Manny's Long Day (Angel Fiction)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


A day in the life of an angel doesn't have to be epic to make a difference.

Submitted: September 25, 2017

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Submitted: September 25, 2017

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Manny looked down from his perch on the utility pole and admired the skill the city police officer displayed as he corralled, and exerted his will over, the rush-hour traffic.  Cars, trucks and buses rolled one way, and then the other, through his assigned intersection.  Manny marveled at the idiotic drivers who didn’t understand that you had to stop for a “red cop”, or that everyone couldn't occupy the intersection at the same time.  Commuters honked their horns, like it was going to make things smoother or faster, but the cop blocked out the harsh “beeps” and kept traffic flowing while the lights were inoperative.  Manny laughed a little under his breath as he hesitated to finish the required maintenance on the pole, so his partner below could reactivate the signals.  He had always liked to people watch, and this was an excellent opportunity to do so.  He had fond memories of standing among peasants, and watching legions of Roman soldiers march by in the early days of the empire.  He used to imagine the families they left behind, what their destination might be, or what was on their schedule to conquer that week.  For right now, he knew there was a stiff, bitterly cold breeze blowing up the back of his jacket.  He didn't think much about it, because his kind  didn't have to worry about such things.  But, when he looked down on his companion, and the frozen cop, suffering in the single-digit temperatures, he took pity on them.  He yelled down to “Bob” to "go ahead and put the electronic traffic control back on line".  As he climbed down the pole, he wondered what on Earth he was doing here.  For days, he rode around with Bob fixing the signals and other electronic apparatuses around the busy city, but hadn't had the opportunity to use his "real" skill set. 

They had been at it for nearly eight hours, with no lunch break, so he and his partner traveled to the diner to grab some grub before their next exciting maintenance adventure.  The waitress, who knew them both by name, walked over to their table and batted her eyes at Manny before taking their order.  Manny knew why she was so enamored with him.  His first day on the job, while cleaning up in the restaurant’s bathroom, he got his first good look at the olive-skinned, Mediterranean-looking head attached to the hard, young body he was wearing.  It was a serious upgrade from some of the street bum and hobo personas he had been dwelling in of late.  He smiled and asked "are you on the menu?”.  He said that same line every day and got the same sexy giggle in response.  She was very pleasant to look at, and “married” Bob didn’t mind her paying special attention to them, even if it wasn’t him she was attracted to.  They ordered and enjoyed the joint's greasy fare before laying enough cash on the table to cover the meal and a decent tip.  Bob retreated to the bathroom for a "sit", while Manny chatted with the waitress for a moment.  When she was called to another of her tables, the Earthbound angel walked toward the exit.  Before he made it, the entire place, and the street outside, went completely dark.

Manny scanned the restaurant, then outside to see what was what.  People who were walking along the sidewalk had frozen in place, while their eyes tried to adjust to the sudden darkness their city had become enveloped in.  Manny, who could see everything, sensed trouble.  Suddenly, a car came barreling down the street and lost control before careening over the sidewalk, and several of the pedestrians who were still trying to get their bearings.  Manny just stood there and watched the vehicle cut through and mash the now lifeless bodies, then come partially through the front door.  The glass shattered, sending a large piece of the vintage, non-safety-rated stuff flying towards Manny’s pretty waitress.It was all happening in slow motion to him as the glass projectile got closer and closer to the unsuspecting woman.  Without looking her way, he moved just enough to give her a slight shove so the shard just clipped the sleeve of her uniform instead of impaling her in the chest.  She fell and bashed her head against a table as the deadly glass fell harmlessly to the floor.  As she lay there, "out cold" and bleeding profusely, the manager came over and applied pressure to her wound with his apron.  Not knowing there was a body count outside, he cussed the idiot for ruining the entrance to his place of business.  Manny didn’t give a second thought to why he wasn’t prompted to quickly take action to save the poor creatures on the sidewalk.  He watched little wispy trails of light escape the newly expired citizens, and then move upward.

Bob felt his way out of the bathroom and stood alongside his partner as they got a good look at the crunched in front end of the car, that was in such a hurry to get down the pitch-black street.  The driver, stinking of booze, pushed at his door trying to escape the wrecked machine.  Manny walked over to see how the soon-to-be manslaughter suspect was, and saw that he seemed to be unhurt, but too drunk to have any real idea what had happened.  He was confused, and continued trying to open his wedged in door.  Manny wanted to crush his face in to match his pretty waitress's dented forehead, but instead just got close enough to reaffirm that the man didn't seem to have any life-threatening injuries.  It might have been funny to watch the clueless idiot trying to escape, if there weren't bodies strewn all over the sidewalk and street.  Bob snickered a little, because he, like the other patrons inside the eatery didn't know about the carnage outside.Manny lay across the dashboard of the windshield-less auto and then pulled himself in further to assess the situation.  The inebriated monster who had just taken several lives didn't have a scratch on him, and was trying furiously to get out; probably to run away.  Manny feigned working his way down to the guy's feet to release him from his imagined obstruction.  Instead, he grabbed his foot, and wedged it under the brake pedal, before bending it down until the man was really trapped.  This guy may have escaped the immediate punishment of injury, but he would, at least, remain "pinned down" so the cops wouldn't have to search for him on the dark streets when they got here; or prove in court that he was the driver.  The drunkard howled in pain as the metal was pushed firmly against his ankle to secure him.  “Nothing we can do here”, Manny said to Bob, after wiggling out of the man's car and brushing square bits of safety glass from his clothes.  “Have to wait for the rescue guys to free him”, he added.

Their pretty waitress was regaining consciousness, and seemed to be in good hands, so the two men decided they weren't needed inside.  He and Bob climbed over the wrecked car and out of the restaurant.  They would hang out until the Emergency Medical Techs got there, but Manny's involvement with the rest of this mess wasn't being made clear to him.  Bob was surprised as his friend just walked through the unexpected bloodshed outside, and then sat on a bench.  He felt sick and just barely held his dinner back from becoming part of the crime scene.He just shook his head, as Manny sat there like he was sitting in a park on a sunny Sunday watching children play.  Emergency vehicles and police arrived at the scene a moment later to address the situation.  Bob handed a cop his business card so they could contact he and Manny later if they needed any clarification of what happened.  He was ready to be as far away from this nightmare as possible.  There were plenty of witnesses to the asshole’s crime, so he didn't expect a call.  The disgusted cop just scowled at Bob and put his card into his jacket pocket.  The two civil servants made their way back to their truck for what would probably be, at first, very boring, but then a marathon of overtime working to get the city back "on-line". 

The radio was a flurry of activity when they got back into the truck.  People were trampling all over each other trying to talk at the same time.  Eventually, a calm voice broke through and instructed all units to stay off the radio and wait for further instructions.  They both knew that, even if the power came right back on, they would be working all night, and throughout the next day.  Hundreds of electronic devices located across the city would need to be reset or repaired.  Sirens could be heard from all directions and it sounded like the world was coming to an end; or maybe Godzilla was attacking.  It was important to kick back for now, because once the power was back on, it would be non-stop until order was restored.  Bob checked the local news station's website on his smart phone to see if there were any hard facts about what happened, and when the lights would be back on.  Of course, there were not.  Information would be traveling at a snail’s pace, so the two leaned back in their seats and rested their eyes in preparation for what was sure to come later. 

Manny drifted off to dreamland amid the sirens, occasional gunshots, and a sprinkling of people yelling and screaming.  He could, and actually did once, sleep on a beach in the middle of a hurricane.  This would be a "piece of cake".  He dreamed of one of his "past lives", finding himself standing on a battle ship as a bomb, dropped from an aircraft, detonated right in front of him.  He had just moved to that exact spot to shield two sailors from its blast.  After the shock of the giant “boom”, both sailors were understandably stunned.  Manny grabbed them and effortlessly tossed the two over the side of the ship right before a chain of loud, but muffled, booms occurred.  These explosions spelled possible disaster for many of the rest of the crew, because they originated below, deep inside the vessel.  He could see the scores of burning bodies and twisted, melted metal littering the deck of what was once a proud battleship in the mighty US Navy’s arsenal.  Now it was just a floating, burning tomb for many American servicemen.  Another battleship, with flames roaring on its own deck, almost rammed into Manny's half sunken ship, as it fled the killing field that Pearl Harbor had become.  He looked over and saw several of his kin tending to the wounded and dead on that vessel.  He moved calmly, and deliberately, through what had now become a floating fireball.  He stood still for a moment with an injured sailor in his arms, as he felt the deck literally melting away under his feet.  He walked to the rail and jumped into the water with the man still in his arms.  He knew there were many more men trapped on the doomed vessel, but his work here was done for now. 

As he gathered the three survivors together and kept them afloat, the water all around them was on fire.  He knew they were suffering from the tremendous heat, and that their eyes stung from the heavy, black smoke.  He encouraged them to remain strong as "help was coming soon”.  After the sound of the planes roaring overhead and the explosions that were decimating much of the fleet finally stopped, a small craft approached the waterlogged group.  The three were pulled aboard the boat, that would later furnish over twenty, beaten up, but semi-able-bodied seamen needed to help put out the fires on another ship; where many men were trapped below deck.  They told their rescuers that the sailor, who had saved their lives, "disappeared under the water and never came back up".  It was a story the three "men" manning the rescue vessel would hear five or six more times before they, too, mysteriously "went missing", along with their boat.  As the rescue craft moved on, without stopping to search for the heroic, missing sailor, Manny stood and watched the goings on from shore.  The large battle ship, he was just on, sank before his eyes.  He watched, as many trails of light fell from the Heavens and passed through the “now visible” hull of the doomed vessel.  The fact that he only saw a few wispy trails of light going the other way could only mean that the men inside would endure the unspeakable horror of living the last minutes of their lives trapped under water.  He knew though, that the angels would make themselves known to those who allowed themselves to see.

He suddenly vanished and found himself in a makeshift, tented military-aid station.  His hand was inside a soldier's torso, pinching off a soldier's artery, as a surgeon was trying desperately to save his life.  As the doomed warrior drew his last shallow breath, Manny's attention was diverted to the "thump, thump, thump, thump" of a fifty caliber machine gun somewhere in the distance.  He heard it again, and then again, just before he awoke to his current reality.  He looked over at the skinny, "drugged out" man, who was peering into the city vehicle.  Manny's fifty cal was actually the tap, tap, tap of a pistol barrel on his window.  It was time for this miscreant to feed his habit, and he needed the contents of Manny and Bob's wallets to do so.  The criminal jumped back though, as a blinding light replaced Manny's face; illuminating nearly the whole block.  The temporarily half-blind man stumbled as he ran away from the "freaks" in the truck.  Manny laughed a little under his breath as his features returned to his assigned form.  Bob mumbled something about "those damn halogen headlights", as he shifted positions and faded off again.

As the cobwebs of sleep, and war continued to clear for Manny, he thought how much more interesting World War Two was than present day.  "There was always something big going on", he thought, before he caught himself, and wiped away the selfish idea that any human war was good for any reason; much less keeping him entertained.  He listened to the sound of sirens coming from all directions as the accidents within the city were mounting and also, likely, because of those who took advantage of situations like this to go midnight window shopping.  He pushed those sounds out of his head so he could identify the location where one particular child was crying and talking to the one from whom all things come.  He listened intently, for a moment, before announcing, “I gotta piss”.  “Yeah, OK”, Bob replied, without opening his eyes, and then falling right back to sleep.  After cracking the windows and locking the doors for his sleepy, little pet, Manny walked down the street towards an apartment building not far from the diner.  He noticed that the car, that had pierced the entrance, was gone, and yellow tape cordoned off the area around the crash site.  As he was walking, a looter with a large TV box in his arms ran towards him.  The thief couldn’t see past his cargo and was going to hit the other-worldly "brick wall" straight on.  Manny was debating on whether to stand his ground, but ended up catching the guy as he tripped just short of being broken like a crash test dummy.  Manny settled the young man back on his feet and then watched him continue running full speed, down the sidewalk, as if nothing had happened.  He stood very still until he, again, heard the boy's whimpering, among the thousands of prayers coming from all directions.  The front door of the building, where the sounds were coming from, was locked, but Manny turned the handle and it opened for him.  He made his way inside and tracked the sound of the tiny human's crying to a second-floor apartment.

Manny knocked and waited for the little one to answer.  He knew the child would be compelled to do so, but couldn’t decide whether or not he should still issue a lecture on opening doors to strangers.  The reinforced door opened a crack and a little boy peered through at the young woman his eyes were seeing.  He asked the "lady", "can I help you", then stood there and stared as he waited for an answer.  “Your mom sent me, Nick”, the lady replied before smiling.  The boy shut the door and worked at removing the chain from its cradle.  He then opened it up all the way and looked up before asking “my mommy sent you?”.  The woman walked past him into the dark apartment and produced a small, battery-operated camp lantern from nowhere. It lit up the room enough to see that the place was pretty run down, but had a couch and a table with chairs in the shared living room, kitchen area.  The walls had homey pictures and decorations that showed that “mommy” was at least trying to make her kiddo a home.  Manny had no idea who or where mommy was, but thought she might be in trouble with him when she returned.  The little latch key kid looked up at his lady babysitter and said meekly, “Mommy didn’t come home when she was supposed to...I'm hungry”.  The youngster stared intently at Manny as he opened the refrigerator door and pawed through the crisper, until he found some sandwich meat to go with the bread on the counter.  “Ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise”, he inquired to which the little boy answered, “manace”.  The “lady” who had helped conquer mighty demon armies, and, recently, "willed" a jumbo jet airliner to stay in the air when it should have been hurdling toward the Earth, made the little boy a sandwich with bread, lunchmeat and “manace”.  As Nick ate, he continued to stare at Manny, who was sitting across from him.  He smiled broadly when the lady noticed.  “What?”, Manny asked, as the boy continued to display his foolish grin.  “You’re so pretty and all glowy”, he said, as he got up and moved his chair next to his shiny babysitter, before continuing to eat.

After wolfing down his “meal”, Nick pulled a children’s board game out of an end table cabinet and they played for nearly two hours.  It was a challenge playing with many of the pieces missing from the second-hand gift Mommy had bought him.  Nick laughed and moved closer, as Manny kept "finding" extra pieces in his pockets to replace them.  Manny enjoyed being around kids, but didn't get to do it very often.  They talked about everything and nothing at all as the boy schooled the angel at the game.  When Nick showed signs that it was time for bed, they picked up the pieces of the, now complete, game, and then put it away.  Manny held him in his arms for only a minute before the little "angel" was fast asleep.  The apartment was getting cold since the gas furnace needed electricity to run, but Nick was warm as toast laying on his new babysitter.Manny was worried the boy’s mother may never come home at this point, but, as a voice in his head spoke, Manny nodded and closed his eyes to doze with the child.  He listened to the boy’s body and heard sickness.  Mommy didn’t know it yet, but Nick was going to have a battle with a serious illness that he would eventually win with her help.  That, and her unexpected, renewed devotion to the one from whom all things come.It was a couple hours later when Manny stirred at the sound of a key scratching at the lock of the apartment's door.  He moved out from under the boy, covered him with an afghan, and then walked into the bedroom.  It was the little human's mother finally coming home.  Manny, who had been angry before at the neglectful witch for not being at home with her kid, smiled when he recognized the waitress. 

She walked in and immediately picked Nick up from the couch for a long hug.  She didn’t learn until she was in the hospital treatment room, that her babysitter flaked out to go home to her own family.  The woman was flighty anyway, and never thought about taking Nick with her.  Besides, since Mommy’s work wouldn’t have power, the sitter thought she would be home any minute.  The bandage that covered several stitches in her forehead showed traces of blood, where her sutured wound was seeping.  Her head ached, but she was glad to be back with her baby.  She was lucky enough to catch a free ride home in an off-duty cab driven by a nice guy named Mich.  The cabbie seemed to have just the right words to comfort and calm down the frantic mother.  It didn't occur to her until the next morning that he had said "Nick is in very good hands", without her ever telling him her boy's name.  As Nick told mommy the story of the beautiful woman who glowed coming to watch him and make his dinner, mom just nodded.  She knew it was just a story concocted from the boy’s imagination to cope with the stress of the scary situation.  She had watched enough of that TV show, hosted by the fake psychologist, to know that.  She was happy and proud that Nick was such a brave, self-sufficient young man in a situation that could have turned out badly.  She picked up the light that was sitting on the end table and looked at it.  She couldn't remember having one like it, and racked her brain trying to figure out where it might have come from.  She shrugged, turned it off and then placed it back on the table.  As her and, a surprisingly warm, Nick became situated on the couch together she kicked the lantern over, and it broke open on the floor.  Mommy was too tired to deal with anything now and decided to let it go until morning.  As they lay there, the moonlight came through the window and illuminated the lantern’s pieces.  She couldn’t see the batteries, but decided they must have rolled under the couch. 

As babysitter Manny walked back towards the truck and his snoozing partner, he thought he heard a quick, mumbled plea coming from a building along his route.  The city was in disarray, and he sensed a heavy presence of his siblings throughout.  Manny stopped at the building in question and watched several young people looting a mom-and-pop-style grocery store.  The large front window had been broken out and they were brazenly packing up boxes and bags full of food, beer and cigarettes, like they owned the place.  He could see the owner slowly creeping down the stairs from the apartment above, with a baseball bat in his hand.  Manny blew a little breeze into the shop that sent a shiver up each of their spines.  He scanned the area to see if anyone was looking, then, using his real voice, whispered, at a level barely audible to anyone except the interlopers, “what are you doing?".  The ground shook under the thieves’ feet as what seemed like a thousand-times-magnified voice ripped through the store and sent jagged pieces of broken glass, that were still clinging to the large window frame, falling to the ground.  The “near-do-wells” were yelling back and forth because they could barely hear each other after the sudden burst of sound.  They bumped into, and tripped over each other; dropping the containers full of contraband.  They all scurried out of the store with their hands over their “smarting” ears before disappearing down the street.  The store owner was mystified as to why the robbers ran away, because he didn't hear the booming voice of the angel.  "They must have saw the bat", he finally surmised.  Manny turned and chuckled out loud as he started back to the truck again. 

Early the next morning, after the power had been back on for hours, Manny and Bob were hopping from one place to another mending the city's electronic devices.  Mommy dreamed about her cab ride home and, again, was experiencing the unusual sense of peace and comfort the stranger's words gave her.  As she realized the cabbie knew her little man's name without her mentioning it, she was jarred awake.  The pieces of the lantern that mommy, “knew” was lighting up her living room when she got home the night before, were still on the apartment floor.  After looking in vain for batteries, she was sitting at the kitchen table peering intently at her phone.  As the furnace kicked on and blew heat from the vent above her head, the flustered young woman snuck another peek at the mystery lantern pieces, and her peacefully sleeping son.  She thought of his story about the "glowy" lady, who cared for him, before saying out loud, "thank you Heavenly father".  She turned her attention back to her phone's screen, as the schedule for morning mass loaded from the church’s web site.

Manu - Angel of fate.


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