Sunday, January 07, 2007
The Queue for God
A dispute over forever
As usual I’m trying to get kangaroo god to listen to me and provide advice. Today of all days, he’s on some state visit to a neighbouring heaven, shaking hands, drinking ambrosia and opening old people’s homes. The minister, never usually friendly towards me, has agreed that I can wait in an anti-room and read magazines and talk to the others in the queue until he returns.
The magazines were not very interesting; their main subject matter was about hobbies and celebrities in heaven. The administration had a real enough situation here, living forever and staying “on message” was altogether a problem. The early Cinderellas had been fine, they were few in number, knew one another and pretty much towed the party line. However a few hundred years ago a more argumentative and feisty group had entered. Whilst they participated in all the basic chants, dances, worshiping and candle-lighting things they did them with a less than perfect attitude. Some said that they had become bored with their duties and were, despite their exhaulted position looking for a little more to do. It seems that early on, perhaps in a moment of weakness, kangaroo god had promised them some responsibilities. They wanted to rule over something, they wanted a little more power.
In response the kangaroo god had increased the worship schedules to take up the slack within the day and introduced religious hobbies as a diversion and a means of control. It worked with some but others, a small minority, felt they were not being fully utilised or actualised in their promised roles. This group would complain about always being expected to peer down into hell to watch friends and relatives squirming and in pain when they could be controlling them, they’d also moan about the clothing allowance and the climate. Kangaroo god was fed up with them. “Why on earth do they take things so literally? I didn’t promise all that stuff did I?”
I busied myself with the magazines while the Cinderellas bickered on amongst themselves about what seemed to me to be trivial matters, candlesticks, hair, make-up, torture and purgatory. I was naturally much more concerned about the entropy of the universe, sun spots and the great Australian volcano. I had made up a list of substantial things for urgent action.
Of course when the big cheese returned from the neighbours he was in no mood to talk about anything, it turned out he had a headache and the gifts he’d been given were, as he put it “total, thoughtless, glitzy crap”. His office door slammed and I slid the magazine down from in front of my face and placed it neatly in the rack. Some of the Cinderellas were very upset; some were in tears, others puffed out their cheeks in a red and pink rage. A few handsome princes arrived but really it was beyond their limited abilities to do anything. We’d all have to wait till tomorrow, which in the scale of forever isn’t really so bad, it’s just a shame that the Cinderellas had managed to lose all concept of time when they signed up for heaven.
I shuffled out of the office and down the pale corridor, their cries ringing in my ears. Funny how despite planned and apparent peace, harmony and perfection, just getting a little undivided attention can cause so much of an atmosphere and disquiet.