They sat and watched the timeline imploding right before their eyes. No one knew what to do, or how to stop it. Hours imploded into days and days disappeared into months, then years.
Where was it leading? None of them knew. What was causing it? They had no idea. They just knew it was happening.
The heavenly computers were working so fast, if it were an old-time cartoon, you would expect to see smoke pouring out of them. The archangels all watched and waited. Their wings drooped as if even they were saddened by the events unfolding. The Archangel Raziel was the only one whose wings didn’t droop. Being the Archangel of divine mysteries, he was totally intrigued by what he watched.
Deep in the bowels of the room, there was a small DING, and a piece of paper was printing out on the printer attached to it.
Edward grabbed the paper and read it eagerly. He ran so fast to where the archangels were sitting that he almost lost his footing several times. His wings fluttered uselessly behind him. Since he was just a recruit at the time station, they weren’t fully developed, or he would have just flown to where the archangels sat.
He nearly crashed into Gabriel as he rounded the corner.
“What’s your hurry?”, he thundered as he grabbed the young angel.
“I know what the trouble is,” Edward said as he panted to catch his breath. “I need to see Haniel,” he said pulling away from Gabriel’s grasp.
He continued to run until he saw Haniel standing before the display watching time collapse.
“I have it, I have it,” he shouted.
All the archangels turned to watch Edward running at full speed right up to Haniel.
“Have what, my boy?” he said as Edward shoved the paper into his hands. He grabbed it and read it to himself. Everyone else watched his eyes and wings light up.
“This is why,” Edward said waving his hands frantically at the immense screen that hung attached to nothing and showed the timeline reverting in on itself.
“Hmm,” Haniel said thoughtfully. He studied the paper and wondered what had happened and more importantly what he could do about it. He knew the principalities knew about the situation already and they were not pleased. It was only a matter of time before some of the virtues became involved or worse, a seraphim. Something had to be done now.
All the archangels gathered around to see what was on the paper.
“It appears the trouble starts here, in 2021,” Haniel said pointing to a specific point on the timeline. “More importantly, with these two individuals, Dana Matthews and Michael Williams.”
Two faces appeared on the screen.
“Who are they?” the archangel Chamuel asked lovingly.
Most of the archangels rolled their eyes. “He always gets so swoony,” Uriel whispered to Ariel.
Raziel was even more intrigued by the mystery. His wings fluttered excitedly.
“They are a couple who for some strange reason were destined to meet,” he said shooting a glance to Zadkiel, “but never did.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” Zadkiel said in defense. “You can’t blame this on me, I deal with professional paths, not romantic paths,” he said waving his hands futilely as all the archangels looked at him suspiciously.
Gabriel raised his trumpet and blew a long loud note to overpower everyone’s voice. “This is getting us nowhere,” he said loudly. “Who cares whose fault it is. What are we going to do about it? It’s Jesus’ birthday in a few days, do you want to be the one to say, oh happy birthday my lord, for your birthday this year we allowed time to collapse?” he thundered.
Everyone muttered to themselves without getting any ideas that meant anything.
“Why don’t you just make sure they meet?” Edward asked meekly.
“How romantic,” Chamuel mused with his hands clutched together in hope.
The archangels watched him for a few moments without saying a word, then turned toward the screen for several more moments as the two people passed each other on multiple occasions but never said as much as hello.
“How are we supposed to do that, we can’t just go down there and introduce them,” Haniel said.
“Why not?” Edward asked.
“Because that’s not how divine intervention works, there are rules in place” Haniel replied forcefully. “You need a principality to permit it,” he continued in an annoyed tone. “And I’m not asking for permission to go down there,” he said, making sure everyone knew that they better not even ask.
Edward shrugged and watched the screen.
“No, no,” Gabriel said loudly. “No archangel or angel can go down there anymore. It’s been decreed.”
They all breathed a sigh of relief.
“If we want to save the timeline then the rules are going to have to be broken. What we need is someone less noticeable. Maybe someone whose wings aren’t quite so big and can be concealed easier,” Metatron said slyly looking at Edwards's wings, which hadn’t fully developed yet.
All the archangels smiled as they turned towards Edward as well and watched him watch the screen.
“It’s such a shame, they seem like nice people,” Edward said happily. “Look, they even park in the same parking lot.” As he turned around, he noticed all the archangels were smiling at him. “What?” he asked innocently as his smile faded.
“Will you stop fidgeting?” Haniel shouted as he shook Edward to force him to stand still.
“I don’t want to go,” Edward said defiantly.
“Well, you have to go,” Haniel said forcefully. “We told you, no archangel or angels can go down there anymore but you are unnoticeable. It has to be you, besides this was your idea.”
Edward sighed as they fitted the jacket to hide his wings.
“Hmm,” Metatron said thoughtfully, “this would be easier if we just cut his wings off.”
Edward pulled away quickly. “No one is cutting my wings off!” he shouted.
“Why not?” Metatron asked with as little feeling as Edward had come to know from him. “Michael did it once, they grow back,” he said dismissively as he grabbed a saw.
“NO!” Edward shouted as he reached his arms behind his back trying to protect his wings.
“Relax,” Haniel said in frustration. “Metatron, put the saw down, no one is cutting anyone’s wings off.”
“There,” he exclaimed as he put the finishing touches on his creation and stood back to admire his work. A broad smile filled his face. “Perfect,” he said proudly.
Edward turned and looked in the mirror that hung in mid-air and looked himself up and down. “I look so plain,” he said blandly.
Haniel looked at him with a frown. “Not plain,” he said trying to find the right word in his mind. “Ordinary,” he finally said in a mystified tone, waving his hands as if he was a magician. The satisfied smile returned to his face.
“I don’t know,” Edward said nervously as he ran his hand down the sleeve of his new jacket.
“You look fine,” Haniel said reassuringly. He looked around the group trying to find some look of hope. “Chamuel,” he shouted, “doesn’t he look great?” he asked hoping the archangel wouldn’t overdo it.
Chamuel looked at Edward and smiled even broader than Haniel had. “Oh, I love it!” he said in his usual cheery, swoony tone.
Edward sighed knowing there was no getting out of it. He was going to earth.
“Don’t worry, my angelic friend,” Barachiel said patting him on the shoulder. “It’s easy, you just give them the parking permit, they fall in love, boom, the timelines saved, and you come home. Problem solved,” he said with all the comfort he could muster. “It’s a foolproof plan.”
Edward shrugged in defeat. “Fine, when do I go?” he asked calmly still admiring his plainness in the mirror.
“Let’s do it before Michael gets back from vacation,” Haniel said snapping his fingers. Instantly Edward disappeared in a flash of light.
“It’ll never work,” Barachiel said disappointingly.
“I know,” Metatron said sadly.
“Oh, but he did look fantastic,” Chamuel said dreamingly.
In the darkest corner of a parking garage in Newark, New Jersey, a violent blast of light illuminated everything.
When the light faded, Edward stepped out of the shadows. He brushed himself off sending angel dust scattering all around, which disappeared seconds after it left his body.
He hadn’t felt so alone in a long time. He looked around hoping to see someone, anyone, when he heard a loud noise behind him. It made him jump as the car sped past him, with a man yelling out the window, “get out of the way jackass.”
As he walked in the direction the car was going, he saw an arrow pointing up. TO TOP LEVELS, the sign read. He trudged up the stairs and as he grew closer to the surface, he could hear the traffic and the lower sound of music playing.
He made his way out to the street and saw a lot more cars whizzing by. Since it was December there was already snow on the ground which made him feel more at ease. It reminded him of walking in the clouds. He sighed and looked around.
People rushed by him and gave him strange looks. He didn’t mind. He had his mission and he wanted to get it over with. He walked around the building and found a door that said Main Office etched in the dirty glass. In the lower corner was what he wanted to see. HELP WANTED was written on a ripped black piece of paper. He smiled and realized Zadkiel had done his job. Everything was coming into place, he thought happily.
He pushed the door open and heard a small tinkling bell. “Oh, this is perfect,” he said to himself.
“Yea what do you want?” a gruff voice called out.
Edward scanned the room trying to find the source, but the room was dingy and dark except for two dim fluorescent lights on the ceiling and a very poor excuse for a Christmas tree on the counter. He noticed only four lights worked on the tree and was tempted to reach out and touch it to offer it some comfort.
Just then he saw a hat attached to a head behind the counter sitting much too low for anyone to see. “I’m here for the help wanted sign in the window,” he said proudly.
The man looked up from his laptop screen and for the briefest moment, he could swear the man who just walked in was glowing brightly. He could swear he saw wings and a halo.
He closed his eyes tight and shook his head to clear his vision and when he opened them and looked again there stood Edward wearing the whitest suit he’d ever seen with silver tassels up and down the sleeves. He stood up slowly and looked up and down at the young man, even his white pants had silver tassels up and down the legs.
“What the hell are you supposed to be?” the man asked gruffly as he scratched his head.
Edward leaned on the counter nonchalantly and smiled. “Just an ordinary guy,” he said as confidently as he could.
“Uh-huh,” the man said still wondering what to make of Edward. “You got experience?”
Edward looked around the room trying to discern all he could about cars just from what he saw. “Sure,” he said with as much confidence as he could muster. “I know all about cars. Red ones, Silver ones, black ones, how they make noise and move people around.”
Earnest was not a smart man, but he certainly knew when he was being snowed. “Uh-huh,” he said with less enthusiasm if that were possible. “I don’t think,” he began before Edward interrupted.
“Look,” Edward said plainly, “I may not know a thing about cars, but I did work on a computer on my last job,” he said noticing the computer on the desk. “And I do know that all these cars here need permits to park,” he finished with his smile regaining its width.
Earnest thought for a second. There really wasn’t much else a person needed to know about working here. “I can’t pay a lot,” he said sternly.
“I don’t need a lot,” Edward said hopefully.
“Ok you’re hired,” Earnest said extending his hand to welcome him.
“What’s your name kid?” he asked.
“Oh, Edward sir,” Edward replied carefully. “Edward D. umm Angel, he said slowly. Yes Edward D. Angel,” he said proudly.
“Ok Edward D. Angel,” Earnest said, “that’s the computer. Now we just wait for someone to need a parking permit.”
After a while, Edward was getting bored and looked around his dingy surroundings. “Do you mind if I clean up a little in here?” he asked carefully.
Earnest looked around. “Ain’t gonna get you any more money,” he said casually.
“No, that’s fine,” Edward said as he began to tidy the papers on the counter.
“Hey,” Earnest said, returning his gaze to the laptop screen on the desk in front of him, “knock yourself out.”
After several moments he noticed the room get a bit brighter. He looked up and saw that every light on the haggard little Christmas tree was working. “Hey, that looks nice,” he said with a slight smile. He looked up and saw the window. Outside, he could see the snow falling lightly. “Huh, I thought those windows were brown glass. You’re alright kid. You did all that and didn’t even get your suit dirty,” he added, looking Edward up and down.
“Cleanliness is next to godliness,” Edward said wiping his hands on a dirty rag and smiling. “Besides, the snow is beautiful. We should be able to see it.”
“Uh-huh,” Earnest replied blandly. “Hey, I’m gonna go get a sandwich, you want anything?”
Edward thought for a moment. A perfect time for him to be out of the office and I can do what I need to do. “No thank you,” he replied happily.
“Ok, if anyone does come in or call or something, just go to the computer, pick an empty parking space, get their name and email address, apply it to that space and send them the permit in the email. Got it?” he asked.
Edward looked at the keyboard and the screen. “I got it, sir,” he replied respectfully.
Earnest looked at him again and smiled a bit. He shook his head slowly and walked out the door.
As soon as he left Edward sat down and went to work. He looked up Dana Matthews and quickly canceled her parking space, then wrote a small email.
Dear Miss Matthews,
Your parking space here at Newark Grandeur Parking is scheduled for maintenance in the next few days and as a result, you should now park in space number 123.
He leaned back and smiled as he applied her name and emailed her the permit. Then he went about doing the same to Michael Williams, sending him the same email and applying him the same number.
The next morning, he decided not to go to work, but he did go to the parking garage hoping what he had done was working. He stood in the shadows watching parking spot number 123 for hours before a car pulled into it.
A woman stepped out of the car and proceeded to get bags out of her trunk when another car pulled up and a man got out. “Hey, this is my spot,” he said belligerently as he approached her from behind.
“What are you talking about? I have a permit to park here,” she replied, without looking at him.
“Um, excuse me but I have my parking permit right here,” the man said adamantly.
“Yeah, well so do I,” she said standing up and sighing.
They both pulled the piece of paper out of their pockets and matched them up.
The man began to laugh. “Some idiot gave us both the same parking space,” he said cheerfully.
She looked up at him smiling and a look came over her face. Edward noticed the same look come over his face as their eyes locked.
“I’m Michael,” he said smiling at her but never taking his eyes off of hers.
“I’m Dana,” she replied with the same dreamy look in her eyes.
“Would you, umm, want to go get coffee or something?” Michael said shyly.
“I would love to, Michael,” she said with her smile still beaming.
Edward watched them park their cars in different spaces and walk off together cheerfully talking to each other. A smile crept over his face as he disappeared into a bright flash of light. In a split second, he was back up in heaven.
Haniel grabbed him and hugged him as he appeared. “My boy. You’ve done it and with no contamination too,” he said proudly. “Well done, come see.”
They walked over to the enormous screen and watched as the timeline corrected itself.
Haniel switched the screen to show a wedding taking place about 6 months later. They all watched Dana and Michael kiss and knew everything was secure.
Chamuel patted him on the back. “It was a really good thing you did, Edward,” he said hugging the young man.
Edward beamed a smile that day as wide as any archangel ever did and walked slowly back to his heavenly computer terminal.