Black and Blue Angels

Dimpy (Dimples) had created a vicious cycle. Desperate for extra work, she had invented a course, Spatial Studies, and presented it to the Lucerne Valley College administrator as “a multi-disciplinary approach to the element that surrounds and defines all material objects.” He was keen to take advantage of current grants and had signed her up for three ten-week courses.

Her meaningless homework assignment the first week had caught the students’ attention, but had inadvertently set a pattern. Now nobody did any of the homework she set; they only presented excuses.

This morning she didn’t even want to ask the question, knowing what the answer would be. The last two answers – about a fat cousin, and repo men – had been good stories, but hardly counted as homework. She wanted this to be a special course for the students – maybe she should rename it Special Studies, as one student had suggested. She had no fixed subject matter, only a desire to fill in the gaps in their thoughts. She chose a good girl wearing a white dress, and asked, “Did you do homework, Asma?”

She said, “No, Miss Kashi, I didn’t.”

This was no longer a course, it was a game. “Why didn’t you do it?” Were those bruises on her arms? wondered Dimpy. There were patches of black and blue.

“Because I died, Miss Kashi.” Other students were impressed. That was a good one, they thought, and nodded in appreciation. Low whistles were heard and low fives shared at the back of the class. “It was only for an hour, but I really think I died.”

Dimpy was tempted to tell her not to be silly, but felt it would go against the spirit of the class-game. “Okay, go ahead and explain your death to us.”

“I was tired when I got home from college so I lay down for a while, but forgot to take my allergy tablets. I have severe mixed allergies. The doctors have never pinpointed anything specific, so I take everything to be safe.

“I dreamt that I was walking through a desert gorge. On either side there were towering cliffs of multi-coloured stone. They were mainly pink, but with swirls of white, blue, yellow, red, green, black, and flashes of silver and gold. A light wind ran through the gorge in little gusts that tickled my skin, and a small red river was running beside me, its water reflecting the rock.

“I recalled from geography class that gorges can be dangerous, as deserts have flash floods. I decided to get out of the gorge quickly, but didn’t know how. The walls were hundreds of feet high, with no way up or out. I began to panic and sweat.

“Suddenly the river stopped flowing and the wind died down. A cold shadow filled the gorge and before me appeared two angels, one black and one blue. They each held one of my arms and made me nervous, and asked many questions about the good and bad things I’d done in my life, Then a tall green man, so handsome called out, ‘Let her go. She’s got more time yet.’ He led me out of the gorge into a field, and said, ‘Go home now.’

“My mum and dad were crying when I woke up. They said that I was cold and wasn’t breathing, and my heart wasn’t beating. They’d thought I was dead.

“To celebrate my resurrection they took me for a Guru Baba Burger, it’s made with organic lentils, and they let me have pakora chips. That’s why I couldn’t do my homework. I was dead, and then feasting on karma-free food.”

There was a brief pause, then the class burst into applause. Dimpy joined in.

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