Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Pearly Gates

By Lisabet Sarai

“Next! Stand right there, on the yellow line. Let's see your papers.”

“Here you are, sir. I hope you'll find that everything's in order."

“Hmm... What? What in the name of the One Whose Name Must Not Be Uttered is this nonsense?”

“My portfolio, sir. I was told that we were supposed to assemble artifacts from our mortal lives that would argue for our admittance, a sample of whatever we'd done that we considered most worthy of Divine notice.”

“Quite so. But this looks like – smut! Filthy, obscene, unmitigated porn!”

“Well, I suppose some people might call it that. Others, including myself, might label it art. In any case, it's my life's work – novels, short stories, poems, all celebrating the glory and mystery of desire...”

“Don't talk to me about Glory and Mystery. I sit on the right hand of The Omnipotent and Ever-present Himself – at least on festival days. How can I show Him – this? He'll cast me out of Heaven before you can say 'Salacious Seraphim'!”

“That would make a good title for a story...”

“Huh? Be still, you silly cow, while I try to figure out what to do with you. Let me look at the rest of your file... Married, no children, kind to animals, voted in every election, donated regularly to charity... Oh dear. It says that you died lashed to a bondage frame, with dildos inserted front and rear. He won't like that at all...”

“It was one-hundred percent consensual, I can assure you. Anyway, the ropes and the flogging didn't have anything to do with my aneurysm. Better to kick off while having fun, don't you think, instead of wasting away in an old folks home or being mangled by a drunken driver? Although I am terribly sorry to have caused my Master distress. Can you send someone – an angel or something – to let him know that it wasn't his fault?”

“I'll put in a request. Your concern for him is commendable, despite the unsavory nature of your relationship.”

“Unsavory! We were lovers for fifty years. Isn't loyalty considered a virtue? Isn't Heaven all about love?”

“Yes, of course, but under the circumstances...”

“Look, if the Big Guy hadn't wanted us to have sex, He wouldn't have given us the equipment, would He? Or the inclination, for that matter. You can't have it both ways. If He really is the Creator of All Things, then He's responsible for every kink and fetish I've ever written about, and lots more besides. He's got the original Dirty Mind. You know what they say; in the beginning there was the Word and the Word was made Flesh – moist, warm, swollen, palpitating, feverish flesh! I'm just doing what He commanded... loving my neighbor and urging everyone else to do so, too."

“Your logic seem sound. But I can't let you enter the gates dressed that way. You'll upset the other souls. They expect eternal comfort, serenity, purity...”

“Oh really? Are you sure? Maybe they'd like to wear black leather instead of white gossamer, to trade in their harps for other instruments of pleasure. I could make some recommendations... In any case, I'm not so sure I want in, given your sanctimonious attitude. If Heaven is really as prudish and uptight as you make it sound, I don't think I belong here.”

“Wait! Where are you going? You may not find the realms beyond these Pearly Gates to be exactly your cup of tea, but I guarantee you'll like Hell even less. Don't be fooled by all those tales of delicious wickedness and wild carousing, or all those dark, romantic portraits painted of Satan and his minions. Hell is more like an endless trip in a freezing third-class railway carriage, packed in with sausage eaters who haven't changed their socks in three months.”

“Well then – I'll just have to create my own afterlife. I've been building worlds for so long now – the word made flesh, you know – it shouldn't be too difficult. Maybe I'll try a bit of reincarnation. I'd love to slip into a lithe new body and console my poor, lonely Master...”

“Wait, Ms. Sarai! Let's discuss this. The Sacred Maintainer of the Universe doesn't like to be rejected...”

“I'm not rejecting Him. Just His headquarters. I don't think I'm interested in replacing my pen with a pair of wings. Anyway, wherever I am, despite what you may think, I know that I'm doing His work. And what you consider disgusting smut, I see as my poor but honorable legacy.”


“See you around, Pete. Drop by my Fantasy Factory if you decide you want a little action.”


  1. Hi Lisabet! This was fun.

    In a way it kind of hits home, because as a person from an intensely religious past I confess I think about scenes like that a lot. Like what if the evangelical Christian God turned out to be the real one? uh oh for me.

    When I read the part where the angel was reading how you died, I imagined him kind of turning red and cracking up. I imagined him snickering and poking the next angel on the shoulder "Aw man,read this, you gotta read this. you;re not not gonna believe what that woman over there was doing when she went. Go on, read this part . . ." That could be kind of a grim job. They might welcome someone like you or me from time to time for comedy relief.

    "Heaven for climate, Hell for society."
    Mark Twain

  2. Lisabet - You'd think angels would have seen it all by now.

  3. You might not believe this, knowing me, but I was (*many* years ago)a fundamentalist who would only wear dresses and never don men's *the horrors* trousers. I had a firm idea of what a "good Christian woman" should be, and tried to live it. Then I discovered the concept of God's grace and realized I could never be "good enough" on my own to earn entry into Heaven. I had to depend on Jesus. I'd believed in Him for years, and had put my faith in Him, but I hadn't realized that anything I do, I do for Him. About this time I also discovered many of the teachings that I'd learned were mere opinions and not facts, including nearly everything I'd heard about gays. Talk about a paradigm shift! Wow. One thing I do know is that when I get to the "Pearly Gates" I won't have to explain anything. My Advocate will come out and claim me as one of His. It took me years to understand the significance of that, and I'm still learning how it affects my life and what I do. I am a believer, and while I used to find it hard to talk to the "uninitiated" about what I believed, now I found it hard to talk to the "initiated" about it. I write gay romance, so you might say my paradigm didn't just shift 180 degrees, but about 540 -- it did an about face and then turned another 360! I don't preach at anyone and rarely mention religion, but since you asked... ;)

  4. That was great. I especially enjoyed your description of hell.

    No, I don't believe in any kind of afterlife but I'm fascinated by all of our different views.

  5. Lisabet,

    When you get that alternative sorted out, let me know would you? I'd like to sign up please.

    Very cool post!


  6. Hi Lisabet,

    I'm an ex-Catholic turned athiest. The kind of scene you described is part of what convinced me to take the leap of faith from agnostic to athiest.

    The older I get the less inclined I am towards being judged by others even if one of the others kicked off the universe and owns the only decent hotel in the afterlife.

    I liked your description of hell. your choice of death made me smile. It reminded me of Roger Mcgough's poem, "let me die a young man's death" If you don't know it, take a look here

    Most of all I liked the idea of you making your own words flesh. That seems to me to be a heaven a writer could aspire to

  7. Hello, all,

    Thanks for the great comments. Garce, I was very tempted to do a serious post on your topic, because I know that was what you intended, but I thought it would be a bit boring. At the same time, the little scenario I describe does include quite a bit of truth. I do actually believe that death is not the end -- that the energy that is consciousness, or the soul, whatever you want to call it, doesn't just wink out of existence. Of course I don't have any evidence for this. But the power of the mind to create - to make words into flesh - seems to argue that mind comes before flesh ("In the beginning there was the Word") and endures after it.

    In truth, I find the literalist versions of the afterlife (wings, harps, seventy virgins at your beck and call, whatever) to be somewhat ridiculous. I can understand why that tradition pushed you over the boundary, Mike. On the other hand, I can also believe that what we experience when we die might well be determined by the images we've built throughout our lives. So if you believe in the Pearly Gates, that might be exactly what you see. And my heaven might look more like a BDSM club (only kidding!)

    Kayelle, thank you for sharing your deeply personal views on this subject. I've never felt much sympathy with the notion that we are to be strictly judged after we die. If God exists, than He or She is the essence of love and forgiveness.

    If there's any judgment or punishment, I feel that's handled by the laws of Karma. One reaps what one sows.

    Kathleen, Jude, Cynthya, and Cynthia - I took a train ride like that once. Okay, not endless but it felt that way. Give me brimstone and hellfire any time!



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