“Wow, I take it you are St. Peter, or do I call you just Peter, or Pete? No, no, I’m only kidding. Actually, I didn’t expect to see you at all. In fact, I think I may have ballsed things up, me being an atheist. Well, let’s say, a former atheist. It’s more than a surprise that I’m here at all, I’m supposed to be at a New Year’s party. Apparently, some drunken prick has taken me out. I hope that bastard is down below. I can’t imagine he’s up here with that blot on his record. Yeah, yeah, I know I’m rambling, I’m actually petrified. I’m not actually sure whether you are directing traffic, you might say, you know, determining if the elevator is going to go up, or go down. Please say something.”
“Run out of words, have you? Well, you guys piss me off, somewhat. Sneering at the faithful and getting pissed out of your brains on Sundays when you should be thanking the boss for putting the terra-firma under your feet.”
“Jesus Christ, oh, sorry JC, slipped out. This guy just cannot shut his mouth for long. I’ll say a few ‘hail hims’ when I get off duty.”
“Look, I’m sorry, I’m nervous. So would you be if you were in my position.”
“I have been. This pearly-gate has been around for quite some time, but I kept my trap shut when I arrived here, something I wish you would do.”
“Who was here when you arrived?”
“You really can’t shut up, can you? Well, it was held for a short while by John the Baptist. Unfortunately, he was so pissed off with Salome he couldn’t let it go. Him, forgave her, but John couldn’t. You’ve got to realise, er, what’s your name, ah, yes, Trojan? What sort of name is that?”
“Father was a computer geek. He slipped up and had to pay maintenance to my mother for my keep. He wouldn’t pay unless he named me this, legally. I haven’t used it for years. Call me Finn. That’s to show my one-finger salute to him.”
“Okay, Finn, I got it. Now let’s get down to business. I don’t know why you are here at all. We are not perfect here, in spite of you may think, but you, I cannot account for. Maybe, someone, I won’t say who, is checking up on me. Trojan, now that is an interesting name. Perhaps someone is playing a game on me. I may wear long dresses, but I’m not unaware of modern technology down there. Are you a Trojan horse about to pull out your bag of tricks and make my life a misery?”
“Pete, Peter, now you’re getting paranoid. I thought I was going to go to oblivion, not finish up here. Maybe you should get John back. Possibly after 2000 years, he can now let it go about Salome. Perhaps she can dance for him to make up? I’ve lost my head over many a girl.”
Peter wasn’t amused.
“No, he’s still in retraining. He made a bit of a hash of JC’s baptism – got sand in his eyes. That’s why JC always appears to be crying in his pictures, sand-tears, a hell of a job to remove sand. Anyway, I’m getting off-track. You are on my list and I just don’t know why. Your record doesn’t show you as a monster, or anything like that, but you are an atheist and we do have standards. Are you a secret believer? Or at least, were you a secret believer, or has administration stuffed up again? Can you believe we had Adolf here arguing that he was merely trying to teach the Jews a lesson for nailing JC up? He wouldn’t listen when I told him JC was a Jew. He tried to say JC converted to Christianity on the Mount, if you can believe that, and they let run a country? For a laugh, I called JC down here and he told Adolph to piss off down below.”
“Well, St. Pete, I did believe once, but then I believed in Santa Claus as well, and he did appear to bring me presents. But I confess, I didn’t give ‘up-here’ any real thought. Perhaps I donated to some church organisation accidentally. I wasn’t too bad at the charities lark, although I had my doubts about some of them.”
“Let me have a word with admin, actually I quite like you, maybe it’s your personality that’s confused the issue.”
St Peter tapped his halo and a halogram of Napoleon appeared.
“Nap, have you screwed up again, or at least have your minions screwed up? Trojan, here, is, or was an atheist, how come?”
“We seldom balls up. Although it was before my time, didn’t you do a bit of denying before the cock crowed or something, but you made it through?”
“You keep bringing that up every time you make a mistake. I told you, I did penance. I notice you don’t have Saint before your name or had a church built to say I pulled up my socks. Now, back to the issue, why is Trojan, or Finn, as he likes to be called here?”
“He plays a marvellous jazz piano and I want him in my group. You are a philistine and only go for that harp crap. Well, not crap, but we’ve moved on. Finn here is almost as good as Oscar Peterson and I need someone of his calibre to fill in when O.P. wants a break.”
“I don’t believe a word of it, Nap. That’s not a nefarious enough of a reason for you. I think you are still up to your territorial ambitions. I haven’t even heard of your jazz band.”
“Judge not, lest you be judged, Pete. He doesn’t worry if a guy is an atheist or not, it’s deeds, man. I know he liked his booze sometimes, but he was generally a pretty straight shooter. Look at his record, he taught the kids well at his school. He didn’t get up to any hanky-panky like some of those priests who were mealy-mouthing their blessings to young children in a way not laid down in the scriptures.”
“Okay, I got it, but send through the justifications why he’s here. I’ve got that guy who organised the ‘twin-tower’ collapse next, I suppose you are going to tell me you need him to stand in for Benny Goodman sometimes as he is a fine clarinet player?
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Your dialogue is sparkling as usual, Len!
You can't go wrong with St. Pete.