Paradise High Episodes 1-10

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1

In the beginning. . .

Michael knew annihilating every living creature on Earth wasn’t something you get called to do every day… but when God asks for a favor, what are you going do?

Teen angel, warrior-in-training Michael Night was at the Academy of Attack and Defend, learning some righteous hand-to-hand combat (taught by Jacob, obviously) when he got the call.

Understand, getting a call from God isn’t THAT unusual here — it’s certainly not considered weird like it is on Earth. But normally when the big man calls, it’s for some group thing, so getting singled out for a mission from God was kind of big deal. Especially when you consider that Michael is only 10,000 years old (that’s a teenager in Heaven years).

But before we get too deep into this thing, let’s debunk a few “Heavenly” myths.

Pearly gates? Streets of gold? Angels floating around playing harps? Seriously? And where did the notion of everything being all WHITE and cloudy come from? Nobody sees Heaven that way.  

So, what is Heaven like?

That question has no answer because the miracle of Heaven is this: everybody sees it differently. But, since you are human, and your tiny little brain MUST HAVE ANSWERS, let’s just say that Heaven looks like Park City, Utah.

Now, only God Himself knows for sure what happened that day, and there’s really no reason to speculate because nobody can possibly know what God thinks. But that’s never stopped anyone before so… here’s our version of “reality.” 

Nestled in the valley of the beautiful snowcapped, Rocky Mountains, sits a palatial, rustic, log cabin estate known by the locals as “God’s house.” Apparently angels aren’t very creative.

The lush green meadow on which the home rests is flanked by a forest of sturdy evergreen trees. An eagle soars lazily in the deep blue sky. A brook babbles nearby. Just like Park City, Utah.

Inside the cabin, watching His gia-normous flat screen, 3-D monitor (a gift from Steve Jobs) sits God. God is like Heaven in that everybody sees “Him” differently, but for now, let’s just say He looks like Noah.

But, since Noah lived a ba-zillion years ago, and you never actually saw him, and there are no photos, that’s actually a really bad reference. Instead, let’s say he looks like Russell Crowe.

So Russell Crow- er, God is watching His big ass TV, which is set to the Earth channel, and what do you suppose he sees? War. Greed. Corruption. Hate. Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo-Boo.

No wonder God was fuming. He spent six whole DAYS creating that place, and now, a few billion years later, the whole things headed down the crapper! And even though He was sitting alone in the room, for some weird reason, He started talking.

”WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE OF EARTH?”

(When God speaks, it’s always ALL CAPS.)

”I GIVE THEM THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLANET IN THE UNIVERSE AND INSTEAD OF APPRECIATING IT THEY DULL THEIR MINDS WITH THIS DO-DO?

You have to understand God hardly ever uses the “D-D” word, so when He does it means He’s livid.

”I AM VENGEFUL, WRATHFUL, ILL-TEMPERED GOD! AND ON THIS DAY I VOW; SOMETHING WILL BE DONE TO RIGHT THE WRONGS OF HUMANKIND AND NETWORK TELEVISION! SOMEONE FETCH ME MY MIGHTIEST TEEN ANGEL WARRIOR!”

Silence. I mean, the guy was alone in the room so who would respond? But that didn’t stop Him.

”SUMMON ME A MESSANGER. WHERE IS MOSES?”

”Moses is not your errand boy.” It was Mrs. God, calling in from the other room.

”If you want a teen angel to come to the house, you just put that thought in his head, and get him to come here his own dang self.”

She and God actually get along quite well; it’s kind of embarrassing you have to hear all this.

”Just use your clicker, survey the grounds, and find that boy.”

God fumed. He knew she was right (not that He’d ever admit it). So he picked up the remote, clicked over to the Heaven Network, and He began His search.

When Michael got the “thought” to go visit God, he knew it was a calling. He quickly injured his teacher to end the combat lesson, ran to the locker room, changed out of his combat clothes (which, ironically, ARE pure white) and he threw on his jeans, boots and cowboy shirt — but before he headed to God’s house, he had one stop to make first.

2

When Michael left the Academy, he went straight to Hell. That’s where his friend Ricky Dee lives. Mike wanted to get advice from someone with a totally different perspective than his own.

As kids, Mike and Ricky Dee were dorks. But in middle school, Mike decided being cool was better. So he worked out, and avoided nerds. These days he’s reasonably attractive by Earth-girl standards. 

Mike has a movie star face, rock star hair, rugged-man attire, and the body of an Olympic curling “athlete.” The girls in Hell think he’s hot.

Now before we get cranked up, let’s get stuff clear — Hell isn’t what the story books say. If you want to know the truth, and most people don’t, Hell isn’t really a PLACE at all, but rather way of looking at things.

So Hell can be anywhere, and in fact, is everywhere … even in Heaven. But the only thing you need to understand to follow along is this: Hell looks NOTHING like Park City, Utah.

“Ricky Dee, what up?” Mike said, greeting his old pal warmly.

Ricky was at his computer, dreaming up an idea for a Reality TV series that he could use to torture the humans.

“Michael? What are you doing here?”

“Dude, I got a call from God.” Mike said. “Why do you suppose the big man singled out me?”

“Maybe He wants you to take over the universe as lord and master of time, space and dimension.”

“Really?” Mike asked, eagerly.

“No. Not really.” said Ricky Dee. “It’s probably some crappy gig none of the other angels wanted. Sorry man. That’s just the harsh reality.”

“HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!” Mike fell over laughing. “Harsh reality. Good one! Oh well … you’re no help. Guess I’ll just have to see what’s what for myself.”

And with that, Michael took off running.

Ricky Dee wagged his head; “Why did he even come here?” 

Michael was nervous as he ran. He knew that making God wait is a mistake, and there is no point in lying to Him. He is, after all, all wise and all knowing. So when Mike got to God’s house, it went a little something like this:

“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?”

“Sorry. I was just … I was just … “

“I KNOW WHERE YOU WERE! IT WAS A RHETORICAL QUESTION. HERE’S THE POOP. I NEED YOU TO DESCEND FROM THE HEAVENLY PLAIN, MAKE YOUR WAY ACROSS THE UNIVERSE TO PLANET EARTH. WHEN YOU GET THERE, I WANT YOU TO DESTROY IT!”

“Really? That’s it? Done. See ya.” Mike hopped to his feet, and made his way to the door.

“DO NOT BE DISSUADED BY FEELINGS OF EMPATHY OR REMORSE FOR THE PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES YOU SNUFF OUT.”

“I won’t. See ya.”

“SEVEN BILLION SOULS OBLITERATED! STRUCTURES CRUMBLED TO DUST. EVERYTHING GONE. BUT DON’T FEEL GUILTY FOR THE CARNAGE THAT YOU BRING TO THE INNOCENT CHILDREN.”

“Okie dokie. Bye now.”

“ANNIHILATION!”

“Oy. Are you kidding me?”

“EVERYTHING DESTROYED. SOULS SENT TO BURN AND ROT IN HELL!”

“Yeah. Bummer for them. Okay. Guess I’ll hit the …”

“WAIT!” God said, flustered. “ARE YOU TELLING ME YOU’RE WILLING TO JUST GO THERE AND BRING ON ARMAGEDDON WITHOUT SO MUCH AS A TWINGE OF REMORSE?”

“Umm … well. They’re only humans. In a hundred years they’ll have destroyed themselves, so what’s the big deal?”

Dang it! God hates it when someone makes a good point, and it’s not Him. Whatever. Mike had his mission, and he was ready to roll. God finally gave the nod, away Mike went.

Now, I don’t want to say that Mike is an arrogant, unfeeling, self-serving guy. However, it should be noted that Mike is an arrogant, unfeeling, self-serving guy.

This wasn’t always true. He was actually a rather thoughtful guy, once upon a time. But after Raziel, the angel of mystery, broke his heart a thousand years ago, Michael has been bitter, and this bitterness has changed him.

This is probably why it was so easy for him to agree to destroy the Earth … he just doesn’t have a heart. (Metaphorically, that is. Angels DO have actual hearts that pump energy and light through their veins.)

Mike was eager to go. He thought getting singled out for this mission must’ve meant something, like God saw him as special. Mike liked that.

Also, serving as the angel of mass-death would raise his Heavenly profile, which would make him more attractive to the lady-angels, not to mention the fact that blowing up Earth was going to be a blast!

Now, God made it seem like traveling from Heaven to Earth was a big hoo-haw, but the truth is, angels can beam themselves to any location in the universe in the blink of an eye … two blinks if there’s traffic.

Mike didn’t bother to pack; he wasn’t planning on being there very long. He just left God’s house, hiked to the top of the nearest mountain, pointed his finger at Earth, cleared his mind of impure thoughts (which actually took while), and then, WHOOSH! In a burst of light, Michael Night was gone.

When angels “fall from Heaven,” it’s usually because they’ve done something stupid, like betray God. When that happens, they can land anywhere.

For example, when Lucifer (a.k.a. “The Devil”) fell from Heaven, he landed in Washington D.C. (Don’t read anything in to that; it’s just where he happened to land.)

BUT … when an angel is sent to Earth on a mission from God, the trip is more civilized and orderly, like Amtrak or JetBlue, and the angel enters through the portal that directly connects Heaven to Earth in Malibu, California.

So when Michael awoke from his travels, that’s where he landed. But he was annoyed to realize he’d also landed in something else.

2

When Michael left the Academy, he went straight to Hell. That’s where his friend Ricky Dee lives. Mike wanted to get advice from someone with a totally different perspective than his own.

As kids, Mike and Ricky Dee were dorks. But in middle school, Mike decided being cool was better. So he worked out, and avoided nerds. These days he’s reasonably attractive by Earth-girl standards. 

Mike has a movie star face, rock star hair, rugged-man attire, and the body of an Olympic curling “athlete.” The girls in Hell think he’s hot.

Now before we get cranked up, let’s get stuff clear — Hell isn’t what the story books say. If you want to know the truth, and most people don’t, Hell isn’t really a PLACE at all, but rather way of looking at things.

So Hell can be anywhere, and in fact, is everywhere … even in Heaven. But the only thing you need to understand to follow along is this: Hell looks NOTHING like Park City, Utah.

“Ricky Dee, what up?” Mike said, greeting his old pal warmly.

Ricky was at his computer, dreaming up an idea for a Reality TV series that he could use to torture the humans.

“Michael? What are you doing here?”

“Dude, I got a call from God.” Mike said. “Why do you suppose the big man singled out me?”

“Maybe He wants you to take over the universe as lord and master of time, space and dimension.”

“Really?” Mike asked, eagerly.

“No. Not really.” said Ricky Dee. “It’s probably some crappy gig none of the other angels wanted. Sorry man. That’s just the harsh reality.”

“HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!” Mike fell over laughing. “Harsh reality. Good one! Oh well … you’re no help. Guess I’ll just have to see what’s what for myself.”

And with that, Michael took off running.

Ricky Dee wagged his head; “Why did he even come here?” 

Michael was nervous as he ran. He knew that making God wait is a mistake, and there is no point in lying to Him. He is, after all, all wise and all knowing. So when Mike got to God’s house, it went a little something like this:

“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?”

“Sorry. I was just … I was just … “

“I KNOW WHERE YOU WERE! IT WAS A RHETORICAL QUESTION. HERE’S THE POOP. I NEED YOU TO DESCEND FROM THE HEAVENLY PLAIN, MAKE YOUR WAY ACROSS THE UNIVERSE TO PLANET EARTH. WHEN YOU GET THERE, I WANT YOU TO DESTROY IT!”

“Really? That’s it? Done. See ya.” Mike hopped to his feet, and made his way to the door.

“DO NOT BE DISSUADED BY FEELINGS OF EMPATHY OR REMORSE FOR THE PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES YOU SNUFF OUT.”

“I won’t. See ya.”

“SEVEN BILLION SOULS OBLITERATED! STRUCTURES CRUMBLED TO DUST. EVERYTHING GONE. BUT DON’T FEEL GUILTY FOR THE CARNAGE THAT YOU BRING TO THE INNOCENT CHILDREN.”

“Okie dokie. Bye now.”

“ANNIHILATION!”

“Oy. Are you kidding me?”

“EVERYTHING DESTROYED. SOULS SENT TO BURN AND ROT IN HELL!”

“Yeah. Bummer for them. Okay. Guess I’ll hit the …”

“WAIT!” God said, flustered. “ARE YOU TELLING ME YOU’RE WILLING TO JUST GO THERE AND BRING ON ARMAGEDDON WITHOUT SO MUCH AS A TWINGE OF REMORSE?”

“Umm … well. They’re only humans. In a hundred years they’ll have destroyed themselves, so what’s the big deal?”

Dang it! God hates it when someone makes a good point, and it’s not Him. Whatever. Mike had his mission, and he was ready to roll. God finally gave the nod, away Mike went.

Now, I don’t want to say that Mike is an arrogant, unfeeling, self-serving guy. However, it should be noted that Mike is an arrogant, unfeeling, self-serving guy.

This wasn’t always true. He was actually a rather thoughtful guy, once upon a time. But after Raziel, the angel of mystery, broke his heart a thousand years ago, Michael has been bitter, and this bitterness has changed him.

This is probably why it was so easy for him to agree to destroy the Earth … he just doesn’t have a heart. (Metaphorically, that is. Angels DO have actual hearts that pump energy and light through their veins.)

Mike was eager to go. He thought getting singled out for this mission must’ve meant something, like God saw him as special. Mike liked that.

Also, serving as the angel of mass-death would raise his Heavenly profile, which would make him more attractive to the lady-angels, not to mention the fact that blowing up Earth was going to be a blast!

Now, God made it seem like traveling from Heaven to Earth was a big hoo-haw, but the truth is, angels can beam themselves to any location in the universe in the blink of an eye … two blinks if there’s traffic.

Mike didn’t bother to pack; he wasn’t planning on being there very long. He just left God’s house, hiked to the top of the nearest mountain, pointed his finger at Earth, cleared his mind of impure thoughts (which actually took while), and then, WHOOSH! In a burst of light, Michael Night was gone.

When angels “fall from Heaven,” it’s usually because they’ve done something stupid, like betray God. When that happens, they can land anywhere.

For example, when Lucifer (a.k.a. “The Devil”) fell from Heaven, he landed in Washington D.C. (Don’t read anything in to that; it’s just where he happened to land.)

BUT … when an angel is sent to Earth on a mission from God, the trip is more civilized and orderly, like Amtrak or JetBlue, and the angel enters through the portal that directly connects Heaven to Earth in Malibu, California.

So when Michael awoke from his travels, that’s where he landed. But he was annoyed to realize he’d also landed in something else.

4

When Michael turned, he was confused by what he saw. It was a teenage boy in black-framed glasses — a doughy-bodied surf-dork who looked like Jonah Hill before he lost all that weight.

“How did you know what I was thinking?” Michael repeated.

“I have special powers,” said the dork. “Plus your lips were moving… and you were talking… out loud… to yourself… like a crazy person.”

The surf-dork then introduced himself. His name was Gabe (still is, actually.) Gabe noticed, and mentioned, that Michael was nude, save the BORROWED towel, and was like; “What’s up with that?” To which Mike replied; “Think I could borrow a loin cloth?”

“Loin cloth? Teenagers haven’t worn those things in a thousand years. You’re an angel, aren’t you?”

Michael didn’t know what to say, but he felt compelled to say something anyway, so he said: “You don’t know nothing!”

Gabe raised one eyebrow, “Um-hm. Come on,” he said as he trudged past the restaurant toward his home. Michael followed along.

The bungalows at Paradise Cove are actually mobile homes, a.k.a. “trailers.” For the most part they are funky and cool. But one is still kicking it old-school, and hasn’t been revamped since the ’70′s. This was Gabe’s place.

Mike followed Gabe back to his ramshackle trailer, and met his roomie. “The name’s Barton Lamar Zechariah Bub,” he said. “You can call me B.L.Z.”

B.L.Z. had been an angel of death during the plague. He worked for the other team back then. But after a few centuries of sickness, torture and death, B.L.Z. realized he wanted more out of life. That’s when he decided to become a surfer.

But surfing’s all hard and stuff. All that standing and falling down, bleh. So instead, B.L.Z. became a beach bum. This suited his slacker personality. Trouble is, there’s no money in bumming, and when you exit your calling, you lose your powers and you have to live like a human. And, as every human knows, there are bills to pay. This is why he has a job.

Ironically, B.L.Z.’s job is life guard. He’s never actually saved anyone, and people have died on his watch. But he gets paid, and when you’re human, THAT’S what it’s all about.

“Try these,” Gabe said to Mike, handing him some shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. Mike dressed as he explained.

“I’ve got bad news for you two. I’m here to rain down unholy horror. To bring on Armageddon. To destroy everything; including you.”

“Well,” said B.L.Z., “I hope you have better luck than Gabe.”

It was true. Gabe had been sent by God to destroy Earth right after Fox cancelled “Arrested Development.” Nothing pisses off God like bad television. This is why Hollywood is run by Satan. He just LOVES pissing off the Lord.     

“What? You’re an angel too?”

“Was,” said Gabe.

“What happened?” Michael asked. “Why didn’t you destroy the Earth?”

“I saw the light,” said Gabe.

“What does that mean?” Michael wondered aloud.

“Are you really going to blast this place to smithereens, killing every living creature… including Shelly Bloom?” Asked Gabe.

Oh. Right. Shelly. Mike hadn’t even had a chance to talk to her yet. Mike decided to go to the restaurant and ask her out. 

If she says ‘yes,’ Michael will work out a deal with God to spare the world. If she says ‘no’… everyone dies.

He was just about to high-tail it to the restaurant when he heard…

“WHY ARE HANGING OUT WITH THOSE NUM-NUTS?”

“Hey! They’re right here!” Mike said.

“THEY CAN’T HEAR ME ANYMORE. WHAT’S GOING ON DOWN THERE?”

“Nothing. I just… look, is there any reason I need to destroy Earth today? I just got here.”

“YOU’RE NOT TRYING TO WEASLE OUT OF THIS, ARE YOU?”

“No! I’ve just got to make plans, find some W.M.D.’s, drill to the Earth’s core; I need a couple of days.”

“FINE,” Said God, “BUT BE AWARE. YOU ARE SUBJECT TO EARTHLY TEMPTATIONS. DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO, THEN VAMMOSE!”

“Vammose?” Michael thought, “I didn’t know God spoke Mexican.” Anyway, Michael was relieved. With God off his back, he was now able to move forward on his plan.

His REAL plan.

5

One simple truth of the universe is all living creatures are driven by DESIRE: the desire for pleasure, and the desire to avoid pain.

Michael never really cared about causing pain, but he did have a strong desire to avoid it. And the ironic push/pull of pursuing a girl is that in order to get her (i.e. pleasure) you must risk rejection (i.e. pain). And it is no different for a 16 year old boy than it is for a 10,000 year old “teen” angel.

So, as Michael marched towards the restaurant, his confidence diminished with each step. This led to an internal pep-talk:

“I’m sure she’ll fall in love with me. What’s not to love?”

But these positive thoughts were undermined by the undertow of doubt coming from his gut. Even though her falling for him would be logical, one thing Michael had observed throughout the millennia is this world is anything BUT logical.

Michael powered on, making his way inside to the bar. He looked all around for Shelly — he then heard a woman’s voice.

“Hey good-lookin’. New in town?”

Oh no. Not this! Michael thought.

Through the centuries Michael has dealt with his fair share of succubus-es. Truth is some are quite nice, once you get to know them. But the role of the succubus is to tempt — to divide the mind of a man and destroy his mission, causing his ruin.   

This woman wasn’t a true demon. She was human. But since she was in her mid-twenties, and Mike appears to be in his teens, this woman really is a cougar, and some say they’re even worse.

“The name’s Mo,” said Mo. “Lookin’ for somebody?”

“Just a friend.” Mike replied.

“I’ll be your friend.” She purred. “I live right up the beach.”

Mo was coming on strong, putting her hand on Michael’s thigh as she spoke. Mike felt a twinge of desire for this shape-shifting seductress, and he did sort of forget what he was doing here.

But his attention snapped back as soon as he felt the presence of light. Shelly Bloom entered the room carrying a tray of empty glasses which she unloaded. As luck (or miracle) would have it, she looked up and over at Michael who could only stare at her, agog.

Shelly flashed a quick, friendly smile, loaded up her tray with drinks, and made her way back to the tables.

“Hello?” Mo said. “Where did you go? I’m talking over here.”

“Sorry. I was just wondering … how do humans get the girl?” Mike asked.

“Well, when one’s throwing herself at you, you should just go with it!” Mo said, miffed. “That’s the short answer.”

“What’s the long answer?” Mike asked.

“You’re a real charmer.” Mo said. And with that, she scooted.

Mike didn’t try to stop her. Instead, he screwed up his courage, and continued on with his quest.

Mike wandered into the restaurant, found Shelly waiting on customers. He plopped himself down at an empty table nearby.

She approached.

“Can I help you?” Shelly asked.

It was at this exact moment Michael remembered he had ZERO money.

“Um… what’s free?” Mike asked.

“Free?” Shelly giggled. “Water’s free.”

“Great. I’ll have water.”

“Aren’t you going to eat?”

“No.”

“So why did you come to a restaurant?” She asked.

“I just came here to, um … to not eat.”

That was dumb. Re-group. Try again.

“Actually, I wanted to talk to you.” Michael heard himself say.

“Do I know you?” She asked.

“I’m Michael.” He said reaching out his hand to shake. “Now you know me.”

Shelly took his hand and asked: “Do we go to school together?”

“No. I’m just on earth … er, I mean, I’m just in town for a few days. I was wondering if I could take you out sometime?”

“Out? Like a date?” she asked, confused.

“We don’t have to call it a date, but yeah like a date. JUST like a date. Exactly like a date. What do you think?”

“I’m sorry but, my mom only lets me date guys I know from school.” She said.

“What school is that?”

“Paradise High.” She said.

“That is so weird because I go to that school.”

“I thought you said …”

“I haven’t actually STARTED but, yeah. Earth school. That’s what I’m doing here.”

“Well, I’ll see you at school then.” She said, turning away.

Michael was elated. All he has to do is hang out at school, get to know her, and once she sees how cool he is …

“But just so you know,” She said, interrupting Mike’s internal dialogue. “I just broke up with my boyfriend, so I’m not looking to date right now. Maybe we could just be friends.”

And with that, she was gone.

The worst thing a pretty girl can say to a guy is she wants to be “just friends.” It’s an emotional kick in the nuts. The kiss of death. Armageddon of the heart. It’s enough to make a guy want to blow up the world.

Glum, Michael slipped out the back of the Cove restaurant and headed back toward the trailers.

“WHAT’S GOING ON DOWN THERE?” asked God.

It was a fair question. What IS going on?

Michael had to make a choice.

6

Paradise High is like most high schools in the U.S. Kids wear bathing suits to class, the teachers are usually stoned, the surf team is radical, and the cafeteria is 100% vegan. Actually, it’s not like ANY school anywhere — except for here in Malibu.

Paradise High is a public school, so it doesn’t cater to the uber-rich. The kids here are cool, and the over-all vibe is chill, including school security. This is why it was so easy for Mike to just walk onto campus and blend in.

A week has passed since Michael first met Shelly. He’s been camping out at Gabe and B.L.Z.’s place. He attends P.H. everyday, hoping for a second chance with Shelly.

He hasn’t approached her since she dropped the “F” bomb on him… said she wanted to be “FRIENDS.”

One thing Michael remembered in his studies of the humans was; when the female of the species relegates a male to the ‘friend zone,’ said male is doomed to remain there for all eternity. 

But, just because Shelly said the words; “Maybe we could just be friends,” doesn’t mean they actually WERE friends. So, as long as Michael avoided the friend zone of her mind, there was hope. Since Shelly’s recently out of a relationship, she is in “healing” mode, which leads to “rebound” mode.

How long will it take her to get back to “dating” mode? Michael wondered. But whenever she is ready, he’ll be there. Ready to pounce, metaphorically of course. He’s not going to literally jump her! He’s an angel for pity’s sake.

So, instead of killing every living thing on Earth like he’s SUPPOSED to, Michael found himself killing time.

However, his time at school wasn’t wasted. He did see Shelly in the distance from time to time. They’d nod and smile, then Michael would high-tail it out of there so she wouldn’t have the chance to ‘friend’ him.

He felt this made him appear more mysterious which would peak her curiosity. In fact, Shelly thought all the nodding and running was kind of weird, and she found herself giggling AT him, not WITH him, if you know what I mean.

But, Shelly’s mom’s rule of only allowing her to date boys from school would now work in his favor since, as far as anyone knew, Michael was now officially a “Dude”! That’s the Paradise High mascot… a Dude. Of course it is.

Another interesting thing was happening to Michael as he loitered around the P.H. campus. He was starting to see little flickers of light coming from other students. Initially, he only saw this radiance come from Shelly. But now he saw it in others… even the boys which made Michael feel kind of weird. What did it mean?

“IT MEANS YOU’RE LOSING FOCUS!” said the Lord. “WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT GUNG-HO, ANGEL OF DEATH THAT I SENT TO DESTROY THE EARTH SEVEN DAYS AGO?!”

Uh-oh. Michael was in trouble. He knows that if he blows this gig he’ll be the laughing stock of upper Heaven… assuming they even let him back in.

“What’s happening to me?” Michael wondered. He was having feelings, weird, uncomfortable feelings that he needed time to reconcile. He knew that, whatever he did from this point forward could dramatically alter his future… not to mention the lives of seven billion people.

“God? I have an idea.” Michael said, “Just… hear me out.”

7

God may be a lot of things, but one thing He’s NOT is closed minded. He’ll listen to ideas all day long, not so much to find the next great idea, but rather to marvel at the breathtaking stupidity of the humans and His staff.

“I’ve found a girl who should be spared.” Michael said. “She has some sort of light, some ‘goodness’.”

“SHELLY BLOOM IS NO MORE ‘GOOD’ THAN THE MILLIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE! WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I’D GIVE HER SPECIAL TREATMENT?” asked God.

“YOU’RE MISSING THE BIG PICTURE HERE. I PUT HUMANS IN CHARGE AND THEY’VE MADE A MESS OF IT. WHY SHOULD I, THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, PUT UP WITH WAR? POLLUTION? THE KARDASHIANS? ENOUGH ALREADY! BLOW ‘EM UP!”

“I will! But… what about Shelly? Can’t I bring her back with me to higher Heaven?” Michael asked meekly.

God rolled His eyes. He knew what the light was Michael had seen, but Michael needed to learn for himself. And some people can only learn things the hard way.

“VERY WELL. IF YOU CAN CONVINCE SHELLY BLOOM THAT HER LOVE BELONGS TO YOU, YOU CAN BRING HER BACK. BUT! YOU CANNOT TELL HER YOU’RE AN ANGEL! SHE MUST FALL FOR YOU, FOR REAL. NO TRICKS!”

And with that, God hung up.

Back on. Find weapons of mass destruction; send them to the Earth’s core, then KA-BLAMIE! Everyone dies.

That’s the new deal!

Michael left P.H. and raced back to the trailer where he told his roomies his plan. The only problem was this: Where does a guy get W.M.D.’s?

“You should go to Texas. George W. Bush can help.” said B.L.Z. “If anybody can find W.M.D.’s, it’s him!”

“So you’ve got no problem blowing everybody up, huh” Gabe asked, “as long as you get what YOU want?”

“Look,” said Michael, “this is God’s will. I’m just the delivery boy. Besides, you were all gonna die anyway.”

“Sometimes God tests us, ya know.” Gabe replied. “Sometimes we’re supposed to think for ourselves.”

“Ha-ha-ha-ha… good one” said Michael. “Now, how do I get to Texas?”

“Before you get too anxious, you might wanna check in with Shelly,” said B.L.Z. “If you strike out with her, you’ll never see her again… at least not for a few thousand years.”

Hmmm… B.L.Z. Bub was right. First he will need to win over Shelly, and then he can kill everyone and everything.

Later…

Michael went to the Cove restaurant. “Looking for Shelly?” asked a woman’s voice.

Michael turned and saw a middle aged, attractive woman with kind eyes. “I’m Mary,” she said, “Shelly’s mom.”

Mary’s intuition was keen, and she was wise like a mom. She could see that Michael was infatuated… maybe even in love with her daughter. He wasn’t the first boy to hang around the restaurant, hoping to get some quality time with Shelly.

But as they chit-chatted, Michael’s attention was on something else — the light that emitted from Mary. It was like her aura was radiant, and filling the entire space — (if you believe in all that). Mary was such a beautiful spirit that Michael felt kinda creepy admiring it.

“This is terrible,” Michael thought. “Why should she be obliterated? Why do I have to do this terrible deed?”

Just then Michael saw Mo flirting with a 16 year old boy from his school. “Oh yeah. That’s why.”

Just then, Michael’s attention was snapped back to Mary when he heard her say, “Did you talk to Shel about it?”

About what? Michael had been conversing on auto-pilot and now wasn’t sure what he’d said.

“I know she was dating a boy, but I think that’s over.” said Mary. “What did she say to you?”

“Ah. Oh, well. She said I had to be from school… which I am!” Michael said. “And then she said… “

 He mumbled something that Mary couldn’t hear.

 ”Say again?”

“She said she wanted to be ‘just friends’.”

A long, deathly silence followed.

Mary was only human, but she knew the basic laws of the universe. If her daughter had relegated Mike to ‘the friend zone,’ the most humane thing she could advise was to abandon all hope.

“So! You finally showed up.” said a sweet, feminine voice.

Michael turned to find Shelly dropping off a tray of dirty dishes.

“I saw you at school.” Shelly continued. “Why didn’t you say ‘hi’?”

Ah-ha! The nodding and running had worked. Well played, Michael thought to himself.

When Shelly took her break, and she and Mike got a private booth and talked. Mike managed to be charming enough to get Shelly to giggle. At one point, while telling a story, Shel put her hand on Mike’s arm where it lingered for more than a “just friends” moment.

At the end of the “date” (if that’s what you wanna call it), Michael was feeling pretty confident. A few more dates like that and he’d ask her to be his girl.

The new deal was going to work.

At least that’s what Michael thought, until he saw something that was doomed to be a game-changer.

8

“What on EARTH are you doing on Earth?” Michael asked his old pal Ricky Dee. “Shouldn’t you be ruining people’s lives?”

In fact, Ricky Dee wasn’t a “life-ruiner,” but rather a “human antagonist.” God allows demons to antagonize humans, causing them to struggle. This forces them to work out their problems, which makes them wiser and morally stronger. Basically, Ricky Dee is a personal trainer for the soul.

“I’ve come to help you,” Ricky Dee said. “You’ll never get W.M.D.’s. Besides, you don’t need them. You’re an angel. Just call down the wrath of God and obliterate the place like we were taught at the Academy.”

Michael didn’t know he could do that because he’d missed the day they taught “Armageddon 101.”

“Sounds great,” said Michael, “I’ll let you show me. But first I have one thing I need to do.”

“What? The ‘Shelly’ thing?” Ricky Dee asked, incredulously. “You’ll never get a girl like her, dude. She’s out of your league.”

Out of MY league, Michael thought. I’m an angel, for pity’s sake.

“You ever wonder why God doesn’t just blow the place up Himself?” Ricky Dee asked.

“Um… because He needs help?”

Sometimes people (and angels) say stupid things. When that happens, Ricky Dee had learned it’s best to just ignore it and power on.

“Maybe God called you for a reason, a lesson YOU need to learn.”

“What could I possibly learn?” Michael asked, annoyed.

“Did you know that angels are actually beneath humans in the Heavenly breakdown?”

WHAT???

“They’re the ones who go through the suffering and pain and uncertainty of life, not us. Our job is to help THEM. The only way you’ll ever hook up with Shelly Bloom is if you do it here and now. And that’s never going to happen as long as you’re in the ‘friend zone.’”

There it was again — the “F” word. It echoed in Michael’s brain all night as he tried to sleep.

The next day at Paradise High, Michael looked all over for Shelly. At lunch he finally found her eating with friends at a picnic table on campus.

Michael had to get some clarity on this once and for all. He boldly approached and sat with Shelly and her girlfriends. The girls just glared at him, then said:

BFF#1: “Who are you?”

BFF#2: “Get out of here.”

BFF#3: “What’s your problem, dork?”

BFF#4: “‘Miami Vice’ just called. They want their wardrobe back.”

“Hi, Mike,” Shelly said, quieting the others.

“I wondered if we could talk?” Mike asked.

For the longest moment, nobody moved. All eyes were on Michael, except for Michael’s — his eyes were on Shelly. This made her uneasy, but she knew they needed to talk.

So after a bit of heavy sighing and eye-rolling, the gal-pals did finally exit, leaving Mike and Shel alone.

“I spoke to your mom…” Mike said.

“You spoke to my MOM?” Strike one.

“I just saw her at the restaurant.” Mike said, recovering. “She’s very nice. A very attractive woman.”

“You think my mom’s hot?” Strike two.

“No! Wait. Look. I just wanted to say that I like you. You seem very nice. You’re pretty. And I know you just got out of a relationship. But that was a while ago and… if you’re not seeing anybody…”

“I am seeing somebody.” Yeeeeeeeeeeeer OUTTA there!

“What? When did that happen?” Mike asked.

“Today, actually. I just met him. You never did talk to me so… oh, here he is now.”

“What’s up, my brother?” said a “boyfriend-ish” voice.

Michael turned; he couldn’t believe it. THIS was Shelly’s new boyfriend? Mike could handle simple rejection, but THIS guy? That was the last straw!

9

Sometimes the worst thing that CAN happen is exactly what DOES happen, and this was about as bad as it could get.

“Your boyfriend is RICKY DEE??” Mike asked, pissed. “What about the ‘only date students of Paradise High’ rule?”

“I don’t know,” Shelly admitted, “there’s just something about him I can’t resist.”

Of course there is, thought Mike. It’s called ‘Demon lust.’ It’s why ALL human females are attracted to ‘bad boys.’ When are they EVER gonna figure that out??

“Come on, Mike,” said Ricky Dee, “I work for the Prince of Darkness. How did you NOT see this coming?”

Ricky swooped his arm around Shelly’s waist, pulled her in for a quick peck on the lips, and exited toward the classrooms.

Well… that’s that. Mike thought. All is lost. May as well get on with it!

Back home, Mike was used to getting his way (it was Heaven, after all.) The thought that he was losing out only fueled his jealousy and anger.

Mike was so mad he didn’t need the wrath of God to bring on Armageddon — his own wrath would be enough.

Michael stormed to the top of the highest building at Paradise High, climbed to the roof, raised up his arms, and began to summon the rage of the ages and the fury of nature.

Mike was in rare form. He intuitively knew how to blow up the planet. That had always been his mission; finally he was getting to it!

Dark clouds blew in from the West. The waves of the Pacific swelled (which was totally rad for the surfers). The Earth quaked. Seagulls took flight. The shops on Rodeo closed early. This was it! Today. A good day to die!

But before the full brunt of unholy hell rained down, Michael began to think… and remember.

He remembered the beautiful light that emanated, first from Shelly… then her mom. Then others. He wasn’t sure what it meant, but for some reason he felt a pain in his heart.

This pain made him stop his destructive actions, and caused him to desire something that WASN’T in his self-interest. He actually felt that he wanted to spare the humans.

What?

Even though Mike was losing Shelly to his best friend, (and, yes, he was sad) for some reason, Michael did NOT feel vindictive. For some reason, he just wanted what was best.   

“SO, YOU FINALLY GET IT,” said God with that ‘I’m going to teach you a lesson’ tone in His voice.

“What’s going on?” asked Mike. “I can’t go through with it. What’s wrong with me?”

“THE QUESTION IS, WHAT’S ‘RIGHT’ WITH YOU?” God said, smiling. 
“YOU USED TO BE SELFISH AND ARROGANT. YOU NEVER SAW THE VALUE IN OTHERS. NEVER SAW THEIR LIGHT.”

“What is that light?” Mike asked.

“THAT LIGHT IS ME, LIVING IN EVERYONE. AND EVERYTHING. YOU’RE NOT BETTER THAN ANY LIVING CREATURE. BUT YOU COULDN’T SEE THAT.

SOMETIMES THE ONLY WAY TO LEARN IS THROUGH PAIN. THE POINT OF WAR IS TO LEARN THE FUTILITY OF IT. THE POINT OF HEARTBREAK IS TO LEARN TO LOVE… IN SPITE.

I NEVER WANTED YOU TO DESTROY THE EVIL IN THE WORLD… I WANTED YOU TO DESTROY THE EVIL INSIDE YOURSELF. NOW YOU HAVE. WELL DONE, MICHAEL. TIME TO COME HOME.”

Michael lowered his arms. The Earth and sea calmed. The clouds parted, warm sunlight glowed down on all of Paradise. The school, that is.

For the first time, Michel could see it. There really was light emanating from everyone and everything. It had always been there. But now, Michael could see it.

“So all the rants against reality TV — that was just a ruse?”

“NOT AT ALL,” said God. “I HATE REALITY TV. BUT THE POINT OF BAD TV IS TO TEACH US TO TURN OFF ELECTRONIC DEVICES! THERE’S A GREAT BIG WORLD OUT THERE, AND IT’S ALWAYS ON. GO OUT INTO IT, AND LIVE!”

Wow. Everything was starting to make sense. Michael was feeling better about the whole situation… but there was one last request he had. What’s Michael’s question for God? Please return to the top of the page to vote on what happens next!

10

Ever been to Park City, Utah when it wasn’t ski season?

Boooooooooooooring!

And during the film festival? Stupid AND boring! If you really want to know the truth (and most people don’t), Heaven, like Park City, can be pretty NON-interesting too, especially compared to life on Earth, with all its human failings and short-comings.

That’s what makes life interesting — the flaws.

Michael was ruminating on these very ruminates as he made his way back to the beach. He was supposed to head back to Heaven, having learned the lessons of Earth. But now he wanted to stay, to really get to know the people here in Paradise Cove, Malibu, and to truly understand what it was to be human.

There was so much Mike still hadn’t experienced; like human love and sex. He’d never ridden a motorcycle or broken a bone. Never smelled a barn or listened to a rock concert live (back home he had listened to Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd — it is HEAVEN, after all.)   

All this stuff, the big stuff, the little stuff, the human life-on-Earth STUFF, Mike had yet to experience, and he just wasn’t ready to leave.

The only human things he did experience were betrayal (B.L.Z.) and heartbreak (Shelly), and, in some way, he was kind of grateful for that… (So add gratitude to the list.)

Being human was to have visceral experiences — the expressing of emotions, and the experience of pain. And it is the endurance of showing emotion and hurting that brings wisdom… at least the opportunity for wisdom. And wisdom, Mike was starting to see, is awesome.

So when he got to the beach (the launch pad back to Heaven) Michael asked God when he could come back and visit.

He did NOT expect what he heard.

“THERE’S NO GOING BACK, MICHAEL,” said God, “YOU HAD YOUR TIME, YOU LEARNED YOUR LESSON. NOW IT’S TIME TO RETURN.”

“But… there’s so much more to do.” Michael cried.

“AH. THANK YOU! DO YOU REALIZE HOW FEW HUMANS UNDERSTAND THAT? MOST WASTE THEIR DAYS LIKE THEY WERE GOING TO LIVE FOREVER. I’M GLAD YOU LEARNED TO APPRECIATE EARTH BEFORE YOU BLEW IT TO SMITHEREENS. NOW… BACK YOU COME! LET’S GO, KID. WE’RE BURNING DAYLIGHT.”

Michael looked around one last time. He saw how beautiful everything was. Everything.

“Is Heaven better than this?” He wondered.

Michael’s mind started to scheme. He wasn’t all-wise like God… but he’d been around the block, and the one thing he knew about the universe is; there’s always hope!

One thing angels understand that most humans don’t is, God can learn and grow — that’s how He stays God. So Michael decided to make a NEW, new deal. It was worth a shot.

“What if I stayed? Became human? Lived here, went to P.H., and helped anyone in need that crosses my path? Why would you NOT allow that?” Michael asked, realizing that God has a soft spot in His heart for the humans.

“YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, IF YOU BECOME HUMAN, YOU CAN NEVER BE AN ANGEL AGAIN. YOU’LL EXPERIENCE PAIN, YOU’LL GROW OLD, AND YOU’LL DIE. JUST LIKE EVERYBODY THERE. ARE YOU QUITE CERTAIN YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE THE PAIN OF INSECURITY, JUST TO GAIN WISDOM?”

One week ago, Michael would’ve said “No way!” He was a Heaven-boy, through and through. But Michael’s not the same 10,000 year old kid he was a week ago, and now his answer was a resounding:

“Yes! I want to stay.”

God fidgeted in his throne. He wasn’t 100% sure Michael knew what he was getting himself into.

“IF YOU’RE THINKING YOU’LL GET A SECOND CHANCE WITH SHELLY, I’LL TELL YOU THIS. I WON’T INTERVENE. I GAVE HER A BRAIN AND A MOM. IT’S UP TO HER — THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES.”

“I accept that.”

As soon as Michael spoke those words, a great and mighty wind swept across the Pacific onto the beach, creating a tornado of sand that blew back Michael’s clothes and hair.

Then, as abruptly as it began, the wind stopped. Michael stood there, eyes closed. He knew he was different. He could feel it.

He was human. 

There were many things to work out. How would he earn a living? Would he continue to live in the trailer with Gabe and B.L.Z.? How will he pursue Shelly (which was really THE question, wasn’t it?)

He just stood there, smiling… free. Then FLASH! Mike opened his eyes. A group of elderly women were gawking at him — one held a camera, having just taken his photo.

“Can I help you?” asked Mike.

“You can and you have,” said the old woman with the camera as she and her elderly friends giggled and dispersed.

Michael just stood there, watching them go, wagging his head at the kookiness of it all. But then, everything made sense.

“Oh no.”

Michael looked down. Only then did he realize he was nude.

“God.” Michael lamented, “You can’t trust Him.

 Click here to view the episode page!

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