She'd paid good money to see the inevitable ... and then had to work to make it happen!
There were two important things—one, that she was very old; two, that Mr. Ryan was taking her to God. For hadn't he patted her hand and said: "Mrs. Kathy, we'll take off into space in my rocket, and go to find Him together."
And that was how it was going to be. Oh, this wasn't like any other group Mrs. Kathy had ever joined. In her fervor to light a path for her delicate, tottering feet, she had struck matches down dark alleys, and found her way to Hindu mystics who floated their flickering, starry eyelashes over crystal balls. She had made pilgrimages to California's stucco jungles to hunt the astrological seer in his natural habitat. She had even consented to signing away the rights to one of her homes in order to be taken into the shouting order of a temple of amazing evangelists who had promised her golden smoke, crystal fire, and the great soft hand of God coming to bear her home.
None of these people had ever shaken Mrs. Kathy' faith, even when she saw them sirened away in a black wagon in the night, or discovered their pictures, bleak and unromantic, in the morning tabloids. The world had roughed them up and locked them away because they knew too much, that was all.
And then, two weeks ago, she had seen Mr. Ryan's advertisement in New York City:
COME TO MARS!
Stay at the Ryan Restorium for one week. And then, on into space on the greatest adventure life can offer!
Send for Free Pamphlet: "Nearer My God To Thee."
Excursion rates. Round trip slightly lower.
"Round trip," Mrs. Kathy had thought. "But who would come back after seeing Him?" And so she had bought a ticket and flown off to Mars and spent seven mild days at Mr. Ryan's Restorium, the building with the sign on it which flashed: RYAN'S ROCKET TO HEAVEN! She had spent the week bathing in limpid waters and erasing the care from her tiny bones, and now she was fidgeting, ready to be loaded into Mr. Ryan's own special private rocket, like a bullet, to be fired on out into space beyond Jupiter and Saturn and Pluto. And thus—who could deny it?—you would be getting nearer and nearer to the Lord. How wonderful! Couldn't you just feel Him drawing near? Couldn't you just sense His breath, His scrutiny, His Presence?
"Here I am," said Mrs. Kathy, "an ancient rickety elevator, ready to go up the shaft. God need only press the button."
Now, on the seventh day, as she minced up the steps of the Restorium, a number of small doubts assailed her.
"For one thing," she said aloud to no one, "it isn't quite the land of milk and honey here on Mars that they said it would be. My room is like a cell, the swimming pool is really quite inadequate, and, besides, how many widows who look like mushrooms or skeletons want to swim? And, finally, the whole Restorium smells of boiled cabbage and tennis shoes!"