Angels are at their most vulnerable at Christmas. It’s a fact. Not well known, perhaps, but no less true. Perhaps it’s the time when they take their foot off the pedal (an unfortunate turn of phrase here but an apt one) as they ease into the festive period. After all, who amongst us mortal folk would keep a clear head when subject to such celebrity adoration?
So it should not be a complete surprise to learn that the moment Charlie’s car impacted into the back of an overburdened family car, that at that moment his Guardian Angel wasn’t really paying attention.
Three of the four children riding high in the other car were killed instantly. And perhaps it was unavoidable, perhaps it couldn’t be predicted. Certainly not by someone on Charlie’s Angel’s pay grade.
Still, the angel wasn’t on the ball, high, no doubt on Christmas cheer, the smell of the party and the thoughts Charlie was having about the presents his son would be getting. That’s the trouble with angels, they say they are altruistic but they aren’t, not really. Like mortals doing good on the promise of eternal life, angels are ultimately in for themselves.
Not that Charlie knew what his angel was thinking. Certainly not as his ribcage splintered against the steering wheel and certainly not as a shard of glass surgically removed part of his oesophagus.
This is, however, Christmas. Good things happen at Christmas and so Charlie’s wounds, severe as they were, escaped being life threatening. And as the back of his head was shattered by the missile-like impact of a sackful of toys, Charlie saw his Guardian Angel for the first and last time.
Sadly, the Guardian Angel wasn’t so lucky. Impaled by the shockingly close inevitability of its ward’s death, the angel was killed outright.
For the rest of his life, Charlie would look over his shoulder, hoping to be watched over but knowing you only get one angel.