See A Unicorn
Be A Unicorn
SEE A UNICORN.jpg

See A Unicorn Be A Unicorn

A Short Story Collection by Robert Lewis Heron.

 

All Scot writers believe in Unicorns. Ideas for stories come from somewhere mysterious and magical. I believe Unicorns play a big part in this process. Hence my collection of short stories inside which you may find yourself facing the magical presence of one or more Unicorns, then perhaps not...

And to start you off on your journey of discovery...a father unicorn is called popcorn... :-)

Copyright © 2019 by Robert Lewis Heron. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

- Celestial Banking -

 

Joe died three weeks ago on a Wednesday. It was nothing special, a run of the mill heart attack. All in a day’s work for the ER staff, but a pretty big deal for Joe.

He expected it would happen someday. Runs in his family, both grandparents, both parents, older brother, even his three dogs and two cats. Who would have imagined such a thing? Almost on the edge of incredulity. What are the odds? I mean, come on, family and pets!

They say the best way to go is in bed. Lie down, fall asleep, and its over—life, memories, loves—105 years all ended with a snore and a last gasp.

Joe had been like the rest of us. We all know there is an end, but no one seems to panic. Nothing we can do, so no need to panic. Unavoidable. Born, die, end of transmission.

Perhaps Joe accepted the inevitable better than most. Perhaps his childhood memory of drowning, his lack of struggle, his acceptance of death had prepared him for the inevitable. His calm fearless systematic acceptance as water filled lungs, a sudden bright light, and then two dark figures approaching. Celestial backlight causing their slow approach to create shimmering human outlines.

Joe never did tell anyone what he saw. He was to distracted by chest pummeling, coughing up water, gasping. Loud cries from those around him.

“...Are you okay, Joe?”

“...Joe speak to me...”

”...Jesus H Christ you scared us there...”

“...Ice creams all round...”

“...Don’t go into deep water again...”

“...You must learn to swim...”

 

Joe never did learn to swim. 105 years of non-swimming. It never bothered him. He visited beaches three times in his lifetime. Pleasant enough, but could not understand the attraction of getting sand between toes, in hair, on food.

On that fateful Wednesday, he saw two figures approaching. Hey were backlight by intense bright light making any detail soft around their edges. Not drowning this time, but still a feeling of complete calm, acceptance, and inevitability.

He floated with two figures towards light. No words spoken, no recognition. Complete happiness and contentment. Slowly, there appeared a serene landscape of swaying trees, gentle rolling grassy hills under a beautiful blue sky. Lapis blue. The purest blue imaginable. They continued floating upward. No rush, just a slow invisible pull towards a distant bejeweled structure. Reds, blues, yellows and greens twinkling straight ahead.

The sky was bright with no visible sun. The temperature was his own body temperature and thus did not register as being cool, hot, or humid. It was perfect. Rainbows formed and melted around white doves and swans. Unicorns grazed around and inside the sparkling building.

The structure was not like any building Joe had ever seen. Various levels floated with no visible means of support. Figures dressed in white flowing robes moved around within it. Some gently floated up and down at will. No stairs, no elevators, no windows or doors, he could see through the structure to a large blue lake beyond. Dolphins majestically arched from the water to return without splashing at entry. No waves, just the smoothest mirror like surface remaining unaffected.

As he entered the building both figures stopped, turned and gestured for him to proceed to a single white counter. The counter stood in what appeared to be a freshly cut lawn. Unicorns neighed and munched as white rabbits hopped to one side on Joe’s approach. Two white swans flew overhead arcing around two enormous crystal chandeliers before heading towards a distant lake.

A young child, around seven or eight popped up onto a swivel chair behind the counter.

“And welcome, Joe,” said the child. “Please sit.”

A white chair had appeared beside Joe.

“Hello,” replied Joe. “Thank you.”

The child, dressed in a white ‘T’ shirt and shorts and barefoot, smiled and said, “Yes, Joe you are here. Some call it Heaven. It is open to interpretation. But it is all good.” He smiled and clasped his hands and swung his legs under his swivel chair and turned it two or three times and giggled.

“Thank you. I had guessed something like that,” Joe said smiling at the child playing on the chair.

“I love this part. Meet-and-greet. I just love it to bits,” said the child. “Welcome-welcome-welcome and please sit.”

Joe laughed, sat and swiveled twice on his chair. When he came to a stop the child had transformed into the most beautiful woman Joe had ever seen.

“Sorry about that, Joe,” said the woman. “Little Marco loves to play jokes. He pops up here there and everywhere. By the way, my name is Diane. I am your Celestial Accountant.”

Joe was lost for words. Diane sat wearing a white gossamer dress. Her perfect body fully displayed under the transparent material. Every curve, every projection made him instantly fall in love.

“You are so beautiful,” Joe said.

“And so are you, Joe,” she smiled, leaned forward and kissed him on his forehead. “I believe you need an explanation about all this.”

“Yes please. I’m in heaven—yes?”

”Yes and no,” she answered.

At this exact moment, a Unicorn wandered over to Joe and stood by his side. Joe turned and scratched the top of its head, then under its chin and just as he thought how he would like to give it a treat, a handful of rainbow colored grass magically appeared in his hand. The Unicorn nudged him with its shimmering white horn, took the grass and wandered off towards another person, who had arrived at a similar table, not too far away.

“Yes this is heaven’s entry portal. We check your heavenly credit rating here. If you qualify then you can enter heaven.”

“Credit rating?” asked Joe.

“Yes. This is the Celestial Bank.”

“But I don’t understand. No one told me to save money here.”

“No one does. You do not save money. You automatically have Celestial credits lodged in your account as you live your life on earth. Let me show you.”

Suddenly, a white hardbound accounting ledger appeared in front of Diane. The cover said ‘Final Accounts for JOSEPH CHILD (1952-2057).’

“Let us open this and have a look,” she said.

She swiveled it around to face Joe and flipped open to page number 1. Under the heading Credits was a horizontal row of different headings, and down one side, a column was time dated from year 1952 down to 2057.

“It is easy to understand, Joe. You see for every goodness performed you are awarded a ‘Celest’ or as we call it a ‘C’. For example, the year you were born you received 13,257 ‘C’s.

“But how could I earn anything as a newborn?’ Joe asked.

“Well, please refer to the headings along the top of the sheet. Under ‘making someone smile,’ you received 11,224 ‘C’s. Under ‘making someone happy,’ you received 2,033. A total of 13,257.

“Okay, but how do you know the count is correct?”

“That is easy. Everyone on arriving on earth is allocated a guardian angel. Their main reason for existence is to ensure your count is correct,” said Diane. “In fact when you arrived here at the Bank, we automatically ran a second lifetime check on you. We do it for everyone. A double check is required to ensure your count is accurate. In addition, we record everyone’s lifetime on earth. This allows us to rerun times where you think there may have been an accounting error.”

“Accounting error?”

“Yes. As we proceed you may question your credits or deductions.”

“Deductions?”

“Everyone has deductions. You have heard the saying ‘bad boys do not enter heaven.’ We have a lot to look at and discuss before we arrive at your final credit score. One hundred and five years, three months, two days, five hours, ten minutes and sixteen seconds of credit checking to be precise.”

“But what score do I need to get into heaven?”

“The entry score is one C.”

Joe relaxed a bit. In the year he was born, he was way over the minimum number required. He felt at ease. He thought this would be over soon. He must have more than the required minimum of one poultry C.

 

Diane pointed to Joe’s ledger and began flipping through the pages. At the bottom of each page, she carefully checked and double-checked totals. First deductions had started one day before Joe’s third birthday. His first intentional killing was of a small spider crawling across his bedside table. He had watched it spin its web from his Pooh Bear lamp down to his bedside table and crawl towards his favorite soft blue teddy bear. He grabbed then pushed his bear’s black nose down hard squashing that itsy bitsy spider. He had twisted his cuddly toy left and right and laughed aloud at a small blood smear and thin black leg remnants.

As decades past, and Joe grew into adulthood deduction totals began to climb. Numerous fly sprays, ant eradication chemicals, mice and mole poisons, lawn cuttings, fishing vacations, deer and duck hunting seasons, Vietnam, and of course cussing soon had deduction totals skyrocketing. 

All continued year after year with Vietnam deductions replaced by his career choices. Multiple site excavations for new houses, hotels, even church constructions killed so many insects, rodents, birds and trees. Working part time in a chicken processing plant, followed by council employment spraying neighborhoods for mosquitoes amounted to major celestial deductions.

Moreover, falling in love had its drawbacks. He had killed thousands of happily swimming sperm by condom extermination.  His biggest deductions, however, came with his medication. For several months, Joe had been on a regime of antibiotics. The killing of each germ equaled one deduction, and of course tens of thousands, even millions can be lost. Nevertheless, Joe was lucky; he lived a long life in comparatively good health.

However, credits did appear in batches throughout his years—donated blood saved several lives. Each human created millions of gut and body bacteria.  Donations to good causes, volunteer work at the local dog and cat pound. This particular time at the pound was of immense help to Joe. He received a credit for  every cat purr and dog tail wag. People who own cats and dogs always seem to do very well when it comes time to face their celestial accountant.  However, Joe’s major credits accumulated exponentially through giving life to three wonderful children. Even a kidney donation to one of Joe’s old Vietnam friends made for exceptional credit accumulations.

Joe sat dumfounded as Diane tallied his lifetime’s credit and deductions.

“Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” shrieked Diane, the Celestial Accountant. “This has never happened before. My, oh my, oh my.”

The other accountants looked in Diane’s direction and smiled.

“Well, tell me. Am I in our out?” Joe asked.

“It’s a tie,” she said. “Joe, you are my very first tie! I have never had a tie. Your Credits and Deductions are identical. You have a grand total of zero!”

“Zero? So what happens now?” said Joe. “Do you flip a coin?”

“No, no. Gambling is not allowed,” replied Diane with a wink and a smile. “I’ll have to go upstairs for a  resolution.”

“Upstairs?”

“You know who lives upstairs don’t you, Joe?”

“You mean...”

”Exactly,” she said gently floating above her swivel chair. “This is a Wednesday, so hopefully the line won’t be too long. Fridays are the worst. All those car crashes. Everyone hurrying somewhere on a Friday,” she sighed. “You must admit Joe; this is a nice place to wait.”

Joe sat thinking of his past. If only someone had given him a heads-up on this Celestial Bank. If he had known, he certainly would not have bought those guns. Heck, he could have lived with his wife’s nagging about the ants in the kitchen. One friggin ant, one fly, one worm, one extra donation, even that time he nearly went over to a woman to thank her for holding open a door for him and his three children. All it took was just to say one more ‘thank you,’ one more tail wag, one more cat purr. He felt sick. The thought of failure began to fester—Hell!

In Celestial-time it was short; to Joe it seemed about an hour before Diane returned. She smiled, sat down, opened Joe’s Celestial Bank Book at the very last page and began to write. Joe began to sweat; his arms adopted a slight tremor. Slowly, she closed her document and looked straight at Joe.

“So, Joe. As I said when you arrived, you are neither in nor out of Heaven. Therefore, according to our Celestial Legal Department you are still having your lifetime evaluated, and therefore your acts of kindness to Ralph are included in your account, and thus you have three credits, and therefore you can enter heaven.”

Joe said nothing. He smiled, rose from his chair and entered through the floating double golden gates into heaven.

“Welcome, Joe,” said little Marco. “I see you made it then.”

“I’m in heaven right?”

“You sure are.”

“And once in I can’t be ejected. Right?”

“Correct again.”

“Well I think Diane, the Celestial Accountant made a mistake,” said Joe.

“A mistake?”

“She said I was kind three times to someone called Ralph. I do not know anyone called Ralph?”

Little Marco flipped a cartwheel and laughed and laughed.

“Look over there, Joe,” Little Marco said pointing towards a large herd of Unicorns munching on rainbow colored grass.

“See that Unicorn on the far left. He is called Ralph.”