Joe Angel had been in the crowd during the Queen of Heaven’s coronation. He had been the angel the farthest away from the crowning. But that was the way with Joe. He didn’t get any of the big assignments like kicking Satan’s butt. He would have loved to take on that guy. But, no, his boss, Sgt. Big Angel Pants, told him he didn’t have the goods.
“I want to do something important,” he told the Sergeant.
“You are doing something important. You’re filling out the choir.”
“I’m so far away.”
“We don’t want you messing up the choir. You don’t have the voice to be up close to the Big Guy. Wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself, now would you?”
Joe went away from the meeting, wandering what his purpose was. It always seemed to be that he was not good enough for the better assignments. He headed to the heavenly kitchen for his shift at the dishwasher.
Beverly Angel was waiting for him. “You’re late,” she said.
“How can I be late?” the little guy asked. “We’ve got all eternity.”
“Joe, what’s gotten in to you? Your attitude used to be so positive. Lately it’s gone to hell.”
“I’ve been watching these You Tube videos on getting ahead in life. You got to watch them. You’d realize you don’t have it so good either.”
“Look, if you’re not careful, you’re going…Well, let’s just say you won’t like what happens.”
Just at that moment, Gary Angel peeked in. “Hey, guys, the Big Guy’s coming through tomorrow.”
Beverly jumped up and down and yelled, “Whoopee.” She had happy written all over her face.
But Joe stood dejected.
“Joe, what’s with you? You used to be an up kind of angel. Now look at you.”
Bev said, “You Tube videos.”
“Oh, c’mon. Not you, Joe.”
Bev again, “Yeah, ‘fraid so. And he’s got a bad case of ambitionitis.”
Gary gave a rather large sigh. “Joe, you got to straighten up. You’re an angel. Your glass is filled brimming to the top. Your cup runneth over. Don’t go where you’re going.”
“No ifs, ands or buts. It’s time to turn that frown upside down.” He took Joe’s cheeks and forced his face into a smile. “Now that’s the Joe I like to see.”
Gary turned and headed to the door. Just as he was about to leave, he said, “Oh, Joe, could you please give those wings of yours the once-over. They’re starting to droop.”
As Gary left, he mumbled to himself, “I don’t know what’s happening to this younger generation. I started at that same dishwasher and look at me now. And tomorrow I get to sing tenor in Handel’s Messiah.”
Poor Joe. He always thought being an angel would be the greatest. Flying around on clouds and playing harp. That just hadn’t happened. Those jobs were saved for Michael and Gabriel’s relatives. Nepotism, you know.
Gary ran back into the dishwasher room. “Joe, the Big Guy wants to see you. You’re in trouble now. You’d better scoot over there fast.”
Joe left the kitchen, dejection all over his puss. The Big Guy. Man, this just wasn’t his day.
He walked to the Big Guy Building, showed his i.d. to the Big Guy guards, took the Big Guy elevator to the top floor and the Big Guy Suite. He walked into the lobby of the office. Behind the desk sat a tall blonde angel. She had the sweetest face.
“Yes, ma’am,” Joe said and entered the Big Guy office.
The Big Guy was reading a file on His desk. “Joe, take a seat.”
Joe sat down. The chair was so soft Joe almost disappeared in it.
The Big Guy looked up at Joe. There was a twinkle in His eyes and a smile on His face. “We’ve been looking at your file. These last two hundred years you’ve done a slam, bang-up job. First there was the harp factory. Every body loved your harps. They had that special kind of sound We love. Then We sent you over to trumpet cleaning. Gabe was really impressed. And now the Dishwashing Brigade. You took the demotion like an angel. We know you’ve been down-in-the-mouth lately. All those You Tube videos.”
“Here it comes,” Joe thought.
“Thought We’d forgotten about you, didn’t you, Joe? Well, We haven’t.”
“What do you mean, Sir?”
“We’ve been looking for just the right job for a go-getter like yourself. And We’ve finally got something that should be right up your alley.”
“Escorting people to—to the bad place,” Joe thought.
The Big Guy came around His desk. He walked over to Joe and picked the angel up out of his cushiony chair and gave him the kind of hug only the Big Guy could give. When He released Joe from that hug, the angel thought he’d died and gone to heaven.
“Joe, you’re going to be joining Gabriel’s Brigade. You’ll have your own trumpet. You’ll get a new set of wings. And, of course, there’ll be a raise in pay. Think you can manage saying yes.”
Joe left the Big Guy office floating on a cloud. He took the Big Guy elevator down and went back to his dinky little apartment. That night he slept like a lamb.
Over the next two weeks, he reported to the Gabriel Brigade. They gave him new wings, a new robe, a new halo. He began his trumpet training. By the end of the two weeks, he was sounding pretty darn good.
One morning he showed up bright and early for work with that bright-and-early smile of his.
“Gabe wants to see you,” said the sergeant in charge of training the new guys.
Gabriel was tall, really tall. He had a glow on his face that would have put the sun to shame. He got up from his desk and shook Joe’s hand. “Welcome to the Show. I think you’re going to like it here.”
Joe smiled. “Thank you, Sir.”
“Now for your first assignment. Think you can handle it.”
“You know it was picked out just for you. By the Big Guy Himself.”
“Wow, just for me.” Joe had the kind of smile that only can an angel can have.
“Yes. Just for you.”
Joe couldn’t believe his luck. Finally he was going to get his just desserts.
Gabe stepped back and gave Joe the old looksee. Nodded and said, “When it comes to this assignment, I’ve got some good news.”
“Oh, boy,” Joe thought. His smile would have made even Gary proud.
“And some bad news.”