“Oh, no. Oh, oh no!” exclaimed Clarence as he shuffled through the papers in the file on his desk. “I’ve been working in the audit department forever and this has never happened. It can’t happen!”
After pacing back and forth a few times, Clarence picked up the phone.
“I’m sorry, Sir, but a mistake has been made, a terrible mistake. Someone was admitted without the appropriate background and credentials.” Clarence was sweating profusely. “Yes, Sir. Right away, Sir.” He hung up the phone gently.
Then he picked it up again. “Gabriel. This is Clarence in the audit department. Will you please let Samuel Geriarti know that I need to see him immediately? I think he’s out on the golf course.”
Clarence waited nervously. In no time at all, Sam showed up at the door.
“Hey, Gabe said you needed to see me?”
“Yes, yes,” Clarence replied, pointing to a chair. “It seems there has been an unfortunate mistake, Sam. Apparently, when you got to the gate and were granted preliminary entry, someone read your records incorrectly. You shouldn’t be here.”
“What?” Sam seemed confused. “A mistake? You can’t kick me out now. I’ve been here for…for…well, for a long time.”
“Such as it is, Sam, you have to go.” He opened a folder and began to read. “Theft of candy as a child, vehicles as a young man, retirement accounts and more as an adult. Adultery – three times. Animal abuse. We lost count of the incidents of false witness and using the Lord’s name in vain. All without repentance. Shall I go on?”
Sam demanded, “I want to talk to the boss! He’ll forgive me.”
“Are you serious? He put Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden for less. You think he’ll let you stay here with your rap sheet? I’m sorry. This comes from the boss. You’ve got to go.”
Sam started crying.
Clarence picked up the phone again and dialed 666. “We’ve got one of yours. You can pick him up at the gate.” Then he opened the door to his office, calling out into the outer office. “Christopher, will you please accompany Sam to the gate?”
He looked at Sam. “I’m so sorry, Sam.”
As Christopher took Sam’s arm to lead him to the gate, Clarence wiped a tear from his eye, muttering, “Mistakes like this just shouldn’t happen.”
I wrote this a couple of weeks ago in response to a prompt shared between a few friends. The prompt asked us to write about a bureaucratic blunder in heaven in 500 words or less. “The Mistake” was my response.
What are your thoughts?