TITLE: the message
By collette mcfarland
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HIRE THIS WRITER
Boss and I stared at each other. Then we stared some more. Where was the punch line? His son reached over and reunited my lower and upper jaw with a slight upward push on my mandible before I started drooling. That would have been real dignified. I was trying to process this mission. These two had to be playing a joke but their faces said they were as serious as sin.
“You need to pack and get going,” Boss announced. He knew I wouldn’t decline the undertaking.
No one here ever rejected his commands…er…proposals. Well one group had eons ago, (I shuddered in memory,) and they lived to regret it. ”Here is a picture to help you identify our goal.”
I placed the proffered photo in my breast pocket, after studying it, awed that I’d been selected to deliver such a mind-blowing message. Boss and his son shook my hands heartily, and then embraced me enthusiastically, demonstrating their confidence in me. Confidence I was hoping I wouldn’t extinguish.
In my room while I was gathering my necessary travel kit some buddies entered, curious as to my conference with the big guy. Their jaws did the same dislocation movement mine had, plus their eyes protruded out inches from their eye sockets. Green with envy! I loved it! I’d love it even better if I wasn’t in shock. What an honor had been bestowed on me! Wait. What if I messed it up? What if I dropped the ball? I think I was starting to hyperventilate, an unusual experience for me indeed!
“Whoa there! Take a deep breath and slow down!” Mike demanded, easing me unto a soft fluffy cushion. Like I needed oxygen, ridiculous. “Maybe we better go with him,” he suggested to Jim.
“We don’t have permission.” Jim countered.
“We weren’t told what to do with our time off, either.”
Jim frowned at this possibility. It bordered on fraudulence, but, he reasoned, it was a large border. Looking over at me, as I swayed sideways, he laid his cards down, “Alright, let’s do it!”
“This doesn’t look like the right place,” Jim announced seconds later when we landed.
“How can you tell?” Mike asked.
“By the teepees and buffalo,” Jim answered. “They’re not native to our target’s homeland.”
I had to agree, we over shot our mark. I had always been bad in math. We used the GPS next to guarantee a successful, accurate landing. It was just like us men to feel we could find someplace on our own. If there were any women around we’d never use this silly device.
The three of us finally arrived in the mid afternoon at the correct location and started searching for our objective. It was a small humble village so it shouldn’t take us long. Or so we thought. The streets were crowded with merchants selling baskets, trinkets and jewelry. Vacationers were plentiful, pushing and shoving each other about. And beggars; hundreds abounded with hands stuck out reaching for, or trying to pilfer from, unwatchful suspects.
We looked at each other and pulled our coat collars up and our hat brims down. It wouldn’t do to be recognized. One glimpse at our visages would start a mass riot. People would be hurt. Or healed. And that wasn’t the present function of our operation. We could bring death and healing any day. This mission was more unique.
“The best place to start will be at the school,” I suggested, pulling out the snapshot. We all studied it carefully, as though we’d be able to get a good view of Her face considering the current dressing style included head veils that wrapped around the neck, mouth and nose.
At the school kids were milling about visiting or studying. Mostly visiting, times hadn’t improved that much that kids actually liked homework! And of course all the women were practically hooded. We would need a miracle to find Her. Suddenly, a miracle occurred. A gust of wind passed through sending veils fluttering upwards.
“There she is!” I cried.
Jim and Mike looked over to see a teenager with piercings in her nose, lips, cheeks and ears; lots of jewelry in her ears. Her hair was red, blue and spiked. Hints of tattoos peeked up over her neckline. The breeze passed letting her veil fall back in place. Apparently veiling women for decency also protected the family’s secret afflictions!
“That’s going to be the…..” Jim started to stutter.
“She’s the ……”Mike failed to finish his thoughts.
“No, you goof balls, the one behind her!”
Sure enough an awkward gangly girl stepped out from behind Pierced Woman, nearly tripping over her robe’s long dangling cloth belt. Her arms flailed in the air as she regained balance, without dropping her books. She was the picture of innocence, if not poised.
“Well go on,” Jim shoved me forward. “Go give her the message!”
I gawked at Jim. “This is not the kind of message that warrants and audience. I need to get her alone.”
We followed her all day. She was never alone. First she was with her brothers as they walked her home, and then she was with her whole family. No one had separate sleeping quarters. She shared a room with six sisters.
We sat in a tree outside Her house with mounting frustration as the evening planets came out of hiding and the sun set beyond the edges of the world. Catching Her alone could take forever in a culture where woman were never left unattended. Maybe this wasn’t such an honor after all. Maybe it was a nasty trick to test my patience; the Lord knew I needed some coaching in that area. Whatever the difficulties were I felt like we were dangerously close to being labeled as stalkers.
“Hey, look! Here she comes!” Jim squealed.
Sure enough, She came out the back door, by herself, not counting the family cat, and headed to the dumpster with the dinners scraps, tugging clumsily at the hefty trash bag. No wonder women weren’t left alone, the men needed them for the dirty work!
“Now’s your chance!” My friends cried in unison.
They were right but I was frozen. Frozen and speechless. Stage struck. This woman was going to be …..I couldn’t energize myself to approach her. I was weakening fast. My companions sensed my abject terror and as good friends should do they lent me a hand. They pushed me off my perch! I landed with a decorous plop right in front of Her! Using my polished skills I bounced back to my feet, looking as though I had landed as intended. I shot my friends a killing look. Friends! With friends like them, I already had enemies!
“Who are you?” She cried, almost stumbling backwards into the trash can. “Never mind, you better get away before my fiancé finds you here. He’ll rip you to shreds!”
I stood there staring. This woman was going to help change the course of history. She was no bit player, no character actor. I had no idea how to begin. I was so privileged to be in Her presence I was immobilized. I, a warrior, was weak kneed in Her presence. Mike covered his face with his hands, sharing my humiliation, while Jim wrote furiously on the palm of his hand and raised it up for me to see.
Great! Cleft notes! I squinted to read Jim’s palm high in the tree while Mike sprinkled star dust powder downwards on me for special effect. (like we really needed special effects!) I started to feel my potency grow. I inhaled a lungful of air as my celestial form started to glow with the radiance that comes from having been in the presence of Him.
I fanned out my wings and began, “Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed will you be among all women, and blessed will be the fruit of your womb!”…I didn’t get any farther because She, the earthling who had been chosen to birth Boss’s son, passed out, spilling refuse and landing on the cat. Well, she may be full of grace, but apparently that’s not the same as graceful!
This was obviously a great tension breaker as Jim and Mike began to hoot. They were so tickled feathers drifted off of them down to the ground in piles. It would serve them right if they became bald-winged. I on the other had would need extensive therapy. There were bound to be eternal consequences for causing the future mother of God to lie in apple and potato peelings.
It took two attempts at resuscitation for me to complete my monologue and by then I was ready to make tracks in the sky.
Back at the office, Boss and his son congratulated me on a job well done. I honestly don’t think they’re as omnipresent as they claim. If they thought I’d done a good job they obviously hadn’t been watching, but I wasn’t going to squabble. They also gave me a communiqué to deliver to Jim and Mike. Boy, I was going to love this.
In the break room I found Mike and Jim regaling everyone with my efforts at passing on the announcement to a semi comatose young girl lying in dinner remnants that she was going to have the long awaited savior. Everyone was having a good laugh at my expense. Oh, well.
“Hey, no hard feelings, right?” Jim queried.
“Pooh, of course not. That had to have looked humorous.” I said as I poured some coffee to go with my fresh baked manna. “Oh, by the way, I have a message for you guys too.”
Mike and Jim leaned back in their chairs and waited while I doctored up my coffee with creamer and sugar, sat down and carved up my nourishment with knife and fork, tucked a napkin under my chin then……..
“Well, what is it?” The strain was getting to them. Good, they deserved it.
“Nothing big, apparently it’s your job to convince some guy name Joseph his fiancé didn’t get pregnant the usual way before he divorces or stones her.”
Two chairs fell backwards with a thud. I picked up my coffee and toasted the two unconscious angels as our friends burst into laughter. ”No hard feelings, right?”
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