[author suggests listening to mogwai’s “what are they doing in heaven today” while reading. And generally. This is a youtube LINK. Could I link to the song less disruptively, or post it, ideally, and be covered by fair use? If so I’ll put up the song. I hope you enjoy the below.]
This can’t be heaven, I’m a goddam atheist!
It takes a lot of nerve, existing independently of your will, but the thing is it HAS the nerve, sir. Especially if it’s been drinking, but I don’t talk like that about people.
I thought we were talking about heaven?
It minds it’s business, and we humans could learn a lot from that lousy drunk, y’hear?
Sorry, my inside jokes are deep inside myself and I’ve stopped laughing long ago. So ask me the question and we’ll get you processed.
Ask me what you want to know. Or, rather, ask me to tell you what you can’t accept. …Maybe now-ish.
Um… I know it’s–
I already implied it’s stupid. Granted: It’s stupid to ask. Ask it.
Does this mean I’m dead?
[ST PETER PERFECTLY LIP SYNCS THE QUESTION HE’D BEEN ASKED BILLIONS OF TIMES. THEN HE KINDA TUNES THE GUY OUT FOR A FEW HOURS, ABLE TO ANTICIPATE THE INITIAL ACTIONS OF THIS INTAKE, JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER, ALWAYS WITH A TRAGICALLY UNAPPRECIATED WISDOM AND WIT]
…the other place then maybe – maybe – that would make sense, but heaven?
Heaven. Or talk to God about a transfer to the eternal unconsciousness you expected so you can have been right and, being right, never feel so awesome about being so right about something so huge.
…I can die?
In God all things.
All things what?
All things but us have standards! In God, through God, all things are possible. So yeah maybe he’d kill you. If it’d make you happy.
How could it?
You’d have been right. All those idiots? All the murder? Talk to Jesus about religion and its relationship with death. …Just make him talk…
I can talk to him?
Be sure he doesn’t give you feelings or any of that. Or did you want a bit of Hell? I was not listening to you for the longest time! Really, I answer based on the cadence of the voice. Got it so down.
…Is Jesus God?
Jesus is God kinda like light is a particle.
It can’t be a particle.
Really? …No light isn’t a particle.
But given conditions A, it seems to humans to be a particle.
Light isn’t a wave. Nor is Jesus, in case… OK, but given B it seems like light must be a wave.
So it acts as though it has to be one thing if A, another if B. Whatever people see isn’t what’s there. What we observe is impossible.
Jesus is last door on the left.
He still goes by Jesus. But yeah he’s God. …I’m Peter. Those are Pearly Gates. If Jesus was a fake I–
Last door, left.
It’s a tunnel.
Bosch. We switch up the Gates when we wanna change the view. Everyone ends up meeting everyone. You will eventually, so prepare yourself to meet the most jovial sonofabitch ever created.
Just kinda let it – HEY! IF YOUR NAME ENDS IN -AEL, INTAKE TO TAKE IN!
This is not my purpose.
Michael! Christian angel! CHRISTIAN!
Humans have a reasonable number of eyes, they are not ten thousand insect-winged lidless–
Is he out?
I think your light did it.
I am light.
You know what I mean – I think the halo dropped him like a deer dying in headlights.
They do not do that.
Certainly not now.
This will be… I must return to chorus.
So you burn like the bush, then? Or does it hurt but your circle–
–is into that?
Peter you are the most human, maybe, of humans.
You too Michael.
Tell Jesus the noob’s an atheist and learns best by analogy.
As you say, keykeeper.
As you were, ball of eyeballs. …You looked like a dragonfly, darting through the gate or tunnel or whatever.
That was just mean, Peter.
…Yeah. …Yes it was, Michael and I am sorry. …I am!
All the same, keep behind me, satan!
TOO SOON! …That one… When the last muon stops moving, when the universe is frozen and–
It was one night Peter. And you know Jesus feels your fucking guilt. Feels the bullshit exactly as you do right now. And so what are you doing? Hating yourself for hurting Jesus by hurting Jesus. …Intelligence never has been a factor in His Grace, has it. Truly his sense is his own, and obviously nonsense is yours, but available to loan.
Samael! Back from earth?
One by one… I’m timeless but I swear I do feel time.
Are you learning boredom?
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child…”
What did Phil say about why he liked that passage?
Did he say he liked it?
No, Sam, he said he was good enough to take inspiration from the ramblings of a total ass-hat douchebag.
Give Peter a sword and any ear will do!
I had to expect Jesus to be Jesus to him, but YHVY…
God was of two minds considering your boy Paul?
It wasn’t God’s justice. It wasn’t perfect.
A human knows from perfect?
I know God felt… Something.
And everyone knows God can anything anything anytime all the time everywhere nowhere ad infinitum.
Go paddle your boat Charon.
What did it do with the coins?
If they all paid up you are a new kinda rich, bitch.
I am God’s will manifest. I serve God.
You have no choice.
Angels do not have free will. The other tree in the garden wanted to tell you nothing does.
He is what is.
What will be.
After your stupid particle speech, which you need to rest from the rotation because — irony. Sardonic humor. …You may be a little evil for heaven, Pete. Good thing we keep you outside the gate.
It was you Samael. You were there.
I am ever-closer to and consumed by God.
You’re where we kept the traitor. Close. Secure in his place because he kept the sesterce because he thought we valued them as he did. We gave them to him because we hated it.
He made his choice.
Jesus knew he would.
What does he not know?
Did he pick him, knowing what he would do?
I’m gonna go get a dead person. I could use better company.
Peace with you, Samael.
God is one, Peter.
God is one.
Hieronymus Bosch, Ascent of the Blessed, panel in a polyptych by the -tych master.