© 2001
From a distance, the gates look like the entrance to a stately home. They are ornate but
delicate and appear to be made of a white material which gives out a soft glow.

A small figure is climbing the long flight of steps leading up to the gate. He pauses for
breath and raises his head to look at he gates which lie ahead of him. As he looks, an
Angel appears behind the gates. The figure stares hard as the angel casually appears to
be filing his nails before inserting a large key into the lock and swinging open one of
the gates.

“Come on” he calls, “I haven’t got all day. Hurry up.”

The small figure wearily starts to climb the remaining steps. His small suitcase is heavy
and the pointed hat on his head has given him a headache. The long elaborate stick he
carries help him make it up the last few steps and he passes through the gate. The
Angel swings the gate closing it with a loud bang and gives impatient sigh. The small
Figure puts down his suitcase with a sigh of his own.

“I would have thought by now you would have installed a lift !” He stammers out
between deep breaths “Especially for VIP clients such as myself”

The Angel puts his left hand on his hips and thinks for a moment. “No demand for it,
dear. Most poor souls arrive here in a puff of smoke. More hygienic they say. Anyway
there are no VIP’s here, it’s the Kingdom of Heaven, everyone is equal.”

The small figure has now recovered a little His voice is steadier and he lifts his face as
he speaks. “My God, how awful. All I can say it better be worth the climb. After all I
am the Pope.”

“Was the Pope”, the Angel corrects him with a smirk on his face.”And yes of course it
will be worth it dear.” he continues, camping it up more than a little.” We’ve got
everything here, the best wines, the best women and some lovely songs. It’s all free
you know and no licensing hours in the pubs. You’ll have a great eternity.”

The figure who claims to be the Pope or rather the Pope what was, looks a bit puzzled.
“This is Heaven, isn’t it ?” he asks sharply.

The Angel looks puzzled “Now, darling, would I dress like this if it wasn’t ?.” He
twirls around. “Well perhaps I might.   Here I can dress just as I like, except when I’m
on duty, then it’s all white and fluffy. No dress code off duty though and never a dull

The small Pope like figure still looks puzzled. “Lot’s of praying, I suppose.” he asks

The Angel laughs “Praying ? What for ? We’ve already got everything anyone could
ever want. Of course I have heard they go in for it rather a lot in the Other Place.”

“The......other Place ?” The Pope looks apprehensive.

The Angel leans forward and whispers. “You know,..... The OTHER place. Three
guesses and it begins with H”

The Pope looks triumphant. “My god, so it does exist! I was right!”

The Angel starts to look impatient again. “Of course it exists,” he snaps “ but it’s all
praying to be delivered, lot’s of dark clothes, strict rules, no sex unless essential, and
only between cohabiting couples with opposing genital organs. You know the sort of

The Pope looks a little puzzled.. “Actually I do. It sounds rather familiar” he says

The Angel goes on “Of course it is warm, being in a basement so to speak, close to the
eternal fires I suppose. But some people like it. Too many inquisitions for my taste.
Then, it takes all sorts and the burning at the stake do make a good excuse for a bit of
a party. Now let’s see, if you are on my list.”

The Angel produces a clip board from underneath his robes and consults it.

“May I have you name please, sir?”

The Small figure pulls himself up to his full height and enunciates clearly in a ringing
voice which has thrilled millions. “I sir am ......The Pope !”

The Angel’s voice clearly indicates that he not exactly impressed. “How do you spell
that O.A.P as in soap or O.P.E as in rope.”

The Pope bangs the floor with his crook and looks a little angry

“Don’t you recognise me ?” he shouts in his loudest voice..

The Angel stops consulting his clipboard and looks at the Pope very closely. He
squints his eyes. “Come to think of it” he says slowly “ I have had a few people arrive
dressed the way you are. Most of them had heart attacks during fancy dress parties, or
were involved in rather strenuous kinky sex when Madame Death struck her blow. ?

The Pope bangs the floor again. “I , sir, am the Pope I don’t indulge in kinky sex, I
don’t even know what kinky sex is even though I condemn it especially outside
wedlock. I, sir, am the next in line to God.”

He stands rigidly upright waiting for his pronouncement to have the effect of teaching
this young upstart a lesson. Kinky sex indeed.

The Angel doesn’t seem very impressed. He thinks for a moment then purses his lips. “
Next in line to God ?” He shakes his head. “Oooo I don’t think so”.

The Pope jabs the Angel with his crook. “Now listen here” he shouts “I had enough
trouble with your sort back on earth. Poofs and queers, shirtlifting, bum bandits, taking
over the priesthood with their designer cassocks and gin and tonics.” He calms down a
moment and then puts on his menacing look “I’ve got friends, I have powerful friends
Family friends if you get my meaning. Friends who wouldn’t like you”

The Angel waves his hand around. “ If you mean the Mafia, forget it. They all go
downstairs. More sinners there, they feel much more at home and so much opportunity
for blackmail and extortion. No I’m afraid friends don’t get you in here, . It’s strictly
on merit and looking at the state of you” He sniffs as he looks the Pope up and down,”
I’m not sure you qualify.”

The Pope is getting angry. “Don’t qualify ! I decide who qualifies, I made the rules.”
He bangs his crook on the floor again and again as he speaks and the Angel covers up
his ears. A second angel approaches. He is wearing a very fetching blue gown with
silver wings.

He looks with disapproval at the Pope who by now has broken out into a sweat. ”‘allo
Pete, old mate. Having trouble with a punter ?” He quips at the first Angel pointing at
the Pope with his thumb..

The First Angel gives a long sigh. “It’s this old geezer. Seems to think he is something
special, related to God or something. Usual paranoia Be better off downstairs if you
ask me”. 

“What’s ‘is name.”

“Theo Pope or something.”

The second Angel gives a big smile “Oh, I know him. We’ve had one or two like ‘im

“I told him that.”

The second Angel explains.” They see themselves as God’s representative on earth.
Sort of celestial civil servants”

The first Angel looks puzzled. “So, is he important, or not ?”

“Well not up here of course,” the second Angel continues, “ but down there, well the
place is full of people thinking they have a direct line to god. We leave them to it, after
all, it’s all good publicity”.

The Pope by now is getting impatient. He isn’t used to having his words questioned
especially by two nancy boys in frocks.  The nancy boys in frocks in the Vatican never
questioned him about any of his wishes. 

He looks at his watch and then speaks to the second Angel. “Now look here, do I get
in or not. Time is getting on you know”.

The Angel laughs. “Is it ? I wouldn’t know mate, We’re on all eternity time here you

The first Angel looks upon the Pope with pity and then turns to the second Angel.
“Look I’ll let him in and leave it to God to get it sorted. He’s not got much on this
afternoon, just a couple of earthquakes and a few minor floods. 

“Don’t forget he’s been quite busy on the Thunder and Lightning front.” The second
Angel remarks.

The first Angel sniffs. He is fond of doing that. In fact the other Angels call him Sniffy
Peter behind his back.” I know, but he can do those standing on his head”

The Second Angel laughs “And he does, I’ve seen him. Especially after he’s had a few.
Great fun.

The Pope grits his teeth and speaks slowly as if to children. “Am I coming in or not ?”

The First Angel waves him on. “Alright, come on Granddad, Mary will show you the

The Pope looks puzzled again “Mary ? “

The second Angel laughs. “Don’t worry darling, just a little pet name our Peter here
has for me. We call him ‘Poppy’ when he’s off duty. You’ll soon get the hang of it.” 

The Pope picks up his small suitcase looking totally confused. ‘Poppy’ watches him
depart with amusement and goes back to filing his nails.

The Entrance to God,s reception room is very impressive. It’s all very Cecil deMille
mixed with a touch of the Royal Opera House. Two beautiful young Angels are
guarding the door giving off a wonderful aroma of expensive after shave. Their
vestments are of a shiny Lycra type material which outlines their well developed bodies
like performers in a celestial porn movie. They stand to attention as Mary and the Pope

By now the Pope is totally confused  “Is this it, God’s presence ?” he whispers.

Mary smiles as he speaks “It is. The holiest of holy ...erm....holies.”

He presses a large ornate door bell. The sound of a full orchestra playing ‘Glorious
things of thee are spoken’ is heard. When it finishes a booming voice is heard saying
“Yes ?” The voice comes from a speaker phone at the side of the door. The Angel
goes over and speaks into it. “It’s Mary, sir.”

The voice loses it’s booming quality and sound tired. “Again ? I’m rather tired I’m
afraid. too much playing with my prayer beads. Another time perhaps.”

Mary persists. “It’s alright sir, It’s just that I’ve got a visitor for you, a new arrival.”

The voice sounds annoyed. “Well send him to immigration, you fool. Get him kitted
out in his Bermuda shorts, T shirt and baseball hat with optional halo”

Mary uses his softest voice, the one she knows God likes.”I don’t think that would be
appropriate, sir”.

The voice hesitates. “Oh.. I see...well find him a dress then”

Mary reverts to an impatient voice “No sir. You don’t understand, he wishes to meet
you. To have an audience”

“If he wants an audience, he can go on the stage. ( He laughs) The Heavenly follies are
a dancer short”

Mary tries again. “He says he’s the Pope, your holiness”.

The voice sounds even wearier as it replies. “Oh no, not another one. I do wish they
would appoint them younger so they lasted a bit longer.” 

“So shall I show him in, sir ?” Mary asks in her best grovelling voice.

The voice is silent for a moment then oozing boredom finally snaps “Might as well.
Just give me a few minutes to get on my throne. I’ll put you on hold.”

The sound of  ‘Greensleeves’ comes over the loudspeaker, then stops abruptly

The voice now calls out in a much more jovial mood “I’m ready !”

The Pope and the Angel walk through the magnificent doors as they swing inwards.
They walk slowly towards a throne on which sits a large figure dressed as a Hindu God
with colourful clothes and lots of make up rather than the expected simple white robes
and beard. The God rises from his chair and approaches the Pope with his hand

“Welcome to Heaven, my child.” he booms in his best god like voice

The Pope looks extremely shocked and annoyed. He puts down his suitcase and starts
to put his hand forward to shake the God’s hand but then pulls it back.

“Is this some kind of joke ?” he snaps looking extremely annoyed.

“Joke ? Of course not.” God replies, some of the booming dropping from his voice

“But......  But.......” The Pope splutters

God puts on his world weary face and explains.”I suppose you  were expecting a
decrepit old man in a white beard and flowing white robe.” 

The Pope nods his head “Well, something like that.”

God continues. “Instead, here’s me, looking like some hippie straight off the beach in

The Pope nods again. “Well, I have to admit. You are not what I expected.”

“Shaken your faith in me, has it ?” God asks

The Pope thinks for a moment. “Well no, but....well. I’ve spent my life promising
people a certain kind of God.”

God laughs shaking the glasses on top of his cocktail cabinet “With a white beard and
a white Robe ?”

The Pope looks around to see what caused the noise before answering “Well perhaps.
But I suppose I was right about one thing. At least there is a God.”

God laughs again. This time a couple of glasses fall off the bar and break on the
ground. Mary rushes over to clean up the mess. He continues “Not just one God, my
friend. There’s a whole family of us. I’m covering today for Ganesh. He’s got a cold in
his nose. Hits him bad, you know.”

The Pope looks shocked “This gets worse. There aren’t winged messengers are there

God looks a little impatient “Of course not. Haven’t you heard of mobile phones. Of
course we did have winged messengers once upon a time but, well you know how it is,
we had to let them go when we downsized. They work as waiters now in a theme
restaurant in Downtown Heaven” 

The Pope puts his hand to his head and looks a bit faint. “Could I sit down, it’s all a bit

The God looks at the Pope with a soft smile “Of course, sit on the throne. I warn you
though, it’s as hard as nails. I prefer my sofa at home. There as man here used to work
for IKEA, does lovely modern stuff. Lots of soft cushions and colours to die for.”

The Pope climbs onto the throne and the God sits cross legged on the floor in front of
him. The Pope looks quite grand sitting with his crook bold upright. He even manages
a weak smile. “Just like old times.” he says savouring his position

The God wags his finger at him “Don’t get any ideas.”

The Pope reassures him.”No, no. Of course not. But it a rather nice throne.”

He fingers the ornate woodwork on the arm of the chair.

The God being multi faceted and with a more than a little Jewishness thrown in smiles
at the Pope “I could get you one. There’s a place on the Milky Way. Good prices. of
course it’s all flat pack these days but I’m sure you could assemble it yourself. After all
you have got all eternity.

The Pope forgets the throne for a moment and looks serious. “About that. I’ve often
had doubts. I mean, eternal life is all very well but what do you do with it.”

The God reflects the Popes seriousness. “Well of course, me and the family, when we
are not at each other’s throats, have got the world to control. And of course the
workload has gone up and up thanks to you.

The Pope looks shocked. “Me ?”

“Well not just you, but all that sex isn’t on unless you make a baby nonsense. Pushed
up the population so that we can hardly cope. There’s the path of true love to
organise, betrayal, reconciliation plus the accumulation of wealth for some, descent
into abject poverty for others. Wars to start and finish, mostly your lot fighting some
other idiot’s lot. I tell you I don’t know how we cope.”

The Pope’s mouth drops open. “Amazing, you mean you control everyone’s lives ?”

“Every little detail.”

The Pope looks up to what on earth would be Heaven. There is a glazed expression on
his face. “ That must be wonderful !”
The God looks suddenly very stern. “Wonderful ? It’s getting impossible.”

The Pope has suddenly become very animated “No, no, I managed it. I interfered in
everyone’s lives. It was wonderful. And I know all about abject poverty. Most of my
biggest fans were in it, couldn’t get out of it. So I promised them a better life when
they died.”

The God walks towards the Pope and pushes his face close to his, anger showing.
“Yes, that’s another bone I’ve got to pick with you. Do you know what sort of
problems all those people in abject poverty cause when they turn up here ? They
demand decent housing, free food, sex, fountains flowing with Newcastle brown ale It
never ends.”

The Pope looks puzzled. “But the Gods are bountiful.”

The God explains as if to a child “Bountiful, maybe, not unlimited even if the universe
is expanding constantly. Of course sending them back eventually solves the problem.

“What ?” The Pope looks genuinely shocked. 

“Sending them back” The God repeats himself.

The Pope suddenly cottons on “Reincarnation ?” He then has another thought, much
darker “Not Zombies, surely ?”

The God laughs “Call it what you like. We call it sending them back where they came

The Pope taps the ground with his crook. “But if the population down there.......is
expanding, where do you find enough people to send back.”

God starts to look impatient “It’s not just people. Goodness me, you don’t know much
about the facts of life do you ?” 

The Pope looks a bit embarrassed “Well I have been celibate.”

The God smiles a wicked smile, something even Gods can do if pushed. “Except that
time at boarding school”

The Pope stands up suddenly. “You know about that ?”

The God gets pompous “We are all knowing, but forgiving. Love the sinner not the
sin. Your own words I think. Of course I quite like seeing the sin, it’s amazing what
you humans get up to. Very inventive.

The Pope starts to pace about the room “It was a long time ago” He finally splutters.

The God puts his hand on the Pope’s shoulder “Come on, don’t feel guilty.”

The Pope stands in front of the God, his arms outstretched There are tears in his eyes
as he speaks “But I’m a Catholic. I want to feel guilty. If I don’t how can I find
happiness. I built my whole career on the guilt from that one indiscretion. Every night I
replayed the details in my mind so that I would never forget.”

The God interrupts “arrr.... not true. You replayed the details so you could.........”

The Pope hangs his head as if in shame. 

The God makes sympathetic noise.” Oh I don’t mind one little bit. It’s no skin off my

The Pope looks up “I beg your pardon ?”

The God smiles “Never mind, just a little joke we have with the Jews the Muslims and
eighty seven percent of Americans.” 

The Pope The Pope sits back down on the throne. Then gets up and feels the seat
before sitting down again.

“Anything wrong ?” The God asks

“No, no, I just wondered, that’s all”

The God displays his amazing power again “If it had a hole, like your coronation

The Pope feigns anger “That’s a lie. A malicious rumour.”

The God laughs again. This Pope really is fun. “That isn’t what Pope Jane told us.
Fooled those silly cardinals for years. How did it feel when they put a hand through the
hole and felt your...........”

The Pope shakes his head “I don’t want to talk about it. It was most distressing.
Nobody warned me. I screamed. Most embarrassing.”

The God is by now really enjoying himself, or herself. “Quite funny though when you
think about it. One of the world’s megastar religious leaders being groped by an
unseen hand. Sounds more like Amsterdam than the Vatican”

The Pope starts to smile. “I suppose it was really, but not at the time, I can assure you.
I even got an erection, me the Pope to be.”

The God decides to wind the Pope up even more. Especially as he is showing at least a
little humanity “Of course my lot don’t have any of that. We are all half male and half
female anyway.”

The Pope jumps out of the chair and backs away from the God. “You are !”

The God laughs loudly breaking a couple more glasses. “Of course. Today I’m in my
male persona. Tomorrow perhaps my female. I’ll see how I feel when I wake up.”OPE

The Pope looks puzzled “Isn’t it all a bit confusing.”

The God thinks before replying “A little, but double the fun.”

“You mean, you........er....”

“Of course. Didn’t you preach that woman was made out of a man.”

“Well sort of. It was his rib actually.”

“There you are then, hence the expression which describes women as ‘a bit of spare.’

“I beg your pardon.”

The God looks a little impatient again. This guy can be very slow on the uptake.
Probably why his religion on earth is so backward. “Bit of spare, spare rib.  Holy
Heaven, don’t you Catholics have any sense of humour.”

The Pope nods “I believe the Irish lot do, but I keep away from them. They can be
very violent when they are roused.”

A bell is heard. The God gets up from the floor and picks up a microphone hidden in
the arm of the throne.”Yes ?”

A woman’s voice is heard.”Have you got a woman in there ?”

The God replies in the softest voice the Pope has heard so far. “No, my dear. Just a

The woman’s voice sounds suspicious “I’ll believe you, thousands wouldn’t. Well get
rid of him. I want you to take me to the orgies. There’s a lot of nice young soldiers
arrived from that war you started in Africa. All the girls are going.”

“Right dear, won’t be long dear.” the most powerful person in the Universe sounds
almost human. “ Meet you at the fountains of youth in half a tick.”

He puts the phone down and then turns to the Pope. “Look I’m dreadfully sorry but
I’ve got to go. She hates to miss new trade when it arrives and I’m a bit partial myself.

The Pope looks shocked “These are dead soldiers !”

God looks impatient “Of course. Dreadful isn’t it. But life goes on and up here they
will be as good as new. The’ll have a wonderful time and if they’re good, we’ll send
them back as pop stars or something.”

The Pope looks puzzled “This place confuses me. It’s not what I expected at all.”
The God goes back into impatient mood “Well you could go downstairs..”

“No, no, I’ll give it a try.” The Pope quickly interjects “ Now where do I go, to
immigration you said ?”

The God points to a door. “Over there, third on the right. Can’t miss it. Have fun.”

The Pope trips off to the main doors which swing open as he approached. At the door
he stops turns and blows the Pope a kiss. The Pope gives a cute little wave back. A
small door on a side wall opens. The Pope hesitates a moment then picks up his small
suitcase and walks slowly towards it.

The immigration hall which lies behind the small door looks like any immigration hall
at any airport anywhere on earth. There is a pulpit like desk behind which stands an
angel with a peaked cap. I front of him stands a very attractive young lady with a small
suitcase.   The Pope takes his place behind the young lady.

“Behind the white line if you don’t mind sir.” The Pope jumps as an official shouts at
him from the desk, pointing to a white line about eight feet from the front of the desk.
The Pope looks at the line and then shuffles back so his feet are behind it. The official 
turns his attention back to the young lady.

“Now you say you were run over by a car”.

“Yes I was, speeding he was, a right mad bastard he was.” The young women turns to
look at the Pope. “Sorry your Holiness. Didn’t see you were there there.”

The Pope is flattered to be recognised “That’s alright my dear. You are forgiven.”

He makes a sign with his hands. The Young woman turns back to the Immigration
official.”Like I said, he was driving too bleeding fast and that was it. He hit me and
next thing I know I’m knock, knock, knocking on Heavens door so to speak.”

“Great song ! We all loved it when it first came out.” The officials face actually lights
up a little. “Off course the joke’s got a bit stale now. Do you sing yourself ?”

“Me ? Not bloody likely. Got a voice like a frog. Me mouth’s too big you see. Useful
in my line of work, of course, but singing, no, no use for that.” 

The official looks disappointed “Pity, we could use some young blood to spice up the
celestial choir.”

He bangs a rubber stamp on a document and hands it to her. “One year visa, oh and by
the way, my mobile number’s on the back. Give us a call. Maybe I could pour a little
nectar down your throat.”

The young woman gives him a big smile, picks up her suitcase and walks through to
the other side of the desk wiggling her bottom as she does so. The Immigration Angel
turns and watches her then turns back to the Pope. “Nice arse” he comments.

The Pope getting weary now nods his head in agreement “I suppose so.”

The official looks suprised. “Suppose so ? What are you some kind of pervert ?”

The Pope pulls his thoughts back together “No. no. It’s just that I’ve never looked at
women like that”.

“Like what ?”

The Pope moves towards the desk.”Like,  like....well,  That !

The Immigration official leans over his desk. “How do you look at them ?” he snorts

“Well, like er, virgins and er er mothers.”

The official looks baffled. “Come on, come on the two things don’t go together.”

The Pope by now has recovered his authority “Well they do where I come from.”

The Official gets a little sarcastic. “And where, pray,  might that be.”

“The Vatican” the Pope proclaims. “The Holy City”

The Official is about to burst into laughter “And in the Vatican, virgins have babies ?
Can’t be much fun for the men”

The Pope starts to explain “Only one virgin........and one baby.”

The official holds back his laughter  “And no father ?”

The Pope is getting into his stride “Well actually, God is the father.”

At this the official can hold his laughter back no more. “What, old Shiva. Have you
told him ?”

The Pope shakes his head “No, no not him... God, the real one”.

The Immigration Angel shakes his head as well. “We get some strange ones coming
through here right enough. Still you seem harmless.”

He bangs his rubber stamp down on a document and hold it out to the Pope. “One year
visa, but take my advice. Keep stum about God’s fathering kids back on earth. The
lady gods don’t like that. Can be very nasty some of them. Not that they aren’t partial
to a few mortals now and again.”

The Pope picks up his suitcase and shuffles past he desk. He stops and turns. “Where
do I go now.”

The Official points to the right. “Customs, over there. Good luck. By the way, my
number’s on the back of the form. Call me sometime. I’m very versatile”

The Pope looks shocked and shuffles quickly away. The Immigration Official turns
back to his desk laughing.

The customs hall consists of a long, low bench behind which stand two Custom
Angels. The Young lady with the large mouth is having her bags searched by one of
the angels The Pope appears looking tired. He supports himself on his crook as he
walks, carrying his suitcase towards the second Custom. Angel.

The Second Custom Angel looks up and points to a white line in front of the bench.
“Behind the white line, sir, if you don’t mind”.

The Pope shuffles back behind the line and looks rather miserable. The Second Custom
Angel turns back to rummaging through the Young Lady’s suitcase. He takes out a
pack of 200 cigarettes and puts it on one side.

“What’s wrong ?”she asks

“Not permitted, I’m afraid” the angel replies shaking his head vigorously. 

The lady looks upset “But I always take 200 duty frees when I go anywhere”

“This isn’t ‘anywhere’ madam, this is Heaven.” The angel is in his most officious mood

“Not much of an Heaven if I can’t have a fag.”  retorts the young lady

The first Custom Angel straightens up and looks straight at her “Well there is an
alternative destination you know. Smoke yourself silly there, you can. Rather big on
smoke they are, and sulphur fumes.”

“Well I wish I had been told. No-one said anything about alternatives.”

The Pope puts his hand to his mouth and coughs. He steps forward a little but the
Second Custom Angel waves him back behind the line. “If you don’t mind, sir”

The Pope is determined to speak and does so in his know it all voice “I’m sorry, but
you know young Lady I’ve been warning people about er, the Other place for years.”

The Young Lady turns on him sharply. “ Oh, it’s you again. I don’t want no warnings.
My neighbour had a picture of you on her wall, next to Cilla Black.. She’ll be
disappointed. Smokes like a chimney she does. Killed her last two husbands with
passive smoking although some say it was active sex. Probably both.

She turns to the Custom Angels.“What else, don’t you allow in this place ?”

The two Customs Angels look at each other and then back at the Young Lady. The
first speaks “Nothing really. We just want everyone to have fun, do all the things they
never did as mortals.”

The second adds “Or if they did do something, do even more of it”.

The young woman puts her hands on her hips. “So I can drink ?”

The angels confirm this “yes”

“I can consort with men ?”

“Consort with as many as you want. We do all the time.”

“But I can’t smoke ?”


The young lady reaches over to the cigarettes, picks the packet up and throws it into
he case. snapping it closed. She picks it up and starts to walk away. She stops and turn
to the two Customs Angels. “Right, that’s it. I’m out of here. How do I get to the
other place.?”

The first Custom Angel points to the corner of the room. “Wait over there. There will
be a ball of fire along soon. They run every five minutes or so off peak.”

The woman crosses to the corner of the room where there is what looks like a bus
stop. On the sign it says ‘Request stop’ She puts down her suitcase, looks at her watch
and adopts a ‘waiting for a bus’ posture.

The two Custom Angels at last turn their attention to the Pope. They indicate that he
should put his suitcase on the bench.The Pope complies in silence. “Thank you sir. If
you would just open it up for us.”

The Pope opens the case revealing a colourful robe laid on the top. The first Custom
Angel picks it up and holds it against his own body. The second Customs angel looks
on approvingly. “Nice bit of smutter. Touch of the Versace I’d say.”

The colour in the Pope’s face comes up a little “Actually, I designed it myself.”

The Angels chorus in unison “No ! Really.?”

The Pope looks pleased “Really ! Of course I didn’t do the sewing. A rather nice
young priest did that for me. He’s very talented with his hands”.

One Angel makes a gesture with his hand “Given a choice, I’d always go for a hand

The second Angel adds “Me too, even if it does take longer.”

The first Customs Angel bundles the robe back into the suitcase as he does so there is
a loud explosion and burst of light as the Young lady disappears in a ball of fire. The
second Customs angel looks at his watch. “Right on time. That Devil may have his
faults but at least he makes the balls of fire run on time.

The Pope has fallen to the ground at the shock of the explosion. He picks himself up
and rubs himself down. He then picks up the suitcase and turns to the Customs Angels.
“Is that it them. Can I go ?”

The first angel gesture limply with his hand .“Of course.! With  costumes like that,
you’ll have a ball. I’d watch the hat though. Bit medieval. Try something more with it
or just let your hair down and boogie. Welcome to Heaven.

The Pope looks around the room “Er, bless you my son. Now where do I go.

The second Customs Angel points to the left of the room where there is another ‘bus’
stop also labelled ‘Request Stop’ “Over there. A cloud will be along eventually. They
aren’t as punctual as the balls of fire, I’m afraid but that’s the good guys for you.
Never much good at organising things. Have fun.”

The Pope goes across to the ‘bus stop, puts down his suitcase and sits on it. A large
white cloud floats down from above. The Pope picks up his suitcase, steps into it and
disappears. A bell is heard and the cloud starts to ascend with the sound of an engine
changing gear.

On the other side of the room there is a flash of light and a lot of smoke. The young
Lady walks out of the smoke and staggers across to the Customs Angels.

“Can I change my mind, that place is terrible.” she stammers

The first angel looks unsympathetic.”Well we did tell you.”

“Plenty of smoke,” the woman continues, “ but no sex, no booze, lots of praying for
redemption, it’s Hell. 

“So it’s one for Heaven, even without the ciggies.”

The woman shrugs her shoulders “I guess so. It’s going to be tough but I’ll just have
to make the best of it. When’s the next cloud. ? Where do I go, over here ? Oh I
forgot, here.”

She opens the suitcase and pulls out the packet of cigarettes and gives it to the
Customs Angels who take it with a big smile. She walks over to the stop as another
cloud descends, she gets in and the cloud ascends. When she has gone the two Angels
break open the pack of cigarettes divide them into two and then take a cigarette each
from one of the packets put them into  their mouths and light them..

“Heaven,” they sigh

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