There Is No “I” in Heavenly Host

Photo by Gabriel Ehri

“What in the name of God is this?”

Gwynefar followed the sound of the customer’s bellowing and found herself face to . . . well, not exactly face, with an enormous pair of wings shrouding a vaguely humanoid body. “I’m sorry, can I help you, uh, Mx?”

A hand emerged from the wings and thrust a coffee cup toward her. “This. What is it?”

She looked at the label on the side of the cup. “Non-fat soy mocha?”

“The name.”

The cup read “Satchel,” so she repeated it.

“That is not my name.”

“Is the drink what you ordered?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“So the name’s just misspelled?”

“Yes.”


Gwynefar sighed. Most customers didn’t overreact to misspellings of their names on their drinks, but most customers also weren’t giant, winged beings. “I understand,” she began, putting on her best customer service smile and voice. “My name’s Gwynefar, but no one can spell it right either, so I just go by Jen. What can I do to fix this for you?”

“Spell my name correctly on my drink.”

“Sure, we can remake your drink and spell your name correctly on the cup.” She grabbed a receipt and pen. “How do you spell your name?”

The winged figure stood facing her, but silent. She couldn’t tell if they were staring at her like she was an idiot for not knowing the spelling of a name that sounded like but was not “Satchel,” or if they were some sort of prank robot that had just shut down.

“Uh, Mx?” she asked.

“The spelling of my name is a matter of some inconsistency,” the winged being said, their voice considerably quieter than their earlier bellowing.

Gwynefar glanced at Mel, the other barista working the front counter with her. “Can you cover for a minute?”

Mel glanced into the mostly vacant lobby and nodded. “I think your, uh, friend slowed things down a bit.”

Gwynefar nodded and rounded the counter, gesturing to a table nearby. “Let’s work this out?”


The winged being joined her at the table. They folded back their wings to sit, revealing a second pair of smaller wings, four arms, and a multi-sided face. The front-facing visage was vaguely human, though with plump and rosy cheeks that looked out of place on an adult of indeterminate gender. To the sides were a feline face and an avian face, though Gwynefar couldn’t narrow them down much further than that as she stared in awe. This was an angel. Never mind that prior to today, she hadn’t been entirely certain angels were real. Now, she was sure.

She looked down at the receipt and pen to focus her thoughts. “So, can you pronounce your name for me, and we’ll work out a spelling from there?”

“Sachiel. But also Satquel, Satquiel, Saquiel, Sachquiel.”

The names all sounded roughly the same to Gwynefar, but she was no stranger to deceiving sounding names. “Okay, so starting with an ‘S’. . . .”

“Also, Shatqiel, Shataqiel, Shachaqiel, and Shahaqiel.”

“Wow. I can understand the confusion. Well, which one do you prefer?”

The cherubic face blinked at her. “Prefer? I have no such preference.”

“Really? None of them suit you better than the others?”

“They all mean the same thing.”

“But your concern is over the misspelling on your drink.”

“Satchel is different. It is not my name.”

“No, of course not.” She wrote out block letters on the receipt. S-A-T-C-H-I-E-L. “How about this?”


Sachiel sat back in their chair, folded both pair of hands in front of them, and regarded the paper. “That is . . . new. But also, yes, it is my name.”

“So it’s the ‘I’ that makes the difference?” Gwynefar asked.

Frowning, Sachiel shook their head. “I do not matter as an individual . . . .”

“Of course you do!” Gwynefar said. “Everyone matters as an individual.”

“Not within the Heavenly Host.”

“Well, I know it’s not my place to disagree with God, but I think they’re wrong on that. You matter. You’re important.”

Sachiel continued to sit, their hands folded, their gaze downcast. “This is something I must consider.”

“I can recommend a bunch of YouTube videos about self-esteem and self-worth, if you’d like,” Gwynefar said, rising from the table. “In the meantime, how about I remake your drink?”

The angel didn’t respond, but Gwynefar returned to the counter, carefully wrote “Satchiel” onto a new cup, and made the new drink.

Mel watched her. “Why are you being so nice to him?”

“Them,” Gwynefar said. She gestured to her nametag. “Because I’m not ‘Jen.’ It’s easier to use it as a nickname, but it’s not really my name. So I get it.”

Mel nodded thoughtfully. “You’re right.” She removed Gwynefar’s nametag and wiped off the neon paint pen lettering that Gwynefar had carefully applied that morning. Mel’s nose wrinkled as she asked, “Spell it for me again?”

“G-W-Y-N-E-F-A-R.”

Mel finished the nametag and pinned it back to Gwynefar’s apron. “There. Now go take your angel friend their coffee. And, you know, maybe see if they’ll stop terrifying the other customers?”

Gwynefar chuckled. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Dawn Vogel

Dawn Vogel lives in Seattle, Wash., where she works as an editor and office manager, and writes in her alleged spare time. Her steampunk series, Brass and Glass, is available from DefCon One Publishing. She lives with her husband, author Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. Visit her: historythatneverwas.com.

1 thought on “There Is No “I” in Heavenly Host

  1. There is an I in Guinevere although Wikipedia tells us it is also spelled with an E there. I’ve never seen a Y or an F before. I like it; it seems like the original. BTW Crosby, Stills and Nash use two N’s.

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