The Wine Merchant’s Lent

It was the twelfth day of Lent, and Paul Stiller was already craving a creme egg.

And he was in luck, as Simon had a little treat for everyone at the PCC.

“Look what I have,” Simon told them as he held up a small egg.

The other councillors stared at the egg like a group of school children.

“Who would like a creme egg?” Simon asked.

“I would like a creme egg,” Paul said, just as excited as any five-year-old.

“I would love a creme egg,” John said, seemingly ignoring Paul.

“Very well,” Simon said, giving the egg to John and forgetting about Paul altogether.

“I want a creme egg,” Paul said again as John ate his egg and savoured it’s gooey centre as if it was the first bit of food he’d eaten for millennia.

“I would kill for a creme egg,” Robert said.

“There’s no need, here you go,” Simon said as he gave him a creme egg.

“I’ve said I wanted an egg twice now,” Paul said desperately.

“Can I have an egg?” Hans asked.

“Yes you can,” Simon replied, giving Hans an egg.

“Give me an egg!” Paul said.

“I’d like an egg,” Dave said.

“Here you go,” Simon said, giving an egg to Dave.

“Great, now give me an egg!” Paul said agitated.

“Did someone say, creme egg?” Asked Dave’s wife Sarah, seemingly appearing from nowhere.

“Indeed, would you like one?” Simon asked.

“Yes please,” Sarah said.

Simon passed her an egg and she ate it with her husband.

“But she’s not even on the PCC!” Paul exclaimed, feeling left out.

“We’d like a creme egg too,” Will and Eleanor, Dave’s offspring said, also seemingly appearing out of nowhere.

“Of course, how could I forget you two?” Simon asked, giving the two children an creme egg each.

“I want an egg,” Paul said again.

“Of course, Paul,” Simon said, finally acknowledging him.

Paul sighed with relief. But then Simon looked down, then up again.

“I’m sorry, Paul, but I’m out of eggs,” Simon said, showing Paul the empty basket.

“AGGGGHHHHH!” Paul screamed.

Paul sat up in bed with a start. His heart pounding.

He slowly got out of bed due to the pain on his back caused by flagellating himself everyday for Lent, and had his shower.

After his shower, during which he realised that you can’t actually pass things to people over Zoom unless you’re in the same room as them, he picked up his whip in order to do today’s flagellation.

He whipped himself quickly twelve times, as he felt it was easier to do it quickly without thinking about it, then he got dressed.

Despite his nightmare and the self inflicted pain in his back, Paul was very chirpy, mainly because he’d gone past his birthday and so the rest of Lent would be plain sailing.

Since he was currently on furlough, Paul decided to while away the hours by watching a new film on Netflix everyday.

After breakfast, Paul poured himself a glass of the Sauvignon given to him as a birthday present by the Petersons and put on the new Jon Voight Donald Trump film that was just released on Netflix, thinking it would be a fun romp.

But as he turned the film on, he found the opening montage rather depressing. He didn’t know whether to laugh at Donald’s orange complexion or cry at his loneliness and desperation. The music wasn’t helping things either.

Realising that the soundtrack was comprised of songs by Gilbert O’Sullivan and not Gilbert and Sullivan he turned the film off in favour of something more jolly.

After that, Paul went for a walk in the village.

Whilst on his walk, he came across Simon, who was also on a walk.

“Morning, Paul,” Simon said, “I hope the whipping isn’t too much of a problem.”

“No, it’s fine,” Paul replied, “now that my birthday has past it should be fine.”

“Sorry you had to whip yourself on your birthday, Paul,” Simon answered.

“Thanks,” Paul responded.

“I getting through it as well, of course,” Simon responded. “I honestly don’t know what was wrong with me. I should have just gone with John’s bake sale.”

“But we’ve got to see it through, I suppose.” Paul said.

“Indeed,” Simon said. “Well, I’ll see you soon, Paul.”

“And you,” Paul replied, before the two men began to part ways.

But then Simon stopped. “Wait, he said.”

“What?” Paul responded, walking back to Simon.

“I’d almost forgot. It’s a good thing I bumped into you this morning, because I think I’m supposed to give you this.”

Simon took a creme egg out of his pocket and gave it to Paul.

“Thanks,” Paul said, grinning with glee.

“I don’t know why I needed to, since Easter is a few weeks away yet, but apparently you need it.”

“Sure,” Paul replied. “I’ll see you soon.”

“And you,” Simon said, and the two men parted ways for real.

Paul continued on his walk, biting into his creme egg as he did so.

He savoured it’s gooey centre like it was the first time he’d eaten in millennia, knowing now that occasionally reality was better than dreams.

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