Dogs Don't Roll Over
Written by: Alex Sandell
12 Steps After Death
My chin begins trembling, as my eyes well up with tears. "Youre an angel?" Lisa smiles at me, a smile so wonderful, I fall to the floor and begin crying. Lisa holds me in her arms, cradling me until all the pain Ive been dealt during this terrible day seems to go away. "One step below, angel, Wayne." Lisa seems to sense my confusion, and explains.
"Christians got the whole Heaven and Hell thing all wrong." I cant help but mumble, "big surprise there." Lisa ignores me, and continues. "The afterlife actually works in levels. The lower you're placed, the more levels you have to work through, before reaching the top. Im currently one-step below Heaven." "So," I ask, "is that like Limbo, then?" "No," Lisa answers, "its actually two-steps above Limbo, its the final gateway, once I pass through, I'll be in Heaven. Then Ill be an angel."
"Well, you already look like an angel." My compliment causes a smile to gently work its way across Lisas dazzling face. "Once you die, you move beyond ugly. Whatever made people consider you less desirable than somebody else, in your mortal body, is lost in your spirit, and only what is pure and beautiful, is found." "So, no matter what step youre on, you still look great?" "Not on the bottom step." Lisa returns, "the bottom step is the closest approximation there is to the traditional version of Hell. But even those who enter the bottom step, can eventually work their way up to the top."
"You dont get sent there for doing things like whacking off over some nudie-picture," Lisa continues, her words bringing me a great deal of relief, "or shoplifting from WAL-MART." "So, how do you get there?" "God isnt into all this punish people for having hormones crap, thats just something a bunch of fanatics came up with, cause everyone else seemed to be having too much fun. Actually, the level youre sent to isnt determined by God, at all." "Who does determine it then?" I ask. Lisa pauses, looking as though shes worried somebody may be listening. "Wherever youre sent, youre sent by those who surrounded you in life."
"Huh?" is my only response. "How well did you treat others? Did you ever hurt anyone? Lie to, or consciously betray them?" Lisa stops speaking for a moment, and looks around, nervously. "Were you looked up to? Did you do your part to leave this world a better place than you entered it? Were you respected? Thats what determines the level of immortality you enter, not any of this mumbo-jumbo your mom tried to brainwash you with." Jeez, I wish my parents could have heard that.
"But, Richard hated me, without me ever mistreating him. Would that send me to Hell?" I cant believe Im talking to a spirit, and still unable to have absolute faith. "What about some celebrity that is loved by the public, but is only putting on an act, would they go straight to Heaven?" Lisa begins sounding frustrated, "Richards thoughts of you are not based on your actions toward him, and the publics thoughts about the celebrity would be misguided." "But," I interrupt "you just said its what people think." "And thats why Gods there," Lisa answers, "hes sort of like a judge. Only without any personal agendas. Since mortals are so easily misled, it is Him that decides if what others have been thinking about you is true, or merely a misguided notion."
"So," I continue with my questioning, "in the end, God actually does decide where you go?" "No, he only figures out if where youve been sent is the place you belong." "Why didnt you get to the top level?" I ask. "Im not entirely sure, you forget all that was superficial, in life. You forget who you hated, you forget who hated you. Who you were mad at, who hurt your feelings, who disagreed, none of it matters. It never did." I look puzzled. "If you still need an answer, Im figuring someone must have rightfully thought I mistreated them, even something as simple as someone thinking I was annoying could have done it." I kind of bob my head and whistle, hoping Lisa doesnt know what I was thinking back in chapter 41.
Although I have hundreds of other questions, I decide to ask only one, "why did you come to me?" "Because you were going to leave," Lisa replies. "Leaving is wrong?" "It is when staying will help." "What can I do?" I ask. "Stay." "Thats it?" "For now." I become flustered. "When will I know more?" "When you need to," Lisa answers. "Theyre scared of you, Wayne. Theres something in you, and its something they dont like." "Great," I cynically return, "theyre probably just gonna slice it out." "They havent yet, have they?" Lisa asks. "So, what does that mean?" "It means they havent figured you out. They dont know what to do with you. Listen, Wayne, I'm sorry I dont have the answers to all of your questions, if you want to leave, I wont stop you. Just walk out the door, drive away, and I wont restart time, until youre miles away." I look toward the door. I see a bird paused in mid-flight. I walk up, and begin pushing the door open, "Ive never wanted to spend my life working here, its the only chance I have to escape, Lisa . . ." I wait for her to justify my cowardice, she remains silent. The way I finish my sentence surprises even me, ". . . But Ill stay." "Thank you, Wayne." Lisa seems to glow, "you did the right thing."
Go to: Chapter 45
©1997 Alex Sandell but, if you're a book publisher and, you wanna get this puppy out, please get in touch with me, hand me a nice, big contract and, of course, a 12 pack of Grape Soda and maybe we can do lunch.
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