Her name was Jennifer Cobb. She was the original woman. Thus the initials JC. My first love. We met in eighth grade. I had begun to notice girls. But she was more than a girl she was smart, funny, and cute. Even though I did not know it I had a crush. We sat beside each other and recessed together most of the time.
In ninth grade I went from noticing girls to want them to notice me. We once on one of those modern dates where there are ten other people involved. I was convinced I had found the love of my life. My only problem was I was too shy to ask her out. Then Mike Williams appeared. He was my competition on the football field. I was the only starting freshman and he was the up and coming sophomore superstar. And he was a natural player with the ladies. Everyone liked Mike. Even I liked Mike. He was the most winsome person you have ever known. He was slowly becoming master of the school.
Of course this was no problem for me I did not want to be the master of the school. But one day he saw her and was captured by her beauty. Now it was obvious he was on the hunt for my Jennifer. Our competitiveness rose to heights unrecorded. The only problem was he had all the advantages. He had stubble. I had peach fuzz. He drove his own car. My parents transported me. He was confident around girls. I was a mess of hormones and silly around girls. Everyone wanted to date him. Few even knew me. The one-sided competition was on.
He kept on showing up between class breaks. God he was a master of the flirt. I would interrupt him and challenge him in that adolescent way. He ignored me as the young man he was. It was obvious Jennifer was attracted to him. But I could also see she had eyes for me too. I knew I had to ask her out soon or Mike would sweep in and I would be choking on the exhaust fumes of his move. But where and how do we get there. Finally, the solution came in the form of the year end school dance. I knew the clock was ticking. Yesterday Mike had worn his letterman jacket, one I had not received yet.
I was desperate; but I was shy. I picked up the phone several times for two days and would never make the call. But today I had to or my cause would be lost forever. I let the phone ring and then hung up. Thank God there was no caller ID in those days. And then with my heart in my throat I stayed on the line. She answered. I thought I heard a lilt in her voice when she realized it was me. After an overly few moments of awkward conversation I pounced. I asked her. There was a sigh on the other end of the line. Oh mike I am so sorry. I waited but the dance is tomorrow. I thought you were not going to ask and I finally said yes to Mike. My heart was crushed and if there was a God in heaven I would crush Mike Williams. But I knew it was my fault.
We talked for a while. She asked me if I was going to the dance and if I was she would save a dance for me. I said I did not know and to have a good time. We ended the conversation amicably. All of my dreams of a-year end dance romance followed by a summer of love were gone.
The vicissitudes of life robbed me of any hope with my first love. My family moved away that summer. In those days there ware no cell phones or social media to remain in touch. You could write a letter but I was never much of a writer. These many years later I wonder about the fate of Mike Williams. And sometimes I smile and sigh when I think of a little girl from Boaz, Al. who I will never know what might have been.
There is a big lobby. In the lobby is a distinguished woman or at least a woman looking much like Michelle Bachman. A man who is obviously a toadie rushes up to her. ‘Hey Ms. Hari, we would like to welcome you as a new member to the Death Panel in Heaven Committee.’ Ms. Hari replying, “Well this building is certainly heavenly enough. I mean with all the angelic gargoyles and the minimalism of the Shakers. It is perfect.’ “ Yes ma’am we here believe although we have one of the most devilish jobs that should not prevent us from bringing the best aesthetic to Vahalla. This committee amazes me. The US GOP should have egg on its face. When Obamacare was being approved the GOP in opposition vehemently said it created Death Panels. And yet all along we were creating death panels in heaven.’ Ms. Hari, looking curious ask, “And what is your particular position.” Toadie said,’ I am an officer of the Deep State. Boy that would flip out the GOP. I am the motor that makes the Death Panel go.”
Toadie takes Ms. Hari to a big conference room where other similar looking distinguished are gathered. There is a buzz and conversations about parties and real estate deals. Toadie, ‘Mr. Chairman all members are here so the show must begin.’ The Chairman says,” Yes let us all be seated and begin. We are pleased to welcome Ms. Hari today. Well let us get right to it. Toadie give us the first case.”
Toadie replies, “Okay case # 50000000000. One Bob Hayes He has many things to offer as far as retaining his life on earth. But there are a few things we should note which contradict the first look. His ex-wife has offered up to us a letter of referral for his removal from Earth.”
Ms. Hari,” How do we obtain such letters from an earthling? Her prayers?”
Toadie, “Heavens no. We do not listen to prayers. But once a person is assured a future residence here we allow them to write letters of recommendation. Anyway, in the letter she says he is a mouth breather and on occasions pontificates too much, and his sense of humor leaves a little to be desired.’
A committee member, “Well that does it for me let us have his death right away.”
Hari exasperated “on the advice of his ex who offers annoyances and not bad deeds.”
A committee member, “Well exes are usually our best referrals. They have lived with the person. And as far as annoyances she also states objectively she hates him. Doesn’t that carry weight at all with you or would you from aloft your pie in the sky question her judgement.”
Hari, ’No, I am only trying to learn the system that is all.’
The Chairman interrupts, “Do we have further evidence?”
Toadie, “Why yes. His son is distant from him. His wife is occasionally frustrated and even at times furious with him. Plus there is the matter of his books. They are pretty obscure and none have hit the New York Times Bestseller list.”
Another committee member chimes in, “Obscure books, nothing could be worse. And I feel we must relieve this poor woman who is married to the mouth breather. I concur death should be implemented.”
Hari again incredulous, “But the good report states he tries to do good for others. He helped start a non-profit with no overhead and raises money and gives to other non-profits that are doing good things in the community. Previously he spent over 25 years working with the poor. What is bad about this?”
The Chairman interrupts, “The poor wa wa. Did not Jesus say the poor will always be with you? So forget about them they are an albatross around the necks of our greedy entrepreneurs. And can you believe this in the good report it says he is a vegetarian. Vegetarianism only allows animals to live not him. Such holier than thou claptrap.’
The heads of all the committee members are nodding in agreement. Except one, Ms. Hari’s. Toadie looks at her with total displeasure and states,” Ms Hari who recommended you for this committee.” She hands Toadie a written referral. Toadie’s face turns green and he hands the paper to the Chairman.
The Chairman looks at her puzzled, “This says god is your referral. Do you mean the God. Or one of the many others.” Hari replies, “I mean the God”. Toadie,” this is most unfortunate. We have functioned well here in our outpost in heaven for generations striking down everyone we thought deserved death. I mean we have been responsible for some pretty big deaths MLK Jr., Bobby Kennedy, Emmitt Till, and Mahatma Gandhi, to name a few. And now God wants to interject into our committee.”
The Chairman disturbed, “What is this about? Wait a minute your name is not Mata Hari.”
Mata Hari, “Why yes it is and yes God sent me down here to spy on you. We have noticed some strange choices for death and were confused by some of your decisions so God sent me to check it out. And I have noticed the heavenly architecture but no heavenly attitudes. You seem to have the dressings of heaven but the attitudes of hell.”
‘Well we have been watching Fox News and the GOP for years that is the way they do it and they claim they are God’s people,” the chairman responded.” But I am confused did you not work for the Germans?”
“Yes I did and that is why I was chosen. It was believed that I may be able to see the devil in the details and sure enough I did see Mr. Toadie. You see when Mr. Toadie says he works for the Deep State he means very Deep as in Hell. And I do believe I see a few other faces from that general direction’.
Suddenly, the walls came tumbling down and the death panel building was found to be in the midst of hell. Mata Hari,’ and the other reason I was chosen I was already here. But now thanks to my exposure of you and the author’s fascination of me I now am allowed to enter Heaven.’
Toadie looks after, ‘but are we not to make anymore decisions.’ “No you had your time and now we will offer healthcare for all,” replied Hari. “You had to know that eventually the richest country the world has ever seen would have to offer universal healthcare and not offer the death panels of insurance companies, hospitals, and the inability to pay. If they did not they would not be trusting in God.’