To Know All Things That Are in the Earth
by James Maxey
Allen Frost assumed the first cherub he spotted was part of the restaurant's
Valentine's decorations. He and Mary sat on the enclosed patio at Zorba's. He'd
taken a pause to sip his wine when he first saw the cherub behind the string of red
foil hearts that hung in the window. The cherub was outside, looking like a baby
doll with a pair of pasted-on wings.
A second cherub fluttered down, wings flapping. A third descended to join them,
then a fourth. Allen thought it was a little late in the evening to still be putting up
decorations, but he appreciated the work someone had put into the dolls. Their
wings moved in a way that struck him as quite realistic, if realistic was a word that
could be used to describe a flying baby.
Then the first cherub punched the window and the glass shattered. Everyone in
the room started screaming. The cherubs darted into the restaurant, followed by a
half dozen more swooping from the sky. Mary jumped up, her chair falling.
Before it clattered against the tile floor, a cherub had grabbed her arm. She
shrieked, hitting it with her free hand, trying to knock it loose, until another
cherub grabbed her by the wrist.
Allen lunged forward, grabbing one of the cherubs by the leg, trying to pull it free.
He felt insane -- the higher parts of his brain protested that this couldn't be
happening. Nonetheless, his sensory, animal self knew what was real. His fingers
were wrapped around the warm, soft skin of a baby's leg. White swan wings held
the infant aloft. A ring of golden light the size of a coffee cup rim hovered above
the angel's wispy locks. The whole room smelled of ozone and honeysuckle. The
cherub's fat baby belly jiggled as Allen punched it.
The angel cast a disapproving gaze at Allen, its dark blue eyes looking right down
to Allen's soul. Allen suddenly stopped struggling. He felt inexplicably naked
and ashamed in the face of this creature. He averted his eyes, only to find himself
staring at the angel's penis, the tiny organ simultaneously mundane and divine and
rude. He still had a death grip on the cherub's leg. Gently, the cherub's stubby
hands wrapped around Allen's middle and ring fingers. The cherub jerked Allen's
fingers back with a SNAP, leaving his fingernails flat against the back of his wrist.
Allen fell to his knees in pain. Mary vanished behind a rush of angels, a flurry of
wings white as the cotton in a bottle of aspirin. Her screams vanished beneath the
flapping cacophony. Somewhere far in the distance, a trumpet sounded.