During an extended stay in purgatory in the dark comedy novel, Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana!, Miss Havana is invited to a party that turns out to be an intervention with people she wronged while she lived. They all hate her, and she takes the opportunity to rebuff each one in her own unique way. Here’s an excerpt.
Up to now, the most important thing in life has been me. Things could be different here. Faces stare at me from the circle in apparent anger. I glare back to spite them. They should rejoice I’m not a twin. I’m certain I recognize some of them. I remind myself that friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate; these are not friends. Some or all were also at my meet and greet with Saint Peter. I smile sweetly to counter their collective bad vibe, and then take a caustic dig at The Brazilian. “You sure throw a holy hell of a party.”
Before he can answer, a shrill female voice assaults my ears from behind. “Bitch! You were responsible for the death of my mother and father. I mourned for weeks before my depression became too much to bear, and ended my own life because of the shame and humiliation you heaped on my family. My children have no mother and my husband cries daily because of you. You ruined my family, ended my life and left my grieving family in your wake. You despicable excuse for a human being, you agony of existence … you don’t belong here, and the horror of hell is far too good for you!”
Oh, yes, Senator Wansworth’s daughter, Victoria. In addition to her whiney voice, she obviously has issues. Perhaps I could help her with a little advice, since I have more insight into the affairs of the world than anyone else except, perhaps, Lilith. Maybe that’s the real reason I’ve been invited to this place at this time—to give advice to those who need it most. That makes sense. These people can hear straight talk from me without risk, before they hear it directly from my daughter, when it’s too late.
I swivel to face Victoria and begin our little session like any good counselor might. “You seem upset. Why don’t we begin by taking a few deep breaths to relax?”
Victoria leaps from her chair and charges like a rhinoceros, her hands reaching to grab my throat. The Brazilian is faster than he looks, and restrains her before she can make her final lunge. The others continue to glare while he drags her back to her chair and scolds her for losing control. It’s a good time to get my thoughts together.
This could be fun, like dueling with an unarmed man, but I wait until the commotion settles and her screaming subsides before addressing her again. I might not have the benefit of the briefs I once received from my demons, but I know the way of things just the same. Those demons screwed with the files so much they were of little value anyway.
I stretch my arms outward with my fingers intertwined, cracking the knuckles because I know that annoys the shit out of most people, especially her; then, I look into her eyes as if I care. “You seem to believe I am at the heart of your problems, Victoria, but you have missed the point. To begin with, it was not I who forced your father’s penis inside my vagina, but the other way around. He and he alone made that decision, and frankly, he was a pretty lousy lay. He did what he did out of lust. He chose to dishonor his family and the values he pretended to stand for. I, on the other hand, was simply trying to survive—your father had money and I wanted some of it. Big fucking deal! He spent more on your sixteenth birthday party than he did to recover the porno pictures of the parties we had together.
“Furthermore, it wasn’t I who convinced your father to hire Mr. Darwin as my killer, but your mother. In fact, had she been a little more selective of her targets and a little less greedy, she would still be alive and would not have been investigated, albeit post mortem, for killing her first husband. No one forced her to come after me.
“That my killing didn’t go as she expected and that your father contracted Mr. Darwin to kill your mother after she rammed that butcher’s knife between my beautiful breasts wasn’t my doing. It was your father’s plan all along. She got what she deserved for being the despicable bitch she was, not to mention she had the unadulterated gall to challenge me every year in the township beauty contest. Was she stupid as well as nuts?
“You wish to heap the blame for your torment on me, but you had better look inside first, my dear, because that’s where you will find the real darkness that brought you to this group. You and you alone are the one who drove your husband and children to hate you. Your husband cheated on you because you gagged whenever he touched you! Here’s some advice for the clueless, as you certainly are, men don’t like that. Sex before marriage is great, and they expect a little action after the fact too. You idiot, a marriage license is not a permit to slam your legs shut forever.
“Hell, even now you believe your husband and children are in mourning, but to tell the truth, they are celebrating your passing. For the first time in their lives, there is joy in that home.
“Your contention that I caused your suicide is ridiculous and false. No one forced that on you except you. So your mother and father died, so what? That happens to thousands of people daily and they don’t all commit suicide. Only you. Why?
“Because you were too weak to admit the problems you had were already within you. In fact, you refused to acknowledge that you had any problems at all. You conceited bitch! Wake up and smell the roses. Understand that what happened was done at your own hands, and get on with your afterlife!”
As Victoria’s face drains pale, I sit back in my chair wishing I had an emery board to smooth the edges my nails. Surely they must have personal hygiene products here. I look over to The Brazilian, knowing primping tools are important to him, but he just shakes his head.
Victoria seems to be having trouble catching her breath, and soon feigns a faint, slumping to the floor like a sack of spuds. What a dramatic bitch. I want to make a caustic comment in the worst way, but The Brazilian uses his large finger and thumb to run an invisible zipper across his huge lips. He sighs, and then hefts the dead weight of Victoria’s ass back onto her chair.
I swivel on my chair in the center of the circle, studying the angry faces that surround me. I believe I know most of them, and I’ll bet they’re all here to be confronted with the truth. Who would believe it? Miss Havana, a dispenser of truth. That just seems wrong, but it could be the way things work here. Maybe you must reach a point where everything is a lie before you can begin to discern what isn’t.
Before her trials in purgatory run their course, Miss Havana decides she should become the Angel of Death in order to right a few wrongs on “the surface”. Hordes of bad people die in the wake of her decision—until God intervenes and calls Miss Havana to account for her unauthorized actions. Confronted with near certain banishment to hell, Miss Havana proposes a loophole that might get her off the hook, but even she is surprised by God’s interpretation of her request.
Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! is available at https://www.amazon.com/James-L.-Hatch/e/B005CQB6E6.
Thank you for reading,
James L. Hatch