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An Essay?
Carefully filed under "Et Cetera."

A cautionary tale, with Stewart and the Gnome

Ominous Sunshine
The story of the day that I died.

The first and last story of the armadillo.

When We Come Home
Not long from now, an Orwellian government maintains control of what we say, see, and do, but at some point it will break.

Ominous Sunshine


It was an ominously bright day the day that I died. The breeze was softly blowing along the street among the towers of Downtown, people scattered along the sidewalks randomly. The traffic was light as usual during the middle of a weekday, as everyone with a car or a care was trapped in one of the upper floors of the glass buildings I was walking beside. It was because everything looked so normal that I knew something wasn't right. I quickly finished my bagel and tossed back my white mocha, and quickened my pace.

As I neared my destination, I had this odd sensation, almost a nagging telling me to slow down. Something about that nagging made me decide to move even quicker, and I nearly broke into a jog down the street. As I neared an intersection, I intentionally ignored the crossing signal for reasons known only to the cat cleaning itself on the corner. I'm certain that I heard the cat chuckle as I watched a the grill of a city bus meet my nose at forty miles per hour. Only myself, the driver, and the laughing cat would ever know that bus was speeding, and between a guilty driver, corpse, and feline, no one was going to talk.

The funeral preparations were made quickly; it was to be a simple ceremony, mostly focused on making sure everyone could move on and forget about me. Luckily for my family, my face already looked like it had been hit by a bus, so very little makeup and preparation was required. They decided to skip the prep entirely, and had me tossed in a coffin straight from the coroners office. The cause of death, by the way, was ruled to be "usage beyond expiration date."

As all of the three funeral-goers began to leave the wake, my cellular phone (accidentally left in my pocket) began ringing. Apparently the phone company required my permission to close my account, even in the event of death. The funeral director (some old guy in overalls) tried finding the phone, but to no avail. I have always had a knack for pissing guys off, and this old man was no exception. After several minutes of incessant ringing, he finally decided he had had enough. He walked to his office, tore up my certificate of death, and kicked me out for not dying properly. I did, however, manage to grab a handful of mints on the way out.

Unfortunately, I was nowhere near home, and I now had a pathological fear of mass transportation. I reached for the phone in my pocket and, after assuring the phone company that I was no longer dead, attempted to get a ride. First I called my mom.

Mom: Hello?
Me: Hi mom, can you come pick me up?
Mom: That's not funny... who the hell is this?
Me: It's your son. The funeral director said...
Mom: No, my son finally died. You'll have to try harder than that.
Me: But the guy in overalls said...
Mom: Oh, I'm too tired to joke right now. I've had a long day. Try some other time.
--hang up--

I realized the futility in trying to convince my mom I wasn't dead, considering the recent events. So I tried to think of someone who might not have heard about my death. After all, I only needed to make it home to prove it. Looking through my phonebook, I found James' number. Of course, none of my friends or family knew how to reach him, so he was the perfect option. I looked around at the quickly darkening evening, and considered going back into the mortuary before calling. Just as I turned, the cranky old man slammed the doors shut, and I heard what sounded like a 100-pound bar sliding into place behind it. So I took a seat on the stairs as I dialed James' number.

James: Hello?
Me: James, hi... I uh...
James: Is this Kalin?
Me: Yeah. Look, I need to ask a favor.
James: You know Kalin is dead, right?
Me: Well, here's the story...
James: You're a pretty sick fuck... who is this really? And how did
you get Kalin's voice?
Me: This IS Kalin... it turns out I didn't die.
James: You didn't die?
Me: Well, I did, but the guy in overalls said I didn't die right, so I'm not dead.
--brief silence--
James: Right. Well, have fun.
--hang up--

It was at this point that I realized I should just walk back into town, since it was obvious every person I called would just think me a pranskter. I know I'd think the same in their position. And so I set out towards the glow of the city. It was almost completely dark out now, and this part of the city had no street lights. My eyes tried to adjust to the moonless night, but I kept stumbling over cracks in the road. So I decided to try to walk a bit further away from the street. I found nothing but soft grass and dirt on the side of the road, but I seemed to trip less. It seemed an eternity walking down the dark road, though it was likely only five minutes.

All of a sudden, I took one more step to find that there was no ground immediately beneath it. I launched forward down a hill, rolling and tumbling among rocks and dry bushes. After several flips and a few cracks of my bones, I landed in what seemed to be a hole. I tried standing only to find my neck and leg in a great deal of pain. As I stood up all the way, I found the hole to be just above my height, but with a slanted side. I looked out of the hole to find the moon had started to come out enough to give me a sliver of light to follow. I pulled up the hole just enough to find I was in an open grave. My first reaction was to quickly get out, but I decided this was probably the best place for me anyway. For all I knew, this was supposed to be my grave, and now, funeral director or not, I could finally rest in peace.
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