Heaven and Hell

According to my friend God, Heaven and Hell doesn’t exist anymore. Here’s what He said about it, over coffee in Manhattan one morning.

One morning I was having coffee with God at a Starbuck’s in midtown Manhattan when a man sitting near us shouted loudly into his cellphone, “Guess what, honey? I’m not constipated anymore!! Just saw two nice big turds floating in the toilet!” He went on in a similar vein until I could stand it no more. “Send that bugger to Hell,” I said to God.

heaven and hell
Balaam and the Angel (Satan) (1836) by Gustav Jäger, Public Domain.

“Hell doesn’t exist anymore,” my companion replied. “Nor does Heaven.” Then he told me the following story.

If too many people are living on our planet, there will be too many dead people as well. God and his rival Satan couldn’t deal with the Afterlife’s burgeoning workload by themselves, so they hired assistants to help them. Many of these assistants worked remotely, so remotely that, according to God, they could be on Mars. Not surprisingly, there were quite a few errors in processing.

“What do you mean by ‘errors in processing?” I asked.

“Here are a few examples. The big-name Nazis Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler ended up in Heaven, while Mother Teresa ended up in Hell.”

“The saintly nun went to Hell?”

“She did…and she was so angry about her Reward, so-called, that she became a literal hellion. Anyone who tried to calm her down ran the risk of a very nasty crucifix wound.”

Both Heaven and Hell suffered from poor air quality, post-suicide bombings, and neglected public lavatories. And whereas in the past a flick from a Divine or a Satanic hand would send anti-matter packing, now huge repugnant gobs of the stuff were smacking into the two places and providing many of the residents with an impromptu second burial.

The queues at the gates to both Kingdoms were endless, with the result that people whether damned or saved would find themselves waiting for what seemed like an eternity. Several elderly Russians said it was just like Soviet times. Except in Soviet times there probably wouldn’t have been an orangutan or a rhesus monkey waiting in line with you — more errors in processing.

Then God’s narrative got interrupted. “Hey Mike, guess what? My turds are now dark brown and sausage-shaped,” our neighbor shouted into his cellphone even more loudly than before.

Enough is enough, my companion decided, and he used his magical powers to turn our neighbor into a pile of salt, just as he’d done with Lot’s wife. He added that it would have been more appropriate to turn the guy into a pile of shit, but the baristas might have objected to this.

Now back to the story. Satan got in touch with God and said, “Hey, Mr. Almighty, let’s deep six our Kingdoms. Lookin’ after them is just too much effin’ trouble.” For once, God agreed with his long-time adversary.

So it was that the two of them abolished both Heaven and Hell. For good measure, they abolished Purgatory, too. And now whenever a person dies, he or she really dies instead of being transported to some sweet or perhaps not-so-sweet Hereafter.

This abolition seemed to me like a very smart move, so I toasted it by clicking my coffee mug against God’s, after which I scooped up the salt heaped on a nearby seat, put into big paper bag, and threw the bag in the trash.


Part of a series detailing Lawrence Millman’s experiences with his drinking buddy God. Soon to be gathered together, assuming a publisher is interested, as a mini-memoir entitled “Drinks With God.”

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