Parting Glances: Time's up #144,000!

BY Charles Alexander

It was toward the end of 10,000 years when The Great Almighty had what seemed to angels and saints alike a change of heart.

Corporate head of PR spin St. Peter said during Fox Martyr Newscast that it was "merely a change in direction, to be celebrated in keeping with our national anthem Amazing Grace.

"Remember Cloud 9ers! To suggest that The G of A might be subjected to boredom borders on insubordination. It's we former mortals who have wearied of requisite praise singing for 'no less days then when we first begun' ten centuries ago."

But, unsaved BTL readers, if truth be known, it was actually The G of A who, while not really bored so much by praise sung endlessly over and over, was, shall we say, just a tad embarrassed and given inwardly occasionally to blushing a "beyond the sunset" red.

It was thus that after a corporate board of directors mandated counting galaxies by the billions that The G of A, exhibiting yet another moment of Infinite Creativity, called St. Peter in for a heavenly briefing.

"My dear St. Peter, has it never occurred to you that it's something of an assembly line operation to have those here by the grace of being raptured singing my praises nonstop -- even though it's certainly deserved -- for century after century?

"What say, old chap, we bestow a brief moratorium on the singspiration, and let each soul have a half hour break to fulfill some long-forgotten, earthly wish, say, to refresh spirits for the centuries to come before 10,000 Singalong Two?"

"As you wish, Your Eternal G of A, but might not a tryout be ecumenically proper? Let's send the last soul who passed through our Pearly Gates for 30 minutes of fulfilling a simple earthly pleasure, provided of course it has some redeeming spiritual and/or social value."

So it happened to Soul #144,000, who in his earthly existence was known, quite fortuitously as it turns out, as Bruce Straightgate. St. Peter briefed him that on a tryout basis he was to have a wish fulfilled of past earthly time as incentive perhaps to round two of 10,000 years of communal praising The G of A.

"What would please you most?" asked St. Peter "Gosh," said Bruce, "Maybe something simple. One of my great pleasures was taking a warm, sudsy shower. Might that be possible? I mean it's pleasant enough up here. But a shower. Oh, what cleansing joy!"

Thus in an eye's twinkling Bruce found himself sudsing joyfully in a spiritual setting as well: the Metropolitan Downtown Y. The warm cascading water felt wonderful. A simple pleasure. But oh! how divinely glorious it felt.

Bruce looked happily about the tiled shower walls, and it seemed that those about him, even though they were mere earthly phantoms, were playfully soaping themselves up as well.

As the warming steam vapors rose, Bruce was overcome with strong, insisting emotion. Thirty minutes quickly showered by; and just as Bruce Narrowgate dropped his soap, his 30 minutes, perhaps inconveniently, bubbled down the drain.

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