Music Prompt #10: “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin 


In the bowels of hell, there is a café known as Hell’s Kitchen. It’s very popular serving the best sushi you could imagine.

Seated in one corner are Wayne and Greg, Angels, representatives on earth of their respective Eternal Departments. They are taking a time out from their earthly duties which basically comprises of pointing souls up or down.

Greg who comes from the upstairs department is wearing a heavy disguise as he is really not supposed to be within a pig’s ear of hell.

The disguise is necessary as Greg loves the sushi in Hell’s Kitchen and as everyone knows you can’t get a decent sushi in Heaven.

His friend Wayne, the dark angel of Hell smuggles Greg in on the proviso that Greg provides Wayne with a ham sandwich. Heaven makes the best ham sandwiches, and so Greg slips one into his large coat pocket when he ventures into Hell’s Kitchen.

It’s been a particularly busy time for them, lots of death on earth, wars being waged, nature disasters happening, and in one small African country, a virus is dropping the locals like flies.

As they sit there enjoying their particular repasts, Greg speaks to Wayne.

“They are playing that song again. Why do they do that down here?”

“Gives them all hope I think. Most of them are well past the novelty of Hell, the good times only last so long and its then about doing it all over again.”

“How can you buy a stairway to Heaven when you don’t have any money?”

“Ah, it’s just about hope. What else is there when your eternity is a series of events you repeat over and over. They aren’t meant to be enjoying Hell even though there is a lot to be said for it.”

“I mean apart from the sushi, what else is there?”

“Well, untold physical pleasures for one. You can get into that and most do until they discover that the repeat version is the same as the first version and the woman or man you saw across the way and have lusted after is still the man or woman across the way. It’s a cruel form of punishment isn’t it.”

“But if you score lucky I guess its ok.”

“Lucky? If you knew Lucky, you wouldn’t be saying that.”

“He’s not lucky?”

“He is but you won’t be. Ugly as sin, well that’s being kind to sin come to think of it.”

“I see…So do they have a notion as to where the staircase is?”

“Just past the fiery cauldron. Its where they go in the hope of making a start. But even if they get there the staircase is a death trap. Well, maybe not a death trap as such after all if your dead that’s a final thing in itself.”

“Your referring to the missing steps aren’t you.”

“Yes, ingenious idea. They think they’ve made it, start up and before they know it their back where they started. And usually slightly more singed.”

“Must be a disappointment I would think.”

“Most definitely. Many come back shattered souls. Which is fine by us as they are meant to be shattered souls.”

As the final line of the song: “And she’s buying a stairway to heaven. “sounded off and the next song, Chuck Berry’s, Johnny B Goode began playing the two Angels looked at their eternity watches and with a shrug set off back to Earth to attend to the recently departed.

“Does the playlist ever change?” asked Greg.

“Yes, “replied Wayne, “They reverse the songs each month, creates confusion but by doing that it does give them something to look forward to the next month.”

“Oh clever,” answered Greg consulting his note book and noting that tonight was the annual Hymn sing off in Heaven, the souls would be lining up to participate and Greg was glad he was working till late.


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31 Responses to Music Prompt #10: “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin 

  1. Fandango says:

    Good take on a classic song. I always pictured the stairway to heaven to be a beautiful, gilded circular stairway heading toward the clouds and beyond. So this was quite an interesting variation.

  2. willowdot21 says:

    I am so taken with these two guys but why did they not invite Death along! I love this style of yours, I wrote a poem about Death and the four Horsemen of the Epocolist

  3. Jael Sook says:

    Much as I salute your phenomenal talent, particularly for clever humor, I just can’t manage a laugh for anything about hell–as a Bible-believing Christian, the reality of its eternal darkness, separation, and relentlessly painful suffering makes me shudder. No personal criticism intended, Michael–I hope you know that–but if my comment offends, you can simply click it away 🙂

    • Michael says:

      I respect your point of view Jael, I come from a religious background and I do try and not be too disrespectful but these two characters have grown on me over time and its a way for me of exploring what we think we should never explore….so its ok to have your say on the matter, I did wonder how you might respond to W&G and Cyril Rum as well.

      • Jael Sook says:

        I would never say that you’re disrespectful, it doesn’t come across that way. Sometimes the frame of mind of the reader “in the moment” causes us to hear things other than we might on a different day. Your talent is always amazing, and quite versatile.

  4. scribblersdip says:

    OMG – This – THIS – is by far, the most inspired Wayne and Greg in the series Michael. Every. EVERY. (yes, i’m shouting from the roof-tops here) single – in this piece – from start to finish is perfect. You were being Divinely inspired in all the best ways with this Michael – it’s so perfect – hysterically funny and yet, never quite over the edge of the best of casual and off-the-cuff to walk into the world of arrogance! I TOTALLY love it.

    Great use of the prompt and of course, perfectly apt for the prompt – and well it’s always a pleasure to see Wayne and Greg showing up 😀


    • Michael says:

      The whole concept of hell has intrigued me over the years. I had a nun teach me in my final year of high school and she used to say THIS was hell, she’d say can anything be worse than this and it did make sense. Though I did find it fun to write that the stairway to heaven only went a certain way and then you fell off back to where you started….be aweful wouldn’t it…

      • scribblersdip says:

        actually, since you’re so into these fun and weird reads, something you might want to find and chomp on, even if you download it using a free “readers app” – or maybe the library – but I’m currently reading, for the second time, the first book in a series (which I haven’t wandered into) called “Graveyard Shift by Angela Roquet” – a link to her site:

        Absolutely brilliantly written – and really fascinating for those who like the afterlife, the gods/goddesses etc. Laugh out loud funny.

        Right then, anyone who has been taught by nuns (I raise my hand) or has been schooled anywhere near something like the Catholic tradition, will be either terrified by the concept or curiously wondering or downright confused or simply disbelieving ….. and yes, why should these places – heaven or hell exist elsewhere? I mean, all we have to do is look around and see the atrocities unfolding? And then, find the true beauty in the magical, mystical and sheer wonder of real human beauty and compassion, not to mention the natural wonders in this world? It’s all here – right now – as for what could be “next” – perhaps simply a return to pure energy? Either way, we’ll all eventually get there and remember, for a short time.

        LOL – actually, I really enjoyed your concept of the spiraling staircase that starts and then “at the top” – you start again – paints a really comical scene in my head – and then, if I get all “deep” it makes me think of the principles and ideas of spirit/souls being asked to reincarnate to continue to “evolve” etc.

        So yes, I think this is a wonderful story and more than just fun and laughs – your Wayne and Greg series have more than meets the eye going on, besides sushi and ham sandwiches!

      • Michael says:

        Well thanks so much for that, I’ll go and check out the link you’ve given me too.
        I read Neil Gaiman’s “Good Omens” from where I ‘borrowed’ the idea of the angelic deities. I took was bought up in the Catholic tradition, Mass every Sunday, alter boy, catholic schooling and all that. So I have a lot to lean on when I’m writing. I was curious about Jael’s comment on the story which I respect her point of view but I did wonder how such folk would respond to W&G and Cyril Rum as well.

      • scribblersdip says:

        Maybe you’ll discover some new reading fodder to continue the exploration of the Wayne and Greg dynamic 😉

        Yup, I totally hear ya on the Catholic tradition – did all of it too – even “altar boy” – there weren’t enough boys of the right age – either too young or already late teens and they weren’t interested anymore – so my, my my, how “rules” were broken! LOL

        Personally, I don’t hold much truck with the RC religion, or most other religions. I don’t believe in absolutes – either or/ heaven or hell etc. And I certainly don’t believe in retribution and judgment of sins – much less that as soon as we take our first breath we are “sinners.” Personally, I find that an absolutely ridiculous and insane idea.
        But I think the basic principles of most religions, of any stripe, including other faiths like Islam or Hinduism etc. basically, when stripped down, carry the same messages; respect, honour, faith, compassion, forgiveness, etc. – but I think far too much gets “lost in the translations” – i.e. how stories are shaped and passed down etc.
        Personally, I think we are spiritual – as in spirit having a human walkabout – and there are lessons for us to learn – karmic etc. etc.
        Anyhow, my point, I guess, is that I don’t take offense at these creations or stories – because if it comes down to it – then one could say: God has a sense of humour, great and all embracing compassion and unconditional love, and these imaginative bits are expressions of a higher order …. and that being said, I could certainly have a ham sandwich.

      • Michael says:

        I think as I got older and read more about faith I discovered so much was about control and not in keeping with how I was growing to see God and all associated with him. The best joke of all is that God must have a sense of humour just look around you.

      • scribblersdip says:

        absolutely – look around and tell me if God isn’t splitting a side laughing? LOL –
        And you’re right, there is alot about “control” – that defines and limits and well, it gets to be too much – but then, I suppose, to each his/her own ….

      • Michael says:

        and recent events in terms of child abuse haven’t helped their cause…a friend of mine once said the church should be dismantled and started all over again, if at all.

      • scribblersdip says:

        what really gets to me, pisses me off to the nth degree, is the initial denial – and then, if there is some form of admitting to the truth, often it seems hollow and then of course, it begs the question – how you you “atone” – but apart from the actual fall out for the victims, what infuriates me is the absurd notion that anyone – anyone – of any religious faith – who takes a vow is somehow “above and beyond reproach” – and yet ….. is not everyone on this blue-green planet not of flesh and blood, and a whole range and wealth of emotions, actions and consequences?! This is what just makes me see bloody red. As if a “job title” or “calling” somehow should or could be considered above and beyond and reproach – arghhhhhhh …. right, now I will stand down off my soap box.

      • Michael says:

        I think standing on your soapbox Pat is a necessary thing every so often and I do agree with you.

      • scribblersdip says:

        LOL – well, suds are always fun 😉

      • Michael says:

        Not if there’s a breeze

      • scribblersdip says:

        LOL! instant bubbles floating on the wind without the effort of a wand? 😉

  5. mandibelle16 says:

    Very interesting discussion between Wayne and Greg and creative forms of punishment in Hell. Never any victory, no satisfaction, and a stairway to Heaven that’s booby trapped. Liked how you added in the part about reversing the songs. Thanks again for participating!

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