Scene: Gate of Heaven, exterior, day. God sits at pearlized desk in flowing robes, reader glasses on the bridge of his nose. He’s wearing red Converse high tops and a Devil Rays cap.
God: So, what gift did I give you?
Me: You gave me the ability to craft words.
God: Ah, yes, I remember now. That’s a lovely gift, isn’t it? And so many ask me for that one. They have such dreams… so sad that I can’t give it to everyone. There was this young lady- Emily Dickinson. She used to ask me every day for talent. But it wasn’t in the cards for her. So many people write… novels, poetry, investigative pieces, they’re all out there for the taking and so many people try to write these things. But they, unlike you, don’t have the talent.
Me (shuffling feet): Yes, you were quite generous with me.
God: Now, that’s what I like to hear. Tell me what you wrote; tell me how you used this gift to make people smile or weep.
Me (edging toward gate of heaven): Ah, well, see, here’s the thing… I never actually finished anything like that. (Quickly) I wanted to, but, uh, see, you gave me such a gift that I was able to make a living writing, and I always felt guilty writing things that I thought were just for me. Indulgent, really. You, uh, don’t like too much indulgence, do you?
God: Well, don’t let this out (chuckles at own joke) but, well, indulgence has its place. And, of course, you know those things you didn’t write because you were making money writing other things–they would have been lovely and I would have helped you get them published.
Me: Really? I mean, you know agents and stuff? (Catches self, stops, clears throat) What I meant was, oh. Thank you. And I’m sorry.
God: Oh, no need to be sorry. You wrote; you used the gift. What did you write?
Me: Uh, I wrote for a weekly paper.
God: (claps hands together eagerly) Oh, a journalist! The fourth estate! How lovely. I bet you did investigative pieces, didn’t you? You probably saved lives with an expose of the sausage industry or something like that, didn’t you? Oh, how noble to sacrifice your personal writing to turn in pieces that changed the world around you. Did you save any babies? I love it when reporters save babies with something they’ve written!
Me (sweating now): You’re toying with me, aren’t you?
God: Pardon? Didn’t you save people?
Me: Er, not exactly.
God: Well, what did you do with this gift I gave you?
Me: I reported on local news.
God: You mean, local investigative pieces? Oh, well, not to worry. Many small-town reporters don’t feel like they made a difference, but trust me, they do. I mean, I do kind of know most everything.
Me: (chuckles nervously) Heh. Glad you think so.
God: So tell me, what’s the last thing you wrote?
Me: Erm, uh, well, I was working on my column when, uh, I died.
God: (claps hands as a child would) Oh, goody. I love opinion pieces. I bet you were well-thought-out and logical and made points that changed people’s way of seeing the world.
Me (under my breath): I’ll take that bet.
God: What was the column about, anyway?
Me: Well, I’m not really comfortable discussing a work in progress…
God (sighs): Writers. OK, what was the last one about?
Me: Mooring fields and boats.
Me: Uh, yeah. (Gets excited) I talked about people who didn’t like boats and how they should move out of Florida.
God: And, um, what did you expect to change with that column?
Me: Um, it was more of a venting thing.
God: Could I see a copy of last week’s paper, please?
Archangel enters stage left, hands God newspaper, exits stage right. God thumbs through paper.
God: I see you discuss moving the city’s kayak launch and reviewed Little Mary Sunshine.
Me: Um, yes.
God: OOOH! And here’s something really riveting- a photo of two musicians eating cheese. (clears throat) Would you care to explain, Miss Salustri, exactly what you did with your me-given talent?
Me: You’re looking at it, sir.
God: This is IT? Emily Dickinson, Chelsea Handler, David Sedaris–they all would have killed for your talent. And what do you do with it? Review community theatre? Write about kayak launches? Tell people to move?
Me: I’m going to hell, aren’t I, sir?
God: No, not exactly. I’m sending you back to write for Fox News.