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  • On job-shadowing day in heaven, I had a new assignment – to sit in the passenger seat of a white van driven by God’s brother, the Devil.
    No horns, no tail, no angry red face, just a balding guy in a blue jumpsuit. I sat next to him and he explained his job: To pick up the people who’d come to a decisive point in their lives, and had chosen not to take the jump.
    “That’s when I arrive,” he explained to me as he turned the wheel left and swung around a corner. “I take them in a biiiiiiig circle.”
    To demonstrate, he pulled the wheel right, and joined a line of traffic.
    “We’re not going to move in this very fast,” I observed, watching a Toyota in front creep forward, and a stand-still line of brake lights after that.
    He raised his eyebrows. “That’s the point. To inch along. To get some thought going. Like, ‘How did I get here?’ ‘What was I thinking?’ ‘What did I do to deserve this?’”
    “Are you just a chauffeur?”
    “Pretty much. And a sounding board.”
    “Look, there’s an opening," I pointed. "Get into the other lane.”
    He nodded as he flicked the turn signal.
    I listened to the tick-tock as he negotiated the traffic. Our lane sped up, and we zipped along. Suddenly he jammed on the brakes, and swung his wheel to the right.
    “Back at the start?” I asked as we coasted toward the curb.
    “Do you want to go again?” He smiled at me. It was a hard-working face, tanned and lined, with crows-feet around intense blue eyes, worry lines like waves along his broad forehead, a receding hairline, and six o’clock stubble across his jaw. “We could tell each other stories.”
    From the van's window I could see escalators, leading up to I-don’t-know-where. I’d spent two days learning about God’s rapid transit system: Escalators, elevators, rolling walkways, and rooms that whisked you sideways.
    The doors never opened into the place I'd expected. I’d find myself on a precipice, looking into a canyon with no option but to jump; or in front of a cliff, a rope at my feet and my hands on the first secure places to grip.
    Once the elevator opened into blinding fog. I had to follow the tiny sound of a far-off chime, my feet sliding as I stepped through some kind of loose shale.
    It would have been unbearably scary, but I always found a new skill. That canyon? Guess what: I can sing with eagles.
    “No thanks. I can’t imagine what’s next, but I’m excited to see the view.”
    From the escalator, I watched him put a hand out the window and give me a cheery wave. He passed back into traffic, disappearing toward his next pickup.
    He lingered in my mind as if we were old friends, who would ride with each other again.

    From a dream in 2010.
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