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Angels on the Court

by on June 12, 2019

“Right, kid,” Raphael said, “You’re on Sports detail now. Here’s your racket.”

“Sports?” Donny said, completely bewildered. He had thought he had been doing a pretty good job as a guardian. The incident with Stacy falling off the telephone pole hadn’t been his fault, really. Could’ve happened to any angel. People fell off telephone poles all the time.

“Yeah, sports,” Raphael said. “It’s the big thing now. We go down, find some poor guys who have a completely lousy team, maybe they’ve got a sad backstory, some kid who really wants ’em to win, and then we help ’em win. Kick the ball into the right goal. Give the bat a little extra push. Y’know.”

Donny blinked. “But…is that really fair? What about the other team?”

Raphael shrugged. “I don’t make the rules, kid. Anywho, here’s your assignment. Ashley Morrison. She just entered her college tennis tournament. She’s been having a lousy year. Long story. I made a pamphlet for you.”

Donny skimmed through the pamphlet. It was heart-rending. On top of everything else, Ashley’s pet goldfish had bubbled its last. So, apparently, the night before, Ashley had looked out her dorm window and prayed desperately for some help in her upcoming tennis match. “Now, technically,” Raphael said, “She asked for the patron saint of tennis, not an angel, but Sebastian’s busy with the Olympics coming up, so you’ll have to do.”

“Right,” Donny said. “I’ll help her out, straight away.” He started to make a dive for the clouds.

“You forgot your racket!” Raphael called. Donny wheeled back, slightly embarrassed, and took hold of the extended racket. Unfortunately, he grabbed it by the wrong end. Raphael sighed. “You do know how to play tennis, right, kid?”

“Sure!” Donny said enthusiastically. In actual point of fact, he had no idea how to play tennis. He hadn’t been much of a sportsman even before he’d become an angel. However, he was not about to admit this to Raphael. He had a better idea. Once he had left his superior, he set about looking for an angel his own rank to ask about the rules of tennis.

It didn’t take long for Donny to find one. He had just passed the Pearly Gates when an angel lounging against one of the shining walls flagged him down. “Hey, you. I hear you’re lookin’ for an explainer on how to play tennis?”

“Actually, yeah,” Donny said, “But how did you-“

The angel shrugged. “I hear things. Word gets around. Anywho. Name’s Leon. Angel, second class. I used to be a big-time sports guy when I was alive. ”

“Perfect,” Donny said. “So, how do you play this thing?” He held up the racket, again by the wrong end.

Leon smiled.

Ashley’s first tennis match was the next day. When it was over and Ashley had run away in hysterics (along with half the school and two-thirds of the teachers), Raphael summoned Donny before him. “So,” Raphael said testily. “Would you care to explain to me why you conjured two romantically involved elephants and a pack of hyenas on the tennis court?”

“Because those were the rules?” Donny said. “Once you launch your ball at the other player, they’re allowed to declare the magical exotic animal zone and conjure any animal they can think of onto the field in retaliation. I figured Ashley’s magical skills were lacking, so I thought… I could… you know…. help.”

“That….” said Raphael slowly, “is not how you play tennis.”

“But…. but Leon said….”

“Leon?”

“Angel. Second class. I asked him about the rules.”

“We don’t have a Leon, angel second class. The other side, however….”

“Oh.”

4 Comments
  1. Ohhh! Leon was pretty suspicious. A fun story, love imagining Angles who flub assignments. I like how you poke fun at the sports/angle movie too. You set it up nicely so I don’t feel bad at all for Ashely (and her dead goldfish) I just relish in the win for Leon.

  2. This was a really clever take on the prompt! And I did *not* see “the other side” coming. 🙂

  3. As usual, so fun! The paragraph with the pamphlet lost me a little bit, and I really wondered what era Donny came from to not realize Leon was totally fooling him (tennis has been around for a couple hundred years, so how did Donny not know any aspect of it to allow that finagle to happen?). Still minor nits as I still totally enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Donny really does trust too easily – that Leon was clearly sketchy! But then, if he really believed those were the rules of tennis, I think we need to start several steps earlier in the problem analysis. I mean, he HAS been to earth, right? Poor guy…

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