CHAPTER ADDENDUM VATICAAANICUM: A VISITATION FROM THE MIRROR UNIVERSE HOLY MOTHER (PART THREE)
I do remember that on that particular March evening of every year, at a minute or two to midnight, we left the flat lemonade out in the middle of the sitting room with an air of trepidipity. There would be at least a dozen bottles sitting on the carpet awaiting collection. Father took charge of just a few things in the house: For example, he looked after the fireworks, the razors when Mother hadn’t pawned them, the smoked kippers, the drink, and that goddamned Ouija Board that was used to summon the Bearded Madonna.
Employing a simple bottle cap from one of the mineral containers, Father would crouch over the board and perform his “stunt” – the calling of the Stunt Double Mary. Usually, it wasn’t a money making scheme but one time, crouching over that board, he won twenty seven shillings from the local exorcist curate, after getting 118 points with ZYGOTES.
After the calling, there’d be the familiar whoosh of a broomstick on the rooftop, followed by a hefty, phlegmy cackle, a big hefting heave of a thing, coughed up from the very bowels of a tuberculoid’s shtomach.
Up we’d leap off the sofa and the armchairs, in something of a mad panic, terrified that we ourselves would become consumptive – as our immunity wouldn’t have tolerated a mirror universe kind of tuberculosis, and scramble we would around behind the furniture, each of us children and the two parents to boot trying to get a good vantage point while also remaining hidden behind the furniture, fighting for a chance at a good view. Sometimes the fire may have been lit if we could afford it, and the weather was still cold. If this was the case that year, there was a spitting sound, and a gloopy noise heard above our heads on the roof slates that then manifested itself as a kind of bomblike whistling, before an ectoplasmic ooze landed in the hearth, dousing those flames with ease and gloop and shmoke.
The blazing fire would be extinguished, indicating that Reverse Stunt Double Mary would soon be making her appearance.
“Kawwwww! Tooo-whit! Tooo-whooo!” we would hear her shriek, followed by a screech from her evil cat Bastet. (Bastet the cat was kind of like a reverse Offensive Jesus, suggesting that Jesus plagiarised all his stuff from that cat worshipping Feckin’ Egypt. Bastet appeared in all the iconography under his mother’s head, with the piercing and cheeky green eyes on him.) Then, with just a whisper of magical – and sooty – fairy dust coming in down the chimney and out of the fireplace, the Reverse Stunt Double Holy Mother would materialise in our very living room.
How and ever, this annual custom came to an end the day I prepared the empty potato sack and put it under the sofa.
Backwards Bloody Mary, as she may have also been known, appeared in the living room with her shawl wrapped around her, her broomstick in her hand and her cat on her shoulder.
“Where’s thaaAAAAT flaAAAAT lemonade?” she uttered, as her eyes fell upon the collection of bottles in the middle of the carpet. Rubbing her hands in cackling glee, she bent down to pick the first of them up – a lovely cream soda, so it was, opened it and brought it to her lips. Her head went back, glug, glug, glug, and in three or four little bobs of her Adam’s apple (Reverse Mary’s cross-gender indications being an added phenomenon to the myth), she had emptied the flat lemonade into her belly. She gasped and picked up a bottle of flat Kelly’s Cola. Now’s my chance, I said to myself. Her head went back to drink the next bottle and I leapt out from behind the couch, and threw the sack over her head. Her broomstick fell to the floor as she struggled against me, and I brought the meshy container straight down to her ankles.
Both herself and Bastet the cat started to shriek in the darkness of that sack. Then, silence. The bag went lifeless and I released it. Falling to the carpet, herself and the cat had gone. In their place were hundreds and hundreds of heavily buttered egg and krill sandwiches, cut diagonally, but in reverse, so that the crust was actually on the inside.
“What happened, Father?” I asked, looking up at him whimperingly, and back down at the stinky sandwiches. “I’m confused.”
“We’re all confused, son,” he said, scratching his chin. “We’re all confused.”
And then we all started to cry, and ever so slowly, Brother Larry - with his legs for teeth and his teeth for legs - climbed up onto the piano stool, and began to tinkle the top half dozen or so piano keys, as he stared into the middle distance in bewildered wonderment and awe.
AND SO ENDS THE HALLOWE'EN SPECIAL.
AND SO ENDS THE HALLOWE'EN SPECIAL.