by Kevin White
As it so happens, I was a man of scarcely forty-seven years when there was a knock on my door. "The Kingdom of Heaven," a narrow-eyed, bearded child belched, "is at hand." "Whose hand?" I mumbled, and I felt a breeze tickle my pantsless legs, except for the area protected by my socks. The socks were around my feet, and my slippers were around my socks. "Why, yours," the infant remarked. He was likely twelve years my junior, rendering him all but a useless maggot of a being, a larval manifestation calling its doorstep my home in a nomadic quest of salesmanship.
"May I come in?" We exchanged glances. Mental imagery. Memories. He was abused as a child, but not in any sort of typical way: he was forced from a young age to constantly alphabetize and de-alphabetize and re-alphabetize the little medicinal tubes inhabiting his tired mother's bathroom cabinet. A comes before D, I could hear him singing, except after C. His mother had a lot of medicines that began with C.
Once the insect was inside my home, Ground Zero of Burkish Street, he offered me a cup of coffee. I accepted it graciously, and got up to brew a pot. From the other room I could hear him setting up a small diorama; the sound was unmistakable, and he confirmed my suspicion by asking me if I had any diorama tape. I did, but I told him I didn't, because I didn't have much left and I was expecting another salesman.
"The kingdom of heaven," he repeated, "is at hand. Your hand. My hand. Every hand that claps in the world." "What about people with no hands?" I came back with his coffee. "They, I'm afraid, will not have to worry about heaven." His honesty found sympathy in my heart strings, so I gave him the diorama tape.
"Do you see this diorama?" he squealed. "This left flap represents Heaven. Do you see its beauty?" I did. "The beauty here is representative of Heaven because Heaven is also beautiful. This is not a fair representation, however, because the beauty of Heaven could never be represented within the confines of a manmade creation such as the diorama. Dioramas are wonderful, don't get me wrong, but it is hardly the type of thing that would please the Lord Almighty. So as you can see, this flap clearly represents God's Kingdom of Heaven. Any questions so far? Excellent. This middle flap, the largest flap, is Earth, man's realm. God, from the left flap, created this flap, as well as the other two. The three of them were created roughly five weeks apart. We know this, because we have fossils to prove it. There were more just recently discovered in Montana. There are many fossils there, perhaps you have seen some on the news? This middle flap is where we all live. You, I, and those poor, unfortunate, handless folks the world over. They will be in our prayers, I'll see to that. This flap is beautiful, but it's not as beautiful, because God is not here. He is close, though, because as you can see the two flaps are joined by this edge. It's folded, so that the diorama can stand on its own. The right flap is the nasty flap. This flap represents Hell. Hell is where you go if you sin, or don't have hands, with which to clap and accept the Kingdom of Heaven, from the first flap. If you end up in Hell, you can forget about getting to Heaven. The two are not connected by an edge of any kind. There is fossil evidence that Hell was created some five thousand years ago. We found fossils in Montana. They are not shown here on the diorama, but you can be sure that they exist, just as you can be sure that I am sitting here today, with you, or that there are some folks in the world without hands, and they are missing out, because they have no hands with which to accept the Kingdom of Heaven or build dioramas in their leisure. They will be in our prayers, I will see to that."
I understood every sixth word the wiggling insect heaved, and the putrid odor of juices was gagging. He finished his coffee, and I politely asked him to leave. I helped him pack up his diorama, complimented him on the craftsmanship, and he said he didn't make it, his daughter did, and she only has one hand but it's hand enough to accept the Kingdom of Heaven, any hand that can make a diorama that pleasant could surely accept the Kingdom of Heaven.
The man went on his way, next door, to the Thompkins house. They weren't home, he would soon find that out.
When I went back to my business as usual, I noticed that there was a small statue missing from my table. The larva took it. It was in his slimy hands now, but I took comfort in knowing that if he was holding my statue, he could not adequately accept the Kingdom of Heaven. His daughter made nice dioramas, though. Too bad about those handless folks.
About the author:
Kevin White is not the funniest man in the history of the world, but he's probably somewhere in the top twenty. That's considering every funny person in the Roman Empire, which he imagines had to have a pretty good sense of humor, what with those silly mohawk helmets. Kevin White is also funnier than Gandhi, who, contrary to legend, was not a very humorous individual.