THE PEARLY GATES OF HEAVEN — In response to an investigation initiated by the Marine Corps Times, a spokesman for God has confirmed that because of a paperwork error Marines have actually been guarding the streets of Hell for the past 200 years.
"Don't get me wrong, we briefly did have Marines on guard up here," St. Peter told Duffel Blog, "but they kept making all the new angels stand at parade rest and conduct police calls for cigarette butts at four in the morning."
"Seriously, anyone who thinks having Marines guarding your streets is bliss has never been knife-handed by some random Gunnery Sergeant for not calling him by his proper rank. They even insisted we refer to everything in nautical terminology."
According to St. Peter, God was eventually forced to replace the Marines: first with the Coast Guard, so they would have at least one legitimate mission, but eventually with the Air Force, although Heaven lacks the typical amenities found on most airbases and is considered a hardship tour by most Airmen.
Marines seemed like a better fit for Hell anyways, St. Peter explained. "In the several hundred years since we've had this arrangement, we've never had a single complaint from down there," he said.
St. Peter led this reporter over to the edge of Heaven, where Hell was distantly visible down below. He paused while listening to faint shrieking, drowned out by the heavy report of what sounded like a Mark 19 grenade launcher and followed by unnaturally deep booming laughter.
"God only knows what they're doing down there," he said while shaking his head, "and even He probably doesn't since they revoked His security clearance last year."
St. Peter also expressed concern over Headquarters Marine Corps' refusal to modify what he called the "obviously inaccurate" lyrics of the Marine Corps Hymn.
"We've actually notified them about the error in their hymn on multiple occasions, including when they first wrote the damned thing," he explained, "but they won't change the song. Something about 'Heaven having a catchier rhyme-scheme' and all and being better for recruiting."
As he spoke, a group of soaking wet Marines wearing full gear shuffled up to the gate.
"Uh yeah, dumbass boot here just flipped our MRAP into a canal," the senior corporal said, while pointing at a sheepish-looking younger Marine. "I guess we're supposed to conduct our permanent change of station up here to do gate guard?"
"Well--" St. Peter began.
St. Peter quickly cut him off: "For the 41,422nd time, your orders were screwed up. Take the elevator all the way down until you reach The Sin Bin, where all the Whores of Babylon hang out. You'll know it by the screams. Ask for [Generals] Vandegrift or Shoup: they'll issue you your combat load."
Strangely, none of the Marines seemed to mind and one was even observed smiling as they walked away.