Angels on Overtime
A Divine Romantic Comedy
women's fiction · romantic comedy · irreverent humor · new age new thought · paranormal fiction
In this whimsical romantic comedy with a divine twist, Jack and Emily are two lonely hearts trudging through unfulfilling lives. Though meant to be together, life keeps getting in the way of them even meeting—that is, until their angels begin working overtime. As the angels work behind the scenes, what actually happens behind those scenes?
Author Ann Crawford’s trademark humor, warmth and optimism shine through in this enchanting tale that reminds us it’s never too late to find love and for dreams to come alive.
— scroll down to read book sample —
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ann Crawford is a multi-award-winning and best-selling author as well as an award-winning documentary filmmaker. She believes in love at first sight, that good always prevails, and that we're here for those wild-wonderful-way-out-there visions of ours to come alive. When she's not circumnavigating the globe (70 countries/territories and counting, plus all 50 states), communing with sea critters on the ocean floor (in her scuba gear), or climbing every mountain (on the back of her husband's motorcycle), or performing improv or standup comedy, you can find her writing. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
SAMPLE FROM ANGELS ON OVERTIME
Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away—oh, sorry, that’s another story. But it could be this one, too. Could be the beginning of a lot of stories. All stories, really. But actually the galaxy isn’t far, far away, because nothing is far, far away, really…everything is just a thought away. Everything.
So in this galaxy that isn’t very far away after all is a very large room. Very large. Emphasis on very. And large. Oh, you wouldn’t believe the love and dedication that fills this room! This room spreads on for miles and miles and miles in every direction. You can’t even see its walls. But more about the room itself in a little bit. Right now we’re standing in front of an office. The sign on the office door reads MANAGER, ANGELIC AFFAIRS— which makes no sense at all, really, because everything, everywhere would fall under the category of affairs of angels. And we’d all be managers managing them. But anyway….
Henry, a plump, balding angel sits behind his large, angelificial desk. Now you might wonder why this angel would choose to be plump and balding and sitting behind a large, angelificial desk when he can choose to be anything, anywhere. Well, what do you think of when you see a plump, balding man? Wasn’t your favorite uncle like that? How about your favorite, old art teacher in that frumpy, navy-blue cardigan with the frayed elbows? And didn’t you just want to throw your arms around him in a big, sloppy bear hug? Well, that’s why Henry chooses to be plump and balding, and why anyone would choose to be plump and balding—because it’s all a choice. All of it, every last bit—it’s a choice. Maybe the choice isn’t made consciously, top-of-mind, but it’s made. Not sure how many big, sloppy bear hugs Henry, your uncle, or that old art teacher actually got, but I’m sure lots of folks thought about it.
Now as for sitting behind his desk, that’s another choice, because, as you now well know, anyone can be anything, anywhere. But Henry chooses to sit behind his large, angelificial desk to be of high service. And since he is a very organized angel and loves being an Angelic Resources Manager (you know, like the best Human Resources Manager in the best organization you ever worked for?), that’s what he chooses. And he chooses the angelificialness of his angelificial desk to weed out the ones who don’t really mean it. The chaff from the wheat. The angels from the, well, angels. Okay, the less-than-dedicated angels from the highly dedicated angels.
Henry looks to be about sixty-five—in Earth Time. Sitting in front of him is Brooke. Now Brooke is what you might picture an angel to look like...if an angel could be of Northern European descent, anyway: long, blond hair and big, blue eyes that soak in the worlds around her. She appears to be about twenty-five in Earth Time. But really, she’s as old as the universe. And so are you, by the way. Put in that perspective, you’ve been holding up very well. It’s truly amazing how wonderful everyone looks, considering.
Do angels have wings? Well, they do if they want to. Brooke and Henry don’t have them, nor do any of the angels in our story here, but many an angel or two have donned a pair of wings for that special occasion or two or eighteen million when they wanted to look especially angelic.
“Why would you want to do this?” Henry demands of Brooke. “It’s the hardest job in the universe!”
“It’s all you hear about,” Brooke answers, “all over every single galaxy: Earth, Earth, Earth. I figure if I can’t get in as a human, I could try it this way.”
“These humans can be as thick as wood. And just as pliable.” Henry looks at her over the top of his bifocals. Angels sometimes wear bifocals when they want to have that professorial look, too, just like humans. “Why don’t you go to Arcturus and just be content with peace, love, and instant manifestation?”
“This is what I want. More than anything in the entire universe.”
Henry sighs. “Alright then. Follow me. It’s not like we couldn’t use a willing volunteer down there.” But he smiles to himself, as if at some joke.
Henry leads Brooke out the door and through a tiny part of that seemingly infinite room. In thousands upon millions upon billions of cubicles, thousands upon millions upon billions of angels sit at their computer desks in groups of three, sometimes four, and sometimes two groups of three or four sitting side by side with numerous monitors in one bigger cubicle. The room has a distinct thrum as it hums with the voices of these thousands upon millions upon billions of angels. If you heard this thrum, you’d realize that, well, you do hear this thrum. All the time. The Earth has this thrum, the galaxies have this thrum, the universe has this thrum, and you have this thrum. The thrum is everywhere, resonating in one universal harmonic.
At first glance, a first-timer—which would be you— might think that the room’s vibrant radiance comes from the monitors and other external light sources. But a second glance would inform you that the monitors are actually somewhat dim and there are no other light sources. Oh, what love and devotion in billions of angels can do. Just imagine what love and devotion in seven billion—well, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
Henry and Brooke pass two angels conferring over their computer monitors while the third in their triumvirate whispers softly into a microphone.
“No, no,” one angel says to the other. “You can’t have them meet yet. They’re supposed to have a child that’s going to be the Senator of Tennessee in 2067, and they can’t conceive her until after the accident, which can’t happen for another two years.”
Brooke looks at Henry in surprise. If she were one of your teenagers, I believe she would be saying, “WTF?”
Before Henry can say anything, the second angel answers the first: “Okay, let’s send this schlub along. That’ll keep her occupied for a little while.”
The first angel appears shocked. “Schlub?”
“Okay, okay,” the second angel replies, somewhat abashed, “a drop of divinity cleverly disguised as a schlub.”
Brooke again turns to Henry. “They do this while their assignment sleeps?”
“Right. Their assignment is obviously a late sleeper. Could be a hooker.” And then, to the surprise on her face, “Not to worry, it’s all good. It’s all a divine path.”
He leads Brooke past a closed office door. RAINDANCERS, the elaborate sign announces.
“Oh,” Henry shakes his head, “you’d be amazed at how many humans want to rain on their own parade, keep worrying about nonsense, look at the bad side of anything. Raindancers only perform when asked, but they are in hot demand. You want to be extra busy, sign up for Raindancing.” And to her still-surprised expression, he adds, “It’s all good.”
Henry and Brooke continue walking and arrive at a bank of elevators. While Henry presses the down button, Brooke notices a very serious angel nearby, closely watching graphs and trends appear on his computer screen. His piercing blue eyes, which peer out from under hooded eyelids, look like they belong in a bird of prey, not in an angel.
“What’s his gig?”
Henry puts his fingers to his lips, imploring that she keep her voice down. “Karmic enforcer,” he whispers. “A job nobody wants. They have to recruit from the dark side.”
“Dark side? There’s no such thing!”
“Tell him that. Anyone in creation can believe anything he or she wants to and create that reality.”
“And he’s found a lot of people on Earth willing to participate in that reality.”
Henry leans close to Brooke’s ear. “Don’t tell him this, or the humans who want to participate, but karma can be changed the instant the intent to change it is there.” Henry stops for a moment to consider what he just said. “Actually, no, my mistake—your job is to tell humans that. It’ll save them a lot of time. If they can hear you, that is.”
Ping! The elevator arrives and they hop aboard. Out of two hundred and fifty buttons with different codes, letters, and numbers, Henry locates E.
“E for Earth,” he tells her. “But it’s not too late to choose A for Arcturus or S for Sirius.”
“I’m good with E,” Brooke responds.
“Just double-checking.” Henry presses the E button and turns to Brooke. “Love and remember. Love and wake up. That’s all these humans have to do. And you’d be amazed how many mountains they put in their own way.”
The elevator departs from the enormous angelic hall—okay, it’s really part elevator, part rocket ship—and shuttles across the galaxies. Brooke gasps as the beautiful blue orb of Earth appears through the window. “Oh!”
“Beautiful, isn’t it? One of the finest creations in the universe. And they insist on decimating it, even though they have alternatives.”
The shape of North America appears in the window, and in just a matter of seconds, California appears to be rushing up to meet them.
“But they’ll get it,” Henry assures her. “That’s their job—to get it—and they have eternity.”
“If not here, somewhere. But it would be a shame to waste this incredible creation. Do what you can about that, okay?”
“Absolutely.” Brooke gasps again as the Southern California coast is now right beneath them.
“Are you ready?”
“You sure you’re sure?”
“I’m SURE I’m sure!”
THUD! The elevator lands on E. The elevator door opens and Brooke is too surprised even to gasp. They have landed in a small patch of grass by the 405 Freeway, somewhat near the Los Angeles airport. The trees, leaves, and grass shimmer and radiate with their own internal light. From Brooke and Henry’s vantage point, the veil has been lifted, and bending over every single blade of grass is an angel whispering, “Grow! Grow! Grow! Thank you for being here. You are so
loved. You are such a blessing. You are a miracle.”
As Brooke looks up and down the freeway, she sees more and more areas of grass, and she marvels at the amazingly stunning sight of more and more angels becoming visible to her.
The freeway is completely clogged. The cars are lit up by the light of the human occupants inside of them. But the exhaust from each car and the smog that hangs over the city seems to move, even dance, in a demonic way.
“What—what are they doing to themselves? Can’t they see what they’re doing?”
“It’s just wild how much denial humans can put themselves in. All of some can see, and part of the others can see, but they suppress it. It’ll be part of your job to help all of all of them see.” To Brooke’s confused expression, Henry adds, “You’ll see what I mean, all in good time.”
He gently takes her by the arm, and they float over the cars. “We landed a little too far east,” he tells her. “We have to cross over the freeway to that neighborhood over there.” The houses he points to are barely visible through the thick smog.
Brooke becomes aware of something that sounds like a beehive. And the beehive is growing louder and louder. As they glide over the freeway, she peers through the car windows. Inside each vehicle, accompanying but completely unbeknownst to the humans, are three angels—two are sitting beside their human and the third is in the backseat consulting a laptop computer.
A seriously suntanned man with a seriously bad hairdo shakes his fist out the window of his BMW to the driver that just cut him off.
“Goddamn son of a bitch! Where in the world did you learn to drive—on a farm?”
“Actually,” Henry chuckles to Brooke, “the answer to that is yes.”
They float over the car next to the boorish Beamer driver to find a woman who appears to be very composed—almost as if she’s about to step onto a ballroom dance floor. But inside her head, her thoughts are going a mile a minute.
“Oh, why didn’t I tell him what I really wanted to say? Why did I say what I said? What was I thinking? Should I call him and tell him what I really wanted to say? Oh, how could I have done that? What should I do?”
“Ouch!” Brooke winces, although she can’t feel pain. But she feels compassion—that’s her job. “That must hurt!”
“Oh, yes,” Henry sighs, “it does. Quite a bit. Takes most of ’em a long time to learn that—if they ever do, that is.”
The beehive, Brooke realizes, is really the cacophony of millions upon millions of thoughts drifting up to her.
Brooke and Henry float over the next car, where the driver is singing to his dashboard. “I’m too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt!”
They float over the next car, where the driver is doing the exact same thing. “I’m too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt.”
Puzzled, Brooke turns to Henry. “That sounded a little different.”
“He was singing in Japanese. But you can understand everything, everywhere.”
“Why aren’t their angels talking to them, any of them?” Brooke asks.
“How in the world could they hear their angels if their minds are so overly overactive?”
They float over another car and no thoughts float up to them.
“She must’ve meditated this morning,” Henry answers Brooke’s quizzical look. “And every morning for the past thirty years.”
Brooke notices the woman has four angels sitting in meditation around her. “So why aren’t her angels talking? They could get through to her.”
“No need,” Henry replies. “She’s on her right path. They speak to her from time to time just for a touch of guidance and reassurance.”
One of the angels opens one eye to look at the graphs on her laptop and then returns to her meditation. One of the other angels breaks from his meditation to address the woman: “Thank you for all that you do. You’re such a blessing.” As the woman smiles, the angel returns to his meditating.
“See?” Henry says to Brooke. “Actually, every single person on Earth has an angel who says that, over and over, when he or she can get through all the noise of the TV, radio, and the human’s own thoughts. But, even then, so few hear it.”
They float over another car with two people inside and six angels accompanying them. The radio is blaring loudly. The angels have their hands over their ears.
Brooke notices one lone angel over one lone blade of grass growing through a crack in the concrete by the freeway.
“Grow! Grow! Grow!” whispers the angel. “You’re a miracle. Thank you for being here. You’re such a blessing to us all.”
They float over the freeway wall, and Brooke sees an entirely different world as they glide down an attractive, tree-lined street of lovely, little homes with tidy, freshly mowed yards and well-tended gardens. Henry leads her to one particular house with requisite tidy yard along with innumerable angels talking to each blade of grass, each flower, even each leaf on a shrub.
“When it gets too much,” he tells her, “just fade them. You’re not even seeing all the dimensions. Even I don’t, when I can avoid it. It’d make you crazy if you did. But if you do want to see other dimensions, just choose. The choice is always there.”
The angels in the yard fade away as Brooke makes that choice.
The two voyagers float into the house. A pile of shoes greets them and piles of who-knows-what line the foyer. They float down the hallway and into a large family room off the kitchen. Now if you had just walked into the room, you would see a man playing with his young son and a woman potatoing on the couch to an early-morning quasi-news show. And if you could see like an angel, you would see the three humans and nine other beings in the room—a committee of three angels for each human. And that’s not counting the angels for the plants around the room, who are working even more intensely because their charges haven’t been watered in weeks.
Jack. Ohhhhh, Jack. He’s the man playing with the little boy. Yikes—you just want to grab him by those tightly hunched shoulders and shake him loose! The only thing tighter than his clenched fists is his jawline. Jack could be very handsome if he weren’t so sad. And even if you weren’t particularly sensitive, and even if it was a rare moment when Jack had a smile on his face,
you’d still know he’s sad. You could feel it, even across the room. If you were to take one look at him, you’d probably want to close your eyes so you could reenvision him as a strong, beautiful, powerful man—what he could be, perhaps what his original blueprint depicted about thirty-five years ago.
“But it’s kind of like someone came along and deflated the balloon of his being,” Brooke says.
“If someone else actually has that power,” Henry replies. “Which no one does.”
Three angels surround Jack: Christopher, Sapphire, and Blake. Your quintessential computer geek, Christopher wears glasses over his sharp, black eyes (yes, as you probably already surmised, angels wear glasses, too, when they want to proudly present that intellectual look). His ebony skin contrasts against his red and blond Mohawk—even angelic geeks like to sport that alternative look from time to time. Christopher constantly studies his laptop to watch graphs, analyze trends, make mental notes from the running tick of information gathered from all corners of the universe, and calculate statistics. On occasion, he looks up from his computer, but it has to be quite the occasion—which you know will happen because you certainly wouldn’t be reading a book about a non-occasion. But basically picture an angelic actuarial services analyzer albeit from the very hip part of town, and Christopher’s your guy...well, your angel.
Sapphire whispers into Jack’s ear. She’s the sweet librarian type—you remember that truly great librarian, the one you wondered about and asked your friends if they thought she had a life? At least a life that didn’t involve reference desks and card catalogs? Or for those of you younger ones who have never researched away from the Internet and are wondering what in creation a card catalog could possibly be, picture instead a woman who loves to look on her computer to see what wisdom is found where. At any rate, this librarian from your hometown library just loved researching things and helping you find information. She was born to work in a library, and you thought, wow, it’s really good we’re all interested in such different things, so it all gets taken care of. (And yes, everyone thought she had a very boring life, but oh how wrong they were—you wouldn’t believe the life she had!) Behind Sapphire’s thick glasses and tightly wound bun, she is actually very, very beautiful.
They’re all beautiful. Honestly, have you ever seen an ugly angel? Or, if you’ve never seen an angel, have you ever imagined an ugly one? Impossible. Just like humans. Maybe there are some less-than-attractive humans, but most are pleasant looking. A small percentage fall in the absolutely-breathtakingly-beautiful category and an even smaller percentage fall in the far-less-than-absolutely-breathtakingly-beautiful category. But they’re all beautiful—all angels, all humans. You know what we mean.
Sapphire’s job is to whisper continuously in Jack’s ear, which is exactly what she’s doing now. And what does she whisper? A compendium that goes something like this: “Jack, you are so beautiful. You are loved. You are a blessing. Thank you for being here. Thank you for blessing us. Jack, you are such a wonderful being. Jack, you are loved. You are so dear. You are such a blessing. Thank you for all that you do.”
Well, you get the idea. Everyone, everywhere on Earth, has an angel whispering to him or her like that. So why isn’t life a steady stream of perfection? Because very few can hear these words. But that’s starting to change, at least here and there.
Next to Christopher and Sapphire stands Blake. Remember your favorite high-school coach? Well, he probably was very Blake-like. “Atta boy,” or “Atta girl,” he’d say to you when you did a particularly good maneuver on the playing field. Or, if sports were not your thing, he’d say, “Nice try, kid.” And you’d know that while he didn’t understand how in the world sports weren’t first and foremost in your every thought, he really could tell you tried, and he sure did appreciate that.
Blake pats Jack on the shoulder. “Jack, you’re a wonderful father. You’re a wonderful businessman. But you know what? There’s more for you to do, son.” He pats him again—if Jack could’ve actually felt that pat, he probably would’ve fallen over.
“Hey!” Christopher exclaims, watching a graph on his computer. “Check it out—his awareness just went off the charts! I think he heard you. It looks like he might finally be getting it—no, no, forget it…just a passing thought.”
“Nah, he didn’t hear me,” Blake says. “His heart is open from playing with his little boy. You’ve seen this before—happens every day when he’s with him. With his baby girl, too. But it doesn’t stay.”
Meanwhile, Sapphire simply whispers in Jack’s ear: “You are so dear. You are such a blessing. Thank you for all that you do.”
“Jack, Jack, Jack,” Blake practically hollers to him, clapping his hands. He bends over next to him, hand on Jack’s shoulders, like a coach trying to pep up a reluctant-but-necessary player sitting on the bench. “It’s time to run with the ball, son. Time to know there’s even a ball in play. Time to know you’re even on the ball field. Time to know there’s even a game going on!”
Henry looks at the clock on the mantle. “He’ll be off to work soon,” he tells Brooke, “but he’s getting as much as he can of the most joyous thing in his life before he drops him off at preschool. One of the most joyous things, anyway. The other joy is his daughter. And this is Lacey, his wife,” he says, pointing to a form that has very successfully merged with the couch.
Brooke glances over at Lacey, who’s still doing the most wonderful job of potatoing. Yes, well, everyone on Earth has his or her special talent, and if a higher talent isn’t cultivated and nurtured, the lowest common denominator talent tends to prevail. Lacey might have been prettier in her day, and she could be on this day, if she wanted to be. Nope, doesn’t want to be: the bulge is winning this particular battle, dark roots are taking over the blond in her stringy, shoulder-length hair, her hazel eyes have long gone slack.
Surrounding Lacey are her three angels. If this team’s computer aficionado was from Earth, you would think she’s from Southeast Asia, and she’d be gorgeous if she weren’t so bored. She watches Lacey for a moment and then sighs as she starts to play a game of solitaire on her computer. There aren’t too many charts to watch when the human is so, well, uninvolved with life.
A chubby, adolescent-looking angel plays paddleball while an even younger-looking angel plays jacks on the floor. Adorable? Off the charts.
“Have they given up on her?” Brooke asks.
“Oh, no,” Henry answers. “But they have to wait ’til she turns off the TV. They’ll work on her when she gets up to use the bathroom. Can’t work on people while their minds are fully occupied with rot.”
“Why such young angels for her?”
Henry laughs. “Those two are ageless, timeless, eternal beings, just like all of us. But young-looking ones tend to act more young-at-heart. Sometimes angels like that are the only ones who can reach people like Lacey here. Special assignment.”
Brooke looks over at the couple’s son.
“And that’s Ben, their three-year-old.”
Ben’s three angels huddle around him, devoted to their tasks for him. (You’ll never see an angel working hard, but always with immense devotion and diligence.) One whispers in his ear, one studies her computer, one watches Ben carefully.
“You are so loved,” whispers Ben’s whisperer into his ear. “You are such a light. You have so much to give.” A smile spreads across Ben’s face.
Brooke glances into the kitchen. Piles of dishes from meals obviously long past sit in the sink, drops of milk and cereal decorate the placemats on the table, and there are more piles of that who-knows-what everywhere. Brooke notices that piles even surround Lacey on the couch.
Brooke points to Jack. “So he’s my assignment?”
“In living color,” Henry says.
Brooke watches Jack as he and Ben work on their creation, a dinosaur made of Legos. Giggling, Ben adds pieces of Legos in the shape of what you could guess is an elephant’s trunk. Jack chuckles. Wow! His shoulders start to move down to a level far more appropriate for a human shoulder. Lacey laughs—snorts, really—as a television announcer jokes, however; even though he doesn’t look up at her, Jack’s shoulders zoom right back up to his ears and his jawline goes rigid again.
“He doesn’t exactly flow with the go,” Brooke sighs.
“Go with the flow,” Henry corrects her. But he ponders for a moment. “Actually, I like it better your way.”
“Oh, Jack,” Brooke whispers to him, this man who clearly could be so very handsome and vibrant, but for some reason lives far, far below where he could be living. His son looks like a happier version of him in miniature: curly brown hair, big brown eyes, irrepressible smile. As Ben adds a giraffe’s neck to the dinosaur, Jack’s demeanor softens and relaxes—until Lacey snorts again, that is.
“At bottom, everything is a choice,” Henry says. “Everything.”