When I woke up, there were two men standing either side of me. One had a radiance about him the other was duller and not very interested I could tell as he was slouched and checking his nails.
The brighter one introduced himself as Greg, said he was from the upstairs department and his friend was Wayne from the downstairs department.
It made no sense to me as I felt I was floating and looking around there was nothing to see apart from the two men.
No one said anything as if they were sizing me up. But for what I couldn’t determine.
“So, what do you want?” I asked.
“Your soul,” they chorused, and suddenly Wayne looked more interested.
“It’s our job to decide whether or not you go up or down. Tedious I know but that’s just how it is,” added Wayne.
“Are we talking heaven or hell?” I asked beginning to think this wasn’t my home I was in.
“Well sort of,” said Greg, “more of a transition you might say from one state to another. It has all sorts of names, but your version is a good as anyone else’s.”
“Do I get a say in any of this?”
“Not really, it’s pretty well done and dusted, your life that is, all your good deeds and bad have been committed to the book of good and bad, and we have to make a decision as to what happens to you next,” said Wayne.
“The whole thing can be exhilarating or disappointing depending of course on what expectations you might have,” said Greg taking an iPad from his pocket and pressing the screen with his index finger.
“You’ve got an iPad?” I asked incredulously.
“Of course,” replied Wayne, “been using them for over a millennium, you know. You humans have never been very quick on the uptake have you.”
“Now,” said Greg, “according to us, there are three options.”
“Up or down, or start again,” said Wayne.
“What’s start again?” I asked.
“We send you back, sort of reuse you, see if you can make a better fist of it a second time,” said Greg.
“It’s very popular among souls who have a few dark spots on them and want the opportunity to make good,” added Wayne, “though why some of them bother is beyond me.”
“So, what are you recommending?” I asked afraid of the answer no matter which way it landed.
“I think you should go back,” announced Greg, “you’ve not a clean enough soul to go up and going down you wouldn’t like, then again that is the whole point of it isn’t it Wayne?”
“Yes, thoroughly unpleasant place though we both agree Hell’s Kitchen is the best café in eternity,” said Wayne.
“Without a doubt,” added Greg, “the sushi is to die for.”
At this point, they both laughed loudly, which I thought odd as I couldn’t see anything to laugh about.
Gathering themselves, they looked at each other and then said, “I think it’s decided then. See you in another eighty years, if not sooner.”
After that everything went blank and my next conscious thought was being carried on my mother’s back through a rice field.
I was alive, I was active, I needed to get on with it.