by Gheorghe Sechesan
Translation from Romanian by Roxana-Andreea Dragu, MTTLC student
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– It was hardly by the book, said the Lady-angel, still filing the tips of her wings, an activity which she had started in one of the previous episodes, but hadn’t finished until the present time (the current time of the story that is, for, if the reader will recall – and that shouldn’t be a problem – part of the action takes place in heaven). In fact, if we were to stick closely to the historical truth, the Lady-angel was almost done filing the tips of her wings and was about to paint them red, with the aid of a mixture of red powder and some sparkling golden dust.
– Hardly, the Angel admitted gloomily, for it was not what he’d hoped for. Brick and mica? he went on to ask just to pass the time and make a little conversation, for both the Angel and the Lady-angel were really miserable.
– Tut-tut, the Lady-angel said, brick and gold powder. I get it from gypsies. There’s one of them kicking the bucket almost every day. It’s always a knife, or a fight, or a border or some unfinished palace. I have someone at the Gates of Heaven who lets me know.
– How come?
– Well, they really can’t help themselves and still pinch something from Earth. They come with loaded pockets: a brick here, a pocketful of powder there, a shingle, whatever.
– And the gold mixed powder?
– Oh, that was a windfall. A once-in-a-lifetime thing. But I’ve stocked up on it. I have enough for a thousand years, a whole calendar’s worth. By then it went out of fashion and I’ll just come up with something else. Anyway. They got fired up over a house, or a palace, as they build these days. The whole clan, brothers, sisters,
brothers-in-law, cousins, godparents, godsons, for if it weren’t for these computers that have come out now, I tell you we couldn’t cope with bringing them to the heavens, we wouldn’t know whom and when to get. So they couldn’t get along and decided to split it. And they kept splitting it down to the last spec.
– Hence the brick dust, the Angel said astutely.
– You’ve got it.
– And the gold?
– Well, you see, some of them had buried gold in the foundation, to hide it from the Militia, but didn’t say nothing to the others, so they shouldn’t make any claims. And so, all mixed up (there, now I’ve started to sound ungrammatical like them, too), you couldn’t tell the gold from the dust. Baftalo. Lucky me, I mean, for following one of them, one who arrived this morning and was assigned to me. That’s what he said to me upon arriving, baftalo. But he explained that he had been very lucky to escape, because if they hadn’t cut a hole into his gut (I didn’t quite get that part), the Militia would have come and, should he have managed to escape them, too (although they say no man or gypsy ever got out of their hands alive), gypsy justice, whatever that is, would have followed.
Well, I’m off, the Lady-angel said, making an effort to stand up from the flimsy little cloud she had been sitting on.
– Right, they should be here any moment.
The Angel had hardly finished his observation when a few angels showed up in heaven (in this particular part of heaven, to be precise) and they were dead, so to speak (although the phrase does indeed seem somewhat unfitting), dead drunk. They were staggering and kept tripping over the towers of proud Catholic cathedrals whose tops poked the sky, holding their wings around each other’s shoulders and singing erratically and completely out of tune So do good angels drink.
– What’s up with them? the Lady-angel managed to add stealthily before disappearing behind theTowerofBabel(a construction meant to reach the sky, as you know).
– They is (I mean are, actually, I’ve started to sound more and more like them, God forbid) the comrades’angels.
– Which comrades?
– Those about to enter the story in the next little chapter. It’s part of the plan.
– And this one will succeed, or what…?
– Well, we’ll just have to pray to God, what else can we do?
– O, God, you’ve dragged the good Lord into all your communistic, atheistic, Stalinist nonsense. I hope he doesn’t strike you.
– Neither do we. I mean, we do, too.
In the meantime, the said angels had come close enough to be able to distinguish the blurry figure of Marinică’s Angel.
– Hey, one of them asked, isn’t this Marinică’s Angel, the bloke we scuffled with before and I mean really hard?
– Oh, yeah, that’s him!
– And isn’t he going to put up a wing or something?
– I don’t know, let’s ask him.
 Wordplay: bahtalo=lucky in Romany
 Wordplay: “So do good people drink” – traditional Romanian song