Ezekiel smiled and pointed his index finger and one young man in a red hat. Daniel smiled back and reached to a small pouch on his trousers. “Watch this,” he said with great strength, “It’s a magic trick.” On that cue he pulled and pair of dice and threw them into the opening. They bounced back off the curved enclosure separating the angels from the world below. “Double sixes, it is your lucky day, pal” Ezekiel shouted. Just then a black sedan screamed past the man in the red hat and threw and duffle bag out the window. The man reached down and picked it up just as a police cruiser chased after the sedan. As the police flew by the man opened the bag and reached inside, finding three gold watches and a stack of twenty-dollar bills. “Nice toss,” Ezekiel nodded, “my turn now.”
Ezekiel grabbed the dice and shook his fist. “A part of me wants snake eyes for that fat broad on 18th street.” Daniel laughed, “Toss them and see.” He looked up and down 18th street and found the woman Ezekiel was gunning for. The dice were tossed into the bowl; they spun and danced like the wind around the woman. Her hair was tossed upwards as the dice climbed the side of the bowl and fell once again as the dice did the same. Slowly the white cubes eased into the center falling on a two and a four. “Slight misfortune,” Ezekiel said softly. She stepped lightly and nearly skipped while whistling her new favorite song. The angel brushed his forehead and pointed, as a bike messenger dodged and dog jumping out at him and collided with the woman, spilling her, himself and all the packages on his bike all over the wet road. He slid on his hands for a few moments before rolling to his shoulder and knocking his helmet against the concrete. She was less lucky, falling to the right and into the street and striking a man on a motorcycle. The wheel of the motorcycle tore through her new dress and she landed beside the messenger. Both angels laughed and Daniel gasped, “I love this game!”
“We have to remember,” Ezekiel said, “God has granted us with the abilities to meddle in the lives of the innocent. We must do so with utmost respect and admiration.” “Of course, I would do nothing other. I love my job, I don’t feel like getting fired.” Daniel laughed at his pun. Ezekiel nodded, eye twinkling and stated coldly “It’s a good gig if you can get it. We just must be sure to restrict ourselves to the stated guidelines of the game. We may have gone overboard on our slight misery.” “But it is completely random, that why this is so entertaining. There is no ebb and flow to it, we are just making days or initiating disasters to these people. It’s great!”
Daniel shouted, “I’m going to go again,” while pointing at a car with his index finger. He pressed his finger against the bowl they were looking through creating a smudge. He threw the dice, contemplating living every moment through the whims of a pair of dice. The thought scattered as a bird flew past the window. He tried to locate the bird again and it had perched near the 4th floor of an apartment building, he looked inside and saw a husband and wife playing music together, the window was open and the sound was drifting down the city block. The rain was pattering on the fire escape creating waterfalls off the railings. Daniel smiled. He glanced at the dice, snake eyes.
The crow was perched next to the window as a draft pulled the blind over a lit candle. The blind began to spark and burn, the couple was too busy playing their song to notice. The fire began to spread and the angels watched in horror as the fire overtook the apartment. Daniel began to speak softly, “It is completely random, we are just watching.” Ezekiel nodded, adding, “We can’t feel responsible.” The fire rose above the window and the tenants took notice of the flames. It was the woman first who screamed after opening her eyes towards the flames and her husband rushed to the sink to grab water. The husband threw a bowl of water on the flames as his wife swung at it with pillows. After about two minutes of accomplishing very little but fanning the flames the couple ran to their phone to call for help. After a quick conversation they ran out the door and pulled the alarm, running down the stairs to the street. The flames spit outside the window charring the brick wall as people streamed from the building on to the street.
A third angel enters the space occupied by Ezekiel and Daniel. “Danton! My friend, look at our carelessness.” Daniel said, while wrapping his arm around him. Ezekiel chimed, “The dice were rolled and it was just their fate. We could do nothing to stop it. These truly are intriguing acts of God.” “The lord is a very busy man,” Danton stated flatly. The fire was now ripping the room into shreds and the fire trucks were just arriving outside, the men in yellow suits pulling hoses and opening hydrants. A panicked mother is searching for a child in the crowd, who is standing next to their neighbor. The couple is holding their guitars, the woman shivering with fright.
Danton stepped away from the bowl. He turned towards the door he entered the room through and tried to focus on the outside world. He could not see through the open door, only a small office plant on a pillar, then a wall. He looked back toward the two laughing angels and spoke softly, “There is a black man riding a bicycle on 2nd Avenue. Roll the dice towards him, I’m feeling lucky.” The dice rolled and bounced along the surface of the bowl before falling backwards again and landing at 6 and 4 in the middle. Danton smiled, “Success! Wonderful!” Danton then blessed the man. His bike slowed to a crawl and he put his foot on the concrete. He blinked his eyes twice and smiled before pedaling his bike down the street and around the corner.
“This game is marvelous,” said Danton, “Little fragments of lives not our own and the illusion that we are nearly effecting this observation of fate. Sometime I wonder whether the dice are doing the effecting or being effected by the natural progression of fate.”
“We are allowed to choose the person,” Ezekiel said softly, “The outcome is in our hands. This always runs us the risk of over-stepping our boundaries. It is a fear that haunts my enjoyment of this game.”
“I was hoping to create a new scoring system and official rules for league play,” noted Daniel.
“There are different forms, one die, blacks over spades, three dice…” Ezekiel wandered off, “Either way, it is a fun pastime. The conversion into league play would be a difficult one. I never have agreed with the scoring systems used in three dice. The second round should be worth twice that of the first. That always has lead to sudden death and trick plays.”
“Not a traditionalist,” Danton laughed.
“The traditionalists always have the run of the joint during other attempts at league play.” Ezekiel said, “Always quoting from the Bedford Parlor rules. The old gents like Sir Gabriel and Sir Azreal, they are always playing Bedford rules. And their attempts at league play failed due to the younger of us refusing to abide by them.”
“And nobody wants to watch old fellows playing parlor games.”
Danton sat cross-legged on the floor next to the others. He pulled a half pack of cigarettes out of his jacket pocket and lit one with his thumb. He coughed as he exhaled and then smiling asked for another toss. The dice were placed in his hand and he shook his fist. “See that redhead with all the hair? Over on 14th street.” The other two nodded. He threw the dice against the back of the bowl and they bounced back towards the angels, and then fell in the center of the bowl. “Two and two,” Ezekiel announced, “I have always liked this one.” “Double score too, and they say nice guys finish last,” Daniel laughed.
Danton waved his lit cigarette over the woman on 14th street. The smoke curled above the bowl and drifted back towards him. He said a small prayer and tapped the glass bowl that separated the angels for the mortal world. The woman bent down and found a penny, smiling and whispering to herself “What a wonderful day.” As she peered at the small copper circle the sun broke through the clouds and shone upon the woman. The woman unbuttoned her sweater and began to walk sweetly down the road. She then bent down once again to pick a small red flower that had peeked through the sidewalk. She put the flower in her hair and continued to step livelily down the city block.
“Everyday miracles, I have always loved that one. I feel so grand afterwards,” said Ezekiel.
Daniel chimed in, “I would only give two points for that, if I were the umpire.”
“If we were keeping score.”
“That one just didn’t effect anyone, I couldn’t find the miracle.”
“A beautiful woman is a miracle.”
“Praise the lord,” Daniel smiled.
And like this the man had died, and this was the first world he experienced.
© Copyright 2017 jonpelletier. All rights reserved.
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