On the day that changed my life, I decided to sleep in and miss the bus on purpose. Hey, I didn't know at the time that I would never be the same tomorrow, so you can't blame me. Trust me. I've thought about it, and this is one of those few situations where I found I could weasel my way out of trouble. I was never a very upstanding individual anyway.

I is me, Liam Fielding. I'm 16, and go to George King prep school. Hey, just because I'm a slacker doesn't mean I'm stupid. Anyway, there's some other stuff you should probably know about me before I get too far along.

Important thing number one: I'm a compulsive liar. Or at least I was before that day. But just because I lied a lot didn't mean that I was good at it. I wasn't.

Important thing number two: I had, and still have, no respect for authority. I've always believed that anarchy, in small doses, can be a healthy thing.

That being said, let's move on to important thing number three: I have absolutely no problem in expressing my opinion. Could you tell?

Okay, so on with the story. Like I said, the day began like any other. I slept in, I missed the bus. Mom came in as usual, and went through her normal morning routine.

Mom: Liam, you're going to be late.

Me: Unh.

We go through the same thing every day, as if she's never realized that I have no intention of getting up on time, and I never have. So, after trying and failing to get me up, Mom left shouting the usual crap about it being my future, she was only paying for it. I think that was supposed to make me feel guilty, but if it was, I never caught on to it.

After I finally got up, I went downstairs. With my uniform thrown on as kind of an afterthought, I grabbed a nutrigrain bar and started heading out the door to my bike, when my Dad interrupted me. He had been sitting at the table reading the Business section of the paper and eating cornflakes.

"You're late again, Liam."

"Yeah. What's your point?"

"You won't get successful in life if you're always late."

"Why should you care? It's not your life." Dad put down the paper, irritated as hell.

"Why? Because you're my son, Liam. I'm worried about you. If you don't start shaping up, you're never going to grow up to be anything. You need to get your act together."

"And what if I don't? You'll kick me out of the house? You'll send me off to military school?"

"That might be an option," Dad said icily.

"Screw you, and screw your freakin' pep talks, okay? Shut the hell up, and leave me alone."

"That's enough of your mouth."

"Just piss off, okay?"

"Excuse me?"

"I'm outta here." I slammed the door shut and went out to my bike.

Yeah, I have a bike. My parents don't trust my driving skills. Imagine that. I flicked on my CD player, and turned up Green Day as I rode out to school. Stupid me, I was so mad, and I had my CD player turned up so loud that I didn't notice the car at the intersection. I never paid any attention to traffic lights. Again, you can imagine why my parents didn't trust my driving skills. So, as you might expect, the red volvo plowed straight into me. How did I know it was a volvo? Because I could see the emblem on the front grate as my head smashed into it. It was the last thing I saw before I zonked out.

When your spirit leaves your body, you feel really lightheaded. It takes a while to get used to the fact that you don't have a body anymore. For example, as I rushed above the clouds, I got the sensation that I wanted to barf. But then I noticed that, oh! My body's down there. I don't need to barf. It was a real trip, lemme tell you. Weirder still was coming to terms with being physically dead. My personal reaction was one of complete calm.

"If I'm up here, but I'm down there…HOLY CRAP! I'm dead!" Then, seeing the fate of my BMX on the street, I added, "My bike is completely totaled!"

Okay, okay, so my initial reaction was not as controlled as I led you to believe. I'm trying not to be a compulsive liar anymore, but old habits die hard. Anyway, yeah. I was dead. That red volvo had been responsible, obviously. I was thinking about reporting the driver to the police, but it was really my fault for crossing on a red anyway, and I figured the police would kinda freak out if they started getting complaints from a dead kid.

In the meantime, I was hovering above the clouds. It was freezing. I was wishing I had a jacket. You've probably never had to sit on a cloud before, but it's one of the coldest most uncomfortable surfaces you'll ever feel. It's almost as bad as marble. All that stuff with the cherubs using clouds like pillows and blankets is total bull. No cherub in their right mind would sleep on a cloud.

So, I was sitting on the cloud when I heard a loud booming voice from behind me.

"You look cold, son." I turned around and saw an old guy dressed in a white suit. He had a really long beard, and one of those little sticker name tags that said "Hello, my name is St. Peter". I took a hard look at the name tag.

"You're kidding me, right?"

"What? This?" he looked at the tag, "No, my boy, I really am Saint Peter. Not allowed to lie up here. The Boss doesn't take kindly to that kind of thing."

"Well shi-" I tried to finish the word, but nothing came out. I tried it again "Sh-"

"No cursing either," St. Peter replied. I wanted to curse again, but I knew I couldn't, so I just kept my mouth shut.

"So, I'm really dead, huh?"

"Most people usually act a little more shocked when they find out but yes, you are dead."

"Alright. So, let's get to the pearly gates, sign my name and I'll just be on my merry way."

"I'm afraid it's not that easy, Liam,"

"How the he- oh. How do you know my name?"

"That's the least I know about you, and God knows even more."

"Right. Omnipotent. I forgot about that."

"I'm not. He is. I'm just the recorder."

"Fine, fine. So why can't we just head on in?"

"The truth is, Liam, you've done several less than reputable things in your young life. And there are entrance codes. You're a smart boy, Liam. You ought to know such things."

"So I'm going to hell?" I felt panicky all of a sudden. Heaven I could maybe do, but hell? Maybe I was no saint, but I wasn't ready for fire and brimstone either.

"You're not that bad, son. You'll be given a chance to redeem yourself."

"You'll send me back to earth?"

"Maybe. If you can convince the Big Man that you'll be able to do a better job."

"You mean God?"

"You're a bright boy, aren't you?" he said sarcastically. I didn't know saints could be sarcastic, especially ones who looked like Saint Peter. He looked like he would sooner buy you an ice cream cone than carry out your afterlife sentencing.

"Alright, where do I go?"

"Through there" he indicated a gate that was made out of tarnished silver. A sign hung above it that said "defendants".

"So I just go right on in?"

"No. There's a waiting room. It might take a while."

"Oh. Great." I went through the heavy gates and this great big cloud of fog came swirling around me. When it cleared, I was in a wood-paneled waiting room that looked kind of like a doctor's waiting room. A big door stood in front of me. I sat down in one of the tacky green chairs that lined the walls and picked up a magazine from the table. The magazine had a cover that looked like the national enquirer. The headline blared:

Boy killed by Volvo! Where is his soul destined to go? Only time will tell. I did a double take. The magazine was about me! I opened it to read further.

"Liam Fielding lived a less than perfect life. He was born to Sarah and John Fielding in 1987 at Bess Kaiser hospital in Portland, Oregon. Throughout his short life, he had little to no respect for authority, did whatever he wanted, and was anything but pious…

I was cut off in my reading by a voice that came in over an intercom.

"Fielding, Liam. Your trial is ready." Trial? What was this about a trial? I was screwed.

The room looked like a courtroom. There was only me, and a judge sitting at the stand who looked a little like Winston Churchill.

"Well, well, well. Mr. Fielding. I knew it was only a matter of time. Then again, I know everything, so there you are." He laughed quietly at his little joke. I didn't really think it was all that funny.

"Yeah. Right."

"Well, let's get to business."

"How's this going to work?"

"I'll give you certain events in your life, and you'll defend yourself."

"Okay. Easy enough."

"That's what you think."


"Nothing, nothing. Let's start. Alright. In sixth grade, you cut classes and smoked your first marijuana cigarette behind the school."

"Oh. Well…Uh…Okay, okay that wasn't the best choice. It just sounded like a good idea at the time."

"You didn't seem to think it was a bad choice when you became addicted to the stuff."

"Well…Yeah. I've never been good with judgement."

"That's for sure." God snorted.

"You're pretty sarcastic for somebody holy."

"I'm not a body, son. I'm a spirit. Sarcasm is just something that comes with the territory. Let's move on, shall we?"

And move on he did. The trial covered everything from all the times I'd disobeyed or flipped off my parents to all the times I skipped class, and the time I'd gotten my best friend drunk, and refused to drive him home. That had happened a week before the volvo had plowed me over.

"So what do you have to say for yourself?" God said. He looked as though my answer would be entertaining.

"You know what I'm going to say. You're omnipotent."

"Yeah, I just wanted to hear the words come out of your own mouth."

"Oh. Well…I'm not going to lie to you, since that would count against me. It would wouldn't it?"

"That's right."

"Okay. So I'll just say that I'm not a very good person. But I don't want to go to hell. So if you could just send me back to Earth so I could do stuff better, I'd be perfectly okay with that."

"So would I. The first step on the road to redemption is admitting you've made a mistake. So, there you have it. You'll go back to Earth to start your life anew."

"That's it?"

"That's it."

"But…That was so easy!"

"The trials aren't meant to be that hard."

"Okay. So…When do I go back?"

"Right now." God snapped his fingers. There was a big flash of light, and sonic boom, and everything vanished.

I sat up in my crib, and looked at the pastel-colored ducky mobile that hung above my head.

"So this is what He meant by starting my life anew," I thought to myself, as I began my life as Liam Fielding for the second time.