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"Goscwog," short story excerpt

Tuesday 10/10/23

Goscwog sat in the commissary with the other angels talking about their respective days thus far and feasting on contentment and peace, of which the supply in those parts was endless. But no matter the quantities he consumed at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or how much snacking he did between meals, Goscwog had become dissatisfied in his work of late, and you know what they say about angels: work is life because all is one.

An angel has a job that’s not of an angel’s choosing, but they’re supposed to love what they do, which helps them do the job the best that it can be done.

Goscwog was a recording angel, and a very important recording angel at that: He made a record of what a person thought right before they died. You might say as they were in the act of dying.

Their lives didn’t exactly flash before their eyes—whatever that meant, because their eyes were usually closed anyway (it takes a big kick from the soul to open the eyes at the moment of death)—like people usually believe, but their final thought always summed up who they most were in life. That’s just how it works.

As a result, this amounted to some pretty valuable and easy to access information on the divine side of existence without having to sift through the whole gargantuan record of thoughts. Even search engines of the beyond have limitations, but enter “exact thoughts at death for ___”—that is, anyone who has ever died—and the results pop up in like a trillionth of a second at the top of the page. You’d think that light itself was a slow poke by comparison.

There were other angels for other thoughts, because every kind of thought there is has a recording angel to set it all down. Pure thoughts, impure thoughts, thoughts about board games, Triscuits, fantasy football, criminal plots, taxes, sandals, promises that were intended to be kept, promises that had been made to be broken, thoughts on how much to tip, the best way to parallel park, gum, Socrates, the cosmos, miscegenation, onions, you name it.

But it was Goscwog and Goscwog alone who recorded every last death thought.

Pecking order-wise, it was an enviable position, if angels knew and experienced envy. You were supposed to say that you didn’t and stick to the company policy, but most angels thought that all of the other angels were holding back as much as they themselves were, and that’s just something you accepted as the way of things if you were going to be supplied at the same time with endless amounts of peace and contentment.

Goscwog poked at his meal of such that looked a lot like American chop suey, but that was only because almost everything needs to have a physical form, even for angels, or else it won’t feel as real. It’s a problem that hasn’t been solved anywhere yet.

He was with his usual crew—Klymee who recorded thoughts regarding dental visits, Eimah who recorded thoughts pertaining to used car dealers, and Nevnev, who recorded the earliest thoughts of suicidal ideation and who had a successful series of workout videos that was quite popular among the angels because the results were fast and compliment-generating.


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