Imagine – when The Beatles go to Heaven – short story
Imagine what will happen when The Beatles go to Heaven and roll up together at the Pearly Gates? Will they get in or should they have bought their tickets to the great gig in the sky in advance, like the Rolling Stones?
A damp mist fell over the last train out of Liverpool Lime Street and gently hugged a man with a guitar case as he stepped aboard. The mist thickened and swallowed the train and without a sound it was gone.
“Is this seat taken,” asked the guitar man.
“Who’s asking,” came the truculent reply from the passenger with long hair and sharp eyes magnified by thick small round glasses.
“Paul: I wondered when you would get here.”
“You’d better sit down, we could be here for a…”
John was interrupted by the train tannoy. Not your usual crackling garbled conductor announcement. This was the softest most soothing voice in the universe.
“Welcome to the 23:59 service to Pearly Gates Parkway, stopping at Limbo Lane. Please do not leave luggage unattended as it may be removed and destroyed by the security forces.”
“Voice of an angel, but still annoying when you hear it every day”, whined John. “If you don’t mind me saying, you look a bit stunned, I don’t think you we’re expecting a ticket for this ride?”
“Last thing I remember was running for the bog, then it all went black, you know.”
“Still reheating veggie burgers in the microwave: you never learn.”
“So is this it then, I’m brown bread?”
“Yeah, the great gig in the sky.”
“That was the Floyd.”
“Yeah, and now it’s us. You’d better move your bass, we’re pulling in to Limbo.”
“That was quick.”
“This isn’t exactly British Rail.”
A shortish man in a white suit with round purple glasses supported by a generous nose, ambled into the carriage, tossing his head to flick his fringe out of his eyes.
“Ringo, I didn’t know you were in Limbo?” Asked Paul.
“I feel like I’ve been there forever.”
“No comment,” quipped John.
“What happened to you,” asked Paul, “you weren’t shot by an angry fan were you?”
“He hasn’t got any fans.”
“Yeah cheers John, like I’ve really missed you too.”
Ringo slumped into the isle seat beside Paul and chucked his drumsticks on the table.
“So come on,” insisted Paul, “how did it happen.”
“Well, I didn’t so much die, just faded away.”
The tannoy burst into life once more, “the train is now approaching Pearly Gates Parkway, passengers leaving the train please remember to take all your memories with you. Thank you for using Virgin Celestial.”
“This is us”, said John.
The three stood on the Pearly Gates platform peering into a white mist.
“I feel like I’ve lived my whole life in a white mist and now it’s the same when I’m dead,” moaned Ringo.
“So where are the Pearly Gates then?”
“Is this what you are looking for Paul?” came a slightly scouse voice behind them.
The mist parted to reveal a long haired, beardy in a kaftan, glowing softly, like a nightlight in a frosted bottle. Behind him were a pair of old iron gates, rust showing through the flaking red paint.
“Are you Saint Peter,” said Ringo.
“You need to change those specs,” said John.
“Good to see you George.”
“We’ve been waiting ages for you, was it the warmed up veggie burgers?”
“How did you know?”
“One of my reincarnations. I was the Bluebottle on the burger you so kindly microwaved.”
“Sorry mate,” said Paul offering a hug.
“Ouch,” said George, “still a bit tender.”
“How do we get in then?” asked Ringo.
“You could bunk over the gate,” said John.
Ringo started to climb but just as he swung a leg over the top of the gate there was a loud flash and a deep rumble in the distance.
“Perhaps we should have rung the bell,” offered Paul, pulling on a chain dangling from a hole in the sandstone gatepost.
A dog barked and they all jumped back as the gate swung open and an old man in a long white gown and Elvis wig appeared in the opening.
“Who’s ringing the bell at this hour?” asked the old guy.
“We’re The Beatles,” said Ringo, cowering behind John, “are you Saint Peter?”
“Peter’s gone to a meeting with the new Pope, show him where the fire exits are and check his manual handling certificates are up to date. You’ll be pleased to know I’ve sent the minion who invented Health and Safety to…” he whispered, “the other place.”
“So you’re G…” Said Ringo, stuttering.
“You can call me that if you wish, I’ve been called for everything in my time.”
Paul stepped forward, “OMG I can’t believe I’m really here.”
He tried to push open the gates but they wouldn’t budge.
“Not so fast,” said God, “get back. Go on, behind that white line. I’ll need to see some ID first, this isn’t the European Union you know.”
Paul patted his pockets, “my wallet must have fallen out of my kecks on the bog floor, like, you know. But hey, I’m Paul McCartney, everybody knows me. I don’t need ID.”
“We have lot’s of people here who call themselves Paul McCartney, same hair, same clothes.”
Paul unzipped his bass.
“Same guitar as well,” said God, peering unconvinced over half moon glasses.
Ringo stepped up to the line and showed his bus pass.
“Okay,” said God, “we don’t have anyone claiming to be Ringo Star.”
“Am I in then?”
“This is Heaven, not the 82 to Dingle, you need more than a bus pass to get in here. God I hate it when Peter’s away. I’m going to get G4S next time.”
“They’ll let anyone in,” chirped John from the back lighting up a roly.
God frowned at John and the ciggie disappeared in a puff of smoke. “We are non smoking now, can’t you see the sign’s.”
“Jeeze, some heaven,” said John sniffing up the last remnants of smoke.
“He’s not going to help you, he’s had a cob on since some musician claimed to be more famous than him.”
“I thought he was into forgiveness,” John answered back.
“Forgive maybe but not forget. Now come along I haven’t got all of eternity. Photo ID – passport or driving license and a utility bill.”
“But we thought you would just know everything about us,” pleaded George.
“Oh I know all about everybody all right.” An iPad appeared out of thin air in God’s hands. “Some fellow in jeans and a polo neck, nice chap, can’t remember his name, Jobsworth or something, gave me one of these. Said I needed to be in The Cloud. I told him I’d invented cloud. He said his invention was better.”
The boys shuffled and mumbled. “This has to be a wind up,” said Paul.
“What is it?” asked John.
“Oh you would have loved this. I have 60 billion Facebook Friends and the same on Twitter. Someone had taken @SupremeBeing. But don’t worry, that Cowell bloke is going down.” He laughed so loud the gates fell off their hinges.
The lads, seeing their chance, made a break for it but rebounded back off the hi-vis jackets of two large Bouncer Angels who appeared out of nowhere.
“Nice try,” said God.“Well look here God, non of us has ID, we’re The Beatles for God’s sake,” Click To Tweet
“Well look here God, non of us has ID, we’re The Beatles for God’s sake,” said Paul with a pout, wobbling his head a little as he got worked up. “We’ve done loads of good stuff.”
Before God could reply, a stretched white limo with blacked out windows rolled up and The Rolling Stones rolled out. They flounced past the gobsmacked Beatles, swigging champagne, smoking joints, flicking v’s at the lads and waving insolently to God on their way through the gates.
“How come they can just walk in,” shouted John, getting a bit irate.
“Peace be with you my son,” soothed God.
“Yeah that’s not fair,” added Ringo.
“VIP list,” said God, checking his iPad, “paid £600 each fifty years ago for tickets to their final gig.”
“Could we have done that?” asked Ringo to the band.
“Epi had deep pockets and short arms,” replied John.
“Epi!” exclaimed Paul, “he can vouch for us, he must be already here.”
“No can do, he took the big Helter Skelter to the other place. Rules are rules I’m afraid.”
The boys were looking dejected.
“I know,” said Paul. “It’s so obvious, why didn’t I think of it before.”
The band looked at him and God lowered his glasses.
“We’ll sing you a song. What would you like, come on everyone has their favourite?”
God pointed to another sign, “No Buskers and definitely NO Karaoke.”
“What do we have to do to get in?” asked George.
“Doesn’t being the biggest selling band of all time count for anything?” asked John.
“Being Top of the Pops doesn’t buy you a ticket to eternal bliss,” answered God. “What good deeds have you done?”
“I stayed in bed all week as a peace protest,” said John.
“And I opened a school for the performing arts,” added Paul.
“I helped aspiring film makers to make their films,”said George.
They all turned to look at Ringo.
“I guess it’s back to Limbo for me then.” And he melted into nothingness.
God peered at the others over his glasses and twiddled his long grey beard.
“Oh all right.”
Standing to one side God let the remaining Beatles file past and through the Pearly Gates. John brought up the rear and just as he was about to step over the threshold the Bouncer Angels stepped in front of him. John turned to God.
“Peace needs a chance…You have a job to finish,” said God kindly.
The Celestial Express pulled silently out of the clouds and the carriage door opened with a Star Trek swish. As John was about to step aboard he turned to God once more.
“Imagine there’s no Beatles, it’s easy if you try.”