Billy and The Angel

The angel sat on the edge of the trench smoking a cigarette as a new dawn rose over the ruined landscape.
‘There’s always someone worse off than you’ it said.
Billy looked around with the eye that he still had left to see.
The trench was full of mud and blood, most of which, observed Billy, was his.
‘I don’t see anyone’ he said.
‘Look harder’ said the angel.
‘My legs hurt’ said Billy.
‘That’ll be the legs that you no longer have’ said the angel.
A tear fell from Billy’s eye.
‘No use crying over spilt milk.’
Billy wiped the tear from his one eye with the one arm he had left.
‘God help me’ he said.
‘Praying for yourself now?’ said the angel, smiling, ‘Tut, tut.’
Billy despaired.
‘Give me a break, for fuck’s sake.’
‘Look’ said the angel, pointing, ‘over there.’
Billy strained his one eye in the darkness and saw, ten foot down the trench under a pile of wooden planks and body parts and broken ammunition boxes, something stir.
‘There you go’ said the angel.
‘There you go what?’ said Billy.
‘Someone worse off than you.’
‘Help me’ said a feeble voice, ‘please help me.’
‘Well go on’ said the angel to Billy, ‘do something.’
Billy looked with his one eye at the arm he no longer had left and the legs he no longer had and the blood all around him that was mostly his and said:
‘I’m sorry.
I can’t.’
‘Help me’ said the voice, ‘please help me.’
‘How the fuck’ said Billy to the angel, ‘is he worse off than me right now?’
‘It’s simple’ said the angel, blowing a cloud of smoke across the last star.
‘Nobody loves him.’
A warm wave washed over Billy’s heart and he remembered the sweet peas in his grandmother’s garden and the warm smell of home.
‘Oh’ he said.
‘Help me’ said the voice.
‘I’m here for you, brother’ said Billy.
‘Goodbye, Billy’ said the angel.
‘I’m here.’

© Gail Foster 30th July 2019

The Vegetable Shop Man

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The vegetable shop man and I are looking at the window of the second-hand shop across the road, in which someone has been mildly satirical about the Royal Wedding.
You’ve got to love a mildly satirical window dresser.
At least I think they’ve been satirical.
Cardboard masks of the Royal family grin wonkily from assorted mannequins dressed in second hand wedding outfits.
William looks alright, but The Queen looks minging.
‘Posh and Becks’ he says, despairingly.
‘Fake celebrities’ says I.
‘They’re no more celebrities than we are’ he says.
‘All a distraction from what’s really going on’ says I.
We look at the mannequins again.
He shrugs.
I sigh.
‘I don’t want to hear about it’ he says.
‘What about Gaza, and Israel?’
‘Indeed’ says I.
A short silence ensues, within which develops a mutual understanding that all we can do about it is just crack on.
‘Bye then’ I say.
‘Bye’ he says.
‘Hope you sell a lot of strawberries!’
The vegetable shop man smiles.

© Gail Foster 18th May 2018