Author: twistedICYjunk PM
What happens when you die? What if you're not done living yet? This is the story of a kid who found out what happens when you don't think about what could.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Words: 3,055 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 10-07-08 - Status: Complete - id: 2581269
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
26 October 2007
(At rise CASHIER and ROBBER are arguing at the counter by the cash register. ROBBER is waving his gun around as he tries to convince CASHIER to hand over money).
(In heavy Indian accent)
No! I will not condemn my family to a week of starving! I will not give you the money!
(looking frustrated, in Brooklyn accent)
Look, man, your family ain't gonna starve. I know that you're not married, you never have been and you've got no kids. So hand over the money!
Do I KNOW you?
no way, man. Chill out. Just give me the money or you'll NEVER have kids (waves gun at CASHIER's groin threateningly).
ERIC enters the store with a loud bang of the door, oblivious to both CASHIER and ROBBER, despite how loud they are. ROBBER turns to see who has entered. As he does so CASHIER hits him over the head with a cardboard power bar display, grabs the cash drawer and runs out a back entrance marked "employees only." ERIC, meanwhile, is submerged in a shelf, trying to find the right kind of Fritos. Just as ROBBER gets the cardboard box off his head and realizes that the CASHIER and the cash are gone, ERIC surfaces from the shelf, arms, hands and mouth full of Fritos.
(Resigned) At least they feed you in prison.
ROBBER shoots ERIC, who hasn't yet caught on to what was happening and is still standing behind the shelf with the Fritos. As gunshot sounds, lights immediately go off.
few seconds later a
spotlight shines on ERIC, who pushes Fritos bags off of him, sits up
and feels his chest for holes. He looks genuinely surprised to find
none, and stands, dusting himself off.
But…but I don't want to be dead! I was just getting good at being alive! Dammit, now I'll be a virgin for-EVER. Why couldn't I have made it to tomorrow? I was gonna sneak out and meet Bunny tonight…and I was hoping to make it to second base! What a shit time to die…at least I got out of that damn test in Chemistry… (he looks around at the audience and glares at them collectively). I suppose YOU (points at audience) are the divine judges, huh? YOU'RE the ones who decide if I get into Heaven or not. Well…you can just stop judging right now. I don't need Heaven…Hell's probably way more fun, anyway!
As he says the last words, a crack of thunder sounds, and someone laughs ominously. The lights come up to reveal GOD in a uniform obviously indicative of him working in a convenience store with a name-tag reading HI! MY NAME IS GOD. SATAN slouches in a large, high-backed chair, dressed all in black with heavy black eyeliner and an overly pale appearance, with a black crown perched lopsidedly on his head and too many gaudy gold rings on his fingers. If male, his hair should be spiky and messy looking. If female, her hair should be teased into a large pouf.
Hear that, Manny? He wants to come with me. Score one for the devil!
ERIC looks incredulous and backs up a few steps, away from SATAN. GOD starts punching numbers into the cash register, muttering under his breath as though counting something up.
That's two for cheating, seven for boobs on Jesus' likeness, one-and-a-half for lying about her looking fat…
He looks up suddenly, realizing everyone is looking at him.
(talking to ERIC) How many tests did you cheat on last year?
what?? Uh…I dunno. A lot, I guess. That one smart girl…Liza? Yea, her, she sat next to me and…wait. You're GOD. I just told GOD that I cheated on a lot of tests last year. oh, shit. I don't WANT to go to Hell! I swear! I lied! …accidentally? Yeah. I accidentally lied when I said I did earlier!
(smirks at SATAN) Well, no one wants to go to hell. But there's only one way to tell where you're going. First, I add up your sins in the…(glares at cash register) cash register, as your bill, then you give me your good works coupons-you should find those in your pocket-and I subtract those from your sins. Depending on how much your final bill is-if I can get this awful machine to tell me what it is (glares at register again)- I (SATAN clears throat) excuse me, WE, send you either to heaven or to hell.
ERIC digs around in his pants pocket, eventually coming up with a few sad, battered looking coupons, apparently from Kroger. Upon seeing them, SATAN begins to laugh. GOD has gone back to trying to figure out the register and doesn't notice. ERIC looks very nervous and reaches inside his other pocket. He comes up with a spare Frito, two pencils, and a miniature toy. SATAN laughs harder. ERIC puts the contents of his pockets on the counter in front of GOD.
(tries to catch breath, looks at ERIC trying to flatten the coupons, breaks into a fresh bout of laughter. He finally catches his breath). There's no way you're getting into Heaven with THOSE! (laughs more)
GOD looks up and notices the sad state of ERIC's coupons. He looks worried.
hmmm….that seems wrong. I know you weren't the best kid but…(he squints at register) well. Maybe…check in your back pocket. Sometimes they end up there on accident.
ERIC digs around in both of his back pockets. He comes out with 23 cents, two hall passes, and a napkin with a lipstick kiss and a phone number on it. All of which he places on the counter in front of GOD with the other items.
(looking at what ERIC pulled out of his pocket). Well. Maybe not. Hm. Where do you think you should end up…(squints at coupons) Eric?
yeah. I, I dunno. I guess I always figured I had all this time to figure that stuff out. I mean it didn't really seem like my eternal soul was something I had to be all that concerned with. I'm not really trying to make excuses or anything, I'm dead, obviously, and there's not much I can do about that so I might as well tell the truth now. I sort of always thought I would end up in heaven… It seems more boring than hell, for sure, but I am a Catholic school kid, and that's where we're supposed to go, right? Like, I don't really WANT to go to hell, but hey, for that matter, heaven never seemed all that great either, though…can I just, like, chill in purgatory?
(has been stifling laughter for some time. As ERIC finishes speaking he laughs uncontrollably.)
Well, hey, heaven is boring now. Looks like you need to step up your game there, Manny.
I told you not to call me that…LUKE. (glares at SATAN then turns to ERIC with strained friendly expression) why would you say that Heaven sounds boring, Eric?
well, no offense, but I don't really get all aquiver thinking about people floating around in the clouds playing harps, wearing white and acting all angelic and stuff. It's definitely better than the alternative (glances at SATAN) but it's not really an incentive. I really do want to get in, though, sir/ma'am.
(sniffily) I happen to like harp music. It's very soothing. And it's not like everyone there is playing the harp. Some people get to be in commercials. You know, those stupid toilet paper ones? We used to have a woman who was always in cream cheese commercials, but I haven't heard from them about a new one in a while…(gets distracted and goes back to punching numbers into the register)
sir? SIR?! GOD!? Is that it?! Hellloooooo!? (waves hands around GOD's head, GOD remains completely oblivious, continuing to punch in numbers.)
SATAN stands and walks to ERIC. He should walk a little bit like Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, with the same swagger, but a little bit less drunk-looking. SATAN throws his arm around ERIC's shoulders.
You don't need that guy…just think of it. You can wallow in your sins for eternity! In hell the demons scream and the fires burn all day and all night. Not that there's a difference between the two. It's the city that never sleeps, the great equalizer. In hell you're all miserable, no matter what you've done, how much money you had…none of it makes any difference. And best of all it's populated with the worst kind of people, rapists, prostitutes, liars, thieves and dentists!
mmm. It's BEAUTIFUL!
ERIC ducks out from underneath SATAN's arm on hearing "money you had" and starts to edge away. By the time he gets to "dentists" ERIC is leaning over the counter as SATAN spins around, muttering things about hell to himself. He throws himself down in the large chair, singing "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" quietly.
GOD!! HEY!! I WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN!! HOW DO I GET IN? SAVE ME, PLEASE, GOD!
(looks up with a start) …and thirty-five times seventeen…well, jeez, you don't have to yell. You want to get into heaven, huh? Well, you can start by explaining why you felt the need to paint boobs on the large crucifix in the chapel at your school.
(looks ashamed then thoughtful) well. Hmm. I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time. Mostly everybody thought it was funny… the seniors that year were wimps, there was no way they were going to pull a senior prank. Plus, I served community service and said the rosary about a million times to make up for that. I thought Sister Hitler…I mean, Sister Holderman said that I had made it right in the eyes of God…your eyes.
Well, there's another issue. You do bad things, get caught, do what the Good Sisters tell you to do to make up for it and then you do another bad thing. What's your problem? Don't you learn from your mistakes? Shouldn't you eventually stop, take a look at yourself in the mirror and say, hey, wait. This is bad? Come on, look at this.
He pulls out a fairly large stack of paper, each page filled with writing. ERIC starts looking through the papers, with each one his expression gets more and more thoughtful. At some pages, he winces, at others, he looks vaguely ashamed.
Yeah. I guess so. It doesn't really make much sense, does it? At the time, all this stuff (indicates papers) seemed like a good idea. But I guess I'm not really sure why. Sure, most of it was fun for a little bit. But all together like this, and I guess even after each thing, it kind of reminds me of eating way too much. While you're doing it, it seems tasty, yummy, fun, a great idea. Afterwards you feel vaguely guilty, but there's always people there to talk to and have fun with, and most of them have just eaten way too much, too, so no one thinks about it much. But once you go home and lay in bed and try to get to sleep, it all hits you. You get a massive stomachache and you just lay there and think, oh, my God -no offense. I can' t believe I just did that. I feel awful. I'm never eating anything ever again. But you always do. You tell yourself, oh, it's just one bite, everybody else is doing it, it's not a big deal. I won't overeat. And then somehow you get all caught up and do it all over again. A lot of things are like that, I guess. Lying, cheating, stealing, eating, drinking.
(Has been listening closely) hear, hear!
(Kindly) it doesn't have to be bad, you know. Some things that happen like that are good. Like crowds cheering a losing team to victory. Or people banding together after a catastrophe to help the survivors. Or a good audience participating silently in a play or performance (with their cell phones turned off), helping nervous performers pull through. Or those performers, trying out for a play because all their friends are, and ending up having the time of their lives. Peaceful protests. Benefit concerts and teams pulling together at hard practices and getting through. All of those are positive, most are fun if you're with the right people, and you can't really do too much of them. See? Life's not entirely negative and overrated. Sure, there's bad stuff, but you can't dwell on it. You have to take the bad with the good, have some fun and be true to yourself. That's how you get into heaven.
(Was falling asleep during speech, wakes with a start and rolls his eyes) Oh, poo. Someone's a party pooper.
(finishes punching things into the cash register with a flourish. Scoops up the coupons and random things off the counter and punches one more thing into the register. The drawer opens with a ding and he drops everything inside.
(Looks at SATAN)
WE have reached a decision.
(Has been filing his nails, looks up at WE). What? We have? You mean YOU have reached a decision. I wasn't really involved in this whole thing was I? How come this always happens to me?
(GOD winks at ERIC as he crosses the stage and grabs SATAN by the ear.)
If you wouldn't mind waiting in here for just a bit longer, you'll know our decision soon enough.
(He drags SATAN out through the "employees only" exit.)
(whining) Let go of me! How am I supposed to make a grand exit with you hanging on my ear like an overgrown leech? (Etc).
(Watches them exit then crosses to center stage and sits with legs hanging off the edge-talks to audience).
You guys aren't judges, are you? You're alive. You're still living, still breathing, still going to school and work. You're probably hanging out with your friends right now. You're so lucky. I wish I could be alive for just one more day. It's funny, I never thought about it. I never even considered what would happen if I would die. Sure, there are those signs on the highway down to the outlet mall, you know, the ones that say "if you died today where would you spend eternity?" and "Hell is real" but I always just kind of laughed at those. I mean, doesn't everybody? But if you stop and think about it, if you died right now would you be happy? Or would you have regrets?
I do. I wish I had made it past first base. I wish I had learned how to ice-skate, and play hockey. I wish I had told my best friend that the girl he's dating is really great, and that I'm happy for him even though he spends more time with her than with me. I wish I had taken the time to help that girl that fell up the stairs pick up her books. I wish I had the balls to ask out that cute girl in fifth period. I wish I hadn't…missed Orchestra so often just because it's "not cool" to play the cello. I love the cello. I wish I had taken the opportunity to learn more in school, and focused less on what people would say about what I was doing when I told them about it later. I wish I had procrastinated less, and spent less time on facebook. It'll be un-cool soon, anyway. I wish I had read more books when I was alone, I wish I had thought more about things, and paid more attention when I was with my family. I wish I had learned how to swim, and how to do a double-back-flip off the high-dive. I wish I had time to tell my parents that I love them.
It sucks, you know? To be sitting here and thinking about all the stuff I should have done.
Ugh, and to think about my family and friends. I'm D-E-D, DEAD. There's no way they're taking that lightly. I wish I was there to help them through it. (laughs sadly)
I always thought it would be best to live fast and die young. You know how it is. But now that I have…
(He stops and turns, appearing to be listening to something offstage).
(he gets up and walks toward left stage, cocking his head as though he's hearing something very subtle)
It sounds like…
(Gunshot sounds and lights go out. A few seconds later, lights come back on and he is laying on his back on a stretcher, Satan's chair is gone, and there is two paramedics crouched on the ground beside him.)
Man, is this kid lucky
I know. To get shot and miss a main artery by barely a centimeter. He's going to be completely fine. I wish we had more cases like this one.
Yeah. He'll be sore as hell for a few weeks, but other than that…
(Throughout the conversation they have lifted the stretcher and as PARAMEDIC1 says his last line they carry him offstage. GOD comes in still wearing his apron and begins to sweep up the Fritos).