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Saint Peter and Alex


P: Your name, please…. Excuse me…. Excuse me!

A: Huh? Are you—are you asking me?

P: Yes, my brother. You are next in line. May I have your name, please.

A: Brother? Hey, I like that. That’s pretty good. Yeah, name’s Alexander Prachett—though a lotta folks call me Chip. Or A.P., sometimes, at least they did when I was in the army. But I mean, you probly don’t have that in the books—

P: Excuse me?

A: Uh, yes. Right. What?

P: I am asking for your Christian Name.

A: Right. I mean, I understand. Sorry. Alex Prachett—er, Alexander Prachett. Middle name’s Lewis. Sorry. I’m sorry, sir. Brother.

P: Prachett…P…Prachett. Alexander. Hmmm…. Your name does not seem to be on my list. Are you sure Alexander Prachett was given to you as your Christian name? Let me see—perhaps I shall check under Lewis….

A: You—you’re kidding me, right? You’ve got to let me in here.

P: You are not listed under Lewis, either. Certainly, we have a dilemma on our hands. You appear to have fallen into the wrong line.

A: Awright, sombody had to of messed up. I gotta be in there. I mean—wait, is this some kind of a joke? You’re joking.

P: We do not joke around here, Alexander. I consistently do my best, however, to maintain a light heart.

A: Well, dammit, what am I s’posed to do? That’s it, then? I just aint in the books? Who do I have to talk to—

P: We have not used books around here for a long time, Alexander. And would you please watch your tongue, for we cannot allow—

A: Yeah, I know. I’m sorry, brother—I apologize…. Wait, you don’t have books? I thought you were s’posed to have names in books. I aint big enough to see what you’re doin up on that cloud. How—how’re you lookin for my name without books?

P: The main gates are now equipped with individual terminals linked to a central database. Usually, this system keeps everything moving quickly. And as you might imagine, Alexander, we once consumed a great deal of paper and ink. There was a group of dead environmentalists that gave us hell for—

A: Oh, I see. A database, like Radio Shack? Okay, I get it. That’s good. I like that. Huh.

P: This database does not list your name, Alexander. I am afraid you will have to fall down farther, into the lower line.

A: No, see, that’s what I’m tellin you. Somebody messed up and put me in the wrong database. I bet that’s what happened. Can’t you check the other database, or something? You gotta be able to do something.

P: We do not make mistakes, Alexander. According to His commandment, those souls who are not listed in this database must—

A: Right, right, I know. But I’m sure He makes a lotta commandments, and you’ve gotta be able to do something. Please. As a favor to me. Please?

P: Hmm…well it would violate general procedure, but I could check The Big List. You might—

A: The Big List! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. The Big List. Go to The Big List, and I’m sure we can work all this out.

P: Very well. I am able to log into The Big List from this terminal. Perhaps that will help solve the dilemma…. Just a moment, please…

A: Good, good. Man! I don’t believe this. What a pain in the ass. A soul can’t be expected to wait here all day…. What time is it, anyway—aw, Christ! If I were alive I could be watching the big game right now—

P: Excuse me, Alexander? What was that?

A: Huh? Oh, er—nothing. Nothing much. I’m just talking to myself…. What’s taking so long, anyway?

P: This terminal has a rather outdated modem. One would think that the good Lord would spring for a T3 connection, or at the very least a cable line, but…. Yes, here we are. What did you say was the cause of death?

A: I didn’t. It was…an accident. Er—a car accident. It’s too bad, too. That Jetta was my wife’s car. We leased it. I hope insurance covers that…. So?

P: Yes, car crashes are all too common these days. According to The Big List, you—oh my!

A: Wha—what? What’s that mean?

P: According to The Big List, you are guilty of blasphemy, embezzlement, lying, owning a Billy Ray Cyrus record, slander, repeated drunkenness—

A: Hey, that Cyrus record was a gift! That’s not my fault. And I’m no liar… and repeated drunkenness? Are you kidding me? What the hell kind of operation are you—

P: We do not joke around here, Alexan—

A: All right, I know. I get it. You already said that. Oh, brother….

P: Yes?

A: What? No, I aint talkin’ to you. So what does all that mean?

P: Did you repent before your death, Alexander?

A: Did I repent? I didn’t—what—there wasn’t any time to repent! I crashed my car into a school bus, remember?

P: You crashed into a school bus? I see. So you are the one responsible for all the innocent young souls that have entered my gate during the last few hours…

A: No, I…. No. I mean, yes. Oh my God. Not on purpose. Can’t you straighten this all out in The Great List, or whatever it is?

P: Alexander, give me a moment. According to The Big—what are you doing?

A: Hmm? Er—nothing.

P: What was that you were doing, Alexander?

A: Nothing. So, you were saying that according to the list its okay for me to enter through these gates, right?

P: What are you holding? Let me see your hands.

A: No.

P: Show me your hands, Alexander. Don’t make me email Him. There, now—just as I thought. I suppose that stainless steel flask you were drinking from contains Kool-Aid?

A: Uh, yes?

P: You are drunk right now, are you not? I thought so. This certainly makes things simple.

A: Look, I have another—an old, er—friend inside, and I really need to tell him something, so if you would please—

P: No, Alexander. Others are waiting behind you. You will have to plead your case down below.

A: But, look here, don’t you see, I’m noooaaAAAAAAHHHHHHHHhhhhh…

P: Thank God he is gone. Your name, please?