I got a visit from an angel today

I got a visit from an angel today. May 31st started full of worry. One of my central air conditioning compressors stopped working and the weather reports predicted temperatures in 90s° F. Our physical discomfort notwithstanding, money is very tight right now. Replacing an air conditioner compressor would have been devastating and would have been yet another reminder of how much the world sucks.

Still it was hot and the problem needed attention. I forced myself to do some research last night and I made one call to a company with a Wrentham number. But fear of the expense caused me to stop.

This morning the company I remember calling left a message on my answering machine. I didn’t return it because I hoped the temperature would go down and we could put off the expense for a few weeks.

Later in the day, there was a knock on my door.

A pleasant looking man in a clean orange tee shirt stood on my stoop and asked, “Did you call for service for your air conditioner?”

“Not exactly,” I said, “I made a few phone calls but hadn’t yet decided who to hire.”

He waited patiently for me to continue. Normally, when confronted with situations like this, I wait a few beats to gather a cynical comment and send the guy packing.

He mumbled something about D’von Myles, a name I did not recognize. Neither did I remember calling Atlantis Comfort Systems Corp.

I don’t know what got into me. I said, “As long as you keep the mask and gun in the truck, you’re here. You might as well look at it.”

Perhaps it was because the tech was very presentable and pleasant or because it was hot and I figured everyone charged about the same money, I don’t know. The unit was broken and he was already there, and it was hot . . . .

He made a quick call to his boss after which I escorted him to the offending central air conditioning compressor. He cracked open the electrical panel. Shreds of fabric, bits of twigs, and little black pellets tumbled onto my lawn.

Apparently an itinerant family of mice took up residence in that cozy little space and thanked me for the free rent by chewing through the wires.

Angry and relieved all at once, I told the guy to go ahead and fix the problem. While he went about his work, I fetched him a bottled water and then walked back inside cursing our bad luck and dreading the inevitable negotiation over the price of the service call.

In the meanwhile, I posted a snarky kvetch on Facebook saying how much I hated mice and how, “I wish I could sue their asses for the damages.” I went on to say, “Stuart Little, Mickey Mouse, Mighty Mouse, hate ’em all!!!! And I don’t care what anyone says, Superman could definitely kick Mighty Mouse’s ass, and I wish he would.”

45 minutes went by. That seemed awfully long to fix a couple of wires. I began wondering if I’d fallen prey to a gonef who hustled business by showing up at people’s doorsteps uninvited and inventing problems to fix.

No sooner did the thought pump a few more milligrams of adrenaline into my body, I heard knock on the door.

I pasted on a fake a smile and forced myself to open the door.  Before I could say a word the tech said, “It’s all set.”

I inhaled and held my breath, “How much?” I waited for the bad news.

“No charge.”

Talk about shocked. I stood in my doorway dumbstruck. Not knowing what else to do, I fumbled in my pockets and thrust two fives in the guy’s hand.  “Here,” I said awkwardly, “This should be enough for a six pack. Buy yourself a beer. It’s the least I can do.”

After he drove off, I started to cry.

Most people don’t know how difficult things have been for my family the last few years. But without divulging any more, our struggles have drained every last micro gram of faith in humanity and in God.

The weirdest part of this story is I sincerely have no memory of calling Atlantis Comfort Systems Corp. I must have but I really don’t remember.

For an inexplicable reason, however, the first thought I had after his van backed out of my driveway was that I’d been visited by an angel.

I don’t know if that’s true but that act of good will and generosity came at an opportune moment in my life.  Thank you God and thank you Atlantis Comfort Systems Corp.

Blue Taxi

The sounds of blue Nikes squeaking on marble fade in his mind. He wanders the neighborhood lost in thought while Young Dawn’s fingertips of rose dig knuckle deep into the day.

He reaches the boulevard where schools of taxis carry lovers and drunks home. The bleary eyed slouch in ripped back seats avoiding Young Dawn’s prying hands with tipped caps and closed eyes. He thinks to follow suit, “I might as well go home.”

The cool air causes his nose to run. He absentmindedly wipes the dribbles from his mustache with the back of his hand. Her scent arcs across membrane and synapse. She lay crumpled on the bed with the covers avariciously wound around her body. He follows the twisted curves through strange dusky lands full of joy and despair.

A blue taxi breaks from the school and slows down to measure his intentions as he stands on the corner. The passenger window glides open. “Uptown Mate?” He reaches for her keys in a gesture that spooks the driver. That settles that.

He arrives back to her apartment as Young Dawn’s crimson soaked claws tear off the day’s skirt and panties. He fumbles with the locks. The key still fits. She looks up dreamily from the knot of bedclothes. Whatcha doin? He mumbles “Blue Taxi.” She says, “Come back to bed.”

He kicks off his Blue Nikes and carelessly tosses his clothes in a heap at the foot of her bed. As he peels a blanket off her body, he wonders why the blue taxi swam away.