“Ey up owd lad, tha does look glum!” Peter said one day, (he’d spent a while up north near Leeds, that’s why he spoke that way.)
“What’s to do? Tha’s sittin there wi a face like milkman’s hoss. I’ve nivver seed thee look that way, whatever ails thee boss?”
His boss looked up, all ashen faced, a pallor on his skin, and whispered “Pete, I’ve had enough, It’s time I jacked it in. Two thousand years I’ve done this job, I’ve tried to give my best. I feel there’s nothing left to give, it’s time I had a rest.”
“Tha means retire?” said Pete, surprised, “Give over, surely not! Yon job’s for all eternity - or ‘as tha clean forgot?”
“What’s the point?” JC replied “I gave my all and more. I tried to teach them how to love, but all they do is war. Even Christians can’t agree, the few that still believe. It might be tough but I’ve had enough - my last day’s Christmas Eve!”
“Well!” said Pete, “I’m proper shocked, is there nowt that I can say? There’s no one that could fill thy boots, won’t tha change tha mind and stay?”
“My mind’s made up. I need a change, I’m bowing out with grace. Find someone with some new ideas, we need a change of face.”
“I can’t think who,” said Pete, perplexed “It’s not so easy done. It’s not the kind of thing tha’d find i’th’ vacant ads i’th’ Sun!”
“Just pick someone - don’t advertise, someone good and kind and nice, quite firm, but fair, someone who’ll care and give out good advice.”
Pete scratched his chin and with a grin said “I know just the feller! E’s a black ex-con bur e’s just the one - tha knows, that bloke Mandela!”
“No, Nelson’s done enough down there, how about Sir Cliff? I know he’s getting on as well , but he isn’t quite a stiff! It’s true it’s not an easy job, not everyone could cope, so maybe it’s just down to two - Bob Geldof - or The Pope!”
“Strewth!” said Pete “Tha mun think again, that won’t go down too well, tha’ll alienate all t’Prods down there, they’d rather rot in ‘ell! 'Ow about a reet fresh start, ‘av done wi’t beards and t'keks, a new messiah - in a frock, one o’t’ fairer sex! Fern Britten, she’s a reet nice lass, folk love her half t’bits, besides it’d mek a change for t’lads - a brand new boss - wi’ tits!”
JC gave Pete a big high-five “That’s done, no turning back! Send down the host to spread the news, I’m going to go and pack.”
“Nah just ‘owd on owd lad, slow dahn, afore tha buggers off t’th’shires, I’ll av me say, ‘s’not every day that t'Son o’ God retires! Besides that day tha leaves for good, that’s tha birthday too. There’s no chance tha’ll get off that light, tha’ll av to av a do!”
“A party? Well now, there’s a thought - damn it Pete you’re right! The biggest bash there’s ever been - but who do we invite? That last supper was so long ago - just us and wine and bread. We’ll do it properly this time, put on a proper spread! A party that they won’t forget, and free for one and all! Pete, you’ve cheered me up old friend - it’s going to be a ball!”
“That’s proper grand, I’ll call for t’lads, they won’t half be surprised. I reckon it’ll tek all week t’get it organised. I’ll get reet on t’t’guest list - now who was it you said?”
“Everyone who’s ever been - the living and the dead! All colours, creeds, beliefs and faiths - and atheists as well, from heaven and earth and in between, and that lot, down in hell. Even Satan, poor old chap, we don’t get on it’s true, but with that fork he’s just the bloke to man the barbecue!”
Pretty soon the news had spread, (Pete sent it out by text) disciples came from far and near to plan what happened next. “We’ve all got loads t’do.” said Pete “Will someone mek a list? At th’end o’t'week we’ll av a look, mek sure there’s nowt we’ve missed. Caterin’ will do for t’start - no Mc Donald’s crap, ow’s abaht we we get the best - that Gordon Ramsay chap?”
“This job’s to big.” piped up JC “Folks will come in droves. Besides, I’ll soon whip up a feast with a few small fish and loaves!”
“Nowt o’t’sort” said Pete quite sharp, “None of tha magic tricks. There’ll be none o’ that chicken nugget crap or pineapple on sticks! It’s biggest banquet ever ‘eld, there ’as t’be a plan, were going t’need th’best there is, and Ramsay is the man.”
Pete made the call to a stunned Mr R, and convinced him he wasn’t just dreaming. When he got back his breath Gordon smiled and said “Yes.” (Well, after he’d finished blaspheming!) “I’ll have to have help.” Gordon said with despair, “I’ve never had billions to feed!”
“No bother.” said Pete, “Persons living or dead, just let us know who you need.” All the culinary legends agreed to muck in, from the stars to the “vaguely familiar.” Beeton, Escoffier, Elizabeth D - oh and Fanny and Johnny, with Delia.
“That’s us grub sorted.” beamed Pete rather pleased, “Though how folk will manage to choose . . . Still never mind, we’ll just ‘ave t’get on. Now what do we do abaht booze?”
“Well,” said JC, “I’ve got this idea, and I think it will work out just fine. You remember that wedding - they ran out of beer . . . that thing with the water and wine? I’ve been practicing see, I’ve invented this “thing” - I call it my “miracle spout.” You just hold out your glass and say what you want, and the drink of your choice will flow out!”
“Cracking idea boss! One for each guest, whatever their tipple or brew, except for that Oliver Reed and George Best - I reckon they’d better ‘ave two!””
“What next Boss?” grinned Pete “We’re doin reet grand, We’re sorted for t’nosh up and t’booze, and I’ve sent your mate Judas out on t’scrounge - for secondhand portable loos!”
“Now how abah’t t’décor Boss,, what would tha like? ‘As tha any particular feeling? ‘Ow’s abaht yon Michelangelo chap - did a reet gradely job on t’owd ceiling! And fireworks! T’same team wot lit up Beijing, more bangs per buck wi’ no ‘itches, and we’ll see if Guy Fawkes likes t’change in ‘is luck when we let t’poor sod throw all t’switches! And what abaht t’caberet? What does tha think? Or shall we just do t’Karaoke? Games? Disco? Pole dancers? Foam party? Rave? Have we got t’room t’do th’Okey-Cokey?”
“I’d hope we could probably do better than that when you think who we’ve got on the list - from Elvis and Elgar to Beatles and Bach - as long as they don’t turn up p****d. All the great entertainers for one great big show - classical, jazz, rock and pop; like “Live Aid” but bigger - they’ll fight to perform; that “Woodstock” will seem like a flop!”
“Let’s ‘ave stand-ups, magicians, dancers and clowns and th’angels wi’ ‘arps on a cloud
- (but we’ll steer clear o’ poets, tha knows what they’re like, that bolshy lot from WriteOutLoud!”
The invites went out, by pigeon and post (despite strikes) with the greatest of speed, and landed on doormats all over the globe - and everyone R.S.V.P’d. Guys, girls and ghosts, they all wanted to come to the greatest of gigs in the sky, and when JC heard of the massive response it brought quite a tear to his eye.
Meanwhile preparations were gathering pace, from place cards to a billion balloons, while Judas just sat with a scowl on his face, scrubbing out all the spittoons.
The task it was finished, with minutes to spare, and no one would dare to be late, the whole of creation was going to be there, on the red carpet out by the gate. Pete was the bouncer - his usual spot, with help from Hell’s Angels and Vandals, with instructions on dress code straight from JC - “No togas, no crosses, no sandals!” The line stretched forever, right round the world, the mother and father of queues, until some chap with a beard shouted out from his boat, “It’s best if they come in in twos!” Miraculously all were soon safely inside, more souls than the sand on the beach, and keen for a sight of the “man of the hour” the crowd started calling out SPEECH!
JC then rose up in a great flash of light, and from the “legends of comedy” table, some wag shouted out in a very camp voice, “Shut that door! Were you born in a stable?”
Jesus laughed, raised his hands and everyone shushed as they all felt his great love and joy. He said “Now some would conspire to say I’m not the Messiah, just a very naughty boy! Well, I’m glad you’re all here at this time of the year to celebrate Christmas with me, Mum and Dad(s) have gone out, we can do what we like, and there’s presents for all on the tree. So welcome to Heaven all sinners and Saints, but let’s have a Hell of a night! No more speeches, that’s done, we’re here to have fun - so c’mon folks LETS PAAARRTTYY, ALL RIGHT!!!!
All Heaven’s glory then lit up the stage as rockets flew into the blue, as Marilyn pouted and sang to JC a hot “Happy Birthday to you.” Next up was Hendrix who toked on a spliff while working his axe like a charm, and with mind-bending magic coaxed out riff after riff on a theme of the twenty-third psalm. The line up was something out of a dream as the tempo got higher and higher; the great Freddie Mercury fronting up Queen while Sid Vicious sang Handel’s “Messiah.” Turn after turn gave their all on the stage and the music was luscious and loud, as squadron’s of cherubs fluttered above, dropping buckets of E’s on the crowd. And for those folks who weren’t so much into that scene there were organised games in the garden, and millions played hide-and-seek out in the shrubs - the winner? - Osama Bin Laden. Presentations and speeches went on all night, avoiding gold watches or clocks, the disciples thought they had called it just right - twelve small silver spoons in a box. History’s legends through all the long years watched as JC cut the cake, out of which jumped their forefathers, Adam and Eve, an apple, two leaves and a snake. The great and the good mixed with ordinary folk, the popular with the outsider, but they all to a man, applauded the joke of the bankers sat next to al-Quaeda. The Gods had a table all to theirselves, a tiny oasis of quiet, and tucked into ambrosia specially prepared (except Buddha, who’d started a diet.) George Bush and Saddam talked deep into the night, to see them was really quite moving, admitting that two wrongs don’t always make right, (and George hoped his sore throat was improving.) Posh and Becks mingled with all of their fans, as did the rest of the stars, and Bill Clinton was up to his usual tricks as he asked, “Did she care for cigars?” Henry the Eighth sat with head in his hands (as did a couple of wives) and what with the booze and the food and the bands, all had the time of their lives. Even Hitler and Churchill kissed and made up; Pol Pot admitted his wrong, heroes and villains put down their swords and joined in the dancing and song. Even the Taleban lost all their hate, if you’d seen it you’d think you’d gone barmy, as they stood in the snow just outside the gate and sung with the Salvation Army. For once all the tribes of the world were at peace with handshakes and hugging all round, all conflict and war for a moment had ceased and a new kind of love had been found . . .
JC looked down from somewhere on high, to see his promise of peace had been kept. All the smiles and goodwill brought a tear to his eye - and hope for mankind - Jesus wept. Then with his work done he donned his disguise of an old balaclava and mac, and with one wistful look he slipped quietly away through the fire exit, right at the back.
He settled in Ireland, (avoiding the snakes) in a small rented cottage near Cork, in the bosom of nature on the edge of the lakes, (for the days when he fancied a walk.) Now he’s working part-time at a new B & Q, just for the January sales. He’ll advise you on timber or the right kind of screw - but has nothing to do with the nails.
And the party? Well folks said “Let it run for all time!” now there’s no thought of fighting or wars. So, God willing, I’ll see you all up there tonight -
mines a large Bloody Mary, what’s yours?
HERE'S WISHING EVERYONE, A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS XXX