God: I understand you asked to see me. You were looking for some kind of waiver from the hot place. Who are you again?
Fred: Phelps, sir. I would’ve thought you knew me. I was famous for doing your noble work on Earth.
God: Ah, sure. My work. Well, I’ve got another view of the matter.
Fred: Yes, you spoke right through me.
God: Stop it right there, my little man. It takescojones
to do what you think you did.
Fred: I stood in the flames of destruction and sodomite despair and shouted your holy name till it hurt.
God: Such an image you’ve painted, sir. Yes, you have the experience to go where you are bound to go — for standing in the eternal flames.
Fred: Excuse me?
God: Perhaps you didn’t hear me. I thought I was being clear. Your kind is unwelcome here. How dare you pretend to speak for me or as me or in my name. In any of my billion names.
Fred: But these people violated your word! We carried your message far and wide. We shouted from the streets. This evil is everywhere. I know you needed me to represent the spirit. Ceaselessly. I wasreal
. Your will was done, day after day.
God:I needed you
? You are one to pity, sir, if, that is, pity were one of the qualities I carry around in my everyday toolkit. I do understand why so many people thought so little of you. Your rank disruptions had consequences. Let’s see how you will like spending all your days with my cagey, dark colleague in the Afterlife Department. I’m sure he is looking forward to spending some quality time with you. Do you play poker?
Fred: I can’t believe this. Did you never appreciate the signs we raised with your words on high? They were vivid and direct and spoke the holy truth.
God: All I’m hearing from you is babble.
Fred: We were feared. We were righteous.
God: Again, I beg to differ. You know nothing of righteousness. Your truth is distorted. The seed you sowed was acrid. Am I now making myself clear to you, little sir?
God: Hold your tongue. And stop that whimpering. I could hover here and deliver a long lecture about your deeds, and those of your kin, but I will spare you, and me, the brain power. I think my message is obvious. Off the record, I have no sympathy for you. You must take responsibility, youwill
take responsibility. And you deserve what you get. Your ears will burn soon enough.
God: Now I see you are following along.
Fred: I hate you.
God: There you go again. I’ve got one word for you: Down!
A billowing white trap door snaps open.