Saturday, May 21, 2011

Purgatory Dilemma

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Among the clouds, a desk. Behind the desk, an Angel and a Devil are sitting next to one another, a list of names in front of them.
The Angel shouts out :
- Next !
A young man approaches. He’s all burned and bits of his body are missing.
- Reasons of death ?
The young man stands, head high, and proudly states :
- Martyr !
The Angel, surprised, looks at him.
- What ?
The Devil leans towards the Angel and whispers :
- Suicide bomber.
The Angel nods.
- I see… To hell.
The Devil jumps.
- Hold on... His file says that he blew himself on a deserted road, killing no one, injuring no one and destroying nothing. The man is an idiot. You don’t go to hell because you’re an idiot.
- But he can’t go to heaven...
- Why not? He did no real harm.
- He was intending to do real harm.
- Yes well, we don’t send people to hell because of their intentions, good or bad, only their actions. You know that.
- The French say that hell is filled with good intentions...
- Hell is filled with French !
Anyway we are over crowded down there. So we stopped taking just anyone. We tightened our screening process. And this man here does not meet all the criteria.
The Angel thinks for a short while, then adjusts his halo.
- We can’t take him, he’s a criminal.
- Oh come on... You have plenty of empty room up there.
- That’s not the point.
- What do you mean that’s not the point ? We are over crowded, you have room, the man harmed no one, do the math.
- It’s not a matter of math... It’s a matter of principle. Suicide bombers don’t go to heaven. So this man won’t go to heaven.
The Devil hesitates, leans back and forth, scratches his horns then looks at the Angel.
- So what do we do ? Send him back ?
- I don’t know, it’s tricky...
The young man interrupts them.
- I don’t deserve to go to heaven !
The Angel and the Devil turn towards him, dumbfounded.
- What ???
- I don’t deserve to go to heaven! I don’t deserve to go to heaven because I killed no one !
The Devil sighs.
- Definitely an idiot !
The Angel shrugs.
- We can’t send him back...
- You right... Why did your boss have to create an after-life ? Couldn't the whole thing just stop when they die ?
- Don’t ask. Our life would have been so much easier.
- I know... Damn it !
- So what do we do ?
The Devil hesitates and sighs again.
- I guess I’ll take him...
He stands up, and addresses the young man.
- You, follow me !
- I’m a martyr !
- Oh shut up !
And they walk away.
The Angel shouts out :
- Next !

© Claude El Khal, 2011