SCENE: Atop the clouds. An old man in a hat, his voice stately and raspy in equal parts, finds himself in a long, winding line of people. The line creeps forward.
Excuse me, young lady.
I hope you'll pardon my asking, but why are we in this line?
We're on our way into heaven!
The young woman turns back around, and the old man goes back to waiting silently.
(doffs hat, and keeps it in hand)
(waits some more)
(to himself) Well, it beats the alternative.
The line works its way up, and St. Peter continues to go through the list.
Robert Brooks, please step forward.
(keeps stepping forward)
—actually, you don't ha—
(keeps stepping forward)
—what are y—
(steps directly next to St. Peter's lectern)
(places giant tape recorder on lectern)
(steps back into place)
I see. Okay. Robert Brooks, you have passed away from Earth, and this is your entrance to heaven.
I'm very sorry to hear that. I was looking forward to going to work some more.
Yes, about that. We keep records on those who come here, and usually they are long and complicated.
I've found that life is long and complicated.
Your file, though, tells me that "this man reported it as he saw it, tried to give them a balanced feel for the game, and he enjoyed what he did and tried to put the best light on sportsmanship. He contributed quite a bit to the history of sports in the state of Iowa."
"Quite a bit" is generous.
As were you.
I thank you.
So please, Robert, enter.
I have got one question, Saint Peter. I couldn't help but notice that the woman in front of me in line was quite young and quite beautiful, much too young to be here, and most of the people I've seen were very young too. And I just hope that something very bad has not happened on Earth.
No, Robert, nothing bad has happened. The people who you've seen died naturally, just like you. Heaven is an ideal place, and in the Eternal, time is not a one-way street. So, they come up here as they wanted to be the most.
We don't get many up here who come in as old as you are, and whose ideal age is still so old.
Well, like I said, I was looking forward to going to work again more than anything.
Then please, come in and go to work.
(smiles) Thank you.
Next. Eugene Willi—
(retrieves tape recorder from lectern)
(places hat back on head)
(walks through pearly gates)
A bright, peaceful flash engulfs the old man. As the light subsides, the sound of chatter fills the area. An endless sea of familiar faces is gathered in small groups. The old man smiles. A young, impeccably dressed man approaches him.
Welcome to Heaven, sir.
Why, you're Nile Kinnick.
We've met before, when I was just a boy. And I knew your father, too.
I'm honored that after all those years I still get to be part of your heaven.
I've got many questions to ask you, Nile, but I would like to see who else is here. I hope you won't mind if I have a look around.
You have all the time you'll ever need, Mr. Brooks.
My goodness. I see Jack North... Murray Weir... Jim Zabel...
Mr. Zabel will be very happy to see you.
And I, him.
As he scans the room, the old man sees a gentleman in a fur coat with a cigar and a giant smile.
(turns to the young man) I've only been here five minutes, but I swear, they'll let anyone in here.
The two men laugh, and laugh, and laugh.
Thank you for everything, Bob Brooks. The state of Iowa will be forever richer. Rest in peace.