Josie Has a Secret, Chapter Thirteen


School wasn't so bad after I won the statewide fifth-grade art competition for my Masterpiece, The Repentant Children of Forest Hill Elementary Frolicking in the Extremely Pleasant and Homework-Free Playgrounds of Elysium.

Josie was still in the celestial waiting room of Purgatory, of course. But she was given special permission to learn card-tricks from Mr. Fluffy, who Garbanzo had given her to keep. Todd Raskin may have looked just the slightest bit bored spending eternity picking cards, but it was more fun than rolling the rock up the hill.

The other Forest Hill kids had all made it to Paradisio, which I repainted to look like the postcards Garbanzo The Splendiferous sent us of the South of France (except for the topless ladies). Mostly everyone in Paradisio was either taking painting lessons from Aunt Leslie or learning vocabulary words like "contrition," which I figure is what eternal bliss would be like. Garbanzo, Gra'ma and the other people from the Society for Magical Persons were working on new tricks, the Droobers were concocting new kinds of herbal tea, and Principal Laquit was cooperatively holding hands with Ms. Droober. I was the one teaching the vocabulary lessons.

Just about the only person left in Inferno was whoever invented cheap sable brushes that fall apart after you only use them once. I didn't know what that person looked like, or even if they were a man or a woman, so I painted them as The Blob That Ate New York. I figured you couldn't go wrong with a blob, and anyway I wanted to keep my hand in for drawing monsters.

But mostly school was better because I wasn't lonely anymore. I had someone to hang around with, and crack jokes with, and even someone to pose for my upcoming Masterpiece, Penny Tents Don't Come Cheap. This will show a woman struggling through an endless wasteland with an enormous, heavy-looking tent on her back. In the distance you'll see the trading post where she bought it. And at the trading post an angel and a devil will argue about who gets to keep the copper penny.

Josie agreed to model for all three characters.

- the end -

How did Darla cure her loneliness? See the page with all the answers.
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