LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL – Read from the trembling lips of a balding, translucent man with a faint air of belabored resignation, the statement stunned those members of the media in attendance. Jaws dropped. Pens fell to the floor. The faint of heart swooned. Questions soon erupted from the silent void, however, besieging the resolute figure with one singular question: How? The pale man wiped a brow, scarred by eons of wrinkles, and began his dismal tale.
Saint Peter’s bitter explanation of how Heaven, the mighty retirement behemoth for billions of mankind’s eternal souls, went from being a beacon of stability to a failed institution in little under a year. Practicing conservative investment strategies since the dawn of time, Heaven entered the volatile and lucrative derivatives market in late 2007. Such a wild shift in the company’s traditional approach to investment was a conscious decision to alleviate investor concerns that Heaven had become a stagnant fixture in an otherwise lively marketplace.
Stocks for Heaven’s parent company, Kingdom of the Lord Incorporated, soared to record prices as a result of the dramatic decision. Investors flocked to the waking giant, raising speculation in the soul derivative market to a fever pitch. According to financial documents recently made public, Heaven’s profits swelled to astronomical heights, easing senior angel caretakers, concerns about financing the influx of souls from the baby boomer generation.
“We all thought it was going to be OK,” remarked St. Peter with a wistful grin. “Even the Big Man got caught up in mood. Eventually we opened up a financial branch in Hell to make use of the talent down there and stay ahead of the game.”
Sadly, the euphoria was quick to fade. Having acquired billions in so called “soul derivatives”, Heaven was devastated when the financial sector crumbled during late 2008. Essentially, the company had used complex financial instruments to monetize whether or not still living people would repent for their sins. When the economy collapsed and many individuals defaulted on their penance, Heaven looked to Earth for a bailout.
“We asked the governments of the world for help and policy makers responded very matter-of-factly: ‘Why? We’re not going to use your services’. We couldn’t blame them. They were right.”
For a little over a year, Heaven survived on financial life support thanks to aid from the Catholic Church, but that resource ran dry as well as friction in management styles forced the to two apart. One anonymous Vatican source explained the relationship as a “shotgun wedding of necessity.”
Plans to stabilize Heaven are, reportedly, already underway. St. Peter announced that the retirement company would start “stripping the streets and buildings of gold so that the precious metal may be sold to Cash4Gold.com and pay down some of our debts.” The saint was quick to describe the move as “an attempt to depict Heaven as a more rustic and down-to-earth company, rather than decadent and superficial.”
Despite the bombshell news of Heaven’s bankruptcy, many analysts believe more scandals are yet to come. Many experts believe that the company’s subsidiary, Purgatory, will be found to be housing much of Heaven’s debt, leaving the future of the soul market in limbo.