The gates of heaven loomed ahead.
He knew they were the gates of heaven because they said “HEAVEN,” in a seemingly endless number of languages; an arrival gate, of sorts. The gates weren’t open. As Frank approached he found a man standing in front of a small door.
“Howdy!” The angel twitted, pale.
“Hi,” Frank said, cautiously, then added, “heaven?”
The angel nodded, “Right-o.”
Frank looked around, a landscape of clouds, above and beyond.
“So…” Frank began, stepping toward the door. The angel stepped in his way.
“Afraid not,” he said.
Frank stopped and frowned. “What?”
“It’s a no-go for you Frank, you are Frank right?”
“Hm, then, I’m afraid not.”
Frank crossed his arms. “I was a good man.”
The angel pulled a clipboard from nowhere, talking as he did. “Yes-yes, it seems you were. Unfortunately, back in nineteen-eighty-three you swore to quit smoking.”
Frank frowned. “Uh, okay, so?”
“You smoked another cigarette, another,” he checked the chart, “six-thousand-two-hundred and fifty-three, in fact, before you actually quit. Jesus!”
Frank grew a bit annoyed. “And?”
“And?” the angel shook his head, “you swore to god.”
The angel took a deep breath, through his teeth. “Well, the problem is that, well, I mean, we are a liberal bunch around here but there are just some things that lock things up if you know what I mean.”
Frank gave him a look that he hoped most accurately captured how little he knew what the angel meant.
The angel sighed.
“Look, we’ve had a lot of changes over the years, good ones! of course. The big man has lightened up on a lot of issues,” he cupped his hand, “especially in regards to women,” he whispered. “But, he won’t cave on the whole, swearing to him thing. I mean, in a few hundred years, who knows, but for now, well.”
The angel motioned behind Frank. Frank turned and stared out at the fluffy wasteland.
“You’re shitting me?” He told the angel.
The angel shrugged, “afraid we don’t shit around here.”
Frank took a step back, then, leapt at the angel.
The angel, the signs, and the gate all vanished with the sound of a whimsical tsk-tsk. Frank tumbled over the clouds and flopped onto his back. He looked up, more clouds. He sighed, and for the first time in a decade, wanted a cigarette.
For more Frank Died stories, click here.
For some Russian Translations, click here.