“The Undead in Heaven”
It was late at night. It was raining. There was thunder and lighting. I was heading west on I-80, going home to Kearny after visiting my grandkids in Lincoln. I was tired. My back was hurting. I had to go to the bathroom, but I was old enough that actually doing so didn’t really relieve the urge, so I mostly just ignored it. I was actually kind of happy for the pain, and the bright-as-noon flashes of lightning. They were all that was keeping me awake. Definitely I didn’t want to doze here. It was thanksgiving weekend, and there were utterly stupid numbers of cars all over the place.
The lightning strobed, and several car lengths in front of me I saw a sedan flip up into the air and start to tumble. You know how people claim to see things like that in slow motion? Not me, boy. In the flashing stormlight, I saw it as a sequence of still images. It was hypnotically beautiful. I heard a low whump. There was the unmistakable screech and flat hiss of brakes and tires sliding on wet asfault. A combination of highway hypnosis and the unexpected artistic qualities of the tumbling car had distracted me. I was an instant late hitting my own brake, but I don’t think it would have mattered much. As a sequence of stroboscopic images, I saw the world outside my spider webbed windshield on its side, upside down, face down into the ground, then upside down again and backwards. Gravity reoriented itself accordingly with each image, faster really than I could fully process. I had a weird sense memory of being in my dad’s arms as a small boy. We were in the bleachers in Kennedy Space Center, watching a Space Shuttle launch. He’d stumbled a bit while standing up to give me a better view, then recovered. It had scared me, and my mom yelled at him about it later.
I miss them. I wish they were here. Not in the car accident, I mean, but, well, you know.
That whole flashback flashed by at subliminal speeds. The outside world was upside down. I was a bit bewildered, but seemed fine, no injuries, I escaped without a scratch. Again. I’d always led a charmed life. I was lucky in the unluckiest possible ways.
Just then, my headlights conspired with a spectacularly long eruption of lightning to end the intriguing stills, and bring back fluid, realistic motion. It was just in time for me to see a Mac truck barreling towards me. In the cab, in a flash, I could make out the face of the driver. He was asleep at the wheel. I couldn’t look away, I literally didn’t have time to close my eyes. It happened so quickly that I barely had time for the terror to register and then suddenly I was in heaven.
I was laying in fluffy white clouds - you’d expect them to be cold and wet, knowing what most of us know about the hydrological cycle these days - but, no, they were nice and comforting and pleasantly warm. There was a beautiful sky above me.
I screamed for a while, actually, long enough that I realized I was screaming. Then I just kept on screaming for a bit. Presently I got bored with it. When I heard other people screaming, I got up to investigate. I saw several other people laying in the clouds, adults, kids, some screaming, some looking panicked. I noticed I was wimpering a bit, myself.
Each of us had our own clouds, the size of an emperor-sized bed. As I looked, I noticed that one or two people on some of the clouds - including one of the kids - just faded away. The clouds themselves faded away, too. Another appeared, with a new person on it.
Suddenly I was moving, my cloud drawing nigh to the pearly gates. Behind them I could see the great temple or New Jerusalem, or whatever. It was beautiful. Well, really, it was more Technicolor than wonderful, but still stunning. Saint Peter didn’t look like you’d imagine. He was wearing blue and orange coveralls with a “Buffalo County EMS” patch on the shoulder.
“What is your name?” He shouted at me while I was still sailing towards him. His manner was too direct and articulate, like he wasn’t sure I could hear him.
“Elmer Amherst,” I said.
“How many fingers am I holding up?” he said
“Three,” I said.
“Are you on any kinds of medications?” He said. My cloud docked.
“Huh?” I asked.
“This is important, Mr. Amherst,” he said, tapping away at a keyboard in his podium, “There’s a lot of people hurt here, I need to get your information as quickly as….damn.” He said. A red light flashed on his podium, a microphone appeared.
“Number seventeen neurologically nonresponsive, brain dead. Coded on 02:23:37:08:2056. I spun around just in time to see another cloud fade away. Two more appeared, as did more Emergency Medical Angels, in a row alongside Peter. More clouds were moving in.
“Seriously, sir, this is a life-and-death situation, quite possibly your own. What medications are you on?”
“Uhm, yeah, Carvedilol, Fluoxital, and…uhm…Xanax-B for panic attacks. And I just finished a course of antibiotics for a urinary tract infection.”
“Good, thank you,” my interlocutor said, “Now, what’s your Social Security Number?”
I gave it and the gates opened up. I was told by an incredibly overweight nurse-angel to go in and someone would call me presently.
The waiting room to Heaven was a lot like a modern airport terminal, only with a better view. Instead of endless runways and urban sprawl in the distance, there were endless clouds, and blue skies beyond. I don’t know what I expected to see - CS Lewis, JFK, and Aldous Huxley shooting craps in the corner? - but it was mostly empty. Presently more people started filtering in.
There was one fat guy in a plaid shirt, wearing a Harley Davidson cap, running around frantically. In a flash I recognized him as the face behind the window of the truck that had creamed me. I wimpered a bit at that.
We looked odd. Well, the newcomers did, I suspected I did as well. Resurrected bodies, I suppose. Recognizable, but kinda’ ghostly. Our clothes were generic white coveralls. I’d expected robes. White boots. Comfortable. I found the bathroom to take a look at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t see any reflection at all. I realized to my surprise that I didn’t have to whiz. First time in forever that I'd felt like that.
‘Why should you, you idiot?’ I realized, ‘You’re dead. I never heard anyone talk about urination in Heaven.’
I wasn’t hungry, tired, cold, hot, or anything. Really all I was simply was terrified. Don’t let my after-the-fact recount belay that: I’ve done a lot in my life that I’m ashamed of, and a lot that I’m not ashamed of, but probably should be. Lied, cheated, stole, slept around. I was really, really, really scared. I wasn’t much of a churchgoer, I didn’t really know what - if any - kind of God or afterlife I believed in (Though, of course, this experience was arguing strongly in favor of the Judeo/Christian/Islamic one), but I was pretty certain that there was no way the ‘judgement’ aspect of all this was going to go my way.
Presently a traditional-looking angel showed up: Hot chick, disappointingly conservative robes, wings, hovering above the floor about six inches. The wings weren’t flapping. I think they were simply for aesthetic reasons. I’d never realized it before, but they’d actually have looked pretty silly if they were flapping.
A number of people, including the sleepy fat guy who’d specifically killed me, went over to talk to her. I moved away, found an unoccupied row of conjoined armchairs looking out the window, and sat on them. I was terrified, and content to be terrified for as long as it took me to wake up from this crazy dream. I was in no rush to face my infernal future if it wasn’t a dream. The seats were every bit as hard and uncomfortable as the seats in airports always are. It suited my mood.
In three or four days - odd, I seemed to remember there was never any night in heaven - terror was giving way to boredom. I was staring out the window, trying to get up the nerve to look down. I presumed for some idiot reason that I’d be able to see hell directly below me, and I wasn’t sure if that would melt me to a puddle of incoherent madness, or if I’d try to smash the glass and jump through, saving everyone the bother of figuring out what to do with me.
I was sitting there, and then - blammo - I was in a tunnel, heading towards the light.
Wait a second, wasn’t this supposed to happen *before* I woke up on the cloud? I was confused, disoriented, and pain hit me like a boot to the groin.
“- Well just take the damn leg off,!” someone said angrily, ‘We’re losing him here!” I heard an electric motor, some pumps, a whining noise like a saw, gurgling sounds, one of those machines that goes ‘ping,‘ all in the winking of an eye. After days in the relatively Spartan blandness of the waiting room, it overpowered me. I tried to move my arm, but it was restrained. My fingers felt sticky.
“Oh, shit! He’s waking up here!” someone yelled. It was Saint Peter. He stood over me - I realized dimly that I was on my back - and shouted in my face. Once again, he was entirely too direct and emphatic: “Sir, can you understand me? You’ve been in an accident. Do you…?” He was wearing a crown. A spectacularly gay-looking one, kinda’ like Doc Brown in the first Back to the Future movie. Remember those?
“Shit, how many bars in the tunnel? We must’ve lost the signal when we went in here!” someone yelled. Another voice - a woman this time - said “Ambulance X-341 B enrout to Kearny Hospital, to all X-Ambulances, please be advised of signal loss in the tunnel. Repeat: Signal loss in tunnel, seek alternate routs. Do you copy?”
Saint Peter said, “I sure hope the others heard that.” Evidently he always talked like that, he wasn’t just trying to shout through the fog of my pain. That must have made him irritating at parties. He turned to me and said - again, way too forcefully - “Easy, Old Timer, we’re almost out of the tun-”
And I was back in the waiting lounge.
I screamed. People looked at me. I wasn’t the first to have gone hysterical in here, so no one really took much note of it. I just screamed and screamed until I couldn’t think to scream anymore, then I went back to watching the clouds out the window.
The angel babe was instantly frustrating. Most people had given up talking to her. It was interesting that a few of us dead had taken to praying in one of the little alcoves in the corner of the waiting area. It was a huge departure lounge, there was plenty of space. Curious that they’d ignore a supernatural messenger right in front of them in favor of sending messages the old-fashioned way.
A few days-and-nights later, I’d gone over to her and asked for food.
“You do not need food.”
“I’m hungry,” I lied.
“It is not possible for you to be hungry,” she said.
“Ok, I’m not *physically* hungry, but I need to eat. I’m psychologically hungry. Eating is a…look, it’s just wrong that I’ve been here for like a week with no biological urges whatsoever..”
“It is not possible for you to be hungry,” she said.
I harrumphed, and went back to my seat, but found the fat sleepy trucker who’d killed me was in it. ‘Oh, come on,’ I thought, ‘There’s eleven zillion seats in here, why does he have to sit in mine?’
“You’re not going to get anything out of the Angel,” he said, “We’ve all tried and failed. What did you want? Food? Sleep? To take a crap?”
I sat down, being sure to leave an empty seat between us in the row. “Food first,” I said, “Crap later, I guess.”
“Pedro Sonambulo,” He said. I told him my name, and we shook hands.
“That’s kind of an ironic last name, isn’t it?” I said.
“Why?” he asked, looking ashamed.
“You were asleep at the wheel when you died, right?”
“How did you know that?”
“Because your face and your truck sliding towards me was the last thing I saw before I died.”
He looked like he wanted to blush, but evidently our bodies no longer needed that either. After a long silence, he said “I’m sorry.”
“Eh, don’t sweat it,” I said surprising myself, “We were both obviously having a bad night.”
It was a day later when one of us ghosts started freaking out about food, and violently attacking the other ghosts. He punched me right in the face. I couldn’t feel it. He picked up a child dashed her against the wall. The child screamed, then picked herself up, cartoon like, dusted herself off, and ran away. He picked up a chair and attacked the angel as viciously as he could, producing no evident damage to the angel or the chair. A riot erupted. We’d been cooped up in here for a long time now, all on edge, and beating hell out of each other seemed as good a release as any other in the waiting room to heaven. The riot went on a long time, and I’d like to brag that I gave as good as I got, but since nothing we did had any effect on anyone else, there’s nothing to really brag about. I noticed the guy who’d started the melee was still wailing on the immobile angel was pressed up against her, drumming on her chest with his fists like a hysterical woman in an old movie, the last of his anger spending itself. I noticed some other people in the riot were chatting amiably among themselves while hitting each other with tables and dropkicking people in the nads and what have you. It went on for a long time, until we got bored with the violence, one by one.
The next day, a bank of vending machines had appeared in the nook the penitent dead had used for prayers.
I found I had an endless supply of coins in my pocket. They used American Quarters in Heaven. I got a bag of Lays popcorn. It tasted like cream of mushroom soup. When you chewed it, it had the disconcerting consistency of cream of mushroom soup. I pulled a piece out of my mouth - it was clearly a solid kernel of popcorn. I popped it back in, it was a liquid. In/out/in/out liquid/solid/liquid/solid. I didn’t care. After weeks of nothing, it was the most delicious thing I thought I’d ever had. All of us ate and ate and ate and ate. I suppose we would have eaten ourselves sick, but we couldn’t get sick. The machines never ran out. We just ate junk food all day and all night, it wasn’t like there was anything else to do.
A few days later these old-fashioned seats with coin-operated TVs in the arm appeared. All they showed were old Three Stooges shorts. Meh. I’d never found them funny, so I kept eating, but a lot of us spent a lot of time watching the tube.
Pedro and I had become fast friends once we got past that whole “Vehicular homicide” thing. We scouted out the airport terminal. He was uneasy with it, it reminded him of a short story he’d read called “Lions and Lambs” or some such nonsense, but eventually it got to be fun. Well, the kind of fun that can drive you insane, I guess, but it’s not like we had anything else to divert us. He and I headed off up the terminal. We walked for several hours and ended up coming back from the other direction, ending up where we’d started out, without having turned or gone up or down. If we ducked down any of the doors in the wall, we ended up coming out of some other hallway instantly. I mean, instantly. I mean if you opened a door, some other door in the terminal would instantly open, and you’d see a view out that doorway. If you looked around as you were going in, sometimes, if you timed it just right, you could see yourself coming out of another doorway as you went in.
Oh- the funnest part: Just like any other terminal, it had those little covered walkways that dock with the planes? We went out on one of those, and opened the door. I looked down - I’d managed to avoid doing so out the window thus far - and saw nothing below, just endless sky and clouds. Pedro abruptly jumped I shrieked and called for help. A few people came. He disappeared from sight below us. We were frantic, trying to figure out what - if anything would happen. Then we heard a loud scream, like a sound getting closer, and there was a huge “Bang” from the ceiling of the docking collar dealie, and then a muffled voice saying, “Bien era decepcionante.” One of us clambered up out the opening on to the top of the corridor outside, and a few moments later, both he and Pedro clambered back in.
“How did you know that would work?” I asked him.
“Didn’t. Hoped it wouldn’t,” he said.
It got to be kind of fun, though. Numbers of us would jump off when we got bored, aim to miss the boarding corridor when we fell past it again and again, and then aim for it when we got tired of falling. It was a way to blow off a couple hours.
Pedro said it reminded him disconcertingly of “Lost,” a TV show I’d never heard of, but apparently it took place in an island in a tiny universe. It reminded me of a similar quality in “Land of the Lost,” an obscure old TV show that he’d never heard of. We exchanged notes on both shows - all of us talked about TV a lot, actually - and a few days later, both Lost and the other show turned up as options on the TV-chairs.
Pedro was obsessed with sex. Talked about it constantly. None of us had any kind of sex drive anymore - why would we? - but he wouldn’t shut up about it, movies he’d watched, things he’d done, things he’d wanted to do, but never had the right combination of pulleys, electrical equipment, health monitors, scuba equipment, circus clowns, supermodels, barnyard animals, and TV cameras. I’m exaggerating a bit - no barnyard animals, though he did have a thing for clowns. I’m assuming it was a psychological addiction. It didn’t bother me too much since he was easy to distract with talk of some old TV show or another. (Me: “What about Star Trek?” Him: “Star Trek is for fags, man!”) There was a woman kinda’ like him, and it was only a matter of time before they tried to get it on. In Heaven. With an angel at the ticket counter.
Predictably, it didn’t get far. Our clothes didn’t come off. I suspected that there wasn’t anything beneath them. The two of them kept trying to undress, however, and finally Pedro freaked out and started trying to hack off his own foot with the metal edge of one of the tables. He went increasingly manic, and then he disappeared. No “poof,” just gone.
More angels came. Stern men in business suits with wings. They would ask one or another of us to go with them. None of the people who left ever came back. My terror replaced my postmortem boredom (Which would have been a great band name, had I thought of it in my youth, and had I ever had a band). I took to jumping to my death several times a day to calm down. There were also a few more painless riots. And one falling riot, where a bunch of us fell off the walkway in a brawl. That was kinda’ fun.
Presently the angels came for me.
“No,” I said, and I tried to get away. One of ‘em touched me, and suddenly I was in a different place, a wood-paneled room with the same exact view out the window as the lounge. A perfectly normal-looking woman was seated at a desk. She pushed a button, and the angels said “By your leave,” and disappeared.
“Please have a seat, mister Amherst,” she said.
“No thanks, I’d rather stand,” I said.
“You’re going to want to sit down for this,” she said.
“I doubt it. I’m dead, I’m off to hell.” I said.
“No,” she said, “You’re the County Hospital in Kearny, Nebraska.”
“Maybe I will have that drink,” I said absently and sat down.
“You were involved in a very bad car accident -”
“Yeah, I know that.”
“- And for the last eighty-four hours you’ve been in an experimental virtual simulation, as part of a project run jointly by the Universities of Nebraska and Kentucky.”
Eighty-four hours? About three and a half days?
“Where was I before that?” I asked. She seemed confused.
I tried again, more specifically: “Where was I prior to getting hooked up to this machine thing of yours?”
“At your son’s house for Thanksgiving, I believe.”
“No, no, we’ve been in here for nearly a month.”
“No,” she corrected, “You’ve been in here for less than four days. The simulation runs faster than real time. We’ve been handling this as fast as we could. I am sorry for that. There were a lot of people injured in that crash, more than a hundred and forty. Sixty have died. It takes a lot of time to sort that big a disaster out.”
I let it sink in for a moment (Which was apparently about an eighth of a moment in the real world)
“So…I’m not dead?”
“And my body is…uhm…oh, God, they were talking about taking my leg off…” I panicked.
“I’m not going to lie to you, you’re in pretty bad shape. It’s not expected that you’ll survive.”
“So I’ll have to die? Again?”
“You haven’t died yet,” she said.
“Beg to differ, doc, but the experience is quite a bit different than the explanation.”
My family wanted to see me, and so I was techno magically teleported from her virtual office to a bland virtual hospital chapel with a wall screen. On the screen was a real-time image of my body, mummified in tubes and wires and pumps. The doctor in the shot moved agonizingly slow.
My son and grandkids came in. I guess my great grandkid, too, since my son’s youngest daughter got herself knocked up six months earlier.
There were tears, farewells, hugs, and so on. I found it grating. I had a new lease on life - such as it was - and they were treating me like I was on my deathbed. I guess I was, too, technically, but it wasn’t like that mattered, right? I mean, who needs a meat-body when you can run around in cyberspace and eat poorly-programmed popcorn and avoid watching the three stooges? I’m an old man, that wasn’t all that much different than my life was prior to the accident anyway.
“I’m not dead,” I said.
“Soon you’ll be in a place without any pain,” my daughter in law said.
“I’m in a place with no pain, *now*,” I said.
They seemed to take that as being more religious than I’d intended it. “I can’t bear to see him like this,” my son said, and stormed out.
“I’m not dead,” I said.
Presently they let me into heaven itself, where I was reunited with Pedro and the others. It turned out this virtual environment had been developed in the computer lab at the Immanuel School of Religion as a teaching tool, but it had immediately proved to be wildly divisive and theologically suspect. It sat on a shelf for ten years, and was purchased for the project I was now a part of simply because it was cheap, and the only alternative virtual programs that were interface able with the medical software were an empty room, Moonbase: Alpha (Little better than an empty room), and a long-abandoned porn simulation called “Endless Orgy” where the user tended to have epileptic seizures whenever they got aroused. Our resurrected bodies were the result of hacky programming.
Heaven was boring. It was exactly like you’d expect it, streets paved with transparent gold, twelve foundation stones, huge, Italianate buildings, all imposing. There was a temple in the center, but of course we weren’t allowed to visit that. Angels and music everywhere. It was beautiful and awesome and entirely too literal, it felt like a backlot. It quickly became cloying. And again: No food. I’d have to start a riot or something…
One day, I found Pedro looking very depressed, and talking to a nurse-avatar, and then a doctor-avatar blinked in, and then both of ‘em were gone, and he was alone.
“I’m dead,” he said.
“No you’re not,” I said.
“No, I really am,” he said, “All my body functions stopped yesterday….uhm…I guess last week in our time. I’m on total life support.”
“But you’re here,” I said.
“I’m not brain dead yet,” he said, “But the doctor tells me that if I weren’t on life support, I’d be dead already.”
“So stay on life support,” I said.
“But I’m *dead,*” he said.
“Clearly, you’re not. You’re here with me right now. You’re fine.”
“But none of this is real…” he said.
“It’s real enough, dude, you’re here, I’m here, I mean, how the hell do you know that the outside world is any realer than this is?” He didn’t say anything to that. He was more into porn than existential debate. Presently a priest-avatar appeared, no doubt a real person plugged into our heaven, just as my family had been.
There were prayers, much crossing of selves, I backed away a respectful distance, intent on talking to him after the fact, figuring, hokey-jokey-like, that he’d cheer up after his funeral. Then, he stood up, looked panicked, and said “¡No quiero ir! ¡No quiero Morir!” He tried to run, but before he could even take a step, he disappeared, one last interrupted “¡No quie-” hanging in the air, a virtual echo from a real live dead man.
I grabbed the priest.
“What did you do to him?” I demanded.
“I provided the last rights,” he said, blandly. If I could have hurt anyone in here, I’d very much have liked to hurt him right then.
“They pulled the plug on him? He wasn’t dead!” I exclaimed.
“Yes he was, his brain simply hadn’t caught up with his body yet.” Ah, what the hell: I attacked the priest anyway. This took him by surprise, and I managed to hold him down while I wailed on him with a large vase. I knew I couldn’t hurt him, and he may have known I couldn’t hurt him, but I was definitely scaring the shit out of the guy. Presently, he blinked away, his connection from the meat world severed.
Time passed. My family came to visit me on several occasions, and it was difficult for me to explain to them the unique and increasing separation between body and mind in this situation. They couldn’t understand. It was too far outside their realm of experience. One day my grandkids stopped coming. “They just can’t take seeing you like this, Pop,” my son said, “It’s like talking to a ghost.” The next time he wanted to see me, I refused admission.
Time passed, quickly for the meat, slow for the mind. Several of the people in Heaven disappeared. More came, from different accidents. A few of the ones I’d been hanging out with recovered, and left the hospital and the virtual world. I had gotten a good look at my shattered body. I was apprehensive about returning to it. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried: it died on me.
Note that I say “It” died, not “I” died. I’d been receiving direct electrical stimulation from a vast network of computers for months at that point, nearly a year from my point of view. I was fully entrenched in my new life, my experiences - though subjective - are no less real than your own.
Eight days after I died, the doctor-avatars came for me, and asked me if there were any funeral arrangements I wanted to make. I told them I wasn’t dead, but they insisted that I was. They asked if I wanted to talk to anyone, and couldn’t seem to grasp the fact that the act of talking implies there’s a person here to listen to. “Assisted suicide is illegal in this state,” I said, “And I do not choose to die. I’ll pass any cognitive test you wanna’ give me. Get me a lawyer.” They informed me that they’d be pulling the plug in the morning. I attacked one of them. They blinked away.
I buttonholed everyone in Heaven I could find, explained the situation. Most of them grasped it, some didn’t, but a few of those went along just out of peer pressure. We all started chanting, “Get me a lawyer, get me a lawyer, get me a lawyer” for virtual days on end. Our voices don’t get tired, we’re never out of breath. We will not be silenced.
Eventually the hospital grudgingly did what I said, and here we are.
I want to thank the court for letting me address the judges and jury directly. We’ve heard the prosecution claim this is a thorny case, financially, morally, theologically. It’s really not: my brain is not dead, and my brain is me. Yes, it’s true that if I were taken off of life support, my brain would die, but what of it? That’s like saying if I shot you in the chest, you’d die. Of course you would, of course then I’d have killed you by shooting you, wouldn’t I? Likewise, you pull the plug and you’re killing me.
We’ve heard the doctors and psychologists say my quality of life is poor. Well, you know, it’s not that bad. I don’t have to piss all the time, my back doesn’t hurt, I’m never hungry, never gassy. Yeah, it’s boring, but boring beats ‘dead’ all to hell, doesn’t it? And obviously this virtual world could be improved. All of us think and act inside here about eight times faster than you do in the real world. That means that a computer programmer - I was one before I retired, by the way - can do as much work as eight men can every hour. Give us access to the code - give me access - and we can whip this up into something wonderful in no time. We can perform programming services for the outside world, even! Run dangerous remote-controlled machines, do research…there’s lots of stuff we can do. We can contribute.
We’ve heard the insurance companies state that this is too expensive, well, ok, I admit that, but let’s look at it pragmatically: we *can* contribute to the meat world, as I’ve said. Perhaps we can pay for our lives here, eventually. And who says you need to keep my body alive, anyway? Yeah, the body’s a lot to keep going, but how much can it cost to keep a brain alive? Cut my body away, give my organs to anyone who needs ‘em, keep my brain in a jar in a fish tank somewhere, it makes no difference to me about that, just keep it alive, and keep me plugged in.
Look, this is a new idea, a new kind of life, it’s hard to get your brain around, I understand that, there’s a learning curve involved here, but you’ve heard my testimony, you’ve heard commentary from some other specialists, you’ve made a virtual-fieldtrip to heaven to see what it’s like. I am alive. I want to live.
I don’t know if there’s a God or not. I don’t know if there really is a heaven. I’d like to think there is, but I fear the implications. I’ve not led a particularly good life. I’ve gone on a bit about my fears because fear is real, because the whole experience of dying with a flag on the play was very traumatic. Let’s assume there really *is* an afterlife: please, please, please don’t make me go through all this again on the other side. It’s more than I can bear.
I thank you for your time and your attention, and I await your decision.
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