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A Writer’s Choice (in the Afterlife)

February 25, 2010

Here is a little creation of my own…

A writer died and was given the choice of going to heaven or hell.

The writer thought he’d check out each place before making his decision. He was pretty sure which he would choose, but decided to check out Hell anyway. He descended in a shiny gold and diamond elevator and upon exiting, a beautiful young women was waiting to be his guide on this whirlwind (under)world tour. He entered a beautiful wood-paneled study lined floor to ceiling with colorful leather-bound books. One whole wall of the study was a huge window which opened onto an exquisite island paradise where famous writers (“Is that Hemingway?!”) lounged about sipping cold drinks while dictating their latest (afterlife) bestsellers to gorgeous assistants.

“Wow,” the writer exclaimed, “is this what they do for all eternity?”

“Not at all,” his beautiful guide purred, “the writers you see are just about to embark on a luxury cruise of the celestial sea, where each will perform readings to legions of devoted fans. But in the interest of complete disclosure,” she added, “I have to tell you it’s not all fun and games here.”

“Aha! I knew it!” said the writer.

“Yes,” said the guide, “sometimes you do have to tell the hundreds of agents and publishers who are clamoring at your luxury penthouse suite door, that they can’t all represent you or publish your latest creation. It does so break their hearts.”

“What a problem to have,” the writer muttered under his breath.

“What was that?” his beautiful guide asked, “I didn’t quite hear you.”

“Nothing, nevermind.” the writer said hastily.

“If you are ready to stay, we have a luxury berth awaiting you on the celestial sea cruise, with an assistant even more intelligent and incredibly beautiful than I, a bestseller already begun, and a cold drink to sit by your elbow, all you have to do is say the word.” his guide intoned seductively.

“Well, I thought I had made my mind up before I came here,” the writer told the guide, “but now I’m not so sure, and as much as I hate to leave, if Hell is like this, I have to check out Heaven!”

“So be it,” his guide said a trifle sadly.

So they walked back into the study and the writer entered the gold and diamond elevator once more. When the door opened, he found himself in a beautiful outdoor space. Beautiful people were sitting around under trees and on the ground, singly or in small groups. Everyone was smiling and seemed to be happy, but they were very quiet. An older, fatherly figure in tweed and patches was there to greet him.

“Welcome,” he said quietly, “how can I be of service?”

“Oh, hi!” said the writer, “I was just in Hell, and man-oh-man, what a place!” he crowed. “I was really surprised at how nice it was,” he said, “but I figured if Hell was that apparently ‘perfect’ for a writer, how much better would Heaven be!” he finished.

“Well, I am sorry to disappoint you, young man, but we don’t go in for all that foolishness up here.” the old man said rather dismissively, “Here, we spend our time in eternal contemplation of God. You see these people around you?” he asked, “They have all released their earthly desires and sense of self, because they are no longer needed here. God is all that matters.” he finished with a serene smile.

“Oh, great, I see.” said the writer, “That sounds, um, swell.” he finished lamely.

“Do you, son? Do you really?” the old man asked kindly, “Because, now it is time for you to make your decision.”

“Oh wow, man, you know, now that it comes to it,” the writer said hesitantly, “I think that all this ‘contemplation of God’ stuff is great and all that, but I am a writer and I need to write and be loved for my writing.” he said. “I think I am going to choose Hell. Yes, definitely, I choose Hell.”

“So be it,” said the kindly old man, sadly.

POOF! FLASH! In the blink of an eye, the writer found himself chained to an old metal desk with an old Smith-Corona manual typewriter in front of him (with an “e” key that keeps on sticking), an immensely tall stack of blank typing paper next to him, and absolutely no idea what to write about. All about him was hellfire and heat and choking clouds of sulphurous smoke. Crack! a cat-o-ninetails slashed painfully across his naked back. Screaming and writhing in agony, he turned to see his beautiful “Hell-guide” advancing towards him out of the smoke and flames, the bloody cat-o-ninetails in her hand.

“What the…YOU?!” he cried out, “What’s going on? Where is the beautiful study and the island paradise, the gorgeous assistants, the cruise, and Hemingway for pity’s sake!” he pleaded.

As her beauty began to melt, and she slowly morphed into a hideous demonic entity, the guide rasped in a now hellish growl, “What? Oh that. That was just our query. It’s a fiction, you know.”

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