Fantasy Funny Fiction

He looked down at his body and saw that he was nicely dressed. There was his favorite tie, the Donald Duck one with the sky-blue background, over a white dress shirt. But where did the dark-blue wool suit come from? Someone must have bought it especially for the funeral.

His finger tips and palms ran down the cloth. It felt warm and fuzzy to the touch. He kept his hands over his ribs for a moment, lost in the sensation.

Then all of a sudden he felt a distinctly cool breeze on his backside. Not through clothing, but directly accosting and soothing the bare skin of his back and buttocks. Instinctively, a chill ran up his spine.

He had heard that they did this, but not being in the mortuary business, he'd never known for sure. So it is true that when they put you in a coffin they don't bother to cloth the backside. It wasn't like anyone was going to go up to the coffin, roll the body and check.

Fortunately, God had rematerialized him in his own backyard. It was also a good idea to have brought him back from the dead in the middle of the night. The only extra key to the place was in the planter out front.

Slowly, carefully he swung open the side gate. He winced when it gave out its usual squeak, but what could he do? Once he stepped to the front of his house, he carefully looked up and down the deserted street.

It must have been very late at night. The only house lights on were a few front porch lamps here and there. Other than that, the streetlights gave off their usual febrile, yellow glow. A single cricket chirped from somewhere close at hand.

Still, he didn't want to take the chance that someone might see his naked backside. And so he siddled across the driveway in front of his garage door sideways, keeping his front to the street. Having successfully completed that little mission, he carefully walked backward, towards his front door.

He realized that there was still the chance that someone, perhaps unable to sleep or awakened by the desire for a midnight snack, might see him. But there was no way to get around that. If anyone did happen to see him they'd either think they were hallucinating or seeing a ghost.

He had made the suggestion to God that he be sent back invisible, but He had openly scoffed at the idea. No one likes to be scoffed at by God, no matter what he or she turns out to be like. He still cringed at the memory, recent as it was.

Well, he said to himself, here I am at my front door. Now what? He could think of no way around have to bend down to retrieve the spare key from under the fake plastic rock in the little flowerbed outside the guest room.

There was no getting around it, but he resolved to do it as quickly as possible. His eyes roamed across the few orangish-tan rocks his wife had oh-so-carefully placed in the flowerbed all those years ago. He fought with his mind to keep his memory off of her.

There's nothing I can do to help you! he mentally shouted at the image of her that floated in front of his eyes. Thankfully, in this case, he was not a particularly imaginative soul and so wasn't able to picture the love of his life being eternally tortured. All his thoughts and efforts were focused on avoiding such a fate for himself.

There, that's it, that's the one. Quickly he bent down and picked up the fake rock. He immediately knew it was the right one by its slickness and lightness. In his haste, he threw down the ersatz stone as soon as he'd pried out the key. Just as quickly, he inserted the key into the lock and opened the door.

Soundlessly, the wooden door swung open. It was dead quiet, he noticed with an inappropriate sense of humor. Luckily, after living there forty years, he could find his way around in the dark. Even if no one had turned off the electricity yet, he didn't want to turn on any lights.

Even though he knew the place was empty, he tiptoed around. He wasn't surprised to see that his mind was kind of on auto-pilot. Hadn't someone written a book years before called God Is My Copilot?

With his mind on automatic, he found his bedroom, changed into a set of clothes with the back attached, and began filling a suitcase with more clothes and other items he'd need on the road. This left him free to think back on how things had gotten to this point. He remembered the heart attack, the incredible pain in his chest, the panic at the thought that he might have been dying.

Then it was just like he'd woken up. But he was on his feet, so he couldn't have been sleeping. He opened his eyes and screamed.

It was amazing that he knew he wasn't dreaming, although how he knew that he couldn't say. All that filled his eyes and his mind at that terrifying moment was the sight of an 18-foot tall insect. How did he know it was 18-feet tall? Well, he was six feet tall and this thing was about three times higher than he was.

It was shiny brown, had two fierce-looking jaws that moved sideways and six legs covered in what looked like thorns. Atop its head were two shiny, black, kidney-shaped eyes. Right in front of the eyes, two antennas waved around in what seemed like a random pattern.

The antennas looked like radio antennas on an old car, the kind that had little ribs all up and down it. He got a good look at one of them as it suddenly came right at him. There was no need to scream again, as he was still working on the first scream. Then the antenna made contact with his head.

"You're...you're a cockroach!" he blurted out. Thinking back on that now, it seemed a silly thing to say. Of course He knew He was a cockroach.

"That's one way to put it," the creature said. Although of course He didn't really "say" it, as cockroaches don't have vocal cords. Instead, He communicated directly with his brain, via His antenna. He also explained that that's what He was doing.

"But for the purpose of this conversation, it is much more relevant that I am God."

"That's impossible," he retorted. The very idea of a cockroach being God.

"Remember that heart attack you just had?" the cockroach continued even-handedly, as though He hadn't just been insulted. "Well, you died and this is your afterlife."

Jake (for that was the man's name, the man facing God the cockroach after dying from a heart attack) fell down on his knees. Water started running down his face -- no, not water, those were tears he was crying. This was because out of the blue he suddenly realized that this was God, the Creator of the universe, that he was facing.

He couldn't have explained how come he suddenly knew this. Couldn't have put it into words to save his life. It was like some combination of gestalt, karma and maybe nirvana just hit him.

That wasn't why he was kneeling and crying, though. He was crying because he knew he was in deep, deep trouble. "I...I'm...I'm sorry," he managed to get out. It sounded kind of odd, as though he was speaking while someone was trying to strangle him.

God now slowly lowered his second antenna down on Jake's head. "What are you sorry about?"

"I'm sorry for all the cockroaches I killed in my life." He was truly sorry, too, and also quite embarrassed. The heat coming off his face felt like it could start a fire.

"How many of my people do you figure you killed?" God asked patiently, coolly, as though they were talking about the number of tomatoes picked.

Jake hesitated at this point. He hadn't a clue how many. It wasn't like he'd kept count. However, he quickly figured that it was better to go high than to under estimate. "I don't know...thousands, I guess."

"It so happens that I have the exact number here. Counting the ones you killed on the day you died, it comes to 48,581. That's a lot of precious lost souls you're responsible for."

Jake's tear glands were starting to hurt. "I can see that now," he cried, "but how was I to know at the time?"

"Didn't the fact that cockroaches are the most common animal on your planet strike you as a meaningful clue? Aren't you aware that cockroaches are the only life form that can be found on every livable planet in the entire universe?"

These were impressive statistics and for some reason immediately stopped his tears. "No, I didn't know that. How could I? I've only been on one livable planet my whole life."

"Walk with me, human," God commanded.

What choice did he have? When God commands, there's no if's and's or but's about the matter. Jake found that he had to run to keep up with this over-sized insect.

Then God stopped. Jake figured he was just waiting for him to catch up, but that wasn't it at all. Up just ahead, he saw a man, dead just like him. "Let me show you what happens to those who harm my chosen ones."

God waved an antenna and a huge boot came down from out of nowhere and flattened the man. "Flattened" actually doesn't give the whole flavor of it. It would be more accurate to say the man was squished. Jake wanted to turn away, to not see the result, but he couldn't. The remains of the man was little more than a red splotch on the ground. Only his legs remained and those kept kicking, even though the rest of the body was flatter than a sheet of paper.

Now Jake was able to turn away. Again he found God at his side. "He'll re-form and go through the same tomorrow. He'll spend all of eternity that way." Jake made a face at that. He had been a relatively smart human and he knew that meant that this punishment would never end. There was no end to eternity.

"Others I make suffer this way," God said, pointing to the near distance. There an old woman in high heels was running just as fast as she could. But a spray, looking somewhat like rain, fell on her. As the drops touched her skin, she fell down, rolled over onto her back and began twitching and convulsing. It seemed to take forever before she stopped moving.

Jake couldn't take any more. He fell to the ground, although without rolling over onto his back. "I am so, so sorry! I didn't know! What I did to all those special creatures of yours was monstrous! You have every right to be mad at me! But..." and here he looked up into the right-side compound eye of God, "isn't there any way I can make up for all the wrong I did?"

And so that was how Jake ended up on Interstate 10 at three o'clock in the morning. Going through New Mexico and Texas, the road was straight, straight, straight. The car's headlights wavered out in front like two ghosts. The moon had gone down hours ago and the stars were hidden in an overcast sky. He could only see the dotted white lines on the road a few feet in front of him.

He was headed to San Antonio, why he wasn't sure. "Where would you like to start?" God the giant cockroach had asked.

"I don't know," he admitted. "Maybe San Antone. I'd always wanted to go there." It was getting harder by the minute to remember his life before he died, but a corner of a memory tapped him on the shoulder and suggested that he'd always wanted to see that city's Riverwalk.

Turning right at Abilene, the night's empty roads got him faster to San Antonio than he'd expected. In spite of averaging 65 mph the whole way, Jake had dreaded arriving at his destination. He really didn't want to do the Lord's work, but he knew it was the only way to atone for his sins.

He found a corner near the Alamo. There he watched as a fellow sinner gave out false prophecies. No one paid attention to the Bible-thumper. He might as well have been a tree.

Jake waited until the man left off preaching and went in search of lunch. He took several deep breaths, then several more. I really don't want to do this, he admitted to himself.

But then the visions of eternal damnation, of daily torture, again and again and again, filled his mind. No matter how bad this was, it was certainly better than that. Besides, this wasn't forever. It was just until the human race went extinct. God had promised him that. How far off could that be? At the rate Homo sapiens were going it couldn't be long.

He started off quietly, as though he was talking out loud to himself. "Neighbors, friends, I'm here today to tell you about what happened to me after I died. I came face to face with God and he's a giant cockroach. I'm not making this up, no-siree.

"And I felt ashamed. I fell to my knees and I cried. I cried because I suddenly realized all the terrible things I'd done to God's special creatures. Then God showed me what happens to people who kill cockroaches after they die.

"It was terrifying and it goes on literally forever. Friends, don't be like me! Renounce the killing of cockroaches and seek the mercy of the Lord." All the while he was saying this, his voice kept getting louder and louder, until he was shouting at the top of his lungs.

At first his lungs hurt. Then he noticed that people were starting to hear what he had to say and he took heart. Then some idiot in a cowboy hat came up to him and said, "Are you saying that God's a damn cockroach?"

Jake was so surprised and caught off guard that someone had listened and understood what he was saying that all he could do was mutely, enthusiastically nod his head yes. That's when the guy in the cowboy hat hauled off and hit him. Word quickly got around and now people were pushing and shoving each other to try to get a lick in.

He wanted to explain that all he was trying to do was atone for his sins, but the crowd wouldn't let him. Out of nowhere, the word "martyr" came to him. Then he passed out.

Luckily, tourist parking wasn't too far away. He managed to crawl back to his car after everyone got bored hitting and kicking the semi-unconscious man. The next day, he was back at it again. And again he got beat up.

Back at his car every night, he dreamed of being tortured for all eternity. That was what kept him going each day. He settled into a spiel and then would just stand there, cringing, waiting for his beating.

It got to the point where he was rooting for an early extinction of his species.

the end

December 02, 2020 00:02

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