The Gates of Heaven

Submitted by IN SEINE
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Thursday, 4 February 2010

It was late at night as the Pope, who had departed this world, was approaching the gates of heaven. There was no one around, but there was a small shack just prior to the gates with a light on. The Pope stepped into the shack and startled a young man half asleep sitting at a small gray desk.

"Excuse me" said the Pope, "but I'm supposed to check in here with St. Peter, but there is no one at the gate."

"Yea, Yea" said the young man, "Where are your orders?"

"I don't have any orders, " said the Pope.

"Well it's too late to check in tonight anyhow." said the young man, "Just go around to the back of the building, find a rack and dump your gear in a locker. St. Peter will be here in the morning and you can check in then."

The Pope grabs his stuff and walks around the building only to find a WWII style open bay barracks. The racks are stacked three high and the only open one is all the way at the end of the building, and its on top. He drags his stuff to the end of the building, but there is no locker for him. He takes a deep breath, thinks about it for a minute and decides this is just one final test. He crawls up into the rack and falls asleep.

Suddenly he is awakened by a loud commotion outside the barracks. As he walks outside he sees a huge crowd of angels cheering and clapping as a gold convertible limousine approaches. As it draws nearer, the Pope sees a guy in a flight suit and Navy leather flight jacket in the back seat with a beautiful angel on each arm, a beer in his hand and he is smoking one of the biggest cigars the Pope has ever seen. The Pope turns to the young man who checked him in and asks, "Who is that guy?"

"A Naval Aviator," the young man replies.

The Pope says, "I don't get it. I worked hard all of my life to do God's work on earth. As a young man I studied hard at the seminary, as a priest I labored hard to tend my flock and provide guidance when they strayed. I struggled as a bishop to serve the church and as Pope, I was able to attract more followers of the faith. Yet, when I reach heaven, St. Peter isn't here to greet me. I have to carry my own bags. I'm stuck in the top rack of an open bay barracks and I don't even have a locker for my bags!"

The young man looks at the Pope and says. "Look, we get a Pope every 20-30 years, but he is the only Naval Aviator who has ever made it!"

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