ONE FOR THE ROAD
Story by Budjette Tan
Photo by Brandie Tan
Gab poured another glass of wine for Mori.
“No! No! No!” Mori said but didn’t move his wine glass away. “I think I’ve had enough and I might be late for my appointment.”
“C’mon, we’ve almost finished the bottle. You can go after you finish this glass.” Gab smiled as he placed the wine bottle back on the bench.
He leaned back on the park bench and said, “We’re on our lunch break. It’s a wonderful, sunny day and we haven’t seen each other for awhile.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Mori said as he took a sip. “Can’t believe you were able to get another bottle from the vineyard. Don’t you need special permission for that?”
“One of the guys there owes me a favor. Besides, they produce so much every year, who’s going to notice if they lack a bottle or two.”
Mori looked around, as if afraid to get caught holding this glass of wine. “Aren’t you worried what will happen when the boss finds out?”
“Well, he’s a very forgiving kind of guy. Besides, I’m sharing my wine with a good friend. What’s wrong with that?”
“Too true! It’s all for a good cause! All for friendship!” Mori tried to stand up, but then sat back down. “I really have to go but … oh, my! That wine really gets me buzzed.”
“Maybe you can rest for a bit. Where’s your next appointment?” Gab asked.
“It’s… ummm… it’s at the hospital around the block.” Mori sounded uncertain.
“Funny you should mention that! I’m headed towards that direction. Tell you what, I’ll go ahead and make sure your appointment stays where he is and make him wait for you.” Gab poured Mori another glass as he stood up.
“Really? You’re allowed to do that? But it’s my job. I think I should be the one to go.” Mori drank some more.
“Of course, you’ll be the one to do the job. I’ll just make sure Victor waits for you in the room.”
Gabriel was already walking out the park before Mori could reply.
“Hey Gab! How’d you know I was meeting Victor? Did I tell you about that kid? Maybe I did tell him? I must have. Hey! Look! The bottle still has more wine!” Mori smiled and helped himself to another glass.
Gabriel stood in the corner of Room 808 at St. Lourdes Hospital. Victor’s doctor stood by his bedside and shook his head. He then delivered the news to Victor’s parents.
“I don’t know how this could’ve happened. Based on yesterday’s test, the cancer had already spread to his other organs. But today, as we were about to operate, we couldn’t find any trace of it. As far as we can see, you’ve got a completely healthy 12-year old boy.”
Gabriel smiled and floated upwards, going through the ceiling, as the parents hugged their confused child.
The church bells tolled, announcing that it was 1 o’clock. Even though the sun continued to blaze above the park, a feeling of gloom descended over one particular bench.
Mori, who was already sleeping and hugging the wine bottle, woke up because he suddenly felt cold.
He saw who was standing in front of him and tried to salute.
“General, sir! Hi, sir! Angel of Death, sir!” Mori said.
“Moriel! What are you doing here?! You were supposed to pick up the soul of Victor Cruz an hour ago!!! You missed your schedule and now we have to wait for the next window to open before we can take him!”
“Sorry, sir, General Death, sir!” Mori smiled. Then quickly reminded himself to not smile.
“This is the second time this has happened to you! Next time, I’ll put you on duty fetching penguin souls in the Antarctica!“
“Yes, sir, Death Angel sir! Thank you, sir!”
“And where did you get this wine? Is this from a Master’s vineyard?!”
“Oh yes, a friend gave it to me.”
“Oh really? Which friend?!”
“Ah… that’s a good question… I don’t seem to remember his name. But he was very friendly friend.” Mori giggled.
The Angel of Death grabbed Moriel by the neck and they started to float upwards. “Come with me! Just wait until the Master hears about this.”
Gabriel, General of All Guardian Angels, was sitting on one of clouds floating above the park. He saw Mori getting dragged by back to the office. He smiled and knew that their Boss would forgive Mori.