At some point in the middle of Season 1...
It was a seemingly ordinary day at the ambiguously located train station, the station where people of all types and backgrounds wound up after completing their voyage to heaven. However, things quickly became ominous as one of the doors that lined the station's corridors was opened. For those who didn't watch the first season, these doors served as the entrances to bedrooms, where people would suddenly find themselves after meeting their demise.
As previously noted, one particular door was forcefully shoved open to the point of being knocked off its hinges. It subsequently smacked one of the passing tenants straight in the face and sent him keeling over. A short, stocky black man soon left his room, stepping through the small dust cloud that resulted from the crash, and strutted towards the platform where the trains were.
Cascading out from underneath his slightly angled navy blue top hat with a vermillion band, the mysterious man's black hair was long and curly, and almost entirely obscured the right half of his face. He was wearing black loafers and slacks, alongside a mustard-yellow tailed coat over a gray fishnet top, which provided a view of his heavily-tattooed torso. He carried a thin, black staff with him, which was about half as tall as he was, and was crowned with a translucent spinach-green sphere on one end. He didn't use it as a cane, instead holding it loosely in one hand. A dignified scowl was painted on his face as he admired his surroundings. In particular, he made note of how everyone seemed to have a visual indicator of how they passed, such as a knife or bullet wound, or a rope-burn around their neck. There was even a man who was permanently covered in hives, and was swollen in a few areas, suggesting that he had died of a strong allergic reaction.
When he was almost at the platform, he encountered a small crowd of people clogging up the hallway. The man chose not to stop moving, instead continuing to walk at the same speed. Suddenly, a shadow shaped just like him started to act like it had a mind of its own. It strutted ahead of its master and kicked the people ahead of him, sending them all reeling out of his way. Once that was done, it retreated back to its master's side.
For the rest of the time spent traveling to the train, everyone couldn't help but stare at the mysterious man and his seemingly sentient silhouette, wondering just who he was, how he'd gotten here, and what he was up to. Finally, the man found an isolated seat on the train, with his shadow occupying the seat right next to him.
"Grrr... I suppose after all these years I've finally suffered a setback," he grumbled, prompting his shadow to reply in pantomime. "Yeah, don't remind me. I know we're trapped up here, left to wander heaven for eternity."
A few seconds of silence passed.
"Or are we?" the man suddenly had an epiphany. "That's it! We'll formulate a method to bring people back to Earth! Then we'll arrive back home, and I can exact my revenge on those assholes Roxanne and Trevor! How hard could it be?! I mean, we do have voodoo on our side!"
The man then proceeded to chuckle to himself sinisterly, rubbing his palms together, before his laugh then evolved into a maniacal cackle.
Back to the Present Day...
Episode 1: You Revived My Father! (Part 1):
It had been over a year since Ike Van Dyke had arrived in the afterlife, and let's just say he had no problem finally getting adjusted to his new surroundings. At the moment, one of his closest new friends was strolling through the neighborhood. It was none other than Todd, who looked to be in very high spirits. His new look for the season consisted of a lime-green T-shirt with a Super Nintendo controller on it, worn under a short-sleeved grass-green dress shirt that was unbuttoned. He kept his dark gray Converse sneakers, but his black cargo shorts had been swapped out for tan ones.
Turns out that Todd wasn't paying Ike a visit, for he instead headed up the walkway towards the Malone residence, which was right next door. He took a deep breath before he rang the doorbell and stood up straight so he could look as formal as possible. A minute passed before Jimbo opened the door, immediately adopting a look of annoyance.
"What do you want, kid? Here to sell boy-scout cookies or something?" he asked flatly.
"Hardly. I'm here to, uh..." Todd stuttered, before quickly pulling out an index card. "...Uh, speak to a lovely young woman by the name of Gracie."
"And what do you want with my daughter, exactly?" Jimbo asked, deepening his scowl.
"Oh, just to ask for her hand in holy matrimony!" Todd finished, pulling a box of condoms out of his left pocket, before realizing his mistake. "Whoops! Wrong pocket, heh! Uh, here you go!"
He quickly pulled a dark red rose out of his right pocket and held it up with a wide grin. Jimbo's eyes narrowed some more.
"Uh-huh. Yeah, I'd suggest you fuck off before I have to report you to the authorities on the grounds of harassment," he threatened.
"B-B-But please! Your daughter is my destined soulmate!" Todd dropped to his knees as he grew more panicked. "Uh, h-here! It's a gift from me to Gracie!"
He held up what looked to be a yellow dildo with white ribbon tied around it.
"It has been crafted from the finest of rubber, and molded in the image of yours truly!" Todd explained. "Not to mention I shelled out all my tooth-fairy money just to get this!"
"Well that explains why it's so damn small! Now get! Get off my lawn!" Jimbo finally snapped, literally booting Todd off the doorstep and into the garbage cans on the curb. "Ugh, kids these days."
Todd slowly got up and dusted the garbage off of his slightly disheveled self.
"Alright, Todd. Don't beat yourself up over this. There's always next time," he repeatedly told himself.
Just when he was starting to leave the neighborhood, something peeking out of the trash pile caught his eye. Rummaging through the garbage, he discovered what looked to be a pair of carnival tickets.
"Oooooh!" he said in awe as his eyes lit up.
Meanwhile, Ike, Eli, and Jay were occupying their usual booth at 'The Rusty Tap', all of them also having updated their outfits for the new season. Each of them had a beer mug in hand as they watched today's news report on the flatscreen across the aisle.
"Good afternoon, I'm Rebecca Beaumont! Here with a story that we surprisingly forgot to cover! Apparently Amy Winehouse celebrated her eighth death-day over the summer!" Rebecca explained. "And reports say that she was also on her period at the time. Now normally I'd feel bad for any woman to have to endure that, but the bitch fucking deserved it, no?"
As soon as that brief spiel was over, the guys turned their attention back to each other. A few more seconds of silence passed, during which they all sipped their beers a little.
"Alright, so we got renewed. Great! Sooo... what exactly do we do now?" Eli said. For his new look, he'd traded in his red flannel shirt for a dark gray one, and his tan hiking boots were now black.
"I say we wait until someone bursts in with the main conflict. In the meantime, what say we talk about our personal afterlives a little?" Jay chimed in. His new outfit consisted of a red plaid suit worn over a gray turtleneck with black loafers. A red plaid trilby hat with a gray band around it completed the look.
"Fair enough. I'll start," Ike replied. "Last week, Robyn completed her colonoscopy, so now we can finally try anal sex for the first time!"
"Uh, dude? We're in heaven. You didn't need to wait for the procedure to end," Eli said. "Whether she had her colonoscopy or not, you wouldn't have contracted anything."
"Oh," Ike replied.
"And as someone who held a marriage for over twenty years back on Earth, and had a strong sex life during that time, I can assure you that you're not missing much," Jay added.
"Okay, well that didn't really go anywhere," Ike shrugged. For his new outfit, he kept his gray Converse sneakers, much like Todd, but swapped out his dark orange Hawaiian shirt for a white one. It was worn under an unbuttoned, red wine-colored vest with a tan ascot and some black skinny-jeans.
"Well at some point in between seasons, Chloe, the basset hound I owned back on Earth passed away, so now I have someone to keep me company at home," Eli chimed in. "Let me just say, there's nothing more relaxing than going to bed at night and getting lulled to sleep by her snoring. And then waking up and feeding her some kosher, pork-free dog food every morning."
"Good to hear," Jay replied. "At some point, I should come over and see if she gets along with Reverend."
"Who?" Ike asked.
"Oh, he's my pet Newfoundland," Jay explained.
"Really? I had no idea," Eli said.
"What do you mean?" Jay asked. "He's been up here with me for decades at this point."
"Well then he clearly never got any screen-time before," Ike replied.
It was then that Todd entered the bar with a skip in his step. He quickened his pace as soon as he spotted his friends.
"Guys!" he yelled in excitement once he reached the table.
"Whoa there, Todd. What's the rush?" Ike asked.
"And why do you look like you've been swimming through a landfill?" Eli added.
"Well I was trying to impress Gracie again, and was rejected for the thousandth time - seriously, I kept track - and then I found two tickets to a Halloween-themed carnival in Seattle in their garbage can!" Todd explained, holding up his tickets. "And since there are two tickets, that means I have to take a friend with me!"
"And why were you rummaging through their garbage exactly?" Jay asked.
"It doesn't matter! Just please! Someone go with me!" Todd replied, now jittering in place.
"Nose goes!" Eli quickly said, he and Jay placing fingers on their noses.
"Aw, damn it," Ike groaned. "Sometimes I hate being the main character."
With that, Ike and Todd traveled to the carnival in Seattle the next day. Even standing outside the fair grounds, it was a sight to behold. There were countless carnival games and amusement park rides, all decked out in Halloween decorations and lights. Countless people in various costumes of all styles and themes could be seen populating the area. When it came time for the two to enter, they were halted.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, kid," the bouncer said. "You two need to be dressed for the occasion. And by that, I mean where are your costumes?"
"One sec," Ike replied.
One Gilligan-flip later, the two reappeared at the front of the line, though this time Ike was wearing glasses and a business suit, with the unbuttoned dress-shirt providing a glimpse of a Superman T-shirt worn underneath. Meanwhile, Todd was dressed up as Steven Universe.
"Okay, now can we enter?" Todd asked.
"Carry on, good sirs," the bouncer smiled, opening the velvet rope for them.
Upon entering the park, Todd and Ike couldn't help but look around at the bright lights and decorations, and taking in the sounds of the roller-coasters and carnival games. The aromas of countless carnival foods also permeated their noses.
"Alright, we're here," Ike said. "Now the tickets allow free access to everything at the fair, so what do you wanna do first? I honestly don't care."
"Gee, I dunno. It all looks so fun!" Todd exclaimed. "I don't know if I wanna bob for apples, or take a hay-ride, or see if I can win that cool Chewbacca plush, or... or, splurge on those souvenirs that say 'I Heart Seattle' and serve no other function!"
"Montage?" Ike asked.
"Montage," Todd replied.
With that, a montage began with the Thomas the Tank Engine theme playing in the background. The first scene centered on Todd repeatedly trying his hand at a minigame that involved shooting a maximum of three ping-pong balls at moving targets and repeatedly failing. With each fail, Ike would roll his eyes and hand him another five-dollar bill.
Suddenly, however, the scene paused and duplicates of Ike and Todd popped up out of nowhere.
"Okay, whose idea was this?" Ike demanded.
"Uh, whoops! Sorry! I'll, uh, change the music," Todd immediately started tapping on his smartphone. "There."
That mishap out of the way, the two friends disappeared and the montage resumed, this time with some uptempo yet slightly eerie techno music playing in the background. The second scene centered on Ike hurriedly barreling through a pumpkin pie-eating contest as Todd cheered him on from the sidelines. The third scene showed them both bobbing for apples and excelling at it. The fourth scene showed them both nervously walking through a haunted house, only to run off in terror as soon as a giant animatronic Rottweiler popped up and growled at them.
The next scene showed Ike and Todd riding on an incredibly loopy roller-coaster, with the former clutching his stomach as his face turned green.
"Oog! It's times like these when I'm thankful that dead people can't puke! Urf!" Ike groaned.
The final scene then showed the two casually enjoying a slow hay-ride along the park's borders.
"Heh, talk about beating a dead horse!" Todd pointed to the horseman at the front of the wagon, who was whipping the animal that pulled it.
"It's a donkey, Todd," Ike replied flatly.
Finally, the montage concluded, as the two made their way towards the outskirts of the fair. Both of them had overall content expressions on their faces.
"Well that was fun!" Todd said eagerly. "What do we do next?"
"I dunno. As I said before, it's all on you," Ike replied.
"Ooh! How about we go in there?" Todd pointed to a circus tent nearby.
It was about half as large as the other tents at the carnival, and had an entirely red and purple exterior. There didn't appear to be a line leading up to its entrance.
"Er... I dunno, Todd. Doesn't look like there's anything to do here," Ike replied.
"Oh, I wouldn't be so sure about that," a random voice called out.
Both Ike and Todd looked towards the tent's entrance again, spotting a short, stocky black man strutting out towards them, a mischievous grin on his face. The two of them proceeded to look at each other worriedly, obviously unnerved by his presence.
"Greetings, gentlemen. A tip of the hat from Dr. Blackman," he said, courteously tipping his hat as his shadow waved at the duo. "How are y'all doin'?"
"Oh, uh, hey there," Ike greeted awkwardly.
"See? I told you there'd be something worth our while," Todd chimed in. "So! What's the story with your attraction?"
"Oh, something very special, actually," Dr. Blackman chuckled sinisterly. "I possess the power to send people back down to Earth from the afterlife. That way you can pay a visit to your friends. Your families. That one uncle who you've never met, but he somehow knows you exist, and sends you money every Christmas and birthday without fail."
"Wow, cool!" Todd exclaimed. "I can finally see my parents again after all these decades!"
"Splendid!" Dr. Blackman replied as his shadow beckoned the two friends to enter the tent. "Then please. Step this way, boys."
"Todd? I'm not so sure about this," Ike said.
"Aw, c'mon! Do you have any idea how cool this is? I mean, he can let us visit our loved ones as ghosts! His shadow has a mind of his own, for crying out loud!" Todd replied.
"Mind of its own, my ass. Face it, Todd. This guy's most likely a desperate carny looking to line his pockets," Ike rolled his eyes as he started to walk away.
Suddenly, the sentient shadow hurried after him and lifted him up by the front of his shirt. Ike's eyes widened in shock as he was somehow held up in the air. Dr. Blackman quickly stepped in front of him, his face more serious.
"Don't you disrespect me, pretty boy! Don't you derogate, or deride!" he snapped, dropping Ike to the ground, before he switched to singing. "This is my show now, not your show~! And I've got friends on the other side~."
"Okay, so we're parodying Disney films now?" Ike asked, slowly rising to a stand.
"C'mon, Ike! Lighten up!" Todd groaned. "Surely you have a family you'd like to see again too!"
"Well, I... do, actually..." Ike stuttered.
"Hahaha, well then come on in!" Dr. Blackman invited, the tent flaps somehow opening up behind him.
As soon as the three stepped into the tent, the entrance oddly shut itself. Dr. Blackman quickly strutted ahead of the other two and backflipped onto a stage in the back of the tent, where a spotlight somehow appeared. Ike and Todd looked around the interior of the tent, which was entirely burgundy in color. There were several wooden shelves around the perimeter, packed with books and crystal balls, and the walls were decked out in countless voodoo masks.
"Step into my tent, boys~. Put your minds at ease~," he sang as his shadow swiped a ten-dollar bill out of each of his customers' pockets. "If you relax, it will enable me... to do, anything I please~!"
He then did a high-five and fist-bump with his shadow, followed by the two wiggling their fingers for a second or two. This made Ike raise an eyebrow, while Todd adopted an expression of awe.
"I was once the villain~," Dr. Blackman continued, tangoing with his shadow as the latter dipped him. "In Love After First Night~," he and his shadow moonwalked to opposite ends of the stage, before spinning around and striking a pose on their tiptoes. "But I've turned over a brand new leaf, and now...~" he and his shadow both river-danced in tandem with each other. "I'ma set things right~!"
He then stopped dancing and held still, staring directly into his small audience.
"I just stole this song from Disney, but I'm doin' it with priiiiide~!" he sang. "And I've got friends on the other side~."
"Yeah, right," Ike muttered.
Suddenly, Dr. Blackman tapped his staff onto the ground and the tent flaps somehow opened themselves afterwards.
"Step right up, ladies and gents!" he called out through a megaphone, prompting several more customers to enter the tent.
The first two to step up were what appeared to be an elderly couple, consisting of a man in a suit with feathered chestnut hair, and a curly-haired brunette with a fox-scarf.
"Wait a minute. I know you guys!" Ike said as soon as he spotted them.
The couple ignored him and stepped up to the stage.
"Hello, sir. Our names are Ryan and Leslie Simmons. We'd like to pay our son Mark a visit," the old man pled, his tone marred with politeness.
Next up was Pietro Vicciotelli, a man who both Ike and Todd recognized as the anchorman behind the daily news reports.
"Holy shit! Pietro? What are you doing here? Where's the camera crew?" Ike asked.
"I've got Rebecca covering for me. But right now I've gotta go apologize to my dad for being a thorn in his side back on Earth. Not to mention paying my sisters a visit. I hear one of them married a rich guy," Pietro replied. "Hmmm, come to think of it, a guy who can bring people back from the dead is pretty news-worthy. I'll be right back!"
Everyone watched as he scurried out of the tent in a flash. A second straight couple hurried into the tent very soon after. Both the man and the woman looked to be in their thirties, and had bronze skin and black hair. An elderly Chilean man with gray hair all over entered soon after them.
"Yeah, I dunno who any of you are," Ike commented.
"Bon giorno, Dr. Blackman," the woman greeted in a Brooklyn accent. "I'm Rosie Romano. My husband Richard and I would like to visit our daughter Roxanne."
"And I am Emilio Rodriguez. I'd like to pay a visit to my granddaughter, Tequila," the old man added.
"And I'll be happy to help out all of y'all! I can bring every single one of you back to Earth, and you'll be free to do what you wish as a ghost, but only for an hour," Dr. Blackman replied with a suave, charismatic grin, shutting the tent flaps yet again with a tap of his staff on the ground. "So I just have one question for everyone!"
The entire audience, Ike notwithstanding, simply stood there in anxious silence before the magician suddenly broke into song again.
"Are you reeeeeady~?!" he sang, pulling open the curtain behind him and revealing a single lever, which he didn't hesitate to pull. "Are ya'... reeeeeeady~?!"
Suddenly, a wooden encasing shaped like a giant coffin with a glass panel on the front lowered from the ceiling, trapping the whole audience inside it. An electric charge suddenly flowed into the chamber, prompting everyone to cower into the center.
"Resurrection central~!" Dr. Blackman kept singing. "Resurrection central~! Time to bring y'all back to life, folks!"
Everyone inside the container looked at themselves, noticing that various parts of their bodies were starting to glow pearly white.
"Can you feeeeeel it~? You're livin', you're livin', you're living, alright~! I hope you're satisfied~," Dr. Blackman sang. "But if you ain't, don't blame me! You can blame my friends, on the oooootheeeeerrrr... siiiiiiiiide~!"
As the audience continued to inspect themselves, they suddenly vanished in a puff of steam. Dr. Blackman then proceeded to breakdance in place for a spell, before front-flipping into a split. He then effortlessly pulled himself back onto his feet and started to shuffle backwards a la James Brown. As he performed his final dance number, he cackled evilly the whole time, before doing a couple of pirouettes in place and abruptly halting. He then tapped his staff on the ground, and just like that, he vanished in a puff of steam himself.
To Be Continued...