Sylvia Goes to Heaven
by Bob Davis
She didnt know what the hell was happening. One minute she felt weak and sick as a dog, but now she felt just fine except she didnt recognize anything.
Welcome aboard! said a man in a white shirt, a bow tie and black suspenders. Im Gene, from the greeting committee.
Do I know you? Sylvia said. The guy looked vaguely familiar.
Well, I got a million votes while I was in jail, he said.
You mind telling me whats going on and where we are?
Youve just entered the First Socialist Republic of the Universe. He held out his hand, and there appeared a large piece of fresh apple pie surrounded by a halo of clouds.
Oh, shit, said Sylvia, shaking her head. Pie in the sky. Is that the deal?
But before the man could answer, another man, also bald but with a goatee, came through the welcoming committee.
Comrade, the man said in a thick Russian accent, you have been elected to our Political Committee to represent women of the American Section at the beginning of the Twenty-First Century. Please take your place between Comrades Rosa and Emma.
Sylvia found herself suddenly transported to a platform and surrounded by her old four-legged friends, all nuzzling as close to her as possible, for Sylvia Weinsteins Socialist Heaven would not truly be heaven without these companions. In the middle of the platform stood a man with a curly gray beard and a Jewish Afro.
Workers of the world! the man said, extending his arm.
He always begins this way, Rosa whispered in Sylvias ear.
You know, said Sylviathe man was now in the middle of a long analysis of capitalism, but this being heaven, his speech took only a split secondYou know, I dont believe in an afterlife. So whats going on?
The program before you is only transitional, said another man, a fellow with wire-rimmed glasses, a dark goatee and a shock of wavy hair.
The speaker now nodded towards Sylvia.
Our next speaker, he said, is Comrade Weinstein, who comes to us directly from the center of world imperialism and the struggles against war, racism, the oppression of women and the exploitation of the proletariat.
Now Sylvia stood on the speakers platform and looked out at the crowd. Some of the faces she recognized. In the front row were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Che Guevara, Malcolm X. She saw James Cannon and Rose Karsner, Marvell Scholl and Farrell Dobbs, Tom and Karolyn Kerry. But mostly she saw just comrades, thousands upon thousands of people like herself, women and men she had marched with for over half a century, people whose names are not recorded in any history book, people she knew and loved because they were hers and she was theirs. They were carrying banners and red flags, and they were singing a song that moved her deeply. This time there was no need for a speech. Sylvia Weinsteins voice, strong and beautiful, joined with all the others.
Written in memory of a friend and comrade by Bob Davis