Paradise (part 1)

The newly-pinned notice caught my eye.
‘Haunting opportunity,’ it said, ‘6 Acacia Close, Wiseldon, England. All interested parties please apply to..’ Blah, blah, blah.
Now you might be wondering why I’d be interested in a haunting opportunity when I’ve got a pretty good deal going on where I am. Up here in heaven it’s all very nice of course; breakfast in bed if you want it, bingo and bowling every afternoon and even guest quarters so your friends and relatives can stay for Christmas and the like, but the truth is, sometimes it’s just a little too nice. The wife loves it of course as she can get her hair done whenever she likes and never needs to make an appointment, but I have to admit to sometimes getting a little bored. My old mate Reg and I play canasta most days and I have been known to hire a rowing boat occasionally and just potter about on the lake (no money needed here of course-the deal is, if you’re good enough to have got in then you’ve already paid in life) but, well, I really thought if there was such a thing as an afterlife that it wouldn’t be quite so much like a Saga holiday. All very nice, but full of oldies, if you know what I mean.
So that’s why I happened to be browsing the ‘Situations Vacant’ board that day (we don’t actually have days and nights as such here, but it’s hard to break a habit of a lifetime. Literally.) I’d seen that the golf club were looking for a new caddy which I was really pleased about, as it meant that Marty had got his Paradise posting at last. I’d never known a harder-working guy than Marty, so it was fantastic he was being promoted to the Big Place.
I should explain how the system works before I go any further with my story, otherwise you’re just going to get confused and you’ll probably stop reading this altogether, which would be a shame as it really does get a lot more interesting from hereon in. When you die you go to Heaven if you’ve been good (or if you’ve been bad but you’ve truly repented and your soul is pure-and believe me, they can tell) but if you have no hope of rehabilitation then you’re going to Hell with no chance of parole. From what I hear though, Hell itself isn’t so bad; for those who like those sort of basement bars where there’s never much light, the beer is warm and the women are loose. Anyway, Hell isn’t the problem; it’s where you’re demoted to from there that those low-lifes should be scared of. The rumour goes that it’s only the real lost souls, the ones who did things in life that were so bad they don’t even stay in Hell, that end up ‘down there’ as we refer to it here.
Anyway, I digress. I was talking about Marty’s promotion. The Big Place is what’s always been called ‘Paradise’ in church and with good reason. Only a few people get to the Big Place as quickly as Marty did, but that’s because he was a selfless guy in life and a selfless guy in death. Honestly, he’d give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, or his coat in a snowstorm, which I actually saw him do on more than one occasion. Yes, we still have snow up here, but only in the sector where people who want snow reside. It wouldn’t be much of a Heaven for sun-worshippers if they had to put up with cold weather would it?! So you get the idea. The better you are in life, the higher your points total when you arrive here. You then amass more points depending on what role you take (selfish or selfless, service industry or getting waited on day and night- you get the picture) and as soon as you reach the golden number of points, off you go to Paradise.

(C) Sarah Butcher 2014

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