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One Bright Morning

by Luc Reid

"Say, mister, you sure are going fast in that thing."

"My God--get out of here, kid!"

"Whatcha got there, a rocket pack? You invent it?"

"No, don't touch that! Keep away!"

"Aw, you don't have to be afraid of me. I'm not a ghost or anything like that. I'm a angel!"

"I can see that."

"I wasn't always a angel, though. I was a kid once. You got kids?"

"Angels are a separate kind of beings. They're not people."

"Some of 'em. Not me, though! I died in 1938. Fell in the creek and banged my face on a rock and whaddaya know, next thing I'm a angel! Lost my two front teeth, too. See?"

"Stop getting so close! You touch the wrong knob and I'll drop a mile straight down. Can you just go home? I have to talk to God. Things aren't going right down there. I don't think this is how it's supposed to be."

The kid-angel swooped in little spirals around the man as the rocket pack blasted the man up through the blue glare and toward the golden glimmer he could already glimpse far above him.

"I don't know," the kid said. "Maybe that's not such a good idea. Cantcha talk to him from down there?"

"I tried that."

"What are ya, a preacher? Ya look like a preacher."

"I am."

"But yer an inventor, too?"

"Get away from that! Shoo! Didn't you hear me? You could kill me fiddling with that!"

"Sorry. I just never seen anything like this. I'm mighty interested! What's this do?"

When the kid-angel touched a switch, the rocket pack sputtered and died. The man screamed as he tumbled backward, down toward the clouds, his arms outstretched and a pleading expression on his face. The kid-angel fluttered in place.

When the rocket pack man was gone, the kid-angel wiped his nose on his sleeve, which had gotten runny from all the crying. Finally he looked upward and flipped his wings once, sending him shooting toward Heaven. He wouldn't be needed again for another 63 years, Saint Peter had said. He'd be able to spend the rest of the time playing and talking and swimming and singing hosannas and whatever he liked. In Heaven, even. And he could go say sorry to that man when the fella arrived in a few minutes.

But it was still a crummy job.

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