Don’t worry, Modern Philosophers. I don’t think God talks to me or communicates with me through my mind. He just sent an emissary to deliver his message.
I was hard at work in my study at The House on the Hill, when I heard voices above me. At first, I assumed it was the Woodburys, the ghost family that lives in the attic, but then I remembered that the ghosts were mad at each and not talking.
So I went up to the roof to investigate. There I found my faithful Gargoyle, Gary talking to a strange shirtless man, who had his back to me to reveal an amazing set of wings.
They must’ve sensed my presence because they stopped talking the moment I set foot on the roof. As I walked towards them, the man underwent a quick transformation during which the wings vanished and a well-fitting suit draped itself over his tall, lean body.
“So sorry to just barge in unannounced,” he said in a reassuring voice as he strode towards me confidently and held out his hand. “I fully intended to make a proper entrance through the front door, but I saw your friend up here and thought about how I ever so rarely get to stretch my wings. I’m Michael.”
I nodded and shook his hand. “The Archangel,” I replied.
“Is it that obvious?” he asked, clearly impressed with my powers of deduction.
“That’s what twelve years of Catholic school gets you,” I countered and pointed at the gold pin on his lapel, which was of a mighty sword engulfed in flames. “That is the symbol of your order, right?”
Gary found a reason to excuse himself, and flew off towards parts unknown to give us the roof to ourselves. I wasn’t too keen on being up on the snowy roof on a chilly January afternoon, and I wasn’t exactly feeling comfortable in the presence of someone about whom the nuns and Jesuits had filled my head with incredible stories. “Can we take this inside?”
Michael was happy to comply and then tried to put me further at ease with his next comment. “Don’t worry, I made sure to stop by at a time when your frequent house guest wouldn’t be around. I don’t think Lucifer or I would be up to seeing one another.”
Was he reading my mind? How did he know I was worried that The Devil might show up at any moment and decide to park it on my couch and take over control of the TV and fridge? “Yes, I am reading your mind,” Michael further unnerved me, “but I promise from this moment on, to turn off the powers and act like a human.”
Man, his efforts to put me at ease were only pushing me further towards the edge. By the time we’d made it down to the living room and I’d gotten us some Snapple and a bowl of chips, I was a nervous wreck.
“I’ve been asked to approach you about delivering a message,” Michael explained as he sipped his iced tea, but passed on the Humpy Dumpty BBQ Chips. “Your blog is gaining popularity since you were Freshly Pressed…and we love the irony of how the post that was recognized is about Greek Gods rather than the one you were raised to worship.”
Big gulp from my side of the couch, and it had nothing to do with the ingestion of my cool beverage.
“Don’t worry,” he told me with a calming smile. “The whole Zeus thing is one of the reasons God chose your blog. You also come highly recommended by the nuns. They have an extremely thick file on you, and almost all of it is good.”
It was at about this point that I began devouring potato chips to give me something to do. All the years I’ve spent time in this house surrounded by monsters, demons, Aliens, Vampires, and even one wayward Zombie who got perilously close to me one night while I was asleep, I’d never been this frightened. I was back in St. Ephrem’s in my little Catholic school boy uniform, fearing the wrath of God and all his Angels. What had I done and what was Mr. Mike going to do to punish me?
“Basically, God’s upset that no one is going to Church anymore,” he glared at me and let it linger, making it clear that he knew I hadn’t attended services since my Freshman year at NYU. “He’d like you to get out the message that it’s time to fill the pews again. Write some of those witty, silly posts of yours and make Church seem fun and hip. Remind people that God gives them 168 hours of life a week, and all he asks for in return is 1 hour. Think you can blog it up and increase attendance?”
I stared at my guest in disbelief. I knew there were chip crumbs on my face and I could see that more of them had pooled in my lap. I was a Modern Philosopher, not a Prophet. There was no way he really wanted to assign me this task.
“Can I think about it?” was all Mr. Supposedly Great With Words was able to utter.
“Not really,” was the Archangels’ response. “You’ve been chosen. This is how things work. You can’t have forgotten everything you learned from Religion class. God picks someone who doesn’t seem worthy, that person tries to fight the task, but he eventually embraces it, picks up his game, and saves the day.”
“He also then usually gets stoned or thrown into boiling water for his troubles,” I countered. The Catholic boy who’d gotten A’s in every Religion class he’d ever taken was making a comeback.
Michael had a hearty chuckle at that and then finished off his iced tea in one mighty gulp. “I promise nothing of the sort will happen. The old school prophets never suffered such fates. That was just a little something the writers added to give the stories some punch. You’re a writer…you know how it works.”
Oh, so now he was going to compare me to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and try to win me over with flattery? Angel, Archangel, you’re blowing my mind…
“Since I’m admitting that some material in the Bible is fiction, I might as well point out that should God not get his way, the Earth won’t be plagued by locusts or a rain of fire and blood. However, he’ll do something much worse.” He paused here for effect, and he definitely had me on the edge of my seat. “He’ll take away his support for the day of rest. The only reason people don’t have a seven day work and school week is because God made it quite clear that he rested on the seventh day. If he decides to stop backing that idea, your soft, lazy bodies are going to really be put to work.”
He actually snickered at that point. I was not a fan. Still, I didn’t want to just let him push me around. Not in my house. I didn’t care how wide of a wingspan he had. “Why are the weekends two days then, if God only backs one day of rest?” Good one!
“Because the sixth day was meant for working at home and with family,” Michael answered without even flinching. “Now, that’s just another day wasted partying, sinning, and doing things other than going to Church. Your country might have elected a Democrat as its leader, but the Bible thumping Republicans still hold a great deal of sway. They will get the weekends banished. They’ll crush any Union that tries to keep the forty hour work week. When God gets perturbed, he vents and makes his displeasure known. Ask Adam and Eve or Noah if you don’t believe me.”
Didn’t he just say there wouldn’t be plagues, floods, or end of the world type events? Now I was just confused, but also too frightened to speak.
“Just start by blogging about this conversation and see where it goes,” Michael suggested, apparently comfortable in the role of contributor to this blog. “God’s really upset. It’s either go to Church or work seven days a week. Sounds like an easy choice.”
I’m not really quite clear as to what happened after that. The next thing I remember is being up in my study and falling out of my chair because I’d drifted off and my body does weird things when I’m sleeping (there’s a future blog post in that tale…).
So now I’m left to wonder…did any of that even happen? Was it all just a dream? I keep going up to the roof to ask Gary, but my Gargoyle has yet to return. The ghosts in the attic have horrible memories, so they don’t recall if I was up there earlier, or if they’d heard voices on the roof.
Very weird. What do you think, Modern Philosophers? Is this all in my imagination? Did the nuns activate the chip in my head to mess with my mind again? Should we all go to Church this weekend just to be sure? That last one is a rough call with the big Conference Championship games scheduled for this Sunday.
Let me know what you think. It all seems so real, but so many odd things happen to me up here in Maine that it stands to reason that one of them has to finally be a mere product of my imagination, right?