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The Last Job

by on August 20, 2017

Peter set the battered car down gently by the side of the stunned would-be bank robbers. “Now, you sit there and think about what you did,” he admonished them, brushing bits of rubble off his sleeve. “The police will be along to get you.”

He turned on his boot heel and blasted off into the sky. He didn’t blast far; his favorite watering hole was only a few blocks from the crime scene. It was Peter’s custom to celebrate a good save with a drink or two. With his near invulnerability, the alcohol didn’t come close to affecting him, but he enjoyed the tradition nonetheless. He landed outside the bar, did a quick change into his civilian clothes, and made his way inside.

There was a not unattractive blonde sitting next to Peter’s usual seat. Unlike some capes, he didn’t have a secret love interest; he’d been decidedly single for several months. He decided to take a chance. “Hi there,” he began. “I’m-”

“Peter Clearwater,” she said, cutting him off mid-introduction. “32. Mild-mannered corporate attorney at Dewey and Howe. Lives at 32 Forest Lake Drive, ironic because there’s not actually a lake or a forest within miles. And you’re really the Red Brick. You foiled a bank holdup this morning. Last week you averted the Collapsing Hell Dimension Crisis. Good job on that, by the way.”

“How did you-”

“Constance,” she said, smiling thinly. “I’m your guardian angel.”

Peter blinked. “My what?”

“Figures,” Constance said. “You know, every kid gets a guardian angel. Says so in the book. We’re the ones keeping you from dying when you’re not supposed to. You know, pull you out of the way of buses, redirecting the falling tree at the last minute, that sort of thing.  Gets pretty tiring, actually, all the saving people routines. My favorite was the Mysterious Stranger popping up to do CPR and then vanishing into the night. I did that with you when you were four. Good times…”

Peter wasn’t sure what to say to that. “I…had no idea.”

Constance sighed. “Course you didn’t. Thing about guardian angels, we’re supposed to be discreet. I’ve had dozens of charges over the years. Not one of ’em ever cottoned on. I figured you’d be the same. But then…you got powers.”

“Yeah,” Peter said uncertainly. “When I was twelve. Fell into a vat of radioactive chemicals.”

The angel went slightly red in the face. “Sorry about that. I had to sub in for Tabitha on Search and Rescue. Figured you’d be safe on the factory tour. I mean, I thought you people had regulatory standards now. I’m surprised OSHA didn’t shut that place down.”

“Well,” Peter said, shrugging. “It worked out. I got super-strength, invulnerability, and I can fly.”

“Yeah, and I’m out of a job,” Constance said. “I’m breaking the rules even telling you all this. We’re not supposed to reveal ourselves unless you’re at some moral crisis. Didn’t you ever see Touched by an Angel? No? Ah, well. Anyway, the point is though, you’re invulnerable. You don’t need a guardian angel. Not you, not Mr. Ecosystem, not Ron Raven, not Gaseous Girl. Either you’ve got superpowers and you don’t need saving, or you don’t have superpowers but you get saved by someone who does. And it’s not just guardian duty either; Search and Rescue’s the same way. We’re just about obsolete.”

She had paused just slightly in her last few words. Peter picked up on it. “Just about? What’s left?”

Constance let out a long sigh. “There’s only one, really. I hate it, myself.  But we’ve all got to pitch in now. And today, I’ve got the duty.”

“You mean…”

“Yeah.”

“But…me? I didn’t think I could.”

“Yeah. Everyone still does.”

“When?”

Constance looked sadly at him. The air went just slightly colder around her. “You should probably go ahead and finish that drink now.”

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13 Comments
  1. Uh-oh, things don’t look good for Peter. But what happened to him? And if she knew about it… I guess Guardian Angels are supposed to look the other way when the time is “right”?

    • Y’know, that’s a ood point. I hadn’t thought of what might happen if a guardian angel and a death angel disagree about their person. Hm…

  2. I really had fun reading this! I would never be able to write something like this I think. Is there more to come? Can we know what happens to Peter? 🙂

  3. I mean: Is *there* more to come? Please edit my previous comment if possible, thanks!

  4. That was supremely well-written. I hope that you write a follow-on piece to this!
    This was my favorite part of the write-up. The choice of “invulnerability” as the word here was wonderful, I thought.

    “Well,” Peter said, shrugging. “It worked out. I got super-strength, invulnerability, and I can fly.”

    “Yeah, and I’m out of a job,” Constance said.

  5. This was a fun read! A leap of imagination. “Either you’ve got superpowers and you don’t need saving, or you don’t have superpowers but you get saved by someone who does. And it’s not just guardian duty either; Search and Rescue’s the same way.”
    Liked this a lot. A guardian angel rambling about being out of a job. Hahaha!

  6. I’m almost afraid to ask what happened to the third founding partner of the firm.

  7. This felt light-hearted with being silly. The interaction of a guardian angel and superhero was creative and changes the “rules” of superhero world. I appreciated that you managed to show the rules instead of telling. I struggled a bit to figure out what happened at the end, though. After I read the comments and re-read it a few times, it made total sense. Just a tad murky, though.

  8. You have such a wonderful imagination, Michael! Who knew guardian angels had problems of their own! I really enjoyed reading this.

  9. Fun piece! I definitely think this could be part of a series.

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