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The Train from Hell to Heaven

This is but a sample of this story.  The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.


It can also be read in the book God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut. It is available digitally and in print.

I have been dead for a very long time. I wouldn’t know how long a time as here in Hell time doesn’t work as it used to up there on the surface. But whatever time we do have down here, we pass it by doing this and that. Those of us that are down here used to be very bad people. We have been cured of that. We have come to understand the error of our ways. We have been looked down upon as we used to look down upon others and we came to realize it was not a very pleasant.

Most of us have been cured, anyway. There are a few rare exceptions. Occasionally I play Whist with a few of the guys: Julius Caesar and Presidents Nixon and Reagan. I never knew Nixon on Earth, he was well after my time, but he is as vicious now as I have been told he was during his time up there. He still hates people, which I don’t understand.

I used to hate people too, but I don’t hate anyone anymore.

Before we get too far along, I ought to mention who I am. I may seem a bit off-putting to people. I was quite a notorious monster in my life upstairs and after an eternity thinking about what I had done, I have become quite ashamed of myself. Please do not judge me by who I was. Much as it pains me to tell you, the sad fact of the matter is that my name is Hitler and I ordered the deaths of many people and I ordered the out and out hatred of as many more.

I used to be proud of what I had done, but I am no longer.

I had read once, posthumously, of course, a story in which I had asked to have a statue erected of me in New York in front of the United Nations building with a plaque reading, “I beg your pardon.”

I would very much like all of that, except for the statue. I would rather the world forgot my image. That isn’t to say that I wouldn’t like the world to learn from my atrocities (read: mistakes), I would very much like the world to realize that killing their fellow humans, regardless of our differences, is never a good idea. Being in Hell, you get a broad sense of what’s going on up there, we get the daily papers and magazines and the like, and it rather surprises me that I didn’t do a better job of turning people off of war forever.

I certainly made a go of it.

Anyhow, I was going to tell you what I have decided to do. I have decided to find my way up to Heaven, or at least the pearly gates where Saint Peter guards, and apologize to as many of my victims as I can find. I will be gracious, I will hold my hat in my hands, and I will hang my head low for shame. We Germans do have pride, and I will show them what it is to see a proud German apologize.

What an apology it will be!

The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.

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