The Better Angels of Our Nature blog - Conversations with Gabriel Michael

The Better Angels of Our Nature

The spies were at it again.



The overweight troll droned on while two Chinese women hung on his every word.  The two were conscientious enough to ensure that one of them was touching him at every moment.  They listened intently and encouraged him with giggles to continue his obnoxious behavior.  Sweat poured from his temples as he interrupted his soliloquy with repeated gulps from his cocktail.  Surely these two spies were interested in him, and not the corporate secrets he possessed.



I sat at the opposite end of the bar and halfheartedly watched in disgust.  Staring at my Old Fashioned was more entertaining.



To my right, a couple was engaged in illicit planning of a future rendezvous.  Sitting in the back of the bar at a booth were two men.  They were not talking; they were just staring at the multiple dramas unfolding at the bar.  A younger European man walked in and made a beeline towards the two.  They bristled but moved aside to let him sit down.  Another deal was clearly taking place.



“Busy night at the circus tonight, huh?” said Delany, as she placed another Old Fashioned in front of me.  Her blonde hair covered her right almond-shaped eye.



I looked up at her.



“Thanks, you being proactive with me?”



“You look like you need more for the show.”



I nodded in agreement.  “Thank you … your Asian intuition is serving me well.”



“Looks like your friends are back,” she said nodding in the direction of the two walking towards me.



I looked back and saw Gabriel and Michael making their way in my direction.  Each was impeccably dressed and exuded the same sense of divine purpose.



“You have to introduce me to them someday.”



I glanced back at Delany.



“They will introduce themselves to you, I am sure.  Don’t get excited about the prospect… it comes with strings.”



She seemed to nod knowingly and silently moved away.



“Good evening, Steven, and how are you this fine Spring night?” said Gabriel with a sense of mocked joviality.  Michael stood stoically, and just gave me a crisp nod of the head.



“Gentlemen,” I said raising my glass in a mock toast, “I would offer you a drink, but…”



“None for us, thank you,” said Michael devoid of any humor or irony.



“Hmmm… damnation comes in multiple forms I see.”



Michael looked confused, but Gabriel laughed.



“Indeed, Steven.”



“We understand you have met our friend,” said Michael changing the subject.  It seemed intended more as a question than a statement.



“St. Libowitz the Forgotten?”



Gabriel seemed to look down in embarrassment.






I took a drink from my Old Fashioned.  “Yeah, we ran into each other.”



“Don’t be too dismissive, Steven, he maybe irreverent, but his insights are valuable,” said Gabriel with almost an apologetic attitude.



“We shall see, Gabriel.  Why do I have the honor of your company tonight, boys?”



Michael looked perplexed.  “It was you who called us, Steven.”



I instantly glanced towards the booth with the three men to see if they were focusing on us.  They weren’t, just conducting business amongst themselves.  My sense of nervousness was ratcheting up though.



“Michael, I did no such thing, but someone wanted you here.”



Gabriel put his hand on my forearm.  I felt the electricity travel up through my shoulder.



“No, my friend.  It was you.  Sometimes your kind are not aware of the messages you send out.”



I sighed.



“Perhaps you are right, Gabriel.”



“What troubles you, my friend?”



I leaned back and looked at the two of them.



“Gabriel, almost 90 years ago there were sophisticated modern Europeans sitting around in bars like this conducting business with people who could have easily been my grandparents.”



Michael looked down dejected; he knew where this was going.



Ten years later those same Europeans were assisting fascists in rounding up and murdering their friends.  I am seeing the same thing happening today.  Nothing has changed.



“No, Steven, nothing has changed.  Evil still tempts men and women,” said Gabriel waving generally at the troll and the Chinese women.  “Righteous indignation gives rise to acts of ultimate cruelty, and your species still thinks that Divinity rests in their own aspirations to the exclusion of everyone else.  You have also quite recently created your own divinity… a rationalism that contains nothing of the transmutable, a cold calculus of utilitarianism and real politick.”



“But, Steven,” said Michael picking up where Gabriel left off, “for every despicable act, for every manifestation of evil, there is an opportunity for Divine righteousness.  Free will is a troubling thing and acts of piety are oftentimes nothing more than slovenly devotion to societal dictates.  But it is in the recognition of evil… the throwing down of the gauntlet at injustice and barbarism… the grabbing of the sword and slaying the serpent… that the ultimate expression of free will, and a forcible, conscious step in the direction of the Divine is taken.”



I looked at them both.  They were impassioned.  This was important to them, and one of the first times I had ever seen real emotion.



“To be or not to be, eh?”



Gabriel continued, “Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of an outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing…”



Michael uttered the final words, his voice ringing like a golden bell… ”end them.”



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Comments (3)

  • Jerome Schammel Reply

    The irony of the recent campus protests is that those who are naively supporting the cause would not be allowed such demonstrations if indeed the cause were successful.

    05/08/2024 at 10:28
  • Jorge CRASTZ Reply

    I love your divine perspective. Right on the money! In a world where chaos is unfolding there are plenty of opportunities for people to rise to the occasion in doing the right thing. No matter how difficult it might be.

    05/08/2024 at 10:53
  • Norm Ellis Reply

    Interesting to say the least!!!

    05/15/2024 at 17:19

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