Life Sentence

Author: Marlin Bressi

Souls don’t have asses, but the courtroom has wooden benches just the same because God likes it that way, likes things just so, and in His Infinite Wisdom has decided that this place ought to look like the set of a Perry Mason rerun.

Like the others gathered here, I was a bad soul.

Not as bad as the one before me, who took the punishment like a champ (not a single tremulous whimper) and was sentenced to seventy-five years as Stanley Hopper, who would someday become a Jersey City cab driver and succumb to cirrhosis of the liver.

All I did was poke fun at an archangel’s golden, gauzy raiment. I’ve been here twenty-six thousand millennia and had no idea that such a thing was against the law. Frowned upon, sure, but not illegal. Color me shocked.

The first soul sentenced today had it even worse. Eighty-seven years in Milwaukee as Delphina Owens, destined to become an illiterate scrubwoman with arthritis, bad breath, and chronic vaginitis. Even the defense attorney winced as the sentence was pronounced.
I had taken my attorney’s advice, plead guilty and waived the preliminary hearing, hoping for a slap on the wrist. Aside from a few snarky comments I’ve made through the ages, my record is pretty clean.

Sixteen months in Vancouver, He finally decreed. I would be named Veronica. I would pass away in my sleep. Suddenly. Painlessly. Softly and mysteriously. A very lenient sentence indeed, and I don’t want to sound ungrateful or anything but come on now– just between you and me– don’t you agree that Uriel’s new raiment is pretty damn tacky?


  1. SimonJM

    So no ass-souls in heaven? 😉
    This raised a smile, thanks

  2. Michael Mieher

    “Souls don’t have asses, but the courtroom has wooden benches just the same because God likes it that way…”

    I absolutely loved that opening.

    The rest was darn good too. It was better than darn, but I’ve got my Rap Sheet to think about.

  3. rjerbacher

    Apparently heaven can wait. Lesson learned: don’t poke the angel. Good story.

  4. Jae

    Light, tight and fun – No, the story, not the angel’s clobber.

  5. kohlersc

    I like this take on human life being a punishment for an Angel. This was fresh to me and now I want more.

  6. Hari Navarro

    Maybe if he just removed the peacock feathers and fake fruit and maybe the disco-ball from the headdress… no, still tacky as all hell 🙂 A fun wee yarn Marlin.

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