DRAFT—Still to be edited by my wife Barb.
Sitting by the large gate hinge, he could just hear the beginning of a new squeak as the gate slowly opened, grabbing his oil can he got up and gave it a couple of quick squirts. The oil worked its way by gravity down through the hinge and the sound faded away as the gate continued to open. Satisfied, the Hinge Oiler, sat back down on his old worn wooden stool and watched the people pass.
He had four very large hinges to take care of, each hinge being half the size of him, they were attached to the double gates that opened inward toward him. The gates were high and ornate and surprisingly light for how large they were and could easily be pushed open, as long as the hinges on the gate posts were kept well oiled!
Starting to doze the Hinge Oiler was brought back to consciousness by the unmistakable deep throaty sound of a Harley motorcycle exhaust. Behind him on the outside of the gates he heard the engine turn off and someone walking up to the gates. Peering through the bars he saw a big muscular scarred biker with an equally big beard standing there in front of the gates. Wearing dirty ripped jeans with a silver chrome chain hanging from his belt to his leather wallet jammed in his back pocket, and no shirt but sporting a black leather vest with colored patches on it he just stood there and appeared to be thinking.
He had quite a few tattoos. One on the side of his arm was an evil looking skull with daggers sticking through its eyes with a ring of flames around it, his chest had a bunch of other angry looking tattoos, all shouting hate and death. He looked like dark alley danger, and wouldn’t think twice about killing someone. As he removed his classic Wild-X sunglasses with smoke green lenses, His bright hazel eyes reflected the equally bright smile on his face! The Hinge Oiler noted the great contrast between his face the message from the rest of his body.
The big biker easily pushed open the gates with both hands, ignoring the Hinge Oiler as everyone did, he walked on down the road. Since the gates were built on a slight angle the gates would slowly close themselves. As the gates closed he watched the biker walk down the hill till he was out of sight.
Looking back through bars he didn’t see anyone in the distance so he got out his folding ladder, making the most of the downtime, and oiled the top two hinges. Putting his ladder away, he oiled the bottom two, and sat back down on his stool with his back against the towering smooth gate post. He sat beside that particular hinge because for some reason it was a frequent-squeaker and required constant attention.
Still thinking about the biker he heard some stifled sniffling like someone unsuccessfully holding back tears. A beautiful young woman with long black hair and dark eyes stood there in a very tight fitting bright red low cut dress wearing bright red stiletto high heels, with equally bright red lipstick. The contrast of her dark hair, dark eyes, and red were stunning! She had been a prostitute, a high class call girl.
He could see from her expression her tears were not sad tears but tears filled with joy and gratitude. She gave her top a hoist up to look a bit more modest and smoothed out the slight wrinkles in her dress preparing to enter. Pulling out her pocket mirror to make one last quick check of her makeup and hair, she snapped the small mirror shut, took a deep breath, exhaled with quiet determination and entered the gates.
The Hinge Oiler watched as the woman in red headed down the hill, admiring her ability to stay balanced on such narrow highly arched shoes. As the gates slowly closed the Hinge Oiler leaned in with his left ear, closed his eyes, and listened carefully to the problem hinge–no squeak. Satisfied, he sat back down on his stool and smiled, happy to keep the hinges quiet for those entering. It was always a solemn moment when folks stepped through the gates and he didn’t want any squeaky sounds to distract them.
He opened his brown paper lunch bag and took out a loaded baloney sandwich. The loud rumble in his stomach was ready for the small feast. The Hinge Oiler liked his sandwich loaded with a couple cheese slices, buried by onions, tomatoes, lettuce, Dill pickles (the kind that make you pucker), assorted hot peppers, a blob of mayo and mustard, a sprinkle of black pepper and salt all piled on his thick slab of baloney with a whole wheat top. He smacked his lips in anticipation and opened his mouth to take a bite. Then he felt it, or rather them.
He always felt them before he saw them, and put his sandwich back in his bag. Turning, looking through the gate he saw the men in white, a long line of them. Their shirts, pants, shoes, and jackets were all bright white. Each man carried a small clear cube the size of their palms. One hand held the bottom of the cube, the other lay across the top, both hands firmly holding the cube in front of their chests. A feint soft yellow light glowed from within the cube, the Hinge Oiler could easily see the tiny unborn baby suspended inside the clear liquid. Sometimes the babies were whole, and sadly, sometimes in pieces.
As they reached the gate, it opened on its own for them, as it always did. Out of respect, the Hinge Oiler remained standing as the men in white filed past with their precious cargo. It took some time for them to pass, but eventually they passed from his sight down over the hill. He sat back down, their passing was always so solemn it usually took him awhile to recover from the emotion, eventually he picked up his lunch bag and chowed down on his excellent sandwich.
After finishing off his lunch with a bag of potato chips, he thought about the biker, the prostitute, and the men in white. He felt honored to be a hinge oiler and see all the people who for their first time were passing through the gates. Shaking the last crumbs from the chip bag into his upturned mouth, he then stuffed the empty chip bag into his brown lunch bag and looked out through the gates, he didn’t see anyone, so decided to walk down and see how things were going down over the hill. About half way to the edge of the hill he thought he heard a tiny little squeak come from behind him.
Turning, he ran back to the gates and stopped, they were closed! No squeak from his hinges! But the squeak was a bit louder. Walking up to the gates and staring through, the squeak got louder and soon another man, also dressed in bright white, pushing a squeaking gurney came around the bend into view. A sick man lay on the gurney as he was pushed to the gates and they stopped.
The man on the hospital gurney was very old. There was a metal post on the side of the gurney with four bags of intravenous solution attached and all four plastic lines merged into a single port near his collar bone where his rumpled blue polka dot hospital gown hung open. A feeding tube ran up into his nose and was taped to his face. A clear bag marked with a milliliter printed scale was filled with dark yellow urine and hung at the end of the gurney.
The deeply grooved lines in the man’s face shouted of years of bitterness, regret, and disappointment. He laid so still and his breathing so slow and shallow that at first the Hinge Oiler thought he was dead! Carefully studying the man’s chest he could see the slight rise and fall of his breathing. The man in white gently pushed the squeaking gurney against the gates and both halves easily swung inward as they passed through.
The Hinge Oiler stopped them, something he rarely did, and gave all four wheels of the squeaking gurney a quick squirt of oil from his oiler. Nodding at the man in white he waved them forward with a sweep of his hand still holding his oiling can and headed back to his stool. He watched as the gurney and man in white travelled quietly down the hill and out of sight.
With no one in view on the other side of the gates, he got out his ladder, gave the top two hinges several squirts of oil, put his ladder away, then squirted the bottom two. For good measure he gave the squeaky problem hinge by his stool a couple of additional squirts and set his oiler down on the ground. That’s when he heard the cheer go up from down over the hill.
This was the part the Hinge Oiler loved the most! With no one at the gates or in the distance, he walked to the edge of the hill and looked down at the crowd gathered around the brightly lit throne of God, the people were loudly cheering because Jesus had just arrived! He walked through the crowd, hugging some, kissing others on the forehead, shaking hands, patting backs, and intentionally laying His hands on all he greeted.
The Hinge Oiler watched as Jesus walked up to the big biker with the big beard. Jesus placed his hand on the biker’s exposed chest through the opening of his black leather vest for a moment then stepped back a few paces looking at the biker. Puzzled, the biker looked at Jesus who seemed to be looking at his chest. The biker looked down at his chest and saw that all his angry tattoos had been turned into Bible verses! And there were pictures of waterfalls, mountains, and birds in flight–surprised he quickly rotated his big bicep around and saw his evil skull and dagger tattoo had turned into the smiling face of Jesus with his raised hand giving the thumbs up!
The big burly biker closed his eyes, tilted his head back, and roared with laughter! Looking back down at Jesus, he gave Jesus a thumbs up, who smiled and nodded in affirmation. Then the biker noticed his jeans were clean and not ripped and roared some more!
Walking over to the prostitute in red, he laid his hands on her head. She looked down and was now dressed in a beautiful flowing white dress trimmed with twinkling diamonds boarded by golden thread, and immediately began dancing, and spinning, and her movements were so full of worship and grace. She radiated happy holiness and purity, and everyone smiled as she danced her way into the crowd.
Smiling, Jesus walked up to the first man in bright white, a guardian, holding a clear cube with its soft yellow light. Laying hands on the cube suddenly the guardian felt something jerking on his right hand. The cube was gone and guardian was holding the hand of a little girl with freckles and curly red hair! The little girl was jumping up and down trying out her new legs! It was all the guardian could do to hang on to her as she laughed jumping and kicking her legs in the air. She was wearing brown shorts with a bright green top, and oh so happy to be alive!!
Jesus walked to the next guardian behind him, laid his hands on the cube, and another little girl was hanging on to the right hand of her guardian. She had long strawberry blonde hair wearing tan Capris with a brightly colored flowered top, she had her hand over her mouth giggling nearly uncontrollably watching the curly red haired girl in front of her jumping and kicking all about. Her little hazel eyes sparkled with life!
Walking behind to the next guardian and laying hands on the cube a little boy appeared. He held on to his guardian’s hand and looked around. Then with his free hand he made a fist, raise his forearm, tightened his little bitty bicep, and admired the tiny new muscle-bump on his arm. He had blonde hair and blue eyes, wearing little boy blue jeans with a white tee shirt labeled with bright red bold letters that shouted—I’m Alive and Loved!! He saw the two girls in front of him let go of their guardian’s hands and run off to play. He looked up at his guardian who smiled and let go of his little hand and off he ran to catch up with the girls.
Jesus continued this down the long line of men in white, and after He passed the last guardian, there was the old man lying on the once squeaky gurney. Jesus walked up to him, looked at the four IV bags of medicine hanging from the gurney with the plastic lines ported into his collar, and the feeding tube taped to his nose. Stepping closer he looked into the deeply grooved bitter face of the old man, still barely breathing. Jesus gently laid his hand on the old man’s arm.
Instantly the old man sat up on the side of his gurney, the IV lines hung limply by the gurney dripping on the ground while the feeding tube swung freely on the other side of the gurney. The old man looked down at himself and he was dressed in a very nice tan business suit! His hands looked much younger, and he immediately felt his face, noting the wrinkles were gone! He looked at Jesus and everyone around him in bewilderment having never contemplated such a scene.
He thought about his last thought, before his last breath on earth, in his mind he had shouted out, “Jesus! Save me!!” And Jesus had! He immediately dropped off the gurney to his knees and bowed before Jesus, worshiping, overwhelmed with His love and presence. Jesus reached down and lifted him up by the arm and hugged the now young man, whispering in his ear, “Welcome my son, welcome home.”
With that, the Hinge Oiler up on the hill sighed with delight and joy, he loved watching Jesus meet the new comers. Walking back to his old worn wooden stool by his problem hinge, he looked though gates, no one was there or in the distance. He settled down on his stool, closed his eyes to catch some rest as he leaned back against the smooth gate post–of the gates of heaven.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” –Revelation 21:4 (KJV)
“. . . Which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” –Colossians 1:27 (KJV)
Copyright © 2017 by William D. (Nick) Nichols
All worldwide rights reserved.