Heaven 16: The Sitcom


Heaven’s newest–and worst–television comedy.

“Mom, I’m home,” Fidel yelled, closing the double doors of the ranch house behind him. “In here, honey,” his mother called from the kitchen. Fidel took off his Jets jacket and ran to the kitchen.

“What’s for dinner?” he asked.

“Are you hungry again? It’s like feeding a communist army,” Alice said, and the studio audience laughed.

“Enough of your laughter, capitalist dogs!” Fidel shouted.

“That’s no way for the school safety monitor to talk,” Mrs. Brady said with a disapproving stare.

“Sorry, Mom. See you later,” Fidel said. Happy music followed him to the back yard, where his older brothers tossed around the football. “Hey, guys, can I play?”

“No way,” middle brother Glenn Frey said. “You can’t handle the heat coming off this street.”

“Yeah,” oldest brother Garry Shandling said. “How’s my hair?”

“That football belongs to the people! I demand my fair share!” Fidel yelled.

“You want it, you got it,” Glenn said, and he rifled a tight spiral straight to the Cuban dictator, who at that very moment leaned slightly forward to grab a fresh cigar. Also at that same moment, big sister Chyna opened the sliding glass door to brag to the boys about her upcoming date. Glenn’s pass sailed over Fidel’s shoulder and smacked her straight between the eyes.

“My nose!” she screamed. “And Davey Jones was going to be my date to the big dance!”

“Hey, come on, Chyna, it doesn’t look so bad,” Garry said. “How’s my hair?”

“Shut up, Garry! I’m hideous! Nobody can fix it!” Chyna cried.

No sooner had the words left her mouth than the gate fence swung open, and there stood Schneider in his denim vest, tool belt at the ready. “Somebody call for a super?” he said, tweaking his pencil mustache. The invisible audience burst into applause.

“Schneider, you can’t just use your pass key to come into our yard,” Glenn said. “Take it easy.”

“Let’s have a look at that nose,” Schneider said, and he swaggered across the yard before doing a double take that led to much disembodied laughter. “It’s not so bad,” he said.

“Yes it is! Davey Jones will never love me now!” Chyna screamed, and she ran to her room and threw herself on her twin bed.

“What’s the matter,” her younger sister, Alexis Arquette, asked. She sat at the dressing table, trying on an enormous black Afro wig.

Chyna peeked her head up from her Davey Jones pillow. “Look at my nose! It looks like yours now!” she sobbed.

“Girl, I don’t have time for your drama,” Alexis said.

Later that afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Brady sat Chyna down for a rewarding chat filled with life lessons. “If this Davey boy only likes you because you’re beautiful, then he doesn’t deserve you,” Mr. Brady said.

“Gee, I guess you’re right, Dad,” Chyna said. “Everything is better now. I’m going to go to the dance anyway.”

“Oh, Chyna,” Mrs. Brady said.

“I’m off to play a quick 9 holes with random celebrity guest star Arnold Palmer,” Mr. Brady said, and there was a conveniently timed knock on the ranch house’s big double doors. The family opened the door together.

“David Bowie! What are you doing here?”

“I’m here to pick up Chyna for the big dance,” the Thin White Duke said.

“But–I’m supposed to go with Davey Jones,” Chyna said.

“I am Davey Jones, love. That’s my real name. I had to change it because that little squirt got famous first,” Bowie said. The invisible audience laughed then burst into applause.

The couple jumped into Bowie’s limo and took off for the dance, where Prince played a blistering set followed by a stunning encore cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and then Fidel descended into Hell. How he managed to stay in the story this long remains a mystery.

The end. This has been a Gary Marshall production based on detective Ron Harris’s novel, Blood on the Badge, forward by Sgt. Phillip K. Fish.

Categories: fiction

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