Best Eggs in Purgatory by Steven Patchett

Fiction

My sister was working the breakfast shift, so I decided to talk with God. He had his usual booth, facing away from the window, so I slid onto the sticky vinyl seat opposite him and poured sugar into my coffee. The gun felt heavy in my jacket pocket, just inches from my hand. I wondered if it would become so heavy it would break my arms, or drag me through the floor.

“Too much sugar will kill you,” God said, not looking up from his wanted ads.

“Got freedom of choice, don’t I?” I kept pouring, to annoy him.

He grunted in response, chewed on his pencil and circled an advert, muttering “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,”

“I still wanna know why God is looking for work,”

His wizened brow rose slightly and his bloodshot eyes looked into mine, “This, again?” He sat back and my sister appeared, putting down his order; a large coffee, sausage, bacon, eggs and hash browns. For some reason, he didn’t like the beans, and wouldn’t eat the tomato, called it ungodly. The smell made me hungry again.

“Don’t you go on harassing the customers,” she told me, snapping down the paper napkin wrapped plastic cutlery onto the fake wood table. God smiled at her ass as he watched her walk away. All the men do. 

I waited while he ate, trying to ignore he’d spilt greasy egg yolk onto his white beard. He blew the froth from his coffee, but still managed to get some on his moustache. My coffee was too sweet, so I stirred it round and round. 

His newspaper had pictures I didn’t want to see, words I didn’t want to read. It flared like it was radioactive and I dared not look at it directly, for fear of being blinded. I caught his glance – he knew I’d seen it and he knew what it meant. I didn’t take much to put the pieces together, not when you’re omnipotent. He put it on the seat beside him.

I tried a new tact today, “Can I ask you a theoretical question,”

He narrowed his eyes for a second. I could see the vein on his brow pulse, “Theoretically,” I imagined his voice to have a distant rumble of thunderbolts, “sure.”

 “Say if a bad person did a good thing at the last second of their life, would they get into heaven,”

He snorted, taking the napkin and wiping the froth from under his red-veined nose. He still hadn’t noticed the egg. “It would have to be something incredible, saving the world sort of thing. Or maybe if it was a sacrifice to save someone else,” he took a deep drink of his coffee, “does that answer your question,”

I thought for a moment. “So, if a good person did a bad thing just before they died, would they go to Hell?”

God shifted in his seat, his face turned pink. He looked around for my sister, “Look, kid, no matter what you think, I don’t make the rules.”

The bell over the door of the cafe rang. My sister looked up and I could see her turn to stone. I heaved myself off the clinging seat, telling God, “You’ve got egg in your beard,” as I passed.

Satan smiled from the doorway until I did a bad thing.

Biography
Steven Patchett is an Engineer, Father and Writer, living and working in the North East of England. His Flash Fictions have been published in Ellipsis Zine, 100 Words of Solitude and The Cabinet of Heed. He can be found on Twitter, being encouraging @StevenPatchett7

Image: unsplash.com

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