Angelo the Angel

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

A ghost story with a difference. It's told by the ghost.

Submitted: March 26, 2018

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Submitted: March 26, 2018





Hello, I'm Angelo. Well I was, until a few weeks ago that is. I don't think we've met and of course we never will now, but I can see you're reading about me and that's kind of you to show an interest. I hope it doesn't make you sad. I find it all rather jolly but I'm sorry to see my family taking it so badly, my friends looking shifty, probably embarrassed, and my poor girlfriend, Yasmin, I hate to see her cry. From here I can notice things I just didn't see when I was down there among you all. I seem to have got more insight into my family and friends than I ever had before. But then I was a typical thoughtless young man, mad about cars and girls and, though I must say it myself, pretty successful with both. Until a few weeks ago.

One thing I've discovered is that when you're dead you become an angel. I don't mean one of those big stone lads with wings and a seraphic smile, I mean, it's like you never did anything wrong in your life and everything you did do was perfect, exceptional, wonderful. You know the joke: the older I get, the better I was? Well, wait till you're dead! Of course no one wants to speak ill of the dead but it's more than that: you can't irritate and annoy people any more; you can't answer back; you will never disappoint. Now, you are safely tucked away in a box and how you were is how you will always be. You still smile out of all the old photos from happier times.

“He was such a good baby and a lovely little boy.” Mother tearfully turns the pages of the family album. I bet I did my share of screaming in the night and trampling over the furniture but that's all forgotten. There I stand, in school uniform, missing my two front teeth and grinning my impish grin. I bet my knees were scabby and my hands filthy.

“He was so good-natured. Would do anything for anybody.”

I don't remember that. If the washing up was to be done, I was out the door. I did fetch old lady Mitchell's grocery every Saturday morning but that's because she paid me.

There's me in the school football team. I could be a bit rough on the field, didn't like to lose, and would come home torn to shreds and covered in mud.

“Well what you can you expect from a boy.”

So all my transgressions, if remembered, are excused. I'm now perfect. I got sanctified without noticing. Wonder what the Pope would say.

Of course I died a sudden death. That's always good for your reputation. The shock of your not being there any more brings out the best in people. You should have heard what they said at my funeral. That's why I went.

You and I never met but you might have known my family. My father was/is (I get confused, is he still my father?) Alfredo Fusilli, Italian Cockney. His father came over after the war and opened a restaurant in the Balls Pond Road, long gone now of course. Then they went into the wholesale grocery business, importing stuff from Italy, and elsewhere of course but they don't like to be too explicit about that, supplying loads of Italian restaurants. My parents worked hard so we did decently well, but we kids, I have two brothers and three sisters, wanted something else out of life. We were more interested in having fun and getting rich quick.

It was the fun that did for me: car racing. Well I am Italian. Unfortunately I never got to try out a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, no, it was a souped-up Fiesta and we shouldn't really have been racing. It wasn't a true stock car, as such, it was just that Doug from Lewisham wanted to try out a trick with the carburettor and he'd lowered the suspension, supposed to make it more stable. It's a good track, not too big but with one really hairy bend. I tried her round a couple of times and I must say she went like a dream, then I gave her to Doug and Jordy to tinker with. I went to see Yasmin.

Maybe you know my girlfriend Yasmin, Yasmin Chopra from Camberwell, Indian father and Swedish mother? My god is she beautiful. What a mixture, mother's big blue eyes and father's colouring, only lighter, like the sun is shining from under her skin, hair that glows light and dark at the same time and a mouth to die for, like a young Jeanne Moreau, with a suntan. She moves slow and sensual and looks up at you, a bit surprised, smiling, as if she doesn't really believe she's that gorgeous. She doesn't have to die to be an angel, at least to look at. Mark you there is a a bit of temperament there if she doesn't get her own way.

She is gorgeous, but then so was I. Really. You should have seen me. I look a bit mangled now but I was slim and fit, big brown eyes and dark floppy hair that curled into my neck if I let it grow. Proper gigolo. Old Mrs Mitchell couldn't keep her hands off me. I reckon that's why she paid me so well. Yes, all the girls went for me. First Gemma, she was nice, was with Jordy when we met. He was not too pleased. I always thought he was a good-natured lad, a bit rough, good with cars, but that doesn't impress the girls. After a while he stopped being grumpy with me and rumour had it he'd met someone new although he didn't bring her to the track. I realise now that might have had something to do with me.

Anyway, Gemma started getting heavy and I wanted out so I went round to the Fox and Goose where I knew Doug and Jordy would be of a Saturday night. There they were, four of them: Doug and Janey, Jordy with this vision of loveliness, Yasmin. He had fixed her mini and I think she was grateful, but I don't think it was anything more than that, not to her anyway. I mean they weren't holding hands or anything.

It was karaoke night. You can imagine it can't you? Mr Smooth Italian here gets up and does "O Sole Mio". Everybody joined in, brought the house down. Well that was it. Yasmin couldn't take her eyes off me. Asked me if I could do "I got you babe" with her. Didn't realise I knew all the words till then. At that slow bit, at the end, I took her hands and pulled her towards me. That was it for us. Jordy was looking a bit sick but he couldn't keep it up for long because I was racing for him on Wednesday.

We have the track on Wednesdays to practice. The races are normally at the weekend so the safety stuff is not properly set up after the last meeting. But this Wednesday Jordy had some mates down from Nottingham. They had their own meeting the next weekend but they wanted to try out a couple of youngsters on our track so they set me up to race these teenagers. I should have known better. They have no sense of danger. I went round a couple of times then left them the car to do some final adjustments before the race. Jordy said he had a grand riding on me but I don't think it was true. All this was unofficial anyway because we weren't suppose to race till Saturday.

Well you already know what happened. Maybe you read about it in the Standard. We're flying round the track spraying grit all over the seats, just coming up to the bend when one of the kids tries to cut me up. There was nothing I could do. It was either hit him straight on and crush him into the barrier or pull right and hit the barrier myself. I'd had a feeling the brakes were a bit soft but at that speed you can't always tell. Anyway I pulled right to miss him then tried to pull left to miss the barrier while braking as hard as I could. Nothing happened. The barrier of tyres was still all over the place from the last meeting. I just caught a stray one. The next thing I knew I was up in the air and down on the roof.

I didn't feel any pain. I have a memory of the steering wheel coming at me in slow motion but I might have imagined that. Anyway the roof on my head and the steering wheel in my chest meant it was done in a split second. A moment later I seemed to float out of the wreckage and look back at it, sort of passive. I thought: "It's all over." Then I just stood there in mid air thinking "I don't want it to be over." I felt as if I was floating upwards but I resisted. I felt cheated. "No, not yet. It's not over, not yet." Just by the force of my will I stayed there.

Of course everyone rushed out. The kid was having hysterics. A fire engine and an ambulance came, then the police. Then they fetched the track manager, who wasn't there at the time. It all went mad. Everybody shouting and accusing each other. I didn't look as they got me out of the car. I was watching Jordy and Doug. They were white as sheets. The police questioned them but they said I wanted to race and the track manager said it was forbidden so it was put down to us all ignoring the rules and safety precautions. But the police took the car away just the same.

The funeral was held at St Peter's, the Italian Church. Everybody came. I'd never noticed we had so many relatives and had forgotten most of their names. But they remembered me! At least they said they did. I floated in between to listen. That's how I knew I had become an angel. And you should have seen the flowers and the tears. I was used to the idea by then and started to enjoy myself. People I would swear I'd never met, were telling others what a good, kind, handsome, talented young man I had been. Someone remembered me playing guitar though I'm not sure even I remember that. Anyway they wanted to say I was talented and they couldn't mention the driving after all, could they? I hung around near to Doug and Jordy but they didn't say anything. They stood there in the church yard smoking and looking haunted. I suppose they felt partly responsible.

I thought everyone would draw a veil over the driving, it being a bit of a flaw in my angelic reputation but my father was not satisfied and got a lawyer onto it. I didn't understand why, but he seemed to have some faith in me. I think he actually took me seriously, said I wasn't a tearaway. I always drove sensibly even on the track. He wanted someone held responsible. So then everything suddenly escalated.

Forensics said the brakes had been tampered with. Everything was broken in the accident but they could still see that the brake pipe had had a little hole drilled in it. It would have leaked brake fluid slowly until I really put the brakes on then the fluid would have gushed out and the brakes failed completely. The kid driver was interviewed and said Doug and Jordy had taken him round the track and suggested his manoeuvre, said I would have to brake hard for the bend and if he got ahead I would never be able to catch him after that. When Doug was asked about it he panicked, thought suspicion was falling on him and said he hadn't understood why Jordy went under the car with a drill. So they found the drill and the drill bit and Jordy was arrested.

It came as a shock to me. I suppose I never thought Jordy stood a chance with Yasmin. They say every bloke secretly thinks he could pull a supermodel. Yasmin had been grateful for what he'd done to her car but it didn't go any further than that. He wouldn't confess, denied everything all the way. I was interested because I could hardly believe it either so I hung around him in the prison cell while he was awaiting trial. I didn't know what I could do so I just stayed there for a time then I thought, maybe I could get into his dreams. I can float through walls so why not his bony brain box? I got close up but as I have no body I couldn't touch him so I kind of merged. He shot awake with a scream so I must have done something. It made sure he got no more sleep that night. Of course I can't make any noises or rattle any chains but next night I tried hard to manifest myself visually. It's hard to explain but I tried concentrating on the light. Maybe what's left of me has something to do with photons or electric particles. Anyway the light started to flicker and he sat up staring straight at me, paralysed with fear. Then he started screaming and banging the door. I disappeared again. It seems to take up some energy doing that.

It's funny, I don't feel angry or malicious towards him. I just feel cheated. So I kept it up the next night and the next. If he fell asleep I got into his dreams and if he stayed awake I gave him a little show. By the end of the week he had confessed so it came to court quite quickly. Doug didn't have anything to do with it apparently, it was just Jordy's idea. He said I was a lousy gigolo that took girls just because I could, that they didn't mean anything to me. My family sat there looking outraged. He should have known better than to talk that way about an angel. I tried to make myself show during the court case, you know just to be a bit dramatic but I think I must have used up all my energy. I'm starting to fade away and can't hold on down here much longer. Poor old Jordy, he'll never be an angel. You might visit him in prison if you're interested. Probably no one else will. Sometimes I wonder if he was right about me. Maybe he's the only one that remembers me how I was.


© Copyright 2018 Jemima. All rights reserved.

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