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The Hokey Pokey
In or out, in or out, you can be in or out and there never seems to be an in-between. But that’s what I don’t understand. I like the middle; this is an extremely attractive place to be for a guy like me. A guy like me is the type that laughs just when other people laugh because I accidentally tuned out in the middle. The type of guy who lives off soda and noodles because that’s all I’m used to…
This feeling even followed me through death.
It wasn’t a big deal sort of death, just one like others, sad.
After this red suburban decided to give my head a high five, I woke up in a dark room.
The lighting is very dim, highly unsatisfactory to my standards of light fixtures and the gloomy vintage furniture doesn’t make it any brighter. If I have to guess, I’m in a waiting room, which is proved (I believe) by the couple of other people waiting. For what, I’m not entirely sure.
To my left on this couch that insists on trying to eat me, an older woman my grandmother’s age sits daintily with her hands folded in her lap. I guess she noticed my stare since she glances over my way. Just because I’m dead doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be polite. I give the sweet old woman a smile and she shows off her empty grin, her pink gums broadcasted right front and center. However, that’s not what freaks me out. When she turns her head back around, it tilts over too far and it ends up falling off.
My stomach plummeting down to my feet as the head does to the ground and I shoot up, almost ready to puke my last dinner out (which was, by the way, McDonalds).
“Ah, Mister David Linus Tibbie,” The lady from behind the counter awed, “What impeccable timing. You’re up.”
“Up for what?” I was like, watching a cockroach scatter out from under her vibrant pink hair line and down her equally colorful shirt.
“For examination of course.”
Ah of course.
She notices my unshakable confusion and smiles, “David sir, people are supposed to go somewhere when they die. You wouldn’t, so you’ve been transferred here, at Limbo to see where we can put you.”
Limbo, in the middle I believe. Sounds great.
As the cockroach crawls back up her face and onto the top of her pink head, she motions to the door beside her desk, “Don’t keep them waiting.”
Being dead and with nothing else to do, I don’t question walking through the door. Past the threshold, my foot steps echo about the dark hallway I’ve been subjected to. But there aren’t any doors, just dark blue walls and gray wooden flooring, from up the way, I notice a room, an office.
The closer I get, I finally notice a shadowy figure, hands like skeletons all paced under a robe that seems like smoke. If video games and movies had taught me anything, this must be the grim reaper. Awesome.
“Mister David Linus Tibbie,” he announces with a voice like a broken speaker, the way it crackles and sounds distant, as I step closer into the office. He sits behind a large desk that holds an arrangement of messy papers and different colored jaws of what I believe is human body parts. On the walls there are pictures of crime scenes from gun shot victims to suicides, and then a randomly placed photo of a fluffy white cat.
“Hi,” I say out of a bit of awkwardness, but it’s more because of the weird cat picture than being in the presence of death.
“Take a seat,” He suggests, a big red chair sliding up behind me.
Impressed, I go ahead and sit down, making myself comfortable against the leather, “Thanks.”
“Let us begin. To start off I must point out you’ve never done anything too bad in your life other than a little vandalism and a minor shop lifting of gum,” He informs me and I chuckle over it, thinking back. Those were the days.
“So it’s clear that the decision is yours,” On the last word, on each side of me, two doors come crashing down, hard enough to shake the room and my entire being. The doors are just by themselves, nothing holding them up or anything that seems to go to them, there’s only air.
“Still shaken, I raise “Is there any chance of you explaining this?”
Though I can’t see it, I can tell he’s smiling, probably because he gets that request a lot. “The right door is Heaven and the left door is Hell.”
That’s simple enough, but I have to ask, “Why do I get to choose?”
“Because your soul is so unsure… it won’t go on unless you make a decision.”
“Okay…” I hesitantly agree and ease my way back on my feet. I walk before the two doors; the two structures the same one, the only difference would be the engravings. The words are carved in crudely like it was done with knife, the right one inscribing “Heaven” and the other “Hell.”
Not thinking about it, I just glide my hand over the letters, the wood sticking out and poking my skin. Eventually my hand finds its way on Hell’s door knob. I know for sure I really don’t want to go here, its only curiosity that drives me.
I open Hell and instantly:
“AAAAAAARRRGGGGHHH!” A piercing roar booms out from this scolding hot room. The voice’s power blows at my clothes and pushes back my hair. I even have to close my eyes to keep my eyes from drying. I just close the door whispering, “No thank you.”
I reach for Heaven. Cautious now, I slowly open the door, peaking out. This world nothing screams out at me but faint sounds of music play in the background of perfectly white clouds and the epitome of a sky blue sky. The air seems to drift into me, engulfing me in this soft, sweet sensation. I close the door, getting creeped out…
“Well?” Death asks, not moving from his desk.
“I get to choose right? Anywhere I’d like?”
“Of course. It’s just as I said.”
“Then I know…”
~Twelve Decades Later~
“David, don’t be a jerk,” Connie pressed sitting at the front desk like always as Le Roach scampers to her shoulder.
I keep sitting on top of her desk, knowing I should be doing the paper work on that kid who got crushed by a falling piano (which isn’t a big deal being I’ve gotten ten of those). “You can’t tell me what to do.”
“David,” Death’s voice awakens from the air, an ability I’ve learned he can do so we—the employees—can hear him. “Don’t be a jerk.”
“Fine,” I mumble, feeling the grin blasting from Connie’s decaying face. I never said he couldn’t tell me what to do.
Twelve decades ago, I made a decision to stay here, in the middle. It was a decision so it couldn’t be refused.
I’ve never been happier…
If I knew I could live in the middle earlier, I would’ve died a long time ago.