(the scene is heaven - Vamps has just arrived the starry realm, God having overruled some dubious angels regarding his admission - God is this finicky librarian-type with a condescending yet helpful air - as the scene opens Mike is confused and trying to get his bearings - heavenly harps are heard in the background and polite conversations are in progress - there are fountains, mountains and gurgling streams)

VAMPYRE: What the hell...? Hey, who are you? Where am I? What is this this place?

Don't tell me this is...

GOD: Heaven. That's right, you're in heaven, Mike! How does it feel? Oh, and by the way, I'm God! You made it!

V: Not possible! You're kidding!

G: Not kidding at all. We just felt...all but the most conservative seraphim...that you had earned a reward, having raised social consciousness and awareness. It was the right thing to do. So make yourself comfortable and we'll get started with processing.

V: Hold on! Not so fast, my friend! I think I have a say in all this. First of all, you have to want to go to heaven, right?

G: Well, yes. But everyone does want to come here.

V: Not necessarily. I wasn't consulted. I mean, did you hear me whispering in your ear or something? Did you hear me whining and snivelling about wanting to keep you company?

Did you actually think I would dig this scene? What do you take me for?

G: Now, now. There's your temper. Surely, you must understand what the gift of eternal life means and how special I must think you are to have brought you here...

V: Hey, don't do me any favors, okay? I'm not one of your adoring sycophants and frankly, you're already starting to get on my nerves.

G: Well, in every relationship, even between you and your maker, there's always a period of adjustment.

V: Not the way I see it.

G: Perhaps in time. Meanwhile...

V: So where's the party? You do have parties in paradise, don't you?

G: Sure! I'm glad you asked that question. As a matter of fact, heaven has many social gatherings. Why, there are bridge clubs, bowling leagues, pin-the-tail-on-the donkey contests, disco and discussion groups that serve the sweetest punch. Oh, you'll not want for social outlets. And, best of all, you'll never be alone!

V: Holy shit! Never be alone! Don't you know anything about the creative process, man? I mean, you were supposed to have made the whole fucking universe so you, of all people, should know about alone. What are you talking about?

G: Now, let's not get personal. I hear your concerns, but more will be revealed. You'll just have to trust me.

V: Let's get one thing straight: I don't have to ANYTHING!. And, I haven't said I'd hang around, yet. What about music. Music was a big part of my life. Who's gigging around here? Where's the bands? Don't you have other instruments beside the harp?

G: Now that you ask, I'm happy to say that heaven's home to many musicians including Pat Boone, who, when I told him you were coming, wrote a brand new song, just for you! In addition, Mike, you'll meet John Phillip Sousa, you'll jam with Lawrence Welk, Gene Autrey and Kate Smith (who sings "God Bless America" every day at noon).

V: You don't say! Well, let me tell you something: it's not satisfactory! Not into it.

What about drugs? You're not going to tell me I can't get high, are you?

G: Well, you're pretty high just being here. Way high up! Just look over the edge of that cloud, there. It's a long way down, heh, heh! But if you are referring to substance abuse, Mike, I'm afraid we don't allow that. There is a fulltime herbalist, though, and my goodness, there's all the vitamin C you'll ever...

V: Never mind! Sorry I asked. What about poetry? Do you have poetry readings where I can express myself and say how fucked up this celestial plane is?

G: They're all workshops, Mike. And, you might ask yourself, "Am I so good that I can't improve?"

V: Alright, alright, I get it! I should have known. Look, ah, I might consider stickin' around if the women are hot. Tell me about the women.

G: We have many eligible women in heaven. There's Emily Dickensen, who's stayed single even up here. Perhaps you can change all that. And then there's Margaret Thatcher, Jeanne d'Arc and Roseanne Barr...

V: Wait a minute! She's not dead!

G: We're working on it. We feel a strong feminist would be a great addition to the heavenly dating pool.

V: Alright, look! I've heard enough! Now get me out of here! If you don't, I'm not sure what I'm going to do, and if you think that's a threat, you'd be right! You won't want to have to clean up the mess I'll make of your tidy little gated community, now will you?!

G: I'm really sorry you feel that way, Mike. I'd hoped to keep you here, Hell being so overcrowded and all...

V: Did you say, "Hell"? That's the first sensible thing you've alluded to! Why don't you just have your man Gabriel, here, summon the celestial elevator and our business will be finished and you can admit your mistake? Makes me wonder who else you tricked into coming here...Hmmmm!

G: Fine! If that's how you feel about me...Gabriel, send him away! It's no use trying to talk sense to a Bohemian.

(Vamps is whisked away to his preferred destination - God gets on the phone)

G: Uh, hello, uh Satan? It's me. How is everything? Look, I was wondering, you're going to be getting a newcomer. Now, I'd be prepared to turn down the thermostat a little if you'd do ME a favor. Vampyre Mike Kassel. Just send me any of his stuff. Okay? Our library of Readers' Digests is getting a little dog-eared

© Steve Arntson