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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sunday, May 13, 2012

At the Pearly Gates

They told us to go to lunch in groups of five.  You have exactly an hour and a half they warned us.  Just go out to a restaurant with the other four people who are sitting near you.  And make sure you are back on time.  One of the people in my group was Chrissy.  She was a grade school teacher who taught grades 1 and 2.  She was young, early twenties, right out of school, a small blond girl with thick glasses.  You might even say she was attractive [looking] except there was something flighty, not quite together, about her.

The restaurant was crowded and it took a few minutes to get a table.  We were a bit concerned because we were on a schedule.  There was nothing really fancy on the menu, salads, spaghetti, sandwich plates with French fries etc.  We were all able to find something suitable except Chrissy kept asking for things that were not on the menu.  The waiter had to come back three times before she finally settled on something.  Chrissy’s food arrived later than the rest so we had to wait on her to finish her food. 

Then it came time to pay the bill.  Everyone wanted separate checks and most of us paid by credit card.  By the time most of us had paid, Chrissy was still picking at her food.  Finally she declared she was finished and presented a credit card to the waiter.  He quickly returned to inform her that card had been declined.  Chrissy pulled out her wallet which was bulging with plastic and handed him another card.  But that card too came back declined.  By this time we were getting concerned because we had been gone over an hour and we had a 20 minute walk back. 

When the third card came back declined we had all had it with Chrissy.  We took up a collection and paid for Chrissy’s lunch!  We rushed out of the restaurant and arrived back just in time to see the doors closing as we got off the elevator.  There were two monitors in the hall waiting for us.  They broke us up into two groups.  Chrissy and another guy were taken off down the hall and I was left standing behind two other ladies outside the closed door. 

“You're late!” the monitor said to the first woman.  Shocked, the woman begins to explain, “Well, you see Chissy had trouble finding food she liked and then Chrissy had maxed out credit cards and then...” Unmoved by the explanation the monitor again said, “You’re late!” at which point the woman again launched into her explanation.  “But Chrissy...”  At this point a second monitor arrived and escorted the first woman off to a private room down the hall. 

“You’re late!” the monitor said to the next woman who was standing in front of me.  “Well, you see Chissy...”  This time the monitor did not bother listening to her explanation furter.  A third monitor arrives and quickly whisks her off to another private room down the hall.  Oh Oh now what?  I’m next!

The monitor looks at me and says “You're late!”.  By now I know the explanation about Chrissy is not going to fly so what can I do?  After all, it is what happened isn’t it?  I hesitate.  What’s the secret password?  How am I going to get in that door and escape being escorted to the private room down the hall?  “You’re late!” the monitor coldly reiterates. 

“Yes”, I said. “It won’t happen again.”  Without a word the monitor steps aside and pulls the door open for me and quickly dart inside like a rabbit disappearing down a hole.

I quietly slip into my seat.  I can feel my heart pounding in my chest.  Wow, what just happened?   Could it be that when I meet Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates he won’t buy the excuse that Chrissy is responsible for the way I have lived my life?


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