Bisto

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When Bisto was christened, the priest sighed.

It was fair enough really, that the parents should be able to choose the name of their own children. Some parents however, the priest thought to himself, should really have the decision taken from them- either they hated their children, or they were just so monumentally obtuse that they didn’t see the future counselling bills adding up from a childhood of potentially traumatic bullying.

It was times like these that he thanked God for the fact that he wasn’t one of those unfortunate priests that had to christen the children of celebrities whose money may have genuinely rotted away the part of their brain responsible for decision making. He’d heard rumours of a fellow brother, Tom, on the opposite end of the county who’d had to christen some reality show star’s kid about a month ago- word is that he asked for time off and has yet to be seen since.

As it was, the priest only had to deal with the occasional terrible parenting decisions expected from a small town in the depths of Lancashire- children named after condiments or pubs, for example. Thankfully, the government had made names like Lucifer or Devil illegal, so he didn’t have to deal with that particular arse ache. Sometimes he wondered whether this trend was God’s punishment for that smoke break mid bible study session back in ’97.

Or, he reasoned to himself, God was sending him these cases as a test- he could object to the parents about their terrible decisions, maybe include some spiel about how ungodly it was to not use respected Christian names, or he would let the parents carry on and see them for confession in a few years’ time when they realised the error of their ways. God works in mysterious ways.

One time, he thought to check the least common names for children online so he could see whether or not his county was the anomaly in this rather tragic trend of “interesting” names. The discovery of a child named Bus Stop Number 27 swiftly ended that search in fear of the depths that humanity had fallen to. Of course, it made for brilliant gossip amongst the nursing home ladies whom he visited every week or so- June in particular enjoyed hearing about the doomed fate of the younger generations. He rather suspected that she may have been a cultist in her younger days.

Back to Bisto- a rather average baby by all accounts, bless her. Undeserving of the hardships yet to come. Perhaps, he considered, a support group could be made- he’d christened enough children with similarly unlucky names to make a group out of the poor beggars, it could even generate some much-needed interest in the church if he advertised it right.

It could be that the parents who came here weren’t Christians at all, they were just hoping for God’s grace to balance out the name choice of their children- that, however, would imply a certain level of awareness of the dire nature of their child’s name that he was certain they did not possess.

“Bisto, I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

And if he added another prayer for the child’s future mentally, well, that was no one else’s business- it is his job, after all.

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