God created the Heavens and the Earth. Well, He created one Heaven first. It was the best thing he had going for him. “I gotta make this shit a chain,” He said.
He tried to figure out what it was that made Heaven so good, so he could turn it into a franchise. It was tough. God had a lot of natural talent, and good instincts, and was feeling particularly inspired when he made Heaven, but it was harder to re-create it, much less find a set of rules that would allow a lesser entity to run it well.
And speaking of which, He didn’t have anyone good for that. He had plans to roll out some humans in a few days, but they were looking to be woefully underqualified, and all the other animals were even dumber than humans. Besides, He couldn’t create any of these entities yet, not according the rulebook. He was supposed to create the Heavens (not the Heaven) and the Earth before anything else. Then some firmaments, which were a little boring but very necessary, and then He could move on to the fun stuff. He was looking forward to creating the humans and then shaming them over their nakedness.
But He was getting ahead of Himself. First he needed to make the Heavens. And that meant He’d need some franchise owners.
He made some angels and sat them down in front of Heaven’s gate.
“Welcome,” He said, “I am God, the Creator. You see before you my greatest creation, Heaven. Well, what if you could have your very own?
“Get the fuck out,” said the angels. “This thing seems like a scam.”
“I’m the Lord Your God, the goddamn creator,” he said “If I wanted to scam you, you’d have already been scammed. I created fucking heaven, you think I can’t create a scam? Fuck outta here. What I’m giving you is an opportunity here. You dumb motherfuckers are too pig-headed to see the once-in-eternity opportunity I’m giving to you. I suppose that’s my fault. Should have created you smarter if I wanted you to recognize this kind of thing.”
“Hey, hold on a second,” said the angels, in chorus. They were a chorus of angels. “We just said it seems like a scam. Things aren’t always as they seem. We know you work in mysterious ways and the like. What’s the deal?”
“Thanks,” said God. “I appreciate that. Very good. We can do business.”
He created a whole other set of angels just to play the theme music for his little presentation. God had it going on like that back then.
“Here’s the deal,” said God. “We’re gonna take this heaven thing and blow it up. Now, the full suite is gonna be called The Heavens. We’re set on that. And it’s a multi-tier system. First, we’re going to have the original Heaven. Gonna call that one ‘Heaven by God’. Now, top tier after that is a bunch of full-service heavens along the line of the original. We’ll try a few little tweaks, maybe even some improvements. Gonna call those ‘Eternal Heaven’ ‘Glorious Heaven’, and ‘Divine Heaven.'”
“Then we’ve got our specialty heavens. These aren’t gonna be as large or full-service, but they’ll still try to keep the same standard of quality. So the idea is that the level of service is the same, it’s just not everything all at once. These will have their own title, but with the name ‘Heaven’ before them. Like ‘Heaven: Bountiful Fields’ and ‘Heaven: Clouds Above.'”
“And last we’ve got our basic downmarket heavens, like ‘Heaven Express’ and ‘Heaven After Dark.’ We still want to have a high level of excellence, and keep in mind everything that made heaven great, but it’s a different product category, if you will. Now do any of you motherfuckers want in? Because if not, I’ll make some calls right now, I can create some other investors in a minute.”
“Yeah, I’d love to, I just need to talk it over with my team” said some of the angels.
“I’m omniscient, talk it over with me,” said God.
“It’s a matter of capital,” said some of the other ones.
God told them He was fronting everything.
“I honestly see myself in more of a follower role,” said a great many of them.
“That’s actually great,” said God, “But not all of you are gonna be reporting to me. You’d have to follow another angel. Just as long as you’re okay with that.”
“I see your point” said the angels, and the signups commenced. True to His word, God created The Heavens, and did give them over to control of the angels, though He constantly micromanaged.
With that out of the way, He was free to proceed with the rest of the creation. For a while everyone just sat tight, until these two dudes named Cain and Abel were born.
“Now, did you create them, or…” said a few of the advising angels.
“Nah,” said God. “They make each other, that’s how this works now”
Cain and Abel kept sacrificing things to go the heavens. Cain gave them fruits and vegetables, and Abel gave them meat. The angels all knew they should have more fruits and vegetables, but they were honestly more excited about the meat.
Word got back to Cain, and he killed Abel.
“Well, shit,” said the angels “The one who was giving us the meat had to be the one to get killed.”
Abel came up to heaven, and everyone assumed that since he was the first soul up there, God was going to put him in “The Big House,” which is what they were calling Heaven by God.
“Actually, I might not do that,” said God. “I’ll be taking Adam and Eve, sure. But I figured I’ll let one you get a bid at this one.”
Everyone in the top-tier Heavens got together their best presentations, and tried to land the bid. It came down to Gabriel, who owned Glorious Heaven, and Lucifer, who owned Wondrous Heaven.
Lucifer came to talk to God privately.
“Look,” he said “I know you have very good reasons to pick either one of us. Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do in your situation. It’s a very tough choice. I love what Gabriel’s doing with Glorious Heaven. Top-notch. On the other hand, I’m extremely proud of the work we’re doing at Wondrous, and I genuinely think it stands with the very best.”
“Yep,” said God. “It’s a tough decision.”
“I appreciate your dilemma,” said Lucifer. “So I’m gonna make this easy for you. Give the contract to Gabe. He’s earned it. All I want is, when the other brother dies, the one with the vegetables, the murderer, let me put him up in my Heaven After Dark location. I see big things with the franchise.”
“You know what?” said God “I can actually see that working. If you’re willing to put as much work into your branch of Heaven After Dark as you did to Wondrous.”
The next day God announced his decision, and Abel moved out of Michael’s Heaven Express where he’d been staying and into Gabriel’s Wondrous Heaven.
[to be continued]