Image: Hans Thoma
It was a terrible shock when the Hanson twins were killed by the monitor lizard. The family were on holiday, and it was all over in seconds.
Needless to say, the lizard suffered an inglorious death, and all three turned up at the pearly gates awaiting ‘judgement’ and delivery.
The children in death were as fascinated by the lizard as they were when alive and the lizard suddenly aware of a change in its circumstances puzzled over why it was standing there surrounded by creatures with wings and the eternal racket of hymn singing.
Being the innocents, they were it was decided, by those who know these things, that the best place for them would be heaven. The lizard looked forlorn when the children were admitted, and they asked if the lizard could come with them as they knew it had no friends anywhere, but with them.
Heaven, of course, was a place where if you weren’t into endless hymn singing, eternity for you wasn’t going to be all you hoped for.
The children being children weren’t very interested in hymn singing or finding ways to heap eternal praise on the God who had created and allowed them in. Rather they were more interested in their new friend and pet. They spent a lot of their time wandering around trying to see what there was for a very large lizard to eat.
The lizard being carnivorous presented a problem as heaven was not renowned for its supply of game or anything that resembled meat save the curious ham sandwiches which seemed to appear at the oddest times. The sandwiches were very good, and everyone enjoyed them but occasionally there were cries of “Where can I get a decent sushi?” These queries were always answered in hush tones of, ‘Down there, was where you’d have to go.” So after much rolling of the eyes, it became clear that no one would take up the suggestion but simply spend their eternity craving what they knew was there but out of reach.
The lizard, of course, discovered the ham sandwich was a delicious everyone else said and devoured many. It grew to like the life in heaven. Its primal urge to eat the children was satisfied by the constant supply of ham sandwiches, and so it found following them around all day and indulging in their desire to please it was as close to heaven as a predator such as it was could hope for.
Each week the children along with the lizard attended harp lessons given by the Angel Harpie. He was very good and was happy to have the children stand around and watch him play as he quickly learned the children were not in the least interested in the holy harp and were tone deaf to boot.
And so as eternity tends to do, it stretched out in front of the children, who were happy to play with their lizard who in turn was happy to play with the children rather than eat them.