Edna did a quick check of his appearance: uncombed, bare feet, dressed in a nightgown that had seen better days, no wings (thank goodness for small mercies!) and a sort of shimmer radiating from his hair. That was strange, as was the fact that, although he seemed a grown man, he had extremely smooth cheeks and the voice of a choir boy. What kind of trick was this?
She took the proffered cards and put them willy-nilly in a drawer, while trying to think how to best handle the situation. Should she call the police? The man seemed harmless enough, positively helpful. Perhaps an ambulance, then? She looked around. No one else seemed to be in the library at this time. Where were all the dreary old codgers when you needed them?
Finally, when all the cards had been picked up and stuffed into drawers, the angel gave an awkward smile and said, ‘Maybe you could help me, actually.’
Uh-oh, here it comes. Can’t be a request for money, no one is ever over-due at this library, so we don’t even have a fine box.
‘I- I don’t quite remember how I got here.’
Aaah, well, no surprise there!
‘And I don’t know what I am supposed to be doing here either.’
That was honest, at least. Maybe the attack or seizure, or whatever it was, was beginning to wear off.
‘OK, first things first,’ she said, feeling marvellously in control and ever so understanding, ‘What’s your name?’
But of course! It must be some delusional mania. Edna had read about a case like this only a couple of weeks ago in the Britannica 1997 edition.
‘Hello, Gabriel. My name is Edna. How can I help you?’
‘I’m not sure. I feel a bit…. As if a cold wind is blowing all around me… and my stomach hurts…’
‘Well, you’re probably cold and no wonder, in those clothes. Do you have a coat or something? What about shoes? No? It’s only early spring, you know, still rather chilly outside.’
The man merely gawped at her, so, heaving a dramatic little sigh, she tap-tapped her way to the lost property box and found a long woollen cardigan that had collected dust there for many months.
‘Here, have this.’
The angel seemed to have some difficulty putting it on, as if he didn’t quite know what buttons were for. If the library had been busy, or if the man had seemed at all sleazy, Edna would have shown him the way out at this point. But he seemed so innocent, so lost, that she felt sorry for him, so she offered him the best remedy for any ill known to mankind. A cup of tea. And she even opened her secret stash of biscuits, for she thought he looked a bit peaky.