Interested in story telling. I attend a critique group that listens
to stories and comments on them. For instance:
"Hell's bells!" the attractive young woman exclaimed as she
collapsed into the folding chair in front of the desk. She brushed
long, dark locks away from a face that showed signs of impatience
as well as exhaustion.
"I'm sorry you had to wait," said the elderly male interviewer,
with a nervous swipe of his hand across a glossy pate. He sat on
the other side of a steel desk, set equidistant between white
marble columns. "But it's your turn now."
"I was in that lousy line for two hours," she continued.
"Yes, you were at the very end, and I'm sorry about that."
"If we might proceed," the man suggested gently, opening a manila
folder. "Your name, I see on the invoice, is Field. Is that
"Yes," she replied, somewhat distracted if not mollified.
"Your first name, Ms Field?"
"Er . . . And how came you to join the heavenly multitude?"
"How did you die?"
"It was a freak accident. I broke my neck."
He grimaced. "I'm sorry about your tragic mishap."
"Fortunately it was not a disfiguring calamity," he said, looking
her up and down, "because a most attractive figure it
She studied him with care. "Are you coming on to me?"
"Uh, no. Certainly not. Can you describe the incident a
"A pole broke without any warning, and I fell."
"Hmm . . . And this event occurred at your place of
"Yes, I performed at the Hoochy Koochy Lounge."
The man flipped over a page. "The file gives your occupation as
"Well, that's wrong," she said flatly. "I was an exotic
"I see. We'll have to make a correction." The man turned another
page. "Did you file a report with OSHA?"
"Of course not, you moron. I was dead."
"Quite right," he said, somewhat flustered. "I'd forgotten about
"Hey, how long is this supposed to take, anyway? I'm getting pretty
tired of all this rigmarole. I spent the night in a hospital
emergency room, where I was given two Tylenol and presented with a
bill for six-thousand dollars. Before I expired."
"I trust your insurance company covered the bill."
"My claim was pre-denied."
"I didn't know they could do that," he said in wonderment.
"It was in the fine print. And now," the woman expostulated with
increasing agitation, "you're hassling me."
"I'm very sorry this has been such a trial for you. We do the best
we can, but we're terribly understaffed at present."
"How can that be? I'd have thought your resources to be
. . . infinite."
"They were. Anyway, they used to be before the
"You've been privatized?" she asked. A pair of artfully-styled
"I'm afraid so. When the buyout frenzy had ravaged earth, it next
spread to heaven."
She drew a sharp breath. "Horrors! With investment bankers?"
"Unhappily. They claimed God was doing a mediocre job, and that if
they were running heaven, they could apply modern management
techniques--outsource prayer intercession to third-world countries,
for example, fire surplus employees--and turn a profit."
"But that's appalling!"
"We all thought so." He wiped away a tear.
"But how could such a thing happen?"
"The usual way. The bankers borrowed a bunch of money and bought
heaven. Then the plan was they'd pay down the loan with heavenly
"Humph," she declared, indignantly.
"Heaven was never really suited to be a profit center, but of
course that didn't stop the bankers."
"Yes, they had boundless confidence in what they'd learned in their
Her expression grew puzzled. "But what about the religious
community? Didn't the Christians raise objections?"
"As they've grown more conservative in recent years, they've
adopted the view that they should be allowed to keep their own
money and that heaven should be self-supporting."
"So the buyout hasn't been a success?"
"No, interest on the loan is enormous and tithes have been
"How is that possible?" she asked. "Churches are doing a
land-office business these days."
"Building mega-churches is quite expensive. Let alone equipping
them with shopping malls and family entertainment centers. Hiring
rock bands for revivals isn't cheap either. Then too, buying SUVs
for the pastors, pastors emeritus, associate pastors, assistant
pastors, and youth pastors runs into some pretty good money. Very
little of the collection finds its way to heaven these days. I
don't know what we're going to do."
"You're in a bind for sure," the young woman said, shaking her head
"We're not ready to give up. We have another arrow to the celestial
"And that is?"
"We've been reading Oprah, and according to her, we may be able to
use the Law of Attraction."
"What on earth . . . beg pardon, what in heaven's name is
"There are four aspects:" he explained. "1. Decide what you want,
2. Ask for it, 3. Assume it's on the way, and 4. Be ready to
"And is the Law of Attraction working for you?"
"Not yet, but we're optimistic."
"Well, I can't let heaven go bankrupt," she said. "Maybe I can come
up with a way to raise some funds. Do you have a pole? A sturdy
He allowed himself a cautious smile. "I think the Law of Attraction
is starting to work."