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Fantasy American Teens & Young Adult

Seated in a movie theater, I waited for the lights to come back on while the ending credit roll for “The Batman” film crawled up the screen. Sam Kinison, who had just returned from the refreshment stand with a jumbo bucket of hot-buttered popcorn and an extra-large coke, retook his seat beside me.


“Did I miss anything?” he asked.


“Sam, it’s the credit roll. What’s to miss?”


“Well,” Sam said softly before screaming at the top of his lungs, “SOMEONE’S GOT A BIG FUCKING BUG UP HIS BIG FUCKING ASS THIS FUCKING DAY!”


“Sorry, Sam, it’s not your fault.”


“So, are we going to watch this long-ass film again, or should we see what else that we haven’t seen is playing?”


“I think we’ve seen it all, Sam, we’ve seen them all, my friend.”


“Then let’s just stay here,” he said after adjusting the black beret crowning his long hair and then digging a ham-hock-like hand into the buttery tub of white, puffed kernels of corn. “That Patterson kid ain’t half bad as the Batman; much better than in all those dumb ass “Twilight” movies. Do we have enough time to watch it to the end again?”


“We have an eternity, Sam, we have a fucking eternity, and you fucking well know it!” was the reply followed by my hollow, bitter laugh.


Strange, since I died, I curse more frequently. When living, I hardly ever swore. I felt swearing was a lazy-ass way to express yourself. I’d tell the hip-hop artists I worked with, to drop the f-bomb more than once in a track, conveys they’re not working hard enough to express themselves. “Always look for new words and ways to depict what you want to say,” I’d endlessly implore. But fuck it – look where it got me – I’m dead!


Okay, I know what you all are asking, “What’s it like being dead?”


“Being dead sucks,” I said to no one within the still darkened movie house with its stale air and sticky floor. But that was okay; no one else could hear or see us. We were dead. Sam knew that, as did any of the other lifeless spirits who may be sitting in the murky blackness. He’s a good guy, so I should be glad that they assigned him to me as my “get used to it” guide.” Oh, shall I explain what that means?


When you die, you’re assigned a friend (really a guide) who assists in getting you used to death. My guide was Sam Kinison. Sam had died on April 10, 1992, so he had tons of experience with what we all go through postmortem. At least more than I did. Me? Well, I too died on April 10th. But I died this year. Since the two of us died on the same day in April, maybe, that’s why they paired us. I don’t know, no one except Sam tells me shit anymore. And the only important piece of information Sam had imparted could be condensed into a single sentence, “Look, we’re dead, there’s not a lot to do, so most of us JUST WATCH MOVIES!”


“Sam, how long do we just stay on this mortal plane? You know, before we go and move on to wherever it is that we’ll all just fucking supposed to go to?”


“This is it, it is what it is brother, and this is all we fucking get. No Heaven, no Hell” said the once ordained as a priest Kinison, "nothing but an empty eternity to wander into some Cineplex anywhere in the world and watch anything we want, anytime we want to, however many times we like. It ain’t bad; YOU GET USED TO IT”


Sam was right, since I died, this was all we did. Not only had we viewed “The Batman” more than a dozen times, but almost every genre of movies ever made. You know, like comedies, dramas, rom-coms, documentaries, crime, sci-fi, horror, historical, romance, tearjerkers, and even porn flicks. Want to know something funny? Now, watching porn only makes me super sad because it reminds me I’ll never touch, or be touched again, by anyone. I’m dead, damn it! So, I might as well get used to it, and that’s where Sam Kinison really helps. He’s just about the only one who can still make me laugh.


In fact, one of the first movies he suggested we sneak in to see, was one he shot back in 1986 with Rodney Dangerfield, called “Back to School”. That was one funny-ass film, man. We stayed to see it forty-two times (that was when I kept track of those numbers). I once proposed we check out another comedy made around the same time as “Back to School” and titled “The Three Amigos”, but Sam said that one really sucked. As it turns out, Kinison had been cast and filmed in it, but his scenes were deleted before it was released, and he was still pissed.


Now, by this time the house lights had been turned on again. Almost all of the living that had just seen the film were either now leaving or had already gone. The only others still here were lifeless spirits like Sam and I. There, in the mezzanine, I saw Marilyn sitting with Jack and Bobby. To their left were Morrison and Manzarek, and way off to the right, I spied Emmett Till and George Floyd. Till still looked like he was barely fourteen years old. But of course, he would, we stop aging when we die.


Then it happened. From the balcony, you could hear the soft, sexy, breathy opening lines of the birthday song. Sam and I turned about to confirm the identity of the voice’s owner. It was someone who had garnered a reputation in death for pulling such pranks when Monroe and her boys were in the house. Mother Teresa stood atop her movie seat as she rendered a randy rendition of the tune the way Marilyn had once sung it from the stage of Madison Square Garden for Jack, while Jackie was sitting beside him. And I must admit that Terry could really nail the actress’ steamy performance. The daggers darting from the bleached blonde’s eyes in MT’s direction left little doubt there’d be one hell of a catfight after tonight's last show. So, this was death?


Anew, the lights went down as “The Batman” returned to the screen, and Sam and I watched it again. Come on, we had an eternity or two to kill, and what else is there to occupy the endless emptiness that awaits us all?


May 24, 2022 16:49

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47 comments

Roger Scypion
08:20 Feb 20, 2023

Entertaining, funny and engaging. Brought back some movie memories and the MT catfight potential with Marilyn...fantastic!

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Stevie B
10:50 Feb 20, 2023

Life in the Great Beyond; oh-bla-dee-oh-bla-da...

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Peter Briggs
17:41 Aug 24, 2022

You had me at Kinison, but it also—and sadly—reminded me of how much time I spent watching movies during the pandemic's quarantine.

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Stevie B
18:36 Aug 24, 2022

The necessary lockdown was indeed sometimes like dying a small death...

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Michael Danyluk
20:00 Jul 19, 2022

would've been funny if Kinison snorted some afterlife cocaine

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Stevie B
20:32 Jul 19, 2022

Michael, I did ask him to, but he just said no...

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Brynn Helena
14:37 Jul 13, 2022

this is so fun and entertaining. short, sweet and to-the-point in the best way!!

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Stevie B
15:34 Jul 13, 2022

Brynn, thank you so much. Your last sentence was pretty much how I used to describe one of my ex-wives...

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Betty Gilgoff
14:41 Jun 22, 2022

A fun read for sure and such a creative use of the prompt. You drew me in right away with your death twist. Well done.

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Stevie B
14:46 Jun 22, 2022

Betty, thanks for reading, enjoying , and commenting!

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Andrea Doig
14:31 Jun 15, 2022

Wow… just up my alley. What a great take on the prompt! Well written and kept me wanting more. The end was clever too I thought. Well done and thanks for sharing x

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Stevie B
14:47 Jun 15, 2022

Andrea, thanks for reading, enjoying, and commenting. This tale only hints at how boring eternity may be.

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Elizabeth Maxson
15:50 Jun 08, 2022

This is a very unique piece. I enjoyed reading about these visions of the afterlife. However, I am puzzled by a few details. If the narrator is saddened by a lack of touching or being touched by others post mortem, how does Kinison carry his popcorn and soda at the beginning? Additionally, where are the other guides and their proteges? The famous people you mentioned are wonderful, but where are the other average spirits passing their eternity at the theater? Wouldn't there be at least one other? Finally, I flashed on the movie Ghost wh...

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Stevie B
16:05 Jun 08, 2022

Thank you for reading, enjoying, and commenting, Elizabeth. The interesting questions you ask I'm sure will be ones we'll all be asking in the afterlife and in between each film we eternally watch...

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Paul Wilhite
20:51 Jun 01, 2022

Very enjoyable! Yes, Sam's rant as the history prof in Back to School is my favorite memory of him.

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Stevie B
23:42 Jun 01, 2022

He was a force of nature.

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20:28 Jun 01, 2022

Hi Stevie, you've made me smile again, as always. I love that Sam was a priest and that our central character has taken to swearing. Nice take on dead Mother Theresa too 😂

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Stevie B
20:39 Jun 01, 2022

Katharine, all I really know about death is it's probably an experience best postponed for as long as possible.

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Scott Tibbs
19:37 May 31, 2022

I enjoyed this story, it made me laugh. I could almost hear Sam screaming, “SOMEONE’S GOT A BIG FUCKING BUG UP HIS BIG FUCKING ASS THIS FUCKING DAY!” Great story, nice work. I can only hope that eternity has a little more to offer than reruns.

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Stevie B
19:45 May 31, 2022

Scott, thanks for reading, enjoying, and commenting. The only thigh we can be sure about eternity is it will be long...

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Sarah Desouza
08:41 May 31, 2022

Hey as usual great writing,,,,, ALSO I kinda noticed that you follow me on reedsy. If you like my writing here, you're sure to like my book! Yes, I wrote a romance novel called 'His Lingering Perfume' by Sarah D (me) It's like on Barnes n Noble, Storytel, Amazon n all. I'll post the link hopefully it's clickable. Otherwise just google it k! Again it's a Greatttt book that costs close to nothing. It would be a great favour if you wrote a nice review for me. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/his-lingering-perfume-sarah-d/1141299175. A r...

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Stevie B
11:28 May 31, 2022

Thanks.

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Seán McNicholl
15:05 May 30, 2022

Another interesting twist on a morbid topic! Love it! Well done!

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Stevie B
11:28 May 31, 2022

Thank you!

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22:11 May 29, 2022

Fun fact: I partied with Sam Kinison and Malika/Sabrina and his entourage in 1989 in Atlantic City. I don't think any of those nouns exist anymore :) Thanks for the "scream" down memory lane. Oh, what Kinison would have said about contemporary society... I'd pay money to conjure up George Carlin to hear his hot take on the 21st c. You are a national treasure, Stevie B. :)

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Stevie B
11:29 May 31, 2022

Thank you, Deidra!

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Michał Przywara
19:47 May 29, 2022

I love me a good nihilistoc post-death story, so I'm biased here, but I really liked this! Watching movies makes perfect sense in this situation, and I can just picture millions (billions?) of dead spirits getting their minds blown when the first movie house opened whenever-it-was. Finally, something to stave off ennui. Mother Theresa and Marilyn Monroe were funny, but I wonder if the animosity is entirely real, or if it's partly staged -- just one more diversion to make post-existence bearable. When nothing is dramatic anymore, you make yo...

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Stevie B
22:03 May 29, 2022

Michal, you raise some very interesting existential points. Thank you for reading, enjoying, and commenting.

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14:35 May 29, 2022

What’s really funny about this story is that one of the churches that Sam frequently preached in was in an old movie theater. Lol supposedly he pulled a gun out and shot the ceiling. I’ve never been able to confirm whether that story was true or not. Although, I don’t have a hard time believing that Sam would do something like that.

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Stevie B
15:53 May 29, 2022

Clinton, to say the least, Sam was a real pistol!

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Rabab Zaidi
00:31 May 29, 2022

Interesting.

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Stevie B
01:53 May 29, 2022

Agreed.

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Anissa Waterman
14:01 May 25, 2022

Good story. It reminded me of mine set in a theater but very different. Great idea! I love what Mother Teresa does.

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Stevie B
14:04 May 25, 2022

Thank you, Anissa, for reading, enjoying, and commenting. Good ol' Terry just proves you can take the nun from the convent but you can't take the girl out of the nun!

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Kevin Marlow
03:19 May 25, 2022

Saw Sam in The Lou' my senior year of high school. For the encore, he broke out the dial telephone and cursed out some person on the other line from the prodding of a random audience member. Oh! OOOOHHHHH! Thanks Steve!

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Stevie B
11:51 May 25, 2022

Kevin, thank you for reading, enjoying, and sharing a fond memory with me!

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Mike Panasitti
23:07 May 24, 2022

Interesting premise. Perhaps a cinema purgatory, where penitents must disavow their affinity for B-films and C-actors by reciting the worst lines of dialogue before moving onto paradise, would have yielded more comical results than gratuitously dropped f-bombs.

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Stevie B
23:49 May 24, 2022

Dude, I like the way you think. Thank you for reading and commenting. Best facet of communicating is when you've communicated with another intelligent life form!

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Tommy Goround
18:59 May 24, 2022

Heya. Sam Kin was a preacher? Him and George Carlin went the other way. Really enjoyed the "... most of us watch movies" comment. The voice made it funnier; original part of death. Brooks: Defending Your Life I wonder if your characters would throw sodas at the screen if the movie was about a false afterlife?

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Stevie B
19:18 May 24, 2022

Tommy, thank for reading, enjoying, and commenting. As to your final inquiry, I'll let you know after I die, and when we bump into each other in some pitch black movie house while wiling away eternity.

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