A cherub speaks
To be honest, it was the prospect of light duties that appealed to me. No flying around in the upper atmosphere dancing attendance on people, and strictly none of that blowing on ships malarkey. It sounded like a cushy number. But after 400 plus years, well, I’m starting to get a bit bored.
I never really considered whether there were any opportunities for promotion, and looking at some of the more senior figures round here, I’m not sure I’d want it anyway. Some of them have become trapped in distinctly dodgy situations, frankly, and they don’t look as though they’re enjoying their work any more than I am.
The other thing no one told me is that I’d be expected to supply my own uniform, so I’m stuck here without a stitch on. Which is fine in summer, but when those damp mists roll in off the Tiber in winter – well, however fluffy your wings, they just don’t cover enough. A little bit of drapery would have come in handy, and though some of the others have got yards of the stuff, can I get them to share it?
You’d think I could at least pass the time nattering with my opposite number – that’s him on the right. A boy my own age, same job description, etc. – you’d think we’d have lots in common, but he’s not much of a one for talking. Bit depressed, if you ask me.
Luckily, I’m conveniently situated just across from the chapel with the Caravaggios, and believe me, there’s nothing funnier than watching tourists competing not to be the one to put a coin in to turn on the light. I’ve seen skinflints hanging around for twenty minutes or more in the hope that someone else will turn up to illuminate the scene. They pretend to be examining inscriptions or reliefs, only to hotfoot it over to the chapel for an eyeful the minute the light comes on.
So listening to the visitors and watching their antics are my main entertainments, and I’ve seen some changes, I can tell you. A hundred years ago they never had to tell anyone to cover their shoulders and legs ‘cos they were all covered, several times over, anyway. Mind you, it’s a bit weird that the rules for me and my colleagues aren’t so strict. And as there’s quite a few of us underdressed types dotted around the church, some of the comments we get are pretty unrepeatable. Most of the guides are pretty good, though, and if I do say so myself, I’m probably a bit of an expert on the Caravaggios by now.
What I don’t like, though, is when visitors have a laugh at my expense. ‘Ooh, he doesn’t look very happy, does he?’, they say, or ‘Where’s your trousers, mate?’ But I just think to myself, ‘Well, I bet your gaff doesn’t contain some of the greatest masterpieces of the Baroque period.’