According to the bible there were many demons in existence. Approximately one third of heavens angels had been demonised along with Satan. These fallen angels had names like Lucifer, Armen and Turel. Jack Daniels never got a mention in the good book but the demon drink took many forms and Pablo was now firmly in its grip after indulging himself in too many pints of Fosters. This was an easy-drinking lager which the makers professed was perfectly balanced with moderate vanilla tasting notes and no hard edges or bitter after taste. Pablo's taste for it had been well and truly satisfied over the course of the previous six hours. The demon drink however still craved his attention which was why he was now swallowing Jack Daniels Tennessee sippin whiskey in a manner not advocated by the drink responsibly campaign. The whiskey had been charcoal mellowed drop by drop and aged in handcrafted barrels. Jack Daniel had reportedly not followed a calendar to determine when the whiskey was ready but used his senses. It was ready when his taste buds told him it was. In fact, more than a century later, just like Jack Daniel himself did, Pablo was judging the Tennessee Whiskey exactly the same way. No clock or time measurement dictated if he had enough. His craving was to a certain extent determined by the way it looked, the way it smelled and the way it tasted, which was why he had drowned it in Coca Cola, but also by his capacity to consume and acquire it. The ability to walk and talk sometimes helped but Pablo had on occasions lost the ability to perform both these functions whilst still retaining the ability to swallow his Jack. On this particular occasion his vocal and motion systems were functioning albeit on a reduced capacity. He wasn't quite staggering yet but there was a definite sway as he manoeuvred about the bar. His voice had not degenerated into the mumbles of incoherency uttered by completely out their face itinerants but had been affected by a slight slur. Everything considered he was in fairly good nick for a man who had spent the last six hours consuming a bucket and a half of Fosters lager and close to a litre of Jack Daniels. Whilst normal men, or even many wild blue arsed Scots men, may have been reduced to gibbering vomiting wrecks, Pablo was still on his feet, still swallowing and still chasing the root of all evil.
Describing Candice Johnston as being the root of all evil was a little harsh. 'Don't stop believing' was blaring from the juke box. She was just a small town girl, living in a lonely world and she had a smile that left Pablo believing they could share some time and find some comfort in each other’s company. Candice wanted to feel loved but her search for true companionship had so far proved fruitless. The men she had encountered in her life had not lived up to her expectations. Maybe she had expected too much or maybe she had just been unlucky. Maybe she was destined to be alone forever. Her confidence in her ability to attract and secure a lifelong companion who would covet and look after her had diminished after so many failed attempts. Men were no longer a priority. At least that's what she told herself but like a moth to a flame she was drawn to a certain type. In front of her was a classic example. A good looking, puppy eyed, smiling drunk who would probably never amount to anything was sitting in front of her taking shite and she couldn't help herself. She couldn't stop believing.
Pablo was just a North Berwick Boy. He had been cautioned about girls like Candice. Possessive, bunny boilers, with low self esteem willing to take the midnight train going anywhere. The smell of her cheap perfume merged with the odour of alcohol and ignited to produce a physical desire to share the night. Pablo had been warned about Candice’s type and he always bet on them. He couldn't stop believing so the dice was rolled just one more time and he walked her to the back door,
"Some will win, some will lose, some were born to sing the blues," echoed as they disappeared, from the bar, their shadows searching in the night. Both were now possessed by the demon of desire.
Possession was a bit of a problem at the Vatican. The field of demonology and exorcism was covered mainly by Praenotanda of the new 1998 Rite of Exorcism. Demonic obsession often lay dormant within the church for centuries at a time but coincidentally following the recent sex abuse scandals and the fact society was becoming more materialistic and non religious it was a phenomenon which was once again coming to the fore. Non believers would argue that the Catholic Church was using exorcism to reassert the relevance of the church and reinstate the inimitable power it once had before global modernisation caused its restless flock to desert in large numbers. It was reported that in recent years one in three adult members had lost the faith and left the Church. Believers would advocate that the church was battling against cosmic forces of evil and that only the church would be able to help when the Devil came.
The number of exorcists within the Catholic Church was growing and Father Joseph Paprocki was a member of one of the Pope’s exorcist squads set up to wage war on Satan. A graduate of the Vatican's exorcism course, he believed interest in Satanism and the occult was growing as people lost faith with the church. People were suffering and under an illusion that turning to the Devil could help solve their problems. The Vatican was being bombarded by requests for exorcisms as young people became more exposed to the influence of Satanic sects through rock music and the Internet. Various apocalyptic prognostications also suggested the world was spinning closer to its end and demonic power was growing stronger and sucking in more human victims. Watching the nightly news during these last few years may have convinced some contemporary Catholics that the end was indeed nigh.
Father Paprocki's train was also nearing the end of the line. He was on route to the quiet sea side town of North Berwick but he was not associated with the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh. He was with The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. An elite member of the CDF or the Holy Office on a special mission sanctioned by the Vatican. As his train drew into North Berwick station a young lady alighted from her seat and walked towards the doors. Where a younger more virile man, not under the obligation of celibacy, may have seen a slender figure with long luscious legs and a tidy wee arse, Father Paprocki merely saw a young lady in breach of the Vatican dress code. Unfortunately for him his travelling companion saw exactly what most young men his age would recognise and wasn't shy about expressing himself.
"Whit die ye think Pop Rock. That is one bad kitty. I'd risk being damned for a hurl on that!"
Father Paprocki looked on his charge with dismay and sympathy. He believed Jimmy had almost lost his soul to Satan and were it was not for the intervention of the church who had exorcised his demon he would already be damned. Jimmy was now in Paprocki's care and that was thought of by many others as a bigger curse on Paprocki than possession of his own soul, by the devil himself, would have been. Many in the priesthood believed Jimmy was still possessed but Father Paprocki had faith. He wouldn't stop believing. "See you Jimmy," he murmured and then recited the St Michael prayer.
Jimmy Collins was a fourth generation Scottish-Irish immigrant. The son of a fanatical Rangers supporting protestant father and a god fearing catholic mother. They had an explosive relationship which survived long enough for him to be baptised in the Church of Scotland but soon left him alone in a single parent family dominated by the Catholic Church. Brought up in the West of Scotland, he never had a chance. His mother was convinced, by the local priest, that her husband had been possessed by the devil. That made Jimmy a son of Satan. Every family in Coatbridge knew he was the result of a mixed marriage and the fact he had been christened as a protestant but brought up by a catholic mother was detrimental to his upbringing. There was no hiding place for a protestant in a Coatbridge Catholic School and the teachers, the pupils and the priests all made it their business to beat the demons from his body. Jimmy was made of strong stuff though. He was also quick witted and intelligent. With every beating he grew stronger. He refused to accept the authority of the Catholic Church and questioned everything. This only caused more beatings and provided more evidence which, in the eyes of the church, confirmed that he was possessed by the same demons which had corrupted his father. He was continually preached at about sin, sinners and hell. Fire and brimstone and an eternity of suffering was waiting for him, in the next life, if he didn't succumb to the will of the church and ultimately God. Jimmy didn't listen he was a true protest-ant. He studied the same scriptures and discounted the priest’s interpretations coming up with arguments to negate the drivel he believed the priests were spouting. More beatings followed and Jimmy cracked. He took to drink, drugs and crime. He went out his way to attack the catholic beliefs they had tried to indoctrinate him with. The Orange Order, Rangers Supporters Clubs, Masonic Lodge, Protestant Church, UDA, UVF anything with a perceived anti catholic bias he attempted to join but his extreme views got the better of him and after turning to violence he fell foul of the law and his drink and drug problems were magnified. Eventually he was down, out and rescued from the gutter by the very people he had set out to vilify. At the behest of his mother, the local priest had arranged for a qualified exorcist to drive the demon from Jimmy so he could be brought back to his senses. Father Paprocki had been drafted in from The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and he spent months with Jimmy weaning him off the drugs and exorcising the demon from his body. Jimmy had by this time realised he was on the brink of self destruction and felt the only demon he had to expel was the heroin but he also had a change of heart. Father Paprocki was a humble guy. He wasn't like the other priests. He didn't preach. He talked, he reasoned and he prayed but he didn't threaten eternal damnation. He hinted at it on occasions but in more of an informative way than a threatening way. He educated in a way that emphasised choices. Jimmy still thought the choices were shite and limited though. Complete blind faith and unconditional subservience or the big bad fire. They both sounded pish but Jimmy had just come through a hell of his own and he wasn't keen on going back so he decided to call a truce until he got himself straightened out again. Whatever else, he was a man of honour and promises to his mother and himself that he would never go back to a heroin induced hell on earth was enough for him to cooperate with Father Paprocki. He didn't give a shit about God, the church or religion but he decided hanging out with Paprocki was better than going back to the gutter. Jimmy just wanted a bit of breathing space but the big question in his mind was why Paprocki was willing to put up with all his shit. Jimmy was always knocking 'Pop Rock' which was what he had started calling his new mentor. At every turn Jimmy would mock his beliefs, try and embarrass or annoy him. It was Jimmy's way of resolving the conflict going on in his head. The Dad V God conflict. Dad was a cunt but at least he was an educated cunt who had a scientific argument for everything and was more likely to suggest any supreme being that had ever had any interest in earth were mortal spacemen not some omnipresent god who created the universe. Paprocki didn't question he just believed in God but Jimmy couldn't hack that either. As far as Jimmy was concerned God was as big a cunt as his dad if not bigger. He was one self centred Deity who required all or nothing from his followers. His way or the hell way. No questions just blind devotion. No down time for anything just God worship and if you didn't defer you were fucked. Paprocki could keep his god. Jimmy would keep asking questions and take his chances with the Devil. He wasn't deferring to any cunt.
For Father Paprocki, life was a constant fight against the Devil. His influence was everywhere. The Devil had possessed Jimmy Collins and Father Paprocki had driven him out but Paprocki knew the Devil would return and try to reclaim Jimmy's soul. When he did Paprocki would be waiting for him. Paprocki saw Jimmy as a gateway from hell and he was ready and waiting to act as an instrument of God as soon as Satan poked his head out the door so he could be sent back to the fire and brimstone where God had deemed he would spend eternity. That was basically why the most two unlikely companions, an anti-catholic, Rangers supporting, son of Satan and a devout Catholic Priest on a mission to destroy the Devil, were about to debate the attraction or dangers associated with a tidy wee arse on a slender young girl leaving the train at North Berwick.
Collins had basically dangled a fly in front of Paprocki and he had appeared to swallow it hook line and sinker. The catholic line about God frowning on any form of sex that can’t cause pregnancy was delivered followed by the belief that even all sexual intercourse between husbands and their wives was wrong if they used birth control because they are having sex for pleasure instead of procreation. Collins knew there were many ways to interpret the bible and from his studies fornication was nothing to do with fucking the tidy little ass that had just alighted onto the platform it was all about fucking with the church. The bible was full of passages about Christians fucking pagan bitches and prostitutes where sex was most often performed for recreation, not procreation. As far as Jimmy could deduce, God did not see any kind of sex act as an abomination unless it harmed the church. Oral, anal or vaginal it was all good unless a Christian man did it with another man. Two non-Christian unsaved men could go at it like bunny rabbits but throw a Christian man or two in the mix and God got pissed.
"Don't you fret Pop Rock, God won't bat an eyelid when I interfere with her anal delights but you and your mates will no doubt get into bother for your exploits with the choir boys."
Paprocki should have known better. Whatever viewpoint he adopted from the scriptures Jimmy was theologically qualified enough to deliver a counter argument. Paprocki had faith but Jimmy wanted reason and as had happened so many times before, different interpretations of the same scriptures were causing friction, fraction and warfare between two parties. An old lady in the adjacent seat was staring at them. Paprocki shouldn't have been embarrassed and he wasn't but Jimmy had timed his attack to perfection. He had waited until just before the train was stopping and people were about to leave their seats before lobbing his verbal hand grenade into their conversation. Jimmy was up and moving before the shrapnel reverberated around the carriage. The old lady stared at the solemn priest and so did every other pair of eyes in the vicinity. The words anal delight and choir boys were now being associated with the old priest and Jimmy Collins was nowhere in sight. Everyone was looking at Paprocki and visualising him popping a choir boy’s cherry. Mission accomplished Jimmy Collins, a son of Satan, had just fucked the church or more specifically the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or the elite CDF as their initialism denoted. As far as Jimmy was concerned CDF stood for Catholic or Celtic Defence Force and his well-placed verbal hand grenade had just fucked the Pope and the Vatican.
Had Pablo, another blue nose who had followed his mighty Glasgow Rangers to Dundee, Hamilton and various broad and narrow streets in between, been thinking about the CDF at that particular time, the initialism would probably have stood for Candice Dirty Fuck. The Pope and the Vatican with their warnings about the sins of sex for pleasure were not exactly at the forefront of his mind. The truth be told they never had been and his fornicational frolics were definitely not focused on procreation. Pablo was approaching the tickly bit. He was seeking fulfilment and he wasn't put off by the dark graveyard setting of the derelict Kirk Ports church. He was on sacred ground and probably even Jimmy Collins would have struggled to find anything in any scripture that would advocate shagging in the churchyard as an appropriate way to worship but by the same token Father Paprocki would probably also have found difficulty in finding direct reference to shagging on gravestones being specifically mentioned as a sin. Okay the odd reference to pagan idol worship, shagging on alters and sacrificial offerings could have swung it for the Catholics. King James hunting out the odd devil worshipper who may have been prone to giving the bone to the occasional sorceress in the graveyards of North Berwick might actually have added some authority to the Catholic viewpoint but by and large the bible was fairly silent on the whole shagging on a gravestone experience. Candice however was getting quite vocal about grinding in the graveyard. Her moaning was getting louder and she was in danger of attracting some attention from passers-by.
Paprocki was not angry with Jimmy Collins he was mildly disappointed. He knew it would take time to save Jimmy but that was his quest and he was a patient man. They had left the railway station and were walking along Marmion Road towards Law Road. The Catholic Church, in North Berwick, was situated at the junction of Law Road and St Baldred's Road behind the lodge grounds. Our Lady Star of the Sea was a Simple Victorian church, with seating for 200 people. It had been built in 1879. The plan had been to visit the Church and make themselves known to the Parish Priest. Their visit was unannounced but the Catholic Church was an organisation extremely well versed in the protocols of how to receive visitors, expected or not. Paprocki wished his visit to remain low key so the local priest had not been notified in advance. The availability of the one guest room at the church had been checked and Paprocki knew it was free. He would sort out Jimmy's accommodation after he'd assessed the suitability of his own. Just as they reached the corner of St Margaret's Road and Law Road Father Paprocki's thoughts were disturbed by a sudden flash of light which momentarily illuminated the darkening sky. It was immediately followed by a loud scream which reverberated from the nearby Kirk Ports churchyard. The shriek which sounded like a man in agonising pain was followed by the squeal of a woman in distress and a number of curses which Father Paprocki would not have classed as the classic foretelling of hexes being inflicted on the damned. Jimmy Collins was already a step ahead of Pop Rock. The curses weren't threats of impending hoodoo they were a modern day warning of a smack in the mouth and it sounded like a nice little domestic dispute had just started in the church yard. This was a situation to be exploited. The Catholic Church was renowned for telling everyone how to behave and Jimmy thought it might be fun to put old Pop Rock right in the middle of an good going fight to see how he coped with the real world's issues.
"C'mon Pop, damsel in distress. She might need some heavenly intervention."
Before Father Paprocki could react, Jimmy was off and sprinting towards the graveyard. The old priest shrugged his shoulders and tottered off after him.
Pablo was confused. He was dancing about with his trousers at his ankles, cursing and swearing and trying to work out why his arse hurt like hell. He was holding onto his left buttock with one hand and flailing the other one about in an effort to keep his balance. The possibility of him tripping over his own trousers was a distinct reality but somehow he remained upright as he bounced around the gravestones clutching his red hot rear. The burning sensation in his rump was easing and it was still agonisingly sore but an awareness of his surroundings was beginning to register after all his senses had been completely consumed by the searing pain in his butt cheek. He tried to work out what had happened. The last pleasurable moment he could remember was letting himself go in the heavenly portals of Candice's womanhood. Just as he delivered his hot seed in a frenzy of simultaneous explosions the sky lit up and his arse felt like it was burning in the pits of hell. The pain was now bearable and the need for his demented dancing had subsided. He just stood there looking at his seared buttock wondering what the fuck had happened.
Candice was also confused. She had also been enjoying frenzied explosions of exquisite sensations when the skies illuminated and Pablo leapt off her to begin his wild, war dancing frenzy. Initially she had screamed in fright but the sight of Pablo clinging to his rear and bouncing about with his trousers at his ankles was highly amusing and she was struggling to hold back a fit of the giggles. She was fixated by the filled French letter which was still flopping on the end of his now flaccid flesh and she wondered how many more bounces it would take before it fell off. Her thoughts were disturbed by the sight of Jimmy Collins erupting on to the scene.
Jimmy Collins was more than a little disappointed. Whatever he had hoped to achieve had backfired. Father Paprocki was now in full flow about the morals of sex out with wedlock for reasons other than procreation. The sight of Pablo's spent condom would probably have been enough for Paprocki to start his pontificating but the fresh burn mark on Pablo's arse and the apparent lightning flash provided all the evidence the priest needed to back up the Catholic stance that because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed was not to be vainly ejaculated or wasted. Onan was a biblical figure who had chosen to spill his seed on the ground instead of impregnating his brother’s wife. God had got really pissed off and zapped him with a bolt of lightning. That was the end of Onan and also the end of guilt free masturbation for practicing Catholics. Paprocki was presenting the case that Pablo had just been reminded by God that the use of contraception was a sin. Pablo was trying to work out how his arse had been scorched and Candice was trying desperately not to wet herself laughing at the absurdity of the situation.
Jimmy Collins was well aware of Genesis 38, The biblical account of Onan's death but he didn't buy it. The evidence in the Pablo case however looked pretty overwhelming for the God fearing father Paprocki but there had to be another angle. He scanned the surroundings looking for any alternative explanation but Candice didn't appear to have a blow torch to hand. There were no overhead wires that might have shorted and Pablo didn't have an exploded firework, lighter or a spent box of matches in his back pocket. Jimmy would have taken any explanation other than God fucked Pablo with a fire bolt but he was struggling. 'Maybe Pablo had been hit by a laser beam fired from an alien spacecraft, orbiting too high to be detected?' He considered but that desperate attempt at a rational answer was almost a stupid as the God and lightning bolt idea.
"I need a fuckin drink" announced Pablo and Jimmy Collins decided that was probably the best idea anyone could come up with in the present circumstances. Candice and Jimmy set off for the pub with Pablo rubbing his arse and following behind them. Father Paprocki made his way back up the hill heading for Our Lady Star of the Sea Church safe in his belief that God worked in mysterious ways.