Place: On the boat to the shores Purgatory
TWBS: So, what are they all singing? (As per last installment.)
Senor: In exitu Israel de Aegypto, “When Israel Came Out of Egypt.” There’s gonna be some Gregorian chants here, you’ve been warned.
TWBS: Well that sucks. That’s shit music that died out centuries ago.
Senor: One, out of all the people to talk shit music. Two, do I get to work on my species counterpoint? No, I have to keep tabs on your ass.
TWBS: You really are a nerd.
Random Soul: Hey, wisecrackers. Have you been here before? Can you guide us up the mountain? Wait… are you even dead?
Senor: He’s dead. I’m fine though, I’m just pulling an Elwood Blues.
(The shade has no idea.)
TWBS: Wait, I got this. Because you’re the second of the brothers, figuratively speaking, and you’re on a mission from God?
Senor: Yeah. (TWBS gives the TWBS kid shake)
Random Soul: Hey, we’ve got a live one!
Senor: I just said mission from—oh good, boat’s docked, moving on.
TWBS (still to Random Soul): Yeah, he’s a friend of mine fro— (gets yanked forwards)
Senor: Come on, we need to make some headway on this mountain.
TWBS: Aw, but that guy was friendly! And I’m guessing this isn’t like Hell where we need to be on our guard?
Senor: To the extent that you were on your guard since you still tried to talk to everyone? But no. In Purgatory, everyone’s trying to get out of Purgatory, and hopefully and probably will do so at some point. But let’s keep walking.
They walk towards the mountain.
TWBS: Hey Senor?
TWBS: I just realized, you don’t have a shadow.
Senor (looking down): Hm, look at that.
TWBS: Come to think of it, did Balls have a shadow?
Senor: You’re dead, I’m possibly in some kind of dream or fugue state to guide your spirit back to Heaven, and that’s the thing that’s weird, that I don’t have a shadow?
TWBS: Shouldn’t you have one? If anything, wouldn’t I not have one?
Senor: Don’t worry about it. Some things we don’t have the science to explain. Or some things we might never have the science to explain. That’s pretty hard to admit, but I guess it’s a matter of human limitations. And the pursuit of that ideal, or that perfection, is part of what makes us human, sure, but at the end of the day it’s asymptotic.
TWBS: In short, we got to know when to hold ’em… know when to fold ’em…
In unison: Know when to walk away, know when to run. You better—
TWBS: Hey, a throng of people! Let’s ask them to sing along!
Senor: Those are the excommunicates. It’s a smaller number now, because who gets excommunicated these days? I mean, who even cares?
TWBS: They’re just… looking down and lost, all huddled together.
Senor: Think of sheep with no shepherd, with no purpose. They still have hope, but they need to find that hope, and that purpose.
TWBS: They need to find a pathway to get them up that mountain, because isn’t that where they need to go?
Senor: Yes. But it’s over there, see that pathway? That’s the beginning of our climb to Purgatory.
TWBS: Why aren’t they climbing?
Senor: The excommunicate rule is the amount of time you were cut off, times 30. That is your penalty before you can climb.
TWBS: Well, good thing I wasn’t communicating in the first place, can’t be excommunicated that way!
Senor: Y’know, good point.
They trudge up the mountain.
TWBS: This is absolutely brutal.
Senor: Tell me about it.
TWBS: Do we have to climb this mountain? I mean, do we really?
Senor: Yes! It was made extremely clear! You do want to end up up there sooner rather than later, right? I don’t even want to know where you’d end up otherwise, like, what would’ve happened against the she-wolf, or lioness, or whatever it was if you hadn’t gotten your ass bailed out? No, seriously, what would have happened?
TWBS: It feels like we’re making absolutely no headway. Let’s find another route.
Senor: We can’t go down. Not anymore at least.
Senor: We can’t go down the mountain. I know, I’m beat and apparently I wasn’t given special guide powers, which sucks. But we’re not allowed to go back down the mountain. They were very specific on that one.
TWBS: What do we do then? I’m tired.
Senor: The only good thing is the higher we climb the easier we get. Let’s rest here a bit, at the top of this bit.
TWBS: Wow. Look at this view.
Senor: I know. I can only imagine what it’s going to be like up top.
TWBS: Hey… Senor, do you hear groaning?
Senor: Yeah, but I’m not sure where it’s coming from, let’s get a good look from the top of the—oh, found it.
TWBS: Another group of people, but what are they doing?
Senor: I believe these are those who repented at the last second, right before death. So, what St. Peter was trying to do with you!
TWBS: You mean that bastard lied about me getting into Heaven? Oh, when I get up there…
Senor: Please tell me you’re not going to get into a brawl with St. Peter, as much as I would laugh my ass off watching that. But I think no, you wouldn’t have ended up here. These people did some questionable stuff but repented for their actions. Only problem was it was on their deathbed as a last-ditch effort. So they’ve avoided what’s below, but their penalty in Purgatory is to spend one lifetime’s duration here before they can voyage up the mountain.
TWBS: So… not me?
Senor: As far as your sins, or your vices, or whatever you wanna call them, your ledger personally’s definitely on the black. I guess you can say that this voyage is your ordeal instead? I don’t actually know how this works, in case you’re wondering.
TWBS: How does that work?
Senor: Death recognize death, I guess. Anyway, you could pray for the dead if you wanted to, though I guess I could pray for them. And y—
TWBS: I get it, stop rubbing it in. Now what… what is that music?
A sense of calm envelops them both. Senor smiles.
Senor: The mythical song of the Sistene Chapel, demystified by Mozart. In its unaltered form. Mendelssohn brought it up a fourth, then a Grove’s editor made a mistake which leads to the high C we hear today, where they bring out the helium sometimes. But no, this is the true song.
Senor: This area is also where many soldiers killed in combat end up. Kind of the opposite of the last-second repentant, since they don’t have a chance to have that last rite.
TWBS: But they’ve gone through Hell as it is.
Senor: I know. But it’s still a path of violence, so they have their time to pay before they can enjoy their well-deserved peace.
…Wait, where’d he go?
(TWBS has found yet another Wolfpack forum acquaintance, as they complain about the AD.)
TWBS: I know, what kind of name is Boo anyway? Anyway, my friend is giving me the stink-eye, I better get going.
NC State Fan: You two better hurry your way up. No one can climb the mountain once it becomes dark. And you don’t want to have to deal with the cavalcade of former world leaders.
Senor: Can I play the Killer Mike song dissing Reagan while talking to him?
NC State Fan: Well, many former leaders are here. (He points downwards)
Senor: We’ll bump into them inevitably. It’ll be dark soon, come on.