Near Miss (Angel Fiction)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

A day, a week, a month in the life of an Angel living among us

She slowed to a crawl as she approached the intersection.  Two cars in front of her ran right through the red light before the other motorists got their green.  Penny wisely didn't follow them, though she needed to get to work so she could do a consultation with a prospective client.  She chided herself for not getting up and going a lot earlier.  "Oh great...another bum wants to wash my window", she lamented out loud as the dirtiest vagrant she had ever seen stepped out in front of her, making her stop well short of the stop line.  He stumbled around to the side of the car before spraying what looked like molasses and water on the windshield.  He then proceeded to smear it around with a nasty looking rag.  She didn't understand why she was such a magnet for these dirty street people.  She couldn't leave the professional building she worked in without some lazy bum, who looked perfectly capable of getting a job, begging for her spare change.

The man continued to mess up her recently detailed luxury car as she yelled for him to get out of her way.  She saw the light turn green, and then began waving a dollar bill out the window before the vagrant finally walked over to grab the bait and let her get on with her freaking day.  As she let off the brake, a large truck crushed the old pickup truck that had sat next to her at the light.  After the initial shock, she reasoned that the truck wouldn't have hit her.  She was certain her lead foot would have had her clear of the red light-running semi, but was glad she didn't have to test that theory. 

Penny was trapped by the traffic behind her and had to watch the firemen extract the lifeless, mangled body of the pickup driver out of his vehicle.  A man got out of the car behind her, and stood at her window trying to chat with the busy lawyer.  He was a tall, heavyset guy and had on an expensive suit.  He carried an old looking bible and had his thinning hair slicked back just so.  She could picture him quoting bible verses on after hours, late night TV to an audience idiotic enough to listen.  The bible looked like it had been read, or referenced many times, but he seemed like he wasn't interested in saving anyone's soul. 

"I was pretty angry at you for not going when the light turned green", he began.  "People texting and driving is one of my biggest pet peeves", he continued as she ignored him.  He explained that he was running late to a meeting he had with a pastor of a large local church.  Penny couldn't take her attention away from her windshield as the ‘preacher’ rambled on and on.  There wasn't any trace of the horrible concoction the man had sprayed on it.  She was sure the glass was still smeared when he took his dollar and walked away.  She reasoned that she had just imagined how gooey the spray really was, or that she, as usual, wasn't paying enough attention to the ‘creature’ that ‘washed’ her windshield to remember. 

The emergency crew began to move the wreckage to the side enough to send the trapped traffic through a narrow opening, and on their way back to their lives.  She motioned goodbye to (actually at) the nice man, who took the time to talk to her, and then drove away without looking.  When she got to work, she noticed something on the passenger seat.  It was one of those annoying little bits of paper with a saying on it that charities give you to hang on your rearview mirror when you make a donation.  It said, ask and it shall be provided you.  She brushed it onto the floor as she exited the vehicle.  She didn't have time for that religious claptrap.  Her only real memory of church was getting whacked on the back of the hand with a ruler by a mean Nun.

The church parking lot was empty as Jerry pulled in and parked his luxury car.  He couldn't believe that the crappy drivers and slow emergency responders in this ‘Podunk’ town may have cost him this important sales pitch.  He pulled on the doors to the main entrance and found them locked tight.  A trip around the building found that the side door was the same.  He leaned against the building to rest for a moment before beginning the walk back to his car.  As he rounded the corner, he saw a man, who he believed to be the reverend, leaning against the building smoking. 

He was a smallish guy and you wouldn't know he was a preacher had it not been for the white collar.  He looked at Jerry and said, "hi, how you doing?", as he held out his hand.  Jerry grasped the preacher's hand and shook as he introduced himself.  "I'm Jerry and I have something you just can't do without!”  "Well, I'm Father Barry...let's take a look then".  They walked over to the trunk of his car and he opened it.  From there he pulled a box out and walked to the front of the car.  As he laid out beautifully bound Hymnals and Bibles on the car's hood, he began his pitch.  "These are the finest quality Hymnals you can buy, with references in the back to scriptures that most closely apply to each song and a large section of daily confirmational, and responsive readings for Sunday services".  The preacher looked at him and said, "Jerry...I, and every church in town have been expecting you".  Jerry's face fell a little, and he asked, "what do you mean reverend?”  "Churches, no matter the denomination, have a pretty good grapevine established these days to alert us of scammers and those who wish to do harm to those who serve the Lord...word travels pretty fast", the collared gentleman said.  Jerry turned red as he quickly packed the books back into the box, and calmly moved them back into the trunk before closing it.  "Why would you do this to God fearing people Jerry?” the padre asked.  "It's just business", Jerry replied as he opened his car door and got in.  "Don't you worry about your soul boy?” the preacher asked as Jerry put the car in gear.  "What did God ever do for me?” he asked loudly, and angrily, as gravel spewed out from under the back of his car on the way out of the parking lot. 

An old man named Bart sat in the cardboard shelter he had found abandoned months ago.  It was his home for the moment and was decorated in his own street junk style.  He had several layers of clothing on because it was an easy way to haul it all around so people wouldn’t pilfer them, and because the nights were cold when you slept in a box.  He was part of a community, with ten or more cardboard homes in this alley, housing the mentally ill, people who had been abandoned by their loved ones, alcoholics, and even some who had just decided, whether selfishly or not, to ‘check out’ of the rat race.  The old man walked out of the alley to try to bum a meal from the restaurant down the street.  It was dangerous to approach that alley entrance, because another little ‘vagrant city’ was located back there to catch a little bit of heat from the vents that came from the ovens inside.  Sometimes it was worth the risk though, as the owner of the joint was generous with his leftovers and things he would otherwise throw in the trash.  Bart knew for a fact that the man made many more sandwich’s than needed each day.  He liked to have ‘extra's’ to provide for a few good but unlucky people to have one decent meal each day.  As he neared his destination, Bart stopped, as if someone was talking to him inside his head.  He stood patiently behind a well-dressed guy who was texting while waiting to cross the street.  After a moment, Bart reached out and grabbed the back of the man’s coat and kept him from walking out in front of a bus. The man stumbled and fell backward cussing his attacker, before looking back to see only an elderly woman standing behind him. 

Bart laughed to himself at how ungrateful humans could be, as he approached the alley where he hoped some spare crumbs would be available.  He was very happy that there wasn’t anybody else out and about.  The proprietor only had one sandwich left to offer Bart.  It was warm, and wrapped in foil because he knew better than to treat the ‘down and out’ like they were anything less than him in the event of a bad year or two.  Bart said, "Blessings from Heaven to you and yours", before walking back towards his alley.  The restaurant owner felt a familiar warmth rising from the pit of his stomach, that he always got when this particular indigent offered his blessings.  Bart returned to his alley, and, somehow, pulled a sandwich out of his bag for each of his neighbors.  This would mean they wouldn't have to go to sleep hungry; tonight at least.  When morning came, they would all go down the street to the church for morning mass and breakfast, which was served every day.  He lay in his box and prayed for all the people who were cold and on the street.  As he did, he reached out and touched the ground, making its temperature rise for blocks around; but, not so much that anyone not sleeping outside tonight would really notice.

Jerry couldn't get Father Barry's voice out of his head as he sat in the lonely motel room and ate a sandwich from the shop down the street.  His ‘business’ would be in shambles since, apparently, the word was out.  He would have to devise a new scam to earn a living unless he could put enough states between him and this part of the country.  Maybe then the expensive props he had in the trunk wouldn't go to waste.  He was tired of being ‘on the job’, or ‘grift’ for today, so he lay down and tried to sleep, hoping his brain would turn off and allow him some rest.He dreamed of the wreck he had witnessed earlier and how lucky the woman was that she was stupidly texting instead of paying attention.  He watched the wreck over and over again.  The light turned green and the truck started to take off, but died.  The unlucky man started it up again and pulled out in front of the speeding truck. 

It was then that the larcenous preacher realized that the timing was all wrong.  The woman would have been clear of the intersection before the semi came through his red light.  An uninterrupted chain of events would have ensured that HE would have been the grease spot in that intersection!  "What has God ever done for me?", echoed through his mind as he lay there awake, thinking about the bad dream.

As Jerry walked out the door of his hotel room, he found himself looking at a line of homeless people in front of the church across the street.  He checked his voicemail and listened with astonishment as the church he was going to scam had called to reschedule their meeting with him.  It said they were “sorry they missed him yesterday and hoped that everything was alright".  They "looked forward to seeing his samples and were ready to pay the ten percent deposit he required for a substantial order to send overseas to their missionaries".  He stood there dumbfounded, and his asking the Padre what God had ever done for him, rang in his head again, only louder than before.  He felt the urge to go into the church and spend a few minutes with God.  That inclination hadn't happened to him for many, many years.  Not since he was an usher for his father's church in ‘Hicksville’. 

Early one chilly morning, about a month later, Jerry walked out of the sandwich shop with a cup in his hand.  He stopped there to grab coffee, but would return later for his shift.  He was just a dishwasher for now, but it was enough to rent a shabby sleeping room in a place down the street.  He planned to go light a candle for the man in the pickup truck who died the day before his life changed dramatically.  He would then help serve breakfast to the homeless as he had done every day for a few weeks.  As Jerry walked into the chapel, he noticed the lady who ‘saved’ his life sitting in the back pew.  She had to look at him for a moment before she realized that they ‘knew’ each other.

"You...from the accident.” she said to Jerry as the priest was walking by.  She turned her attention to the Padre saying, "Father...this is for the breakfast ministry... Father Barry called me".  The priest gave her a blank look as he accepted the large check from her firm.  He started to walk away, and then turned and said, "You’re the third person this week bringing a check to Father Barry".  He paused to catch his breath, then added, "perhaps you were called by another church...there is no Father Barry here, my child".  The two ‘recently touched’ sat there sharing their stories of the, apparently, very persistent, though non-existent Father Barry, before agreeing to sit with each other at the next Sunday's formal service, after serving breakfast to the homeless, of course.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Barakiel (Bart – Barry) - Angel of Good Fortune - Who also opens our hearts to everything good.


Submitted: November 08, 2020

© Copyright 2020 wellokiguess. All rights reserved.

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