Death was not as entitled of a business venture as Mr. Goldbloom thought. You see, being the head of New York’s most prestigious law firm didn’t buy you a whole lot in the afterlife. The gold brinks secured behind his closet safe were of no monetary use now. And the plentiful stash of Ben Franklins stored in his Wall Street bank account wasn’t accepted as legal tender. You see, greed only gets you so far in life. The toll it takes on their victims will wither your bones if I tell you, but you understand that Mr. Goldbloom had a plan which would put right any confusion after his unfortunate death. But none of that will make any sense until later, Mr. Goldbloom is now very much deceased and his plan for the afterlife was in motion.
As a golden-skinned man in robes of white approaches, a narcissistic pride covers the face of Goldbloom. He has made it and now it is time for his next business venture. May it be mightier than the last, he thought to himself.
“This is heaven,” Goldbloom said, observing the man he believes to be God.
“And you are Evan Edwin Goldbloom,” The Man responded. “I have waited this day for a long while.”
“And you must be God? Ruler and King of all?” Evan asked, snorting in the process.
“I am Him who you claim me to be,” God said. “But Evan before we discuss all of that, there are a few matters at hand. You stand before me to be judged, upon the entrance to Heaven, to be found guilty of sin, and yet I ask you one simple question. Why is it that you deserve to be allowed in?”
There were plenty of ways Evan wanted to answer but none came out nearly as smooth as what he said next. “I have achieved beyond that of any person on Earth. I have succeeded in all my affairs and accumulated wealth so overwhelmingly large, that it adds to the sum of their own, combined. To consider me unworthy is to be blind.”
God response was hesitated.
“That is not the answer that my question seeks,” God said in a blunt manner. “Why is it that you deserve to be let into the Kingdom of Heaven? What have you done to prove yourself worthy?”
“Like I said, I am rich. I’ve got a coffin made of solid gold and my firm thrives even after my departure,” Evan explained, but God did not react in the way he was accustomed to. There was no intimidation factor helping sway God’s decision. There wasn’t a form of bribery that would work on the King himself.
“Are you worthy of Heaven?” God asked again.
“Haven’t you heard me? I’m wealthy beyond all-human-measure. There is no one better than I, and for that you should bestow me upon Heaven. I am the best that Heaven has ever seen!”
There was a tap on Evan’s shoulder blade. A small withered old woman with a tennis balled walker clutched in her hands jogged behind him.
“Oh jolly, the good Lord,” said a toothless grin. “I cannot dare look you in the eyes for too long. I am not worthy of your gaze.”
“Mrs. Polly Anne Peteridge, I welcome you at last,” God said, with a returning grin. “Polly, my dear, why is it that you deserve to enter the kingdom of Heaven?”
Evan stood aside as God drew nearer to Polly.
“Truthfully, I don’t deserve it. Not a single bit,” Polly said with a faint tear in her eye. “But I believe in what it is that Your Son did for me—for us all. I’ve placed my faith in you ever since I was a little girl and I hope—well I’m not fraud—”
“Your heart is pure and your honesty is heartwarming,” God said. “I welcome you home.”
Polly felt the strength in her arms grow and the youthfulness of her earlier days return. She gave God a thankful smile with pearly white teeth and entered Heaven. Home at Last.
The spectacle was beyond the comprehension of Evan’s mind, and he knew at once it was what he wanted as well, to feel and look in his prime again.
“Sir—God,” Evan said correcting himself. “I just wanted to say—”
Another person appeared behind Evan. This time it was an African man with the aid of a mechanical wheelchair.
“Fredrick Jackob Robinson,” God announced, his voice was like thunder.
“L-lord, oh Lord,” Fredrick fell to his knees, jumping from his wheelchair. “H-h-have mercy on me.”
God greeted Fredrick with a helping hand and pulled Fredrick to his feet. A wave of shock ran over Fredrick’s weak body as he took his first steps in over thirty-years.
“I am not worthy,” Fredrick cried, tears streamed down his wrinkly face. “I’ve not done as much as I should—”
“Wait one second!” Evan exclaimed. “Him? You wish to help him. He looks like he’s lived under a bridge with a needle in his arm his entire life!”
God whispered a message into Fredrick’s ear and he was welcomed home into the Kingdom of Heaven.
“You’re a counterfeit Mr. Goldbloom,” were Fredrick’s final words as he passed onward.
“It is not your responsibility to question my decisions,” God roared. The ground below Goldbloom’s feet shook with authority.
“You are allowing those— scum into heaven and you wouldn’t allow a man like me? You muddied up the place! I will not be seen with those kinds of people!”
God lowered his head in disappointent. “You are all my children. But you, Evan Edwin Goldbloom have failed to see what is good in your heart. You are corrupted by greed and you have idolized your wealth. There is no such place for a person like you in my house. I shall pass judgment!”
There was a tremor, and then a crack opened in the floor and Mr. Goldbloom fell down and down, deeper and deeper into a pit of misery. Hell. The bright light was reduced to a dark gloom.
“Hello?” Goldbloom cried out. “Is anyone there?”
Suddenly, ghostly souls floated to greet him. Goldbloom shrieked in horror as he witnessed their white auras. Lost and broken souls. Distant from all love and kindness. Goldbloom’s skin started to crawl as the ghosts together transformed into a silhouette of the life he used to know. He was taken back to his waterfront mansion where people in the masses funneled through his great large iron front doors. A party was underway and the guests were dressed in their finest clothes.
“A celebration?” Goldbloom smiled. “For me?”
One of the ghost came to stand on Goldbloom’s right side. “But what type?” the cold voice whispered.
They entered together inside his familiar walls and witnessed the spectacle. It was indeed a party. It was indeed a celebration, but not for his life, instead, for his death. Bottles of champagne poured violently into his finest crystal glass, and Frank, who was his trusted family butler, was cheery faced.
“And may the man rue all that he has done to us in the dark depths of his own loneliness!” The crowd shouted as Frank concluded his address. “Now, take whatever it is you’d like and have a merry night! I’ve inherited quite a fortune and I intend on paying it forward— to you all!”
Goldbloom was in utter shock from what he was seeing. As he and the ghost bounced from posse to posse, each one had their unkind and bitter remarks when it came to him. All of which, he would’ve viewed as friends.
“I remember he fired someone for not having wing-tipped shoes. The poor man went broke and robbed a bank. Now his entire family visits him at the plot where he is buried. Quite tragic,” said an older woman with beet red lipstick and a black shall.
“There was another time when Mr. Goldbloom bought an entire hotel just to prove he was wealthy enough. Put the entire place out of business and fired everyone the next week. It was an awful sight.”
Over the course of the night, Goldbloom was witness to all the wrong-doings and vile things he’d made people suffer at his hands. But it wasn’t until he went to be by Frank’s side that he got the truth of it all. As he had no surviving heirs of any kind, he instructed his power of attorney, Frank to have the gold bricks melted down into a casket worthy of his success for his body to be placed in. There was a plot purchase in a well-off cemetery and what remained of the money would be reinvested into his law firm to ensure its continuation for generations to come.
But as Goldbloom continued to eavesdrop on the living, he discovered Frank had patiently awaited his death with great joy. A clause under article three of the Goldbloom’s will gave Frank complete control over all decisions on the matter regarding assets. Sure there were a few occasions where fellow associates begged for their portion of the pie, but Frank intended to hoard the lot of it all for himself. Not a penny would be seen after Goldbloom’s death. Old money would transition into new hands the way you’d expect in the early 1800s and accounts were to be closed like colliding dominoes.
“I mean to leave tonight— after the party,” Frank whispered to an unknown associate.
“What will you do then?” the associate asked.
“Destroy every bit of business with his legacy attached to it. One final way of saying goodbye,” he chuckled. “I have more money than he’d pay me in my lifetime and I intend on having some fun with it.”
The associate sneered and they exchanged a warm handshake, departing back into the sea of people that gossiped about Mr. Goldbloom.
The ghost whirled away from the image and showed Goldbloom his law firm. There was a party there too. All of his employees were celebrating. Goldbloom wished the image away and was taken to another. His grave. It was empty with no visitors. Weeds grew over it and eventually, the headstone cracked and vanished beneath the soil. Goldbloom would be forgotten to time and there wasn’t a person who cared to remember.
When the silhouette was over, the ghost floated in waiting as Goldbloom’s spirits were more damaged than ever. There was no saving him now, he thought to himself. Not even they want me to be with them, why would God welcome me into Heaven with all the grief that he’d caused others.
Goldbloom fell to his knees and the ghosts circled around him, waiting to take his soul.
“I am not worthy of this life or the next,” he said crying on his knees. “There isn’t a single person who mourns for me and I shouldn’t blame them. My money, wealth, and riches have hallowed me out as a person. I have become fueled by greed and shattered those in my path. To think, oh to think. I am worse than any omen. I am evil himself! Oh please, oh please. What have I done? God have mercy on me. Please allow me to right the wrongs that I have caused.”
Goldbloom continued his monologue for quite some time, begging for a way to repay those he hurt, but there was no option given to him. Goldbloom laid against the hard floor, surrounded by ghosts, and awaited to die. His final words were, “I will never be worthy of anyone’s forgiveness, but I ask for your forgiveness God. Allow me to die in peace knowing that I’ve attempted to have our account settled.” The words left his lips and so began his soul, but he felt his body being tugged along.
The ghosts picked up Goldbloom’s limp body and rose into the air, floating upwards towards the same crack he fell down from. There, they placed him at the feet of their Lord God and Goldbloom awoke, surrounded by a welcoming home back into his true home.
God placed His Good hand’s on Evan’s body and he rose back the person he was before greed corrupted him. All the riches on his body turned to rags and his memories lifted away.
“What have you done?” Evan asked, as he attempted to find what was missing in himself but failed to do so.
“I have returned you to the state you were before,” God said, “I have washed away your sins, mended your heart, and filled you with pure joy. You shall be welcome in Heaven for as long as you’d like.”
The gates swung open and Evan strolled inside.
“Welcome home Evan Edwin Goldbloom,” said God.