Counting One’s Cloud #flashfiction

Tippy Peacemeal couldn’t fault her childhood, with its abundance of ice cream, fluffy pets and benign aunts. The only time her happiness wavered was in the first six months of her senior school, when, aged 11 and sixteen twenty-sevenths, she found herself seated next to Parsley Cretin, an especially moody, snottery sort of girl whose mission appeared to be to rile Tippy. In those months her school laces were tied together under the desk; her hymn book was defaced with an (admittedly) anatomically accurate biroid diagram of a tumescent penis (which, because the ink was purple, reminded Miss Felicity Snark, the headmistress of the late Bishop of Coltrane about to celebrate Matins); her recorder developed a sort of gastric hiatus that caused it to spit out slime when Tippy played a C sharp; and her favourite school dinner – shepherd’s pie – was found to contain an earlobe that DNA testing showed to have belonged to the recently deceased local shepherd, Joleyn Thighslapper.

It was a relief to one and all when Parsley’s parents decided a period of incarceration might do their daughter good and enrolled her in St Dunstans Penitentiary for the Peculiarly Repulsive.

Thereafter Tippy led a model life. She gave of her time readily, working in every charitable sector that one could; she ran her own food bank; she donated her clothes and organs; she climbed, ran, hopped, slithered and, on one occasion, turned herself inside out to raise funds for her worthy causes; she adopted stray animals, children and improving postures; she entered politics to do good and left it having done no harm which was better than the rest; she embraced every faith and none, hugging them into some sort of compromise; and while she didn’t achieve world peace, she managed to reconcile Mrs Basejumper and Ms Spincycle, whose battles over responsibility for a boil-washed cardigan were such that those in the know thought this was the greater achievement.

When, aged 107 she was accidentally run-over by an automatic commode that mistook her undertaking a sponsored 300 squat challenge for the signs of an impending percussive evacuation, she died peacefully, face down and surrounded by cheering crowds.

On the Other Side, preparations had been underway for some time and the gatekeepers to the many Hereafters to which she was entitled access lined up to cheer her in. Tippy, modest to a fault, tried to deflect the praise but St Peter, that eon’s spokeangel explained that, having left the mortal world such attributes as modesty and self deprecation had no place.

‘You’re done with all that guff, Tippy. You’ve secured your spot so you don’t have to do good any more. Let me show you round.’

Tippy couldn’t deny that being as perfect a human as she had been was a tad exhausting and there had been times when she had to chase away the odd churlish thought. She followed the white robed Under God through a series of doors and out onto what appeared to be an enormous balcony. In front of Tippy stretched an endless realm of blue skies, impossibly fluffy clouds of the sort only imagined in washing powder adverts and views that were unimaginable, so also indescribable.

St ‘call me Rock God’ Peter pointed at the cloud, two from the end. It drifted to where there was a stepping off platform. ‘This is all yours, Tippy. It reflects how wonderful you’ve been, what a life of service and sacrifice you’ve lived and is equipped with everything that you will ever want or desire.’

Tippy wondered if she should say something when she noticed the mat. Printed in a soothing, easy on the eye font, it said ‘Welcome to Cloud Seven!’

Tippy frowned and turned back to St P who looked a touch surprised. ‘Yes?’

‘Cloud Seven?’

‘Yes?’

‘Does that mean there are other clouds?’

‘Of course. They go up to Nine with some interim numbers with which you wouldn’t be familiar.’

She folded her arms. He’d told her to drop the modesty. Okay, Buster, she thought. ‘Tell me Rock God, why didn’t I get a number nine?’

‘Why…? It’s a committee decision. We can’t reveal why. It could cause disquiet.’

‘Okay. Give me an example of someone I might know who’s on a nine?’

St Peter beamed. ‘Parsley Cretin for one.’

‘Parsley! She made my life hell. She tied my…’

St Peter raised a hand. ‘She repented. She was going through puberty. Despite her cruel upbringing she lived an exemplary life. A Prodigal Parsley if you will.’

Tippy growled under her breath. ‘Can I appeal?’

‘Seriously? Do you think having an Omniscient and Omnipotent ruler lends itself to appeals and all that democratic mumbo jumbo?’

‘No, I suppose. Though why do I get a seven and not an eight?’

St Peter picked up his robe and turned for the ornate golden doors. ‘We knew you’d moan when you realised you’d not been allocated a nine. One point deducted. Enjoy… oh and don’t use the washing machine at the same time as the microwave. It plays havoc with your harp. TTFN.’

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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13 Responses to Counting One’s Cloud #flashfiction

  1. Do the clouds, perchance, go into minus numbers? I particularly admire the throwaway “spokeangel”!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. noelleg44 says:

    Somehow I knew Parsley Cretin would be higher up. God loves the sinner who repents! Is there no justice?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Marsha says:

    Counting clouds I guess is better than landing on a sheep jumping over clouds with numbers magically appearing above their heads. Oh wait, I thought she was going to wake up from that nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. willowdot21 says:

    Oh! Bollocks it’s not fair…… Trouble is if that’s all happening above your garden..
    Fingers crossed there’s no fall out!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: July Story Chat Summary – Marsha Ingrao – Always Write

  6. No good life goes unpunished. (i know the word should be deed but life seemed to fit the story.) Love the name Parsley Cretin.

    Liked by 1 person

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