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Cross Purposes
by Sheila Cornelius

Reverend Grey peered over his half-glasses and almost chortled with pleasure. 'Charmaine, my dear, I congratulate you on the theme you and Kevin have chosen for your forthcoming nuptials. Angels it shall be! And for the opening anthem, may I suggest, ‘Angels From the Realms of Glory?’

Charmaine crossed and uncrossed her legs. ‘Thanks, Vicar, but I was thinking of something darker.’

‘Darker? That is most unusual.' Reverend Grey closed his eyes for a moment. 'There’s ‘Hark the Herald Angels'?’ St Luke tells us seraphim appeared as shepherds watched their flocks by night.’

Charmaine sniggered. ‘I think Kevin’s lot would be singing the other version, Vicar. Besides, isn’t that more ... Christmassy?’

‘You do have a point. But, nil desperandum. Let me angel theme, but darker.’

The puzzled cleric stretched a bony hand across his forehead. ‘Angels are distinguished by their radiance, you see - metaphorical of course, but all the same a positive aura.’

‘You are joking, Vicar? I’d have thought if you’re seeing angels it’s not usually such a good thing.’

‘Well, you do have a point. Ah! I think there is a way forward. You wish to convey a sense of the numinous, the portentous nature of the divine, as it were, a heavenly harbinger or ghostly immanence, the symbolic union of Christ and his church?'

‘Whatever. I just thought more threatening.’

The vicar raised his hands, palms outward. ‘Threatening angels? No, no. I’m afraid it’s not possible. You’re venturing into the realm of quite contradictory spiritual concepts, you see - a quandary of Augustinian proportions.’

Charmaine stood, straightening her skirt. ‘Well, if it’s too much trouble Vicar - only I heard you were flexible.

‘Please wait, I don’t want to turn you away. In God’s house there are many mansions. You said the concept was suggested by the groom?

Charmaine set her lips in a proud smile. ‘S’right. He’s in the Croydon Chapter.’

‘Chapter ?’

‘Of the Hell’s Angels!’

Reverend Grey sighed. ‘Oh, I understand. In that case, may I suggest two very popular options: ‘ Ride of the Valkyries’ and ‘Leader of the Pack’.’