The intervention of fate and a car, a lengthy stay in hospital, life had changed maybe not like he intended but he was now reporting to God, his last turn so to speak. The world was sinking from all directions. His job was to report truth, assemble commentaries about the state of the human race, without casting judgement.
Records for despair broken daily, news papers hunger for the latest horror, it was easy in the beginning, but with years turning into decades, his last job was to find his own replacement, he now 90 years old and moving on, even though he looked a fresh forty year old to the eye. He’d heard the call all those years ago, traveled the earth, went everywhere there was to go. Even angels need a time out, and relief from the human anguish that can play havoc with mind and well being. He’d seen despair, met the good Samaritans, encountered pure joy, met children who sparkled like diamonds. This is the story, of the last angel standing.
Words spoken, God had to delay what was happening quickly. Cries for help had multiplied so fast in such a short time. Daily chaos everywhere, children having children, wasn’t the plan, world too busy, zealots forever busier, victims appear on cue for checks, strain beginning to show, earthquakes getting closer, obscenities outpacing themselves, Pompeii lives, children like spices, freshening up old men, the world intent on living longer regardless of the cost to all, with anything pure and good getting rarer by the day. Tom Murphy, the born again angel had the enviable task of selecting his replacement. From a list too, a list that had been two pages long with names, names of potential replacements. A list that he had started on two decades earlier, a list that had spanned the globe in his travels, seeking the good so to speak. Now there was just one left out of 200 hundred names. Last angel on earth seeks replacement, who’d believe it he thought thinking out loud, as he dwelled over a strong espresso in the bare naked café that was the tuck shop on terminal five. He listened to the announcements from the public address system. Planes delayed from the U.S., what was new. The boarding gate to Dublin opposite him, he listened carefully to the array of messages blurted out, then calm and silence again. Being late in the evening, the airport wasn’t busy. He had relations in the west of Ireland, hadn’t everybody relations in Ireland, but he liked meeting people and if his grandfather came from Galway, a seaside town too, this trip promised more than just a working visit unlike the last time he visited Ireland, seventy odd years earlier during the great war. Searching for stowaways then, refugees from Poland, Jewish mainly, the Irish weren’t mean spirited, just wary of strangers the way all rural nations are.
Harry J Harkness, carpenter and writer, last known address, Galway city, his target. He’d Googled Galway before travelling and found it to be a somewhat cosmopolitan town, so they described it, had many artists living there, city of the tribes they called it. Having flown a lot, he always carried mental vegetable in the inside pocket. Not cannabis, but a book. Reading exercised the mind, and airports were places where you waited longer than most places, now that the terror thinkers had got their way. He had the Galway guide book, an internet booklet of ten pages A5 size that folded over to make a neat notebook, information one side a blank page opposite, he thought it cool and so climate conscious. The new Irish were the envy of Europe, record economic performance year after year, software based it read, doing pretty well and the Ryanair hostesses didn’t look bad either he remarked responding to himself as a very svelte air hostess passed him, a whiff of perfume trailing in her wake. And she went to his departure desk too he smiled, still admiring the presence she aroused in him so late in the evening, and he a little tired. Galway had many seafood restaurants, he liked oysters, they had two festivals devoted to them, oysters that is, these Galway people certainly racy, the famine he laughed getting the better of himself, awaking the interest of a few fellow travellers with his loud chuckle, visions of oysters, trays of them, he loved seafood, helped the blood like good French wine. Working for god had it’s moments, like seeing the work of a great master, or eating the produce of wild water, oysters were his greatest creation insisted Tom to friends of old, most of them passed.
Tom Murphy enjoyed his oyster moment, made the travelling bearable when there was a real treat on the other side. A bit like the heaven or pilgrimage thing, you had to make the journey, sacrifice a little, before you got in. The journey was a simple matter as far as tom was concerned, who just happened to appreciate things a little bit extra.
The air hostess was joined by another. Expectation rose among the travelers, some getting to their feet. No announcements made yet, tom remained seated. They looked nice he thought as a trio of foreign women joined the cue. Too pale to be Irish, looked Russian he thought, trying to home in on their accent. Polish perhaps, maybe Lithuanian, Czech, tom couldn’t quite make out the accent, but was impressed, Ireland was a country that encouraged young people to visit. It used to be the other way. Irish centers crisscrossed the globe now as a result of all the natives who had to leave and find a life. Times had improved in the land of the shamrock. Huddled in a group, one of the three started handing out what looked like boarding passes to the other two. She looked older. Tom looked away for a moment having caught her eye.
Petra was petrified, her tiny body shaking, barely fifteen. The one window in the small room was barred from the outside. A bed, a side locker, a lamp, a wash basin, a toilet, cheap carpet and a glass bowl filled with bonbons and a selection of colored condoms. She kept it neat. No papers, no pictures just a few magazines, mostly of the picture type that hallow every type of celebrity. He was on his way up she was told. Sixteen men had slept with her in the last twenty four hours. They liked young, all men like young. The key turned in the door. She waited anxiously.
“Hello” he announced entering the room, sounded polite. She began to relax again. It wasn’t him, the man who beat her the first night. She immediately began to remove her clothes. Her top was small her breasts non existent. Her English poor, she knew the basics, oral hole pussy cock suck and of course fuck.
“you have money I must have the money!”
He handed her two hundred euro rolled up which she counted.
“OK!, we do it now!”
“I need to pee!” he smiled.
She shook her head.
Pointing to his crotch this time she understood.
She turned her back and waited till the dribbling had ceased. He washed his hands and was about to use the small towel that hung from the rack next to the sink, when he had a second thought. Who else used it deciding to leave them wet half drying them on his shirt. Petra looked at the clock on the wall. Fifteen minutes of his time was up, forty five to go. She hadn’t been hit yet, a bonus. Would never trust a man ever again either, her only other worry, her eleven year old sister. They’d been separated in Vienna.
Naked apart from a pair of knickers, she looked young and vulnerable, too young for the condom she held in her hand. He stood before her wondering if they were being spied on. Better get this on he thought, beginning to undo his shirt. He tried to make small talk.
“ you like Ireland” he asked. I shouldn’t have said that, he gave himself an internal rollicking. His chest bare, he began to unbuckle his belt. Petra looked at the clock, twenty five minutes had passed, this would be quick, she pointed to it. She didn’t want him to complain.
“don’t worry don’t worry” he assured her, his pants on the ground. Their underwear between them, he left them on as he climbed into the bed. He pointed to the lamp.
“you want light off” she asked, he nodded.
She began to fondle with his underwear, get them off quickly, time playing with her mind. He stopped her, held her close, her head on his shoulder in the darkened room. Footsteps passed the door, as other punters were lead to another room at the end of the corridor. She went for his underwear again, determined to get it over. Any complaints about her were met with violence, this is a set up she thought, an excuse for the boss to beat her. Fuck me she asked fuck me, I’m a good fuck. Matty wept inside, heart wrenched ,almost teary eyed, she couldn’t see in the dark. He composed himself, told himself that this was a job, no emotional distraction needed. He was undercover under the covers, wow he thought thinking of the men who just fucked without any heart at all, great world, feel the pride.
“shush” he whispered as he stopped her again while she tried to get him hard and interested. It worked. They lay quietly the next fifteen minutes till the time was up, the LCD display making it clear, the hour over. He dressed quickly, anxious to get out of the squalid room, mission accomplished. Petra wore a worried look all the time he dressed, everything had consequences.
“for you” he smiled, handing her a 100 euro tip. Her face suddenly bore a smile.
“do you believe in angels” he asked, his last words to her as he stepped out the door.
Tom Murphy liked short haul flights. London Dublin 50 minutes.