The man stood before Heaven’s gates, hope lighting his eyes. He’d lived a good life and was confident on his chances of getting past the pearly gates.
St Peter, standing tall and radiating a gentle light, beckoned, “Before the gates doth part, three simple questions you must answer with all your heart.”
Ready, the man nodded, “Ask away!”
St Peter started, “First question: Throughout your life, have you remained faithful to your spouse?”
The man nodded without hesitation, “Yes, I have. I was happily married for 40 years.”
“Good,” St Peter said with a nod. “Second question: Have you ever stolen anything, even something small?”
The man thought for a moment before replying, “Nope, not even once. Honesty was always guiding star.”
St Peter smiled, “Excellent. Now, the final question: Can you recite the Lord’s Prayer?”
Taking a deep breath, the man began.
“Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
St Peter looked impressed, but then the man eagerly added, “For thine is the power and the glory, forever and ever, amen.”
St Peter’s face fell. “I’m sorry, my dear boy, but that extra bit? Not in the original. Can’t let you into heaven.”
Desperation clouded the man’s face. “But, but… I’ve lived a good life. Surely there must be some other way?”
St Peter thought for a moment before saying, “Well, seeing as you have lived an honest life, perhaps you could get a second chance, but it will almost certainly come with a test. And when you return, make sure to get the Lord’s Prayer correct.”
The young man nodded eagerly, grateful for the second chance. Suddenly, the ethereal realm shifted. There was a bright flash of light, and he woke up in a strange, noisy place.
He looked around, confused, and saw a small boy staring at him. “Excuse me,” the young man said, “Where am I?”
The boy laughed, a sound both innocent and haunting, “Some say it’s Heaven’s training ground; others, just straight-up call it Hell. You’re in Lagos, Nigeria.”