Terry Sarten

Singer Songwriter

Riot at the Pearly Gates

There was a riot at the Pearly Gates. A bunch of those heading heavenward arrived at the entrance to find no one on duty. They sat down to wait figuring if patience is considered a virtue then that was what they could do.
Half an hour went by and no one came. A couple went over and banged on the Pearly Gates and shouted ‘is anybody there” before falling into embarrassed whispers about whether that was a bit sinful.
An hour passed with no sign of anyone coming to check them in. A few started getting restless, muttering about what they thought was supposed to happen when you get to heaven. Wasn’t St Peter meant to be there at the Gate to check names against the roll and welcome them in? Maybe he does not work the evening shifts? Had there been some confusion about their arrival time? True, they had all passed on only a few hours ago but wasn’t that Heavens job to know these things?
As small group went up the Gate, shouting their dissatisfaction with the delays. Having been promised Heaven it did not seem right to be standing outside.
They started throwing things over the arched entrance – some chairs, a lectern and a hatstand. There was no response so they turned the sofa’s over and set fire to them, dancing around the rising smoke and flames chanting “we did not sin so let us in”.
Somewhere in the distance an alarm started sounding and band of angels appeared, unlocked the Gate and rushed to extinguish the flames with buckets of water. Behind them came another group of angels carrying riot shields holding haloes like frisbees in their hands. Those who were had been creating mayhem immediately put their hands in the air and saying sorry.
An angel wearing two haloes arrived and took control of the situation and called the band of guard angels back to the Gate.
Those who had been causing all the trouble looked around and discovered that they were on their own – everybody else had retreated to the top of the stairway to Heaven.
The particularly angelic angel in charge waved to those who had moved away and asked them to step forward and make their way through the Gates to Heaven. The rioters were told to stand aside and let the others pass. Once that had been done the Gate was secured. Those who, minutes before had been trashing the place, suddenly looked very small and very worried.
A loud booming voice came over the intercom. ”Such behaviour at the entrance to Heaven is not only a serious breach of security it is also a sin. Therefore, you must appear before the Heavenly Host Disciplinary Committee who will decide your fate. Bring them to the Great Hall”.
And so, surrounded by guard angels, they were taken away from the Pearly Gates to a second concealed entrance, then through a maze of tunnels until they stepped into a huge light filled space that was so large you could not see where it ended and yet so small that they felt all the universe at once.
The hearing began with the charges being read: ‘Inciting a riot, destroying property belonging to Heaven and leading an insurrection in an attempt to overthrow the kingdom’.
“How do you plead”
“Sorry, sorry, sorry”
“You cannot remain in Heaven and Hell is full. You will be sent back to spend your days in the waiting room of life where the only thing you can do to pass the endless loop of time is read old copies of magazines containing stories about the royal family, knowing that although you have an appointment you will never be called by the receptionist and so never be able to leave”.

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