Living In Sin

Entry by: ben schofield

9th June 2016
Living in Sin

Do you ever wonder how you got here, or where the time goes? And I’m not talking about: Wow, I’m forty with three kids, what happened to my dreams? Literally where am I? And what time is it?

I was at work. Or maybe home? But wherever I was, it definitely isn’t where I am now. This is a cold, sterile room. It feels distinctly like a doctor’s office. The room is neutral, the colours are uninspiring, the carpeting and furniture are just adequate. Everything within the room is trying to avoid attention. Imagine a room full of introverts that have been told one of them has to speak.

The pseudo office is scattered with a handful of people. And the infirmary vibe continues, because these people look unwell. Mostly just old. A shivering grey old man sits across and to my left. An old woman sits quietly in slippers and a pink, fraying robe. The only difference in the room, apart from myself, is a young man. He sits hunching over himself with eyes on the floor. One of the oldies bursts forth with a guttural cough, which causes him to lift his head. That’s when I see it. A great purple bruise across his neck, and the whites of his eyes have filled to the brim with red. I want to scour his face for further details but somebody calls my name from the only exit out of the room. Without a better option or a clue, I walk towards the voice.

“Samuel Jacobs”

The light from the foyer is fading behind me.

“Samuel Jacobs, we are ready for you now”

I’m walking into black and now there is nothing behind me. The lights are gone. The old folk and the young man are no longer in sight and sound. The only way is towards the voice. I’m walking blind. Lights suddenly engulf me, and instead of blind in the dark, I’m blinded by light. My hand goes up in front of my eyes. Behind that and my squint the voice starts again

“Hello Samuel, how are you?”

“Where am I?”

“Let’s take a look at your file here”

I manage to take my hand down and reduce my squint. This room is different but more clinical. It’s more like an operating theatre, except it is devoid of finishing’s.

“Samuel Jacobs that’s you, right?”


“Born on the 17th January 1985?”




Between the light, and this man with his banal questions my compass is spinning like mad. He ends the conversation with an “Ok Good. I just want to make sure I have the right file here.”
This man is almost too bright to look at. I can only handle a few seconds of looking at him before it hurts too much. So I look at my feet instead. None of this seems to make sense. The most pointless question springs to the forefront of my mind and I blurt it out.

“Where are my shoes?”


“My shoes, where are they?”

“Oh you don’t need shoes.”

The man happily hums to himself as if that is a sufficient answer. Without looking at him I glimpse the little brown folder he is flipping through. He’s turning over pages and making little clicking noises with his tongue. It’s that sound people make when you are on the phone and they are just trying to fill the dead air. The 'I’m looking it up in the system, so I’m making this noise to make sure you know I’m looking and not just sitting idly.' This is ridiculous, enough is enough.

“Excuse me sir, can you please explain a few things to me”

“Like what?”

“Like why I don’t need my shoes, and where am I?”

He puts down his folder and looks me up and down. I’m looking at him through squints so I can’t exactly see the whole movement but his eyes are definitely crawling all over me. He lets out a big sigh.

“You don’t need your shoes because you are dead. Well you aren’t really dead but I’ve been doing this a long time and it’s the easiest way to explain. Your mind is too infantile yet to understand”

“But I’m 31”

“You are infantile to the infinite.”

“Wait, how I am dead?”

“Look all those questions will be answered in due course. What’s important right now is getting you sorted into the right place.”

He doesn’t wait for my response and snaps open the file again. I can only part open and close my mouth as I try to fathom the gravity of the situation. This can’t be real, this has to be a dream. The bright man upgrades his clicks into reading aloud: “Didn’t murder anybody, that’s a tick” he mutters to himself.
There is no reason for me to stand here and believe this glowing light bulb. He can’t just fob me off then start making judgements on me. And on murder, it’s insulting. I turn on my heels but after a 180 spin, the glowing of the man is still in front of me. I’m turning and turning and every direction there is always his incessant incandescence. I’m determined to do something so I try to meet his eyes but instead I receive third degree burning into the back of my skull. My hands instinctively cover my face. Perhaps for pity, watching me rotate on the spot with hands clasped on my face, he starts talking again.

“I’m tallying up all your sins to see if you passed.”

“Passed what?”

“Passed the test that was your human existence. To see if you are worthy of ascending into eternal bliss…Heaven.”


“Now would you mind, I have to concentrate”

Now I'm taking stock of my whole life. I was always a pretty good person. I just lived my life, never hurt anyone. Sure I let a few people down along the way but I tried to make it right. With my friends and my family. My mom, my dad, I honoured them, I cherished them. I just went to work and came home and watched the telly most nights. How can there be sins in that. Of course, I wasn’t out there feeding the poor or volunteering but neither does 99% of the population. I’d go to church, or at least I tried to, on the big days. The Easters and Christmas.

Before I can finish my fretting, I hear the file softly close.

“Well, Samuel there is a lot of good in here. Not greatness, but goodness. You didn’t rape, murder, or maim any of your fellow man. You seem to have lived in such a way that you treat most people with a just kindness.”

A small smile creeps forward as the compliments flow over me. Not a murderer, and kind of nice. This is looking good for me.


Oh god, a ‘but’, there is always a ‘but’. My smile quickly morphs into a nervous pout.

“…there is the downside. You haven’t been to church in two years, you haven’t prayed, you are unmarried yet have had many women lay in your bed. You have cursed a great deal and taken Gods name in vain. Just five seconds ago you thought it. As with all humanity you have at times been selfish, vain, and greedy.”

Well this is it for me, the eternal hell fire awaits. 31 years in exchange for a lifetime of hell. Doesn’t really seem fair but what do I know?


Oh thank God. I mean goodness, thank goodness. A blessed ‘however’, surely this means we are back to the good stuff. The good with a ‘but’ to the bad and a ‘however’ back to the good.

“…this was very close to call. You have lived well at times, and sinful at times. You have held a strong faith, yet also neglected the faith over the journey. It remains unseen as to whether if the years wore on you would have improved your resume. Your humanity is so borderline it has come down to one single moment. One action that has tipped the scales for your eternity.”

This is unbearable. It’s lucky I’m already dead, because my heart just failed. After a long pause the glowing man speaks.

“Do you remember Friday, April 10th, 2010?”

“Not specifically, no.”

“You ate a chicken sandwich.”


“That was Good Friday. And as you know, all meat except fish is prohibited on this day. So, I’m sorry.”

All I can do is to stammer out half of ‘But’, before the floor underneath me opens up. The rush of the fall engulfs my body. Adrenaline spits through my veins. Confusions coarse in my head. The light above is disappearing from view. I’m tumbling down from who knows where and for who knows how long.

So this is me. Riding a chicken sandwich. Straight to hell.
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