The maitre-d’ wore a white tux that gleamed brighter than a toothpaste ad. “Welcome to Buffalo Heaven, Mr. … ah.” He traced his finger down a spiral notebook. “Ah yes. Mr. B. Bison.”

 

Mr. B. Bison’s winter coat shook as he stomped his hooves. “Dammit, I’m Bison bison. I’m the animal so nice, they named me twice. What I am not is a buffalo. I will not allow you to buffalo me into a heaven with those freaks from the rice paddies.”

 

The maitre-d’ bowed. “Heartfelt apologies, sir. But your name is on this list. A transfer to a different heaven will take a number of days. Perhaps if you sampled the offerings of Buffalo Heaven, you might change your mind.”

 

Steam billowed from Mr. B. Bison’s flashy nostrils. “Do you treat European bison this shabbily?”

 

The maitre-d’s eyes darted about the cloud-furnished waiting room. “It’s never come up. Your Eurasian cousins tend to lead less than exemplary lives.” The maitre-d’ cleared his throat and adjusted his rhinestone-encrusted bow tie. “Besides ‘bison’ and ‘buffalo’ are both derived from words meaning ox-like. ‘Buffalo’ has a longer historical pedigree of describing North American bovines. So there’s no need to be so snooty.”

 

“Fine. Show me around. But no promises.”

 

The maitre-d’ unlooped pearly chain link from a pearly fencepost, and pulled open the pearly cattle gate. “You’ll find we have every Buffalo-related amenity you could think of. I think you’ll be quite happy here.” A broad vista of prairie opened behind the gate. Towering piles of reddish-brown chicken wings spiked from the waving grass. Vats of bleu cheese dressing bubbled on the horizon.

 

“What the hell is this?” Mr. B. Bison snorted.

 

The maitre-d’ shrugged. “You say buffalo, I say Buffalo. We’re still working out some kinks in the populating algorithm.”

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