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Rated: E · Short Story · Death · #2276210
Prompt Exercise: A homeless man on a park bench is awakened by an angel.
The Bum and the Angel
N.A Miller

As taken from the Prompt:
“A homeless man on a park bench is awakened by an angel.”

“Sir, Sir!” A voice asked, and a hand shook me as I lay on the bench trying to sleep.

“Go away.” I muttered in my drunken stupor.

“Sir, can you help me?” The voice asked, “I can pay you? I am looking for someone.”

I slowly opened my eyes, and there before me was a man about thirty one, clad in black dressed in a black shirt pants, shoes, and over his body he wore a black duster. He had a dark complexion, black hair, and gray eyes.

“W-What do you want?” I asked, “Can you spare some change, or what?”

“I’m kind of lost.” The man said, “Can you tell me if this is Los Angeles, California?”

I blinked my eyes, and turned my head after briefly looking away.

“Say again? You don’t know what city you are in?” I rasped, “Are you drunk, stoned, or on Meth kid?”

Here, I laughed at the absurdity of the notion of being lost in one of the biggest Cities on the California Coast. I frowned when the man didn’t laugh and shook his head, cocking it slightly, with what appeared to be a pained look on his face.

“No, I am an angel.” The man said, “My name is Seth, I am looking for Milton Forbes.”

I grimaced at the kid, frowning at him, and even through my alcoholic gaze I realized that he had said my name.

“Milton Fo-… Hey that’s me.” I stormed.

“Good to know you sir.” He replied politely. An almost sickening politeness that could and would come out of a typical 50’s mentality of please, thank you, and mother may I way.

“What do you want kid?” I stormed, “Do I know you?”

“No.” Seth replied, “I am here to take you to God now. We’re going home now, Mr. Forbes.”

I was almost forty five years old and been a bum in L.A for over ten years after losing my job at Lockheed Corp. I made airplanes and was an Engineer for a living. I didn’t understand why the kid was here. I didn’t understand his reference to home.

“Sorry this is my home.” I replied, “MY wife won’t take me back, even if as she lives here in L.A.”

“We aren’t going home to your house here in L.A, Mr. Forbes.” The Angel replied, “We’re going to Heaven.”

“Wait… Are you death?”

“I am a messenger of God, but I am also a harvester, and work as the Angel of Death.” Seth replied, and I frowned blearily.

“Is this real?” I said, half-shouting. “I want you to leave me the hell alone.”

“Sorry, I can’t do that Milt.” Seth said, and pointed.

I turned my head. I saw a shrouded body lying on the bench in the middle of the park. There was a pool of blood pooling around in the cement around it as it lay under a park light.

“Hey that… he looks like me!” I rasped and I glanced at the angel who was nodding.

“Come, take my hand and let’s go home.”

“What happened to me?” I asked, and looked down at myself, bending my legs stretching my arms, “See I think you have the wrong guy, I am still vital active, see everything works.”

“A bullet came and struck you during a drive by shooting over there.” Seth told me, and he pointed. I turned my head to see a dark-colored Impala racing off along the street after gunfire erupted and into the night.

“Come on, Mr. Forbes.” Seth said. “Milt, let’s go home. God is waiting.”

“But I am an Atheist.” I replied, “I stopped believing when my wife kicked me out of the house”.

“He will forgive you, and your sins, fear not.” The angel said in his syrupy voice.

I reached out and took the hand of the younger man’s hand, and he led me along the sidewalk. Behind me my body lay on the park bench and no doubt it would be found by morning by the typical joggers that ran by me every morning. Who gave me coffee. I was leaving it behind!

“But, what about my body?” I stormed, “We can’t just leave it there can we? Can’t we call an ambulance or something?”

“You died when you were hit in the head.” The angel replied, “They won't find you until morning and even then could have got anyone to help you in time. And even if you did live you would be on a respirator. Rejoice better this than that.”

“Can I see my wife?” I demanded, “And say goodbye?”

As always in the movies, I had seen where the dead always seemed to visit the living and embraced them as they told them good bye.

Seth shook his head.

“Can I ask you a question?” Seth asked, and I glanced at the younger man, regarding the almost ivory features.

“Shoot kid.”

“What did you like the most about life?”

I grimaced but thought about it as we walked away from my body. I smiled after a moment.

“Several things, kid.” I replied, “Sex, women, booze, working but most of all… Being Alive...”

WC: 886
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