Shopping With Mel

A brilliant whiteness, warm and silent, envelops you. You wonder if this is what death is like. Maybe you're in heaven. You feel weightless, bodiless, as though you've finally been stripped of your earthly being and are now a bulb of pure glowing consciousness. You drift through the bright, endless emptiness.

Eventually however, something comes into view. The figure of a man in the distance swims into view from the surrounding blur. As he gets closer you see that he is a bearded man, dressed in brown robes, sitting behind a computer on a desk. You being to speak, asking him where you are.

'Just one second!' he says impatiently. He types away silently at his PC for some time, eventually looking up and saying 'Name.'

You tell him your name's Mel Gibson.

'He types this into his computer. Waits for a few seconds, staring at his screen, then looks back up at you.

'No. Sorry, sir. You're not on my spreadsheet.'

You ask him is this is heaven.

'It is, yes. Well done, Sherlock. But you're not coming in, I'm afraid. You're not listed.'

You explain to him that yours has been a good life, a life of holiness, of religious observance, of giving joy to millions of people around the world.

'Just a second,' sighs the man. 'Let me get your file up.'

He sits in silence for a few moments, staring disinterestedly at the screen.

'Right, here you are. Yeah... okay, I see the problem. You were a Catholic, right?'

You tell him that's correct.

'Well, there you go then. No Catholics allowed. I'm afraid, of all the religious groups on earth, the ones who were closest to the right idea were the extreme Muslims. Who'd have thought, eh?'

You ask him what this means. Are you allowed to go back, to relive your life correctly?

'No,' says the man behind the computer, 'It means you have to go to hell forever. Now, just hang on a sec. We've had problems with the system all morning.' He clicks the mouse repeatedly, clearly to no avail. 'Just wait a moment, sir. I'm going to have to shut the computer down and turn it on again. Don't go anywhere. We'll have you in hell soon enough.'

An awkward silence falls as the computer is turned off, turned back on and you both wait for it to finish loading. When it is ready the man says 'Right!' and clicks his mouse a couple of times.

The atmosphere alters instantly. You find your body returning around the bubble of consciousness which had previously held you. A landscape bleeds into view - mountains of brimstone, lakes of boiling excrement, the air on fire - followed by the sounds of screaming, wailing, pleading.

This is where you live now. You look around for somewhere to sit down.

(play again)