The angel Zagzagel finds himself under direct orders from Big Papa himself to do his job and not interfere with fate's outcome for his charge Charley. Charley's had her own share of issues and loss in her life, and Zag's pretty sure she deserves a break this time. Unable to follow the orders from Above, Zagzagel begins to realize that he may not be able to fulfill his duties much longer. Can he help Charley find closure and peace in his own way, or is it time to give up his wings? This is Diary Entry #4 of 6.The End Is Near!
I dodged left, dematerialized, and reappeared only after the smoke had cleared. “Hear me out. That’s all I’m ask—”
“Silence!” The Heavens rumbled from the force of Big Papa’s shout.
One finger in my right ear, I tried massaging away the pain. Why I ever bothered to voice my side, I didn’t know. It got me nowhere and nothing but trouble.
Dodging to my right, I avoided another lightning bolt by a hair’s breadth. “Sir. Yes, sir. I’m listening.” For Christ’s sake. “I won’t question your authority again,” I lied and knew I lied . . . and I was certain Papa knew my vice also, but I didn’t care. Papa made unreasonable demands. If I struggled to adhere to them, how could He expect my charges to walk such a narrow line?
“This one will pose a problem for you, Zagzagel.”
Papa wasn’t letting me in on any secret when He reminded me Charley was special. I kept my thoughts to myself, though; my attitude had landed me in the hot seat too often as it was. My decision to play it safe was two-fold. Despite my complaining, I longed for Papa’s approval—always had if you wanted the truth. My second reason conflicted in a sense. I was fiercely independent, abhorring interference as I performed my duties.
“One more false move, Zag, and I’ll . . . .”
Papa’s warning was lost in the sea of nothingness I often drifted to whenever He started ranting about my lack of judgment or my blatant disregard for protocol. Despite the shifting sands under foot, I couldn’t force myself to listen when His chastising began.
“I understand,” I said, not having a clue what he’d last mentioned. The sooner I got away from His presence, the better. Nothing productive ever came from our one-sided conversations.
Without further distraction, upon my dismissal, I descended the Heavens and veered for Mel’s twenty-four-hour, coin-operated laundromat. Actually, I alit in the alley behind Mel’s, where my charge, Charley, had set up residency for the last couple of years.
Charley’s wall-less accommodations were nothing special, but she liked to call them home. On the other hand, Charley, as Papa had foretold in His I-am-the-all-knowing speech, was very special, and in many ways.
With the exception of children, you see, humans are unable to see me unless I divulge my presence. My cloaking ability, however, had no effect on Charley, never had, not even as she’d reached adulthood.
“Morning,” she said, as I kicked a misplaced, half-shredded bag of trash toward the nearest dumpster on my approach.
“How are you today, Charley?”
“Fine. Fine.” Flagging me over, she smiled, but frowned and, with a gasp, covered her eyes as I rounded the dumpster. “Zagzagel! Cover up, for Heaven’s sake! You’re in the presence of a lady.”
How easily I forget these tiny details, but my name from her lips in such a scornful tone refreshed my memory—real quick. Before she had a chance to dress me down again, I made myself presentable, as you humans deem proper. Though I’d chosen the finest of silks, admittedly, I was uncomfortable. Hiding my disdain for the confines of the suit and tie I now adorned, I stepped forward. I didn’t need to ask Charley’s approval. Her smile said more than any words could ever say, and for a brief moment, I forgot my woes, my worries, my constant odds with Papa. Charley’s ability to lift my spirits was a gift.
“Got yourself a new chair.” I pointed to a sturdy looking, thigh-tall crate not present on my last visit.
She chuckled, appearing almost embarrassed. “Not fond of sitting on the ground these days.”
Of the many alleyways, overpasses, and bridges Charley had held residency in, under, and around over the years, behind this laundromat had been her wisest decision. High, along the scored brick wall, ran a row of dryer vents. Not only did they provide Charley warmth during cool nights, but she used the fresh laundered aroma of dryer sheets and fabric softener to air out her tattered clothing also.
“What are you up to?”
Standing beneath one of the vents, Charley shook what looked to have once been a crisp, white button-down dress shirt. “Just a bit of laundry. You?”
Now, she knew, I could not answer her, not with any detail.
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