Peter Shiel, a twenty-three year old currently out of work sales clerk, stared up at the sky wondering if there was any all-powerful being in control of everything. If there was, he figured it hated him. In the last week his dad had died, his girlfriend dumped him, he lost his job, and his dog ran away. On top of that he'd caught a cold and now couldn't even wonder at the existence of god without sniffling every two seconds.

Life was crap, and Peter was sitting in the middle of a field five miles from anywhere of significance pondering why God hated him so much. He had gone for a walk, his haze of despair sending him far from known territories so that when he finally realized where he was he didn't know where he was, just where he'd come from. He didn't mind being lost, he wasn't really. He knew town was behind him and their was nothing more then empty fields before him. It was peaceful and an escape from where is life lived, or rather where is life was dying.

Maybe God didn't hate him, but just didn't care. There were other more important things to take care of, after all. Peter was sure his happiness wasn't on to of God's "to do" list.

Whatever the reason for Peter's sudden hard luck, be it a hateful deity or simple neglect, there was one fact he knew for sure; those were rain clouds darkening the sky above him, and they were ready to release their load. It was time to go. Hopefully he would reach shelter before the rain hit, but with his luck Peter figured he wouldn't, would catch pneumonia and end life lying in a coffin buried not far from his father. His finally resting place six feet below a headstone with nothing but his name and a pair of dates to describe his pathetically short existence.

Peter stood, sighing in resignation and dragged his feet in the direction of town. Two reluctant steps later an object whizzed through the air behind him, smacking the ground with a noticeable whump. Turning, Peter's eyes met with umbrella, point first into the spot he had previously occupied.

It was a plain black everyday umbrella that had speared the ground so violently and unexpectedly. It was in good condition, but it's origins were a mystery.

Peter looked around confused, half expecting to see more umbrellas pierce the ground, the clouds having decided to switch things up a bit. There was nothing else, the umbrella had come alone and from above, but the surrounding area was flat, no even a tree rose above the pancake landscape. Perhaps a plane or helicopter had lost it's luggage but one scan of the sky told Peter that was unlikely.

The umbrella had appeared out of nowhere into nowhere.

Peter knew this couldn't be possible; it had to have come from somewhere. Umbrellas don't magically materialize out of thin air and hurtle into the ground. It simply didn't happen.

Staring back up at the sky Peter's thoughts returned to God.

Could He have?

Was it possible?

The umbrella had impaled the spot that only moments before impact he had been sitting on. Did God? The impending rain, his impeding cold. Did it really all add up to divine intervention?

Something came to life within Peter, and he knew. God was out to prove him wrong. He care, and had sent the umbrella from heaven as proof. It was a sign. A surprising sign--no burning bush for Peter--but it was sign nonetheless and Peter wasn't one to pass up a good umbrella. Especially if it was free.

The clouds sprung a lead and in no time had broken open dumping their wet load on the world with promises of sticky mud and soaked socks. It was going to be a miserable walk home. Peter grabbed the umbrella and opened it to shield himself from the deluge. Offering a prayer of thanks to the heavens he once again turned his feet towards town and home, no longer did he feel reluctant, renewed hope adding a spring to his step. Someone up there was watching out for his well-being and with God's umbrella in hand life suddenly didn't seem so bad.

------

Two miles away, Godfrey Fletcher, a forty-five year old amateur inventor, stood in his barn smoking a cigarette. Staring through his barn door at the cloud soaked sky, Godfrey wondered. How did his umbrella get into his patented Chicken Launcher 3000 and would he ever see it again?

It was a nice umbrella, and it sure would be handy in this rain.