“Crime Syndicate Boss Dead” in big bold letters was the headline in the newspaper.
The old man stood awestruck in front of the golden gates. As they began to open, he noticed a young man waiting for him on the other side.
“Hello, Mr. Caruso, welcome to…”
“Where am I,” the old man interrupted.
“You died,” said the young man.
“But I don’t remember passing through a bright light to get here.”
“Some people don’t”
“Are you Saint Peter?”
“Me? No.” the young man answered. “I am the concierge assigned to escort you to the hotel.”
For the first time, the man noticed the opulent building sitting at the end of the driveway they were walking. The hotel sparkled and gleamed in the light with floors reaching higher than he could see.
“I’m not sure if I will be able to walk all the way,” the old man said.
The young man just smiled. The two men made small talk on their walk up the driveway. The entire time, the old man didn’t notice the metamorphoses taking place within him until he reached the stairs.
“This is as far as I go, Mr. Caruso, the reservation clerk is waiting for you inside.”
As the old man raised his hand to shake with the concierge, he noticed that the brown spots and wrinkles were gone. The hand shaking was that of a young man.
“I’m young again,” he shouted out as he felt the smooth skin on his face and the thick crop of hair on his scalp.
The concierge motioned toward the stairs and the man smiled and ran up the stairs two at a time. He was whistling as he entered the lobby and walked toward the registration desk.
“Hello, Mr. Caruso and welcome. We’ve been waiting for you,” said the man behind the counter
“Are you Saint Peter?”
“You could call me that. I’m here to check you in. The staff is so excited that you will be spending eternity with us. I’ve been hearing murmuring throughout the building. Your book of deeds has been the most extensive we’ve seen since the 1940’s!”
“Thank you,” the man said proudly.
“Our owner will be here to personally escort you to the executive suites. Those are reserved for our most honored guests. Here he is now.”
“Hello Vincenzo Caruso, my name is Mr. Natas. I am the proprietor of this establishment and will escort you to your room.” He pointed toward the bank of elevators.
“You can call me Vinnie, Mr. Natas and I appreciate the hospitality that you are showing me.”
“Nonsense my boy, it is I who should be thanking you for spending eternity with us.”
The two men walked into the elevator car and Mr. Natas hit the button for the one hundred and third floor. The elevator ride lasted seconds and the doors opened into an ornate hallway with red carpeting and crystal chandeliers symmetrically hanging.
They walked halfway down the hall and stopped in front of Room 1030. Mr. Natas unlocked the door allowing Vinnie to enter first.
Vinnie looked around the room. He had never seen anything like it before. It had everything imaginable and more.
“I hope the room is to your liking,” said Mr. Natas.
“I have never seen a room like this before. All my favorites are here including the wine. I am quite satisfied.”
“Good, I am content that my staff did their job,” Mr. Natas said as he walked toward the door and opened it. He turned for the last time and said, “What do you think of the view.”
Vinnie walked over to the window and looked out. Quickly his happiness turned to astonishment as he saw the most appalling scenes. He turned and looked at Mr. Natas.
“What kind of heaven is this,” he demanded.
“Who said anything about heaven,” Mr. Natas said as he closed the door behind him.
Immediately after the door shut, the grandiose walls melted away revealing the fire and brimstone.
Vinnie’s screams could be heard by Mr. Natas as he walked grinning back to the elevator.
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