Recently, during a period in hospital, things were dicey. I had a seizure, lost all consciousness and had an out of body experience. As I fell, yes fell, out of my body, lying in perfect stillness on the bed above me: yes above me, I felt an odd and uncomfortable heat and, turning round, saw a gentleman lacking every charm known in the sentient universe grinning at me in a salivating manner. His eyes seemed to be saying ”Your secrets are safe with me even if your future isn’t,” and I felt myself drawn nearer and nearer to a furnace where the screams of eternal agony could be heard.
I fought to stay away from the flames and the unpleasant gentleman, eyes apart, said nothing and made no movement apart from opening the furnace door a little wider to facilitate my ease of entrance. Just when I thought all was lost I woke screaming so loudly, the doctors told me, that they thought I had had some adverse reaction to the medical treatment.
He grinned at me in a neutral way, although his body language suggested he was thinking “Welcome back to us, I’m speaking to you in my professional capacity only: we make no comment on your character or possible worth.” Strangely, the nurse standing behind him had a less engaging look and I have a dim memory of attempting some indiscretion with her before I was engulfed by seizures. I’ve always had a love for the opposite sex, normally unrequited but, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” has earned me a few nights of pleasure over the years.
I’ve done nothing awful in my estimation and lived by the teaching, “God helps those who help themselves” which wisdom I have always been happy to pass onto beggars, old ladies who sought my help to cross the road and those irritating buskers who stand too near your table playing a musical instrument while you are drinking your morning coffee.
I’ve done my bit for humanity in the full glare of publicity but real charity begins in secret and at home I’m sure you’ll agree. In short I’ve lived a normal decent modern life, free of murder or unnecessary vandalism and thought a seat sited somewhere near the top table in Paradise was mine for the taking.
Finally, and unusually at a loss, I ring one of my ex-wives with whom I am on something like speaking terms, and tell her what happened and how I feel, and she replies, “You are a waste of air Trevor: nothing more or less” and puts the phone down. No wonder I divorced her then, or she divorced me to be honest, but I ask you. “What’s that about?”
At a loss I settle down in the pub, sitting alone as is often the case and take a cautious sip from my drink. A gentleman sits down beside me, looking faintly familiar, and says, “No doubt you are thinking about you’re out of body experience” and I look at him, alarmed of course, and say “And who are you?” “Dr Death” he tells me, “Sent out on patrol by those above to view the last moments of souls near the end of their earthly existence which is why I’m sitting here with you.
“Do I have time to redeemed myself?” I ask him, suddenly filled with an uncomfortable awareness. “No” he replies, “I was meant to be with you about eighteen months ago but got delayed by other and more interesting lives, otherwise you might have. Nothing in life or death is perfect I’m afraid, least of all eternity. There are just far too many of you now, and cloud space is limited so burning you is a much more efficient option unless you have been especially good, which you have not, and then there are the elephants and whales of course”
“Elephants and whales” I said, and he replied, “Oh yes, I keep forgetting you humans think you are the most important species in the universe” and chuckled lightly before departing from the table as I depart my life: still begging for one last chance but stuck with the consequences of my previous conduct.