Faith, Art, writing and learning are Tim’s passions. Tim loves working in education. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.
- Fred the Angel - Back to Business - A Flash Fiction Story - Part 1
Another installment in the continuing tales of Fred the Angel
Clarissa made sure she was at the coffee shop bright and early the next morning. She scanned the room looking for Fred. She still had a lot of questions for him, She didn’t see him anywhere. His friend Jeannie was at her usual spot behind the counter but no Fred.
She looked around for her mother but she was nowhere to be found either. “Odd,” she thought. She decided to see if Jeannie knew where her mother was. She walked over to the counter.
“Good morning,” Jeannie said. “I’m surprised to see you here.”
Clarissa stood there a second as she puzzled over Jennie’s statement.
“Why?” Clarissa asked.”
“Your mom didn’t call you?”
“No, why would she have?”
“Well she had Fred run her to the hospital because she wasn’t feeling good.”
Clarissa didn’t wait for Jeannie to say anything else she turned and hurried out of the shop. Jeannie smiled. Fred’s plan was coming together just fine.
A few moments later Clarissa burst into the hospital emergency room. She scanned the room and saw Fred talking to a woman. Something about her caused Clarissa to take a pause for just a moment. She walked over to where they stood. Fred looked up and saw her coming.
“Where’s my mother?”
“She’s in a room down the hall. They’re running some tests.” Fred noticed Clarissa looking at the woman next to him.
“I’m sorry. Where are my manners? This is my friend Faith. Faith this is Clarissa. Her mom owns the cafe where I’m working.” Faith’s face lit up.
“Nice to meet you.”
Clarissa wondered what about this woman bothered her.
“Nice to meet you too.” She turned back to Fred. “Will they let me see my mother?”
“Yes, I’m sure they will.”
Clarissa left to find the nurse.
Faith looked at Fred.
“So how’s it going? Is she ready to move back and take over the business? Oh yeah what about the brother?”
”Don’t worry, my plan is coming together just fine.”
“You still don’t know if it's going to work out in the end do you?”
“Faith, you know when it comes to these humans the end does not always play out exactly as planned.” Fred looked at Faith. “By the way, what are you doing here?”
“I’m filling in for Death on this assignment. It seems he was called back to headquarters.”
Fred wrinkled his brow. “Headquarters?”
“Yeah, I don’t know why…”She lifted her hands. “I only go where I’m told to go. Now if you’ll excuse me I gotta go. It’s almost time.” She winked out.
Fred stood there for a second. He faded out then appeared in the hospital room where Clarissa and her mother stood talking. Of course they couldn’t see him because he was still in his spirit firm. Sometimes he felt so ashamed at eavesdropping.
“Mother, why didn’t you tell me you had heart problems? I mean if I had known I would have…”
“Clarissa stop right there. If you’d have known you’d have given up your life to rush back here not because you really wanted to but because you felt you had to. I didn’t want that for you.”
“Besides I have someone who is going to buy the cafe. After that I'll be able to rest and take those vacations I’ve always talked about.”
“Still mother…wait you’re selling the cafe! After all you and dad poured into the place. I grew up there. I fell in…”
Clarissa's mother looked at her daughter. The look on her face told Clarissa she better stop talking.
“Well, you said yourself I can’t keep doing it by myself."
I’m sorry dear. I know how much the cafe means to…its legacy and all the memories. But it’s time to let it go.”
She grabbed her mother’s hand. “I know mom but still…” A tear rolled down Clarissa’s cheek.
“Don’t fret dear. The cafe is going to someone who will love it and care for it just as much as we do.”
She looked her mother in the eyes. “Fred and Jeannie?”
Her mother chuckled. “No, no Fred and Jeannie are just angels who happened to show up when I needed them.”
“You know someone who happens to be in the right place at just the right time…angels.” She glanced at her daughter's face. “I hope you didn’t think I meant literal angels.”
“No, no, I’m just relieved you had help when you needed help.”
“Do real angels exist. You know the ones we can’t see?”
Her mother looked her with eyebrow raised. “Why all the angel talk?”
“I don’t know. Maybe I just want to know someone is watching over me…my life.”
Her mother smiled. Maybe there was hope for her daughter. It’s what she’d prayed for for years. She wanted her daughter to open her eyes and believe.
Clarissa looked at her mother, "I'll be right back. I want to go find Fred and thank him."
Fred watched Clarissa as she boarded the elevator. It was time for his final play. An end run they called it in football. He blinked out. A few moments later he reappeared in the cafe. Jeannie looked up.
“Hi Fred! Welcome back. How’d it go?”
“Let’s just say, the end is near.”
Jeannie smiled. She heard the tinkle of a little bell. She looked to see Clarissa walk in the front door.
“She’s back. It looks like she’s looking for you.
Clarissa entered the cafe and looked around. She saw Fred talking to Jeannie. She started across the floor in their direction and immediately ran into someone. “Sorry…” She started to say until she saw who it was. “What are you doing here?”
“Nice to see you too.”
“Well it’s not nice to see you.”
“Why are you here?”
“Mother didn’t tell you?”
“Tell me what?”
“Well, I don’t know if I should be the one to tell you first, but if you must know I’m here to check out a possible future investment.”
She looked at him, “The coffee shop? No way. You’d be the last person I’d let her sell this place to!”
He smiled. “I think you forfeited the right to this place, this life, when you ran off to the city. Mom has never been the same since.”
“Why am I any different than the high and mighty finance guy who, might I add, did the same thing.”
“Yeah, but at least I visit her”
“Excuse me, but if you ask me now is not the time to be yelling at each other in a crowded cafe.”
They both turned to find Fred standing there.
“Who are you?” Clarissa‘a brother chided.
“His name is Fred.” Clarissa said. “He’s helping mom run the place.”
“Oh yes, I remember mom mentioning you.”
“Pleased to make your acquaintance. I don’t want to sound rude but can you two take it outside or perhaps back to the office? The customers are complaining.” They both looked around the room. All eyes were on them, Clarissa’s brother turned back. “It’s ok, I was leaving anyway.” Clarissa’s brother walked out the door. She looked at Fred.
Fred smiled. “Nothing, I feel sorry for you. Stuck here in one place all by yourself. It must be awfully lonely.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Well, I just call them like I see them.
“You know it’s funny. Someone else told me the exact same thing…” She stopped and looked at him. “Who or should I say what are you?”
Fred laughed. “I’m the same person I’ve been…Fred.”
“So you’re not an angel?”
“Some people called me an angel because I’m always there when they need me. Speaking of which I must get back and help Jeannie.” He turned and walked between the counters up to the counter. Clarissa watched for a few moments then headed to her mother’s office.
She sat down in the chair and looked around. There were a lot of memories here. Could she let her brother or anyone else take it over? Her mom had wanted it all to be hers. She knew she had hurt her mother when she left but now…
She glanced at the desk. There was a business card from someone named Faith Goodheart attached to a file. She opened the file. Inside was a proposal for the transfer of ownership of the coffee shop should anything happen to her mother. She closed the file and sat back. She realized she had two options.
The first was to let her mother sell the business to her brother. Of course to do that would mean the shop would be changed forever. She was never going to let that happen. She pulled out her cell phone and dialed a number. Fred stood in the corner watching. He smiled and then vanished
A little while later Clarissa strolled into the coffee shop accompanied by her brother. Fred and Jeannie looked up. They strolled over to the counter. “Fred, this is my brother Ray. Ray this is Fred and if I remember correctly your name is Jeannie.”
“Yes it is.”
Ray looked at Jeannie and smiled.
She smiled back. Fred looked at both of them. His plan was coming together.
“I thought I’d let both of you know first since you have helped my mother out so much. My brother and I have been talking. We are going to purchase the coffee shop together. I will be staying here to run the shop while my brother will be the silent partner. I was hoping both of you would stay on to help me.”
“Well…” Jeannie started to say.
“I can’t stay, I must be moving on but I think Jeannie needs to be here so she will be staying on.”
Jeannie gave Fred a look. “We’ll talk,” He said.
“I’m sorry you can’t stay Fred but I think I know why.” Clarissa said. “So I wish you well on you next calling and I hope God is with you.”
Fred smiled. I assure you he always is.”
“So if you’ll excuse us my brother and I have some details to work out.”
They walked away.
Jeannie looked at Fred. “What do you mean I’m not going with you?”
“Sorry, but I’ve been told there a better life here for you ahead then I could ever offer. We will meet again, I assure you but for now I have something I must do on my own.”
Fred turned to go.
“I will miss you.” Jeannie said a tear running down her cheek.
“As I will you. Remember though this is not a goodbye just a until we see each other again.”
© 2022 Timothy Whitt