By M. E. Riddle
Well, I finally died. Apparently, my body decided it had enough. It just didn't bother to inform me. My father and I stood together. I knew he had already passed but this didn't concern me. We watched the doctor pronounce me dead. We watched as he informed my wife and sons. At my funeral I found myself laughing out loud. There was a girl I loved a lifetime ago. I found her sitting alone on the banks of a stream in the mountains. She seemed supremely at peace, a state of mind rarely seen in life. We both sat quietly, watching snow on the mountains shedding ice crystals into the rarified blue sky riding the jet stream. We embraced, and then parted.
I found grandma sitting alone on her front porch swing. Grandpa sauntered over and joined her.
Returning to countless places I reunited with just as many people. The consciousness was that even in death there still remained no proof of God. It seemed Earth was a living entity in of itself. It was both heaven and hell. Where I now resided just didn't seem to matter. Everyone was accepted without question. Some people decided on churches while others chose nudie bars. Everyone was content. Time didn't seem to matter. I saw Gangues Kahn wearing a Rolex. I met the three guys from Roswell. Their not aliens. They are simply humans from the future performing maintenance on history to ensure the survivability of the human race. When I met the person who conceived and implemented time travel he explained it was simply re-configuring dark matter from space. The rest is history. No pun intended.
Meeting Jesus was a noteworthy moment. Since the dawn of humans he is one of maybe a dozen or so people who through some cosmic quirk of evolution developed skills that very few possessed. I met his brother Jim and nine other siblings not mentioned in the Bible. He married Mary Magdalene and the two of them share a rascally sense of humor. His parents Joseph and Mary are delightful although Joseph seems a bit thick.
Then there's Al, a.k.a. Albert Einstein, by far the goofiest person I know. He told me death is always unexpected, and that it lasts a long time. Always stating the obvious, he enjoys blurting out "Something's moving!" and pointing at nothing, smiling.
I was told Hitler remains sequestered, surrounded by tens of millions of distressed souls continually pawing at him, keeping him centered in a vortex of moaning humanity. Keeping a loaded gun to his head he repeatedly pulls the trigger causing a small pink explosion but with no effect. Rumor has it Stalin shares an adjacent room.
A horse approached. It was a chestnut mare with a flowing mane. Saddling, we rode in full gallop until reaching the lunar surface of the moon. On a high point I stopped and gazed into space.
"First stop Andromeda!" I shouted.
In an instant I was immersed in a swirling display of colored lights in hues of blue and crimson diffused in soft pastels.
"Ya think that's cool, look over there," said the horse.
"My, a talking horse," I mused.
Looking in that direction was a galaxy in an oddly familiar shape.
"That's Lucy," the horse dryly explained.
"Lucy?" I mumbled, mouthing the words.
"Over there's Ricky."
"What is this?" I again quietly mumbled aloud.
"The name's Wilson," the horse interjected.
"Wilson? Your name's Wilson?" I asked.
"Yea. What's yours?"
"Jonas. Jonas McCurdy."
The two of us remained in place staring, mostly me. Wilson seemed to be bored.
"So Wilson, why do these two galaxies resemble…" was the obvious question.
"Absorption of energy," he replied, interrupting.
Wilson reared his head and again we were in full gallop, riding high on a vast savannah of tall dry grass and sparse barren trees on a bright, hot day. Before us were many dark moving objects. It became evident the images were dwarf hominids riding atop small ponies actively engaged in a hunt. Their quarry appeared to be a troupe of small, cat-like creatures. In an instant many were brought down by thrown rocks and crude spears.
I found myself alone. Before me an undulating wave of pitch enveloped me. Peering into the void I found my own reflection deliberately staring back at me. I slowly reached out. At the moment of contact my entire being expanded in all directions. I now held a sphere of light in my outstretched hand. My other hand went to touch and I was absorbed into pure white silk.
"You have a choice, Jonas," a familiar voice from nowhere announced. "You can continue, or start over."
"Who are you?" I asked.
"I am you," was the response.
I pondered the question a moment before answering.
"I wish to continue," I replied.
At that moment all became stardust. About me in all directions appeared translucent bubbles. I decided to enter a nearby bubble. In the distance a figure approached. It was Wilson.
"Satisfied?" the horse asked.
"Yea," I stammered.
Together we rode off, tethered to limbo on the strings of eternity.
I realize this is neither the story nor the ending you expected. What can I say, I'm sorry- it's just a story.
Some advice for the living. Keep the ones' you love close. Nurture them. Believe in them. Walk with them. Talk to them. Let them know they're loved. That's all you can do, and always remember what peace is like.
One final request.
When you arrive, look me up. I'll be with Al and Wilson. Jimi Hendrix calls him 'major tripper'. The two are inseparable. Al plays base. They occasionally let me sit in on the harmonica. You should hear our version of 'Red House'. Elmore James loves it.