[Enter man, not particularly old, nor is he young. More old than young, really. He's wearing frumpy sort of clothes, though that is not, not, hear me, a condemnation of people who wear frumpy clothes. And, to be honest, he's not really entered, as he's standing outside. At a door, I'll grant you, but still outside, and he's just knocked on it, so perhaps in a bit he'll have entered, but for now we're stuck outside the house, watching him, as he stands there, watching the door, aand occasionally the bits of ground and things by the door. So anyway. Right.]
nice elderly woman: Hello?
man at door: Hello, I was just calling regarding your sign.
nice elderly woman henceforth known as Nell, as that's her name: Ah yes.
man at door: Is the father in?
Nell (the nice elderly woman from before, whose name we've changed (though not really changed, as it's always been her name), as we mentioned, though we thought we'd mention it once more, just in case): Ah yes, I'll get him. Stand right there a moment, if you don't mind. [turning inside] Father, someone at the door for you. [turning back to the man] Eh. [turning back into the house again] Ehm, about the sign. [She turns back again. To face the man at the door, in case you'd lost count.]
[There is a muffled sort of thing from upstairs. I'd be more specific, but it was really muffled.]
man at door: Great, thanks. [He twiddles his thumbs. Now, if you've not ever seen anyone actually twiddling their thumbs it's not particularly spectacular to watch, and it does manage to convey either abject boredom or infinite patience. Or just plain wilfullness, for having the nerve to twiddle your thumbs so blatantly in front of someone like that. He looks down at the doorframe while twiddling his thumbs. This isn't really a great feat or anything, it was just something he tended to do when he twiddled his thumbs, like some people crack their gum when they're thinking, or bite their fingernails when they're nervous. I'm not saying it's a particularly nice or impressive habit or skill, and some people may have an intense dislike for people who do any of those sorts of things, it's understandable.]
Nell: So. Would you like to step in? Have a seat in the parlour? [She looks him up and down. But not in a sleazy sort of way. Just in a nice oldish sort of woman way. The way of a very nice woman who looks after the local priest and cleans his house occasionally for him and stops by with cakes and things. Which is what she did, so her looking like that was quite handy, indeed. Her reversal from just two seconds ago, where she asked him to stay at the door while she called the priest, may seem a bit shocking, but the muffled thing was probably the priest saying something like, "I'll be right down, show them in," or something like that. That or she's just a very changeable person, as she has a right to be, doubly so being a woman, and even if she wasn't sharking this particular man, she still had every right to keep her skills in practise by keeping him off balance.]
man at door: No, I'll be okay. Thanks. [He stopped twiddling his thumbs and put his hands in his jacket pockets. Which made it very difficult, indeed, to consider twiddling his thumbs, as generally you needed two to do it successfully, though there were stories of people that could twiddle their thumbs with only one thumb and a finger masquerading as a thumb from the same hand. He was not one of those people. Alas.]
[Enter Father Jim. I know that's not giving you a whole lot to go on, but he's a priest, I'm sure you can picture him.]
Father Jim [Out of breath, having just come down one flight of steps. And having just been on the treadmill in his mini-workout room on the first floor. Which might have been slightly more fair to have mentioned before the coming down one flight of steps thing. But then we'd have to mention the terrycloth headband he was wearing first, and that would have put you straight off this otherwise nice enough guy. So we did get around to describing him, at any rate.]: Heya. So you're after the sign?
man at door, who we've still yet to give a name, which might be considered odd, or more hurtfully, lazy on our part, but in reality is neither, really: Yeah.
man at door: So the bit it says, the bit it's on about, the sheep?
Father Jim: Yes?
man at door: How much of a reward?
Father Jim: Well. It's not like cash or anything, son, it's a more spiritual thing.
son. Erm, no, sorry, man at door. His name is most certainly not son. He's probably someone's son, but you know how kids are these days, ungrateful little buggers...: Ah.
Father Jim: Yes. Sorry. But still, would you like to chat about it?
man at door: What, like Heaven? And stuff?
Father Jim: Yes. [He nods, and takes the headband off, the way they used to in, thinking about it now, those naff cola adverts where people were working out and rushed, first thing after working out, to down a half bottle of pure sugar. Father Jim has a television now, so there's no excuse for him invoking this sort of memory, really.]
man at door: No, not really, probably not, really. [He looks down and kicks at the door frame. Not hard, you understand, as the man at door had been brought up never to kick doors or doorframes all that hard in front of priests, it was just something that wasn't done.]
Father Jim: Are you sure? All right, well, how about some tea and cake? Would you like some of that, instead? Come in for a bit, sit down, have some tea?
[Nell busies herself with the table in the reception room, which some might see as incredibly sexist on the part of the scriptwriter, but it's what she's doing, what else am I supposed to say? That she's extreme skiing? I think not, not at her age, not with her bad hip, which I'd neglected to mention until this point. Which, yes, some people might claim is ageist, but, again, she had a bad hip, and hated the cold. And besides, how the hell would she be extreme skiing in the house? She's tidying the table in the reception room. So there.]
man at door: Maybe.
Father Jim: Nell [Aha! There it is!] makes excellent cakes.
man at door: So no cash? What about polar bears?
Father Jim: No.
Father Jim, again, and out of turn: Wait? Polar bears to cash in or sheep in exchange for polar bears?
man at door: Well, I was thinking about cashing them in.
Father Jim: No.
man at door: Do you give polar bears in exchange for sheep?
Father Jim: No. Afraid not.
man at door: Ah. Damn.
[Nell, showing an enlightened approach to casual swearing, ignores him. As does Father Jim, but that's because he's thinking back to his cola advert thing with the headband and regretting it, as it portays him in a potentially very unflattering light. Nell heads into the parlour.]
man at door: Watermelons?
Father Jim: No. Ehm, watermelons?
man at door: Yeah.
Father Jim: No.
man at door: Right, then. Well, thanks for your time, anyway. Might try the Protestants next.
Father Jim: Right, well, good luck. Come back anytime for tea or anything.
man at door, who's been quite a good sport about the whole anonymity thing the course of this thing: Thanks. C'ye.
Father Jim: Right.
[Father Jim waves, and shuts the door, and we find ourselves on the inside of the house, as it's not terribly exciting on the outside any longer, as the man formerly at door just trundles off down the street to try the Protestants.
He turns from the door, Father Jim, not the man walking down the street, and heads into the parlour.
Where he gets clobbered by Nell on a skateboard, whose lost control due to her bad hip. See?]
Right, so we won't go through that whole mess of outlining the past issues of the serial, you know where they are, and if you don't we're sure you won't have an unjustly terrible time of finding them.
And besides, isn't it worth more if you have to work for it? Sure it is. Whatever it is.