Last thing I remember was sudden darkness and the sound of shattering glass all around accompanied by a coarse rhythm of twisting crunching metal. Car accident? Yes, yes that’s it, I was driving down the highway in a mad rush because I was late for work and then…..and then… then what? Everything is so damn foggy. Wait! Where am I? Feels like I’m in the haze of dry ice smoke at a rock show but maybe its?…Well it sure don’t smell like weed so probably not a rock show but where am I? What’s with all the smoky mist? I was in my car on the way to work and what? Oh shit now I remember, some asshole came across the median and right into……. Oh fuck, I was in a bad accident, I’m in a hospital. Yea, that’s it, I’m in a hospital and….. No wait, that can’t be right, the mist, no tubes or wires, no beeps, not in a bed, I’m…ah I’m in a…No! Wait! I’m fucking dead man? My flair for the dramatic not yet dead I paused for effect…..That’s when it began to settle into my head. I was killed in a car accident and now I’m in….. In where? The morgue? Heaven? Purgatory? The “Heaven Can Wait” waiting room? Is my AS2 guardian angel Clarence Odbody coming to take me away and earn his wings? But that’s not possible, I’m an existentialist, and if there is God he isn’t about to let me hang out on his turf, he’d probably send me to one of those special places I hear them talk about in churches. So then just where the Hell am I, pardon the expression? Actual Hell? As I was pondering my death fate a loudspeaker broke the unearthly silence. “Hilltop, Justin Thyme? Is there a JT Hilltop here?”
Before I heard this announcement I was merely confused. I thought I was all alone but I must be in a group of some sort and someone is paging me. Now its like “Peeewwww…. Mind blown!” Here I am trying to figure out what the hell is going on with my death when I get mind-fucked by a loudspeaker. Do I stand up or do I pretend I didn’t hear it? I was right at the point of making a decision when I noticed standing right in front of me was a young dude. “You’re JT, yes?” I gave this, this, umm, entity the once over. A nerdy looking kid somewhere in his late twenties with thick rimmed glasses and a bargain store suit that was a bit to big for his small clunky frame. He had thick but very short dark black hair and not a hint of a smile on his face. He didn’t even look my way as he was running his eyes over something on a clipboard waiting for confirmation from me. After a few seconds of silence he spoke in a monotone voice, “Don’t make this difficult Mr. Hilltop, you’re already dead so you really have nowhere else to go. Just come with me please.” He never even waited for acknowledgement just began walking away. I stood and blindly followed out of the misty mist.
At first I was kinda hoping he was in search of his lost personality but I wasn’t gonna wait to find out. I decided I would try and engage this nerd so maybe he could help acclimate me as to just where I was, “So this is your job? You come to bring the dead to their destination? Who exactly are you working for?” His pace quickened, “Something like that Mr. Hilltop. I work for no one and everyone now just come along please, no time for idle chatter.” I processed his statement. No time? Maybe he has no time but if I’m dead what the fuck do I care about time? “I have nothing but time young dude, so help an old man out here, what’s going on? Are you with the Geek Death Squad?” The nerd shook his head as though I was exasperating to him, “Mr.Hilltop you died! You have ceased to exist. You were in a car accident, a drunk driver hit you head on. Looking over your file sir it seems about as an appropriate way to die as I’ve ever seen given your pension for the bottle. That or cirrhosis anyway. Your at the terminal right now, and please no lame jokes about the name terminal its been done a few million times over the years by people far less witty than you think you are. I’m your agent assigned to take you to your Sherpa who will assist you in your transition. Now please keep quiet and continue to follow me we’re nearly there.” The only sound after his stern admonition as the tapping of our feet and the cursing under my breath.
I reached the end of a hallway feeling like my head was spinning. Not really dizzy, but constantly spinning. Grumpy the young douche-nerd opened a door speaking to someone on the other side, “I have a very uncooperative Mr. Justin Thyme Hilltop here sir. He never shuts up and he is now your problem, not mine. He’s all yours Dee.” The door opened wide so I walked inside, or actually outside. I found myself on a beautiful mountain about half the way up. Surrounded by gorgeous greenery of tree’s and shrubs, the sound of running water combined with an assortment of indefinable sounds made from various animals. An old man with long white hair complete with matching silvery beard stood in front of me. “Hey, are like Gandalf or something man? Is this Middle Earth here?” The old man smiled warmly like…..well like Gandalf actually, “No Justin, I’m not Gandalf, I’m certainly no magician or wizard and this is nothing like Middle Earth. This is Interface Mountain, I am your Sherpa, Dee Bays. Its my job to lead you back to the Mainframe after discovering your rightful place. Hopefully you can be re appropriated correctly.” I chuckled, “You’re who then and this is what now? Sorry old dude but I didn’t get a word of what the hell you just said. All I wanna know is are you the one who can tell me what exactly is going on here?” The old man had very old eyes, much older than even he himself, yet they were incredibly calming. It was as though those old eyes were a separate entity that seemed to put me at ease. Old dude placed his arm over my shoulders, “It’s okay Justin, or do you really prefer JT?” I smiled, “You can call me whatever you want but I prefer JT. How much longer do I have?” The old dude let a small laugh slip out, “Are you in a hurry JT? I can speed this up if you want?” I was pretty sure he was teasing me but just in case I answered with fear and desperation, “No,no,no, seriously, I’m in no hurry. Its just….Well my head is spinning and I feel confused.” Old dude began walking up a mountain path signaling for me to follow, “You head is spinning because of the buffering JT, it’s a side effect of dying. It will go away once your operating system is renewed. When someone dies their faith dictates their destiny, and you my friend to use a Zodiac analogy, are an Existentialist with Buddhism rising. Therefore your destiny is to reach a sort of nirvana of your own through serenity. You don’t get to reincarnate exactly, no heaven or hell for you but you get to see what really happens at the top of the Hill of Life, Interface Mountain. Some get to believe they are in heaven or hell, some Jahanna or Jahannam, still others get to believe their fates are to be placed on various cycles of life. But in the end it’s all the same, everyone goes to the top of the mountain.” I thought this over in an attempt to make sense for quite some time as I aimlessly followed him up the mountain path heading toward the sound of running water which was getting closer and closer.
Within minutes we reached the source of the sound, a running stream, where old dude sat down. “Sounds serene, yes JT?” I sat as well, “Yea serene, but why would I want serene now? I mean I’m dead right? So why wouldn’t I want to take one last fast ride with blaring rock music? What’s so cool about serenity if that’s what I’m always gonna have now?” He looked at me with a hint of curiosity, “I think you are misunderstanding JT, you’re not going to be surrounded with serenity, your going to be surrounded by nothingness. No serenity, no rides, no music, nothing! This is your last chance to enjoy the feeling serenity brings so enjoy it. Once you complete the climb its just over. Nothing, kaput, nada. Your life has ended my boy and there’s no turning back, no other worlds, nothing. Everything ceases.” Suddenly those warm comforting eyes seemed cold and dispassionate, “Well then why the fuck are we doing this? Just let me fucking die for Christ’s sake!”
The old dude stood up speaking in an exhausted tone, “Maybe its best if you finish your trek alone. You’re in such a hurry to finish dying just go on ahead by yourself, stick it yourself!” He handed me some kind of cable wire, turned and walked away. Feeling a strange aloneness I began chatting myself up, “Who fucking needs him anyway. Stick it myself? What a dick, doesn’t even speak English right. I’ll stick it myself all right. Maybe I won’t even go up the mountain, maybe I’ll just run down the stream. The fuck with him man, I’m outta here.” I turned and began following the stream towards the bottom of the mountain. “Fuck Dee Bays, I’m going where I wanna go dead or not! Stick it myself?! I‘ll stick it where the fucking sun don‘t shine baby. One last ride downstream, to hell with Interface Mountain.”