4 - The Traveling Angel

Submitted by Ken Watts on Mon, 11/20/2006 - 09:31
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He shook his head and aimed the remote control at the TV.

I stood up.

"Wait! I want to see this."

It was The Bishop's Wife, Old Charlie's favorite movie.

The first scene is great. It's Christmas time, the shop windows are all crammed with toys, and a group of carolers sing on the street. Sidewalk Santas ring their bells, snow is falling, and Cary Grant strolls, smiling, through it all. He's an angel, named Dudley, sent to help people in distress.

He takes the arm of a blind man trying to cross an intersection. The blind man smiles.

"Oh, this is very kind of you."

"It's a privilege," says Dudley.

They cross the street, and this beautiful heavenly music swells the air as the cars miraculously stop on either side.

God, I loved that movie.

If I had only known.

I grabbed a handful of peanuts at the bar, and filled Kels in on the story.

"Dudley, the angel, he just travels around helping people out."

"I've seen the movie. You ever consider buying anything?"

"So many people need help, you know? Need a traveling angel."

Kels moved the peanuts out of reach. He has an anal streak.

The next scene is just as good. This little boy asks his mother to lift him up, so he can see the toys. She lifts him, and her baby carriage—with the baby in it—rolls down the sidewalk behind her, right in front of a truck.

Old Charlie had no psychic distance. This scene used to make him jump, even after he'd seen it five times.

But that beautiful music plays again, the truck screeches to a halt, and—you guessed it—Dudley appears, just in time to grab the baby carriage. The woman rushes up to thank him, but Dudley just smiles.

"Just don't let it happen again. Now on your way."

"Dressing up?"

Kels was looking at my garment bag again. I glanced around to make sure no one was listening. I leaned forward and whispered.

"I'm wrapping up the Hogan case tonight."

"Hogan case." He squinted at me. "You got cases now?"

I ignored his sarcasm, pulled the newspaper out of my coat pocket, and showed him the picture on the front page. It was a group of people standing in front of a framed circus poster. Kels frowned and read the headline.

"Local Developers Got Their Start with Circus—So?"

"Not so loud." I said.

He glanced one way and then the other, bobbing his head a little the whole time, then turned his weary eyes back on me.

"There's only the two of us in the room."

I lowered my voice anyway, and pointed to the man to the left of the poster.

"That's William Hogan. He wants to run an oil pipeline through the bay. The others are his investors."

"I know who William Hogan is. What do you have to do with this?"