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May 18, 2021 3:07 AM
Lynne, April, Ari, and Tintin in the Good Place
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She opens her eyes.

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EVERYTHING IS FINE, read the giant yellow-green letters on the wall.

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The wall... probably... knows what it is talking about...?

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A woman enters the room and looks her over.

"Chantal, right?"

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"Y...es." (How sure is that wall about its assertions?)

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"It's good to meet you," the woman says sincerely. "I'm Johanna. If you'll follow me into my office?"

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"Okay."

Nothing good ever comes of not following someone into their office when they ask, she's pretty sure.

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The office is comfortably and tastefully decorated. There's a few pictures on the wall, and one of those Chinese money cats on the desk. There's three chairs for her to choose from opposite the desk, and Johanna, sitting in a broad-backed leather swivel chair, gestures vaguely enough that she could be indicating any one of them.

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After what is objectively way too long spent standing indecisively behind the chairs, she picks the one on the right because it's closest.

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Johanna goes to lift her hand as she starts to sit down, then decides not to say anything.

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The wall was LYING. It is a wall of DECEIT.

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She clears her throat. "Alright. I'm going to start with the obvious. You, Chantal Joan Myers, are dead. Your life on Earth has ended, and you are now in the next phase of your existence in the universe."

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Oh, wow, it really was lying.

"Um. Okay," she says, although it isn't.

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"I understand you may have some concerns," Johanna says. "But, ultimately, what you need to know is: The people on Earth had it broadly right. While 'heaven' and 'hell' as you know them aren't real, there is a good place... and a bad place. The universe cares about what people do. Good things, bad things. And when you're done, you get what you deserve. And you deserved this."

She pauses for a moment. "You're in the Good Place."

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Nnnno. No, that's not right. It's not right on multiple levels, because she didn't do anything to deserve this, and because if someone actually wanted good things for her they would not put her in a place.

"Okay," she says again. Wait, that sounded wrong. "...thank you?" Is that better?

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"I understand that it's a lot to take in at once," Johanna says. "A lot of people feel like they're in the wrong Place. - it's obviously more common the other way around, but we do get people whose expectations for themselves are too high, who don't believe they could be good enough to deserve eternity in Paradise with the people they love. All I can say is, give yourself a chance to believe it."

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Wait, the people she loves? Is her boyfriend going to be here?? And she thought it couldn't get any worse!

...she recognizes, after a moment, that this was the wrong reaction to have. She tries a smile, instead.

"...I'll... do my best?"

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"You'll do great," Johanna says, with the smile of a woman who believes it implicitly. "Let's get out of this stuffy office."

They're suddenly in a green field, towards the back of an open-air seating area. Charming little wooden chairs are placed in rows along the springy grass. People are mingling, and a few turn to say hello to Johanna as she appears.

"Take a seat, the presentation's about to begin."

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Wait but she was sitting and now she's not sitting and she has to pick a chair again and that went so well the last time and—

She parks herself in the first chair she sees, as quickly as possible, then immediately regrets moving so fast because it probably made her look like a weirdo.

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She's also placed herself between an apparent couple who were about to sit down, who look mildly forlorn about it but go to pick some other seats before she can apologize.

A handsome young man goes to sit next to her, then hesitates. "Is this seat available, miss?"

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"Um—? Yes, sorry—" She scoots sideways a little to make sure he has plenty of room.

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He seats himself, occupying as little space as it is possible for a human being to require. "Thank you so much - I confess, it is a bit overwhelming here. Did you know there are three frozen yoghurt shops in the downtown. It feels very American."

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"Um—is that too many or too few, I don't know how big the downtown is, I only just got here—"

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"I don't think that I can confidently say that it is too many, Johanna says the calculations were very specific and she spent a very long time on them, but it is a lot of frozen yoghurt shops."

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Johanna's face fills the screen before them. "Hello, everyone, and welcome to the first day of your afterlives! You were all, simply put, good people. But how do we know that you were good? How are we sure? Well, during your time on Earth, each of your actions had a positive or a negative value, depending on how much good or bad that action put into the universe. Every time you hugged a friend, or didn't tip a waitress, that had an effect that rippled out over time, and ultimately resulted in some amount of good or bad in the world at large." (Other examples with associated point values fill the screen: ruin theatrical performance with boorish behavior is a moderate penalty, as is steal copper wiring from a decommissioned military base, but fix broken tricycle for a child who loves tricycles has a good uptick, and end slavery would permit rather a lot of theater-ruining.)

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