The next Weekly Rumpus features fiction from Caitlin McGuire. Here’s an excerpt:
For a while after he came back, Annie’s mom wouldn’t let him out of the house. When she finally gave him permission to go outside, he was only allowed in the backyard, and only after dark. But that was okay because if there was one thing Annie’s dad was really good at, it was barbecue. Her mom said he’d been good before he died, but he was even better now. He’d wrap his wings around the gas grill so everything came out perfectly smoky and juicy, and then he’d watch us eat. Annie’s dad only ate angel food cake. At first I thought it was silly, but then I realized they’d just named it really well.
Sometimes, when he was cooking, he’d let us play ring toss with his halo. It was very pretty, but hard to handle if we got too close since the halo would take a quick right angle turn up to his head and stick there, shining bright until he jerked it free and gave it back to us. I was terrified of denting it or smudging it, of finding some other way of making God angry.
While we played Go Fish on the back patio, I asked if angels had to share their halos or their harps or their sandals or whatever in heaven. It made sense, since they said in Sunday school that sharing was godly. And the halos looked so expensive. My Bible said there were thousands and thousands of angels, eleven angels to every newborn child. With all those angels, there was no way everyone was allowed a complete set all the time.
He looked at me like I’d gone crazy and asked if I had any threes.
Caitlin McGuire is a founding editor at Cartagena Journal and online content editor at Fjords Review. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Passages North, Redivider, and Ninth Letter. She is currently at work on a novel. You can tweet at her at @cemiggy.
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