Father Donald was obsessed with unicorns. I was never able to uncover the reasons behind his morbid preoccupation. Like many obsessions, I imagine that it can be traced back to some traumatic event that must have occurred during his childhood.
“The unicorn is ruled by lust,” was a mantra that he repeated ritually and with such florid drama that it was to became his personal sacrament. Spittle would bubble up at the corners of his mouth, as if his admiration and celibate envy of the unicorn was permeating through his veneer of disapproval, like a polluted underground spring.
One day I couldn’t take it any more.
“Father Donald!” I exclaimed “There are no fucking unicorns! The last one died at London Zoo in 1933! It was given a state funeral and is buried not five miles from where we presently stand, in the Nave at Westminster Abbey!”
It was this outburst that saw me moved from St Giles, in the capital, to the quiet rural parish of Marshbottom where (I have unofficially been informed) I am to see out my days as a priest.
Father Donald was excommunicated two years later, after he was discovered having sex with an antique bible that dated back to the mid 1500s. I did not ask which particular book he had chosen to penetrate. Whatever one’s opinions are of his sexual deviancy, I remember him as a gentlemen, and a gentlemen never tells.