On Angel

Jasmine: Scariest Villain Ever

By Steven Harper

I usually ignore street evangelists, but this one caught me off guard. I do have an excuse–my girlfriend had just agreed to marry me. Spring breezes carried the smell of apple blossoms, puffy white clouds coasted through a perfect blue sky, and my mind was not bent on evading ambush in front of the library. Before I completely understood what was happening, a clean-cut twenty-year-old in khakis thrust a pamphlet into my hands and threw a wide, white grin into my face.

“Are you happy?” he asked.

My treacherous mind, still occupied by wedding thoughts, tossed me an image of a kneeling groom who was completely ignorant of the fact that a mischievous friend had painted “SAVE ME” in white on the bottoms of his shoes. My imaginary congregation was trying not to snicker. Memo to self: check shoes before wearing.

“Saved?” I said. “No.” “Then you aren’t really happy,” the evangelist said. “You just think you are.” This little bon mot jerked me out of my fluffy-cloud haze. I looked at

the earnest young man’s face, both startled and puzzled. “Sorry?”

“You aren’t happy,” he repeated. “You just think you are.”

I looked down at the pamphlet in my hand and at last it dawned on me what was going on. Half a dozen responses went through my head–punch, kick, bite, spit–but in the end, I just handed him his pamphlet back and walked away. In the distance, I heard the crackle of paper and a male voice saying,  …

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