The Rev Nigel Windstay was a busy chap and liked to keep his fingers in as many pies as possible: not all of them cooked by his wife. When she got particularly annoyed he would suggest she attend one of his Anger Management Classes which he ran at the village hall: she never did.
Many things irritate me; badly made toast, politicians with poorly chosen ties, politicians with no ties, politicians. Alright, you can see the list is never-ending and finally the Empress of the Living Room, otherwise known as Mavis, suggested I go to one of the vicar’s “Anger management classes” to see if I could learn to control my harrumphing, spluttering and general failure to be a good sport in the face of life’s whimsical irritations. I agreed under protest, and the threat of sanctions including no breakfast on a Saturday morning.
The Vicar was not one of my favourite people. Not in any hard and fast way but his syrapy all-round goodness of manner, if not character, was a feature I found it hard to enjoy. I’m not sure he had ever forgotten my scoffing a pork pie on the quiet during one of his sermons. His subsequent sickening display of forgiveness and understanding was enough to waken the mass- murderer in the laziest of souls.
So there I was, sitting in the class, trying to keep my mind entertained by reminiscing over recent football results when the Rev slithered up to my chair and said, “Just breath deeply”. “Sorry Reverend”, said I, clinging to politeness. “Breath deeply and let your mind fill with the blue of the sky”. “It’s full of football results” I said, trying to keep him up to speed on my recent mental development. “Soar like a bird; let the moment flow through you” he continued and he seemed to be grinning at me with a quality of slack-jawed vacancy which would have tried the patience of a corpse. “Let the sky lift your heart and let it float above the clouds” he continued, determined to show no mercy to this most reluctant recruit.
I would have soared but there seemed to be a sudden constriction in my throat and a faint thundering noise between my ears as the warbling twit continued to coo nonsense at me. I’m not one for psycho – babble but this passive-aggressive mind control claptrap sometimes needs a ‘short sharp shock’ in the way of a swift uppercut to the voice projection equipment.
I thought of discussing this strategy with the Vicar, when my fist, taking pre-emptive action, moved smoothly, but at some speed, to the side of his face. Ok, the rest of my body tried to apologise but the general commotion suggested that my words were having no effect. His Serene Eminence, the Reverend Nigel Windstay, stifled all conversation by clamping his teeth on the bicep region of the offending arm. His eyes, normally a pallid blue were now boiling over with emotions not seen since the bribery scandal at the local beauty contest in 2008. He appeared to morph into a deep sea fish thing, and rational dialogue was no longer on the menu. Odd whimpering noises escaped from the side of his mouth and he was batting my chest with his well-manicured hands. My arm, thinly protected by a once clean shirt, was enduring recordable levels of discomfort, which I tried to mitigate by grabbing his throat with my other hand.
By now I was aware of people trying to pull us apart, and of number of new visitors to the class, all dressed in blue and with a passion for blowing whistles. A quantity of water was emptied over our heads by a helpful member of the flower arranging class, normally located in the next room.
Both of us were invited to spend a night in the cells, followed by a visit to the Magistrates Court. It would have been rude to refuse. On my return from the Court, which involved transferring a significant amount from my bank account into the local council coffers, I arrived back at our small home. My wife was reading the local paper. It was hard to miss the headlines. “Fight Breaks Out in Anger Management Class. Vicar on Remand. ”
“No chance of a cooked breakfast then! I queried but silence was her only answer.