The Angel at the Press Conference

Standing in front of a dizzying array of microphones, the focus of a hundred video cameras, the archangel was a stunning vision.  His halo shone brightly above his head, and his grand wings stretched out on both sides of the stage.  His face would have made Michelangelo weep openly, throw down his chisel and hammer, and take up an easier hobby, like basket weaving.

Despite this glittering vision, however, Micah Farris couldn’t help but think of a newly adopted puppy, hopeful but distantly aware that its new owners would soon discover the smelly mess behind the couch.  He looked a little fraught, she thought to herself as she checked her pen for the fiftieth time.  Maybe he hadn’t been sleeping well.  Do angels sleep?

Finally, the archangel cleared his throat.  A hush fell over the assembled reporters, and the only sound was the clicking of cameras.  These would be the first words ever shared with humanity by a celestial being.  These next words would be on the headline of every newspaper, the cover of every magazine, splashed across the front page of every website.

The angel looked around at the throng.  “Erm, this all seems a bit much, doesn’t it?” he asked, sounding vaguely depressed.  “I mean, last time I was down here, you lot were still hitting each other with pointy sticks.”  A particularly loud flash went off, and the angel winced.

Latching onto the pause in conversation like sharks hunting an injured salmon, the reporters threw up their hands, shouting out questions and clamoring for the angel’s attention.  He looked hopelessly lost, but finally pointed at a large, red-faced man in the front row.

“Does God exist?” the man shouted out at the top of his lungs.  With his question asked, he sat back, grinning smugly at his fellow reporters, each of whom was inwardly cursing the fact that the biggest question had just been stolen.

The angel looked affronted.  “Well, of course he does!” he declared.  “I mean, I’m pretty confident that he does.”

This answer seemed somewhat less than reassuring.  “Wait, you aren’t sure?” asked one of the cameramen in the brief silence that followed the angel’s statement.

“Well, I’ve never met him in person,” the angel replied.  “I mean, I’ve got orders, and we keep hearing that he’s in charge, so I’m pretty sure that he’s around somewhere.  Probably tied up in meetings most of the time, though.”

A few of the reporters exchanged sidelong glances.  This didn’t feel quite right.  “What about the Devil?  Does he exist?” asked a skinny woman on the right.

The angel nodded, now looking a bit more confident.  “Oh, yes, Lucern,” he said.  “Er, Lucifer, now.  I keep on forgetting about that name change thing.  Yeah, he’s off on his own plane.  Hot place, but I’ve heard that he’s going to get central air installed, so that should help.  Nice guy, a bit absent-minded though.  He really screwed the pooch on that whole ‘dinosaur’ fiasco.”  The angel leaned back, looking satisfied.  “Next question!”

This definitely wasn’t right.  Micah opened her mouth and managed to get her question out ahead of the pack.  “Why did you come here?” she called out.  She hoped that the cameras didn’t catch the hint of a pleading tone in her voice.

The angel nodded, as if he had been expecting this question.  “Ah yes, I’m here to deliver a message,” he responded.  The reporters all perked up and leaned forward.  Now this, this was Pulitzer Prize material.

From the folds of his white robe, the angel withdrew a small folded piece of paper.  Micah was in the third row, so she didn’t have the best seat, but the paper looked like a sheet torn from a legal pad.  The angel unfolded it, squinted, and then fished in his robe again for a pair of half-moon reading glasses.

“Dear humanity,” the angel read, peering through the glasses down at the creased bit of paper.  “Please stop mucking about so much.  I know it’s been a couple millennia since my last visit, but I thought I told you all to love each other, and cut out all that ‘fire and sword’ nonsense.  Also, if I’d known you lot would obsess over my every word, I wouldn’t have made those jokes about the Visigoth slaves and the Roman milkmaid.  Maybe try to just go with the general feel, that sort of thing.  Lots of love, Jesus.”  The angel stopped, folded the piece of paper in half, and smiled at the stunned reporters.

After a moment of poleaxed silence, the angel glanced down.  “Oh, there’s a PS!” he exclaimed.  “‘P.S. Keep making those funny animal internet videos, I like those.'”

The reporters were speechless, some of them for the very first time in their lives.  The archangel looked around worriedly.  “I hope I didn’t offend anyone,” he said.  “I was told to just come down here and read the note.  I guess that’s done, so I’ll be off now.”  And without another word, he vanished in a flash of white light.

After a long minute of silence, Micah slowly closed her blank notebook.  Maybe most of the front page could just be taken up by a big photograph.  That was impressive, at least.

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