Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Putting the “Die” in Dialogue

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St. Peter: Next, please…Hello, sir. Welcome to The Pearly Gates. May I have your name please?

Man: Alex Kyuzmyself.

St. Peter: How do you do, Mr. Kyuzmyself. Please wait a moment while I check our records…(types on keyboard, stares at screen for a few seconds)…very good, Mr. Kyuzmyself. You’re definitely supposed to be here now. But we have a few procedural steps to go through before we go any further. Would you please take a seat over there, and one of our ministering angels will be with you right away? Thank you.

(Kyuzmyself moves to a booth at the side; archangel Michael joins him)

Michael: Hello, Mr. Kyuzmyself. I’m Michael. (offers hand; Kyuzmyself shakes)…Now, we have approximately an eternity to get through this stage of the proceedings, so I hope you don’t mind this taking a while. (places a stack of papers before Kyuzmyself, who raises his eyebrows, but then shrugs). Please sign each of these; they’re mostly to record that you’ve been here, and that you’re not still floating out there somewhere waiting to be declared dead.

Kyuzmyself: You mean you can’t just keep track of things yourselves?

Michael: Oh, we can keep track of things, but this week the Almighty is in a nostalgic mood. You should have seen the place way back when, when He decided on an ancient Rome theme, and all of us were in togas. It’s a pain to get those around these wings, I can tell you. And everything was on papyrus. But it certainly beat the whole Sumerian thing He had going for a little while before that. If you’d kicked the bucket at that time, I’d be placing a thick pile of stone tablets in front of you instead of just a stack of paper. Just chiseling your signature on all of them would take weeks. I can’t wait until we get to the twenty-second century; then everything will be done by embedded chips and the staff can go on to the really important things, such as interrogating inma- I mean arrivals.

Kyuzmyself: Uh…int..interrogating?

Michael: Oh, nothing reprehensible, I assure you. We’re the good guys, remember? But that doesn’t mean you haven’t earned a few uncomfortable experiences on this side of the daisies, now, does it?

Kyuzmyself: Uh…

Michael: Of course not. Now, then, Mr. Kyuzmyself – say, may I call you Alex?

Kyuzmyself: Uh, yeah, I guess.

Michael: Good. It’s easier to say anyway. Such a pleasure after a whole slew of those tsunami victims we had to process. Pronouncing those names was a real trip, not to mention the data entry. A whole slew! Ha! Get it?

Kyuzmyself: Uh…isn’t that a bit racist?

Michael: Oh, come on, Alex! Like you’re not a bigoted schmuck yourself? We know all about you and your “the Civil War was all about states’ rights, not about slavery” nonsense. And the way you always avoided sitting next even the respectably dressed black people on the subway. And your opposition to public health care for illegal immigrants. But a little hypocrisy never bothered you, did it, Mr. Descendant of Immigrants?

Kyuzmyself: Hey, wait a minute! My ancestors came over legally!

Michael: Oh, yes, and so did all the European conquerors who didn’t give a rat’s patootie for the folks who happened to be there ten thousand years earlier, huh? It’s OK for the white folks to come over any which way, but the darkies? Well, now that’s a different story, isn’t it? Tell me, Alex, why weren’t you demonstrating over in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where who knows how many – well we know how many, but that’s hardly the point – white, educated foreigners overstay their visas?

Kyuzmyself: That’s different! They’re productive members of society!

Michael: Yes, just like your grandfather, who came over in 1920 and promptly looked for work in the lucrative field of migrant agriculture. Just like the Mexicans you seem to fear so much. How much separates you from them, really, Alex? Give the Mexicans two more generations and I’ll be sitting here with one of them, needling him about some other bigotry. Don’t deny it, Alex, it’s only human to be wary of the “other”.

Kyuzmyself: I, uh…I, uh…

Michael: That’s what I thought (makes check mark on clipboard). Let’s move on to some other questions, then. How old is the universe, Alex?

Kyuzmyself: (proudly) About six thousand years old.

Michael: (makes disappointed clicking noise) Oh, come now, Alex, must you be so gullible?

Kyuzmyself: (confused) What?

Michael: I thought you were reasonably intelligent. Since when are you supposed to go around ignoring evidence? Do you think all of medicine is phony?

Kyuzmyself: No, but…but that’s different!

Michael: How so? Science is science. Evidence is evidence.

Kyuzmyself: (incredulous) But the Bible –

Michael: Ah, the Bible. Yes, the Bible, which is somehow supposed to trump your own senses and logic? Please, Alex, if the Lord wanted to insult humanity’s intelligence, he could have done it much more effectively than have you take literally a bunch of passages that even ancient tribal herdsmen understood as metaphor.

Kyuzmyself: Metaphor! How dare you! You call yourself an angel?!

Michael: Oh, an archangel. Believe me, Alex, we noncorporeal beings enjoy quite an amusing show here, watching you take the symbolic literally and screw up royally. Now, I know it’s not really your fault; you just fell under the sway of peer pressure, or charismatic leaders, or whatever, and never saw fit to look critically at things. But really now, Alex, tell me: what’s the difference between you and a Pakistani Taliban supporter?

Kyuzmyself: What?

Michael: You heard me. How is your fundamentalism different from theirs?

Kyuzmyself: Because I don’t go around blowing people up for believing different!

Michael: I don’t mean your actions, Alex, I mean your orientation, the way you view the world. You happened to be born into a context in which your fundamentalism didn’t immediately translate into condoning bloodshed in support of your doctrine. If you came here during the Crusades, well, you’d be in a much hotter reception room right now, if you catch my drift. Let’s not make too much of uncontrollable social context, OK?


Michael: OK, then, next item: did you pay your taxes?

Kyuzmyself: I, uh, I think so. Don’t you, uh, have that on record?

Michael: Of course we do. I just enjoy seeing people squirm when I ask that question. Been doing it since Lord knows when. It never gets old! We had this one guy last week who kept apologizing for masturbating all the time – yes, we know everyone does it, and boy, some of you males can get pretty pathetic about what turns you on – and we never even mentioned it directly, just kind of flashed him vaguely knowing looks, and he’d start sweating and trembling and muttering. The Lord Himself had to step in after a while and put a stop to it.

Kyuzmyself: Well, pardon my saying so, but I don’t believe the Lord would tolerate your behavior!

Michael: Our behavior? We more or less lack free will, Alex. This wouldn’t be going on if He didn’t want it. You get to relive this experience forever, you know. It’s a good thing you’ve been more or less pretty good to people, or we’d be messing with your head like nobody’s business.

Kyuzmyself: I…am I going to enjoy Heaven? You angels sound like a mean-spirited bunch.

Michael: Nah. Think of this as a hazing ritual. If you can handle it, you’re in.

Kyuzmyself: What happens to the people who can’t handle it?

Michael: We send them back to be reborn as rolls of toilet paper; they’ll get used to taking crap from people.


Michael: Oh, don’t worry, Alex. Most everyone gets in. The Lord has a soft spot for good-natured people; He thinks they’re kinda cute. (starts getting up) Step right this way…


Written by Thag

December 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

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