Bobby woke up in his apartment, old take out boxes teaming up with dirty clothes and unpaid bills that seems to be winning the war for space in his bachelor apartment. Standing only 5 foot eight and 24 years old, he never needed much room. This would be the time to clean if there were any he thought, and started not forgetting to water his plans. He then got dressed in his second best suit leaving his best suit on a hanger outside his closet door for people would be needing it soon. Then without a note, without any hint of outward feelings, he walked to his bathroom and filled his sink with blood from his ulnar artery with two neat straight cuts on each wrist. He was dead. While he was lying there, dead, he imagined Shannon. She had broken up with him even though she was the only girl he had ever loved, the only girl he would ever love. He thought about how she would probably cry at his funeral and maybe if she ever got close to another guy pull out a picture of them during the better times and cry to the new guy about it. That was all he remembered, until he woke up.
He was in a smaller, dirtier apartment than the one he woke up to the previous day. He looked to his wrists as if everything was a dream, but it wasn’t. Two keloid scars left the permanent mark. He started freaking out so got off the floor where he would later learn he had landed, and walked outside. The first thing he saw was a grungy pizza parlor, so he walked in. As the old bell carelessly dung some dust drifted down to Bobby’s head. He started yelling in confusion at the owner, Frank. Frank calmed him down and explained why he was there and where there was.
“See here, Danny,” started Frank before he was interrupted.
“Its Bobby, B-O-B-B-Y.” said the confused and agitated Bobby.
“Well whatever your name is. When we, as humans, use our free will to end our lives before our natural deaths, instead of just dying and rotting in the ground or having our bodies burnt or whatever they are doing to the natural dead now, we get transported here.” Said Frank calmly.
“So,” thought Bobby, “we are in hell? It doesn’t seem like hell though. Does this mean God exists?!”
“Calm down boy. No, you are not in hell. And no, no one here has found out if God exists. Although I would assume this is vaguely what hell was based on. See we call get transported here, it’s a little like earth, but worse. Things are smaller, smellier, not as pleasant, and no one wants to be here because there are other people here and most of us off’ed ourselves to not deal with other people. The worst part is that you can’t re-kill your self. Old Paul down the way has tried to re-kill him self 3 times. Poor thing really mangled up his legs last time. And he has been here over 50 years. That’s the other downside, your life from here on in moves slower than a snail without any lubricant on its slug-like body.”
“Well…well… well what do we do? Where do I live? Are there taxes here? What about my family? Can I go back?” said a now flustered Bobby.
“Well you usually live where you land unless your landlord kicks you out. And as I said before, its pretty much the same as earth here. You’ll need to work, and I could use a new cashier. But you can’t go back. There are rumors that there is a head decision maker of where we are, most call it the Alternative, and he has the power to send people back. Although I’m fairly positive that it is just a myth. So the job?”
“ Yea I guess I’ll take it, do I start working now or how does this go?” and that was the last thing Bobby said before started his new live in the “Alternative”.
A couple months into living in the “Alternative” a man in his mid thirties, and terribly overweight, named Stavros landed in the apartment, so he started paying rent and living on the pull out. Starvos only had two pet peeves. The first was men standing while they peed. He had read in an article back on earth about how when men standing up, little droplets ricochet and stick to things like the toothbrushes and the face towels and other things that pee should never be on. The second was people eating his food from the fridge and not replacing it. This truly urged him when it was his cottage because it was one of the only things that he seemed to eat.
He was starting to miss Shannon. He had come to terms with the fact that killing him self only made him love and miss her more because now he truly could not be with her. Unless she killed herself of course.
To pass the time on nights when he got exhaustingly lonely he went to the bar. A miserable grungy mold infected old place. The biggest and quite possibly most offensive question you could as someone on earth was “ how much do you earn per year?” in the Alternative, it seemed to be “How did you kill your self.”. It was obvious that everyone earns money some how on earth, even if they beg. It was just as obvious and sometimes twice as interesting as to how they landed in the Alternative, although most kept it quiet as much as they could. Mr. X, the owner of the bar couldn’t keep his a secret, he had shot him self in the temple, but low enough so that even though he wore a hat you could see the entry and exit wounds. It was a sad reminder of the self-harm that everyone in this world had put upon themselves. No one ever really talked to other people at the bar, people tended to keep to them selves in the Alternative. This night was different though.
A pretty-ish blonde girl walked up to him while he had started his drink and blatantly said, “ So me and my friend,” motioning to her brunette friend sitting at the table,” play this game where we try to guess how people have off’ed themselves. So how did you do it?”
“Well that’s sort of a rude and personal question to ask isn’t it?” said Bobby in a matter of fact tone.
“That’s the whole point.”
Bobby then proceeded to put down his drink and roll up his sleeves. The girl proclaimed that she had won. They started chatting and Bobby soon got around to asking the girl, Elisha, how she had come to live in the Alternative. She had put her head in her oven and turned on her gas. It turned out that her husband of 5 years had been dating a girl on the side since their honeymoon. Since Bobby was bored and these girls seemed like a change of pace, he decided to sit with them.
They proceeded to play that game for the rest of the night. “He keeps burping, it is for sure drowning.” “He is wearing a turtleneck, he has hung himself. I would bet my life on it.” “ Now this guy is tough. Look at the hair, maybe he electrocuted him self?” It went on for hours until one somewhat creepy guy was eavesdropping and asked the table to guess how he died.
“Excuse me? Were you listening to us? That is so rude!” said Elisha.
“And the game your playing is polite. So, again, guess how I killed my self.”
Elisha turned to Bobby, “ Do you know this guy?”
“I’ll bet you girls a beer you won’t guess.” Said the increasingly creepy stranger who had now pulled his chair up to the table.
Tanya, the brunette said to Elisha “ O, look who just walked in,” then to Bobby and the stranger, “ We have to go. Be Right Back!” That was the last Bobby ever heard of them. He had quickly forgot after he had started talking to the stranger anyways.
“So what was it then, since i’m never going to guess?” said Bobby curiosity now peaked.
“O that. I was part of a band back on earth. We were great. Fantastic even. But no one ever showed up to our gigs. So one night after playing to a crowd of 3 when the place held 150, I finished the set, said to the crowd ‘Fuck it all’, took a swig of my beer then poured the rest on my guitar strings. They weren’t wired properly so I electrocuted my self. I truly went out with a bang.” Adding hand movements to the word bang.
“So you off’ed your self with a guitar?”
“ Yea it was wild. Iggy Pop almost came to see that gig. Could you imagine the look on his face if he had?!” said the stranger sounding almost excited that he had lead him self off of earth while being watched. Bobby stayed for a while and talked to the stranger who’s name turned out to be Fedya, a Russian name that meant ‘God’s Gift.’ He was funny and interesting and that was the first time Bobby had made a friend in the Alternative.
After that night things went back to routine except Bobby had someone to drink with at the bar.
One night Bobby was telling Fedya how he was so sick of sitting while he pees just to not piss off his roommate.
“You think you have it bad? My roommates are my family.” Said Fedya.
“So your close with them then huh?” said Bobby.
“No, I live with my parents and my kid brother Kostya.”
“What? Your entire family killed themselves?!” said Bobby both deeply saddened and intrigued.
“Yes.” Said Fedya in his constant everyday tone. “My mother was in hospital and pulled off her oxygen mask because she was missing Russia so much. My Father didn’t feel like going on without her. That and my little brother turned out to be gay and he couldn’t live with the shame so he hung him self the day after her funeral.”
“And your little brother, the gay one, what about him?” Bobby said timidly, not sure if he could take it.
“ Well man, I guess he had it in the genes and o.d’d on pills. I must say though, having us all end up here has brought us so close. My father, a man who would never cry for any reason hugged Kostya and cried like a baby when he landed here. It was really quite touching.” Fedya said as he took a moment to remember that time and then went back to his drink.
Bobby eventually met the family and they were all happy it seemed. He found this odd how they could all be so happy in such a sad place. They took their misfortune of all killing themselves as the best thing to ever happen to them.
He still thought about Shannon though. Every time he brought her up Fedya would say the same thing, “Who? Ophelia? Whatever man. An ex-girlfriend from a ex-life.” He would then proceed to change the conversation.
Life, or whatever Bobby was living, went on like this for about a year. Going to work. Getting drunk. Passing out. Thinking about Shannon. Waking up. Starting the whole process over. That is until one day, Bobby had eaten Starvos’ cottage cheese, and forgotten to get more. They got into an argument and it ended with Bobby not wanting to be yelled at any more so he got out of bed and went to the store. While he was there, he had a bit of a surprise. One of his old friends from earth Brian was also in the store.
“Brian! What are you doing here?” exclaimed Bobby, considering hugging him because he was a familiar face. Then he remembered how he wasn’t too happy with Brian because he had talked Shannon into dumping him.
“Well same as everyone else I guess. But it has something to do with you.”
Grumpily but intrigued Bobby replied, “ What do you mean?”
“Well you know how they always say suicides always happen in threes? Well I guess we can prove that one now huh? Hey is that cottage cheese any good?” Pointing into Bobby’s hand.
“Well my roommate likes it. What do you mean threes? Who else is here?” Bobby blurted out.
“Well Shannon of course. I thought you knew? She off’ed her self about a month after you did. You really didn’t know? Huh how weird.”
Bobby never did hear the end of that sentence because he was already running out the door. How could Shannon be here?! Was she ok? Did this mean she loved him again? He had to find out. He ran all the way to Fedya’s place and told him how he needed his car and that they were going on a road trip to find Shannon.
“No way man. Not a good enough reason” said Fedya, who assumed that Bobby’s hormones were just out of whack and needed a cold shower, not a cross city trip.
“Well I have a better reason then. What else do you have to do?” retorted Bobby.
And with that they were off. Nothing too eventful happened until day three of their journey. They were driving next to an open field when Fedya, who was driving, saw a cute short haired girl hitchhiking on the side of the road. He drove the car off the road and asked the girl who she was. She said that she was new and had just landed her and demanded to see the man in charge of wherever they were.
“Where do you think you are? Some kind of country club where you can just walk up to the main office? Lady, there are only rumors about people with those powers.” Joked Fedya.
“Well can I hop in the car to wherever you guys are going then?” said the girl, Amy.
“Sure. Lets just keep driving though ok?” Said Bobby first to Amy, then to Fedya.
Once they had started driving aimlessly again down the long two-lane highway Fedya decided to be a flirt by teasing Amy a little more.
“So Amy. Tell me. While you were on earth, did you ever try to go looking for God?”
“No, but I never had any reason to back then.” Snapped Amy.
“Well then what is the reason that you have now?” snorted Fedya. He tended to snort when he thought people were dumber than he. “You off’ed your self. What? Did you change your mind? Cause if that’s the case then all you need to do is wait for your visa back hom--“
Bobby cut Fedya off because he could tell that he was being extremely rude to Amy.
“Sorry Amy. So why do you need to find the people in charge?” questioned Bobby.
“Well I got here by mistake. “
Over the next two weeks of driving they seemed to incorporate Amy into their friendship and got closer and closer. Bobby knew that he was traveling to find Shannon his true love but couldn’t help develop a bit of a crush on Amy. She was sweet and spoke her mind and didn’t put up with anyone’s crap. Things were great until they stopped at a diner on the 18th day of their journey. Fedya was saying how Amy was a mooch and wasn’t paying for anyone or sleeping with either of them so she was dead weight. Since she was in the bathroom, Bobby wasn’t very vocal about his opinion that he wanted her to stay with them for longer so he responded with a grunt. Then as if in a movie, Amy stormed around the corner.
“I could hear you jerks the whole time. Well you don’t need to worry about me mooching any more!” Amy practically screamed as she ran out of the diner and into someone else’s car.
The next couple of days were terrible for Bobby. He missed Amy’s smell and her presence and singing in the car. Fedya was a nice friend, Bobby’s only true friend there, but sometimes he was just as asshole.
A full week went by until they found Amy again. There was of course, only one way to go and she had gotten dropped off at a gas station. Bobby ran up to her and started apologizing. He wasn’t sure if she would accept his apology, but she didn’t want to get back into the car with them. That was until they left and she realized that it would be days until another car pulled up. Then when they were all in the car tank filled spirits high and ready to go they pulled out. They took the gas pump with them by mistake. Luckily the owner of the gas station, John, said that it happened all the time and Bobby just had to the sign the record that on that day he had broken it, pay 10 $ and he was free to go. As Bobby was signing it he saw that Shannon had signed it not two weeks prior. The form had her address and her number and everything on it. This was it! He would finally see his love!
Unfortunately she had moved. They ended up staying with the family that had taken her in for a week or so because they lived on a huge farm and had the space. Amy and Bobby spent every day together like teenagers with crushes because Fedya had found himself a girl. His girl had drank too much and passed out in the snow back in her home on earth of Russia. She had frozen to death. One night they were all sitting around the campfire when one of the farm hands who’s dog had gone missing earlier in the week came back screaming that he had found it.
“I found him! I Found Bowzer!” exclaimed the farm hand.
“Well where is he then?” Bobby asked.
“ He’s about 50 miles down the road with this colony, they won’t give him back but there are hundreds of people there! The ‘Messiah’ is apparently there and is going to perform this huge miracle tomorrow! We have to go! “
“ Well right now?”
“Well it takes 5 of 6 hours to get there and I only know how to walk so we need to leave first thing in the morning!”
So the next day the owner of the farm, his worker, Yan, Bobby and Amy all set out to see this Messiah. The owner Leslie, wanted to go because it sounded like this messiahs farm was better. Yan wanted to get his dog back. Amy wanted to go home. Bobby didn’t want anything from the Messiah. He had now given up on finding Shannon. Bobby’s only reason for going was to be with Amy.
“It’s weird how I can have these feelings of being alive with you in a place like this. I mean we are all dead.” Said Bobby to Amy because they had taken a rest for the night as Yan had gotten them lost. It was at that moment that Bobby had decided that he loved Amy, and Amy him. Shannon had loved Bobby because she didn’t have to work when she was with him or worry or think really. Amy loved Bobby because of who he was. Then, without any hesitation, he leant over and kissed her. They slept in each others arms all through the night and Bobby thought that he would forever more be happy just how they were.
The next morning they woke up and Yan had remembered where the Messiah was and lead them straight there. The Messiah had taken in Yan’s dog as his own and refused to give it back. So he called Leslie and Bobby and Amy into the Messiah’s room to help him physically take the dog. They burst in expecting to steal a dog but right there, at the Messiahs side was Shannon. Bobby’s life was finally starting to work out. Things were nice. He had thought he was over Shannon this time. But he wasn’t. He immediately dropped Amy’s hand as if it were a wet fish and ran to give Shannon a hug. She had missed him and they left Yan, Leslie, the Messiah and Amy to go talk in private.
“Bobby, when you killed your self I just cried and cried for a month. I had to move because everything reminded me of you. If you never trust me again trust me on this Bobby, I never knew how much I had hurt you until you were gone. Thank God I can finally ask you to forgive me.” A now tearful Shannon explained.
“But how did you end up here? I don’t see any sort of markings.. “ said a shameful Bobby.
“ Well you remember the Messiah right? I was so lost and he lent me a shoulder to cry on back on earth. He truly is a Messiah Bobby! He has one miracle that he does when he brings his soul out of his body. We are all trapped in the world of the living. Something went terribly wrong though and his soul never made it back. So at the hospital, when they confirmed his death, I heard his soul calling me! I knew I had to be with him, so I went to the hospital roof, and just flew. And then I was here.” Shannon said with a crazy look in her eye.
“ You really have changed then. I’m going back downstairs to see my friends” But Bobby was cut off by a gong.
“O! He is going to try to separate his soul from his body! Bobby time flies with you, I have to go!” and with that Shannon, who was still the same, selfish, rude, flimsy, ditsy girl walked out of his life forever.
Back downstairs Bobby found Yan and Leslie. Amy was about a hundred feet away sitting on a low roof watching the Messiah along with everyone else. Bobby looked over at her and smiled and waved.
“Why don’t you just tell her?” Leslie said to Bobby.
“What? To Amy? Tell her what?” a confused Bobby asked.
“Tell her that you love her.”
After thinking about it for a second, Bobby knew it was what he had to do, “But she is too far, she’ll never hear me.”
Although that took a backseat because the Messiah was performing his trick. He had thrust a knife into his chest.
“This is Leslie, we need backup at the Messiahs. He’s gone nuts.” Leslie said into a small speaker on Yan’s dogs collar.
“Pardon?” Said Bobby, although before he could finish his thought, tens of people in white were pulling up in white vans with speakers saying over and over, we are the P.I.C please disperse immediately. The P.I.C. The People in Charge. Bobby ran over to the van where Amy was talking to one of the people in white.
“I’ll be back Bobby, wait for me!” She screamed out.
Bobby waited over 8 hours until it was well into the night.
Fedya had driven up around 3 in the morning with his new frozen girlfriend. He had come to give Bobby the news that Leslie was in fact an undercover P.I.C and that Amy had them check her file, and it was true. She was there by mistake. She had overdosed on a headache medication by accident. She was going to go back to earth.
This was far to much for Bobby to take. He had gotten over Shannon because he had seen her true colours that day, but he had realized that he loved Amy. Now he would never be able to see her again? So he punched the wall. The pain in his knuckles was almost as great as the pain in his heart at that moment. Almost.
It was now three weeks later and Bobby was back to where he had started almost three years ago. Alone and loney. Who could think of a better punishment really? Everything was just the same in the Alternative but just a little worse. Fedya went off with his girlfriend back to the city, but Bobby couldn’t go back there. He just kept driving. That is until he wasn’t driving anymore. He had been good to Leslie, and Leslie had felt that it would be good to repay Bobby. He was the one who knew how much he loved Amy after. Besides, with power you need to abuse it for a friend every so often right?
Bobby woke up in the hospital. His parents were in the next room talking to a doctor about his status. He looked over and in the bed next to him was Amy. They smiled to each other and at that moment they both knew that there would never be another careless mistake in their new life again.
Their life together.
Yea its kind of long. But I like it.
Yea its kind of long. But I like it.