A Tale About a Heavenly Dream

The Report

A hitherto unremarkable student whose name escapes me stood up to give his presentation.He was blatantly under-stimulated, as were his classmates.

I teach Sonambulation 101— the Art of Sleepwalking.

He didn’t clear his throat, or preface, or make any sort of ceremonial segue.

He apathetically leapt into it.

Here we go:

I dreamed I was a tourist in Heaven.

Everything was cotton-candy powdery and white.

I was alone

and privy to the comings and goings

of celestial beings.

Buddhas and Vishnus sat at cafes drinking mochachinos

while Zeus and Pan walked hand-in-goaty-hand down the boulevard,

observing the storefronts filled with angels posing in the season’s latest

ethereal fashions.

Many of the beings were unrecognizable —

lost to mythology, I guess.

Here was a deity with tentacles for lips;

there was a goddess made of blue feathers,

each burning in endless flame.

The energy was frenetic —

the gods were all buzzing,

as though that headline news had been foreboding that day.

WMDs in the afterlife?

Immortal avian flu dropping angels left and right like tainted poultry?

And I was just a human-

uninitiated in the Heavenly mass.

They all ignored my advances and went about their divine business.

A miserably adorable cherubim urgently approached me and,

grabbing my wrist,

exclaimed:

We need you in the Library!’

and I had the sensation of being whisked through the air

like a discarded newspaper bouncing about the highway.

We came to an awkward landing in the doorway to a vast

but comfortable room-

cozy burgundy couches surrounded by picture windows

and the unending clouds beyond.

The occasional bookshelf would divide these vistas,

and though I would have loved to take a look at their collection,

I was dragged down a flight of stairs to a sitting area built around

an ancient chez lounge

upon which rested a pale and shriveled

turnip of an old man,

scraggly white beard and cascading frosty hair

like a winter waterfall.

Gathered about him were gracious beings,

winged garudas and physical embodiments of pure light.

They parted as the cherub led me to the old man,

all whispering and gawking in a way no one should see a god stare.

Gods are supposed to inspire awe.

You shouldn’t be able to catch a god off-guard.

I self-consciously worked my way to the old man’s side

and he looked up at me with blunt and rheumatic eyes.

His breath was a struggling vibrato of

stones in a coffee tin

and his lips quivered back over yellowish gums.

I wanted to love him

but could only feel pity for him

and realized with astonishment and horror that this

rapidly fading mummy

was

in fact

God.

As in

THE God.

Alpha.

Omega.

Deus.Whatever.

And here was the Creator of all,

balancing upon the tip of his own surprisingly mortal coil.

He shook with palsied concentration

and pulled from under his spindly hip

a roll of browned parchment.

This he extended shakily toward me,

but as I reached to receive it

a commotion at the entranceway captured everyone’s attention.

There,

a gauntly tall figure in a pristine

3-piece pinstripe suit stormed in,

shouting profanities

and barking at the onlookers to

get the fuck out of his way,

please.

He spoke with a pinched British accent

and carried himself pompously upright

as though he were king of the ostriches-

and I immediately hated him.

The cherubim tugged my wrist and pulled me aside,

then perched on my shoulder and whispered:

Stay out of his way!

Satan hates the Living!’

And I knew beyond doubt that this twerp

in his expensive suit and impeccably balanced fedora

had to be the source of all evil in existence.

He couldn’t be loveable.

He had a mustache.

Satan barreled through the crowd as it parted for him,

shoving the occasional minor deity aside.

I stood entranced

unable to move from his fuming trajectory,

forgetting God’s scroll,

his desperate, outreached hand.

His waning energy.

The cherubim yanked me out of Satan’s path,

spinning me back to the

dying Creator-of-All.

The scroll,

still held aloft,

regained my attention,

and as I reached to claim it,

Satan slapped my hand like a reprimanding grandmother

and snatched it

from God’s fist.

With a final seizure and a pitiful cough,

the infinite being gave out.

He fell back onto his chez lounge,

eyes fluttering,

then closing,

and He left me alone with the whole of His creation.

Satan wasted no time in unrolling the scroll

and grunted unceremoniously as he read its contents.

This didn’t take long,

as mere seconds later he rolled it up carelessly and

shoved it against my chest.

Huffing like an exhausted ox

he stared me down

pointed to the scroll,

and said with unnatural calm

and blatant hatred:

That is yours.

That is you.’

and waited in a pretentiously expectant

manner for me to open it.

I spared God one final look

and unrolled the parchment.

Satan threw out one more callous

That is all of you,’

before letting me read my scroll.

It simply read:

Insignificant.’

And then I was whisked through library and promenade

and swirling debris of

clouds and planets

into a cacophony of existence

and was deposited

sitting upright on my bed,

disoriented and living

lost to a purpose

or sensation or reason.

Just sitting.

That’s it.”

The class, rapt with confusion or an easily mistaken glaze of oblivion, offered an obfuscated applause- mute and lonely.

I checked my assignment roster twice, just to solidify my confusion.

Um…” I began. “You were supposed to do a presentation on The Old Man and the Sea”– I half asked, half accused.

Oh,” came his retort. “I hated it.”

I had to give myself one second for composure’s sake, then I replied:

Yeah… me too.”

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