Paris Portingale

My Brother-in-Law Ray, by the Month. May – July

Paris Portingale shares a year in the life of his idiot brother-in-law Ray. Part two of this four-part series shows Ray pondering a flat earth, the Shroud of Turin, and joining his local golf club.



There was something in the news about the Flat Earth Society this morning, they were trying to arrange a world convention. The Australians were working on setting it up, but the major chapter is in America, in New York, all the way across on the other side of the world, which would have been particularly handy if the world were round like a ball, but with a flat disc it was kind of awkward distance-wise.

Anyway, it started me wondering how my brother-in-law, Ray, felt about the idea that the world was flat, so I thought I’d wait until later that night when I was drunk and ring him.

It seems Ray is sitting this one out until both sides have played all their cards because, as he said, he’s jumped in early before, particularly with the dinosaurs thing which cost him the better part of a hundred and fifty bucks, and he bought the T-shirt as well.

I told him it was a wise move because, in the kind of universe Ray lives in, it really was. And you have to respect that, even if it requires you to shut down a lot of your brain first.



Ray called by to borrow a standard head screwdriver because he’d lost his and only had a Phillips head and why are there are two types of screwdriver anyway because it just makes things more complicated, particularly if you lose one of them, and anyway he usually just uses a hammer and bangs the thing until it comes loose.

So, he started talking about the Shroud of Turin because he’d been reading about it in a newspaper someone had left on the bus.

Ray’s idea was, if he had the Shroud of Turin, he’d make a pair of underpants out of it because he thought Jesus would like that.

Why Jesus would like Ray making a pair of underpants out of his Shroud of Turin was a question I found difficult to answer, so I asked him.

He said, “Because the thing’s been locked away for like a million years and doing bugger all so I’m sure he’d like the idea of someone getting a bit of use out of it.”

I said, “You know what it was, right?”

He said, “Yeah, this thing he used to wear.”

I said, “They wrapped his dead body in it.”

He said, “Yeah, well that was them. I want to make underpants out of it. Same thing.”

If you can get it in your head that this isn’t just an ordinary person talking to you, you may possibly be able to grasp the logic of that.



Ray, my sister’s brother, or my brother-in-law as he’s known around the district courts, applied to join the local golf club because, as he said, “It’s the sport of kings,” something he was mixing up with horse racing, which is in fact the sport of kings, unlike golf, which isn’t except to my brother-in-law Ray.

Anyway, his application was rejected because the committee knew him and said if he ever managed to hit the ball he’d run around like a maniac with his T-shirt pulled up over his head and frighten the other golfers.

Ray’s an idiot, but he has the ability to think in a lateral direction that may or may not at some point enter another dimension, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide, maybe after reading the rest of this.

Now, the thing is, I don’t think the committee was right because, knowing Ray as I do, what he would have done was convert the ride-on vacuum cleaner he made (that destroyed most of the fence and killed the next door’s cat) which he then converted into a painting robot (with multiple randomly swinging arms that never really took off) and turn that into his personal golf machine.

I told him this and he said, “Yeah, you know, I probably would’ve too, and it’d be economical from the point of view of buying golf clubs because you’d only need the one because the thing would have a whack like a goddamn bloody piledriver, so yeah, maybe I’ll do that.”

I said, “But where would you use it?”

He said, “Backyard.”

I said, “How are you going to use something like that in a backyard?”

He said, “Well, it won’t be a backyard because I’ll turn it into a golf course.”

I said, “How are you going to do that?”

He said, “I’ll borrow Barry’s tractor.”

An idiot, maybe, but an indomitable one.


Paris Portingale

Paris Portingale is a writer and dog owner. While having a somewhat indifferent attitude towards abstemious self-restraint, he does follow the safe guidelines of four standard drinks a day, although his standards are a great deal higher than most, certainly the medical profession’s. Paris is visited often in the night by God, and the meetings are anything but pleasant.

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