On his way to Heaven, Jimmy waved goodbye to his mom and dad and big brother Bill. They smiled and waved back. His dad gave his favorite bike a jump-start and whispered, “Now, on your way, son.”
On his way to Heaven, Jimmy jumped over his dog Lucy and cat Pepper.
He booted a red kickball a mile down Babcock Street, then… caught the same ball at the end of that mile.
On his way to Heaven, Jimmy hit his street sign with a rock,
Dislodged the whiffle ball that was stuck in the big pine,
Hid in a perfect spot during hide and seek and no one found him.
On his way to Heaven, Jimmy finally caught Fat Freddie at the Frog Pond,
Ran through the corn at Farmer Cousins’ Field,
Broke a blue bottle against a stonewall,
Coasted around Dead Man’s Curve without braking,
And took a catfish off the hook at Adam’s Cove.
On his way to Heaven, Jimmy pedaled his bike up Long Hill and when he reached the top, he coasted down through the houses on Chester Street. Toward the bottom, he cranked his pedals as fast as he could until the air blew his hair back. He rode and rode and rode until the pines were gone and the road was lined with white birches for as far as Jimmy could see in front of him. Up ahead, he saw a girl his age.
On his way to Heaven, Jimmy met this girl walking on the side of the road.
“Hi, my name is Jimmy.”
“Where are you going?”
“To Heaven,” said Alice.“
Me too. Do you want a ride?”
And they rode together on Jimmy’s favorite bike. Jimmy and Alice talked and laughed for a very long time. The white birches that lined the road, over time, thinned. And then… they arrived. They stood in front of a large gate. Above the gate, it read: “HEAVEN.”
Inside the gate was an amusement park full of balloons and food and sweets and so many rides. Jimmy and Alice ate cotton candy and drank soda and carried bunches of balloons throughout the park.
They got lost in the House of Mirrors, rode the Tilt-A-Whirl, roller coaster, and Ferris Wheel, and played carnival games. They did all these things several times but after a while wondered, “Where are the rest of the people?”
At that moment, Jimmy and Alice saw an old man sweeping at the entrance of the bumper cars. The man whistled to himself while he swept the nothing around him.
“Hello Jimmy and Alice. Welcome to Heaven.”
“Mister, where are the other people?”
“Oh, they have already left. Like you, they ate and played and sat on rides for a while. But then they left.”
“Where did they go?”
“Well, I don’t know young man, but I do know that they don’t come back. I only see new faces around here and I’ve been here a while now.”
“What do the people do?”
“I’m not sure but I guess they figure it out somehow and I’ll bet that the both of you will do the same. Now I best get back to work. I have a whole park to clean. Goodbye children.”
Jimmy and Alice found his bike and rode through the exit.
On their way back from Heaven, Jimmy and Alice rode for a very long time on the old, winding roads. They passed through a pine forest, a field, and around a pond.
On their way back from Heaven, Jimmy and Alice rode and rode and rode until they saw a clearing ahead of them. It was a playground full of children of all ages scattered throughout playing football and hopscotch and hide and seek and marbles. And for the first time, Jimmy noticed the sun in the sky and felt warmth on his skin.
“Bye Jimmy,” said Alice as she walked toward the hopscotch game.
On his way back from Heaven, in the playground, Jimmy met a boy named John who was playing marbles.
“May I play?”
And they played for a long time.
“Why are you here?” asked John.
“I don’t remember,” answered Jimmy. “I was on my way somewhere but I forgot.”
“That’s okay. I forget sometimes too. You want to play for keepsies this time?”
Jimmy nodded and played marbles with John.
Away from Heaven, in the playground, these children played together for a very long time.
William Lee has been writing his entire life. He enjoys writing poetry, short stories, personal narratives and is working on his first novel. He is a published humor columnist and published a collection of columns in a book entitled 7 Years: Musings of a Family Man in 2006. Now in his early 50s, he thought it was about time to try publishing. He was excited to hear that his story, “On His Way to Heaven” – a story he discovered in a dream – had its own subgenre, flash fiction. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org