Tag Archives: heaven

2407.  Stairway to heaven

And there in front of Matilda was a staircase. She had been heading for school a little tentatively because Fatty the playground bully had been flexing his muscles these past few weeks. But now suddenly in front of Matilda the sky opened up and a staircase of overwhelming length and height opened before her. Was this the stairway to heaven? There was only one way to find out.

Matilda began to climb. Step by step. It was tiring. Her legs were sore. She thought, I can stop climbing whenever I like. So she did. She would stop ascending, sit on a step, and rest. Of course there was no longer much of a view. Clouds shrouded the earth in misty invisibility.

Soon she was on her feet again. Step by step. Higher and higher. She felt pulled towards the apex. Was there perhaps a door? Or a pearly gate? Were there angels waiting to welcome her into Paradise? Matilda thought she could see in the distance where the staircase ended. There was definitely something or somebody there.

Nothing motivates a tired traveller like the thought of arrival. Matilda quickened her step. And there she was! At the apex of the stairway to heaven! She gazed at the most beautiful and welcoming gates in the history of existence.

Fatty the playground bully was there. He pushed Matilda off, over the side of the staircase.

2393. Angel of mercy

(The stories are back! – albeit erratically. I shall restart with a story that some readers may not like!)

It was extraordinary. Drew was more than aware that he had died suddenly. He was sitting in his armchair early on a Friday morning. Next to his armchair was a little coffee table with his mug of coffee and a slice of marmalade on toast. He had just had his first bite of toast when next thing an angel was leading him towards the gates of Paradise.

What a lovely angel! So seraphic! So kind! The angel led Drew by the hand.

“We are heading towards the Gates,” said the angel. Drew could already feel the effects of Heaven emanating towards him.

“To quote Saint Paul,” said the angel, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart the things that God has in store… You know the quotation I’m sure.”

 “Of course I do,” said Drew.

“You realize,” said the angel, “that if you hadn’t put so much salt in your food and into cooking that you could have extended your life on earth by almost two years.”

Drew hung his head in shame.

“You realize,” said the angel, “that if you had been more careful to eat only organically grown vegetables that you could have extended your life on earth by two further years.”

Drew hung his head further in shame.

“You realize,” said the angel, “that if you had bought an electric car instead of that beat-up old bomb you drove around in you’d be going through that gate there into Paradise and not through this door here where there is an eternity of weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

“The old bomb was all I could afford,” said Drew.

With that the angel opened the door and flung Drew in.

“Now who is next on the list?” asked the angel looking at her clipboard.

“How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got that job as the angel I have no idea,” said Drew as he disappeared into the nothing world.

2365.  Heavenly surprise

It came as a great shock to Dr Gareth Priscott, Professor of Literature at a prestigious university, to discover upon entering Heaven that he had never heard of the greatest novel ever written.

“Put it this way,” said Archangel Michael, “I’ll give you another example: Wuthering Heights would never have seen the light of day if Charlotte Bronte had not pushed for her sister’s novel to be published.”

“But surely,” said the Professor, “Providence in all the great scheme of things, would not have allowed such a masterpiece to be lost from human endeavour.”

“I’d like you to meet Mrs Jocelyn McLeod, mother of six, homemaker, and part-time secretary to a refuse collection agency, whose novel, Onion Fingers in the Deep Fryer, is regarded in heavenly circles as the greatest novel ever written in any language.”

“I’d love to read it,” said Professor Priscott.

“You can’t,” said Archangel Michael. “It was never published, and her husband threw out the manuscript when clearing things up after her death.”

“But surely Heaven saved the masterpiece for all time,” said the Professor.

“Humanity must look after humanity,” said the Archangel. “We can’t be mopping up after every foolish human foible. Humanity must take responsibility for humanity.”

And that was that.

2346. Miranda’s first day

It came as a terrible shock to Miranda to discover, upon her death, that her husband of forty-seven years had been a bigamist and he was sitting in the heavenly choir slap bang next to Henrietta, the recently departed mother of his seven children. And to think that Miranda’s obituary read, loved wife of the late Elbridge for forty-seven years. There was no changing it now.

At least Miranda would have her pets. She had spent her life adopting cats and dogs from the local pound. What sadness each pet-passing had caused in her life. What an irreparable gap they had left. Rather quickly she discovered that all the dogs and cats she had cared for were now back in the heavenly keeping of their original owners. The pets had been lost and now were found. What a delight it was for the original pet-keepers. What sadness for Miranda.

Well, she would seek out her favourite aunt. At least Aunt Nina would be a familiar shoulder to cry on. Nina had always understood Miranda; the two were in emotional sync. But no one in heaven had seen Nina; in fact no one in heaven had ever heard of her. Could she in fact have gone to the other place?

There was only one last thing to give her comfort: her pet canary, Aria. Aria was a yellow canary that had been Miranda’s companion in the kitchen for almost a decade. These beatific days Aria wouldn’t need a cage. There she is now! Oh! She’s in a cage. She has taken the fancy of the head angel in the Contralto Section of the heavenly choir. The head angel is in no mood to share. Just listen to that canary sing!

That about ends this account of Miranda’s first day after death. “Just wait until dinner!” declared a rather plump personage that Miranda had never met in her life. “Dinner is out of this world!”

Miranda said she wasn’t hungry.

Poem 102: A Monologue on the Eternal Banquet

And here in heaven at the Eternal Banquet
there’s strawberries and cream.
I’m not fond of strawberries, I once said.
Everyone was shocked. They like strawberries.
Just eat the whipped cream, says one, rather than insult the Cook.
You’d think with all the resources up here and stuff like that
they could provide more variety.
But no! When Adam and Eve arrived they said everyone would want
strawberries and cream. Certainly nothing with apples.
Strawberries three times a day. Full stop. Period. Permanently.

Then Queen Elizabeth the First of England
(she’s got really fat – I mean really really fat)
says that if I want variety I should go to the other place.
Hell, I say, what do they eat down there?
Raw quince and crab apples.
All day and every day with no whipped cream.
They’re all skinny as rakes.
For a special occasion they get an uncooked cooking apple.
Well, I say, it sounds like that other place sucks.
So I get stuck into my strawberries and cream.
I’ve been here two hundred and eleven years now
and have never got used to the diet.

Once in a blue moon, for a special occasion,
we have a big feast;
like the other day when Abraham and Sarah celebrated
their four thousandth year since getting pregnant.
We all got a dry pink wafer cookie
stuck in the strawberry concoction.
Honestly, I crave a hotdog.
I wouldn’t mind if it came poked into the whipped cream.

The other day some visitors popped over from
the Conservative Sector for a social visit.
They took one look and said, Bloody hell!
Is that all you eat? You need to sack the Cook.
So we’re having a meeting about it, all fifteen billion of us.
The angel in charge said a decision has to have a 100% consensus
before any changes can be made around here.
That’s impossible, especially with some of the politicians in our Sector.
I’m not putting much hope on our chances of firing the Cook.
Besides, God loves to personally prepare the strawberries for us Liberals.
It’s the reward we get for being always right.
Bon appétit.

To hear the poem read aloud click HERE.

1984. Honey, I never made it

Granville had made his wife, Doreen, the most beautiful rocking chair. It had taken him months of secret working in the shed out the back. Doreen never knew what he was up to. She supposed he was simply messing about, and then one day he produced the rocking chair and said “I made this for you, Honey.”

What a beautiful chair! Carved legs! A perfect, perfect rocking motion! Even the sweetest cushion on the seat!

“What a clever husband I have!” declared Doreen. “Who would have believed?”

But the truth was, Granville had started to make a rocking chair and things didn’t work out. It was a mess, so he had a rocking chair made. It certainly was a magnificent rocking chair, but he had merely pretended to have made it himself.

“What a clever husband I have!” repeated Doreen. “Who would have believed?” She was over the moon.

Sometime later, Granville was diagnosed with a terminal disease. He grew weaker by the day. He knew, as he reviewed his life, that entrance to eternity perhaps demanded sorrow for sins. He simply had to tell Doreen about the rocking chair.

It was clear that the end was near. Granville still hadn’t confessed to Doreen. And then, with one gigantic effort he declared “Honey, I never made it”. Within seconds he was dead.

Doreen always thought, as she rocked her way through widowhood, that Granville’s final “Honey, I never made it” was some premonition that he had been refused entrance through the Pearly Gates.

1961. An exclusive club

Although it might appear as rather arbitrary, and in fact it was, Heaven was divided into multitudinous groups of people. The membership of each group was determined by the last words they uttered on Earth. For example, the members of the “I-Love-You-Darling Group” had experienced a fairly run-of-the-mill death in which they were able to utter a reasonably civil statement as they passed on. The “Goodbye Group” and the “I’m-Going Group” were other examples. The “Au Revoir Group” was made up mainly of foreigners but the occasional person who spoke proper English made it into their ranks.

Most groups had many, many members, and for a millennium or so St. Peter at the Pearly Gates had wondered whether or not other criteria might better suffice.

There was one group that was the envy of all. It was known rather jovially as the F Club. Very few belonged to it. The members were the victims of some sudden accident when their plane dropped out of the sky or they saw a huge articulated truck plunging headlong into their vehicle. Their last word was an exclamation of surprise, as you might imagine. So sought after was the desire for membership to this group that St. Peter had to slightly stretch the rules. He had to allow for different parts of speech that used the word. For example, some people may have turned the word into a verb and not finished the sentence before expiring. However, a line was drawn if the F word was followed by “heck”. It reeked a little of Hecate and was considered vaguely inappropriate.

No one was surprised at the small affiliation in the F Club. Most in the circumstance of final accident had exclaimed a naughty word. They had, naturally, been cast into Hell. But those more lily-tongued had screamed at the point of accident not an unacceptable curse, but simply “Flip”. As stated, those whose final “Flip” was forever wrecked by a verb plus Hecate – “Flippin’ Heck” – were cast aside. As was “Freakin’ Hell”.

So here’s to the three members of the F Club. May they forever rejoice.

1924. Only one miracle allowed

Nina-Marie had recently died and was thoroughly enjoying looking down from above at her loved ones. There was her husband Clive, her cat Maisie, and her dog Wolfgang. They certainly missed her.

During life it had always been Nina-Marie who looked after the pets. It’s not that Clive wasn’t interested or didn’t like them; it was just that the task had fallen to Nina-Marie almost accidentally years ago. Nina-Marie fed the cat and dog; Clive brought in and stacked the firewood. They were the two marriage-allotted chores that occurred most days in early evening.

In her last hours Nina-Marie had said to Clive that if she was permitted, if it was at all possible, she would give some sign that she was doing well in eternity. It would be some little thing; some surprise perhaps; something that Clive would recognize.

Upon arrival in Heaven Nina-Marie was informed that she would be granted one request regarding life on Earth; one prayer to answer. Wistfully she gazed upon her earthly family. She didn’t want to waste the single wish she could grant.

I know exactly what it will be, thought Nina-Marie. The little apple tree, the one we planted several years ago, has never borne fruit. This year it shall have fruit. Not too many apples, that would be wasteful, but just enough for Clive to say “Aha! That’s Nina-Marie’s doing!”

Nina-Marie was about to make arrangements for her “miracle”, when she noticed something; something serious. The cat and dog’s water bowls had dried up. Clive hadn’t given them water since the funeral. It was an oversight. This was an emergency. I wish he’d give them water! Give them water!

Goodness, thought Clive almost instantaneously, they’ve run out of water. And that was Nina-Marie’s one miracle all used up.

1764. Giggling Gerties

The concept of spending a considerable amount of time with these people was driving Barney batty. They were a giggling bunch of pre-adolescent zombies. Giggle giggle giggle. Barney half thought he had wasted his life; he should’ve become a comedian instead of a chartered accountant.

Giggle giggle giggle. Would they never stop? In the end, they were taken away by an “Assistant” to somewhere else; one could hardly say they went away on their own accord.

But what’s this? Another gaggle of Giggling Gerties escorted into the waiting room. Giggle giggle giggle. Barney wanted to scream. Off they go now, to wherever! Giggle giggle giggle.

It took a while for Barney to realize where he was; he had died and was in the waiting room before entering an eternal dimension. The Giggling Gerties were being taken off to Heaven. As the assistant who seemed to be overseeing the whole affair said to Barney: “Things are a bit overcrowded at present, so we’re keeping you here in the waiting room until we manage to finish expanding the boundaries of Hell.”

1712. High standards

(Someone asked me, why don’t you write something depressing? I think they were being sarcastic. Anyway, here it is.)

Lachlan had lived an average sort of life. He’d told the odd fib, but it didn’t amount to much. He’d given the occasional dollar to the Salvation Army during their Annual Appeal. He’d paid his taxes. He never once got a ticket for speeding. He’d been worn to a frazzle rearing his kids and driving van-loads of exuberant youths to this game and that, and so on. It was an average sort of life.

Eventually he died. He joined the line at the Pearly Gates.

Saint Peter said, “You lived an average sort of life. The standard here is very high. I’m sorry but you’ve missed out.”

“Oh, dear!” said Lachlan. “So I’m going to Hell?”

“No,” said Saint Peter, “as a consolation prize we’re sending you into oblivion.”