Short Story: 'Entertaining an Angel Unaware'
Angela Richardson was scheduled to go to an awards dinner in a different town with a group of friends. At the last minute, her friend decided they were not going. Angie did not want to take the long drive alone, but she didn't want to miss the occasion especially after she had committed to go.
After the 45-minute drive, Angela arrived and did not know who she was going to sit with because she didn't anyone who would be there since her friends backed out.
She got there early so she went to the ladies' room and freshened up a bit before she went into the ballroom. She still wondered where she was going to sit. She knew wherever she sat, she would have to engage in small talk and that was not one of her favorite things to do especially during an occasion like this one.
When Angela entered the double doors to the ballroom, she didn't see an usher or greeter around. She stood there scanning the room for a few minutes before an usher came and asked where she wanted to sit.
Not knowing anyone there, she said, "Any seat would be fine." The usher put her at a table with nine other people. As he did so, he said, "Here is an empty seat and since you are alone, you may sit here and then the table will be full."
"So far, so good," Angie thought to herself. The table seemed to be ideal because there was a good view of the room and she could see where the speakers would be later on during the ceremony.
Angie introduced herself. She said, "My name is Angela Richardson, but you may call me Angie." After starring at her for a few seconds, the people at the table introduced themselves. Some of the introductions were much longer than just their name.
"I am Deacon James Powell," the man sitting to Angie said. "I have been a deacon at the megachurch you probably passed on your way here." Angie didn't remember seeing a church, so she just smiled so the introductions could continue. It turned out to be Janet Powell, the wife of the man who wanted me to know he was a deacon. Janet patterned her introduction after her husband. So far, Angie was sitting next to a deacon and a deaconess.
The next person said, "I am Sally Robertson. I am on the board of trustees at the same megachurch with the Powells." Angie nodded as she thought to herself that was a table with a bunch of people who were into titles and roles at the church they attended.
It was a breath of fresh air when the next person said her name was Jackie. "Just Jackie, no title, but I do attend the church with the rest of the people at the table." She nodded to the next person to introduce herself. "I am Eva, Jackie's mother, but most people think I am her sister because I look young and fabulous." Everyone at the table laughed except Jackie who shook her head in disbelief at what her mother said.
The rest of the people at the table were brief. They said only their name and moved on. Angela sensed they knew the people at the table, but they didn't attend the megachurch down the road.
By the time the introductions were over, Angie knew what type of people she was among.
As the meal was being served, the nine people talked among themselves because they knew each other and were comfortable doing so. Whenever Angie asked a question or tried to get into the conversation, she was ignored while the others continued to crosstalk.
Angie's ear perked up when they began to talk about the guest speaker. Deacon Powell asked Sally about the fee the speaker would get. The trustee didn't hesitate to say, "Too much. I have never met the speaker but I have heard in the past, the speakers aren't worth the money we are paying them." Deacon Powell said, he didn't care what the speaker said because he knew he was going to sleep after the delicious meal anyway.
Eva had a different approach. She said, "Let's just give the speaker the benefit of the doubt until we hear the speech. I just hope it is not a long drawn out one because I hate boring speeches."
Eva said she didn't care what the speaker would say. She told the group that last year's speaker didn't do a good job and she returned this year just for the food and it was a good opportunity for her to dress up and go someplace.
Angie listened to all the chitchat and negative talk and was glad when she saw the mistress of ceremony going to the microphone. The MC began by saying, "Now is the time we have all been waiting for. It is for the speech of the evening and I know we are in for a treat." Several people at the table murmured something under their breath. Deaconess Powell cleared her throat and her husband hunched her.
The group at the table began looking around as the introduction of the speaker came to an end. "And now, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, Rev. Angela Richardson." As Angie stood up, everybody at the table couldn't believe their eyes. They hoped Angela was standing to go to the ladies room, but they soon realized they had entertained an angel unaware, and their countenance changed.
Angela made her way to the front of the room and took her place at the podium. She smiled and said, "Good evening. It is so good to be here as your keynote speaker tonight. I hope my speech will not be boring or put you to sleep after that big meal. Also, I hope what I have to say will be worth the check. By the way, I have told the committee several days ago to donate my fee to your favorite charity in my honor."
After Angela finished her remarks, she looked around at the table where she had been sitting earlier.
The table was empty.