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Memory Motel: A Recruit

“You would think the worst moment in my life would’ve been 12 months later, when she told me she was getting married, or, perhaps by definition, six months later with Florence married and me a jump way from, well, what I thought was oblivion. Or even last week when I heard her mention my name in a long rambling story to friends about the married guy banging on her door. I dropped in on Florence  and friends, her seven year old boy was sitting on her knee as her one year old daughter crawled on the floor, and her girlfriends laughed at her risqué story bleeped for the sake of the little one. The home wasn’t big, it wasn’t rich, but it was solid and middle class, and I knew her so well that I knew she was where she wanted to be. And I also knew I had become just a name in a story that didn’t feature me at all. I wonder if anybody else remembers me, my entire existence cleaned off the face of the earth and not ten years ago, but today. How do we remember the dead, how do we remember us? When the last thought of us is gone forever, what can remain? We are forgotten immortals.

“The worst moment was none of those but that sitting in the coffee shop and the absolute knowledge that even if I saw her again, I would never be so close, we would never share our lives the way we had for the last two years. In that moment I was as dead as I am now, in that look from her eyes, her shining eyes, her glowing joy, her complete aliveness to the adventure of being in existence. I was no longer a part of it. I had ended and as she sat there brimming over, a steady stream of words and thoughts and hopes and a “Plus you’ll come to visit me, right? I’ll never forget you…” I didn’t know how to express it.

“I went to Chicago for her wedding and I didn’t kill myself then, I knew it was just a matter of time but  I didn’t want to have my death a blot on her wedding day. I didn’t want her to connect them in any way.

“I waited. I quit my job, I threw away my old clothes, gave away my computer and television. Then I had a week’s vacation in Orlando, Disneyworld. Not a place to go when you are alone in the world, way beyond being a fifth wheel, you are a one wheel family. If there was the slightest chance of me making it out alive, Disneyworld cemented my let me out of here opinion.

“Did you guys know you were going to die? Even if you did, knowing you are going to kill yourself is a different feeling entirely, it is like walking around with your own dead self. I didn’t really care and yet I was intrigued. I was also 100% certain there was no aftermath, I was sure it would be just one second of excruciating pain and then I’d be gone and the world would be none the worse…”

Keisha listened to all this with a gnawing feeling, as though she just wanted to strike out and hit Jeff. “Will you die already, you fucking loser… will you kill yourself. No wonder nobody would fuck you, how could you do so much damn pining? As bad as being in foster homes was, how could it teach you not to fight back? Hell, I’d prefer you if you’d raped her you piece of shit.” She turned to Billy, “I don’t care, I will never use him. He doesn’t have the guts to deal with this…”

“Really? You think Sun and Moon are gonna be much help? Do you think any one is gonna help us? God is travelling with the Witnesses, with Elijah, how can we combat it. We need help.”

“This guy isn’t help…”

“I was so disappointed to open my eyes and discover there was, in fact, an afterlife. I wanted oblivion…”

“Then why didn’t you go to the Aftermath? You can die for as long as you want, forever, or for a day… why stay here?” Billy asked. Keisha wondered how much she didn’t know yet but she kept quiet. The moment she thought of what she was up against she began to worry.

“I am waiting for Florence, to take her into the next life.”

“That’s clever, what if her husband dies first?”

“I hadn’t thought of that…”

“Well, think about this. If you help us, Florence will die soon, and she will be scared, and disoriented and you will know the ropes… if you help us…”

“Do what? What can I help you do…”

“You can help us bore the Universe to death…” Keisha snapped.

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