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Topic: Hmph! (03/04/10)
By Gregory Kane
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All the same, dying was pretty traumatic. There I was, minding my own business, just picking up the May edition of Seventeen, when this crazed gunman decided to hold up the corner store. Then this cop wandered in and the bullets started flying. The policeman caught the first round although that wasn't fatal. I wasn't so lucky. As I hit the floor, blood gushing everywhere, this drop dead gorgeous angel appeared out of nowhere and whisked me off to Heaven. Like, wow. And then, way better, I got to see Jesus. I believed in him of course. I'd confessed my sins and asked for forgiveness. But seeing him in the flesh was something beyond words. Imagine stumbling through the biggest waterfall in the world, getting soaked down to your pores, and then stepping out into this enormous rainbow that has a million colours rather than just a paltry seven. Like that, -ish.
Heaven is a cool place to hang out. It took me a couple of days to realise that I could check up on what was happening on the earth. I actually missed my own funeral which is sort of ironic because it was my father's constant grumble that I was never on time for anything. But I caught the wake, although part of me wishes I hadn't bothered. I watched my mother sobbing her eyes out and all I wanted to do was to put my arms round her and tell her I was okay.
Turns out that the gunman got away that night. But the police caught him a fortnight later when he held up a filling station. The stupid fool even used the same gun. The trial was over and done with in three months and the judge had the good sense to order the man's execution. His criminal record included more than a dozen robberies as well as several rapes. Turns out he had been tried once before for murder but some cop had messed up the evidence. If there was anyone who deserved the death penalty, he did. And boy was he in for a big surprise when they pulled his plug and he discovered an eternity of hellfire on the other side.
Course these things take time. First they had the appeal. Then he had to hang around on death row for a while. I just checked in now and again. There's so much to do in Heaven, what with the ace worship services, the stuff you can learn about, the people you can get to know. My gran arrived recently and it's been nice to sit and reminisce with her.
It all started to unravel three weeks ago. This new chaplain arrived at the prison where my killer was awaiting his big date with justice. Then the Holy Joe began preaching the Gospel and who's his first convert but my least favourite person in the entire world. I couldn't believe what my ears were telling me. So I marched straight up to the nearest angel and ordered him to check the files. You can imagine my shock and horror when he confirmed that the man's slate had been wiped clean. He was still due to be executed in a couple of days' time, but there was an angel standing by to carry him straight here.
Saint Peter came to see me the very next day. Told me how hard he had found it to accept Saint Paul, seeing as how Paul had had several of Peter's friends stoned to death. And then he went on a bit about some of my own past sins, saying that forgiveness is offered freely to all. I didn't want to hear it. I yelled back that pinching a bit of money out of my Dad's wallet was a far cry from shooting someone in the head. Then I stormed out.
So now I'm waiting. And wondering. He's due to arrive any hour now. It's not as if I can ignore him for all of eternity. But that doesn't mean that I have to forgive him. Or does it?
Author's note: theologically, this story is set in Heaven prior to the Resurrection and the Final Judgment. It is an attempt to speculate on the emotions of departed believers such as those referred to in Rev 6:9-11 and possibly Heb 12:1.
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