Archive for July, 2012


July 14, 2012 Leave a comment


My kids were almost seventy, and dealing with their own frailties. I was frankly fed up with my frailties. Aches in every joint. Tortuous backaches and gnawing hips. After a long life of activity and adventure, sitting in a straight-backed chair petting a warm cat on my lap all wrong for me. I hoped the end would come swiftly and painlessly. My lifelong luck held out, and I died in my sleep, swiftly and painlessly… if you can call decades of decline a swift finality. Still, no need to complain, because the afterlife is terrific. At least it is for me.

Don’t get me wrong… I didn’t get to anything that most people think of as heaven, but still, it’s pretty nice. Oh, sure, I have some negative experiences here. I was no angel, and I made as many mistakes and took as many advantages as any average Canadian would. After all, that’s what I was – an average Canadian man at ninety-six years of age. The best part of dying and going to the other side is that I emerged as myself, as I was when I was forty, and I felt great again.

I admit that I enjoy revenge. Not against me by others, of course, nor do I like aggressively setting up a vengeful sting. We all know that revenge is a dish best served cold. I just love it when an opportunity for vengeance jumps into my lap, like that warm cat. When one is just sitting around, let’s say in one’s office, when an ex-girlfriend phones in desperate need of assistance that one can easily provide. Now, if this girlfriend had deliberately hurt you, by, let’s say, getting pregnant by your former best friend and eagerly telling you about it with a smirk and a laugh, this is your opportunity for sweet, cold revenge. Your office closes at five so you ask her to arrive at six. She is gushing gratitude. At five, when your office closes, you go down to your car and go home. Period. She asked for it, didn’t she?

Afterlife… at least my afterlife… is fraught with opportunities for revenge. When I first arrived, I was totally alone in a virtual paradise… uh… make that an authentic paradise… of fragrant fields and forested areas. Rolling hills were lush with healthy, green grasses, highlighted by large areas of brilliant yellow buttercups. I found myself standing on a simple, hard-packed path of dry mud before a sign that read, “Only eternity and infinity remain for those who abandon the righteous path”. I have no idea how I came to be there, but with nothing else to do, I began to follow the path. The path stretched to the horizon in both directions, so with no particular motivation, I chose a direction.

It seemed like in less than five minutes I found myself walking the path through a cool, shaded stand of broad, mature maple trees. I rounded the first curve that I had encountered in the path, and found myself looking at a rather bazaar scene.

A shining, white cage was suspended from the powerful limb of a stately maple tree. Below the cage was a huge, cavernous pit that appeared to just plunge into darkness far below. I couldn’t get close enough to the hole’s edge without leaving the path, so I couldn’t look down into it. I didn’t really know the meaning of, “Only eternity and infinity remain for those who abandon the righteous path”, and I had no desire to check it out.

A large man sat up on the floor of the cage, and saw me.

“Hey, man”, he called to me, his voice full of hope. “Get me out of here.”

“How am I supposed to do that?” I said.

“Just come over here and say that you forgive me.” He spoke sharply, with aggressive impatience in his tone.

“I don’t want to leave the path,” I said.

“Don’t be a chicken-shit asshole,” he said with a snarl. Suddenly, he was familiar to me.

“Did you go to B.L. Logan Collegiate?” I asked. He stopped for a moment before he responded,

“Yeah, I did. How do you know?” he said.

“Do you remember David Shelman,” I said.

“The Jew kid, I remember. We called him Shell Fish in school.”

“And after school?” I asked.

“Sometimes we’d beat him up, or throw stones at him. One time I hit him right in the face with fresh dog shit.” the guy in the cage boasted. “Why?”

“I’m the Jew kid, Larry. I’m Shell Fish.”

“Oh, that’s cool, man. That’s great! You can get me out of here. Just forgive me.”

“Jeez, you prick, you’re so ignorant you don’t even say please when you’re desperate.”

“Shit, man. How can I think of nice manners when I’m in this fix,” he pleaded.

“Let me get this straight,” I mused aloud. “You laugh proudly about beating me up, hitting me with stones, and throwing fresh shit in my face. These are reasons why I should set you free, is that it?”

“We were just kids! I meant no harm! It’s all water under the bridge now, ain’t it?” he cried.

“What happens if I don’t forgive you and just go on my way?” I asked.

“Don’t even think it man, please.”

“Why? What happens?” I prodded him.

“The bottom of this cage drops away and I plunge a long way down into agony,” he cried.

“Sounds good to me,” I laughed and turned to leave.

“You can’t do this!” he cried. “You can’t!”

I began to walk away and I heard him scream. I turned and saw that the bottom of the cage had swung away and he was desperately clinging to it, swinging precariously over the giant pit.

“Please,” he shrieked, “I’m sorry-y-y-y…”

The bottom of the cage to which he clung simple dissolved away and he dropped like a stone into the pit. As I watched, an orange glow flickered deep in the pit. After a few more seconds, a huge gush of flame belched out of the pit and receded.

Revenge is best served cold… and apologies are only good when warm.

I turned and continued my stroll along the meandering path.