It came as a great surprise to open the door and find an angel standing there.
The angel in question looked somewhat dishevelled, and the gormless look on his face suggested he was not as confident as one might expect an angel to be.
“Can I help you?” I asked
“I’m looking for Brian. Brian Towner,” said the angel looking at a clipboard he was holding.
“Uncle Brian is sitting down to his Christmas dinner. Can this wait?”
“I’m so sorry,” replied the angel, “ I know this is a most inconvenient time, but you see it’s my first week on the job and I’ve had a heck of a time finding my way round. You, humans, don’t like to make anything easy, do you?”
“Are the angel of death?” I asked.
“Yes. Class one. On probation,” said the angel showing no excitement or enthusiasm.
“Would you like to come and join us? Be a shame to take Uncle Brian before he had his pudding. Our Aunt Mavis makes the pudding each year, and she gets a bit shirty if you know what I mean if any of us decline her pudding or die before the first mouthful can be taken.”
“Well, that would be very nice. I’m learning all the time. Got to keep an open mind so if you like I’ll sit over in the corner until Brian’s finished.”
“No sit at the table. There’s plenty of room.”
“Well, you see, I cannot reveal myself to anyone apart from you because you answered the door. It would create a lot of confusion if they saw me there, and Brian, I’m sure would not be in any position to enjoy his pudding. And anyway Brian will see me well and truly when the time comes, and you’ll have no memory of any of this apart from how wonderful it was spending Brian’s last Christmas with you and your family.”
“You angels and your privacy. The last one to come here to collect Grandad said the same.”