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Under New Management

by Bill West

There it was again, that noise at the window. Sally flung back the curtains and gasped. A man peering in through the glass. She fumbled at the catch calling to him to be careful. As if someone needed to be told that falling off the window ledge on the twenty-seventh floor was a bad idea.

The cold morning breeze and traffic noise wafted into the room. For a moment she wondered at the wisdom of inviting a naked man into her flat when she was only wearing a bath towel.

He didn’t look dangerous; with a shave and a hair-cut he might look quite hot. Handsome. Blue eyes. Curly hair.

He appeared far larger up close. How could she have missed the wings! Admittedly they had been folded behind him. And now they were raised and spread, their feathered tips brushing the walls, knocking ornaments off the shelves, blotting out the sun.

He didn’t have a name. At least he didn’t respond when she patted her chest and said “Me Sally.” She considered calling him Gabriel, then Lucifer but settled on Angelo, and he seemed to like that. Not that he said much. He mumbled a few words in a strange language. Most of the time he just smiled and nodded agreeably at whatever she said.

Angelo ate beans on toast while Sally got dressed and put on some makeup. They sat on the sofa together and watched daytime TV. She stroked his wings with her long red nails. She wondered if he would miss just one feather. He didn’t seem to mind when she tugged one free. She stroked herself with it; down the side of her neck, across the deep neckline of her dress, down between her breasts.

The news came on. Angels were appearing all over the city. An old priest had set up a shelter for them in an abandoned church. He understood their language. The story was always the same. God was missing. He hadn’t met his praise quotient for the third quarter in a row. Too few people believed in him or prayed to him these days. He’d just faded away. Heaven was under new management. The whole organisation was being restructured, streamlined to suit current trends. For the angels it was either redeployment to Hell, “an exciting new growth area,” or redundancy; give up the swords and spears, hand over the harps and trumpets, and choose a gender.

There were also reports of a growing trade on e-Bay in female angels.

When the TV adverts came on Sally ran the feather across Angelo’s broad shoulders and brushed his cheek.. She stood up and lifted the empty plate from his lap and put it on the coffee table. She took his hand in hers. He looked up at her with his big blue innocent eyes. She coaxed him to stand up with smiles and soft words then led him towards the bedroom.

He had a lot of catching up to do.

Copyright © 2008 by Bill West

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