I Dream of Heaven: Part One; Leonard Stromberg

I Dream of Heaven: Part One; Leonard Stromberg

A Story by GTVile

A composer dreams in Heaven.


Leonard Stromberg stood before St. Peter with a dumbfounded look on his face.

“You’ve gotten a conditional entrance,” was all that St. Peter said in a breath, “so don’t get comfortable,” came rolling out as if in exasperation. He seemed like he’d been through this process before, and was none too excited about doing it again. As a result he seemed short, like he was avoiding the inevitable questions that the “conditional entrancee” would have about their current set of circumstances.

                I don’t like the sound of that… Leonard thought to himself as he was ushered rather hastily through the giant pearl and gold gates of Heaven. Upon entering, off to the left were mountains of red gold littered with many huge mansions, fashioned out of gold, silver, platinum; all encrusted with jewels and stones of value. Each of them seemed huge, filled to maximum capacity with a great number of small cozy rooms, though by the looks from his vantage point, many of them seemed unoccupied.

                Thinking he was getting a mansion, and that St. Peter was mistaken, Leonard’s heart grew excited. But it was only a short moment of anticipatory joy before the huge veritable giant of a hominid before him (with great leathery, feathered eagle wings and biceps the size of the average bovine head) next to him grabbed him by the scruff of the collar and drug him to the building on the right side of the walkway that headed into the Kingdom through the main gate. That building was the chapel of Heaven.

                Why would Heaven need a chapel? To house the choir of Angels and the Heavenly Pipe Organ, of course. Silly reader. After Lucifer had left and formed the Disgruntled Angels Union, the choir lacked the depth that God desired in the most perfect of all choirs (Lucifer was the lead sub-baritone) so until the next sub-ottava baritone showed up, they had a 12,000 pipe pipe organ installed, so large that they had to build a structure around it to help support it. Inside the chapel was also a giant grand stand for the 1,200 Angels in the choir. The new baritone had actually arrived recently (at least in relation to God’s ever-spanning perspective on time) and was trying to adjust to his new position with his peers. He was Peter Steele, and he was a few inches shorter than the rest of the Angels there, but still remarkably taller than any of the human souls there, at a sasquatch-esque 6’8” tall. His sense of humor was a little different than that of the Angels, but he was still able to get a rise out of them in the stands, but the singer was not who Leonard Stromberg was there to see, as Leonard only knew who Peter Steele was through a neighbor named Mort.

                The person Leonard was actually there to see was the only person through all eternity with the manual dexterity and musical prowess to operate a 12,000 pipe organ successfully and masterfully, Johann Sebastian Bach. Leonard knew exactly who it was, because Leonard was a composer. He wasn’t a great composer, but he was at least a technically competent one. At least, he believed that was the case walking through the gate of Heaven.

                Bach was considerably thinner than most of the depictions of him would suggest. He also looked to be in good health and in high spirits. He had fiery (but not mad looking) eyes, while his hair was amazingly well kempt for a dead composer, at least Leonard thought so. Bach was wearing a black jacket with gold buttons with a high quality grey vest underneath. The brief moment passed where Leonard was able to judge the amazing physical characteristics of Bach’s soul before the dead compositional genius acknowledged him and rose from his seat.

                The winged behemoth of anthropomorphism that had escorted him into the chapel lumbered away chuckling, and then went to see St. Peter Steele, who was palming his forehead with how bureaucratic the choir of Angels was. His mouth was agape as the Angelic escort made his way over, seemingly to try and calm Peter down. The giant angel was a battle angel, with a giant two-handed claymore of red gold between his wings. Apparently he and Peter were friends. Their conversation went out of Leonard’s earshot, and Leonard turned to talk to Bach, who in the passing moments had noticed him and was walking toward him intently.

                The back drop to this looming confrontation must also be addressed to put it all in perspective. Over to the right of the keys for the keyboard was a giant piano of ebony and oak and other remarkable woods of Earth, divine, and maybe alien origin. It was nine times the scale of a normal grand piano. On the other side of the organ was the giant stand for the Angels. Bach was now reaching our hero, bent on speaking his mind.

                “Who the Hell do you think you are!?” Bach began. He actually seemed like he hadn’t spoken to anyone in that sort of tone in a great deal of years, perhaps since the street fight with the oboists from his time on Earth, “passing that dribble off as inspired by me?”

                Leonard couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

                “It’s bad enough that Wolfgang and Ludwig over there put themselves in my category,” he pointed to Mozart and Beethoven, who appeared to be squabbling over some notation at a bench behind the uber-grand piano, “and they were at least inspired by the same thing as myself…” he said as he pointed over his shoulder to the giant palace that reached into the sun in the distance, the point to which the main thoroughfare from the gate led to.

                “…and don’t get me started on those primadonnas!” almost instinctively, Leonard glanced over at Paganini and Stravinsky, sword fighting each other with their violin bows, while Tchaikovsky threw stacks of stave paper (with gilded ink, mind you) at them, trying to get them to cooperate. As Leonard took a look around trying to save face and deter the next barrage of Bach’s punishment, he saw Cesar Franck looking very masterfully over some sheet music of his own, while Handel and Brahms sat in a corner, talking quietly to each other, and Chopin walked up to Beethoven and Mozart, and they started arguing between the three of them, apparently about the same notation they’d been arguing over before. The antics of Stravinsky and Paganini only worsened, as they decided to leap across chairs in their game of arms, yelling at each other and swatting at each others’ necks with their bows continuously, like brigand corsairs fighting for their lives to avoid the short drop and sour look on choking. It would seem that even in Heaven musicians are a temperamental and volatile bunch.

                “What have you to say for yourself?” Bach demanded, snapping Leonard back into reality.


                “Don’t you interrupt me when I’m talking at you!” his speech in the Heavenly tongue was apparently a bit shaky when he was emotional. Yes, there is a Heavenly tongue, otherwise no one in Heaven would be able to communicate. Leonard knew it while he was there. He stood with his face screwed up as he tried to comprehend the stream of abuses hurled at him like hurtful artillery.

                “Of all these miscreants, Franck is the one that I can say may have actually been gifted enough to write in my vein, or to be considered a near equal. And I don’t say these things because I’m pompous, I say them because God made them that way.” Bach was, in fact, speaking the truth.

                “But even so, these fellow musicians, no matter how dirty, scandalous, or wretched their behavior, are also virtuosos and greatly competent in the noise of the divine.” Bach continued, but his tone softened from tirade to frankness.

                “You, however, are not, and it’s not a lack of skill, it’s that you’re failing yourself by not maximizing your potential.” This actually made Leonard feel worse. He hated that single truth about himself more than most other devilish truisms that his peers could point out. Not only did his jackass friends know it, his not so jackass friends know it, his parents knew it, and now J.S. Bach knew it.

                “Don’t give myself and these…ugh…miscreants…a bad name!” Bach snapped the end of the sentence for potency, and Leonard realized that Bach wasn’t trying to be mean, he was simply being a good teacher.
                “Sir, how should I improve?” Leonard asked, as Bach turned his back and started to walk away.

Bach turned around and gave him a warm-looking compassionate smile, replying “Look, I can’t give you that, God gave you a heart and soul for that very purpose. All I can do is tell you to use them, because as of late you’ve been squandering the greatest gifts.”

                “So…” Leonard tried to maximize his exposure to the greatest composer, ever, while he could.

                “So how about you just quit, how you say, sucking?” Bach snickered to himself for making a joke, smiled again with a paternalistic smile of factual superiority, and then left to return to an apparent rehearsal, where the other musicians returned to their various instruments, and the various composers were sitting down writing. Bach yelled out to his peers some statement about the lack of “equal temperament” in his day, and how most of his peers “never walked two hundred miles to visit the girl they were courting.”

                Bach sat down behind the 12,000 pipe organ and cracked the small knuckles in his fingers as he stretched them backwards. It would seem that Bach had re-arranged Toccata and Fugue in Dmin for the sake of refitting it to the other instruments and composers, maximizing their input in their respective areas of expertise. Bach loosened his collar, the pianists got behind their respective registers of the uber-grand piano, the choir of Angels got up on their grand stand with their new baritone, the violins ceased their violence and took their spots along with the rest of the less dramatic strings, and Bach called out “From the top!” in his commanding MAESTRO voice.

                As Bach’s masterpiece rang out, the very foundation of Heaven shook. The universe seemed to double over, and the skies seemed to rend, at the power of Bach’s work through that organ. The cloud-ground beneath Leonard’s feet opened up, and he spiraled down through the air to the soundtrack of Lon Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera film writ large, on a universal scale. He landed with a thud into his sleeping body, reuniting the body and the spirit. Then I woke up, realizing that Leonard was in fact, myself.

© 2012 GTVile

Author's Note

Still a draft.

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Very unusual and interesting write, I liked the surprise ending. It was humorous and a cool way of describing how you felt about the different composers.I hope you do indeed live up to your potential.....practice, practice, practice.

Posted 9 Years Ago

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Added on March 2, 2012
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