"Hey buddy, no cutting in line!"
I open my eyes. Looming over me is a man with large scar running from one side of his face to the other, glaring.
"Everybody's been dying you get here; you can wait like everybody else!"
I stand up and back away, only to trip over the unconscious form of Pammy. She wakes with a start, breathing heavily. She reaches for my collar and pulls me to her, looking more angry than 'Scarface' over there, who has returned to standing in a long line.
"Where the fuck am I, Trakolski?!"
"Hey, hey, lay off babes! How should I know?"
Pam lets go and stands up, brushing herself off and looking around. As far as I can see, we're in a big white room, surrounded by hundreds of people in either direction. They were all standing in a single file line. A man who was walking along the row stopped in front of me and Pammy, and crossed his arms. His hair is the weirdest color of red.
"Excuse me, Sir and Madam; I know you both just came in a few minutes ago, but it's company policy that all new arrivals stand exactly in the line."
"Who the fu-" I start to say, before the guy waves his hand and all of a sudden I'm off my feet and in the line, Pam right behind me. We can't move.
"Now, you two be good little new arrivals and wait your turn." He waggles his finger in my face, and I have the urge to bite it. I probably would have, could I move. "No cutting."
The man stiffens and raises his eyebrows at me. "I heard that." He jerks his head suddenly to look at Pam. "Madam, your language is absolutely appalling. However, I'll let it fly, seeing as how you just got hit by a train."
Me and Pam's eyes widen to size of plates, but before anything could be said Red-Hair Guy vanishes in a burst of light.
The line lurches forward, and I'm able to walk forward two steps. I hear Pam move behind me.
All we can do now is wait.
It feels like two hours before I finally get feeling back in my fingertips, and I clench and unclench my hands into fists into wonder. What did that guy do to us? Shoot us up with morphine?
I'm two people from entering a big double set of doors, and as of now none of my questions have been answered. These include, but are not limited to; What the fuck? Who the fuck? Where the fuck? and, (my personal favorite) Why the fuck?
The lines moves forward again as the two people in front of me walk through the doors, a blinding light coming through them. Behind me, I hear Pam let out a little gasp. Two seconds later, she's jumped on my back and is pulling at my hair.
"Oi! Get off of me, you crazy bitch!"
"Ass! Thief! Murderer!"
"Murderer!? What's the meaning of that?"
She slides off of me, and I whirl around to face her.
"If you hadn't slung your heavy-ass bag at me, I wouldn't have been tangled up with you like that!"
"This is all your fault! If you hadn't bothered me anyway and gone and, I don't know, stolen another television or something, we wouldn't have...have-"
"Whatever! Whoever pushed us was probably aiming for you anyway!"
"The nerve of you, Victor Trakolski!"
"Sod off, bitch."
"If I may interrupt, it's your twos' turn." A loud, booming voice echoed from behind us. We both turned to see the double doors swung wide open, anything within them just a blur of bright light.
"Step forward, Pam and Victor."
So we did.
"How did you...?" Pam asked, shading her eyes with her hand.
"I know all. Now, Alnair, can you turn off that damn lamp or are you trying to blind us all?" the voice boomed.
"Sorry, boss, it's for effect," called a small voice called from somewhere off to the left. The brightness faded away, and another white room came into view. However, this room had no long line of people. Just a desk right in front of us, and behind it, a man wearing a tye-dye t-shirt with hair so blonde it was almost as bright as that lamp.
"What's up, brother. And, uh, sister?" he said, looking us over and grinning. His teeth were so white they were blinding.
"Who are you? Where's God?" Pam asked, stepping forward cautiously. The man continued smiling and set down what he was reading, a heavy bound book.
"God?" he repeated, laughing a little. He thought to himself for a moment. "Ooooh, you're one of those people. Hate to break it to you since, ya know, you're dead, but there is no 'God'."
Pam looked like she'd just been hit by a projectile brick.
I could only let out a small 'Ha!'. Somehow, I had always known this. Somehow.
"Oh, they all think that, Victor," the man said, "like they're not 'surprised'." He made quote signs with his fingers, rolling his eyes. "Something having to do with the state of the world. Lemme tell you, we do our best. We're just short on employees at the moment."
Pam still was speechless.
"And just who are you all?" I asked, crossing my arms.
The man thought to himself again, before his face lit up, something he appeared to be very used it.
"We're the Stars, man. Always watching, but only sometimes seen?"
Pam continued staring, half in awe and half in horror, at the bright eyed (and bright haired) man.
"Dude, we're the Stars! You know...high above the planet? All this 'God' nonsense, yeah, just an idea planted in people's heads. We're what's really waiting for you on the other side. Well, us, and Elvis."
Okay, whatever this guy was smoking, I needed to get my hands on some.
"Lemme break it down for you, mortals. There is no heaven or hell.. Just up and down. And, on occasion, the middle. But that's rare. And we are the ones who watch over it." He sat back and looked proud, "Well, me especially. I'm kinda of the head honcho, okey-dokey?"
"So who are you, exactly?" I ask.
"I'm the higher up, the bee's knees, Apollo, chariot guy...you know...Helios."
"Helios," I repeat.
"Yes." He smiles again, and I am blinded by its light. His halo of blonde hair and the lamp stunt make a whole lot more sense now.
"Ah yes, so anyway...now let's see where you two are going to end up. We're probably holding up the line," He pauses and flips through the book he'd set down before, stopping on a page.
"Here we go. Victor Trakolski, age twenty-four, going...down. Aww, too bad man." I shrug. Too bad, indeed. It's not like I was expecting anything different, though.
"And you," he points to Pam. "You are going...well, look at that! You're going down as well!"
Pam looks like she's been hit in the face by a brick. Again. I internally snigger. "W-What?! That's impossible!"
"I'm afraid it is possible; not only possible, but very true! And how convenient I can bundle you two together. Saves money on postage."
"B-But why?! I go to church every Sunday, I give to the poor, I am a righteous woman!"
"Ahaha, like I told you before, we're Stars. Your 'god' has no effect on us. Doesn't matter. We judge you by your souls, pretty lady, not by your actions alone. And this book here says you ain't as righteous as you claim to be."
"How not? What have I done wrong?" Pam cries, indignant. I snort. I should have seen this coming. Bitch should just shut up and take it.
Helios raises an eyebrow at her, before sighing and reading aloud a paragraph from his book.
"'Pamela Derigey, age twenty-six, brown hair, brown eyes. Weak sighted. Had relatively pleasant childhood. Attended college for two and a half years before dropping out due to lack of concentration. Lives alone. Fails at connecting with people on an emotional level; seems to have built a 'wall' between her and the rest of the world. Self-righteous and narcissistic. Judges people by first impressions. Surprisingly enough, was engaged.' Ah, here's the kicker - 'Refuses to see the good in people.'"
Helios slammed the book shut. "And that, Pamela Derigey, is why you are going down."
It's really quite funny when Pammy has that look on her face. Like she's just been slapped twice. I walk over to her, sling my scrawny arm around her shoulders, and say,
"Oh, come on, Pammy, it'll be an adventure."
Pam is still so in shock she doesn't even have the heart to push me away or shrug me off. She just continues staring straight ahead at Helios.
He claps his hands, and the bright lamp is on again. From somewhere off to the left, a guy comes strolling up to Helios's desk, holding a lamp. This must be Alnair. He's holding a piece of paper in his free hand.
"Take these two to Pluto. They're his problem now."
"Pluto?" I mumble.
"Yes, he's in charge of 'Down'. You might find you like him. He's like you."
Well, that can't possibly be good, seeing as how I'm a total ass.
"So...why's Pluto in charge of something so big? It's not even a planet anymore."
"Oh yeah, he was demoted in your view, but promoted in ours'. The stars are whack like that." Helios answered.
I nod slowly, "Yeah...that might just be you."
"You are taking this all so well. I'm impressed," Helios said, continuing to smile. It was getting kinda creepy. We remained staring at each other until Alnair interrupted.
Helios turned his magnificent gaze to Alnair.
"I was told to give this to you." He handed Helios the strip of paper he'd been holding.
"Thank you, Alnair, even if you are increasingly annoying with that lamp of your's." Helios muttered, before glancing down to read the note. His smile dwindled as his eyes moved across the page, until he was frowning. For some reason, I didn't think this was possible.
"Well, this is most interesting indeed."
"What?" I ask.
"Well, it would appear that Mars wants you two. Says he likes your hair color." My eyes glanced up as my red bangs. My hair color?
"Yes, Victor my man, your hair color. Weird, I know."
"Does this mean we're going Up?" Pam asked, speaking for the first time in forever, hope shining in her eyes.
"Not quite." Helios is smiling now, almost devilishly, and with a clap of his hands, everything goes white.
That damn lamp.