What Happened When Frank Died: The Language Barrier

Frank died.

There was a crowd. They didn’t seem too happy, but not loud. It felt like being in the DMV when all the seats are taken, except bigger–so much bigger.

“Excuse me,” Frank said, pushing. The people around him shuffled out of his way. He fought through with gentle nudges and “excuse me-s” until he managed to find himself at a golden gate, a fence that ran up, out of sight. A man stood there, smiling; all in white. Around him, people were less docile. Some yelled, some tried smashing the man with their fists, but still he stood, as if made of stone. He only continued to smile, saying something Frank couldn’t hear.

Frank watched. People yelled, cried; all different people, all different ages. Some gave up and began walking along the fence. Frank got closer and listened. People were saying all sorts of things to the man, some in English, some in what Frank recognized as French, or maybe Spanish.

To each of them, in turn, the man in white said something. Frank couldn’t catch it. He moved closer, avoiding blows. In the cacophony, he heard it. But, it was nothing Frank could discern. It sounded like Arabic, maybe.

“What is he saying!” Frank tried to call at an Asian man beside him. But the Asian man paid Frank no mind. Frank looked around and saw a large man leaning against the fence beside the gate.

“Hey!” Frank called, heading for the man.

The man waved, he had a great big beard.

“You know what is going on?” Frank asked once he got close enough.

The large man nodded. “Heaven is that way, he’s the gatekeeper.”

He pointed at the man in white, still smiling, saying something to each person as they flooded into him.


The large man laughed. “So, he doesn’t speak English.” He laughed again. “Oh, it never gets old.”

Frank frowned at the serene man in white. “What is he speaking?”

The large man shrugged. “No one knows!” He went back into fits of laughter.

“It sounded Arabic,” Frank said, hopeful.

“Nope, it’s been tried. I’ve been watching for years. No one has a clue. Some linguistics professor got him to stop smiling for a moment about nine months back, but even he gave up eventually.”

Frank frowned at the chaos that seemed to spread thin as it stretched outward.

“So, no one can get into heaven?”

“Not that I’ve seen.”

Frank thought for a bit. Then, he shrugged.

“I’m going to go try to find my family out here then, care to join?”

The large man shrugged, “got nothing better to do.”

They started walking along the fence.

“I’m Charlie,” the man said.

Frank held out his hand, “Frank.”

“So who are we looking for Frank?”

“A woman in a blue dress, and a boy of about four.”

Charlie looked at the crowd ahead of them.

“Piece of cake,” he muttered.


  1. excellent flash, your stories are getting more refined (or I’m slowly getting better in reading …). The heavenly gate with a guardian, whom no one understands. People seem to want to discuss whether they were good people? This was a good move from the dear god to put this guardian there, because I wonder wherefor we need language to be let into heaven? … I think the heart will be examined, not the skill of argumentation.
    What a beautiful story. Frank goes ahead with Charly to find his woman and his child without knowing that he has already found the son. And to find Sara, at least there is good hope, somewhere she must be.

    Liked by 3 people

    • thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It was something I always wanted to write. actually the 4th frank episode was originally how I thought of this concept. (it is when everyone is trapped in a giant pile, naked) the idea was that there was a language barrier, preventing people from moving on. But I never actually wrote that, it was just the reasoning in my own head. Then I decided to write a more clear picture, and that was this

      Liked by 2 people

      • o.k. in the fourth there were also “perfectly nice folks, around”, how Charly said. It´s like in this story, all people who are there, are more or less upset, because they thought, they were good people, and nobody thought about ending in hell? And Charly is always happy, because Charly is the avenger! He was in life and he is very happy to see all these people in hell!

        Liked by 1 person

      • well Charly is part of devil…if one assumes that every human being bears a bit of a devil and a bit of God, Charly is the devil and David is the divine part. So this story is, when Frank goes with Charly in harmony actually a sad ending … evil has triumphed, even if Frank is perhaps happy? uhhh This is frightening!

        Liked by 1 person

      • haha well david and charlie are not so black and white. becoming embittered by life isn’t exactly evil and we don’t really know if Charlie is evil. Just that he murdered someone…maybe more than one someone.

        Liked by 1 person

      • oh yes I mix up everything, Charly became embittered…well yes and he murdered not only the hijacker but also David ( himself as a boy)…didn’t he?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I did´t see the illustration yesterday….. the cage seems strange to me. I thought the guardian was standing in front of a fence and not in a cage? Hmmmm and Frank does not even try to get in? But well, if no one came in before, also his family is not in there…..


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