God decided one year to give everyone in the world the greatest gift he could give them: He would destroy the world!
Jesus, St. Peter, and more or less all of the angels were very against this plan, and confronted him on the corner across from the pretzel stand. Let’s pick it up just after God has explained a second time what he plans on doing (he said it a second time in case they didn’t quite get it the first time):
“Are you insane?” asked St. Peter, who felt like this needed to be said.
“Why are you so upset?” God asked them.
“You don’t know?” asked an angel. “You really don’t?”
“No!” God said, getting a bit peeved. “This is a great gift: everyone will end their suffering and have eternal bliss for … well, for eternity,” he said, wishing he’d thought that sentence through a bit more before saying it. He would have Razeel correct it in the official records. “The promises of generation after generation finally being fulfilled! They will go to bed on Xmas Eve, visions of sugarplums etc etc you get it, and then they wake up… IN HEAVEN!”
“Well, except for the damned,” God added after a moment.
“In HEAVEN!” God said again, this time with jazz hands.
“You can’t do this,” Jesus said.
“Don’t talk to your father that way,” God reprimanded.
“He’s right, this will be a terrible thing,” the Holy Ghost said. Nobody had noticed it sitting there. Truth be told people didn’t want to think about Heaven being kind of haunted, and so tried not to pay it attention.
“It will be a WONDERFUL thing,” God said. “This is what I have been promising all this time. This is WHY YOU ARE HERE,” he said, looking pointedly at Jesus.
“Look,” St. Peter said, trying to calm himself down and bring the emotions back down as well. “It’s true that this is the big thing you’ve been telling people they’d get, and it’s true that it will avoid lots and lots of troubles.”
“Earthquakes…” God said.
“Yes, that’s right, but…”
“- Plagues- ” God went on.
“Sure, well, but…”
“- Volcanoes,” God added.
“I think we’ve covered natural disasters,” said Gabriel.
“…but have you listened to them lately? Really listened to them?” St. Peter plowed on, putting his hand on God’s shoulder. The scent of cinnamon pretzels wafted past them.
“Sure. I listen all the time,” God said. “They’re unhappy. That’s all I ever hear: people asking for help, strength, new bicycles. They’re begging me to make things better. I listen.”
“Do you?” St. Peter asked. “Do you really? Because I don’t think you have, for a long time.”
“Just try it,” St. Peter said, quietly.
The pretzel vendor turned down his boombox, which was playing Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree.
Wow I can’t believe we got that fast down that hill can you believe we went over that jump so high? He heard. Then there was more:
It’s a boy he heard and
I got the job and
look at that sunrise and
don’t worry about it I’m buying and
I never thought I’d like the art museum this much and
I just read the best book and
it’s only three weeks until the new Star Wars movie and
here’s some toast I made for you I get an extra week’s vacation this year I found five dollars today I bet I can throw the ball all the way across that field race you look the dog is wearing mittens two round trip tickets to Paris then he just took my hand and we sat like that through the whole dinner ooh the water’s cold don’t worry you get used to it soft slippers warm coffee solid tackle hot pizza starry sky warm breeze
There was lots more like that, trust me: When you are God you can listen to a lot of things all at once. “All right all right,” God said finally.
“Do you see what we’re saying?” St. Peter asked. “They like it.”
“A lot,” Jesus said.
“They’ve really made something out of the world, down there,” an angel added. “You should check it out sometime. I mean, when you kicked them out it was just a garden. Since then they’ve just gone to town. You have NO idea. They’ve got smartphones and they’re curing diseases and they built a space station and they invented diet soda…”
“…Plus Seinfeld, don’t forget that show!” said the Holy Ghost. “You’ve got to see that,” it told God.
“NO SOUP FOR YOU!” yelled several angels.
“They’re doing really well,” Jesus said, finally, when things had settled down. “I mean, things aren’t perfect yet, and I know we get a lot of complaints – why’d Grandma have to die, how come Tom Brady, and so on – but overall, I’d say they’re pretty happy the way things are.”
“But… suffering! Hunger! War! There are refugees all over Europe and people are getting shot left and right!” God protested. “All that would end!”
“Sure, sure, it would,” Jesus said. “But who’s to say it won’t end anyway? I mean, at least some of them are working on it.”
God looked down at the world again, over at Mount Everest and the Mall of America and this one town in Kentucky that had sort of a special meaning to him, and at everything else all at once because he was God, and said: “Even still, they would be so much better if I just…”
“Dad,” Jesus said. “What good is paradise if it is just handed to you?”
“You tried that once before,” St. Peter reminded him.
“I guess,” he said. “I guess you’re right.” He picked a pretzel off the rack, handed the man $5, told him to keep the change. “I guess you’re right,” he said again.
They all began walking off.
“Hey,” St. Peter said, patting God on the shoulder. “It’s the thought that counts.”
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