Many years into the future, Eve, having returned safely has been given her rightful place in the higher echelons of heaven and all is right - once more on Earth as it is in heaven.
Not until you get there, hopefully not too soon, will you discover that the afterlife has a class system that works in much the same way as any society on Earth, with God at the top and the lowly souls at the bottom.
Those who thought there would be equality in the life after death will be sorely miffed to discover that the position they endured on Earth is the same as in heaven, but with no chance of climbing the ladder to anything better. Once you’re dead there’s not much else you can achieve.
It’s a bit like living on a council estate across the road from Millionaires Row. You can see it, you can dream about being part of it, but even if you won the lottery and bought a house there you still wouldn’t be accepted as an equal.
Because of the service they performed, Arthur, Archie and Jethro have been given the key to the executive wash-room, so to speak, but they just don’t fit in and they’re really fed up with heaven.
Arthur’s met all his old mates and relatives that made it up there, but he finds it so boring it’s driving him mad and making him very angry all the time. All they do is sit about reminiscing over their old lives on Earth, and after his journey through Hell and all the excitement he had there, he feels like he’s been farmed out to an old people’s home.
Because of Arthur’s exalted position, whenever he gets a bit maudlin and wistful for his old life or a bit of excitement, a bunch of naked fat faced curly haired cherubs appear playing harps and singing sweet heavenly songs, to try to cheer him up.
Arthur told them to fuck off, but they’re persistent little buggers, and when he walks off with the hump the cherubs follow him, floating around his head.
Well, they did until he punched one of them in the face and sent it spinning off into space. They haven’t been back since.
He hasn’t had a fight since he arrived here, swearing is frowned upon, and he really misses all the old violence. He goes in search of Archie as he has an idea he wants to put to him.
Arthur traverses through heaven in the blink of an eye and found Archie fast a kip and cradling his beloved guitar. He crept up on him from behind and shouted into his shell-like.
‘RUN! THE DEMON’S ARE COMING.’
Archie screamed as he scrambled to his feet, his guitar forgotten, and took off like the Devil was biting his tail. Arthur creased up, his laughter echoing throughout the holy realm.
Archie came walking out of the mist, his face a mixture of fear and anger. ‘What the hell is it with you? You frightened the bloody shit out of me.’
You’re getting too soft mate. You and Jethro would make a lovely couple.’
Archie picked up his guitar and sat on a chair of his own making. Arthur made his own chair and sat in front of him, resting his elbows on his knees and cradling his chin.
‘I’m so bloody bored. If I could kill myself I would.’
‘I feel the same. They’ve banned me from playing my guitar, “it upsets the karma of heaven,” he mimicked. But what else is there? We can’t leave here, and even if we did, where is there to go?’
‘I’ve got an idea. You in?’
‘Too right I am. What have you got in mind?’
Arthur suggests they go on a little jaunt and Archie’s well up for it.
‘What about Jethro. Shall we invite him along?’
‘Nah, have you seen him lately?’
‘Last time I saw him he was all dressed up to the nines and had joined the heavenly set. Seems he goes down quite well with all those girly boy angels, prancing about heaven like he’s one of them.’
‘Yeah, I’ve seen him. Let’s leave him out of it. He’ll only pour cold water on anything we suggest anyway.’
They had a good laugh about their journey through Hell, and how Satan must be royally pissed at having his internet destroyed and his dreams of world domination ruined.
‘We done that bastard up like a kipper,’ laughed Arthur. ‘The look on his face when I shoved that fork up his arse is something I’ll never forget.’
Together they plotted their escape. Trouble is, it’s against the rules for a soul ever to leave heaven or to set foot back on Earth.
Never one to abide by the rules Arthur feels the old spirit blood surging. He’s given it a lot of thought and he wants to go back down to Earth, but not without a body, and he doesn’t want to be born again and have to wait to grow up to have a pint of beer and a punch up, both in very short supply in heaven. Not that any of that would be possible.
‘Have you seen the amount of souls arriving at the gates?’ asked Archie. ‘They’ve had to increase the amount of angels there to help with the extra workload. Where are we going to go then? I don’t fancy wandering around in all that mist again.’
‘I’ve been talking to some people, it seems there’s more to this place than meets the eye.’
Arthur tapped the side of his nose. ‘I’ll tell you later.’
‘It won’t be easy getting out,’ said Archie.
‘That’s where Jethro comes in. He’s going to create a diversion for us then we can slip out and have it away into the mist.’
‘What sort of diversion?’
‘We’ll think of something.’
In the blink of an eye they traversed to where Jethro dwelt. He was reclining on a bed of silk cushions surrounded by six angels that were hanging on his every word. Cherubs hovered around him singing their heavenly songs as he pretended to drink wine and eat pretend grapes.
As Arthur moved stealthily towards the bed the cherub he’d given a right hander spotted him first. It let out a terrified screech and all eyes fell on the pair; the cherubs were the first to take flight.
They flew off in all directions, crashing into each other in their haste to get away. The angels were up off the bed in a flash, holding onto each other for protection.
Arthur rushed forward, arms waving like a Millwall supporter and shouting profanities that would make Russell Brand blush.
The angels wings opened and they took off so fast in an upward direction that two of them lost their little yellow shorts, and what hung down as they flew upwards even made Arthur stop and look.
‘What is wrong with you?’ shouted Jethro. ‘Those are my friends.’
Archie was doubled up with laughter.
‘Did you see the size of them angels cocks? Bloody hell mate, no wonder you’re hanging about with them. I knew you was a bit poofie but I never took you for a ginger beer. You’ve found your place in heaven all right.’
‘Don’t be so bloody crude, Arthur. It’s not like that. We’re all just friends.’
Arthur sat on the bed of pillows. ‘If you say so, Jethro. Now listen. We need you to do something for us.’
Archie nearly had his laughter under control as he flopped onto the bed.
‘You’re as bad as each other,’ admonished Jethro. ‘I thought you would have got the violence out of your system after all we suffered in Hell. He’s a bad influence on you Archie, you’re too easily led.’
Archie laughed. ‘Oh lighten up. It was funny. At least it relieved the bloody boredom. This place is killing us slowly.’
‘It’s heaven. How can you say it’s boring? You can do anything you want. ’
‘That’s the point, we can’t. I’m not allowed to play my guitar as it upsets the karma of heaven. There’s nothing to do but listen to that bloody angelic music and wander around all the time. You feel the same, don’t you Arthur?’
‘If I have to spend another day listening to those geriatric retards reminiscing about the bloody war, I’ll kill the bleeding lot of them, dead or not. I’d rather be in Hell enjoying my afterlife. It was a lot more fun down there than this bloody place.’
‘Not for me it wasn’t. I have colour up here, and flair and fabrics, and any period furniture I can think of. And clothes. I can dress the way I want, with style and panache.’
‘You hang about with that mob much longer and you’ll be wearing a little pair of yellow shorts as well mate.’
‘You just don’t get it, Arthur. This is heaven for me. With a single thought I can design anything. And I don’t have to suffer criticism; the angels really appreciate my talents.’
‘I bet they do.’
‘You’ll never understand, we’re worlds apart. I like you Arthur, I really do, but I’m happy here. I have a lot of my friends and family here and I have everything I could ever want. Please be happy for me.’
‘I am happy for you, but it’s not for me, or Archie. We need more than this. It’s all bloody pretend. Nothings real any more mate. I know I’ve pulled your leg quite a bit since we got back but I don’t mean any harm.’
‘I know you don’t, but you can go over the top sometimes.’ Jethro smiled. ‘It’ll take me ages to get those angels back. It was funny though. The look on their faces, you terrified them.’
‘So... are you two friends still?’ asked Archie.
‘Of course we are. Now, what’s this thing you want me to do?’
Arthur told Jethro about their plans and the diversion they needed him to create, so they could slip through the gates unseen by St. Peter and his angels.
‘What if I shouted fire? That would bring them running,’ suggested Jethro.
‘Fire. What bloody fire?’ snapped Arthur. ‘There’s nothing up here to burn.’
Archie gave him a look that said. ‘Easy does it.’
‘Sorry Jethro. No. What we need is something that will get them all away from the gates.’
‘What about a demon?’ suggested Archie. ‘If they thought a demon was on the loose up here they’d all either run away or try to capture it.’
‘Brilliant,’ said Arthur, sarcastically. ‘You’re as bad as him.’
‘Where are we going to get a demon from?’ asked Jethro. ‘They can’t come up here.’
Archie pointed into the distance. ‘There’s one over there, quick, look.’
Arthur and Jethro’s heads snapped around.
‘What?’ screeched Jethro.
When they turned back there was a bright red bull faced demon sitting on the bed, complete with a ring through its dripping nose and spit bubbles frothing from its mouth.
Jethro swooned and fainted, disappearing into the pillows.
Arthur went for it, fists flailing.
‘It’s me,’ yelled Archie, as a punch caught him on the chin, sending him sprawling along the ground.
Arthur reigned in his fists and looked in wonder as the demon disappeared and Archie took its place.
‘Bloody hell mate. I thought that was for real. Sorry I hit you.’
‘That’s alright. Never felt a thing. Good though weren’t it?’
‘Good. It bloody convinced me.’
They reached through the pillows and extracted Jethro, pulling him up into a sitting position. He scuttled backwards, his face a mask of terror, his eyes flashing both ways looking for the demon.
‘It was me,’ grinned Archie.
‘You stupid fool. You frightened the life out of me.’
‘Right then, here’s the plan,’ said Arthur. ‘Jethro can run up to the gates, screaming like he does, that there’s a demon chasing him. Archie, you come running out of the mist after him, just long enough for old jobs-worth and his angels to get a good look at you as a demon, then run back into the mist, change back and meet me at the gates and we’ll slip through together.’
‘Sounds good to me. At least when they see the demon, Jethro won’t be accused of crying wolf... or should that be demon?’
‘Thank you Archie. That’s very thoughtful of you.’