Gabriel’s trumpet sounded, the end of the world came to pass, and the righteous were queued up outside Heaven’s Gate, clamoring to enter Paradise.
“I can’t wait to get in,” one of them said. “I’ve worked so hard to get here.”
“I heard they serve a mean margarita at the Elysium Café,” said another.
“There’ll be chocolate fountains, unicorns, and we’ll all have many mansions on silver clouds!” another member of the elect crowed. “Hey, I see him!”
“No, Elvis!” And sure enough, there was The King, wearing sunglasses and a white rhinestone jumpsuit, rapping with St. Peter. But as the righteous waited while St. Pete checked his ledgers, a murmur started working its way through expectant crowd.
“Hey, did you hear?”
“The rumor that’s going around?”
“That He’s going to let everyone in.”
“Are you fucking serious?’
“That’s the word on the street.”
“It’s fake news! He can’t let everybody in! That’s not how it’s supposed to work.”
“I’m only telling you what I heard.” Predictably, consternation ensued.
“You mean He’s gonna let adulterers in?”
“That’s what I’m hearing.”
“Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, gays, fornicators, queers, abortionists, prostitutes, criminals, atheists, zealots, and trannies?”
“Yep.” Eventually the rumor filtered through the entire crowd – and the elect started getting pissed.
“This had better not be true! I followed the rules! I lived by the Book!”
“I went to church every Sunday and tithed ‘til it hurt!”
“I passed up on banging my smoking hot secretary for nothing?”
“I picketed outside abortion clinics! Why’d I even bother?”
“I gave up marriage and kids for this?” A priest of course. The indelible mark gave him away.
“I travelled the world trying to convert heathens for Jesus!”
“I fought for family values!
“I tried stacking the government with good Christians!”
“I wasn’t allowed to dance! WTF?”
“I was faithful and obedient to my husband, and he was a right asshole! Are you saying I could’ve taken off with my personal trainer?
“I preached against the evils of homosexuality when I could have taken off with my personal trainer too?”
“I never smoked, drank alcohol, coffee or got vaccinations! I treated my body life a temple of the Lord!”
“I was faithful to the Magisterium!”
As the assembled bitchery whined on and on, the elects’ anger sooned reached critical mass and they began cursing the Almighty.
“If everyone can get in, then it was all worthless!”
“This is bullshit!”
“Just who does He think He is?”
“Not my God!”
When the bitter crying and gnashing of teeth finally reached its crescendo, the pit of Hell opened wide and all the righteous jumped willingly into the Inferno. “Fuck this shit!” they cried. “I don’t want to share Heaven with those people. Not even if Elvis is there!” Then, after the last one leapt into perdition’s flame, the chasm of Hades snapped shut.
And Heaven’s Gate opened wide.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,” God voice boomed, “And I will give you rest! Come to me all who are lost! You have been found! Claim your inheritance that I’ve prepared for you since the beginning of the world – where there is no more suffering, death and every tear will be wiped away! Behold, I make all things new!” That’s when those people – those the righetous rejected – started walking through the Gate. And Elvis was there to greet them.
“King!” the multitudes cried, “Why are we getting into Heaven when all the righteous are not? We don’t deserve this!”
“Hey, I’m not a theologian folks,” Elvis said. “I’m just an entertainer.”
“C’mon, you must have some idea.”
“From what I can tell,” Elvis said, “The Big Guy doesn’t care about who deserves what. He just wants everyone to be happy.”
“But we were told Hell was for people like us!”
The King shook his head sadly. “Heaven’s not a gameshow with prizes for people with the right answers. It’s not a reward.”
“But that’s not the way the world works!”
“No, it isn’t.” Elvis said. “But the way I got it figured, God doesn’t much care how the world works.”
And with that, the broken and forgotten, the suffering and the lost – the ones who never got a chance – walked into God’s Kingdom. And the people who thought they had God all figured out? The ones who wished salvation for themselves but not others? Well, they didn’t get shake Elvis’s hand. At least not yet.
Several trillion years later the damned in Hell, having vented their rage for eons, finally fell exhaustedly silent. “Do you hear that?” one of them said.
“I don’t hear anything.”
“No listen, I swear that’s Elvis singing.”
Sure enough, the sound of The King’s singing could be heard wafting across the cooling embers of Hades – and it was the first touch of sweetness its’ prisoners had felt in millennia.
“Sounds like they’re having fun up there,” one of them said.
“Think we can climb up?” said another.
“We can try.” Then, one by one, the damned took that first step. It took a long, long time, but eventually every soul worked his or her way out of the Pit and got to shake Elvis’s hand.
“It wasn’t fake news,” the damned said, their eyes finally adjusting to the light.
“No,” Elvis said. “It was always good news.”
Then and only then, when Hell was empty and Heaven was full, was the work of salvation complete; causing all creation to joyfully sing God’s praises. And as the Seraphim and Cherubim rocked out with the King, the Almighty smiled, happy all his children were home.
“Thank you,” He murmured. “Thank you very much.”