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The Life After Death Plan MAG
He always felt graveyards had such a communal spirit. All the dead laughing together, playing card games, or just sitting and chatting under the trees. It must be lovely.
Yes, he would definitely enter "The Life After Death Plan." The guide books assured you a wonderful time or your money back.
Full of resolve, he turned away from the graves and headed toward the nearest transport tree. Then he realized he didn't remember where it was. If only he had paid more attention to details! Well, when he died, all that would change.
"Can I help you?" asked the pretty blond secretary. "Do you have an appointment?"
"No," he answered, "but I'd really like to talk to someone now."
"Of course," answered the secretary smoothly. "I'll see who's available. Your name is..."
"Marvin. Marvin Pline."
"And your address?"
"52 Caber Lane, Boxdale, Section 00121."
"That's near Carriage Mall, right?" said the secretary. "My sister is a customer manager at Bellings."
"Really," cried Marvin. "That's where we're getting our rings."
"And who's the lucky lady?" asked the secretary.
"Sara Turrey," said Marvin with pride. "We're having an old-fashioned wedding in a church. Because, as Sara always says, modern technology is great, but some things should stay the same. I think it's strange to have a lover and then a baby, but no one to help you raise the child. Oh, I know you can join a child support group," he said with a wave of his hand, "but it's not the same as having a spouse. I want a wife for life."
"I agree with you entirely," said the secretary. "Mr. Suave is free now," she added. "The transport is through the door on the right. Have a good day."
"Please state your name and location, sir," said the voice of the transport.
"Marvin Pline. Location Mr. Suave's office," said Marvin, noting the plush interior and melodic voice of the transport. It was undoubtedly expensive.
"One moment, please," said the transport.
The door opened and Marvin stepped into a spacious office. Behind a marble desk there was a slightly fat man with flaming red hair. He stood up, smoothed his elegant jacket, which didn't quite fit him, and came over to Marvin.
"Delighted to see you," cried the fat man, pumping Marvin's hand. "I am undoubtedly the one and only Mr. Suave and you are Marvin Pline. I can call you Marv, can't I?"
"Marty, if you must," said Marvin, rescuing his hand from Mr. Suave's grip.
"And that is the name you would like to be called after death?" asked Mr. Suave.
"No, I like to be called Marvin."
"Of course, of course. You have chosen the right place to come, the only place to come for exciting adventures after death. You met our pretty little secretary, didn't you? It is always a pleasure to be with her," Mr. Suave added with a wink. "But she is nothing compared to what we have waiting for you in the realm beyond death. Ladies galore, pleasure houses as big as palaces, trips to -"
"Mr. Suave, that is not what I want after death. I want...perhaps to sail the sea."
"Of course," cried Mr. Suave, pressing a button on his console.
One wall lighted up with the picture of a huge pleasure boat sailing on a green sea. The boat was decked with lights and a party seemed to be going in full swing.
"On a boat like this," Mr. Suave was saying, "you can go anywhere. You can relax and smell the sea - or smell the sea!" he cried and pushed another button on his console. A strong, salty smell invaded the room.
Marvin started gagging and cried, "Enough!" but Mr. Suave went on, "Or you can party all night long. Take a look at this beauty, she could be yours!" And the face of a woman zoomed up from the ship till it filled the screen. It was magnified so large that Marvin could see every pore, and when she smiled, her teeth filled the screen till all you could see was their gleaming whiteness.
Marvin fainted and fell to the floor.
"What is it?" cried Mr. Suave. "Not quite your taste?" He turned and saw Marvin on the floor.
"Oh my!" he cried. "Water!"
A glass of water appeared on the desk. Mr. Suave took the glass of water and dumped it on Marvin, who awoke sputtering.
"Smell," he gasped. "Picture. Turn it off!"
"Of course," said Mr. Suave obligingly and turned off the picture. He pressed another button and a gust of wind blew through the room, clearing the salty smell. "Better?" he inquired.
"Can I have a chair?" asked poor Marvin miserably.
"I should have thought of it sooner," cried Mr. Suave. "One chair coming up!"
He grabbed a chair and propelled it across the room until it was directly behind Marvin. Then he took Marvin's shoulder and forcibly pushed him into the chair.
Once Mr. Suave was seated behind his desk again he said, "Maybe you don't want to sail the sea. How about a nice, stationary mansion, with personal servants, a concubine, some horses if you like to ride, a -"
"No!" cried Marvin.
"No?" asked Mr. Suave, surprised.
"No," said Marvin. "What I want is a nice quiet house in the woods, with some sort of waterway where my wife and I can live quietly."
"Your wife?" cried Mr. Suave, dismayed. "You believe in marriage?" He paused, then with a visible effort he gathered himself together. When he next spoke, his voice was brisk and business-like.
"We have all kinds of woods. You could have mainly a deciduous forest, or an all-deciduous fores, a forest with just evergreens, or half and half. You could have only one kind of tree, like maples, or beach if that is what you want. Or you could have a mixture. All you have to do is choose. Then we will make the perfect, authentic forest for you and... your wife."
"I thought..." broke in Marvin, but Mr. Suave continued, overriding what Marvin tried to say.
"For a waterway you could have a pond, a stream, or a lake. It could be a small pond or big pond. A pond with fish or a pond without fish," he continued. "Perhaps you'd like a stream. A nice, quiet stream, bubbling over rocks. Maybe small fish could dart here and there. Or maybe they couldn't. It's all up to you.
"If you want something a little more exciting, we could provide a lake," he said, his voice monotone. Mr. Suave was totally uninterested, and showing it. "A freshwater or saltwater lake, with fish, a dock, maybe a canoe so you and your wife could go boating.
"And of course, you need a house. Would you want one made of wood or of stone? Or maybe brick? We have red brick, pink brick, any shade of brick. All you have to do is say the word and we will make you a place you will love to be in, after you're dead, of course. How does it sound?"
"Horrible," said Marvin, shuddering. "You're not at all what I was led to believe you would be like. Perhaps you fulfill some people's wishes, but all I wish is that I never met you. I'm leaving now," he continued, rising. "I have a woman at home who loves me, and we are getting married this weekend. And I'd rather take my chances with her, both in life and after life than have anything to do with you. Goodbye." And with that, Marvin walked out the door, leaving an astounded Mr. Suave staring after him.
Marvin walked through the reception room quickly, not caring to look at the smiling secretary.
Outside, he pulled his coat around him as a gust of wind blew. He could smell autumn in the air, a real smell he could verify just by looking around.
He thought of the cup of coffee Sara would have ready for him, made just the way he liked, and with a contented sigh said, "Ah, this is life." n