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?