I respond to the idiotic claims that homosexuality causes floods the only way I know how - in the form of a story.
“A church wedding would have been nicer,” he overhears a second cousin saying at the reception. Callum suspects this distant relative would also have preferred there be a bride, as opposed to the two young men in suits who made their vows this afternoon. He makes a mental note to strike the cousin’s name from his Christmas card list.
He didn’t even want extended family at the wedding; it was Mitchell who insisted they have everyone there. His new husband (Husband! He can’t get his head around the word) has a much more genial and forgiving nature. In fact, the only flaw of his that Callum is still working on correcting is his tendency to drop grammatical clangers from time to time.
“Shame about the weather,” somebody closer to the top table remarks – Callum thinks it might be Mitchell’s auntie. In this instance he is inclined to agree. Torrential rains have turned the hotel grounds into a swamp, making any outdoor photos completely out of the question.
A nasty little thought squirms to life in the back of his mind. Something ridiculous and half-forgotten. A story from the paper a few days before the wedding. A politician with views that skew towards the radical claimed that the government’s decision to allow same-sex couples to marry was the cause of the recent extreme weather conditions ravaging the country. Mitchell dismissed the councillor as “Old Testa-mental”, and used the article later that day to line the cat’s litter tray. And Callum didn’t give it another thought. Until now.
“Don’t be stupid,” he mutters to himself, pouring himself and his new hubby (ugh, no, ‘hubby’ is too saccharine, he decides) another generous glass of champagne. He is rescued from his own dark thoughts by the sound of a spoon tinkling against a glass.
“Good evening, everyone!” Bellows his best woman, Ros. Oh, lord. He’d forgotten about this part. It has kept him awake every night this week. He’s never been any good at it, no matter how encouraging or patient Mitchell is as a teacher.
“What are we calling you guys now – Mitchum? Callell?” Ros shrugs. “Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, please be as upstanding, as our newlyweds take their first dance.”
Callum lets Mitchell lead him by the hand onto the dance floor, and the song they took weeks to agree on begins to play; ‘You’re My Best Friend’. Because, as Mitchell said at the time, their wedding just wasn’t gay enough.
As it turns out, dancing in front of everybody he knows isn’t that bad. He steps on Mitchell’s feet a couple of times, but for the most part his awkward shuffling is met with dewy eyes and heartfelt smiles. The song is almost over when he hears the maniacal laughter. He spies the culprit at the back of the room; a guest he doesn’t recognise in a bright blue suit and derby hat. He is throwing back his head and laughing, clapping his hands, and hopping from foot to foot like an excited child.
“Bet you wish we’d stuck to close friends only,” Callum whispers in Mitchell’s ear, nodding towards the dancing madman, who is attracting the attention of the other guests.
“I have no idea who that is,” he replies. “I thought it was one of your old uni mates?”
Callum shakes his head. “I’ve never seen him before in my life.”
“Well let’s ask,” Mitchell says. “Looks like he’s coming over.”
And so he is – the curious blue-suited gentleman is now at the edge of the dance floor, observing the newlyweds and chuckling away. Once he notices that they have stopped dancing and are, in fact, staring at him in utter bemusement, he steps forward.
“Mind if I cut in?” He asks Mitchell, not even waiting for a response before grabbing Callum by the hand and spinning him around.
“Who the hell are you?” Callum asks, trying his best to be angry but finding that all he feels is relief – his feet finally seem to know what they’re doing, and he is matching this lunatic step for step in what can only be described as an epileptic jive. The music is louder than before, faster, and the other guests are soon sweeping onto the dance floor to join the revelry.
Thunder can be heard over the music, as it rolls across the sky outside.
“I’m Ba’al,” says the intruder. The apostrophe rings in Callum’s ears. “But you can call me Bill.”
“Ba’al,” Callum echoes. “What kind of name is that?”
“A very old one,” Bill replies, clicking his fingers in time with the beat. “It means all sorts – thunder, rain, lord of the heavens. Take your pick.”
“You’re insane,” Callum says, twisting his hips. Bill just laughs.
Mitchell reappears, refreshed champagne flutes in each hand. “Everything alright here?”
“Fine,” Callum answers, taking one of the glasses. “I’m just dancing with God.”
“A god,” Bill corrects, snatching Mitchell’s champagne and knocking it back. “We’re like the public sector. There’s loads of us.”
“Well you weren’t invited,” Mitchell says, “but you’re more than welcome to stay and enjoy the disco.”
“I might just do that!” Bill squeezes Mitchell’s cheeks as if he were a particularly cute toddler. “And is there a spread?” Mitchell nods, unflappable as always. Callum is less inclined to accept this ludicrous turn of events.
“That crazy bible-thumper was telling the truth about us, wasn't he.”
“It’s true,” Bill says, smile faltering, standing still for a moment. “Your union has made the gods weep.” Callum’s heart begins to sink. “But,” Bill continues, “these are tears of joy falling from the sky. Mankind is finally making the progress we have long known you capable of.”
“Huh,” Mitchell murmurs. “Even gods end sentences on prepositions. How about that.”
The rain god hoots with laughter once again, before moseying off through the ecstatic throng in the direction of the buffet.