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They say there's a heaven for those who will wait:
Some say it's better but I say it ain't.
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints;
The sinners are much more fun.
      --Billy Joel

It's a strange sort of thrill to stand in a middle of a crowd, knowing that nobody can see or hear you, and hear people who have never met you utter your name in hushed tones of awe. She stole a car, they whisper, and you can't help but swell with pride, because yeah, it may have been a hell of a stupid thing to do, but fuck, you're going to live forever.

Well, the whole immortal soul thing already has that covered, but still, it's nice to know you haven't been forgotten.

"There you are," a voice says, resonating at a subtly different frequency than that of the mortal whispers. "I should have known I'd find you here."

You turn around and smile, embarassed. "Hey, Liz."

You had been drunk--naturally--and it was your stupid-as-fuck boyfriend Karl's idea. You found Mrs. Nichols' purse in the bathroom during your mother's lame Hawaiian-themed party, and Karl dared you to use her keys to take a joyride in her car. "You'll be back before she ever even knows it was gone," he said.

So there you were in the driver's seat, with Karl in the passenger's, going ninety miles an hour right into a tree. You were both killed instantly; you don't even remember the sensation of impact.

Your one consolation is that when you arrived in heaven, Karl was nowhere to be found.

You first saw Liz when she was being fitted for her wings. You yourself were in for a refitting; you had finally worn out your old pair on your most recent reascension.

She had taken off her shirt so they could more accurately measure the distance between her shoulderblades, and she smiled shyly at you. The passivity of her expression was at odds with the rest of her appearance: black leather boots, ripped blue jeans, died magenta hair, pierced nipples, an anarchy tatoo.

"Holy fuck," she expleted as they pressed a ruler to her back in the course of their general poking and prodding. "That shit's cold."

You knew at once you'd found a kindred soul.

You found an excuse to hang around even once they'd finished the refitting, so you'd still be around when she got done. "I'm Heather," you introduced yourself to her.

"Hey," she said, gracing you again with that shy smile so at odds with her overall demeanor. "I'm Liz."

"New arrival?" you asked. Most people getting fitted were; few saints shared your obsession with going back Down There enough in order to wear out their wings. (St. Peter has signed you out of and back into Heaven so many tmes that he jokes that when his current logbook is used up, he's going to charge you for the replacement. At least you think he's joking.) Most saints were satisfied with Heaven.

"Yeah," she agreed. "I just got here." After a pause, she added, "Cancer."

"You're going to fucking hate it here," you said, already grabbing her hand and started pulling her in the direction of the beaches.

"I don't know," Liz said. "I kinda like the cafeteria."

You died a virgin--just your luck--so you can't say whether getting finger-fucked in Heaven is better than on Earth. You figure it can't be worse, though; Liz's hands pretty much work magic against your clit.

Sex isn't forbidden in Heaven, and since there's no marriage or giving away in marriage there either, you're free to fuck and be fucked by anyone willing to do the honors. Thing is, the pool is surprising small; while you'd have expected it to be pretty much a nonstop orgy, it seems that most saints show up in Heaven with no real sex drive to speak of. Just another way out of the thousands in which you're a fucking misfit.

(Strangely enough, it's the capital-S Saints who tend to be the exception. Mary of Magdala, of course, but also some who surprised you when you first got there. You wonder just how much unresolved sexual tension Sts. Francis and Clare must have had in life if they still haven't come out of their private suite even after the seven and a half centuries which have gone by since they arrived in Heaven. You're pretty sure they're not praying in there.)

Which is not to say that Liz isn't perfect and wouldn't be your preferred partner even if saints were lining up and down the streets of New Jerusalem for the privilege of getting to fuck you. But they're not, so it's another one of the ways Liz manages to make palatable a heavenly existence which would be unbearable without her.

That first day, the day you took her to the beach after running into her in the Wing-Fitting Room, the two of you were worn out--well, not technically, since resurrected bodies don't exactly wear out (just the wings)--but tired; you can feel exhaustion if you want to, and you do, because there are few thrills in Heaven as exhilerating. The surf was up; one thing you have to give Heaven credit for is that the waves are always perfect, and the sun is always shining.

You spread a blanket on the sand and the two of you sort of just collapsed onto it, your hearts still pumping furiously, as you lay, relaxing in the perfectly temperate sun. The two of you had changed into bikinis before you started surfing, and Liz's was red and black and she was hot as hell (figuratively speaking, of course; you've never been) in it.

Desires swelled up within you, some of which (the more subtle ones, for love and companionship; you'd been horny as fuck ever since you got there) you hadn't felt since before you died. You weren't sure what to say, what to ask, so you just slid over and lightly, tentatively, pressed your lips against hers. Except she kissed you back, and there was nothing light or tentative about it, and a moment later you were suddenly on your back and she was pinning you down.

You reached up and around her to untie her bikini top and it fell onto your stomach, revealing those pierced nipples. You ran your finger over them, the juxtaposing sensations of cold metal and warm flesh, and it wasn't until later you even thought to wonder how a resurrected body managed to come with modifications.

You kept kissing, constantly threatening to consume each other with your mouths and hands as if you didn't have eternity stretching out in front of you to feel, to touch, to taste.

And screw anyone who's offended by the two of you fucking out in the open on a public beach, because this is supposed to be Paradise and there's nothing to be ashamed of here, just two bodies created in the fucking divine image doing what they fucking were designed to do (and excuse your language, but really--who the fuck do they think they are?), so any saint who has a problem with it can go and tell God to God's smiling face that they find Heaven less than perfect. See if they have any more luck with that than you did.


"This really must be Heaven," she said, afterwards, and you smiled, beause for the very first time in your afterlife, it actually began to feel like it.

"Come on," Liz says. "Let's go Back Up."

"Not yet," you plead. "There's only so much surfing I can handle."

Liz comes over, puts her arm around you. "I know you miss it Down Here," she says. "But we're dead. We've gone to Heaven. That's where we belong now."

There is a part of you that'll never believe that, a part which, despite having already taken the matter up with God Godself (cryptofascist bitch), is still certain it must have been a bureaucratic error which resulted in your ending up Up There.

But it doesn't matter, because at least you have Liz, and wherever she is, that's the real Heaven.

"Okay," you say, and kiss her, a long, lingering kiss which makes your fuck-up of a life all worth it just by virtue of being followed by an afterlife which has that kiss in it. You break the kiss, then spread your wings wide. "Race you to the pearly gates," you say, and you're off.