She emerged from darkness, a being complete in human detail, but lacking a certain material quality. She was more like a vision than an apparition, her soul taking the shape of what she had been, but in a more ideal, divinely purposed way. She stood now in front of a shining, pearly gate. A man waited on the other side holding a scroll. He beckoned her forth with the wave of a hand. He was translucent as was she, but real in as much sense as she could make.
“Welcome,” the man said. “I am St. Peter. You must be Callie.”
It took the girl a moment to recall her earthly name. Then she nodded, said, “That’s right… Where am I?”
“You’re standing outside the gates of Heaven.”
Callie looked around, confused, but not afraid. All fear had remained on Earth in her material body. She said, “I’m dead?”
“No,” St. Peter said. “The Lord has granted you everlasting life. You are an innocent in his eyes, and he will welcome you into his kingdom should you choose to accept your invitation.”
The girl patted her thighs, her buttocks, searching for something out of habit.
“Can I help you find something?”
“No phones in Heaven, Dear.”
“What?! But how will I speak with my family?! My friends?!”
With a practiced smile, St. Peter said, “That’s what the prayer system is for.”
Callie snapped, “That doesn’t work.”
“Of course it does. You were just too engrossed in your phone to hear the calls of your loved ones.”
“That’s a lie.”
Offended, he replied, “I’m St. Peter. I don’t lie.”
“I want to talk to God.”
“Oh, you’re one of those, are you?”
“I want to talk to him.”
Peter sighed and beckoned the Lord, which he hated doing. God was so busy these days, closely monitoring human destruction. The Lord appeared, taking a human shape (traditional old man, robes, flowing white beard etc…) and leaned on the fence casually as though he had nothing better to do.
“What’s the problem, Callie, my child?”
“I want my phone.”
“Can’t have it. No phones in Heaven. They’re false idols people worship.”
“I don’t worship it.”
“You are choosing a phone over Heaven as we speak. By this token, you are performing the very definition.”
“I am choosing, as in… I have a choice?”
“Of course. Eternal life is not a punishment. It is a reward. You may choose to accept, or deny my gift.”
“Does that mean there is a way I can get my phone back?”
God sighed, said, “There are phones in Hell.”
“Yes, but you don’t want to go to Hell.”
“If they let me have my phone, I do.”
“Oh, Dear. You would trade away eternal salvation for eternal damnation over a cellphone?”
Callie, to her credit, seemed to think this over for a moment, but only a moment, and quickly replied, “Yes. I want to go to Hell so I can have my phone.”
God sighed again, and waved his hand, saying, “Very well.”
The girl smiled, turned to vapor, and disappeared into the bowels of Hell.
St. Peter sauntered over and leaned against the gate next to God, said, “Lost another one.”
“You just don’t make ‘em like you used to,” he said, putting an ethereal elbow into God’s ribs.
“Not now, Peter.”
“Well, it’s been a few thousand years since your last flood. Care to try again?”
Tyler Grant is the author of dozens of comedy, suspense, and horror stories, including ‘Quarantine Fever’ and ‘The Night Locker’. He holds a Master’s in English, and worked as a news journalist for six years prior to writing short fiction and novels. You can follow him on Facebook, Youtube, or his website at www.tylergrantbooks.com. Grant lives in Washington State.