Once again, he had been let down. This year, he decided, things would be different.
“It’s just not fair,” he sounded like a petulant child. “That should be me.”
“What are you on about now?” Gabe tuned the strings on his lyre, trying to ignore Michael’s incessant complaining about the newest messengers. They both watched in awe as each left the assembly, fitted out in their full regalia.
“It should have been me, that’s all I’m saying,” Michael pushed around non-existent dirt with a pristine broom. It was more an act of futility than any real effort to tidy the grand hall.
Gabe knew he would regret asking, but Michael would tell him anyway regardless of a lack of inquery. “What should have been you?”
“The promotion,” the uplift in his voice meant he considered it an obvious slight. Pointing to the last messengers, “I’ve been here longer than they have, a whole year longer, that implies seniority. That should mean something.”
“What’s a year? You know time has no meaning here. There is no ‘year,’ there is no minute or hour, or day.” Gabe tried to not let his frustration leak into his voice. “You have no reason to be jealous, you have your own role to play, focus on that.”
“Role to play, pffft.” Michael leaned on the broom, splaying the bristles to the point of breaking. “And, just what would that be, huh? Pushing this prop around for eternity? I want out in the field, I want to save souls. I want that kind of influence.”
Gabe strummed a discordant note, forcing Michael to look at him.
“Maybe that’s your problem right there.” Standing, Gabe slung his harp over his shoulder, and took the broom from Michael. “You want what you want, and not what He wants from you. You could be pushing around your non-existent dirt until you can accept that.”
The confused look on Michael’s face told Gabe he didn’t understand. Tossing the broom back at him, Gabe left the hall. He could hear the faint scraping of bristles against the tiles, and the muffled muttering of his disgruntled friend.
“Maybe I’ll just do a little freelancing,” Michael mused, the flicker of a plan catching fire. Walking out of the hall, he missed the scattering of straw fragments left on the floor. “I’ll bring a few lost souls in on my own, then they’ll see how important I am. Yeah, this year, it’ll be different.”