrs Parsonage forty minutes to break up that fight... and they three were meant to save the world from an untimely end? Sweet Jesus!
‘You have an appointment?’ drawled the (apparently Russian) receptionist.
‘Course oi ‘ave!’ scoffed Mrs Parsonage forgetting to control her accent, ‘Wouldn’t be ‘ere otherwoise wud oi?!’ The receptionist stared, gob-smacked. That wasn’t the sort of voice that came out of the sort of body Mrs Parsonage was currently wearing. Mrs Parsonage cursed silently – her nervousness was actually making the accent problem worse! She reigned herself in and tried to focus her efforts.
‘Look here young lady’ she recommenced. The young lady in question looked offended – she couldn’t be any younger than the tall brunette accosting her surely?! ‘I have an appointment with Mr Adelaide for 14:00 and you’ve already held me up here for ten minutes! Are you going to send me on up or waste more of Mr Adelaide’s time?!’
The receptionist opened and shut her mouth a couple of times, wilting under the heat of Mrs Parsonage’s glare. Mrs Parsonage could stare down a rock.
‘Go on through’ said the woman reluctantly, ‘It’s suite 365.’
‘Thank you!’ said Mrs Parsonage primly, and stomped past the front desk and through the double doors leading to the corridor of luxury suites. She knew she should have tried to stay in character and walk elegantly, but she was far too long in the tooth for all that messing about. A good old-fashioned stomp would have to do. She made a mental note to send a letter of complaint to the Hotel MD. That awful woman on reception hadn’t even phoned through to check if she did have an appointment! That was terribly unprofessional in Mrs. Parsonage’s book and she’d hate for some other innocent guest of the hotel to have unwanted visitors. Mrs Parsonage found herself standing outside suite 365. Now came the tricky bit.
The knocking noise of her knuckles wrapping on the good solid wood of the door to suite 365 echoed around the empty corridor ominously. Mrs Parsonage shivered and prepared her little speech again in her mind. She was from the record label, they needed him to have a look at a new contract they’d written up as their lawyers weren’t happy with some of the small print in the original.
The man who opened the door wasn't Justin Beiber. He wasn't even a man really. It was the red glow emanating from behind his expensive-looking sunglasses that gave it away.
'Hello there' said Lucifer, 'Mrs Parsonage isn't it? I believe you have an appointment with my son?'
It was at this point that Mrs Parsonage fainted dead away. The glamour spell faded instantly. Lucifer looked down at the little heap of old lady that was sprawled ungracefully across his eight hundred dollar shoes.
'Oh for goodness sakes!' he sighed. and clicked his fingers. Mrs Parsonage's limp frame levitated gently and followed the devil inside suite 365. He deposited the unconscious witch on the sofa. Justin was sitting there looking a little pale and wan. He barely noticed the grey haired and wooly heap beside him. He was shaking a little.
'Is it really so hard to accept?' sighed Lucifer and Justin's wide eyes flickered to his newly discovered progenitor.
'That I'm the antichrist?' he hissed angrily, 'I was raised a Christian!' Lucifer shrugged and manifested a glass of fine Hungarian Tokai. He took a sip.
'Hey - you can't choose your parents! Am I right?' Justin gave his father a look.
'Apparently not' he said flatly.
'Did I come at an awkward time?' asked Mrs Parsonage who had come around some moments ago and had been listening to the exchange with some interest.
'Not at all' said Lucifer in painfully polite tones, 'I just explained to my son how I'd been looking out for him, ensuring his success and whatknot. He is being a trifle ungrateful!'
'Well' said Mrs Parsonage sitting up and sharing a look with young Justin, 'He was probably thinking it was down to his talent and drive to succeed and all that. Bit of a blow finding out its cos his dad has connections in the music industry, eh?' Justin nodded bleakly.
'Hadn't thought about it like that' conceded Lucifer musingly.
'I don't expect you did' sniffed Mrs Parsonage. Lucifer gave Justin an apologetic grin,
'Sorry 'bout that.' he tried, 'Still you know you do have some talent' he continued, looking to Mrs Parsonage for support.
'Oh yes!' agreed Mrs Parsonage patting Justin's back in a patronizing manner.
'It's just - talent isn't necessarily all that important when it comes to success in the music industry.'
'Oh I know that' snapped Justin straightening his back defensively.
'I mean, just take the Spice Girls for example!' chipped in Mrs Parsonage. Lucifer had the grace to look a little guilty at that. Mrs Parsonage gave him a frown and sniffed.
'Some of your lot are they?' she said and Lucifer shrugged elegantly.
'Well you didn't think Posh was actually human did you?' he said. Justin and Mrs Parsonage exchange glances and conceding nods. The man had a point.
'Look' said Lucifer shaking himself, 'I'm getting distracted here - you...'
'Yes dear?' answered Mrs Parsonage with an irritatingly earnest smile.
'You need to stop sticking your nose in my business!' he finished sharply.
'Whatever you say dear' she agreed and calmly stood, picking bits of imagined lint from her cardigan, 'I'll be off then shall I?' she asked.
'Oh' said Lucifer, slightly surprised at how easy that had gone and wondering at his own relief. This Mrs Parsonage was had a strangely powerful presence. 'Um... yes I suppose so.' He agreed after a moment, and watched his unwanted guest let herself out with a bemused frown on his face. He had a sneaking suspicion he'd been had - but he wasn't quite sure how. Lucifer glanced at Justin suspiciously.
'What?' his son demanded petulantly. Lucifer shook his head.
'Nothing' he muttered, 'nothing at all...'
In the hall outside suite 365 Mrs Parsonage looked down at the crumpled up piece of paper she'd held tightly in her palm. She unfurled it as she walked and read the note silently.
Dear Mrs Parsonage It read, I know more than my father thinks. Don't worry - his farsight is blind when it comes to me so he won't know of this little message. I have been waiting to meet you ever since I started dreaming. Be at the Crucious Inn tomorrow morning at 6 am. I have pre-ordered breakfast. Your favorite is Eggs Benedict I believe?
'Goodness me!' murmured Mrs Parsonage, enjoying the anonymity of late middle-aged dowdiness as she walked straight past the reception desk without drawing a single eye. 'What a nice young man!'
Previous chapters in this series
- God's Shoehorn VI
- God's Shoehorn (Chapter V)
In this chapter, Paul is shown around his new place of work (Hell) by Lucifer and Mrs Parsonage takes her coven to seek out the Antichrist.
- God's Shoehorn (Chapter III)
- God's Shoehorn (Chapter IV)
In this fourth chapter of God's Shoehorn, God tries to reason with Paul and Mrs Parsonage gathers her troops.
- God's Shoehorn (Chapter II)
In this second chapter of God's Shoehorn, Paul has a surprise meeting with the devil in a coffee shop, and Mrs Parsonage goes looking for artifacts of occult significance under Lindesfarne Abbey.
- God's Shoehorn
In this hub inspired by my 'activities to inspire your creative writing hub' (pats self on back in egotistical self-aggrandizement) - Father Paul falls out with God and Mrs Parsonage communes with dark forces. Read on to find out how...