The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

June/July 2004 Humor Writing Contest Winner
Best Very Short Humor!

Heavenly PR


Larry Day

Horace Grover was one of the slickest, most talented public relations practitioners who ever lived, so naturally when he died, the devil was there to greet him personally.

"Welcome to hell, Mr. Grover," said Satan.

"Call me Chip," said Horace, as he shook the devil's hoof.

Grover didn't have to stand in line at the induction center with all the others who arrived when he did. Instead, a beautiful Playdemon showed him to the VIP lounge, handed him a drink, and invited him to relax while 14 eager interns processed his paperwork.

Later, after he was settled in his swank condominium overlooking the boiling sulphur pits, Grover had a visitor. Her name was Tanya Alonzo, former CEO of Mangldorf Mining and Smelting, Inc. Alonzo was chief liaison officer for hell's Division of Limbo Affairs. The DLA handled cases of people caught between heaven and hell.

Grover offered Alonzo a drink, and after a bit of chit chat, they got down to business.

"Chip, we have a problem," she said.

"J. Edgar Hoover," said Grover.

"You are good," said Alonzo.

"Thanks. I do my homework."

"The chief liaison on heaven's team is pushing like everything to make us take Hoover down here, but the chief won't hear of it. Satan says it's not fair to push Hoover off on us."

"The devil doesn't give a rotten red apple core about what's fair," said Grover, coldly. "The devil is scared. He's not immune to blackmail, and Hoover was one of the best blackmailers in the business. The devil also knows that if Hoover goes to hell, he's sure to get in touch with his old Mafia contacts. With their help Hoover might just take over this whole place." said Grover.

"You don't pussyfoot around, do you?" said Alonzo. "Only when what I say is for media consumption," said Grover. "Then I'm the best pussyfooter who ever lived."

"That's why the chief picked you for this project. He wants you to come up with a public relations campaign that will rehabilitate J. Edgar Hoover's image. Our secret surveys show that, when it comes to Hoover, public opinion among the heavenly hosts is even. Half of the angels think he's terrific. The other half thinks he's a cross–dressing crook."

"Surveys never lie," said Grover.

"But liars take surveys," they said in unison, and laughed. "The next Souls in Limbo reduction talks are coming up soon," said Alonzo. "You'll need to mount a PR campaign that will boost Hoover's acceptance rating among the heavenly hosts by 10 percentage points. If you can do that, the angel team will beg me to let them take Mr. John Edgar Hoover straight to heaven. Will you do that for us, Chip?"

"Sure," said Grover. "It'll be a pleasure."

©Larry Day

Larry Day is a former Latin American correspondent for United Press International. He covered the Falkland Island War, the Pope in Central America, and has done television documentaries in Cuba. He has reported for the Kansas City Star, the Miami Herald, and the Minneapolis Tribune, among other newspapers. He has taught journalism full time at the University of Kansas and the University of West Florida. He is currently a lecturer in journalism at the University of Kansas and a humor columnist for the Kaw Valley Senior Monthly.

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©Margie Culbertson

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