Slugged by an Angel

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But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. (Daniel 10:13)

Most people, when they think of the “heavenly realms,” imagine streets of gold, sissy angels with harps on fluffy clouds, and large groups of white-clad saints doing an endless Kum Ba Ya sing-along—all bathed in a perpetual golden summer day without mosquitoes.  Wrongo, baby.  The spiritual world can be one bad-assed neighborhood where rivals rumble. hitmen make house calls, and unsuspecting tourists can get their innocent keisters kicked.

See Daniel.  See Daniel pray.  Pray, Daniel, pray.  Daniel prays every day, day after day after day.  Daniel prays twenty-one days.  Daniel is tired.  He wants a beer.

Bam!  An angel suddenly appears.  He is a big angel.  He has a black eye.  His robes are dirty.  Still, he is a dude for sure.

Daniel is a bit freaked.  Actually, Daniel is a lot freaked.  He has to go to the bathroom bad.  But he figures this is not a good time to ask.

The angel speaks to Daniel.  He has a powerful voice.  “DANIEL!” he says.  “I HAVE BEEN SENT TO YOU!”  He notices that Daniel is freaking out.  “DON’T BE AFRAID, DANIEL!” he says.  Then the angel notices that his microphone is turned way up.  He turns it down.  “Sorry about that,” he says.  Daniel is not quite as freaked now.

The angel continues.  “The very first day you starting this prayer thing, God heard you and sent me.”

Daniel looks at him.  “But that was twenty-one days ago.  What took you so long?”

The angel looks kind of embarrassed.  “Uh,” he says.  “That’s an interesting story.”

Daniel sits down.  “I’ve got time,” he says.

The angel gently touches his black eye.  “Yeah.  Well, I had some difficulty.  I was on my way here when I got waylaid by the Prince of Persia.”

“The Prince of Persia?” asks Daniel.  He knows the angel would rather not talk about it, but Daniel has been praying for twenty-one days.  His knees hurt like hell and he feels he deserves an explanation.

The angel coughs.  “The Prince is a pretty mean S.O.B.”  The angel coughs again.

“And?” prods Daniel.  Daniel is being a pain in the butt right now, but he doesn’t care.  Twenty-one days is a long time.

The angel shrugs.  “What can I say?”  Then the angel gets miffed at Daniel.  “You think you had a rough time?  While you were mumbling your prayers, I had a drop-down, knock-out brawl with a freaking monster.  And let me tell you, it ain’t no picnic clenching with a dude who hasn’t showered in ten thousand years.”

Daniel sits unimpressed.  The angel plows on.  “After twenty-one days I finally called up Michael.  He’s the Boss.  He wasn’t too happy about the situation, but he came anyway.  Michael is not a fun guy when he’s pissed.  It took him all of three minutes to take care of Mr. Persia.”

Daniel is interested.  “What did he do to him?” he asks.

The angel’s eyes gleam.  He smiles.  “Let’s just say the Prince won’t be sitting on any thrones for a while—at least without an extra cushion.”  The angel shakes his head.  “Anyway,” he says.  “I gotta get back.  Here’s what I’m supposed to tell you. . . .”

The angel describes a complicated vision of kings and stuff.  It takes hours. Daniel doesn’t understand any of it, but he writes it all down to be polite.  Finally the angel finishes up and leaves.  Daniel is glad.  He has to go to the bathroom like you wouldn’t believe.  He files this new revelation with the others.  Maybe some day somebody will figure this all out, he thinks.

Yeah, right.

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