quote:The first thing the angel did when he came to earth was, with the help of a locksmith, to take off his wings. The second thing was to go up in an airplane. The third was to marry a woman, whom he called "angel," although she was ordinary. When she died, he took his wings out of storage, had them cleaned and oiled and the rubies in their intricate works replaced by a watch-maker. And then he returned to the place from which he had come -- satisfied that he had lived the life of a man.
In another version of the story, the angel, having grown tired of life on earth, killed his wife and took her home in order to "give his beloved a head start on eternity."
In a third version, the wife murdered the angel, sold his wings for a fortune, and lived happily ever after with her lover, who was reasonably imperfect, had a wicked sense of humor, believed entirely in the here-and-now and not at all in the hereafter.
And the bleak sun caught the old marquis as he cast his eyes upon the fields of family sustenance and let out a bitter laugh: A life building a foundation for his bloodline and the only thing he hoped for them was a realization in time of what a deranged jester this life was. The wind carried a bough leaf and a hint of sulphur. Back home the dogs of his decadence were howling in anger and tearing up the old landscape paintings that carried ever so subtle hints of a symbolic tradition aimed firmly at the antiquity of western man. "A fitting end," laughed the marquis inside his distinguished skull, and the echoes were like torture. Every step home was filled with awareness of the little animals that died under his heels.