Then one snowy night, he was jogging along across the Sh*tford Falls bridge when the figure of an older gentleman came plummeting down past him and into the freezing, choppy water below.
“Help!” the man screamed pitifully. “Help! Help!”
“Hey,” yelled Jack. “Are you okay?”
“No,” yelled the old man. “Aren’t you going to jump in and save me?”
“Not so much,” answered Jack, fumbling with his phone. “I’m trying to call for help, but I can’t seem to find 9-1-1 in my Contacts.”
“For Heaven’s sake,” said the old man, levitating up out of the water and onto the bridge. “You were supposed to jump in and save me so I can save you.”
“Save me?” asked Jack.
“My name is Clarence Goodbody,” said the man, bowing slightly. “I’m an angel.”
“You don’t have any wings,” noted Jack.
“Well, you don't have... um... a very good fashion sense,” snapped Clarence. “Anyway, I heard that your unhappy with the progress you’re making on your weight loss journey.”
“Yeah, I’m … hey how did you know about that?” asked Jack incredulously. “Do you have supernatural powers?”
“I read your blog, dumbass,” snorted Clarence. “You think we don’t have the internet in Heaven?”
“I guess I’ve been feeling a little disappointed in myself lately.”
“Well, I’ve come to give you a special gift,” smiled Clarence. “The gift of seeing what your world would be like if you hadn’t lost that weight.”
“I don’t need to see…”
“There, there,” smiled Clarence. “You don’t need to thank me.”
“I wasn’t thank… hey,” frowned Jack, whose body was ballooning up instantly. A button flew off his pants and his belly suddenly lapped out over his belt. A row of chins sprung up under his mouth like waves.
“I know you didn’t just do what I think you just did,” mumbled Jack.
“Look, can we go somewhere and talk about this?” asked Clarence. “My clothes are soaking wet and I’m freezing my angel ass off here.”
They made their way to a nearby restaurant and sat at the bar.
“I’m thinking of a flaming rum punch. No that’s not it…,” said Clarence to the waiter. “Nachos! That’s it! Heavy on the guacamole and light on the jalepenos. Now off with you, my good lad...”
“Nachos?” snapped Jack. “I can’t eat nachos, you nutjob.”
“But look at yourself,” said Clarence. “Looks like you could eat an entire platter of them in one sitting.”
“Well, I used to eat a lot of stuff,” sneered Jack.
“And look at all the things you can do now,” smiled Clarence. “You can run for miles and miles.”
“And kilometers,” noted Jack.
“You can play games with your daughters and dart around in basketball games with the young dudes.”
“It’s great,” agreed Jack.
“You no longer shop in the Big and Fat and Tall shops.”
“I miss paying a premium for shoddily made duds,” nodded Jack.
“And your blog is read by lots of people,” said Clarence.
“Lots of people,” repeated Clarence. “And now I need you to do something for me, Jack.”
“What’s that, angel-boy?”
“I need you to run a mile,” said Clarence somberly. “You see, every time a mile is run, an angel gets his wings.”
“Are you sure about that?” asked Jack.
“Go, son,” said Jack, pushing Jack. “Run like the wind.”
“But… the nachos!”
Jack lumbered his large frame off the stool and headed out. The cold night wind slapped him across the face, but he started jogging toward the road. He was out of breath before his fourth footfall.
“Clarence! Clarence! Help me, Clarence!” Jack screamed out into the night sky. “Get me back! Get me back, I don't care what happens to me! Get me back to my old body! Help me Clarence, please! Please! I wanna run again. I wanna run again. Please, God, let me run again.
Suddenly, his wife Anita was shaking Jack's shoulder.
“Hey, Jack! Jack!” said Anita. “You all right? Hey, what's the matter?”
“Now get outta here, Bert, or I'll hit you again!” moaned Jack groggily. “Get outta here!”
“What the Sam hell you yellin' for, Jack?” asked Anita. “And why did I say ‘What the Sam hell’”?
“Anita?” smiled Jack. “Do you know me?”
“Know you?” asked Anita incredulously. “Huh. You kiddin'? I’ve been yellin’ at you for 45 minutes to come help me fold the laundry - hey, you’re wearing your running shoes. Are you sure you're all right?”
“Ha, ha, ha, ha! I’m wearing my running shoes, Anita! My running shoes! Pisa’s petals... Pisa...,” exclaimed Jack, checking the pockets of his sweatpants. “They are! Anita, what do you know about that! Merry Christmas!”
And with that, Jack took off running down the street, yelling “Merry Christmas!” to all his stunned and surprised neighbors. He ran and ran and ran and ran.
And somewhere, above it all, Clarence got himself a fresh pair of wings.