Heavenly Contest (Colin Punt)

God was working at his desk, reviewing plans for evolving more sea creatures into crabs when the intercom clicked on and his secretary announced that someone was there to see God. 

God pushed the button to reply. “Have them sit down for a minute. I’ll get to them momentarily.”

A few seconds later the intercom clicked on again and the secretary said, in a more frantic voice, “Sir, we have a problem here.” There was a not insignificant amount of background noise. 

God pushed the button again and asked, “Genesius, what’s going on out there?” There was no answer.

Suddenly the doors to God’s office slammed open and a massive figure stepped in. God squinted at the backlit mountain of a man. The rapid flutter of wings from an angel latched onto each limb made him even more difficult to see.

Bienvenue, Andre Roussimoff. Entrez,” said God, waving off the angels trying to hold him back.

The angels fluttered out. “Merci beaucoup,” said Andre.

A second, regular-sized man stepped out from behind Andre. “We’re thirsty,” he said before taking a bite from a chicken drumstick he’d pulled from a KFC bucket. His stupendous mustache wriggled and danced as he chewed.

“On, no…” moaned God. “How did you two find each other? I purposely separated you. Do you know how big heaven is?”

“You think two legends like us wouldn’t find each other?” said Wade Boggs.

God peered at him. “Where’d you get that bucket?”

“The Colonel himself,” said Wade Boggs, staring right at God as he took another bite.

“Damn you, Harlan,” God said under his breath. He made a mental note to have a talk with Harlan Sanders, who had never made God a personal bucket of chicken.

Nous avons soif de biere,” said Andre.

“He says we’re thirsty for beer,” translated Wade Boggs.

“I know what he said. J’ai un pen de francais. There are several charming pubs in heaven, you know.”

“We’re sick of the bar scene here,” said Wade Boggs.

“We’ve drank at all of them, but when we are together they cannot keep up. They always run out. What kind of heaven is that?” asked Andre.

Wade Boggs pointed a chicken thigh at God. “You got the two best beer drinkers ever right here. We want to see who the best is, but we need somewhere to do it.”

“And we knew that only God Almighty could provide us with enough beer,” added Andre.

God looked at them and sighed. He had known this day would come and he knew he would not get rid of them without humoring them. Maybe if he let them go through with their plan they’d have such horrible hangovers, they may even stop drinking for a while. He opened his desk drawer and pulled two items from the drawer and laid them on the desk. “Fine—one time,” he said. Andre and Wade high-fived. “Under one condition,” continued God. He pushed a huge black singlet and a Wade Boggs rookie card, along with two Sharpies across the desk toward them.

“Where’d you get these?” asked Wade Boggs.

“Sports memorabilia auctions. Where else?” answered God. When they’d signed their respective items, he gathered them up and unceremoniously stuffed them back in the drawer. “Let’s go,” he said, snapping his fingers, and led the two through a side door into a small lounge with a bar along one wall, a fireplace along the opposite wall, and four oversized leather chairs around a wooden table in the middle. God pushed two chairs together and they miraculously transformed into a single giant chair for Andre. God and Wade Boggs sat in the other two. Saint Amand popped up from behind the bar as if he had been hiding behind it.

“Set ‘em up, Amand,” God said.

Amand pulled out two beers, a tall boy and a regular can.

“What’s this?” asked Wade Boggs.

“Spotted Cow—only the best,” replied God. “Twelve ounce cans for you, Wade, and pounders for you, Andre. That seems fair given your, uh, size difference, right? Let’s keep it simple: the winner is whoever drinks the most cans in what, an hour? Two?”

“Eight,” said Wade Boggs.

“Twelve,” said Andre.

“Twelve—fine with me,” replied Wade Boggs.

God sighed. “Fine, most beers in twelve hours wins.”

Wade Boggs was fed up with waiting. He held up his drink to Andre. “Ready, set, go,” he said. 

Wade Boggs cracked his first beer and was halfway through before Andre was able to get his beer open. The giant rallied, though, and in a minute they both asked for another. Soon they started their third, then fourth, then fifth. Saint Amand busily shuttled cans to the table while God counted for each man. The two men went beer for beer. God marveled at how fast they drank, and that they did it so congenially, despite the competitive nature of the event. They didn’t talk much, but smiled and laughed at a joke from time to time, mostly just happy to be drinking together. 

After some time, Amand left the room to talk with Genesius and came back a minute later. A few minutes after that, a crew of angels brought in several hand trucks of beer in yellow cases. Saint Amand stacked them behind the bar while continuing to serve the competitors. Amazingly, it wasn’t until three hours in that they even started to slur. At six hours, God even thought that they had started to speed up. A procession of angels brought in more cases of Spotted Cow and Saint Amand was beginning to tire and slow in his delivery of beers to the competitors, though they themselves had not slowed a bit. God had nearly filled a full sheet of yellow legal paper with tally marks. After ten hours, Wade Boggs and Andre were still drinking away in their respective chairs, their shoes off and shirts untucked, mostly quiet now, only murmuring jokes or quietly egging the other on. Both had been up to pee (in God’s private washroom, of all places!) at least two dozen times. God shuddered at the volume of the stream produced by the giant, which was clearly audible from where they sat, even with the heavy door closed. He had Saint Genesius schedule a cleaning crew to come through as soon as the competition was over. 

After eleven hours, God noticed that Wade Boggs had fallen asleep, but instead of using the opportunity to gain a lead, Andre reached over and jabbed him in the chest with a huge finger and said loudly, but still gently, “Wake up, Wade. We’re not done yet.” Wade Boggs’ eyes flicked open and he immediately went back to drinking. As the clock finally ticked up to twelve hours, God counted down the last ten seconds, while Andre and Wade raced to finish their final beers, which, of course, they did.

“Alright,” said God, “give me a minute and I’ll count it up to see who’s the winner.”

Wade Boggs chuckled and said, “Andre’s already asleep.”

God looked up to see the giant had passed out on the couch. “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to move him,” he said. “We might just have to leave him there until he wakes up. Who knows when that will be?” God went back to counting the tally marks, which had spilled over onto the back of the sheet. “Let’s see, Andre had 361…and…you guys aren’t going to believe this, Wade had 361! It’s a tie!”

God looked up to see Wade Boggs asleep in his chair. He shook his head in resignation. “Go home, Amand,” he said.


Favorite Drink: Boulevardier (equal parts bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth – preferably up and with an orange twist), but if he’s drinking outdoors on a patio, it’s Karben4 Lady Luck. However, as a Wisconsinite, he firmly believes God will serve Spotted Cow in heaven.


Born, raised, and still living in the Midwest, Colin Punt does most of his writing as a practicing City Planner, envisioning the future of cities. When he’s not planning the future urban form, he enjoys reading books, riding bikes, and sailing boats. His fiction has appeared in Steam Ticket and A Thin Slice of Anxiety and will be included in an upcoming edition of Midwest Review. His cocktail of choice is a Boulevardier (equal parts bourbon, Campari, and sweet vermouth – preferably up and with an orange twist), but if he’s drinking outdoors on a patio, it’s Karben4 Lady Luck.


image: Claire Cantrell Wood, fine beer aficionado.