A Conversation Between Paul Ryan And St. Peter

Wikimedia | Flickr/ Gage Skidmore
‘How the heck did fake news reach you up here?’

PAUL RYAN: St. P! You have no idea how excited I am to meet you. I’ve been looking forward to this since my First Communion. Not dying, but you know, meeting you. It happened a little sooner than I expected, to be honest.

ST. PETER: Uh huh.

PAUL RYAN: I mean, do you have any idea how much P90X I did to ward off an early death? Like, hours. A day. It works because it’s called muscle confusion. It hits your body in many different ways.

ST. PETER: So in general, you would say that on Earth, you were concerned with warding off early death.

PAUL RYAN: Absolutely. I wanted to meet the Big Guy in the Sky, obviously, but I knew there was so much good I could do on Earth, you know?

ST. PETER: So you would say that your presence on Earth benefited humanity overall? People were better and not worse off for you having lived? As you can imagine, that’s a pretty key litmus test for who gets in these gates.

PAUL RYAN: St. P! Of course! I went to church every Sunday. Reconciliation twice a year, every Advent and every Lent. I gave generously to the collection boxes. People expected that of me, you know, so I made sure to fan out the $100 bills before I dropped them in every week. Part of being a public figure—surely you can understand.

ST. PETER: You didn’t answer my question.

PAUL RYAN: I’m pretty sure I did. And the rest speaks for itself. I was the Speaker of the House in an administration that followed a godless, liberal government. I mean, you know Barack Obama, right?

ST. PETER: I know him well.

PAUL RYAN: Well, then you know that the guy thought he was God! All those executive orders. Naming his own health insurance plan after himself, for God’s sake—sorry, I mean, for Pete’s sake—I mean—you know what I mean. Plus he was blac—blasphemous. Pretty blasphemous, for sure.

ST. PETER: I’m glad you brought that up. I’d like to talk about health insurance.

PAUL RYAN: I figured that would come up. You’re welcome.

ST. PETER: Excuse me?

PAUL RYAN: I know I’m not alone in considering the passage of the AHCA as one of the most important feats of the Trump administration. Nuking North Korea into oblivion was another, of course. But most people remember me for the AHCA.

ST. PETER: As they should. Can I tell you an interesting thing about the passage of that bill, Paul? It made my job a lot busier.

PAUL RYAN: I don’t follow.

ST. PETER: When the ACHA passed in the Senate, hundreds of thousands of sick Americans lost their health insurance. Insurance premiums doubled for many senior citizens. What do you think happened to the sick and older Americans who could no longer pay for health insurance, Paul?

PAUL RYAN: That’s—okay. That’s liberal propaganda. How the heck did fake news reach you up here? Who told you these lies? Was it Barack? Don’t tell me he weaseled his way behind those Pearly Gates.

ST. PETER: I think you have bigger things to worry about right now, Paul.

PAUL RYAN: You don’t mean—hang on a second. Are you seriously saying I might actually not get in here? After all the Masses, and the money, and the Catholic school? The ACHA wasn’t popular with everyone, sure. But a lot of my friends loved it! They paid less for insurance. How could that be a bad thing?

‘Don’t tell me Barack weaseled his way behind those Pearly Gates.’

ST. PETER: Jesus Christ.

PAUL RYAN: Are you sure it’s okay to use his name like that? I’m sure you guys are tight, but it seems a little blasphemous, or something.

JESUS: Hello, Paul.

PAUL RYAN: Oh man! Oh wow! It’s you! You look darker than I expected—tanner, I mean! It’s a good thing. You look refreshed. I just—well, I just wanted to say thanks. For dying on the cross for our sins. That was awesome. I’ve tried to live my life according to your example.

JESUS (to St. Peter): Is this guy serious?

ST. PETER (to Jesus): It certainly appears that way.

‘Jesus! You look darker than I expected — tanner, I mean! It’s a good thing.’

JESUS: Look, Paul, I don’t usually make these—gate calls, shall we say. I’m pretty busy cleaning up a few messes down on Earth. No thanks to you, might I add.

PAUL RYAN: Look, guys, I’m really sorry if I did anything that offended you. I’ll do penance! I’ll say a bunch of Rosaries right now. You can watch me. Or we can do Confession—do you do those? I’ll start right now. Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been two hours since my last Confession, and these are—

JESUS: I’m afraid it’s a bit too late for that.

PAUL RYAN: If this is about the health insurance thing, I really didn’t mean to hurt anyone. We had talked about how terrible Obamacare was for so many years, so we had to have something to replace it with. I don’t know if you knew this, but it turns out healthcare is actually pretty tricky.

ST. PETER and JESUS: Yep.

PAUL RYAN: I mean, okay, I’ll be honest with you, Obamacare wasn’t completely terrible. But we couldn’t propose the exact same thing, so we did the best we could. Really. Sorry, I’m rambling because I’m kind of freaking out right now—you’re not sending me downstairs, are you?

JESUS: Actually, we’re doing something a bit unorthodox this time around.

ST. PETER: See, I mentioned to Jesus how busy things got around here after the ACHA was passed. And it turns out that a lot of people who crossed through these gates had a bone to pick with the GOP—and you specifically, Paul. And your boss, of course, but that’s another story entirely.

JESUS: So I worked with Paul to create a special holding room. It’s not quite Purgatory—it’s a thing all its own. We thought you could spend eternity answering to these people—completely voluntary on their end, of course. They can pop in and out.

PAUL RYAN: No, please, you don’t understand how much these people hate me! And it’s completely partisan—they only hate me because I’m a Republican. Just give me another chance. I’ll take Purgatory! I’ll say so many prayers, you have no idea.

JESUS: You still don’t get it, do you?

ST. PETER: Should I send him in, Lord?

JESUS: Yes. We’ve let him blabber on for long enough. Paul, I don’t usually do this, either, but I’m giving you a copy of the Bible to take with you. You may want to read it more carefully this time.