by Troy Morash
One day while the sun was beaming with all its might, Mrs. Mud was in her beloved kitchen peeling apples for an apple pie.
After finishing she decided to taste one and because she had such a big mouth she threw it in whole. Naturally after a few seconds she began choking. From the next room her husband could hear the horrible noises she was making and ran into the kitchen. ‘What is it my dear,’ her husband asked. ‘What is wrong my angel?’
Mrs. Mud, always one to speak her mind, was speechless. Her face turned red and bulged beyond twice its prescribed dimensions. Instead she started waving her hands about, stamping her feet and thrashing her eyes about in their sockets. But her husband only had a grade ten education and didn’t understand. This of course made Mrs. Mud very angry but before she could hit her husband over the head, she fell to the floor dead, thoroughly, from head to foot.
It took Mr. Mud a couple minutes to realize what had happened as his beloved wife had never died before. He gently laid her on the table and started to pray to God.
Meanwhile, as there was a war being fought on Earth at that time, Mrs. Mud was made to wait in a very long line-up before the Gates of Heaven. It did not take long for the old woman to lose her patience.
‘What is taking so long!’ she shouted. ‘It’s inhumane to make people wait like this.’
Before long the waiting grew unbearable and she butted her way to the front of the line until she was before Saint Peter.
‘My child are you ready to go to Heaven?’ asked Saint Peter, opening his book to page 84,769,487,376 to look up Mrs. Mud’s doings on Earth.
‘To Heaven? Of course I am. I can always make the apple pie another day.’
‘Apple pie?’ inquired Saint Peter with a serene smile. ‘I am afraid that when you enter Heaven it is forever. You will not be able to make the apple pie.’
‘Oh well, I will just have to make my apple pie in Heaven.’
‘Impossible. There are no apples in Heaven.’
‘What! No apples! In that case I will just run back to Earth and get some. You wait here,’ she said to Saint Peter. And she ran back for a bag of apples.
Before long she returned with a bag of apples.
‘Now I’m ready. I can’t wait to try this pie, I’ve heard it goes well with milk.’
‘But there is no milk in Heaven my child,’ exclaimed Saint Peter.
Mrs. Mud’s eyes bulged, ‘My God! How awful! Then I will just go back and fetch my cow. I will absolutely die if I don’t get my fresh glass of milk first thing in the morning.’
‘But,’ began Saint Peter.
But Mrs. Mud’s budding spirit was off like a tornado. She returned to Earth, nabbed her cow and was back in a flash.
When Mr. Mud saw that his cow had died he became all the more fervent and prayed even harder.
Once she had returned Saint Peter calmly said, ‘You will not need your cow or your milk my child.’
Mrs. Mud stared at the Saint, her eyes glistening with indignation. ‘Now just you listen here young man, I will be the judge of what I need and don’t need. How dare you tell me what I need and don’t need for the rest of eternity. Who do you think you are anyway, God?’
Saint Peter was surprised. He had never encountered such a soul at the front gates before. ‘Of course not,’ he muttered.
‘So you can’t possibly know what I need or don’t need, now can you?’
Saint Peter bowed, ‘So now you are ready?’
‘Yes, and let’s get a hurry on, I haven’t had breakfast yet and it’s making me moody.’
‘In Heaven we have no need for breakfasts or any other food for that matter,’ said Saint Peter.
‘No breakfast! Only fools skip breakfast. You mean you don’t even have eggs?’
‘No, my child.’
Mrs. Mud laughed sarcastically, ‘You must live like starving animals up here. Well it makes no difference to me; all I know is that if I don’t get my three eggs into me by eight o’clock in the morning, I am an absolute fright. If you don’t believe me just go and ask my old man. Wait right here and I will go and get my chickens.’
Then she stopped and looked at the Saint through narrow, biting eyes, ‘You know it’s a sin to have to make an old woman do everything.’
So Mrs. Mud returned to Earth and took her chickens. (When Mr. Mud saw that all his chickens were dead he became all the more determined. ‘This calls for some serious praying!’ And he got down on his knees and prayed so hard that his organs started to sweat.)
‘There,’ said Mrs. Mud, ‘I’ve taken all my chickens so there will be plenty of eggs in Heaven and I don’t mind sharing a few with you, even though you have been quite nasty to me.’
Saint Peter stared at her in amazement. ‘My child with so many things you will not fit through the Gate.’
Mrs. Mud was horrified, ‘What? Well I have never been more offended in my entire life! Are you implying that I’m fat! How dare you,’ she shrieked. ‘I admit I have put on a few pounds but that’s because I’ve been ill recently and had to lay down every half hour. But I’m hardly fat. Anyway it’s hardly any of your business. I will just take up knitting and I will be thin again in no time.’
‘My God, don’t you people know anything? Knitting, you know, making sweaters and scarves from wool for the winter time.’
‘We have no wool in Heaven.’
‘No wool! But you must have sheep!’
Saint Peter shook his head.
‘What! You have no wool? What do you wear than?’
‘We have no need for clothes in Heaven.’
‘What! Why you dirty old man. Why I have never heard of anything more vulgar in my entire life. You must live like barbarians here; walking around naked, it is indecent not to mention bad for one’s health, you can catch a dreadful cold.’
‘In Heaven there is no need for clothing. There is no cold so you will not need any either.’
Mrs. Mud slapped Saint Peter across the face.
‘How dare you suggest that I walk about like a cheap hussy! I have never been so insulted in my entire life. If you don’t start acting like a gentleman and start treating me like a lady, I will tell on you.’
Saint Peter to be sure was shocked. It had been a couple thousand years since a woman had last slapped him. ‘My child–’
‘Don’t you “my child” me. You should be ashamed of yourself: walking around without clothes, skipping breakfast and trying to refuse a poor old woman her humble glass of milk. What kind of place is this?’
Saint Peter tried to grab a hold of Mrs. Mud and push her through the Gates of Heaven. She screamed with all her might, so loud that even her husband back on Earth heard her.
At that moment an angel appeared at the front gates and asked what all the commotion was about.
‘This woman,’ said Saint Peter, ‘is refusing to enter Heaven.’
‘Why you liar!’ cried Mrs. Mud. ‘I never said anything of the sort. This pervert is asking me to undress. Decent women do nothing of the sort. I will enter Heaven only once I have gone back and fetched my sheep.’
‘Madame, please,’ pleaded Saint Peter, ‘there is no need for such language.’
‘You see what I mean? He thinks he is the boss of me,’ shouted Mrs. Mud indignantly. ‘Just let me fetch my sheep.’
‘There will be no need,’ said the angel.
This next part happened without words…
Suddenly Mrs. Mud was alive again, and so were the cow and the chickens. Mr. Mud was overjoyed and over dinner went on about how hard he had been praying. He was certain that it had been all his praying that brought his dear buttercup back to life. ‘It was my prayers and my love for you that brought you back,’ he said.
‘My dear you can be so simple sometimes, it had nothing to do with prayers or love. It was I that brought myself back. It’s easy if you know how to reason with them.’
Troy Morash comes from Canada but has lived and traveled all over the world. He has lived in Romania, Russia and Ukraine where he taught English. His stories have appeared in journals and magazines, including Fables, The Summerset Review, Monkey Bicycle, Eclectica, Bewildering Stories, The Glut, Ken*Again, Yesteryear, Everyday Weirdness and others. He has also translated fables and fairy tales from Chechnya and Romania.