A band of Guardian Angels got together every week to gossip, gambol, and get drunk. They gathered at the “Heavenly Cloud” Speakeasy, three blocks west of Peter’s Pearly Gates. The angels were disgruntled and bored so some of them became bullies instead of Guardians. They would tempt and cajole the people who relied on them for guidance.

Gideon Chalmers was an old man although he was only fifty-three. He decided it was time to give up the ghost. Gideon’s Guardian Angel was named Mark Id. Mark was tired of playing nursemaid to Gideon so he encouraged him to fall from Grace. Gideon recently lost a partner of thirty years. He was very depressed and he began to drink heavily. One night after a dinner of canned mushrooms and cheap wine, Gideon pissed his bed. Shame began to eat at his mental equilibrium.

Gideon’s cell phone buzzed. He didn’t want to answer so the phone answered for him. Mark was calling. He wanted to warn Gideon that Heaven was conducting a survey. Out of frustration, Mark started shouting profanities into the phone.

Gideon was cold. The wet sheets were like a death shroud. Mark appeared wearing a used jockstrap. The angel had no sex organs to hide, but he liked to antagonize Gideon by posing like a virile bodybuilder.

Trump (a politician) was on TV posturing as usual. Crowds adored him. Gideon was confused. He thought it was a miracle when the candidate stepped out of the TV-screen and turned into the Angel Mark. The angel held an apple and Gideon was about to take a bite, but the cell phone exploded like a bottle-rocket, “Heaven calling.”

Gideon was asked (in no uncertain terms) to take a survey regarding his recent involvement with Mark Id, “Was your relationship satisfactory? Were all your questions answered to your satisfaction? Was the information you received helpful? On a scale from one to ten, with ten being the best, how would you rate the quality of your relationship with Mark Id?”

Gideon duly answered all the questions as instructed. He sat on a synthetic, green-arctic sofa in his one bedroom Virtual-condo. After thirty years together his lover died. Gideon was alone filtering through the digital screens, each window offered a new reality to replace an old life. He no longer had a Guardian Angel … but, Gideon still had the apple, a passport into the next world.


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