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A special gathering of angels

Up and down the hallway, the guardian angels sat patiently waiting. What with the end of the school year, it was a busy time in the Injury Division.

A few looked up as Zacharias opened the door and limped in to the waiting area. He signed in and looked around. An older angel motioned him to an open space on the worn bench, and stuck out a hand.

“Howdy,” the older angel said. “I’m Mike.”

“Call me Zack,” the younger angel said.

Zack studied the older angel; one wing was obviously badly bent, and the other looked singed along the edges. His robes were tattered and stained. Zack decided that Mike had been there and done that since the Wars with the Fallen, way back in Genesis.

Mike nodded toward Zack’s bruised forehead and noted the broken halo hanging from his belt.

“You get hit by a truck? I did.” Zack shook his head.

“A horse, actually. Bounced me off the barn wall, then about pounded me into the ground.” Mike and several of the other guardians laughed.

“Yep. Know what you mean. You have a girl or a boy?” Zack shook his head.

“A full-grown man, actually.” One of the other angels hooted.

“Middle-age crazies. I came close to permanent disability with one of them, back in the 1950s. He saved?”

Zack nodded his head. “I believe he is—nobody can know another’s heart, you know, but I’m reasonably sure he is. He fails sometimes, like anyone else.”

The others nodded. “Humans are really blessed that way,” a bearded angel in the corner said. “They have a second chance. I can’t begin to understand why we get sent to save some of them, but that’s what we do. The Lord’s plans don’t always make sense to us.”

“Amen,” came a chorus down the hall.

Zack began to relax; he was concerned that he’d be in trouble, having gotten hurt on an assignment. The move from messenger to guardian carried a lot of responsibility, and he didn’t want to let The Boss down.

The bearded angel, who introduced himself as Gabriel (“But not THAT Gabriel,” he chuckled.), caught Zack’s eye.

“So tell us about your charge. What did he do?” Zack shrugged.

“Well, there was a horse, one that had been abused real badly.“

“Hardest assignment I ever had was with one of those people,” Gabriel interjected. “It really tested me on the ‘vilest offender’ policy. But go on.”

“Right there with you,” Zack said. “Anyway, my guy and his wife are with one of those groups that help animals, you know?” Gabriel, Mike and another angel sat up straighter.

“Go on,” Mike said, eyes twinkling.

“Well, my guy decided he was going to ride this particular horse. He’d ridden a couple of others already that day, and I guess he was feeling a little cocky.”

Mike and Gabriel gave each other a knowing look, but Zack was warming to the story, and didn’t ask why.

“Well, that sweet horse bucked—if I hadn’t been there, my guy would have hit the ceiling, then the wall. Plus, I took a hoof in the head.”

“This guy have a beard? Long hair? Smells kinda like a coyote sometimes?” Mike asked. Zack nodded. Gabriel leaned forward on his cane, and the bearded angel adjusted his broken wing. Two of the other angels had turned to listen.

“Weaver, Jefferson C.,” Gabriel intoned. “Born 1966, to Tom and Lois Weaver. C-section, cord around his neck. Married to Hill, Rhonda, on June 6, 1992.”

Zack stared. “How do you know this guy?”

“Before he was saved, I kept his Jeep from crashing into a bridge at 2 a.m.,” Mike said. “You ever flattened a mud tire at 70 miles an hour? It’s challenging. Hid the jack, too, since he was too sleepy to drive.”

“Took him six weeks and two trees before he learned to ride a bike,” an angel with a bandaged arm said. “That was in 1975 – he never saw the trash truck around the corner, because he was too scared once the bike got going. I opted to stop the truck.”

“Played baseball and basketball, but didn’t do either very well,” said an angel who appeared to have a bent spine. “I took a lot of beaners for that boy, and more than a few cleats, too.”

“He was a good Boy Scout, though,” Gabriel added, “although he didn’t get into half the poison ivy he could have. I missed a few times, looking after the other kids in his troop. At least he was faithful to his Totin’ Chip card. Never had to worry about him with a knife or axe.”

“But never let him in a boat by himself,” moaned an angel in a tattered life vest. “I had him when he was fat, and had to pull him out of the mud when he fell into freezing water over his head.” Several of the angels nodded appreciatively.

“You had a job, during the fat years. At least he had enough cushion to avoid some of the broken bones back then.” The mariner angel nodded.

“Yeah, but that cushion was usually me. I was there for the motorcycle, too – some of you fellows were there, too. You remember.”

A collective moan went up throughout the waiting room.”

“I also had him during the Great Rappelling Fiasco of ’87. Mike, you were there. With the ROTC cadets?” Mike nodded, and groaned.

 “My back will never be the same, I don’t think. Thank the Lord he quit drinking. Were any of you guys around when he started trapping?” Several of the angels raised their hands, and some from down the hall began calling out.

“Held a beaver dam back so he could climb out.” “Detoured a fisherman when he got caught in the quicksand.” “Held a cottonmouth away when his waders sprung a leak.” “Held back a cottonmouth AND an alligator when he got lost.” “Pinched my fingers keeping his out of a trap.”

Zack was amazed. Mike shook his hand again.

“Son,” he said, “welcome to the club. Weaver’s mom always said he had to have a guardian angel or he’d never survive. Turned out, just one couldn’t do it.”

A messenger angel flew down the hall and hovered in front of Zack.

“Zacharias? You have Weaver, Jefferson? Sorry, bud, but he’s working on a chainsaw. The Boss says you need to get back down there.”

“I declare,” Gabriel said. “You’d have thought the boy would have learned his lesson back in ’96…”

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