Today my lovely friends at Swell Publications posted the following writing prompt on their Facebook page:
“If you only had one day to live, what would you do with your time?
I can’t decide whether to save the world from impending doom or go get froyo.”
My story is not so much a “one day left to live” as “one day left on Earth” but I had fun with this fro-yo addicted guardian angel.
Not The Last
I have approximately sixty minutes left on this Earth and I am wasting them dithering over frozen yoghurt flavours.
It’s the small things, you know? The Almighty sends you down here for a century or so to keep an eye on a few good souls and then in the second half of the twentieth century, they develop fro-yo.
And look, I’d argue it’s an important decision, all right? It’s the last one I’m ever going to have. I mean, sure, up home I could just pull one out of the air whenever I want, but it won’t be the same. I can’t even remember when I started getting fro-yo to mark significant milestones in the lives of my assigned souls, but at some point it became tradition. It has to mean something.
And so that’s why I’m dithering, because it’s my last day on assignment and so in a way, this one has more meaning that any of the others because it’s the end of this era.
All right. Mango. I’ve always really liked mango flavour. It’s one of my favourites. So a scoop of mango and a scoop of… okay, what goes really well with mango? Coconut? But on the other hand, I’d really like chocolate.
Maybe I should get two? Yeah, why not?
“Hi, I’ll get a double scoop mango and coconut, please,” I say, still casting my eye over the other flavours to decide on my second helping.
The cashier starts to scoop out the mango when a massive clap of thunder startles her, making her nearly throw the scoop over her shoulder.
“Jeez,” she says. “I didn’t know there was going to be a storm.”
There’s not. She can’t see him, but an Archangel has joined me in front of the counter. He’s giving me an ice-cold stare, scrutinising me as though judging my worthiness for… whatever has warranted this visit. I bow my head and turn back towards the counter. Staring back might be seen as disrespectful or something and I don’t want to risk an Archangel’s wrath literally an hour before I’m supposed to step back through the Pearly Gates.
“Your help is required,” he finally says, and I’m trying to work out a way to reply without the fro-yo attendant thinking I’m weird for talking to myself. I settle for turning slightly and raising my eyebrows in acknowledgement.
“Was there anything else?” the attendant asks, oblivious, as she hands my fro-yo over.
“Um, no, that’s it, thanks,” I reply, pulling out a card and hastily paying. I grab my fro-yo cup and a spoon and make a hurried retreat. The Archangel follows me. Once outside, I pull out my phone and hold it to my ear as we begin walking along the pavement.
“All right, what’s going on?”
The Archangel stares at me for a moment. “What are you doing?”
“Making sure everyone who can’t see you doesn’t think I’m crazy. So what’s going on?”
I can’t eat the fro-yo when my phone is in the other hand. Dammit. Should have thought this through.
“There have been increased signs of demonic activity around the world. We’re enlisting every angel that’s currently earth-bound to help investigate.”
“I’m supposed to go home today. In –” I look at the phone screen – “forty-seven minutes. And now I have to help with demons?” Apart from the fro-yo, I was looking forward to heading home.
“Are you an Angel of the Lord or not?”
“I’m a guardian angel! Not one of you fire and brimstone types.” I motion to his armour and the sword glowing at his hip. He gives me that stare again. I am possibly crossing the line. Maybe should ease back on the snark. I’ve been around humans too long. Surely that’s a sign I shouldn’t be sticking around any longer.
“You don’t have a choice in this matter.”
I had a feeling that was the case. “How long will it take.”
“As long as it takes.”
Well. Righto then.
I give up on the phone and put it away, ready to dig into my mango and coconut. I guess this isn’t my last fro-yo after all.