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Downtime for St. Peter (The Further Adventures of Herbert the Celestial Assistant)

Downtime for St. Peter  (The Further Adventures of Herbert the Celestial Assistant)

Herbert was relaxing in the layover lounge (aka The Between Assignments Cubicle) and pondering the possibilities for his next assignment. He was a bit nervous as to what the future held for him. During his career as heavenly assistant he had worn many hats. Some had looked good on him and some had put him on Mr. Blackwell’s list.

He had been thinking about his very first task. It began as building hills but he was elevated* to head mountain builder. It seemed like yesterday but in heaven there really was no concept of time. His revery was interrupted by Solomon, no not that Solomon.

The truth was this Solomon was at the end of the line when the bucket of brains had run out. Rumor has it that tomato soup was substituted. Too bad a grilled cheese sandwich didn’t come with it.

“Time for your next assignment Herb,” announced Solomon.

“Could you call me Herbert? Only the big guy calls me Herb,” said Herbert.

“You mean God?”, asked Solomon.

“Yes of course. Is there another big guy?”

“Well no, but no one calls him big guy.”

“Oh, you don’t say. He doesn’t seem to mind.”

“Never mind that. You have your new assignment. It is only temporary though. You are vacation relief for Peter. “

“The heavenly gates Peter?”

“Yes of course. Is there any other?”

“Well there has to be. He can’t be the only Peter in heaven can he?”

“Probably not but lets not get exi, existen, uh deep. You are pulling relief duty at the heavenly gates”

“So Peter is taking a vacation?”

“Yep. He hasn’t had one since disco was popular.”

“Oh really. Did he have anything to do with that?”

“No and if he had any say it wouldn’t have ever happened. Don’t bring up leisure suits either. It will really get him started.”

“Um, Ok. So where does one go when you take a vacation from Heaven?”

“Colorado of course.”

“Makes sense, I did my best work there.”

“Here we are.”

“St. Peter this is Herbert”

“Nice to meet you Herbert. I’ll take it from here Solomon.”

“Right. Good luck Herbert”


“Ok Herbert. The job is pretty simple really. Here is the master list for today,” said Peter handing him a clipboard.

“A clipboard really? I was expecting something cooler.”

“This is heaven we don’t throw away what works. Pay attention Herbert.
Everyone on the list gets in. You will get a new list each day.”

“Everyone on the list gets in?”

“Yes of course. You were expecting that only the cool people got in ?
This isn’t a trendy New York nightclub.”

“I was looking forward to some judging.”

“Sorry to disappoint you but that has already take place.”

“Bummer. Must be depressing for you.”

“Not at all. Too much responsibility comes with that whole judging thing. So
back to the training part if you don’t mind. The enrollees will show up
periodically during your shift. You will ask them their name and check it
against the list.”

“What’s the point of a list if they all get in,” asked Herbert.

“Because from time to time there will be an error in routing.”

“Oh, kind of like an airline losing your luggage.”

“No, it’s nothing like that. So, are you always a smart ass?”

“Yea, it’s kind of my thing.”

“Oh, ok. Well try to tone it down a bit. These folks have just departed
their corporeal existence and may not appreciate your brand of

“Sorry, I’ll work on it. What happens if they are not on the list?”

“You apologize profusely for the mixup and you ring this bell. Someone will
respond immediately to take them to their final destination.”

“You’re right, it’s nothing like an airline losing your luggage.”

“If they are on the list you give them this pamphlet,” said Peter handing
him a sheet of parchment.


“It still works.”

“Oh, yea,” replied Herbert as he read the pamphlet.”

So Your Dead. Now What?

“Catchy Title”

“Thanks. I came up with that myself.”

“Keep your day job.”


“Nothing. Continue”

“Well. You give them a chance to read the pamphlet and then answer any
questions they may have.”

“I’m not sure I can answer any questions they have. “

“Don’t worry. As I said they are kind of numb when they get here and do not
tend to ask too many questions. Most of their questions will crop up at the
next weigh station. Those folks will handle it. Besides, I will be with
you the entire day and by the end you’ll be a pro. Don’t worry.”

“Ok, lets get to greeting.”


“You know. It’s kind of like being a Walmart greeter.”

“No, no it’s not. What did I tell you?”

“Knock off the smart-assery?”

“Yes. Please”.

The story continues.

*pun intended

On the Fourth Day Herbert Created Hills ( 5 blocks Down and 20 blocks Back)

On the Fourth Day Herbert Created Hills ( 5 blocks Down and 20 blocks Back)

It was the fourth day of creation and God, the creator, the big guy, the big girl or however you refer to him/her/it in your belief system, summoned one of the new aides, Herbert, for tasking.

“Herbert. Can I call you Herb?”

“Sure whatever floats your boat big guy.”

“Herb. I called you here to give you your purpose, the job that will be your responsibility and your’s alone.”

“Ooh, sounds exiting big guy. Drop it on me.”

“Drop it on you?”

“Yea it’s a saying”

“Not anymore it’s not.”

“Yea, It’s stupid. I don’t know who started it.”

“Pay attention Herb. Your job is to build hills.”


“Yea here is an image as an example.”

“Wow, you showed it right on that bush. How did you do that?”

“A mere parlor trick. Now pay attention and study the example. You are

responsible for all the hills that will be built.”

“All of them? As in every one of them?”

“Of course. This world is just getting started so that is the only meaning.”

“Wow. I don’t know if I can do it.”

“Of course you can. I have supreme confidence in you and that’s coming from me, God. If I am behind you, you can’t go wrong.”

“Hey that is catchy. Can I use it?”

“Sure, why not. Many motivational speakers will make money off of it in the future.” Hmm I wonder if I can get royalties? , he thought.

“OK, big guy. I’ll give it my best shot. Where do I start?”

God replaced the image of a hill with a map. “Well, I was thinking of a place that will be named after St. Francis. I call it San Francisco.”

“Cool. I will drop some really nice hills on that.”


“Sorry, I will create some really nice hills there.”
“Create? I am THE creator but I know what you mean.”

“OK, I will go forth and ‘hillafy.’”

“What? That is definitely not a saying.”

“No, but it can be one.”

“No, it can’t.”

“Very well. I’ll get right on it.”

“I will be back in a few hours to check on the results. If you do well, you will be doing the rest of the hills on this planet”

“Will do big guy.”

God went off to ponder his metaphorical navel* and decide who was going to be creating mountains.

Two hours had gone by and he had yet to decide. He had assigned the lake project, the tree project and had formulated the existence of blue navel lint but for mountains he was at a loss. He decided now would be a good time to check on Herbert.

God decided he would start at a place that eventually would become Chinatown. According to his map it should only be a 5 block walk up to what would be known as Knob Hill.

Much puffing later he had reached the top of the hill. Geez, That felt like 20 blocks. I have got to do more cardio, he thought. He turned to look back at the origin of his hike and was shocked to see how steep the climb had been. Well, I feel better about the shape I’m in but this isn’t a hill. It’s a mountain. I hope I can catch Herb before he can do more damage.

God turned to survey his surroundings and saw Herb making his way up the hill from the area that would be Pacific Heights. Herb arrived a few moments later huffing and puffing.

“Well, gasp, I’m, gasp, done.”

“What do you mean done?”

“I’m, gasp, done with, gasp, all the, gasp, hills for, gasp, this town.”

“Oh, um, good. I like what you’ve done with it. You have proven yourself worthy for a more difficult task however and I am promoting you. Your new title will be maker of mountains.”

“I quite like that,” replied Herb.

“I thought you would. It will make a good band name,” said God.


“Oh nothing,” said God.

“I want you to create something like this in this area.” He then displayed a new map image. “If I like what you have done there you will then move on to the continental divide.”

“With a name like that I presume it needs to be real big.”

“Yes, it should be but something tells me you will do just fine.”

* Great band name. Feel free to use it.
Catch Herbert’s next adventure.

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