Monday, 28 December 2009

A Phone Call on the Night before Armageddon

Hello, God? Yeah, hi, this is Nigel. Accommodation Manager, Purgatory? Yeah well, apparently we’re expecting a bit of a rush tomorrow, is that right? Word is it’ll be everybody this time, yeah?
Oh, apart from those guys in the space station: they’ll be along a bit later. Well that’ll take some of the pressure off.
Look, before we get all panicky down here, can I just check this isn’t one of those drills? Like the Cuban missile crisis, y’know, where everybody was saying “What’s the point of having nukes if you’re afraid to use them?” and then they chickened out at the last minute?
I certainly do remember it. I’ll say. Expecting all that company and hardly anybody turns up. At it all night, I was, cooking vols-au-vent. Lived on the bloody things for a year.
I see, it’s not like that. Oh, more like the Flood, eh? Sorry, consider the Flood as being what? A dry run for this one. Ah yes, I see what you did there. Very funny.
Well, can I point out a couple of things? Firstly, there weren’t nearly so many people in the world when that happened, and even then you didn’t wipe all of them out. And secondly, that was a long time before this place was set up, wasn’t it? No Catholics then, were there? And you can’t have Purgatory without Catholics, can you? So we can hardly look on the Flood as a worthwhile training exercise. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this and it seems to me we’ll have to compromise a bit on our service commitment. You know, the bit that says, “Every case will be considered on its merits”? Well, we obviously won’t have time for that, will we? So I’d propose we deal with them in batches. All mime artists, Morris dancers and telesales personnel straight downstairs, all clergy who’ve never abused children can go straight up to you… pardon? Oh, right… both clergy… Okay, moving on, also downstairs would go politicians, traffic wardens and the French.
You have an objection? You can’t condemn a whole sector of society just like that? All right, how about three quarters of the traffic wardens?
Yeah, you’re right, much more reasonable.
Anyway, that still leaves a lot of people to be sorted out, and I was wondering if we couldn’t simplify it a bit. How about everybody goes to Heaven? Didn’t I read somewhere that you had many mansions up there? Ah, Paxman, yeah… point taken. Well, what do you think we ought to do?
Oh I see. Everybody downstairs, and if they haven’t managed to fit into the system after three days, they can come back up. Yeah well, if God Junior did it that way, why not? Catch you later.