Excerpt from Blasphemy:
The address turned out to be a dingy bookshop on a small side-street. The faded sign at the entrance read:
‘Angel bookstore. Fuck off.’
“Welcoming.” Tom pushed the door open.
“Hey! Can’t you read? Fuck off!” A cracked voice came from somewhere in the depths of the store, the
source hidden from view by tall, book laden shelves.
Coughing, Tom walked forward, stirring up dust as he moved through the aisles. If he didn’t know better,
he’d have thought the place was deserted.
“I’ve been sent by… er, god,” he said, wondering if this was how a Jehovah’s Witness felt.
“Oh. Still fuck off.”
Tom managed to fight his way past a pile of discarded magazines and discover the counter, which was made
of some kind of black wood and stretched the length of the room. Behind it, sitting in an armchair that had
definitely seen better days, was a fat, balding man with a comb-over watching a small portable TV. He had a
beer in one hand and a small, strange smelling cigarette in the other. A stained white vest failed to cover a
hairy belly, which in turn hung over jeans that were more holes than material.
“Now what?” the man said, scratching the stubble on his chin. He squinted at Tom, who stepped back in
The mans’ eyes, in contrast to the rest of him, where a clean, sparkling blue of such intensity that it was
shocking. The only other place he’d seen anything that shade was on a bottled water advert.
“I… I’m here from god,” he repeated, rather limply.
“I heard you the first time. What’s the old cunt want now?”
“Er, I’m not sure you should talk about Him like that,” Tom said, glancing upwards, ready for the smiting.
“Ha! He doesn’t care anymore. Not about that anyway.” The man heaved himself upright and stretched,
showing more ass crack than Tom was comfortable with.
“I’m here for a gun Mr...” He trailed off.
“Gabriel. Archangel Gabriel. Your Holiness to you.”
“Do I look like I’m kidding?” For a moment, a brief moment, a glimmer of brilliant light seemed to surround
“Maybe not. I’m…”
“Thomas Trevor Tank, I know. And may I just say that’s a stupid fucking name. Who gives their kid a name
beginning with the same letter? Sounds like they were jealous of the Klu-Klux-Klan or something.”
Tom scowled. His name had been a burden to him all through school, and it had resulted in more than one
fight. “I’m here for a gun.”
“Yeah yeah. Come around the back then.” The angel waved a hand, and watched him as he searched for a
way through the counter, eventually giving up and climbing over.
“Great.” Gabriel lit his cigarette and took a drag, blowing the smoke into Toms’ face before turning and
walking off through a door.
Coughing, it was definitely not tobacco the angel was smoking, Tom followed, finding himself in a gloomy
hallway that led down a flight of even more unclean steps. These, eventually, led into a vast stone cellar, lit by
what appeared to be gas lamps and stretching off as far as the eye could see.
“So,” he said, trying to make conversation as they walked along an aisle. “You’re not exactly what I
expected an angel to look like.”
“What did you expect kid? Immortality is boring you know. Most of us are fed up with it. We aren’t
allowed free will like you lot. It’s wearing, to say the least, having to jump at His whim.”
“But surely you go around doing Good and stuff? Isn’t that rewarding?”
“Good! Ha! Nice one. I like you; you’re funny, in a stupid sort of way. No, we haven’t done anything
worthwhile in centuries, not since He got it into his head that humans should ‘find their own way’.” He made
the quote mark sign with his fingers. “If you ask me, He’s lost the plot. Been influenced by His own creations
“So why don’t you quit if things are so bad?” asked Tom.
“You’re kidding! Do you know what happened to the last angel to try that?”
“They fell right? Joined the demons in hell?”
“If only! He doesn’t let us get away with that any more. No, the last one… well, let’s just say that hell would
be a welcome relief for the poor cunt. Believe me, the devil’s got nothing on the boss when it comes to
Nasty. Even thinking about mashed potato now gives me shivers.”
“Really? What did he do?”
“You don’t want to know kid. Really. Trust me. I’m thousands of years old and some of the things I’ve
seen and done would make your heart stop, literally, but what He did to poor old Haamiah…” The angel
paused and leaned against the wall. “I still get nightmares about it. Piss myself sometimes too.” He shook his
head and took a deep drag on the joint.
“Fuck,” Tom said. “I never knew god could be such a bastard.”
“You don’t know the half of it. It’s real Old Testament stuff, but on a more personal level.” Gabriel stopped
by a shelf and rummaged through several cardboard boxes, eventually opening one and peering inside.
“Here we go.” He took out a compact black gun. Despite its size it had an air of deadly efficiency. “This is a
Kimber 1911 Compact .45ACP. It’s small but does the job, and it’s been specially blessed to kill
underworld creatures. Here are a couple of clips too, that should be enough.” He passed the gun and ammo
over to Tom.
“You have killed people before haven’t you?”
“Not lately, no.”
Gabriel sighed and took a puff of his funny cigarette. “Fine, come with me then, I’ll show you how to use it.”