The Creator’s Mud
The Archangel Michael peered over the edge of Heaven and elbowed his companion. “Do you see that, Gabe? That, right there, is craftsmanship!”
The Archangel Gabriel let out an annoyed sigh. He was pondering a new verse of The Great Hosanna to teach the Heavenly Host and Michael’s outburst startled it right out of his mind. He looked over the railing to where Michael pointed. A little girl, perhaps 8 years old, was scampering up the bank of a creek, laughing. She was dirty, her feet especially caked with thick, clingy mud, and in her hands, held like a trophy, was an equally dirty turtle. Gabriel guessed she had just pulled it from the creek. Humans, especially the little ones, did that sort of thing all the time. “What? The little human?”
“Well, yes the little human. Of course, we all know that humanity is the pinnacle of His art, the object of his Love, and the desire of his Heart.”, Michael rolled his eyes as he recited one of the Ten Precepts of Heaven. “But no. Not the little human. The mud on her feet.”
“The mud? What?” Gabriel was used to Michael’s harangues about the wonders of Creation, but…mud? “Michael, I’m terribly busy. I have Hosannas to sing, swords to sharpen, and the Fallen aren’t going to hunt themselves–”
“Would you look?” Michael usually wasn’t this agitated about happenings below. “That’s not just wet dirt or loam. It’s special mud — sticky and smelly. You don’t find it everywhere. Well, I mean we do because we know where it all is. But He didn’t make it for us, right? When was the last time you got your feet muddy?”
Gabriel looked down at his feet. They were, as you’d expect, perfect. Even the nails were trimmed just so, which not for the first time struck Gabe as odd because he never once trimmed them. “I’d say never, Michael, but that’s because I don’t stand in mud. I’m an angel. One of the benefits of being an angel is we don’t have to stand in mud.”
“Right!” Michael ignored his companion’s sarcasm. “That’s the thing! We don’t notice mud because we don’t have to. But neither does The Creator. Yet. He. Did.” He pointed downward emphatically and a thunderhead, supposing he was calling it for a quick lightning bolt job, moved a couple miles closer to the girl and the creek.”That mud is special.” The thunderhead retreated, rained on a farm that sorely needed it instead.
Gabriel clucked his tongue. “Oh, come on, Michael. Sure, He loves His creation, but special mud for little mortals? No.”
Michael was unperturbed. “Yes! It’s brilliant! Just look! You know how kids are. Well, maybe you don’t, but at least you’ve read the specifications, right?”
He nodded. “Suuuuuure” he said, drawing out the word. He had no idea where Michael was going with this but it had been a long time since the angel who had once led the Host in glorious battle had been this animated. “Look, I’m not seeing what you’re seeing. Why don’t you explain it to me like I was, I don’t know, Abraham or someone like that.”
“Fine”, Michael sighed. “I’ll talk and you watch. Her name is Lizzie, by the way.” The young girl had clambered off the bank of the stream and donned her t-shirt and overalls, which she had clearly removed earlier so they wouldn’t get soaked. She held the turtle tightly in one hand and her shoes dangled and danced in her other hand as she pelted across the field toward home. “She couldn’t resist that mud. What child could resist getting their hands and feet into that gooey, sticky, bug-filled, turtle-hiding mud? It practically screams fun and enjoyment! Remember who taught The Enemy how to tempt.” Michael winked and gestured expansively toward the Throne at the center of Heaven. “She’s so excited she’ll run right into the house to show her Father her new turtle — her third. I checked that when I looked her up — and she’ll track that mud everywhere. Of course, she’ll get scolded and her Father and Mother will fuss. Later, her Mother will have to take extra time in the tub to scrub it off — see how some of it’s in her hair, too? And inside her clothing? That mud gets everywhere! On purpose!”
Michael was wound up now. He paced back and forth, gesturing excitedly in a way he hadn’t since a night long ago when he explained to the Host how they were going to surprise a group of shepherds with a song. He was beginning to shine a bit, like all angels did when they had important news to convey. It made his fine, white hair, which trailed behind him, look like the tail of a comet.
“Anyhow, she and her Mother will talk about tracking mud into the house and how long it takes the Mother to clean it up. She’ll apologize and promise to try to do better — and she really will! — and her Mother will see what a big, smart girl she’s getting to be and she’ll love her a little more. Later, her Dad will see her before bedtime and they’ll talk about turtles and her Dad will have thought up some idea to keep the mud from getting in the house so much. They’ll work on that together and they’ll grow closer too. Don’t you see? He made that mud to build families!”
Michael stopped, his hands open, in an almost perfect statuesque pose. Gabriel smiled and opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted by the sound of a slammed screen door and a cheerful “Dad! Dad! Look what I found in the creek!” A few moments later, another voice. Older. The Mother. “Margaret Elizabeth! Get your dirty feet off the good carpet!”
He looked up into Michael’s beatific smile. “Told you. He really is a master craftsman!” Gabriel shrugged and joined his friend at the edge of Heaven to watch The Creator’s mud at work.
You might have noticed this story is a touch longer than the usual 100 words. Sorry about that. I sat down to write a 100-word story this morning but this story is the one that demanded to be written. It’s different from anything I’ve written before and takes some liberties I’d normally not take. Still, I think you’ll like it, though it’s a little bit thin on tension and creepiness.
I’ll more than likely write the customary shorter story a bit later this evening or tomorrow afternoon, which just means bonus free stories for you! Can’t argue with that, right?
No, seriously. Please don’t argue with that. You’ll make me all grumbly and, if you’ve been following the news this week, there’s plenty to be grumbly about. This is not a place for grumbling. Unless the grumbling is your hunger for more stories, which is perfectly acceptable.
As ever, the picture comes from Darleen at protein wisdom who imagines a lovely future from a dirty past.
My man Smitty stepped up this week with a story of sadness and strength.
Matthew Newman is in with another installment of his interesting serial story “Through the Mirror”.
Carrie’s story this week is about a little girl and a big dream.
Tania Gail restored the balance with one of her favorite characters.
April wrote herself a doozy of a creepy story. This might be the winner for the week, if we gave out prizes. Which we don’t. But we do give clicks, so give her a couple extra!