Far above the clouds, in a dimension skewed at an odd angle to our own, if you squint really hard you should be able to make out the form of a building. Squint even harder and you’ll see the name of the establishment in big flashing red letters above the front door. It is the LOVE BAR.
Inside is a smattering of tables and chairs, a poker machine showing three hearts lined up in a row, and a lengthy front bar. Behind the front bar is a burly looking angel. He is drying a pint glass with a tea towel. The whole place is adorned with red hearts – not biologically correct hearts – more like the hearts you’ll find in a deck of cards.
The only patrons are four rough-looking horsemen sitting around a table, and six cherubs sitting on tall chairs in a row along the front bar. Each cherub has a colourful drink and their bows and arrows have been unceremoniously dumped on the floor behind them.
‘Hoy, Éros! Who was that guy you shot today, in that garden?’ said one.
‘Well Xenia, I was in lots of gardens today,’ begun Éros, taking a sip of his grasshopper.
‘Australia, skinny guy, beard, wore a headband,’ said Xenia.
‘Oh, that one,’ said Éros, turning to face his colleague. ‘I remember him now. In fact, I was going to ask you lot about him. I saw another arrow sticking out his back. Was that you, Xenia?’
‘Nah. When I shot him he had, like, five arrows sticking out his back.’
‘Five? But that means…’
Three other cherubs looked up.
‘Him!’ laughed Storge, Philia and Agápe.
‘Oh you guys,’ said Philautia, from the end of the row.
‘We all shot him at the same time,’ said Agápe. ‘We had to though. It was on the list. We checked with each other first, checked our lists, and sure enough there he was, clear as daylight, so we went in together and shot him good.’
While they continued laughing, Éros’s face screwed up and he started counting on his fingers.
‘So wait, who shot the first arrow? Was it you Philautia?’
‘Me? Well, yeah I shot him too, but not until later.’ Philautia took a gulp from his banana daquiri.
‘Then who shot him first?’ asked Éros.
‘It was me,’ said a gruff, deep voice from behind them. The six cherubs turned their heads in unison to see that one of the horsemen had looked over to face them. The barman looked over too, curious to see who had spoken.
‘Pestilence!’ said Éros.
Meanwhile, down below the clouds and back to reality, I adjust my headband, reflect about how I’m in love with ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE before shooing a couple flies buzzing around my head.