Prose Header

St. Doorman the Mighty

by Andrew Bolt

I got to heaven some time on Tuesday.

“Long wave,” said St. Doorman the Mighty, winking at me from behind glasses tinted the color of sea foam. “Nobody goes home.”

“Um, hi?” I greeted him.

He was perched atop the pearled gate, covered in what looked like psychedelic dermal grafts and wrapped in fleshy, vibrating wings. “Everybody dies,” he mouthed, though I heard nothing.

My consciousness, represented by a will o’ the wisp sort of light, shimmered among digital clouds. Heaven was on the driftweb, a planetary scale neural network for disconnected brains. If you got your mind uploaded before you went flatline, your consciousness could retire to this realm, a paradise for thought forms. No one had ever come back, but unmistakable emotorelays had been sent from residents. Pure bliss.

St. Doorman the Mighty spread his wings, and swirls of purple and red danced about his abdomen. “Lord of wind,” he hummed, catching an updraft and swaying in non-air.

No one knew where heaven came from. No one knew who or what St. Doorman the Mighty was. His name came from a tongue-in-cheek comment in a headzine based in Toledo.

The driftweb was supposed to be a mental communication grid, and later, a very sophisticated method of astral-like projection. It was meant to get your mind from place to place, telephone wires for human consciousness. It was never meant to produce minds or places itself. In fact, technically speaking, that should have been impossible. Yet, heaven was there, as was St. Doorman.

“Say, sister, there are seven ways around it.” St. Doorman flew above me, and he seemed like he might be trying to give me instructions. Then again, he might have been reading a recipe for gumbo.

I’d never been to heaven before. Localizing and then visiting it took a team of live psientists eleven months, and they could never get past the doorstep. They spent nearly two years here, having chats with St. Doorman and trying to get inside.

The closest thing they ever got to a coherent response from him came late in the first November. He recited Milton’s Paradise Lost from start to finish, seventy-seven times. Actually, he sang it to the tune of “Danny Boy” for a little over two weeks.

They never even got close to getting through the gate.

Still, a mind whose physical anchor had died had a whole different frequency on the driftweb, especially near heaven. Loose consciousnesses were somehow drawn to this hard-to-find place, and they never seemed to have any problems getting inside. It was as if St. Doorman simply saw them coming and the gates moved aside, although the live observers found they could never move toward them. So what was my difficulty?

“Friends of foes,” said St. Doorman, finally settling near me. He smelled of raspberries. I tried to smile at him, but I had no lips.

“Pssst,” he said, leaning toward the ball of light that I was. He pressed his face to my field. I waited, my energy thrumming.

“Heaven’s closed,” he murmured.

And suddenly, I was alone on an empty landscape, wandering through the clouds of Earth’s minds.

I am still wandering today.

Copyright © 2007 by Andrew Bolt

Proceed to Challenge 272...

Home Page