Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction: Through the Pearly Gates

Here’s my Author Aerobics: Telling Challenge entry and #FridayFlash


Through the Pearly Gates
by T.S. Bazelli

“You died. You may be feeling a little disoriented, but don’t you worry, you’ll have plenty of time to relax now.”

Carl, in fact, was feeling pretty good. He’d expected to wake up to a hangover, or the apartment manager banging his door down for the rent, but at least he wouldn’t have to worry about the old bag now.

He stuck his hands in his pockets, and looked around. It was exactly what he’d imagined heaven to be. It was almost trite: fluffed clouds, golden sunshine, and the faint sound of harp music in the distance.

“First a little housekeeping.”

The man at the desk was all white curls and tan skin. He reminded Carl of an ancient Greek god. The man flipped through a huge leather bound tome and dragged his finger down the a page. “Carl Faustenberg? Born in Portland, Oregon, February 23, 1967?”

Carl nodded, and nodded, as the man began to read through the abject details of his life.

“Ah, you’re a writer!” The man at the desk shut the book, and stood up. “Of course, this is the perfect place for you.”

He gestured for Carl to follow, and Carl did. Soft music washed over him as he entered through the gates. There were other people around, they peered at him with lamb like eyes and polite smiles, but no one said a thing.

“This will be your room for the next few centuries. I’m sure you will find it very comfortable. You’re free to wander as you wish. There are just three simple rules however.” The man pointed to the wall. It was slightly gray, as if it were composed out of compressed rain clouds. In the wall, a few brief lines were chiseled. The man wished him a good day, and left Carl alone.

Carl sat down on the fluff of cloud that he assumed was the bed. It was springy, with the firmness of a mattress. The temperature was a perfect 77 degrees Fahrenheit – he wouldn’t even need blankets. He lay back and stared up at the ceiling. Death wasn’t half bad, he thought as he lazed about.

A few hours later, or so, he couldn’t really be sure, Carl got up, feeling refreshed. His eyes were drawn to the letters chiseled into the wall.

The Rules:
No yelling or screaming; please speak softly.
No runing, in the halls.
You may not ask for an pen, chizel, or any other writing implement.

Carl fought the tick in his brow. Who did they hire to write this stuff? He huffed out of the room and into the hallways. There were other signs around, clearly demonstrating a lack of basic spelling and grammar skills. He thought his head might explode. At a near run, Carl made it back to the gates where he had entered.

He called to the man at the desk, who walked over with a knowing smile. “You didn’t think this was heaven did you?”

35 Comments

  1. This was funny. Nicely executed. I thought it would be lame, because I hate the cartoon description. But the ending was definitely worth it. You used the good telling as far as I can tell. You mixed it up with showing, so it didn’t stand out like a sore thumb.

  2. LOL I suspected as much. But you did a good job obscuring it until the end.

    My only note is that you may want to specify 25 degrees C vs. F, because 25 degrees F would be, um, chilly to say the least. 😛

  3. Lua

    Haha loved it Tessa! Nice twist at the end and as a writer myself, I never expected him to end up in heaven!
    and no writing as one of the rules is the definition of hell for us! 🙂

  4. I read “No runing in the halls” and wondered if perhaps he’d ended up in Norse Myth Writer’s Hell… or maybe that it was just a typo.

    Thanks to some nice use of the “telling” principle, I realized the typo was intentional… and then I caught on to where this was going!

    Nice work!

      1. Yeah… sometimes I make these oblique sorts of jokes… without realizing that not everyone is making the weird connections I’m making. (And sometimes, on the flip-side, as my wife will tell you, I over explain things that anbody could see was obvious because I don’t think it’s obvious at all.)

  5. Amusing, I’m curious what happens to Carl if he breaks the rules. I’m sure they get a lot of that if they use these rules on writers. I like the image of the walls being composed out of compressed rain clouds.

    1. Hmm I really don’t know! Perhaps they would have a way of enforcing the rules somehow… or make it so every time you tried to write a sentence it would come out garbled. That would drive me crazy too. hehe

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