Humor Hedonism Philosophy Leeds Monty Python Theology Street evangelist Lust for life

Joy, 1980

By Patience Mackarness
Aug 17, 2019 · 336 words · 2 minutes


From the author: A street evangelist and a young theology student with extremely unspiritual concerns clash on a city street.


As she walked away, the young man yelled after Clare: 'I love you!' And although they were in a  public place, and  she knew it was unkind, she shouted back, 'Must dash, I'm late for a hot fuck!

She shouldn't  have stopped to talk to him in the first place. The pamphlets in his hand should have warned her.  It was cold, and she was in a hurry; she was on her way not to a sexual assignation but to the cinema to see Monty Python's Life of Brian, which this youth would certainly consider blasphemous. It wasn't even that she pitied him; on a busy Saturday afternoon in Leeds city centre, there were plenty of other people for him to pick on. But she had been unable to resist his opening line: 'What do YOU think is the biggest problem facing the world  today?'

She was twenty years old, halfway through a theology degree, and thought she was the dog's bollocks.  As rookie psychologists like to imagine themselves mindreaders, Clare thought courses in Mahayana Buddhism, Sufi mysticism and the Dead Sea Scrolls had equipped her to X-ray the human spirit. At the young evangelist's question, she put her head on one side and said: 'The biggest problem? Ignorance'. And they were off, he steering the talk back to Jesus at every turn, Clare swerving in the other direction with pompous references to Kant and Marx.

Frustrated, the young man said: 'But if you'd just open your eyes, there's so much love waiting for you, so much joy!'  No doubt this had worked for him before, the promise made and bam!  Another recruit for the army of heaven.

But Clare had left an ecstatically sweaty bed that morning, and would be returning to it later on. The delights of Monty Python awaited, probably accompanied by more groping in the back row. And afterwards, at an Italian restaurant on the Headrow, there would be pepperoni pizza, and red wine, and hot chocolate fudge cake with whipped cream.

This story originally appeared in .cent.


Patience Mackarness

Patience Mackarness is a flash fiction and short story writer.