The proposal was simple enough: Get in, get the girl, then leave.
Harvey was concerned about all three parts.
He sat there across from the Big Boss, who was smoking an unlit cigar (lung cancer wasn’t an issue in heaven, but the act itself was strictly prohibited nonetheless) with his feet propped up on the table. Harvey was reminded again that Big Boss was notoriously the least angelic angel in all of heaven. It boggled his mind that this was the guy in charge of almost every earth-heaven interaction. Was God having an off day when He hired the guy?
Big Boss was known for his clear lack of composure in these situations, but his attitude today was far worse than normal, although, to be fair, this plan was nothing close to normal.
“Sir, I still don’t understand...she’s not going to be dead when I get her?”
Big Boss twirled the cigar. “Nada. Alive and breathing.”
“But I bring her...here.”
“Well I can’t do that.”
“My booty you can’t.”(Swearing, of course, was prohibited as well.) “We’re under strict orders from the Man Himself. Says this is a special case. We can’t mess this one up. And you’re our best guy - you’re the one that has to do this.”
Harvey shuffled nervously in his seat. His wings were not sitting comfortably in this chair, either. Big Boss was too cheap to pay for the wing adjusters. “But you and I both know that goes against every rule there is! No one gets past the gate with air in their lungs...it’s just not protocol.”
Big Boss swung his legs down from the desk as he pulled a framed picture around to face Harvey. It was The Man Himself, his classic Hawaiian shirt and Ray-bans look, smiling at the camera as He stood on the very edge of heaven’s borders, a sea of darkness around Him that made His radiance even brighter.
“You think He cares about protocol?”
Harvey admired The Guy, sure, but this seemed ridiculous.
He tried to seem more composed, sitting a bit more upright, wings down. “Can you at least give me a bit more information before I take this? Like...will she be alone when I get her? How heavy will she be to carry? How old is she?”
Big Boss sighed, picking up the cigar again. “Don’t know, rude of you to ask, and five.”
“She’s five years old?”
He just nodded his head, slowly and meaningfully. With a quick glance at the picture, as if worried it would overhear what he was going to say, he continued: “Look, I’m not supposed to tell you this, but it’s a test run of a future system The Big Guy wants to try out. I don’t know what exactly it is, but I know this is going to be make or break. He wants this on the DL. You weren’t even supposed to know that.”
“But what made Him think I would say yes to something like this?”
“I don’t know, you’re an angel. We all just do what we’re told, be good, blah blah blah. Har, not many angels would question an assignment and you know that.”
“But not many assignments are like this one.”
“Oh my God, Harvey…”
They both turned. There was Hawaiian shirt Himself, Ray-bans and all. He made his way over to the seat adjacent to Harvey, so smoothly that it almost seemed that He was floating. Harvey took a quick look down to discover that He was, in fact, floating. Typical show-off.
“I only fly so I can get to you faster, my brother,” Hawaiian shirt swooned. Shoot. Harvey forgot that He could read minds. He tried to brush it off.
“Call me Daryl.” What God wants, God gets.
“Right, um, Daryl...You have to understand that I can’t just take this job. I mean, if I’m caught by anyone down there, I can’t come back here. I can’t risk that.”
“Har, this is me we’re talking about.” He sat back in the chair, levitating off the ground as He did. He put both hands behind His head, stretching His elbows out to puff out His chest. “Don’t you think I could call you back here if I wanted?”
“-and I would want to.”
“Right. Sure. But...it doesn’t seem…”
Harvey just nodded, his wings shrinking back as if he were a child being scolded. He hated when he felt human.
Daryl let His arms go back to His sides, pulling Himself closer to Harvey. He even took off His Ray-bans to look Harvey directly in the eyes. Harvey noticed with alarm that those eyes contained all the secrets to the universe. It was a phenomenon Harvey couldn’t explain if he tried.
“Harvey…” Daryl started, producing a picture from behind His back. He simply held it up, and suddenly Harvey was a puddle of tears. It was a little human girl, but she hardly looked like one. Tubes were plugged into her arms, and the hospital bed she sat in engulfed her completely. The pink bandana tied around her bald head was the brightest color in the mostly pale room. “This is the girl. She’s the reason you’re doing this.”
Harvey was having trouble blinking back tears. It was a scene Harvey had seen a thousand times before, but it felt different when he saw her eyes open...he had never seen them like that, still full of hope and life.
“Look, I don’t know how this is going to turn out. I just know that I have to try to beat Death this time. You and this girl could be the key to preventing years of pain and suffering. I just want to try it out. One time. That’s it - that’s all I’m asking for.”
The three of them sat in silence for a moment, the gravity of the proposal weighing down the room - so much so that Daryl actually stopped floating. Harvey stared down at his lap, picking under his golden fingernails as he searched in his mind for a reason to say no.
He couldn’t find one anymore. “I’m in.”
Daryl smiled, fireworks erupting (both literally and figuratively) around Him. “Excellent. I can’t say I’m surprised...I am all-knowing, after all. I’ll send you the details in the morning.”
Harvey watched Him turn to leave, but thought of one more thing first: “Hey, Daryl, I have to ask...why this girl? I’ve picked up so many girls from hospital beds - even younger than her. Why is she the one?”
Daryl smiled, lifting His Ray-bans back to His eyes. “She asked for an angel.”