Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Key Card

You always wondered about death.

I mean people wonder about death, sure - about whether there's a heaven or a hell or maybe just a void - but you're not so concerned about the after dying part as the before dying part, when your life flashes before your eyes.

You jam the key card into the slot, praying for the familiar clicking sound that means the door is unlocking.

Here's your issue:

Say you're crossing the street and the truck accelerates through the red light, but you don't just get hit right away. You see it coming. You have time to move out of the way.

Does your life flash before your eyes?

The door beeps, meaning the key didn't work. You take it out and try again.

If your life does flash before your eyes, you die. You watch all your mistakes, you watch your first kiss, the day you met your best friend, your eight birthday - a lifetime compressed into the instant before death - and it distracts you long enough for the truck to turn you into sidewalk splatter. Or maybe it doesn't flash before your eyes and you hit your teeth on the curb diving but you still lived, didn't you?

Another beeping.

You wonder if there's an advisory board for this sort of thing in heaven, where they stop time at every potentially fatal incident, where they decide whether to press a big orange button that says "MEMORIES", where they watch their clients freeze to remember all the times they got goose bumps when a pretty girl touched their neck.

The snow blower is an older model, like the one your dad had for those winters back in Connecticut - he did always say it drove itself - and you're not really sure how they got it into the hotel hallway, but as it bears down on you now, without an operator, its thrashers churning wildly, you jam the key in one last time.

The door clicks.

There's still time.


Carissa said...

that was fun =]

Future Guest Poster said...

a snowblower?
this post reminds me of two movies:
"The Shining" and "Here comes Mr. Jordan" (better known as the remade version with Warren Beatty in "Heaven Can Wait") but I don't think you have seen any of these.

Nice job.

Esteban said...

This one was one of your best, I think, because I had to read it several times to get it. (And then I laughed a lot.)