...Just then the housekeeper Mrs Eagles arrived with a big plate of commitments....
“Would you like a bit of a spending now Father?” she asked
“No, Mrs. Eagle." replied Father Ed Miliy, "We’re not having any more spending commitments just now. We’re all full of spending our way out of debt for the moment.”
“Are you sure Father?" she enquired. "Old Father Jock used to love a good splurge. Morning, noon and night he'd be a spending. Do you know he used to get up at 4am, just to get a few extra billion spent before breakfast? Will you not just have a little bit of extra benefits to single mothers?”
“No, I’m quite all right thank you.”
“How about a lovely big IT project?.. The last NHS one was only £15 billion.Here’s one for schools. It’s got plenty of jam on it for our favoured contractors.”
“Mrs Eagle. No. I’m fine”
“Ahh, Father Ed..come on now. What about a bank? A nice juicy bank bailout?..Go on.
“No Mrs Eagle...We don’t want any more unsustainable spending. Its making people sick. Sick of us. ”
“Ahh, that’s a shame Father,” conceded Mrs Eagles disappointedly. “I’ve a couple of Battleship contracts for key Scots Labour constituencies that are going off in the fridge? Are you sure you won’t have a bit of a blow out?”
Father Ed shook his head.
“ ...No? ...Ok-So, I’ll be taking Father Jock out for his walk then. We’re going past that new Maggie Island International Bank. He loves that.”
“I didn’t know Maggie Island had a new bank? ”
“Yes, in the down town financial district. It’s the ‘Rio-Novosibirsk-Mumbai- Xīnběi’ local bank. Father Jock is very taken with place.
“I love my BRICs” bellowed the old priest, waving his tartan kebbie.
“I’ll get some spray for his chair too,” she said wrinkling her nose at it. “It does pong quite a bit. Smells of feet. Or maybe its defeat. Anyway, it needs a good scrub. Come along Father,” and she wheeled the old priest away.
"Right Kevin. We've work to do. Touring Maggie Island telling everyone how lean and responsible we're going to be in the future. No more selling off the gold chalice & crucifix. No more trebling the loans on the poor box. We're going to let the islanders know we're very different people now. Even if we are in fact, the same clergy as before, just with different jobs. I'm going to arrange for some media coverage. Lets get this new message on the road."
A week later Father Ed and Father McGuire were sitting at their dining table. Father McGuire was making an Airfix model of the Battleship Potemkin, whilst Father Ed read the Sunday Parish magazines. He held up a headline.
“NO MORE MAD SPENDING” says top priest,’he said. "And look Kevin. There’s a picture of me wagging my finger at a plate of Euros. And look at this from the Daily Grail.
“FATHER ED’S DIET. ‘DON’T SQUEEZE MY MIDDLE.” And Kevin, here’s a picture of me talking to that fellah with the hover mower. How middle class is that?”
“Oh yes. Remember, Ed. You got into an argument with him when he said he was a Protestant? He said he wanted to trim his hedge and you said he was doing it too fast and too deep. And he said if you don’t clear off he’d kick you in the bollocks.”
“He did get a bit prickly. I only said that if he trimmed the hedge maybe only 97% of what he was planning, it would look great. But if he did the whole 100%, it would die. Erm. Kevin..You’ve got a plastic funnel stuck up your nose. Isn’t it great though Kevin? This is going to be a big success. I can feel myself being a contender for the Maggie Island Father of the Year.”
“Yes, I think so Kevin.” And looking down modestly he added, ”I might also, be..you know..One day .. The Cardinal of Maggie Island.”
Father Jock suddenly awoke and let out a great laugh, pointed at Father Ed, laughed again even louder, belched..shouted something that sounded like ‘Feck’in wonk eejiit,’ farted and fell back to sleep in his chair.
“Well, anyway..” said Ed, somewhat deflated, “I didn’t mean now..maybe in a few years.” But then he clapped his hands in joy and brightened again. “ But for now Kevin, there’s nothing to do. Just feet up, have some tea, and watch a faith program on the BBC. One of those that tries to avoid any mention of religion at all. I think The Big Questions is coming from St Vince’s on Cable Island this week."
But as Father McGuire turned on the television and sat down happily to watch the telephone started ringing.
Father Ed answered brightly
“Hello? Maggie Island parochial house. Father Ed Milly speaking. ...” and suddenly his face turned from a smile to fear.
“Ahh! Bishop Brendan,” he trembled, “how nice to hear from you..”
Father Ed Part 1 -