How is a person supposed to live after wasting their life? Joe had eternity to work out the answer to that question.
As a person he’d been prone to inaction, the type to send the waiter away four times before ordering; funnily enough, that’s what got him killed. An overworked line cook who, at the end of a long day, was trapped in the kitchen by a last minute customer decided to lash out by transferring the ordered steak from pan to floor before plate.
Unbeknownst to the frustrated laborer was a single peanut that’d slipped from the glass of the first sundae ordered at the restaurant in years; though covered in grime enough of the nut touched the meat to trigger Joe’s severe allergy. After a few bites his throat closed up, after a few minutes he was dead. The single waiter left on duty, who would’ve searched Joe for his Epi-Pen and administered it if she could’ve, had remained outside after her cigarette break while the cook entertained her with a story.
Joe did not know know any of that and would not have cared if he did; he had his own thing going on. Though it may sound like an insincere and cliche phrase, death does indeed provide a new perspective on life. When spirit phases through skin it also has to go through every experience the body had known – Joe had for all his life secretly expected this to be the case, and had already come to the conclusion that when his time came he would most likely not be happy with what he saw. He had had ambitions but never pursued them past initial inquiries, his problem was an inability to keep dreams in mind after waking up. The space never filled with anything else; Joe spent every moment of his missing something but never figured out what.
Past not achieving any major goals Joe’s life had been marked by indecision. He had been late to work every morning because he could never decide which weather report to prepare off of, done everything anyone had told him in order to avoid thinking for himself, never completed assignments but was kept around because of his eternal position in the middle of doing a favor for someone, on the way home Joe would sit in the packed lane of traffic as his nerves couldn’t stand the stress of merging in at a later point then after arriving he’d spend so much time mulling over his options of what to do before bed that his actual course of action ended up being imaginative speculation. He watched himself experience and enable nothingness over, and over, and over, and over, and over…
Joe was thankful when he died again; it made the flashbacks stop. If the next step was oblivion, he decided, it wouldn’t be any different than living. But that was not to be the case; though senses and physical form had been taken from Joe his consciousness remained intact, a conceptual identity existing only through its own self-awareness. He experienced this detached non-life for what felt like a while but couldn’t have been because time does not pass in that realm of existence. There were endless possibilities to consider but zero to engage in, pressure is a result of differing forces – his was a unified environment, absolute oneness. Joe had spent every second of his life engaging in inaction rather than accepting it, he was incapable of accepting the stillness of perfection; a yearning for a return to a state of actual existence occurred.
Joe found himself looking through a set of eyes, the first-person perspective reminded him of cut scenes in the video-games he’d never beat; the limbs look as if they are his own but the decisiveness with which they move seems programmed in. Joe watched fingers almost push a pencil to its breaking point filling in a test’s bubble answer sheet at a torrid pace, then became aware of the presence of another mind, not equal, superior, a greater being wrapped around him. Joe couldn’t communicate his situation but would have said he felt like a child tangled in an enormous blanket, only his head poking out.
The other mind, the blanket, the owner of the body in which Joe resided was exerting a considerable mental effort to figure out how to allow the person next to them a safe chance to cheat.
Joe identified a chance to make good use of his time – opened a channel between him and the other mind – asked, ‘Are you sure that’s the right thing to do?’