27. Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White
High over DC we were accosted by my dear friends from the CBI. Shadrach and his meat-heads. We were well above the flight lanes and the smaller aircraft far below us looked no bigger than we might have on the head of a pin.
'You're to come with us, Gabriel. You too Samael.'
If Sammy had been a dog I was sure he'd have bristled. Maybe he did.
'We're busy,' I said.
'And you have been for a while, haven't you?' Shadrach smirked.
'I ain't,' this was a growl from Sammy. Maybe he was a dog. I hoped didn't bare his teeth.
'You were told, Gabe.'
Shadrach did a pirouette in the air. I hated that showy stuff. From the look of Sammy and the two stooges, I wasn't the only one.
'I've done nothing wrong.'
'Not yet maybe.'
It was fencing, and I was tired of it.
'Do you have a celestial warrant?'
'Do we need one? You'd be helping us with our investigation.'
He smiled as he said it, so I plucked a long-vaned feather from his wing and watched it float earthwards. He couldn't arrest me for that. It wasn't an assault, not according to the Laws of Heaven. What it was was a gross personal insult and if Shadrach's animosity was purely professional before, I had changed that for good.
'I wouldn't help you if it would save the world and all the heavens.'
Sammy asked him if that would be all. We flew to Falls Church, to call on Azazael.
He was behind the bar in Mr Deeds. He nodded at me and looked surprised when he saw Sammy.
'What'll it be? Clown Cocktails for two?' He snorted a laugh.
'Not today. I'm just interested to know if you've been in Shadrach's pocket for long.'
Azazael looked down at the glass he was polishing.
'Sure, I tell him things. Why not? Even guys like me need to hope.'
His mouth twisted and his eyes shone in the dingy bar's light and I guessed he hated himself and what he'd become.
Azazael had been the Earthbound's first armourer, so legend – or the Bible, if you prefer – said.
'You ever think it would end up with nukes, Az?'
'Nothing ends up how you expect.'
Sammy pointed a horny-nailed finger upward,
'Not even for The Big Guy? '
'Who knows what he expected?'
'Did you hear about Nelson?' I asked.
'I heard you and him picked up the Lamb of God and took him home to Momma.'
From the look on his face, I assumed he didn't think it had been a good idea.
'What if we did?'
'Took him home to die, some say.'
'He's a man, according to the stories, that's what men do.'
'Some of us too.'
'Like Nelson, you mean.' I looked him in the eye, but Azazael couldn't hold my gaze.
'You know what that means as well as I do. Vengeance is mine saith the Lord.'
'I don't see it.'
But I did, everyone knew only God could kill an angel. There were other punishments, like falling for example. Even Lucifer was still alive and kicking, if suffering from a heavy dose of ennui. I turned to Samael,
'You reckon Dad's mad over the return of his son, Sammy?'
'Well, if the rumours are true, who knows what he's thinking? Either way I reckon you better watch out for an old man with a beard dressed in a white robe.'
I knew then that the rumours could well be true. That was not the way we spoke about G-O-D. I sighed.
'We'll take those cocktails now, Az.'
Four bikers came in and fed paper dollars into the juke box at the far end of the room.
The first song up was The Standells, I listened to the first few bars and reflected that maybe some bad guys did.