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