Fun Fact #11: The (Very) Reverend Valcovar


Today in Fun Facts, a series of articles about characters and plot devices I’ve used in my stories, I’ll be talking about Reverend Ramsley Valcovar.

The most Reverend Ramsley Valcovar II is a character readers are introduced to in “The Time Saving Agency“, book 2 in Quantum. He’s a “man of the cloth” as it were, in about the same way as a playboy rockstar might be a quality door-to-door linen salesman – smarmy, self-righteous, cowardly and with a measure of arrogance. Ramsley isn’t an old man, he’s somewhere in his mid-thirties, and he’d graduated quite a few years before his debut as a secondary character in the series. Although he’s meant initially to be something of a parody of priests and clergy in general, the Reverend later on begins to display more noble aspects to his otherwise stereotypical character. He’s a graduate of the Reformed Puritan College of Theology (the one on Uripides) – with honors, not that it means much, having a degree in stuff nobody can prove is real… except perhaps in convincing other people of it’s real-ness, in order to get them to pay you nice and regular for it, right?

Anyway, having been born into a wealthy family, Ramsley Valcovar (the Second) had always wanted the kind of posting where he could settle into a routine of comfort and class, where he could hold three services every Sunday and be invited round afterwards for opulent lunches and dinners by well-to-do members of his congregation. This pretty much sums up his existence in Atro City – where there are quite a lot of Puritans – and consequently a lot of rituals.

The Puritans – very much one of the last surviving denominations of Christianity since the Great Awakening shortly after the Third World War nearly a century before, were all about ritual and propriety – and morality, and being proper… at least at face value. Valcovar had always been the consummate Puritan preacher – hellfire and damnation were his staple food, and being utterly and thoroughly conservative, at least to the outside world – he was every inch the pious clergyman!

Ramsley performed weddings and funerals – at his church, the Chapel of St Lucienne the Prostrate, and also at various popular wedding and funeral venues across the city. He enjoys both in all honesty, but at least he wasn’t required to actually smile at funerals. Weddings were also far too happy-dappy and joyful for him – and he found it hard to handle. Unfortunately, there were far more weddings at his church, than funerals – which was better for the church’s coffers, since all the services tended to be one kind of fundraiser or another. Regardless of whether someone was getting hitched or buried, the collection plate always went around at least once, perhaps twice – and thrice on Sundays!

[Incidentally, in order to see the rest of these articles in this series, click on the category name Fun Facts!]

Some members of Valcovars Puritan congregation also tended to be repeat customers. Some got married more times than he cared to speculate about, whereas most only died once…which was reason enough to charge double for a funeral. Talk about getting enough bang for your buck – but anyway, as far as Ramsley Valcovar II was concerned, many funerals lasted longer than some marriages – and as a staunch and robust Puritan man of the cloth, he firmly agreed with and supported the Reformed Puritan Church’s views on marriage, gender freaks, homsoexuality (he had to look that up to be certain), the family and morality – er, whatever they happened to be on any particular week.

Weddings and funerals aside, and due to the contentious and frequently traumatic nature of many separations – divorce ceremonies were most often small, private affairs – and believe it or not, there were even more of those! Like banks, Puritan churches on Deanna were legally allowed to charge for all services rendered, so by law, Valcovar could charge more for those – and he did.

Almost nobody attended the divorce ceremonies – and not through lack of advertising – but more likely out of avoiding getting caught up in drama rather than just watching it! There was usually a small retinue which normally consisted of at least two lawyers and a pair of big bouncers and one or two trauma counselors who would hang around in case any brawls broke out. Paramedics would sometimes wait outside in case anyone needed them. At least one mother-in-law would often attend, looking rather pleased and self-satisfied and wearing a smug “I told you so!” expression, nodding emphatically at every other word uttered by Ramsley as he read the “Order of the Dissolution Of Vows”.

Valcovar, the eternal cynic, also occasionally performs rituals in pig-latin, just to see if anyone notices. Mostly, they don’t.

Under the Reformed Puritan Church’s billable services, weekly special were run on Indulgences, Absolution, Forgiveness, and Salvation, which could be purchased with one simple click on the Church’s page on the interweb. The takings on that side of the business were rather good, with the RPC really racking up the numbers in terms of saving people from the burden of amassing too much filthy lucre!

As a Puritan minister, Ramsley’s duties included seeing to the spiritual needs of his congregation, which meant that he spent much of his time visiting widows and orphans and otherwise engaging in spreading the good news of the Reformed Puritan Church – including doing Conspicuous Good Works at several local youth centers. Moderation was the key, Ramsley believed, as in everything. Whether it was eating, drinking or – er, other things – anything was okay as long as it was done in moderation – and there were no witnesses… especially anyone from the parish who could ID him!

Unfortunately for Ramsley, in “The Time Saving Agency” while he’s in the middle of a ritual ceremony, blessing a new door knob for his church, something awful happens! A funny noise not unlike Beethoven being played backwards very quickly, and a flashing, blinding lightning storm that snakes around the inside of the church and melts half a dozen candle holders – and a weird, frightening, blackened, still smoking figure appears on stage with a little ‘pop’ sound! The appearance of Brad Xyl is a little too distressing for our friend Ramsley, and he runs off tearing his vestments from his body – rushing off to make a reservation for one at the Willow Gardens Resort For The Temporarily Insane.

Poor, poor Valcovar. But no need to fret – he does appear again in future stories.

If you want a taste of the Quantum Series, you can read these free sample short stories that include material not seen in the rest of the series:

   

The free eBook below offers greater insight to the planet Deanna:

Further reading:

Where can you get “the Quantum Series“? Right here!

The Quantum Series

     

You can find my books all over the place – on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Lulu, Smashwords, PayHip, and a stack of others around the world! You can also find them on my website’s Shop page.

For South African readers, Kobo lists all available titles in South African currency!

Feel free to email or message me via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn if you have any comments or questions!

Cheers until next time!

Christina


If you would like to know more about Christina Engela and her writing, please feel free to browse her website.

If you’d like to send Christina Engela a question about her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to christinaengela@gmail.com or use the Contact form.

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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2019.

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