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Short Stories 365/201 | N.S. Beranek

“Pinion” by Stellan Thorne from Wilde Stories 2012 (Lethe Press). Edited by Steve Berman.

I took the title of this piece to be a verb. To pinion something is to bind it. Also, right off, I saw in the story a passage from the Bible, Genesis 32:24-29, which says, “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled an angel with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”*

Detective Jason Greyling’s partner just died, leaving him alone on the force. He takes on the case of a most unusual mugging. The suspect, a model-handsome young man, swears he was robbed by an angel. Yes, an angel. Detective Greyling writes the kid off as having been high until, out looking for witnesses, he spies the suspect. A chase ensures, and Jason wrestles with and subdues the angel, who asks several times

“Will you not let me go?”

Detective Greyling is momentarily overcome with grief, missing his deceased partner, Mayer. The angel touches his cheek with the tip of a feather, and says that his heart is known in heaven, which is interesting because in the scripture the angel is said to call out Jacob’s sins in an effort to rattle him and cause him to lose his resolve. In that story he then puts Jacob’s thigh out of joint. In this one the brief touch definitely throws Jason Greyling out of joint, and the angel, being of the “guardian” variety, begins following him, determined to make things right.

*I can find several sites that quote the verses this way (as opposed to substituting “the Man” for “the angel”), but none of them cite which translation of the Bible was used.