Session I

Angel 2343bx8.5 came to me out of desperation after repeated attempts to obtain assistance through the medical professionals supported by his employers benefit plan. As I was of yet unfamiliar with psychological treatment of such beings, I initially hesitated to accept an angel as a patient. However, hearing that this particular angel had been unable to find effective therapy through angelic professionals, and having determined that his insurer was in fact prepared to pay at the top of the fee scale, I accepted him as my patient.

This angel's appearance belied signs of hyperactivity and attention deficit. As well, he swung between the poles of manic depression within matters of seconds. In general, his presence occupied the entire space and riveted one's attention in such a way that his madness was almost contagious. I, personally, could not handle him for more than twenty minutes at a time.

In our initial session, it was determined that much of this angel's trauma was due to occupational hazards that are apparently common in his profession. Obtaining an intelligible history, however, remained elusive. An excerpt from the transcript of that session follows:

Therapist: So, already at a young age, you had determined a career for yourself?

Angel: Doc, I can't describe to you how excited I was as a young angel when I saw the big guys doing all that stuff! I so eagerly awaited the day that I too could mess around with the laws of nature, transforming water into blood, making ashes into bugs, splitting oceans, totally overturning the whole scheme of things just to mess up people's minds! This stuff was better than playing with a ton of dynamite!

Therapist: So how did your parents react to all this?

Angel: Parents?

Therapist: Oh, yes. Well, your teachers in school, then. What did they think of these destructive tendencies and ambitions of yours?

Angel: They put me on track B.

Therapist: Track B. I see.

Angel: I was so relieved, because so many of my friends had been forced to enter track A or C o...

Therapist: You'll have to fill me in...

Angel: Track C is really just another branch of track A, just like D and E. Just that they wanted to make guys feel as though it was some specialty...

Therapist: And track A is...

Angel: Exactly! What's the point? They couldn't get anybody to enter track A anymore, so they make up this track C stuff!! And when that doesn't work...It's all a game! Just say the truth: Track C is just a mollified version of track A. But no! Those bureaucrats...

Therapist: You'll have to excuse me, but...

Angel: There's no excuse!! After all, who would want to enter track A, anyways? Is that what we became angels for? Is that the whole point of having supernatural powers and hyper-frequency energies? They might as well have us pushing paper and filling out forms in triplicate! In fact, I bet that's what they...

Therapist: Excuse me, but I'm human and...just what is track A?

Angel: That's the Nature Track.

Therapist: Hiking?

Angel: No. Nature. Like Physics.

Therapist: I'm interested. How do they teach physics up there?

Angel: Dull. It's all the skill of understatement, you see. How to make something real spectacular look normal. Eventually, if you're dull enough, they pack you off to The Academy of Natural Science. That's a post-secondary institution where you learn how to make just about anything look normal: Orbiting planets, energy fields, even birth and death—those guys can take the most amazing, inexplicable miracles and make them look so normal, nobody will even ask a question. Why, the entire cosmos is being regenerated out of absolute nothingness at every moment, and nobody even wonders about it! Can you imagine?

Therapist: They have a technique?

Angel: Basically, there are two tricks: One is consistency. You know, you do something just once and everybody's talking about it. You continue doing it over and over like nothing happened, and they take it for granted. It's a cover-up game. I figured that out without even going to their dumb institution.

Therapist: And the other trick?

Angel: That's a matching game. Gets a little more complex, but still pretty insipid. You match up behaviors with the features of objects, so that things appear to be behaving according to their own makeup. Water looks and feels like it should flow, so you do that with it and just keep doing it. Stuff that looks weightier gets more weight. Ethereal stuff gets less weight. Eventually, people may even start believing that everything just follows a simple one-dimensional paradigm of cause and effect. Isn't that crazy? It's a twenty-six dimensional universe with 61386 channels of resolution and these guys make it look like time has only one dimension!

Therapist: Sounds like that takes a lot of skill, ingenuity, knowledge...

Angel: And no inspiration. You know who that track is for? It's for the guy who can make Chopin and Liszt sound like computer-generated trivia. Guys who can take a masterpiece of a landscape and make a six color paint-by-numbers set out of it. Guys who can transform the worlds most hilarious joke into a bedtime story.

Like Joe Angel. You know, the kid with the bow tie and neatly combed hair? Why I remember when Joe bought his first fireworks set. He handed out earplugs to the whole neighborhood and made sure to set it off in the middle of the day when nobody was home. At carefully planned, three minute intervals—just to be consistent. Then he mailed out letters of apology...

Therapist: And you disagree with this sort of procedure.

Angel: Blow the neighborhood to pieces, that's what I say! If you're not going to shock anyone, so what's the point? That's why they put me in track B.

Therapist: That's the destructive track? Like the Angels of Doom type of thing?

Angel: Destructive? Doom? Are you kidding?! Track B are the ultimate angels! Why, if it weren't for us, humanity would never have survived this long. You would all have been zapped—by totally natural causes, of course—at the very first act of inconsistency.

Therapist: By the track A guys?

Angel: And track C. And track D. Why, if it were up to them, anything that didn't fit in to a neat, orderly scheme of things wouldn't exist longer than a nanosecond. They're all procedural programmers—everything's got to be real predictable, including the end user. And, as we all know, nothing's messier than a human being. Bad end users. Bad, bad, bad.

Therapist: And just why are you seeing me then?

Angel: You guys are just so chaotic, wild, unpredictable, mischievous, erratic and totally lovable! Just nothing you do fits into any pattern. You know, there's nothing in the universe as unpredictable and messy as a human being. That's why I find you so fascinating. And so do all the other track B guys. We strongly identify with you. That's why we're always out there saving your skin at the last moment.

Therapist: Track B is...Cognitive Therapy. Object Programming? Chaos Theory?

Angel: Track B is the Supernatural Track. Miracles. Signs, Wonders. Blow consistency and nature out the door! Without us, you guys would be nowhere! Take yourself, for example. You know how many times over the last twenty four hours one of my friends had to whisk you out of the hands of those nature fiends with an open miracle?

Therapist: I didn't notice.

Angel: Yes!! Now you're getting it! You didn’t notice! Nobody ever notices! That's the whole problem! That's what we've been having to deal with all this time! And it's driving us nuts. It's those Nature Fiends, and, doc, there's nothing we can do about them!!

At this point, Angel began raving and ranting until he was about to dissolve into the ether. I quickly called our session to an end, allowing myself enough time for research (and recuperation) before the next visit.

Session II

Throughout the week following that visit. I carefully noted incidents in my life that appeared out of the normal pattern. As it turned out, I found myself unable to determine any pattern of normalcy to judge by. Almost nothing was predictable. But, most puzzling, in hindsight all seemed quite natural. This, in itself, opened my mind to hear in greater depth what the angel had to say.

The angel arrived for the next session late and with obvious signs of depression. His wings were visibly more wilted and the glow around his face was rather green. I felt it necessary to direct our conversation towards matters which he found stimulating and uplifting. A significant portion of that session follows:

Therapist: We've talked enough about that, now. I'd like to hear a little about your own track, track B.

Angel: Track B was everything I ever wanted to learn. Basically, it was about how to sabotage the track A guys.

Therapist: Espionage?

Angel: That's it! But very hi-tech. Ooooohh! I like it! What was that word you used again? E S P I O N A G E. Yes! We totally messed up everything those guys had so neatly programmed. Doc, it was so neat!

Therapist: Uh, I'm a little worried for the couch you're jumping on. Perhaps you'd like to walk around a little as you talk?

Angel: ?

Therapist: Alright, then maybe just hover.

Angel: Let me tell you how it works. The material world is just a product of layers upon layers of programming and interface, all of which serves to protect the end user from the deep abstractions of higher-level coding. I mean, if you would try to generate this world straight out of the embedded instruction set, there's no way you could get a physical world out of that. Not even from system native code, or even assembly or even a 26GL language. You need to totally get away from the native stuff into highly metaphorical and deeply defined interfaces...

Therapist: Uh, I'm a psychologist...

Angel: It's okay. You'll recover. The point is that's not the point. It's that, nevertheless, whatever happens down where you are starts off in much more abstract terms at a deeper level of existence. So by a little messing around with the wiring up there, we can have a major impact on what happens down here!

Therapist: How does that differ from standard physics?

Angel: It doesn't, really. And that's the beauty of it. We can blow their whole front and keep the system intact at the same time!

Therapist: Blow their...

Angel: Remember? The consistency game! And the matching game! When we start fiddling around with their code, consistency is out the window! And behaviors no longer match object properties! So everybody points and says, "Look! A miracle, a miracle!" Even though everything beforehand was also a miracle. But now they notice it. It totally blows their minds.

Therapist: Who's minds?

Angel: Listen, doc, I'm really not supposed to let any of you material beings in on this, but since I trust your professional confidentiality, and you are my doctor and all, this is our plan: We figure that with enough strategically placed miracles of this sort, eventually the whole cover-up will be shattered! I mean, eventually people will start questioning everything. They'll see through the whole façade and realize that the whole thing is one blasted miracle!!

We almost accomplished that, you know, back in the good old times. I was just a little guy then, but I got to watch it on the news. They totally blew away the minds of the greatest scientists of their day! And these were humans that knew stuff! They could handle the stick-to-snake, water-to-blood, and even multiple terrestrial amphibian stuff. But when our guys started getting into ashes turning into insects and light becoming thick dark and stuff like that—they were lost, just lost. Eventually, even the most committed naturalists had to concede the track A guys are not in charge.

Because they're not!! They never were! It's a bloody chutzpah of theirs, parading themselves before the whole world like they're the ultimate masters of the universe!!

Look, doctor, you're a good doctor, but if you would hear some interns whispering that you held complete mastery over your patients, wouldn't you protest? Isn't that the ethical thing to do? Of course it is. But these track A guys—ethics? The whole world was putting up temples to worship them, offering them sacrifices, singing and dancing their praises just to get on their good side, and do you think they said a word?! If you don't mind me saying so, I think they got a big kick out of it!

That's where we came in—with official orders from the Boss, of course—the Big Boss—and we blew their ploy. Boy, by the time we were finished, that whole country, even their top honcho knew who is really in charge!

I waited for the patient to descend from the ceiling.

Therapist: It appears this was a major turning point in your life.

Angel: Yes. Look, doc. I'm trying to calm down, but…

Therapist: But by the time you got out of school, things weren't the same anymore.

Angel: You've been at this profession a long time, doc. I can tell. You're two steps ahead of me. No, it wasn't the same. The whole paradigm had shifted. No more Pharaohs, no more Egypts, no more wild and radical spirits like Moses and Joshua around either. Sure, the track A cult had suffered some major credibility defeats, but at the same time, our guys had been so shackled with bureaucracy...

Therapist: Did you receive a position upon graduation?

Angel: I jumped straight into senior office.

Therapist: And what was your first assignment?

Angel: It was, it was...doc...I don't know if I can handle talking about we have to?

Therapist: Well, if you want me to help, we're going to have to come head on with it at some point.

Angel: Okay. I understand.

Therapist: Was it still in the ancient world?

Angel: Doc, I don't know. I mean, I don't know if I can talk about it. It was very traumatic.

Therapist: Whereabouts?

Angel: Persian Kingdom. Asinine King. Clandestine Jewish Queen. Megalomaniac advisor.

Therapist: Shushan?

Angel: Doc! No!!! Please! I can't I can't!!!

Therapist: Oh well. It was a good couch.


Obviously, at this point it was necessary to cut the appointment short, once again.

Session III

Over the next week, the image of the Angel vaporizing my couch and the sound of his high-pitched scream haunted me incessantly. So did his perspective of the true workings of everyday physics. More and more, I noticed in my daily life strange coincidences and eerie, unexpected events. By the end of the week I was looking under the bed, behind walls and up on the ceilings for hidden angels. At times, I regretted taking this patient on, as I felt the strain on my own mental health.

By telephone, it was agreed that our subsequent meeting would take place in a sealed and padded chamber. I instructed the Angel on relaxing breathing techniques, and suggested he take frequent outdoor excursions and get plenty of exercise to reduce stress and anxiety. Pharmaceuticals were not applicable in this case. Except for myself.

I was pleasantly surprised when the Angel appeared on the dot for the appointment, a calm, relaxed aura about him. During our session, he found himself capable of relating incidents lucidly and even with some objectivity.

The following transcript has been edited for the sake of the professional reputation of those involved:

Therapist: Now take a deep breath, and while breathing it out, say, "Shuuuuuushaaaaaaan." Come on.

Angel: Shu-u-u-u-usha-a-an.

This exercise was repeated several times, until the desired state was achieved.

Therapist: That's it. Now, let's start from your initial briefing on the Shushan affair. And remember, if anything seems to be too traumatic to discuss, just repeat this exercise and continue.

Angel: Shuuuuuushaaaaaan. I remember the briefing room well. I sat there with my buddies from our office, guys I really respected and could work together with as a team. And there were these other guys there.

Therapist: Any that you recognized?

Angel: Yeah. One of them was Joe Angel. That's how I figured out they must have been from the 'A' Team. But, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what in heaven's name the 'A' Team was doing there. This was a miracle job, for earth's sake!

Therapist: But the project coordinator explained.

Angel: He said, well, to tell you the truth, I didn't really follow what he was talking about.

Therapist: Try to remember. Perhaps you did follow, but you don't want to remember.

Angel: He said this project was going to be something completely new and revolutionary. A major step forward in the development of cosmos technology. Which I don't get. I mean, if you want to go forward, what are those 'A' guys doing here? This just sounds like more of their stinking bureaucracy, that's what it is! If they would only let us have some free reign...

Therapist: Say with me, "Shuuuuu...."

Angel: ...shaaaaaaaannnnnnnn.

Therapist: Let's talk in objective terms. Just describe what happened, we'll keep the judgments for later.

Angel: Alright then. Of course, he described the situation down there. You guys were in hot trouble once again, and we had to jump in and save you. Typical case, except that this was the first time we had to do this on a major scale since the Israelites had left the Land of Israel. But that was no sweat. I mean, Egypt was also outside of Israel, and hey maybe this was our chance to do a number like that again. I got to tell you about what they did in Egypt when I was little...

Therapist: Let's stick to...

Angel: Yeah, okay. The guy asked for suggestions. Of course, our team had great suggestions. And we were fully prepared. We had our charts, portfolios, 3D simulations, all at our fingertips. And there were so many ways to go. Hey, we even had a plan to blow Haman and his entire army off the surface of the planet without causing any harm whatsoever to innocent bystanders! Now if that wouldn't be an eye-opener, I don't know what would.

Therapist: Neat.

Angel: But it was knocked down. The coordinator guy pointed out that this didn't take into account the natural means already at our disposal. Such as the fact that the Queen was Jewish and so on. So I spoke up--'cause it really bothered me to see my buddy's great ideas shot down just like that—and I asked a simple question.

Therapist: Yes?

Angel: Shuuuuuushaaaaaaaan SHUUUUUUUSHAAAAAAAAN.

Therapist: Are you ready now?

Angel: Okay, look I should have kept my mouth shut. But they had this planned anyways, I know. So I said, "So if you've got all these natural means at your disposal, what do you need a miracle for?"

Therapist: Good question.

Angel: Dumb question. The next thing the coordinator did was turn to the 'A' guys and say to them, "So then, how would you fellows deal with this utilizing all the natural means at your disposal? Do we need a miracle after all?" Doc, my buddies were ready to have me evaporated.

In the meantime, these 'A' guys are going on and on about how with the proper political push and pull, a few very predictable assassinations here and there, and a touch of palace intrigue the whole job could be pulled off without any external intervention whatsoever. Who needs miracles, they said. Yes, doc, they actually said that to our faces!

Therapist: Shuuuuuu...

Angel: shan. You ain't heard nothing yet. You see, the coordinator disagreed with them too!

Therapist: That must have been a relief.

Angel: A relief!? It was a nightmare!! If we didn't get the job, at least we could just walk away and let those guys make a mess of things. Next time, they'd call us back for sure. But no. This guy had the most nefarious scheme you could imagine up his sleeve: He wanted us to work together!!!

Therapist: Stay objective. Tell me his words.

Angel: He said, "Guys, I want you to work together on this and come up with the most original miracle ever. One that breaks none of the standards of team 'A', yet fulfills all the requirements set by the Miracles Standards Committee."

Therapist: You have standards?

Angel: Doc, you're a nice guy. Don't say things like that. Of course we have standards. We're a highly respected professional community. If we didn't have standards, how could we protect our work force, our reputation? Any nerd Joe Angel could come along running some dumb and natural sequence and throw in a miracle once in a while to keep things working. Now, this guy's not union, he's untrained, and he doesn't pay dues. That's why if a miracle is to be performed, it has to be done by licensed track 'B' engineers. And there are basic, minimum requirements. Any miracle performed must:

1) Involve new energy from beyond the standard cosmic system.

2) Be directly under the supervision of the Heavenly Court of Justice.

3) Have its origin in some super-cosmic system that was in existence prior to the completion of the six days of creation.

Therapist: What happened to blowing minds and opening eyes?

Angel: Thats the art of it. You dont standardize art. Standards are just to keep out amateurs and scabs.

Therapist: And the 'A' team, they have standards, too?

Angel: They have substandards. He-he-he. Why, thats it, doc! Thats their whole problem! They have so many rules and regulations and red tape—but its all on purpose! The whole thing is a cover-up! The Laws of Nature are a conspiracy!

Therapist: But as far as conflict with your standards....

Angel: Did you get that, doc? The laws of nature are a conspiracy!! That sums it up in one sentence! And he wanted us to go into cahoots with them! He was demanding unethical collusion!

I was getting nervous. We had only just started the session.

Therapist: Let's speak objectively again. Let's think into just where it is that your team and the track A angels are in conflict. That way...

Angel: We have ethics. Can you call what they do ethical? Aside from the collusion bit. Look, I know that's shocking. It's outrageous. It's also the fact. The Laws of Nature have no ethical considerations. They are programmed strictly according to just the highly rationed energy allotted to the cosmos for each specific moment.

Therapist: But this way, there is no conflict of job description.

Angel: That's how it's supposed to be. But this guy, this coordinator guy, he comes along and tells us we have to break all the rules! We have to make miracles under their supervision. Natural Miracles he wanted! They wanted energy levels that had never before been allowed into the cosmos to enter quietly and fit into natural schemes! They wanted miracles that took into account all the natural phenomena and didn't disturb any of them! They wanted physics to act ethically! They had us make focus groups and team confidence building sessions, white galaxy river rafting together. We had to discuss our differences and commonalities and go to parties together. It was sick! sick! sick!!


Therapist: Stay objective now. Lets talk about your success. After all...

Angel: SH A A A A A A A A N N N N N N N N N .............

Therapist: No! Not the padding! We need the....

Angel 2343bx8.5 never returned to my office, at least not in that original physical form. It was determined that our next session would have to be by long distance phone call. That way, he would be able to retain a non-physical form, which could withstand extremely high levels of emotional current, and nevertheless continue with our therapy sessions.