“What happened?” Paul sat up.
Dr. Koskos looked right through him. “Time of death?”
“Time of whose death?”
“Twenty-two fourteen, sir,” the petite brunette nurse to Koskos’ right answered.
Koskos pulled the surgical mask down from his mouth. “That’s it. That fucker better get the chair.”
Paul watched as both doctor and nurse turned away. “What fucker?”
“The fucker who killed you. Some guy put a knife in your chest, that’s what happened,” the grey haired man answered and bit down on the green apple he held to his mouth. The crunch of his teeth into the fruit drowned out all other sound in the room. His eyes followed the ass sway of the brunette nurse. “Fuck, she’s cute.”
Paul checked his head and felt his own greying brown hair. His hands next searched his body for holes. “I’m okay, though? It was all a dream?”
The man laughed showing pieces of partial eaten apple between his teeth. “Your dead, you stupid fuck. Look what you’re sitting on.”
Paul’s blue eyes looked down and around. Beneath him, on the surgical bed, was his own body with a large bloodied wounds in the middle of his chest. “Dead?”
Paul shook his head. “I’m mostly dead?”
“Yeah truth is your mostly dead…fact is, you’re dead. Oh, I’m Gus, by the way.” He jumped up from the rolling stool and stuck out an apple juiced palm.
“You said mostly.”
“So I did, so I did. Most seem to think death is the end.”
“I’m Christian, I don’t -“
Gus laughed. “Are you now? That fucker, Clancy, always gives me the religious shits.” He lifted the apple and bit again.
“Being you’re not really dead, I’ve no idea why Clancy wants to be involved.”
“Yeah, that guy…um, Chaucer? Chauncey?”
“Choice,” Paul corrected. “Derek Choice. I feel surprisingly calm about all this.”
“Don’t worry, that won’t last. Yeah, it was Choice…guy with the red hair. He killed you.”
“And who are you?”
“Oh, I’m Gus.”
“Yeah, I already got that, Gus. Who are you?”
“Oh, I’m here to guide you to the facts, my brother.”
“Guide?” Paul’s eyes followed a trail of bloody footprints that led to a large metal door.
“In the afterlife.” Gus took another loud bite with his green eyes widening to punctuate.
The belly laugh this brought caused Gus to spit out chunks of apple.
Face crinkling into fear, Paul tried again, “Hell?”
He bit again.
“You will find neither Peter nor Lucifer here. Clancy, however, we must off to see.”
The first pangs of panic started to type through Paul. “Clancy?”
“The Irish King of the End. King Clancy is the one that greets all and hands out the assignments.”
Gus stood up and brushed the stray apple off of his chest. His tie-dye shirt and baggy jeans gave him a distinctly flower-child look with his long grey hair. “You think that we ethereals just float around with nothing to do?”
Paul climbed to his feet and looked back down at the body. “I’m really dead, then?”
“Yup, you are definitely dead.”
His blue eyes looked up at Gus. “What type of assignments?” He hiccupped.
“What?” Paul hiccupped again, but harder.
“Shit, I fucked up. I thought you were dead.”
A beep of the heart monitor caught Paul’s attention. “I’m not…” He collapsed back into his body.
“Clancy’s gonna kill me.” Gus bit the apple again.
Paul’s eyes fluttered open again just in time to see the brunette nurse leading the charge back into the room. He could make out that she was barking orders, but the roar of the pain in his chest blocked out everything else.
Four days later…
Paul sat propped up in the hospital bed.
“Good thing you live here. Imagine how much this treatment would cost you if you were American. No insurance company would insure you after you died and came back.” Gus bit into a banana.
“Gus, if I’m not dead, why do I still see you?” Paul had watched for sometime as doctors and nurses passed Gus without seeing him. That left Gus as either a figment of Paul’s mind, or some ghostly apparition.
Gus shook his head. “Dude. If you’re alive, why have you had no friends nor family visit your bedside in four days?”
No answers crossed Paul’s mind.
“Take that cute nurse out there. Sally is gorgeous and afraid to talk to you.”
Paul agreed she was gorgeous.
Sally was a champion speed skater with muscular legs and stunning hips. She crouched, like a catcher ready for a fastball, and lowered herself on top of Paul’s erection.
He grasped her hips, just for the sensation of touching a perfect body. “You obviously have a thing for older and plumper guys,” he said between gasps of breath. “Fuck, those are awesome legs.”
She grinned and pulled the brunette hair out of the ponytail, allowing it to swing over her left shoulder.
“Breasts are tiny, though.”
The grin reversed, and the flash of her hand smacked him before he could react.
With the impact, Paul leapt back to the reality of sitting in his hospital bed…alone.
“Nice idea, that. I’d love to fuck her.” Gus laughed.
“It felt so real.” Paul’s hand stroked his chin to ease the fantasy slap sting.
“It could be.” Eyebrows raised and Gus grinned around the next bite of banana.
“What do you mean?”
“Clancy said I can still work with you. That’s why you see me.”
Paul’s eyes searched for more. “Okay.”
“You’re the dead guy, remember? Ready to start living?”
“So where do we begin?”
Gus grinned. “Funny you should ask…there’s this library…”