No Time For Pleasantries by Todd Skaggs

The Music Be The Food flash fiction event continues with round four. This time, the song is one of my all-time favorite American hymns, “The Road Home”, by Stephen Paulus. This particular take on the piece of music is performed by Conspirare and the lovely soloist, Melissa Givens.

Give a listen to the tune and then read the next flash fiction piece, by Todd Skaggs.

No Time for Pleasantries

“Look,” the taller of the two angels said.  “I don’t need him to do anything he doesn’t already do or hasn’t done. No harm will come to him.  You know that Father forbids us from putting his perfect creations in harm’s way.”

It was clearly a sales pitch, and Tadeus, the shorter angel knew it. But, really, where was the harm?  The child currently under his care loved his neighbors. It was an unlikely mix. They were old enough to be his grandparents and yet he was closer to them than children his own age. In the centuries of service he had done as a guardian, it was one of the strangest friendships he had yet to witness. And that was saying something.

“Cassius, he will have to disobey his mother’s rule in order to fulfill this mission you wish to charge him with.”

The second angel was distracted by movement in the garage of the small ranch home.

“We haven’t much time, please Tadeus. This is as much for the boy as it is for the woman. If she dies now, he will be set upon a darker path than he is already fated to travel. You know this. This is the pivot. This is the moment that defines him.”

The taller angel did not look at the second as he spoke, his gaze fixed intently on the garage.

Tadeus turned to follow his gaze.

As it did, time slowed in the way that only an angel can perceive. A single moment of clarity was all that Tadeus needed.

In the same instant he was in the boys room, whispering in his ear.

The boy put down his LEGOs and left his room. Through the kitchen toward the front door.

“Where are you going, young man?” His mother’s voice trailed behind him, sounding in his ears like an AM Radio broadcast under a bridge.

The boy’s voice equally distant in his own ears as he replied, “I have to go next door.”

“You need to call first and make sure it’s OK to come over. That’s the rule.”

The mother’s admonishment was lost as the storm door slammed behind the boy.

Two angels watched unseen from across the street as the boy crossed his front yard to his neighbor’s driveway. Walking in front of the garage, he headed for the front door, oblivious to all but his singular mission to get to the doorbell and visit his neighbor.

From inside the garage through three tiny and tinted rectangular windows, the elderly woman saw the neighbor boy walk in front of the garage on the way to the front door.

Taking the extension cord noose from her neck, she stepped off of the chair and went back in to the house.

She was steps from the front door as the doorbell rang.

She let in the neighbor boy and they sat at the kitchen table eating milk and cookies. And Pringles. A love of Pringles potato chips was something else the young boy and elderly woman had in common.

Only a phone call from the boy’s mother interrupted their perfect afternoon of soda, cookies, Pringles, and playing with the miniature poodle that was never far from the elderly lady in the house.

And though it was late, the boy stayed until the elderly woman’s husband came home from work. Shortly thereafter, he knew instinctively that he should head home.

In that moment, two guardian angels wept openly with joy and their praises rang to the heavens.

It would be years before the boy ever learned of the story. And the day, for a brief moment, he was in the company of angels, doing the most important thing he could-guarding the life of another soul.

Read more from Todd Skaggs at