I awoke feeling as though someone had cleaned out my head with a pipe bomb. Shapes and forms begin to form around the circumference of my eyes....slowly. My last conscious thought comes back tome in a rush as a kind of clarity kicks in reminding me that I have been involved in an accident.

"Don't move" I tell myself. "Something is likely broken."

"Nothing is broken Michael." A gentle voice enters my head.

Startled I sit up attempting to reconnect with the world.

"What?" I croaked aloud.

"Nothing is broken and you are safe. Now, stand up and give me a hand will you?"

Without warning my entire body came alive with sounds, the smell of ....fresh bread? I looked across the room to see a whithered, old man behind a long wooden bar. Taking note of my new surroundings, I found myself in what appeared to be a saloon. I stood with ease, amazed that I was still in one piece but admittedly.....

"Confused."

"Yes....that was the word I was looking for thanks."

"Don't mention it." The elderly man shrugged. "Now, could you hand me those crates?"

Just in front of the bar stood two stacks of wooden beer crates. Like something out of the old west and built to last years if necessary. I put off the million dollar question in favor of helping the elderly gentlemen with his labor. After all, one could learn all there was to know sometimes by simply listening.

"Smart woman.....your mother. Taught you well she did."

"I'm not even going to ask how you can read my mind like that."

"A question phrased within a sentence is still a question Mike. Don't fish, just ask."

Confused as I was, I decided to play along. "Ok, so I'm asking."

"I know everything."

"Everything." I repeated. Not a question. Just a suspension of disbelief.

"Remember when you were nine and you were so thrilled that someone would come to your new house and ask you to play baseball that you went out and played for an hour before you realized that you had been playing in your underwear the entire time?"

I was dumbfounded. Embarrassed and dumbfounded. Check that....Amazed, embarrassed and dumbfounded.

"How about your first kiss?" He chuckled.

"Please don't remind me."



"That poor girl! Ha ha! The both of you with braces gettin locked up, face to face on her front porch and her dad opens the door! He he he....." He was having a much better time at this than I was. "Shall I go on?"

"Please don't." I whimpered.

Without realizing it, the entire time we were speaking, I had successfully completed my task. Both stacks of beer crates had been loaded atop the bar.

"You work well. Again....your mother's doin."

"That's the second time you have mentioned my mother sir. How do you know her? Do you know everyone as well as everything?"

"I do indeed." He replied and with a straight face.

A long pause. Images filling my mind. Bright light....a scream. It hit me then. Without warning, everything was perfectly clear.

"Lisa? The baby?"

He took on the look of someone who had just let a cat out of a bag only to attack an unintended victim. With a gesture that indicated I should not jump to any conclusions he motioned me to a chair.

"Fine....both fine and resting. A few scrapes and bruises. Lisa will deliver a healthy boy in about six weeks. You saved them Michael. You sacrificed yourself by turning that car to the drivers side and taking the hit thinking only of saving your family. Not a care about yourself." He spoke quickly so that I could concentrate on his voice and not the sorrowful wail emerging from my soul.

I was determined not to feel pity for myself. A single tear broke free from it's cradle and gently slid down my cheek as the old man took my face into his hands. I looked into his eyes and saw.......everything. It was the same everything he had mentioned to me earlier. The universe began to unfold before me with incredible clarity.

"Better than surfing the net huh?" He chuckled.

Not only did I know everything but....it seemed like an eternity had passed....slowly....I knew EVERYONE...not just from my lifetime but from the beginning of time itself.

"Kind of hard to look at a wallet size when you have a 10x13 in your face."

"What?" I didn't understand the metaphor.

"It's kind of hard to think of your grief when you know EVERYTHING and EVERYONE isn't it?"

He had a point.





"Well, Im off." The Man grabbed his straw hat and in the blink of an eye was changed from his bar apron to a bright Hawiian printed shirt and walking for the door.

"Wait!" I cried.

"You'll do fine. I'm officially on vacation Michael. I'm lettin someone else play God for awhile!" And with that he was gone.

"God?"

"GOD?"

Suddenly I had the overwhelming urge to answer myself.

END CHAPTER ONE.