Lamb The Gospel According to Biff Christs Childho
The angel was cleaning out his closets when the call came. Halos and moonbeams were sorted into piles according to brightness, satchels of wrath and scabbards of lightning hung on hooks waiting to be dusted. A wineskin of glory had leaked in the corner and the angel blotted it with a wad of fabric. Each time he turned the cloth a muted chorus rang from the closet, as if he'd clamped the lid down on a pickle jar full of Hallelujah Chorus.
"Raziel, what in heaven's name are you doing?"
The archangel Stephan was standing over him, brandishing a scroll like a rolled-up magazine over a piddling puppy.
"Orders?" the angel asked.
"I was just there."
"Two millennia ago."
"Really?" Raziel checked his watch, then tapped the crystal. "Are you sure?"
"What do you think?" Stephan held out the scroll so Raziel could see the Burning Bush seal.
"When do I leave? I was almost finished here."
"Now. Pack the gift of tongues and some minor miracles. No weapons, it's not a wrath job. You'll be undercover. Very low profile, but important. It's all in the orders." Stephan handed him the scroll.
"I asked that too."
"I was reminded why angels are cast out."
"Whoa! That big?"
Stephan coughed, clearly an affectation, since angels didn't breathe. "I'm not sure I'm supposed to know, but the rumor is that it's a new book."
"You're kidding. A sequel? Revelations 2, just when you thought it was safe to sin?"
"It's a Gospel."
"A Gospel, after all this time? Who?"
"Levi who is called Biff."
Raziel dropped his rag and stood. "This has to be a mistake."
"It comes directly from the Son."
"There's a reason Biff isn't mentioned in the other books, you know? He's a total - "
"Don't say it."
"But he's such an asshole."
"You talk like that and you wonder why you get dirt-duty."
"Why now, after so long, the four Gospels have been fine so far, and why him?"
"Because it's some kind of anniversary in dirt-dweller time of the Son's birth, and he feels it's time the whole story is told."
Raziel hung his head. "I'd better pack."
"Gift of tongues," Stephan reminded.
"Of course, so I can take crap in a thousand languages."
"Go get the good news, Raziel. Bring me back some chocolate."
"It's a dirt-dweller snack. You'll like it. Satan invented it."
"You can only eat so much white cake, my friend."
Midnight. The angel stood on a barren hillside on the outskirts of the holy city of Jerusalem. He raised his arms aloft and a dry wind whipped his white robe around him.
"Arise, Levi who is called Biff."
A whirlwind formed before him, pulling dust from the hillside into a column that took the shape of a man.
"Arise, Biff. Your time has come."
The wind whipped into a fury and the angel pulled the sleeve of his robe across his face.
"Arise, Biff, and walk again among the living."
The whirlwind began to subside, leaving the man-shaped column of dust standing on the hillside. In a moment, the hillside was calm again. The angel pulled a gold vessel from his satchel and poured it over the column. The dust washed away, leaving a muddy, naked man sputtering in the starlight.
"Welcome back to the living," the angel said.
The man blinked, then held his hand before his eyes as if he expected to see through it.
"I'm alive," he said in a language he had never heard before.
"Yes," the angel said.
"What are these sounds, these words?"
"You have been given the gift of tongues."
"I've always had the gift of tongues, ask any girl I've known. What are these words?"
"Languages. You've been given the gift of languages, as were all the apostles."
"Then the kingdom has come."
"Two thousand years ago."