How long he’d been here, he didn’t know. He hadn’t slept, or at least he didn’t think he had, and time seemed totally absent, unimportant. The very concept seemed strangely irrelevant in this place. So too was the concept of monotony. Strangely there was none of that either.
He returned to Anton’s corner office. Invitingly and over a pilsner Anton began to explain the Hereafter as best as he could. There were different realms within what was a whole Heavenly Bureaucracy, from The Throne of God on down. There were Plebes and Scribes and whole other classes of beings; there were the Nine Orders and the Nine Choirs, angelic choirs and other subcategories of angels. There were the Nine Promises and the Twelve Promises – all different – and the Fifteen Promises.
“The Heavenly Hierarchy is quite fond of threes and multiples of three; and ones of course,” he said as he gazed outside, just beyond the windows of his sprawling office. “There are countless angels, up to the saints and the prophets, and right on up to the God of the Universe who surely has His work cut out for him.
“The groups of nine and greater are largely ceremonial,” Anton asserted. Then, after taking a long sip of his beer, Anton added with a wink and a wry smile, “It really is who you know.”
“How long is this gonna take?” his descendant asked.
“This whole…process Anton. Like, what’s next with it?”
“What is next Lieb? You still have not even started, and already you ask, ‘What comes next’?”
“Can I look down for just a minute? Can I at least do that? You know. See how the family’s doing?”
“Lieb: You cannot see your loved ones…yet. I am sorry. It is not possible.”
“I thought that in Heaven all things are possible.”
“Du kannst nicht mein Lieb. And you are not in Heaven. Not yet and perhaps not ever.”
“Then I’m in God’s Waiting Room, right?”
“Do not get agitated,” offered Anton softly.
“I’m not agitated!”
Then he noticed that something had happened. Opa noticed something on his computer. The man could plainly see that Opa was troubled by something. There had to be a sudden problem of some sort, he thought. The man sat in his velvety seat and said nothing. He waited for some cue from his sponsor.
“Someone is trying to breach our firewall,” Anton finally said.
“What? What did you say?”
“Mein Liebster?” Anton whispered, his voice rose loud enough for the man to hear, but the words were not directed at him.
“Louis?” cried his father. “Is it my son?” He smiled desperately and rose from his chair. He demanded to know who or what was the breach. Something, probably someone, and probably his own son, was hacking into Anton’s desktop. Perhaps it was unintended interference, but there was clearly something of a supernatural order. The man rushed to the other side of Anton’s desk, but he couldn’t see a single thing he could understand. He looked deep into Anton’s gray eyes. He silently pleaded for some sign of hope.
“Is Louis trying to reach you? What’s going on Anton?” I want answers now! I mean, it must be because of me. Right Opa?” He desperately needed an answer. His sadness begged Anton for an answer.
“It is nothing, Lieb. Nothing.”
“Bull shit!” barked the man and he recoiled in angst.
“Your language is unacceptable!”
“Bull shit!” the man said again. “So we’re in Heaven and we need a firewall? Come on, Anton. I’m not a fucking idiot.”
“You are acting like one. You will never see Heaven if you do not cooperate. Be respectful of this place, mein Lieb!” Anton made a strange penitentiary gesture. He was visibly upset and concerned. “The unacceptable language must end now,” he insisted. “Nothing good will come of it! Here! Take this chaplet and go meditate somewhere! Beg for forgiveness!”
“Okay. Okay. I’m sorry. Please Opa. Please just tell me what is going on?”
“We do need firewalls here,” his sponsor said calmly and softly. “Living beings are always trying to reach their loved ones here. Almost all fail, but from time to time someone manages to contravene our security. That in itself is a great achievement for the violator; really a deed of remarkable sophistication. Many are gifted, Lieb, but very few are able to get this far. They say our huge infrastructure stops most intrusions at ‘the front door.’ Sometimes matters go a little further, but rarely would someone actually reach a sponsor.”
“It was Louis, wasn’t it? Wasn’t it him, Anton? Wasn’t it?”
Lieb, we have our rules and our protocols. We have an expansive data warehouse to protect.” He gestured with his arms in long, sweeping motions. “And look at these books around you. All proprietary, and these are only a minuscule sliver of what we have in hard copy.”
“The warehouse is massive and backs up everything.”
“What did he do? Please tell me!”
Anton looked at the man momentarily and did not say a word. Then he spoke:
“Your son, Louis, is a gifted medium, and he will undoubtedly grow even stronger with time. It is critical mein Lieb that your focus be here, on matters of your spiritual rebirth.” He paused and took a long puff on his briarwood pipe. “This breach can be very serious and your behavior may be encouraging it.” Anton leaned into his desk for a moment, and then reversed his direction and sank back into his very comfortable looking, desk chair. “I am thinking of you and I am thinking of your soul, Lieb. You cannot have one foot in your old world and also expect to move on to the next. Your boy can be a very serious distraction for you, and a serious impediment to your progress here and for his own progress on Earth.”
“I don’t expect anything! He’s my son! And I was taken from him too soon.”
“It was your time to pass. You cannot question the Will of God. You must divorce yourself now from your mortal existence. You had a great life with great memories. You were a great father and a good husband, but it is time now to let go. Please, let us continue with the process.” Then with a sigh, Anton added, “Now, where were we?”
“Just good? Why was I not a great husband?” he asked with a measure of real concern.
“Let’s leave it at ‘good,’ Lieb. Please, we cannot tend to such semantics now.”
“When is it, Anton? How long have I actually been here?”
“We do not measure Eternity. We do not use the clocks of your former world. There was a time, but that has passed. Your body is dead and your children carry a living part of you in each of them. Be fortunate you left a grand legacy.”
“Grand legacy? No way. No,” the man said. He swelled with sadness and lamented, “I had a great life but I lived it as a mediocre person. And for that, I am truly sorry.”
Louis pulled himself upstairs to his very own private place. He felt sad as he entered his unkempt space. Concentrate on that old mirror from the attic in Virginia. Over there on the wall. The boy sat down on the side of his bed in the quietest corner of the room. The mirror’s magic seemed to be all gone. “It’s nothing now but an old mirror,” Louis thought aloud.