Is it a joke? (PG)
Angelo's Death (PG-13)
Heaven's Mafia (not rated)
Is it a joke?
"Whosoever wishes to enter the kingdom of Heaven—"
Angelo swatted irritably at Box. "Quit quoting gospel at us, greenback. We're trying to play cards here."
"No, let him finish!" interceded Francie. "I always loved that verse. Say it, Box, do!"
"Whosoever wishes to enter the kingdom of Heaven must become like a child." The technicality smirked at Angelo, who rolled his eyes and dealt another hand.
"So Star's going first," Mike interpreted softly. Star grinned shyly and ducked under the table. "Or Eric."
Ernest snorted. "What about you, Mike? You're the champion of childish behavior!"
"The same could be said of yourself," countered the squirrel. "Joe, ol' buddy, same goes for you."
For once in his post-death existence, Joe was at a loss: would it be considered an insult to be told that one is going to Heaven because of a fault? Should he punch Mike, or blow it off?
"Don't be stupid," he said at last, shuffling the cards in his hand. Jody peeked over his shoulder and rearranged her cards accordingly.
For a while, the Mafiosi played their game in near-silence, murmuring to each other, cards flashing black and red and white against the battered brown table. Box stood and watched until Angelo was winning; then he retired to the window seat and watched the hazy darkness of the nightly rainstorm.
"Like a child..." he said to himself in a low sing-song.
"Yes, Ange." But he continued to hum the words until Angelo rose and put a definite physical stop to the activity, by way of a slap across the back of the skull. "YOW! Jeez, you're grumpy."
"Grumpy like Ernie!" supplied Star, tossing his cards on the table (his was a horrible hand, anyway). "C'mon, Box, we need to Plan Something to Annoy Grumps Until They Smile."
"Precisely!" The otter bounded from his chair; he and the technicality gallumphed towards the dormitory to PSAGUTS.
Angelo shook his head and muttered "Children!" as he reshuffled the deck.
Within a few minutes, Box slunk back into view. Sidling up to Angelo, he whispered in a reverent hush:
"Whoever wishes to enter the kingdom of Heaven must become like a Box..."
"DAMMIT, BOX, GO TO BED!"
"All right, all right! Fussy ol' wolf."
As he trooped off, he glanced over his shoulder at Angelo. The leader was quietly dealing cards, his brow troubled with thought; as the last card passed from his hands, he lifted his head and announced gravely:
"In my Father's house, there are many Boxes..."