I had gotten into the habit of waking up in the morning and being confused. Sometimes mornings are very interesting when you didn’t expect to live through the night. This was one of those mornings. My heroin habit had gotten to the point where I would consume enough to put me asleep, at times I hoped permanently. The pattern of waking up and looking back at my bed to see if my body was lying there being regular practice. This morning I woke up and I noticed the power was out. I looked around my apt at the articles of substance consumption.
Empty syringes, empty bottles, open water balloons, dirty clothes, manuscripts covered in my own dried blood, empty typewriter ribbons unsprayed, guitar strings looped into mini nooses, receipts for laundry and gasoline, a hundred cds all reflecting the early morning sun, and a sharp intelliwriter typewriter still plugged in.
Making my way over to the mirror I do the habitual “look at my bed to see if I’m there dead”. Slumped in the covers in my clothes was a tall figure resembling mine. This was a drastic moment. I thought to myself, that’s my body; I must be, what’s the word, not alive? Dead. This was a bit relieving; looking around I deduced that I was in my apartment. The thought came to me oh shit, the after life is my apartment, and there is no electricity.
I began rummaging through my drawers and I found out that in the afterlife there was not an indefinite supply of drugs. WHAT? No drugs, this is not heroin heaven. Now that I was recently dead I decided to enact all the things I thought the deceased get to do. I examined my back. No wings. No feathery carriers to the celestial beyond. Hmmp. I really wanted to fly. Oh well. Maybe I have gills I thought. I put myself in the bath, the water stopped at my stomach.
I said “do you have to pay water bills in the afterlife?” I held my head underwater but I couldn’t breathe. Not able to do this either. Maybe I’m invisible and invincible then! I went downstairs and took out a kitchen knife and placed it against my skin. Well, the laws of physics are still applicable here. The bible said nothing of this whole gravity thing as far as I can remember. Lets see what happens. I drew back the knife against my palms, sharp pain bounced through my head. Blood spilled unto the floor. Pain? But I am dead no? Damnnit this must be some urban purgatory. I saw my neighbor transfixed in his yard, I thought he too must be dead. We are all just ghosts. Wait, did he die last night, the same time as me? Did nuclear fallout rain sulfur on all of us in our sleep? This being dead thing is getting to be a drag. Opening my door I see a notice from the electric company about turning off my power. I had a right mind to call them and request a reactivation due to my recent demise. Purgatory electric rates are sky high! A phone rings in the hallway. Picking up the receiver, its my job. Am I coming in today?
No I said “I have died. I don’t believe I can work the grill well since now I have ghost hands.” They decide I need to come in regardless. Do you get overtime in the afterlife? I wished I were alive again, at least then I didn’t hope for things to be different. I go back upstairs and examine the broken elements of my room from the night before of shooting opiates. Looking at myself in the mirror, I see that there are black circles under my eyes, dried blood on my arms and hands. My clothes tear at my ribs from the wear of cooking oil solidifying in the night. Man the afterlife is a dirty place. My alarm clock rings off its nine volt battery supply. Well, I said, all these people are dead. The radio said “We have the greatest deals for your deceased loved ones here at garden hills funeral homes” Funerals? But I’m past tense alive. The dead hold no funerals. I thought then that now would be a good time to make funeral arrangements for myself. First I called the ambulance to collect my body. 911.
“911 what’s your emergency” I say “ Someone has died. Send a hearse. “ The operator responds “Are you sure this person is dead”. I say well, “yes I am quite sure I am dead. I am looking at my corpse in my bed, and I cannot fly or breath underwater I have some serious questions about “ and then the thought came to me, that this operator was likely a ghost herself. What could the paramedics, being ghosts themselves, do for another person who is dead? What sort of medical equipment do phantoms cart around to revive their fellows to being. At that point I was confused so I hung up. I call a newspaper to put in an ad about my recent status as rigor mortis. They ask me,
“ Are you a family member?” … I say “ uhhh… yea. He was like a brother to me. I knew him well. Hey do I get a discount for having a death in the family? You know like a what do they call it?”
The clerk responds, “We do not offer bereavement discounts for obituaries. “ and they hung up.
Pulling back the sheets on my bed I realized with stark brevity, that it was not I in the bed no longer alive. It was my x girlfriend in my clothes.
She must have stayed here last night. I didn’t remember. Still, I have to go to work and someone needs to clean this blood. I guess I could consider this a lousy reincarnation. I came back from the dead, and I came back as myself. How dissapointing.