Friday, November 16, 2007

Last Words and Testament of Reverend Divine Doctrinaire Bideen

Last Words and Testament of Reverend Divine Doctrinaire Bideen

Late of Persia and this World

On Consideration of a Dear Friend and Filosofusser, Tich Backhouse

If you, dear Reader, will kindly vacate the idle rocking-chair on your sun-warmed porch and turn to the Byrne Abbey slopes, looking south down towards the Byrne's Bog and the Big Bend where our famous salmon-navigating river fattens on the tide of the salt sea, you will notice a tall red brick chimbley, our own recycling plant, where this township's refuse is burnt and committed to the ether and thrown in smoky spirals by arbitrary winds back whence it came to descend as smut on the streets and fields of our domicile.

Next to the chimbly stands another recycling plant, the Institute for Incorrigible Women; that is, those who are deemed in need of correction but are beyond a husband's balmy influence; and over to the east by the spurline railway tracks, the Honey Haven Ranch, adjunct of Byrne Abbey Hospice and Sanatorium, residence and workplace for crackpots and senile miscreants whose principal offense is that they suffer from mental disability. Of which, i, your servant, Tich Backhouse, is one. We are detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure, which is not returned. Yus, we iz halfway round the Big Bend, but don't let that put you off.

The Rev. Divine Doctre Bideen and i had fallen in with each other at the ranch during several past incarcerations. And a wondrous man to his friends he was. I liked him on the spot. He was one of that rare ilk, the ilk of human kindness, and his crime – if crime it may be – was absent-mindedness: he lent and borrowed money as if it were cheap scrip – which it were to him – forgetting whose wallet it belonged in and he was invariably seized for non-payment of bills. So they put him in a position where he could not earn any money to pay it back. That's governmint fer you!

I wouldn't listen to a critical word about the good doctre, unless it were that his mind were too large fer the brain of a mortal man. His attention was fixed on no temporal horizon and he arranged his curious vocabulary of abstractions in capital letters, thinking words needed no grinding on the philosopher's stone if they were heartfelt.

He got his degrees in Metaphysix 'n Theology at Ispahan University in Persia, and he was a Haji by right, which means he executed the duty of every true Muslim believer and went afoot on a pilgrimage to Mecca. So you can cast no aspersians, ha ha!

How he got to Byrne Abbey, i dunno. 'Twasn't any hankerin' fer the Sisters of Mercy, which is our institutions present mentors, besides he were celibate and never gazed at a woman above their buttoned shanks. He had been a Sufi among the Turks and perhaps they drove him out. And he were at Tiblis or Tiflis when the original Doukobours negotiated a passage West. So he may have come with them. I wisht he talked more about actual people 'n' places an' less about bloodless ideas. But there's a confirmed philosofusser for y': that were hiz bent an' bless him for it! I've copied some of his animadversions – "pipedreamz", az i called them – while we were occupying up 'n' down berths at the funny farm. I shall miss him, an' Honey Haven will never agin be my second home.


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