SETTING: The Front Porch of heaven, with a long row of rocking chairs, stretching off into forever.
ST. PETER and MIKE LOTT enter stage-right.
ST. PETER: As I was saying, Mike, we have the perfect spot reserved for you — right here!
MIKE: Great, this looks a lot like my porch back home. Except where’s the bird feeders?
ST. PETER: Argh! I told the landscape crew to get them in place before you got here!
MIKE: Alright, well, one more question — am I allowed to chew on cigars here? I mean, I’m not going to light it up.
ST. PETER: I’ll have to check the new front porch regulations.
MIKE: Regulations? I didn’t think you let politicians in up here.
Loud knocking sound
ST. PETER: I’ve got to get the front gate. Make yourself at home. (departs stage-left)
MIKE sits in his rocker, smiles and stretches his arms above his head, as BILL BRYAN and CHRIS CLIMER enter stage-right.
BILL B.: Looky who finally arrived! Sure is good to see another friend from the ‘hood.
CHRIS: How are things in Kessler Park?
MIKE: Come on and have a seat. I’ll catch y’all up. I have to say this is the best front porch view I’ve ever had.
CHRIS: (sitting) I spend most of my days here, enjoying the view. But we’ve also had some interesting new residents lately. I spent all day watching Jerry Lewis and Don Rickles trade insults.
BILL B.: (sitting) Tell me a story about Kessler Park United Methodist Church …
MIKE: Well, as you know, I always considered myself a Baptist first, but …
BILL MILSAP enters stage-right
BILL M.: Here’s some familiar faces.
MIKE: Have a seat, Bill. You’re at heaven’s front porch now. You have nowhere to be and all the time in the world. I didn’t expect to see you so soon.
BILL M.: Neither did I. But that damn cancer is … (shaking head).
BILL B.: Tell me about it …
A few seconds of quiet go by
MIKE: I hate to ask this, but when do you get used to it?
CHRIS: Get used to what?
MIKE: Being here. Missing the wife. Being separated from everything and everyone you knew.
BILL B.: You’ll never get over missing them, but you will learn quickly to leave them in God’s hands. That’s actually the great thing about being here. You’ll no longer doubt God’s presence and influence in their lives. You’ll gradually get more and more comfortable with the idea that all will be well.
CHRIS: There is no sadness either. You find that you’re actually quite at peace with being here, and that they will join you soon enough.
BILL B.: And there’s plenty of time to just sit and shoot the breeze.
CHRIS: So what’s happening with the Cowboys?
MIKE: Now that will make you sad. Losing Zeke has made things a lot more difficult —
RUTH ZACCARELLO enters stage-right
RUTH: The last thing I want to talk about in heaven is the Dallas Cowboys.
MIKE: Have a seat, RUTH! We’re just sitting here, catching up on Oak Cliff.
RUTH: (sitting) That sounds good to me. Great view you got here.
MIKE: I love it. Except I miss the birds. Back home, I had several feeders in my front yard, and kept them full of seed. This place could use a little landscape work.
BILL M.: I’m on it. I’ve got some ideas that I can run by ST. PETER.
BILL B.: Wait until tomorrow. We’ve got lots of time for that. So MIKE, how are things at The Kessler School? I heard you were working there …
Conversation continues, as the voices gradually fade into eternity