“Heaven is a place,” sang the Talking Heads, “where nothing ever happens.” Not so in this version of the Afterlife. This is what Heaven might have looked like in the Divina Commedia had Dante not been a medieval Italian intellectual, but a contemporary Californian comic artist, like Malachi Ward, who drew this map. In Ward’s vision, Heaven is a place very similar to your local amusement park. Only better: it never closes, you don’t ever have to leave!
Beyond the Pearly Gates (emblazoned with the slogan You Did It!) is a Nu-Body Machine (1), instantly providing everybody with the body they’ve been trying to shape into while still alive. Catholics are welcome to Heaven, but are confined to a small section next to the entrance (2) where they can indulge their semi-idolatrous tendencies at the Throne of Mary (3). Others can try their hand (and their wings) at Angel Boot Camp (4), which is “great for Pentecostals and Charismatics.”
Those less inclined towards spiritual war could go for the snack bar (5), the marital coitus castle (6), the go carts (7), the dinosaur petting zoo (8) or Joab’s candy shop (9). Joab, a nephew of King David and eventually killed at his behest, was mainly known for his martial exploits, not for his sweet tooth.
Evil is not completely out of view in this Heaven: in fact, the Damned Viewer (10) allows you to visually check up on “Adolf Hitler, your philandering boss, the smug atheist next door and all the vile people you hate” get their comeuppance in the ‘other’, decidedly less amusing place. Maybe in Hell there’s a similar viewer, showing the Throne of God and Jesus (11) and the place where people can line up to sit, as if he were a giant Santa, on God’s lap.
And there’s more. Go to Family Land to chew the fat with pre-deceased loved ones (but wouldn’t you eventually bump into them anyway elsewhere in the park?). Visit the Arena of Answers, where the Illuminatron will tell you who really shot JFK, RFK and MLK. Go to Memory Land to relive your own finest moments or, if your existence was less than extraordinary, to Fantasy Land to relive somebody else’s. In the Hall of Heroes, visit with Abraham Lincoln, Moses and Princess Diana (among others). Visit America Land, where it’s always Memorial or Veterans’ Day.