Sunday, January 31, 2016

305. Hereafter

“Hey, wait for me.” I had started on my daily walk when I heard  C.W. call. I turned to see him in one of his inquisitive teenager shapes. Oh no.

“I have a joke for you,” he said as he moved alongside me and matched my pace.

“A joke?” This stopped me. “You have a joke?”

“You betcha.”

“You are a joke,” I said. “But where did you learn one?”

“At the Dairy Bar,” he said. Sometime when I am busy and he is in this shape, he steals my car and goes to a local teen hangout. No doubt he had been there lately.

“You are going to get arrested for driving without a license.”

He ignored me. “So this boy says to his girlfriend while they were parked on a date. ‘Do you believe in the hereafter?’ She asks him what he means. He says, ‘If you’re not here after what I’m here after, you’re gonna be here after I’m gone.’ Funny eh?”

I groaned. “Want some advice?”


“Don’t tell that to my wife.”

“We’re not speaking since I asked her if she was really made from one of your ribs.”


“She said no, that women were created from three-quarters of man’s brain.”

“That sounds like her,” I said. “Did you believe her?”

“Have you ever disagreed with her?”

“A couple of times,” I said, then added, “years ago.”

“Well what I really want to know is about this concept your species has of the hereafter. What you call a place regarded in various religions as the abode of God (or the gods) and the angels, and of the good after death, often traditionally depicted as being above the sky.”

“You mean Heaven?”

“That’s what I just said.”

“What do you want to know? I’m hardly an expert.”

“How does one get there?”

“Like I said, I’m not an expert.”

“Will Mrs. Big Dope go there?”

“If there really is such a place,” I said, “I’m sure she will have a prominent position. Probably Commandant of Animal Angels.”

“Will Joel Osteen go there?”

“Not likely, they say it will be very hard for a rich man to enter.”

“Franklin Graham?”

“Uh, not likely. ‘Love one another’ and all that.”

“Rush Limbaugh?”

“Are you kidding? Three divorces?”


“A big no, no,” I said.

“Are there any other things that might keep people out?”

“Well,” I said, “as I say, I’m no expert, but as I understand it, there are a few specifics.”

“Such as?”

“Not taking care of the hungry.”

“Oh,” he said, “do your politicians know this?”

“Some of them.”

“Oh my,” he said. “What else?”

“Not taking care of the thirsty.”

“Like not maintaining a safe water supply?”

I thought. “Yeah, I guess you could put it that way.”

“Go on.”

“Not taking in strangers.”

“You must be kidding.”

“Not keeping poor people clothed.”

“Get out of town.”

“Neglecting prisoners.”


I tend to share your writer Mark Twain's confusion that
you would seek out a place to spend eternity doing the
things you hated to do on earth, like singing hymns, - C.W.
“Can we change the subject? I’m growing quite weary of all this,” I said.

“Just one thing more,” he said. “Children?”

“Oh,” I said, “I think there is a special corner of ‘the other place’ for people who mistreat or torture children.”

“Torture them how?”

“You know,” I said, “physically or mentally abusing them.”

“Like taking them, for example,” he said, “into a dark room and telling them that there is a man in the sky, in this place called Heaven, that will burn their little bodies forever if they don’t do what the grownups say?”

“Look,” I said, “there’s a red-winged blackbird.”

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