When I arrive at the pearly gates, a disciple of James Lipton will brief me at the concierge and present me with a warm hand towel courtesy of Our Lord, Meryl Streep.
“Prince’s SoulCycle class is to the right but first, to the left, you will find the courtyard where your requested reception dinner, catered by Yotam Ottolenghi, will commence at two strokes past the cloud.”
Before I can inquire about this dinner, our exchange will be interrupted by my late Nana.
“I’m early,” she’ll cry while balancing a tray of food in her arms. “But you’re right on time!”
Lipton’s disciple will explain, “Remember that Bumble date when you were asked to choose five people, dead or alive, who you’d like to have dinner with? Well, though it seemed like a harmless personality question and your date’s successive ghosting was not, er, angelic, that exact dinner is chartered upon our guests’ arrival as a community-building initiative.”
Great. It’s fortuitous that I invited my overbearingly prompt Nana so that she and Joan Rivers, the second to arrive, can kick it off with a charming fight for room dominance that thunders throughout both heaven and earth. Their dispute on whether Jewish or Italian women make the best mothers carries us through Ottolenghi’s elegant hors d’oeuvres and my Nana’s aluminum-cradled meatballs, though it becomes evident that the attendees for whom Ottolenghi’s vegetarian fare was chosen still aren’t present when Joan One and Two are silenced by chewing.
Steve Jobs will be late because he was perfecting the curvature of the letter “N” as it will appear in iOS 89.2.1. I’ll strike up conversation, asking whether he truly believes that his adoption drove him to outperform in society, but he’ll push away his pomelo salad with a huff, uninspired, noting that he doesn’t eat acidic foods after noon.
The main course will appear in tandem with Leonardo DaVinci, who will attribute his tardiness to a freelance gig designing vapor delivery for Amazon. I’ll introduce him to Steve, who’ll use Siri to communicate in Italian:
“Hello. I’m ‘the next you.’”
“No you’re not,” DaVinci will reply in perfect English — a skill learned through his complementary Audible membership.
“Well, that’s how I feel about your boss,” Jobs will rebuke, declaring that his Apple Watch says it’s time to take a walk. The saffron tagliatelle will arrive, but DaVinci’s appetite will disappear when Jobs puts the nail in this afterlife coffin by informing him, via iMessage, that his legacy is now associated with a fiction series-turned-film franchise starring Tom Hanks’s slicked-back bouffant.
Nana and Joan will prod me with their forks and tell me to eat more, but I’ll no longer be hungry. This dinner is far from what I envisioned and, by this point, I would trade it for the Filet O’Fish that’s waiting for me in hell.
My last guest, whose woe-healing properties were exhibited on earth, will be late to arrive. I’ll check in with the concierge to see if he sent his regrets, but he’ll be there at the door, held up by security.
“What’s wrong?” I’ll ask. “Why won’t you let him in?”
“Sorry,” Lipton’s disciple will begin. “But with Robin Williams, you’ll exceed your character count.”
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