A Shaggy-Dog Story

James Garside

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Braydon Anderson

Chaplaincy bet

A friend told me a story once that they swore to me was true.

My friend is a great storyteller so, although I never believed them, I always loved the story.

A man who was going on a cruise made a bet with his friends.

He decided to try and pass himself off as a chaplain — you know, as people tend to do on cruises.

The bet was a bottle of champagne if he managed to bluff his way around as a chaplain for the duration of the entire trip.

So he got his clothes together and went to great lengths to make sure that he looked the part.

From the moment they started the cruise he pretended to be a chaplain.

He even went around giving advice, and listening to people, and discovered that he was actually very good at being a chaplain.

He bumped into a local chaplain on the cruise; a real one. They became fast friends.

As the real chaplain was older and more experienced, than the fake chaplain pretended to be, he seemed to take him under his wing.

The two men spent a lot of time together drinking and talking into the small hours.

One night, towards the end of the cruise, the two chaplains got very drunk.

The real chaplain said: “Just between you and me — you’re not a real chaplain, are you?”

And so the man, who’d been faking it, confessed everything out of respect for his friend.

He told him about the bet for the bottle of champagne; but also how much he’d enjoyed being a chaplain and that he’d tried to give people good advice.

The real chaplain said: “I’ll do you a deal — I won’t tell anyone on the condition that if anyone is in desperate need of a real chaplain you send them to me.”

The man agreed and won his bet.

I often think about why my friend told me this story. It probably had something to do with writing.

The only thing I’m certain of is that I’m glad she told it and I must have needed to hear it at the time.

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NCTJ-qualified British independent journalist, author and travel writer.

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