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It’s That Season Already

It’s That Season Already

Rays of sunshine peaked around fluffy white clouds as another day dawned at the gates. Herbert was on duty at the arrival desk providing for more vacation relief. Apparently St Peter was trying to get an afterlife.

The first shuttle of the day pulled up and a full compliment of arrivals disembarked. Herbert wasn’t sure but given that they all were wearing the same clothes, almost costumes really, he surmised they knew each other. Looking at the manifest he confirmed his suspicion.

“Yep, they’re all political consultants. That explains the plain grey suits and ties in what I assume is this years power color.”

The first person of the group stepped up to the podium.

“Hello I have been asked to be the spokesperson of the group.”

“Of course you have, What’s on your mind?”

“So, Are we correct in assuming these are the gates to heaven?”

“You are correct in assuming so sir.”
Herbert felt strange. He normally was not so formal. Perhaps it was the suits.

“Well, we are quite confused as to how we made it here?”

“Oh, why is that?”

“Aside from the fact that we are all political consultants, we also all basically committed suicide.”

“Well, as to the first part I can only say that is not immediate grounds for relocation to the basement so to speak. Unless you worked for Hitler, Mussolini or various other despots. I have a list here if you would like to check.”

“No, that won’t be necessary. We were not employed by any of those.”

“And as for the second part of your claim, I am quite certain you are mistaken. The shuttle would have taken you to a holding area to adjudicate the circumstances. Are you sure you all ended your lives?”

“Well not physically as such but we all gave up the will to live.”

“That’s not grounds for adjudication. But really; All of you? What possessed you to do that.”

“Well, it was quite a lot of things but mostly we were all tired of not being listened to.”

“Yes, that’s right,” the group shouted in unison.

At this point individuals began stepping forth to add their own voices to the discussion.

“It wasn’t like our advice was hard to understand,” said the average looking one in a suit.

“Yea, it was in plain language,” said another indistinguishable one in a suit.

“Yes,” said another one looking like, well you know the drill.

“We even put it on a flash card around their neck so they could consult it whenever they were asked a question,” added the spokesperson.

“Sounds like a good idea,” replied Herbert. “What did it say?”

“It says and I quote “Whatever you’re are thinking, don’t say it.”

“And that didn’t work?”

“Oh no, They just laughed and proceeded to insult every voting demographic that exists. Some of them we didn’t know existed until they expressed their rage.”

“Yea, And we had to clean up the mess,” shouted another, uh, nondescript arrival.

“Sorry to hear that but that is no longer your concern so you can all relax. I do have one question if you don’t mind?”

“Oh sure, you’re the gatekeeper by all means.”

“There is one gentlemen that kinds of stands out over there in the back.”

“Oh, Harry?”

“Is he the naked one covered in rather large bandages?”

“Yes and those are bumper stickers. He lost his mind before he lost the will to live.”

“You don’t say. What caused that?”

“Oh, the bumper stickers I supposed. Those were his clients last request before he just lost it.”

“What do they say?”

“The candidate apologizes in advance for anything offensive he will say soon”

“That would do it.”

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Do Not Go Quietly (Requiem for a King)

Do Not Go Quietly (Requiem for a King)

     Herbert was pulling pearly gate duty again, he volunteered this time. It was a chance to meet people at the end of their journey and witness all of their worries taking wing. It was an experience he could not forget and he had to share in it once more. 

The first time it occurred, he felt guilty that he took pleasure at being at the end of a person’s life. The guilt only lasted until the next person stepped off of the shuttle. A sufficient time for reality to settle in had past and most of the arrivals had a realized they were not heading to a much warmer climate. This stop at the pearly gates was final confirmation that all would be well.
The first shuttle of the day had arrived and unloaded its passengers and while it was sans knights on noble steeds*, the experience was satisfying and he found himself looking forward to the next arrival.

During the wait, Herbert was trying to read the latest issue of People but he was having a hard time concentrating.

The lobby’s muzak was covering the best of Kenny G. While the title may be just a small lie, the music itself belonged at the alternate end of the road.

Soon the sounds of a blues riff in E-Minor mercifully arrived on the wind.

Herbert was somewhat of guitar buff and he thought he recognized the fat sounds of a Gibson announcing the arrival of the next shuttle.

It’s about time we got some righteous tunes up here, he thought.

The notes reached a crescendo as the shuttle appeared and BB King jumped out and completed his riff to announce his arrival. Herbert was blown away.

“Wow,what an entrance,” he exclaimed.
“But why the blues Mr. King? Most people are actually happy upon reaching the pearly gates.”

“Young man you don’t always have to be sad to play the blues. It can be a celebration that sad times are in the past.”

Nice philosophy, thought Herbert.

“Besides,I’m B.B King. You expect me to play Kenny G?

“Oh heavens no,” replied Herbert”

“ I’m looking forward to playing to a new audience. You don’t have many critics up here do you?”

“Oh no, their final destination is much warmer.”

Thank you B.B. King for nourishing my soul.

*If you missed that reference see “Waiting For Dulcinea”

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”

“Thanks.”

“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
smart-assery.”

“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.

“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.”

“What.”

“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.”

“Pardon?”

“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

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