“Love Me Two Times”
It began the way most things do – with a stab to the heart. Dying that day was not on my agenda. Not to say I wasn’t depressed. Of course I was… Yet I’d somehow accepted that living small was safe. It was comfortable, familiar. It kept my disappointments to a minimum. If I cried sometimes, randomly, well, that was part of it. It was my life and I had no serious intentions of leaving it.
They said the attacker was lucky – a stab to the heart is hard to do. I knew that because I heard the conversation of the crowd that had gathered around my cooling body. Apparently the ribs are a pretty good defense against things seeking to pierce the heart. Evolution or God… Our bodies seem to have a bit of wisdom when it comes to survival.
Floating above the circus of co-workers and rescue personnel, I noticed one individual who seemed calmer than the rest. Happier. There was something soothing and grounded about him. I guess I glided over, because suddenly there he was, staring at me with piercing green eyes. Gray wisps of hair seemed to dance from his eyebrows and a crooked smile highlighted his somewhat crooked nose.
“Mickey O’Hara,” he said as he tipped an imaginary hat. “Nice to meet you.”
Feeling a little off guard because in no way did my random after-death musings ever lead me to consider anything Irish, I smiled. “Are you here for me?”
“That’s right, my dear. Are you ready? We’ve got a nice warm body waiting. I wanted to give you a chance to get used to your new state, but…” He tilted his head. “You seem like a fast learner. Shall we go?”
Me a fast learner? I was the 40 something sliding into Prozac and late night TV infomercials. The most I’d done since finishing college was tread water in a job way below my abilities but that paid the rent. Barely. I didn’t count my half finished novel or the poetry that screamed mid-life crisis.
“What do you mean you have a nice warm body waiting? I just left a perfectly functioning warm body… Don’t I go to some kind of review? Or get bathed in healing crystal energy or something?” I’d watched enough B movies to figure that one out.
Mickey rubbed his jaw. “That’s not the way it works. At least for you. You’ve got a different assignment that needs your immediate attention. Now dear, shall we see what it’s all about?”
My recently deceased eyes bulged. What the hell? “Look, I have no idea what you’re talking about. A little more information would be spiffy here.” Then seeing his eyebrows draw closer, I added, “Please.”
“Darlin,” he said as he leaned into me, “You want the antidote to your life? A way to fill the hole gaping in your chest? Do you even see the metaphor to your death?”
Well, shit. He had me there. “Okay. I’m willing…”
“That’s all that’s required.” He gave me that crooked smile again and something in me relaxed. Death isn’t so bad I thought.
And then I felt a thousand volts coursing through my body and the smell of ozone.
(This is part of a new novel idea, using the writing prompt from Sunday Scribblings, “antidote.”)