Friday, March 30, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Without consulting his file, he said, “Jason Giles. Born January fifth, nineteen ninety-five. Father, Edward Giles, born May twenty-eighth, nineteen sixty-six. His mother, Evelyn Reilly, born April second, nineteen thirty-three.” He gestured to himself with both hands. “Her father, Conrad Reilly, born November eighteenth, nineteen-oh-eight. Died, June ninth, nineteen sixty-one. Been the reigning king of Hell for the last five decades.”
Monday, March 19, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
The sexy nurse stood off to one side to let me pass. She looked at me expectantly. "Here's his office," she said. "Go in."
I'd never met the Devil before. Was he a stickler for formality? "Do I knock first?" I asked.
"Go in," she repeated, enunciating the words carefully as though I was some kind of an idiot. I decided that, sexy or not, I really didn't like her.
I squeezed past her in the tiny corridor, turned the handle, and pushed the door open. And I found myself in a surprisingly nice office. As the door closed, I heard the sexy nurse chuckling to herself as she walked back down the hallway.
I didn't see anyone in the office with me. It was quite a luxurious place. The room had that rich maroon-brown color scheme that was reminiscent of New England old money. It was kind of what I imagined the office of the Dean of Students for Harvard might look like. A colorful impressionist painting I didn't recognize hung on the wall to my left. Massive bookshelves stretched along the far wall. The desk in front of me was an enormous wooden structure. Its surface was organized with stacks of papers, a calendar, an office phone, a desktop computer and a few picture frames facing away from me. There was a motionless Newton's cradle in one corner. The chair behind the desk was large, black, and appeared to be extremely comfortable. In front of the desk was one smaller wooden chair that appeared to be extremely uncomfortable.
I was pretty sure I was in Hell, but none of this looked like what I'd have guessed Hell would contain.
A door across from the one through which I'd entered opened suddenly and a tall man in an expensive-looking pinstripe suit walked into the room.
"Hi," he said in a businesslike tone. "Sorry to keep you waiting." He strode across the room and extended his hand. "I'm Satan."
Monday, March 12, 2012
The hallway was absurdly long and lined with doors on both sides with only about five feet of wall between them. Each one was marked with the words Exam Room and a number.
I was going to see the Devil.
I was not prepared for this. I was seventeen years old. I was now quite aware of the fact that I'd been kind of a dick, but I didn't think that being thrust down to Hell and given a personal meeting with the Devil was a treatment proportional to the severity of my crimes. I was an arrogant bully. I made kids at school who were less wealthy, less intelligent, and less good-looking feel like crap. But that's how teenagers are, right? High school's a vicious, bloodthirsty place and it was them or me. I didn't think I needed to apologize for clawing my way to the top.
Oh. Wait. There I was, being arrogant again. Justifying my own cruelty by claiming it was merely survival. There were plenty of kids at my school who didn't really play any of those games or acknowledge this so-called high school caste system in any way, and they survived just fine.
At any rate, if I had been cruel, my sins were common. Plenty of kids did what I had done, and it didn't seem like the level of depravity I'd achieved in life merited an audience with Satan. Maybe there'd been some kind of mistake.
"Excuse me," I said meekly to the sexy nurse who was currently leading me past Exam Room 114. "Are you sure--"
In response to the question I hadn't yet finished asking, she swiftly turned around and slapped me across the mouth. "I'm sure," she snarled impatiently. And then she continued walking at the same brisk pace, apparently expecting me to follow her.
I swore at her under my breath. But I followed her anyway. If the Devil was expecting to meet me, I didn't think that trying to run away would give him a reason not to throw me into the fiery pit.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
I didn't want to. But I kind of couldn't avoid it.
I'd love to tell you that I got hit by a car. Or died of leukemia. Or burned to death while saving two children and a three-legged dog from a burning building. But that's not how I died.
I was murdered by a bunch of kids from school. Apparently, I was kind of an asshole when I was alive and it pissed some guys off enough for them to beat me to death with an assortment of gardening tools.
Yeah, I admit to being an asshole...now. It's incredible how much a little thing like death can do to change your perspective on things. I haven't had some dramatic change of heart. I'm still the same guy with the same tendencies, pretty much. I'm just a little more acutely aware of my shortcomings. So I realize how horrible of a person I've been. But that still didn't change the fact that I was dead.
I remember the beating. I remember it in great detail. Mike had the shovel, Quinn had the hoe and Jessie was swinging the rake. There were a lot of unwise, unhelpful words exchanged. There was a lot of violence. There was a lot of pain and a lot of blood. And then there was nothing.
But then I was sitting in what appeared to be a waiting room. It was abnormally large for a waiting room. There must have been more than five hundred seats, all identical, arranged against walls and around the occasional table. Each table was predictably adorned with a dusty assortment of plastic flowers and a pile of magazines.
There were maybe half a dozen other people waiting in the room with me. Most were older. Most looked somewhat confused. The room was absolutely silent except for Elton John's "Your Song" playing softly from the speakers in the ceiling.
It was such a vividly familiar setting (except that I didn't happen to know where I was) that I felt compelled to sit and wait. If I'd woken up in something more like a jail cell, I probably would have freaked out. But I'd been in waiting rooms many times before, so even if I didn't know where I was or what I was there for, I knew what I was supposed to do.
So I waited.