Hi again everyone. I hope you’re all having a great weekend. Sidey’s challenge reminded me of this short story I wrote in 2010. I’ve tweaked the ending a bit, and hope that those of you who read it before, will enjoy reading it again. Having been a church organist myself for many years, I hasten to assure you that this is neither a true story, nor as one blogger erroneously suspected, a confession.
THE VOLUNTEER ORGANIST
Miss Amelia Jenkins adjusted her neat little bottom on the hard organ bench. Almost thirty years of dedication, with never an absence from duty, not even for a holiday by the sea. Why, she even insisted on cleaning the organ loft area herself; no-one else had been up there for many years. “What selfless devotion,” the parishioners often remarked amongst themselves.
As she selected the music to practise for Sunday’s service, she thought back to a time when this organ loft had been her little love nest, unbeknown to anyone but Jamey and herself. He’d captured her affections, telling her that looking up from his pew on a Sunday morning, he’d thought her the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen, with her hair like a golden halo lit by the sunlight streaming through the stained glass windows. She’d had high hopes for their future together.
Then came the fateful day when he’d told her that their secret meetings must stop. He had become engaged to Gloria, a local businessman’s daughter. She was a good catch for any man, he’d said. Pretending not to care, she’d generously agreed to play the organ for their wedding. He was to meet her one last time in their special place, to discuss the music for the auspicious day.
She’d unlocked the gate and let him in. He’d seemed rather surprised to see the two glasses and the bottle of fine red cabernet. “A toast to your marriage,” she’d announced, as he lifted the glass to his lips and drained it dry. “Belladonna is now your bride. No pretty woman named Gloria for you my sweet,” she’d muttered, as she heaved his lifeless body through the trap door beneath the organ bench.
Gloria had been devastated to find that she’d been jilted. No-one could imagine where Jamey had disappeared to. “Cold feet,” they’d said. “Definitely cold,” Amelia had thought to herself, with a wry smile. She’d done her homework well, and the quick lime worked a treat. The flesh had soon been eaten away and Jamey was now just a pile of bones, their love affair a distant memory.
She tapped the trap door impatiently with her shoe, as she racked her brain for another place to hide his bones. After all, thirty years without a holiday is a long time. “I’ll think of something,” she said out loud to herself, as her fingers touched the organ keys and the church was filled with the majestic strains of that well loved melody, “Abide with me.”
As the music filled the night air, the church elders were meeting in the vestry. Gordon Hislop announced “I propose that we show our appreciation to dear Amelia for her long years of unstinting service. It’s high time she took a holiday. We’ll insist upon it, and whilst she’s away, we’ll replace that old organ with a new and larger one. The floor boards will of course need to be replaced to take the extra weight. She’ll be so surprised and delighted when she returns.” “Amen to that,” his fellow committee members concurred, as Gloria, now the vicar’s wife, entered with a tray of tea and biscuits.
©September2010 Another Day (Letterdash)