Before judgment, I am obligated to inform you of Heaven’s updated terms and conditions. Humans keep killing each other at unprecedented rates, and to help with our population surge, angels like myself are working unpaid overtime to pilot a new program.
In the past, if you tried your best with your childhood and other circumstances, you would have been granted entrance into Heaven. Back then, we believed your soul and its experiences were the best indicators for salvation; however, we were too lenient. After the Salvation Board reviewed our population data, they realized by 2049 Heaven will have reached capacity. Therefore, the board has put me in charge of deciding who will and will not enter Heaven.
If I feel you represent humanity’s potential for evil or if you wasted your time on earth, you are going to Hell. If you have any questions or complaints, after judgment you are allowed to submit a ticket to HR. If your ticket gets reviewed, it is then escalated to the Salvation Board, where you might gain entrance into Heaven or a second chance at life. Now that we have reviewed the new terms and conditions, Brian, Sister Scholastica, and Elaine, I need all of you to line up in that order. Let’s begin before my lunch break.
Book of Brian
Often your classmates asked, “Why are you so Black?” and your only response was to bury your head deeper into your algebra book until your nose touched the pages. You learned this tip from HALP.org, your favorite anti-bullying site. The users called it “turtling,” and it was great for ignoring bullies, teachers, and parents. You learned to trust the HALPers, but only after ignoring their initial advice. At the beginning of your freshman year, you tried defending yourself.
Your head shot out of your book and you said,
“’Cause Black is beautiful.”
“Not when it is covered in acne,” a classmate responded, and the class laughed.
After school, your parents asked questions they believed were encouraging. “Was today better?” “Are you at least getting straight As?” “Are you thinking about re-trying out for the basketball team?”
You nodded yes and no answers and headed to your room, but before you made it upstairs, your parents reminded you of your upcoming appointment with Dr. Lanning, the dermatologist.
When it came to your skin, they were desperate.
Your parents hoped that if the acne went away, then you would start looking better. From the infomercials, they heard of a new drug: Radoxin. It did wonders for people with acne. There were possible side effects, things like hair loss, feelings of depression, or severe skin rashes. But, all the pimples went away! Your appointment was the next day. At first you were excited, but after reading the side effects, you became terrified. That fear was for good reason. You became the third wrongful death lawsuit.
The day before you started your medication, you stared at your ceiling, waiting for daylight to disappear. You tried dreaming of your future, but you could only imagine ways to survive another school week. That week, you had already survived Thursday and only Friday remained. Fridays were great because there was pizza and Ms. Elaine, the associate teacher, always gave you a slice of pepperoni even though your parents only paid for cheese. Sometimes, if you had the courage to ask, you got a free soda, too. Ms. Elaine understood your pain. After her haircident in elementary school, she was never the same. Things became a bit better when she started following her favorite social media star, Lissa Evans’ accounts and her Inspirational Monday Message.
I know…humans will believe anything another human creates, but ask them to believe about God and angels and they say “LOL.”
Anywho, whenever she saw you, she hoped one day you would also find your cure.
After Fridays, it was the weekend, and you loved sneaking out the house. The first time your parents caught you sneaking out you told them you were meeting your girlfriend. They were too thrilled to question. Your dad gave you a condom and then winked at you. Your mother said you were becoming the man of the house.
The truth: the few times you talked to a girl happened when she wanted to play connect the dots. You were excited, even when she started tracing your pimples with her fingers. Once, she could’ve sworn she found The Big Dipper on your left cheek. Your simple ass laughed along with her.
Instead of meeting up with a girlfriend, you waited by the sides of the streets, bored. During these bouts of boredom, you thought about your options. You were not good at sports; last time you tried to shoot a basketball, you hit the coach on her head. You were a straight Bs student, the definition of average. Killing yourself was not an option—the lead chatter in HALP said so. Also, it took too much effort. You would have to pick a place, and then a thing to do it with, and you did not want to be a news story like the school’s secretary, Ms. Denora Johnson.
After you finished wandering and thinking about your options, you visited your friend, Mr. Elt, who lived between First and Pleasant Avenue. He was only seven years older than you, but insisted on the title of Mister because he was an “experienced” man. You trusted him because he looked like you and understood your struggle. Together in a coffee shop, you counted his earnings from playing overturned buckets as drums while cars waited in traffic. For his friendship and wisdom, Mr. Elt asked for a favor.
Lately, New Yorkers had been stingier than usual, and he needed an income other than playing drums. Per Mr. Elt’s request, you told him whenever you spotted a woman with a purse walking alone. Things were fine until one day a teenager caught him and called him an “ugly son of a bitch.” He had been called ugly before, but this time was the last. In his eyes, this woman was no Beyoncé, and you agreed.
You went over to help the woman. She did not recognize you, but you knew her. She was a senior at your high school. She was never particularly mean or nice to you. She reminded you of all the girls in your school. You figured getting revenge on one would right all the wrongs. By Mr. Elt’s third incident, you started having fantasies about hurting women. You imagined pushing them in front of buses.
After Mr. Elt’s fifth incident, more women you spotted started appearing on the news and your fantasies became darker. The reporters told women to travel in groups and look out for a man that matched Mr. Elt’s description. You should have reported him, but instead you listened to his shitty and depressing advice. He told you it did not get better. Your face would not change. The only hope was to treat women the way that everyone had treated you. Eventually, the goal was to trap a woman and make her feel like she was nothing without you. He told you that you had to achieve this goal by any means necessary.
Know what, this review is dragging, and a bunch of killed clubbers were just added to the Heaven queue. Brian, here are your take aways: you had a growing resentment for women because people made fun of you, if you are lucky and get another chance at life, read Chicken Soup for the Soul and How Not to Be a Sexist Pig, and turn in Mr. Elt. Before your acne medication killed you from Steven-Johns Syndrome, you enjoyed hearing about his exploits, and started planning ways to become just like him. At least you died before you completely followed in his footsteps.
Book of Scholastica
At 8:30 AM, the school bell rang. At 3:00 PM, your students stampeded toward freedom. Both your and your students’ days were repetitious. When the children left, you remained seated at your desk and repainted your paddle’s handle. Since you were young, you wanted nothing more than to be surrounded by friends in Heaven. The moment that Jesus saw all the souls you saved, you knew that He would do the right thing and make you the new Right Hand in Heaven.
Oh, Honey, what were you thinking? That was never going to happen. If it makes you feel better, I think you have a great chance of being Lucifer’s Right Hand.
While still believing in this impossible dream of being the Lord’s Right Hand, you joined the covenant and then became a teacher at Sorrows Academy. At the beginning of the day, you picked up the wooden paddle and had your third-grade class recite John 3:16. The uniform sound of their voices uplifted your soul. Though they were children of God and angelic at times, you felt that they needed a guided path toward salvation.
When you first started teaching, you thought the path was paved by stern lectures, group prayers, and reduced recesses. But for months, the children would not behave no matter what you did. They drew on their desks, they swore when they thought you were not listening, and terrorized you with crude jokes. In your darkest hour, another older Sister talked about her glory days in the 70s and recommended the paddle. After this recommendation, things were never the same.
In your eyes, every day became blessed.
The children listened, prayed, and obeyed. At times, children were children, and they tried to revert back to their playful habits. During those times, which happened once or twice every school day, you tightened your grip on the paddle. Whenever you struck, you made sure the forces of Heaven and Hell were behind you. Whenever the child howled, it was for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. These children learned how to cry out for mercy and repentance. The Old Testament workbooks and Father Cooke’s sermons failed them. The children were young and still had terrible lives to live. Nothing could save them but God, and paddling them was the only path toward redemption.
Your classroom had the dumbest rules:
First rule: No doodling in your workbooks.
From seven years of teaching, you learned that children doodle foul pictures—such foul things would not be tolerated in Heaven. Children who wanted to doodle in their workbooks could either go to Hell or to transfer to Sister Angelica’s class.
Second Rule: Outside was outside. Inside was inside.
News, unless it pertained to the Pope, did not belong in the classroom.
Third Rule: Bad behavior is never rewarded.
Your students were two hours away from dismissal and before they would escape, you decided to teach Elaine, one of your students’, a lesson. In order to save her, you needed to ensure that she understood her transgressions. While you sat behind your students during Mass, you caught Elaine playing with her pigtails. You heard rumors that Elaine allowed classmates to play with her hair and braid it in exchange for free juice boxes, cookies, and sometimes the answers for the day’s Tree of Knowledge question. To match Elaine’s light brown skin, she had long brown hair that all her classmates, especially the boys, marveled over. You worried for Elaine. If this behavior continued, what type of woman would she become once she left Sorrows Academy? She had no respect for her God-given soul and body. Not only did she distract herself from Father Cooke’s sermon, but allowed the students to buy her happiness. These were actions only allowed by future Whores of Babylon. You spent the weekends checking every single lesson plan to make sure the Devil never had a way of accessing your future friends through careless words or mistakes. But somehow, right under your nose, the Devil had attached himself to Elaine’s hair.
While tapping your pilgrim shoes, you ordered Elaine to walk to the front of the classroom. Your students’ hands twitched; they wanted to cover their ears. However, after the second blessed day, each of them learned that covering their ears was bad behavior. In order to completely understand their fellow classmates’ depravity, they needed to hear the screams of repentance. Your students’ hands gripped their desks. Elaine closed her eyes and her pigtails swung forward. The children watched them, the pendulums of her sin. You refused to stop until Elaine reached salvation. This child needed to learn her lesson or lose her soul.
Elaine said, “Please stop.”
You replied, “I cannot. John 15 verse 9. ‘As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.’”
Elaine began screaming and you smiled. You hesitated for a moment. Perhaps Elaine finally learned her lesson and could return to living in God’s light. But in that moment of hesitation, she ran to the door and out of the classroom. The students looked at you and did not know whether to cheer or beg her to return. You set your paddle down, and walked after Elaine. This was not the first time one of your future Heaven-friends tried to escape. You fixed your habit and walked to the classroom across the hallway. There, you saw Elaine banging on the locked door of Sister Teresa’s classroom. Her class was away at recess, a spoiling reward for all her students getting above an 8/10 on the Tree of Knowledge quizzes for an entire week. With a calm smile, you took her by the hand and both of you walked to your classroom. You placed your paddle back into your desk drawer and grabbed a pair of scissors.
“You must remain in my love,” you said as you snipped off the two pigtails, and then tossed them into the trashcan. When Elaine returned to her desk, the other students tried not to look at her. Visibly mourning Elaine’s pigtails was bad behavior and would result in all being brought to the front of the classroom. The students watched you as you picked stray hairs off your hands.
So, you are definitely Hell-Bound.
Book of Elaine
Ever since your haircident with Sister Scholastica, your hair never grew back, and you never felt the same. Bless her soul, but your mother never wanted a child and did not understand how your hair worked. And then, your father, though Black, was not interested in teaching your mom about Black hair. The only hope was Mr. Marc, your hairdresser, but the bastard kept you in the Ringo cut.
After the haircident, you begged your mom to change schools, but Sorrows Academy was the best in its district. Also, she was secretly happy your hair was shorter and much more manageable. After a few fake sick days, you returned to school. Your haircident became legendary, and for years, your classmates stayed away from you. Partly out of fear of Sister Scholastica, partly because of the terrible haircut, and lastly because you were your grade’s suspected lesbian. Things changed a little in college—you found a different hairstyle.
After college graduation, you realized how much you owed in student loans, and decided to become a teacher. You returned to Sorrows Academy because they enjoyed hiring alumni, paid for your masters, and every other job said “No.” You figured you would protect students. Though you were overworked, underpaid, and somehow in even more debt, you were able to remove Sister Scholastica from Sorrows Academy. The principal and the Father knew about her disciplinary methods, but they overlooked them because of her classroom’s consistently high test scores over the years. After your independent investigation, you exposed the truth: Sister Scholastica gave students answers on test days. She believed the only test that mattered was the test of faith. She was fired that day. She was so bored during her forced retirement that she died earlier than expected.
As a reward, your roommate and “best friend” convinced you to finally use your vacation days for an eat, pray, love trip. Her reasoning: you were exhausted, recently dumped, and she was tired of listening to you cry through the walls. For your eat pray love trip, you went to NYC, then New Orleans, and then Vegas for some lovin’.
One day, while waiting for your margarita at a bar, you saw your idol—Lissa Evans. Two years ago, she moved to Vegas to work as a social influencer. She had dedicated her life to helping people like you. She posted photos of her daily adventures at clubs, exclusive restaurants, and expensive stores, with captions like, “Be your best self,” “Life is your adventure,” and “Beauty is subjective and you are always the subject.”
She had 6 million followers, and they worshipped her. She was beautiful, free, and made you feel like you could be that, too. Following her on social media for a year made your vanity return to what it was before the haircident. During your trip of self-love, you took on her philosophy and emptied your savings. You bought things and took pictures with things to show your worth. While in Vegas, you hoped to spot her but never imagined meeting her face to face.
After two years of living in Las Vegas, Lissa met fans like you everyday. To cope with how boring the day-to-day became, she came up with a set of routines to start her morning. While your mornings started with liking her most recent pictures, hers started at 11:00 AM with inserting her CD “Summer Loving” into her entertainment center. The only song on it was “In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry. After listening to it endlessly, she left her apartment and drove down the Vegas strip to watch the gamblers, beggars, and vacationers stumble down the street. Eventually, when she finished observing, she parked her car and joined her favorites at the bar to talk them up. After she saw you snapping pictures in front of every store on the strip, you became one of her favorites.
When she sat next to you at the bar, you wanted to take a picture with her as proof you met your idol, but Lissa told you put your phone away. She said,
“A day like this you want to barely remember.”
Though you did not understand her, you listened. She was your idol, and taught you how to live your life. While together, she told you that you were beautiful and you became comfortable, wanting to do everything she suggested. You left the bar and went clubbing. The two of you danced together. Although there were moments that you felt uncomfortable, you overrode your fear because this vacation was becoming the perfect story. You would not only nod yes or no when your roommate asked if you had a great time; finally, you would have a fun story to tell that was better than all of hers combined. Five minutes into this friendship, you called Lissa perfection. Fifteen minutes in, you cried about your recent breakup that was caused by your insecurity-fueled paranoia and your ridiculous work schedule. After twenty minutes, she got bored of you and your compliments, and after thirty, she knew you served part of her purpose. She grabbed your hand and asked,
“Are you here with anyone special?”
You tightened your grip and said,
“I’m by myself. This is my own eat, pray, love trip. I went to NYC, then New Orleans, and now I’m in Vegas, baby.”
Woman to woman, you should not have said that.
Lissa became even more excited than before.
You were another Vegas Virgin, and the fourth eat, pray, love girl that she had found in the past two months!
She ordered another round of drinks, and then left for the bathroom. With the stupidest smile, you swayed back and forth on the dance floor to the latest hits as you imagined her freshening up. In reality, she key-bumped in the stall, and then stared at herself in the bathroom mirror as she savored the minutes before her next steps.
For Lissa, last night was good not great. She killed you. She killed you with kisses, a plastic bag, and a spool of nylon rope. Before the night reached its climax, she sat you down on the couch and said it was time to try something different. She put on “Summer Loving” and tied your hands together with rope and placed a plastic bag over your head. She promised that when you tapped her back, she would take the bag off.
This moment was intoxicating so you put your fear away. While the bag was over your head, she ate you out and her lips became slippery with your cum. You gasped. Banged your fists on her back. Then you stopped.
Your roommate filed a missing persons report because you did not pay rent. She is still looking for you, but you are decomposing in the trunk of a car. You should have loved yourself, been more cautious, and etc. I am not sure if you learned your lessons and I do not have time to keep lecturing.
Book of Judgment
Sister Scholastica, Lucifer has been expecting you since the day you were born. Why are you looking surprised? I already told you that you were going to Hell. Then Brian, your death means two blonde girls in Manhattan live to text another day; so, I won’t have to deal with their paperwork until they die of toxic shock syndrome or alcohol poisoning. Brian, stop crying, trying to use your victim card will not help here because somehow in in Heaven every human is some sort of victim. Elaine, honestly, I don’t have time to fill out the paperwork for your second chance at life or onboard you to Heaven, so I’ll send you to Hell. Once I’m back from lunch, it is the round up, and all of you will go down together.
“May I please speak with another angel?”
Elaine, do not interrupt me. It is always the same with you humans. You come here pleading; meanwhile, we constantly save and are overworked while you destroy and indulge. Then, we have to explain why what you are doing is wrong. You all are violent, brutal, and ugly. It is in my professional opinion that Heaven needs to close its doors, but that is above my wings.
If anyone has a problem with this judgment, please direct yourselves to HR. I am not answering any questions. It is my lunch break, and today the cafeteria is serving milk and honey.