Hello, mortals. This is Charlie Spencer. Guess what? I’m a dead guy. Don’t give me that eyebrow squint business, I can see you, okay.  Just keep movin’ your eyeballs left to right, at your own pace, makin’ those typewriter shapes into thought. Right, it ain’t easy. It works your brain. I get it. But here goes.

   Okay, picture this. I had waited all day for it to get dark. I had spent the last fiver I had on some corn nuts and a coke, and some other crap. I was down to what, maybe a dime and a quarter. It was time to do another hit. So here I wait, a nice dark walkway a good block and a half from the theater. I sat down and almost dozed off, but could hear the talk talk stuff. I looked around the corner and yep, the crowd was comin’ out. I kept givin’ it a half face look, and when there was a bunch together, I pulled back into the dark, let ‘em go on by. Then I saw a straggler, some fat lookin’ kid, all hunched over walking this way. No one behind him. This is it. So I stand up, and kind of counted approximately when he’d be right here. I had to dig a few seconds in my pocket for the blade. I pulled it out and clicked it open. Some cars were driving by. Suddenly, there he was. I jumped, grabbed the jerk’s arm with my left and gave him a little poke. I used a throaty grown and said “Don’t give me no trouble. Give your wallet and I ain’t gonna cut ya!” I gave another little poke, felt the soft of his skin give.

  For a little second, I couldn’t tell what was happening. This guy, whose arm I had a strong hold on, had twisted his arm and had a hold of mine just above the elbow. Suddenly I saw the world moving and bam! Into that dark wall I hit, side of my face first. My legs gave out and my left face cheek was dragging, scraping the rough bricks of the wall. I tried to stay conscious but it was waving in, out, in. I looked back at my assailant and some light, just an instant, caught his blade. It was a big one. My legs kicked backward from my sitting stance, and I felt a really hard blow to my chest, and then could feel the scrape of bone and that sharp awful pain of being cut. I tried to suck in a breath but as I looked up at the dark sky between those building tops, black nothing was taking over.

    I wasn’t hearin’ no sounds, but in just a little bit of time, I seemed to be floating like. I felt good all over. How can that be? A few seconds ago, I felt awful. I felt like I was dangling in that dark alcove. There was a body just below me. It was hard to see in the dark, but then a light beam from a car goin’ by and it’s some guy laying there in a pool of..of blood I think. Holy shit, I thought, that guy looks like me!  My thoughts were bouncin’ around. I looked down the sidewalk and saw that big kid just walkin’ away, like nothin’ happened. It came to me. That bloody body...was me! I didn’t get it. How do I know this, if that’s me? Then I felt kind of a tugging. I tried to resist whatever was pulling me, but I had no strength. I had to go. I was forced into a swirl, and for a second, saw the world as though I was twirling around inside a laundromat drier.  Then, I was moving along in a dark tunnel, like I was caught in some kind of current. There was no feel of water, or air or nothin’. It was just this quiet movement down a dark tunnel. I yelled, ‘Where am I? What’s goin’ on?” But no sound came out  I thought I could see other people in this god damned tunnel, but it was dark, they were like wispy. Way far ahead, I saw a tiny light, like someone hold a match or a flashlight or something. I was getting closer to it. When I was around 10 feet or so lets say, I saw it was like a doorway, an exit from this dark tunnel.  I was okay with gettin’ out of this thing.

    I felt like I slithered out of the dark through this entrance, and right off, I squinted at this big sun in my eyes. Then I could tell I could look at it with my eyes all the way open and it didn’t hurt or nothin’. I heard, “Hello Charlie.” It was like a sound in my head. “Hello, who ever.” I thought. “What the hell is goin’ on here? Where am I...and who are you?” Somehow, my normal confusion at thinking was all focused. I felt like I could talk, you know, just by thinkin’. “Charlie Spencer, sorry to inform you, but you are not a mortal anymore. That body you were in lost its life force. You are just a spirit, now.”

     Now, I had gone the last fifteen twenty years on my own. That was the main thing I like about myself. I was independent. I never cowed to nobody, except maybe when I had handcuffs on. “Look, Light-guy, how do I get outta this jam here? You tellin’ me I’m dead, right? What the hell is supposed to happen now?”

  I started mulling things over in my mind. I kind a’ remember back in third grade, I think, may ‘ve been fourth, kids talkin’ about dyin’ and goin’ to heaven unless you did bad stuff, then you went to hell. I remember all ‘at talk about feeling a burning sensation forever. I decided it was crap talk. Somebody’s mother usin’ it to get their brats to behave. My own ma I don’t even remember. My boozey old man always was gripin’ about her cuttin’ out leavin’ him to feed this damned kid, me. He had went and died when I got to thirteen. I did okay on my own.

   “Okay, light-guy, what’s the deal? Is my next stop hell? Let’s get on with it. I can take it.” I decided to think tough, act tough. I did feel a shiver about that burnin’ stuff though, I’ll admit.

   “You know, Charlie, I don’t think so. That hell business is a ...what do you call it? A crap story, not true. I’m enjoying your tough act. You are a real character. I think you got potential. Now I can’t let you off easy. So here’s the deal. Whadya say I give you 50-60 years as an insect. You’ll get caught in a web or two or three as a house fly, work some time as an ant, go back to being a larva, different kinds...the end a’ your time, I’ll let you end it up as a butterfly. If you cooperate, maybe even a monarch that catches some attention. Then we’ll let you be a... what do you like, cats or dogs...or a wild animal somewhere...I’ll decide later. Now, if you do those assignments okay, maybe I’ll set you up back as a human. You might even run for president.” So the deal was pretty lenient, I thought, considerin’ the crap I pulled. I get a short break here before I wake up as a maggot. So I figured, what the hey, I’ll find some dumbshit that can pick up my mind signals, you know, mortal psychic, that stuff, I’ll tell you my story. 

  I hope you remember, the next time you chase a fly around your place, give it a thought. It could be me. Go ahead and give it a swat, it don’t matter. I’ll be back.

August 23, 2019 14:26

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