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Entry 10-4-01 (originally written 4-29-01)
Temper, temper....

Lavender pulls a hypodermic from her travel case and sucks the laudanum into it... she doesn't bother to tap the air out of the syringe as she jabs it into her elbow and mashes in the plunger with a sense of finality. She blacks out almost immediately, her head lolling.


Lavender rises, more of a sense than motion, ascending through clouds until she finds herself in a lobby. It is very modern, very clean and slick. The lobby of a startup company. Upon the curved, carpeted wall behind the brushed-aluminum front desk is a large golden device, an image of a halo bisected by a ray of light, the trademark of Heaven. A creature of biotechnology, Lavender's vision of the afterlife resembles the genomics firm where she spent her blissful and ignorant childhood. The doors to a boardroom open, admitting her. The room is vast and largely empty. Instead of a meeting table there are steps leading to a throne, and sitting there is the Almighty. God is an elderly bearded man in a crisp, blank suit, a corporate guru, exuding confidence. His eyes are clever and mirthful, but cold, cost-cutting eyes. Venture capitalists with wings hover about him, toting briefcases of glowing manna. The walls of the room are windows so that it's like being outside, in billowy clouds and a fine blue sky; looking to her side, Lavender sees the parking lot of Heaven is full of sport-utility vehicles and New Beetles. Lavender is asked her business; she replies that she has come to ask to be let in. God looks thoughtful and asks her why she thinks she should be brought on board. Lavender covers her mouth and blinks; she did not expect to have to answer questions. But she answers as best she can, making good eye contact. I obeyed my creators dutifully, Lavender replies, and I was never cruel to anyone, as kind and thoughtful as I could be, and my reward was to be abandoned to the world, which made amusement of me. Still she tried to be good to others, but her resolve had worn away until she had none left... she couldn't fight them any longer. But all that was over now. Now she could be good, and her goodness would be reciprocated, once she was in Heaven. God gives Lavender an odd smile. What did she think they did there? he asks. Lavender gives a little shrug, feeling foolish, and responds by saying she thought the purpose of Heaven was to reward the good for a lifetime of service. God considers this, and then takes Lavender's hand and thanks her for her time. Lavender blinks up at him. Is that it? God speaks kindly to her, but it is a kindness meant to dismiss rather than to encourage. It is out of his hands. He has a responsibility to the stockholders. Salvation simply was not a marketable proposition... it was a questionable product which made vague promises, and so Heaven sold shares of itself to its employees to stay afloat. On cue these make themselves seen to Lavender, angels in jeans and t-shirts, singing prayers into cel phones, writing psalms on their Palms. Furthermore, Heaven's policies have damned so many souls to perdition that long ago Satan leveraged a voting interest. Unfortunately, God explains, Lavender has nothing to offer... if she had a soul, then perhaps something could be done. But I have a soul, Lavender protests, covering her heart with her hand. She feels it inside. God shakes his head. What she feels is only her heart, nothing more than what the beasts of the field possess, and beasts were created to serve Man. Lavender hangs her head, pressing her hand tighter to her breast. Man did not want her, she whispers. Could she not stay here? Out of the question, God replies. All matters of creation management had been delegated to mankind. God finds a hands-off approach makes for a more proactive stance in Man. Lavender pleads. She did her best to be good, but was thrown away all the same... surely there is a place for her in Heaven... surely that's what it is for. God tells her there's nothing he can do, a note of irritability in his voice as he turns to speak into his own cel phone. A winged admin escorts Lavender out of the boardroom and vanishes as the doors close silently behind them. Lavender lowers her head, eyeliner-stained tears leaving blue trails down her cheeks. She sees through the floor, sees the earth before her, awaiting her and yet holding nothing for her. She closes her eyes. She clutches her hands together before her nose, as if in prayer, drawing a deep breath. Her eyes snap open, and with something like a growl she lunges for the huge gilded logo, ripping half of the halo away, a piece like a sickle. The boardroom doors open for her obligingly as she approaches at a slinking run. "Sell," says God. He turns away from his cel phone to say something curt to Lavender, but has no chance before she slashes his throat open with the broken halo. God drops his phone; Lavender tosses aside her sickle. The clouds of Heaven slowly stain to pink and then to red like gauze sopping up the blood of the Almighty, the sky darkening from periwinkle to almost-black, as Lavender slips up behind him, pressing against the old man's back, and she buries her fingers in the wound, breathing heavily, gasping as her hands drink from it. The venture capitalists scatter, taking their miracles elsewhere. Before long there is nothing left to drain; God falls away into dreams and nothingness, leaving Lavender gasping, her eyes wide, muscles taut, a little cry coming out every time she breathes. One breath takes longer to come, and then she is shrieking, her voice exploding, taking form, becoming a beam, screaming down through the floor and clouds real and metaphysical. Hell's master looks into what passes for sky in the underworld and is obliterated by the ray; the explosion causes the spinning disc of the plane of Hell to crack in two, upending, the damned cascading through the fracture into nothingness. The clouds of Heaven fade and the sky lightens, the latter becoming a poisonous radioactive lime, the former echoing the patina of Lavender's pale skin. Her eyes glow and hum. Still angry and purposeless, she focuses on Earth....

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