26 Sep

I hope this doesn’t offend anyone, but as I’m not a believer in Heaven, Hell nor any of the fanciful inhabitants of ancient biblical texts I feel perfectly at liberty to add to what I already think of as fiction. This is part 13 and when I started I thought I knew where I was going but imagined I’d get there in an episode or two. I’m still going to the original destination but getting waylaid by new ideas on the way. By the way, I’m mulling over changing the title soon.

The sound of God whistling for he who was promised as a new friend for Bernard seemed to cut the air like a knife cuts vegan butter. It was both shrill and divine.

“Now where’s the pesky fool got to?” muttered God. “Stanley, are you around by any chance, I need you?” he called to nowhere in particular, which meant to everywhere.

A sprightly man in football shorts (white ones with little lions wiggling their bottoms as he walked) appeared as if by magic, which is how he might have done it.

“Aren’t you Stanley Matthews?” asked Bernard, goggling.

“Sir Stanley, if you don’t mind?” said the footballer.”And yes I am. What is it you require, m’lord?” he asked of God.

“Have you got the German tyke?” asked the deity respectfully. “I thought I saw you heading him a few years back.”

“You mean my football?” asked Stanley Matthews.

“Exactly him. Have you got him?”

“Of course I have. He’s become my football, the evil little creature,” replied Stanley. “Me and the lads have been kicking him about of late and knocked some of the corners off him, but we don’t seem to be able to blot out that nasty little moustache of his! But he’s bouncing around somewhere. Talk about a thousand year Reich! We’ll treat him to a thousand years of extra time, see if we don’t!”

He didn’t need to say any more because, on cue, a round blood-stained object covered with cuts, abrasions and bruises rolled up, and Bernard recognised it at once. There could be no doubt: it was Adolph Hitler’s head and Adolph Hitler was scowling.

“What’s he doing in Heaven?” asked Bernard. “I tried so hard to be good all my life, never dallying with girls because mummy told me girls are all bad and filled with sin, and when I end up as a tortured soul in Hell I find that the most evil man of all time and surely the greatest sinner has ended up in Heaven! It’s not fair!”

“Know thine enemy,” smirked God.

“What he means,” said Stanley with a nod and a wink, “is young Adolph here has got so many enemies he doesn’t know where to hide! You must have heard the phrase about there being no hiding place? What he did in life was truly dreadful, we all know that, and if someone who is that evil, that full of inhumanity, is going to suffer as much as he deserves to suffer then he might as well be amongst those he’s wronged. I mean, look at him: all that’s left is his head and we intend to score a few thousand more goals with that before the Great Referee blows his whistle for Time and we tally up the score!”

“That’s justice,” nodded God, “he’d be much happier amongst the fires and spumes of my other domain! And over there he’d probably bump into a few fellow torturers and murderers, and get up to mischief on the smallest possible scale before I stamped on it, but that little might give him pleasure. And pleasure, my chum, is what he must never be allowed to experience. He deserves only pain and suffering.”

“You said he was to be my companion…” grumbled Bernard, “I can’t wander around with a disembodied head! Especially one I despise as much as I despise him!”

“Not even for half an eternity?” asked God.

“Not even for half a second.” Bernard decided there and then that it was time to be firm even though he had always respected the very idea of the deity he was talking to and thought him capable of no wrong.

“I do believe I can see your point,” sighed God, “and it’s good to hear you sticking up for yourself for a change. If you’d stood up to that dragon of a mother of yours when you were alive, well, you might be a permanent resident in Heaven. As it is, the day trip is almost over and it’ll soon be time to go back to the comforts of endless fires and torture in my other kingdom. Well, Sir Stanley, it seems we don’t need your ball after all.”

“That’s perfectly okay, Squire,” grinned the footballer in his snazzy shorts, and he took the three steps required to run towards Adolph Hitler’s head and planted an almighty kick just under that mean little moustache.

“Good shot!” called God as the head soared away, screaming like a demented beast and dripping a few drops of celestial blood as it rocketed over a landscape dotted with little white flowers and pretty girls plaiting them into necklaces that shone under the endless sun of Heaven. And louder than the scream was the sing they were singing, plaintively asking where all the flowers have gone…

“I hope he scored,” whispered God as Sir Stanley Matthews ran off, his little lions dancing an almost erotic jig.

“You know, I can’t feel sorry for the evil cteature even though I saw him kicked in the face by a man who knows how to kick,” said Bernard.

“My, you’re getting to be almost good,” said God, slapping him on the back. “Pity you couldn’t have been this understanding when you were alive … things might have turned out very different in your own afterlife if you had!”

“I don’t understand where I went wrong,” sighed Bernard. “I tried so hard, denied myself all sorts of joys and pleasures, not even daring to watch the pretty girl next door for fear of getting a … you know, reaction in my underwear. I took aspirins to cure reactions like that, not that they did much good. Maybe I should have tried paracetamol?”

God shook his head. “That would be just as silly,” he said seriously. “There’s only one reason why you truly wanted to watch that lass next door and that’s because you were designed to do it. Denying yourself something that’s totally natural isn’t being good! It isn’t being in any way faithful to my creed! It’s being stupid. And you spent an entire lifetime being so stupid that you ended up as a true sinner. For one man’s life is but a part of a journey being taken by all of humanity and if you forgo your part then the journey gets broken, and I don’t like that. No sir, I don’t like it at all. That’s why my Hell is overflowing with priests and nuns. They followed the same path as you, my simple-minded little servant, and are paying the same price, though not all get treated to a day trip to Heaven as a treat like you have!”

“I didn’t understand…” whispered Bernard.

“You didn’t think!” barked God, “for if you had thought, truly thought, you would have seen the truth. It’s been shining everywhere all your life like a beacon from tomorrow. But shush. There’s no more time for idle chatter. It’s a return to the bus stop and a journey back to the dubious comforts of Hell! Come on! Last one there’s a sissy!”

© Peter Rogerson 26.09.16


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