The morning after my death I got up at 8. Brushed my teeth, put on one of my suits, drank coffee, and walked to work in 10 minutes flat. I was very proud of myself for arriving on time at a job I hated.
I walked into the office building with some co-workers, who ignored me as always. I froze as I entered the hallway, my eyes on a large portrait in the center.
You see, that is the moment I realized I had forgotten that I was dead.
They had made quite a spectacle out of it. There were candles burning, wilted flowers stood in coffee mugs and co-workers who never looked at me twice, faced my picture.
The receptionist, who I’d found so desirable I never dared to say hello to her, said, “He was a good man…”
Alan, my co-worker who always delighted in pulling pranks on me, stammered, “An excellent man…”
The nasal voice of his boss interjected. “None better than our George!”
A voice I didn’t recognize said, “Wasn’t his name Louis?”
My boss quickly corrected his mistake. “We called him George. He liked George Harrison you see?”
I laughed at the way he covered his ass again and moved forward to see who owned the unfamiliar voice. Only then I noticed the bright light. All became clear in that moment. A TV-camera a registered the marvelous acting abilities of my former co-workers. A nervous man stood in front of it and moved the microphone left and right to capture all the mournful lies.
I thought back to the car I saw drive into the water on my way home the night before. Dove right in, got the kids out and the mom. The dad and I drowned when the car suddenly toppled over.
I looked down at my 40 year old, humpty dumpty body, my bland brown suit and matching shirt and tie. I stared at the battered old Samsonite I always took to work, and muttered to myself, “Gods, I truly have made life a joke.”
“You are dead now. You can change everything at the snap of your fingers. Do you want me to bring you to heaven’s gate in this?”
I turned into the direction of the voice and saw an angel, or so i guessed, looking at the white dress, long hair and the wings peeking over her shoulder. “I truly am dead, aren’t I?”
She checked the yellow notepad in her hands. “You are. Died a hero to a lot of people I gather.” She pointed at the dramatic scene in front of us.
“They started caring when I was dead. Anyway, I did what anyone would do.”
She smiled. “Many wouldn’t sacrifice themselves to rescue others.” She checked the notepad again. “The oldest girl will become a doctor, the youngest will work on car safety. Her invention will save a lot of people. Your face will become even more famous than it is today.”
She held up the pad and showed me an ad for something called the Louis 1.0 with my face next to that of a pretty young lady. I read the words. “18 years ago, our car hit the water. This man saved my life. Let Louis be your angel too!”
I laughed. “Heaven has iPads?”
The angel smiled, “If you wish to see it as such. She will marry your son. Without you, they might not have even met.”
All the pain of the divorce faded away as if it had never existed. I thought the deep sadness I had always felt after the weekly phonecalls with my 9 year old son, who had moved half way across the world with his mom. I knew I should feel sad now, but all I did was smile.
I gazed up at the angel, and said, “I am at peace.”
“Good, so how do you want to be taken to the gate?”
I looked down on my clothes. “Not like this, for sure.” I pondered for a moment and grinned. “I wanna go as…”
“Don’t think, just snap your fingers.”
I did, my clothes changed in a flash. I looked down on my short, fat, ageing body dressed in spandex, patted my round belly and said, “I’ve become some sort of Superman. That’s odd. Can I look like him too? Or is that pushing it?”
She pointed at the big L on my chest.”Not Superman… I wouldn’t change another thing. You wouldn’t be Louis the Magnificent anymore.”
I smiled when I realized who I was, the superhero I had invented when I was Louis junior’s age. Until now I had never imagined him to be short and fat, though.
She continued. “Alright, we have to go. Your job awaits.”
I looked up. “Job?”
She smiled so brightly that the world faded. I blinked and looked at a big rainbow colored gate. She pointed me to it and said, “Signed you up for guardian angel service. Figured you might fit in.” She patted my arm. “We gave you the assignment for one Louis Vincent Bartholomew Redmond.”
“But… That is the name of my son…”
“Really? That is quite a coincidence. Now, coming?”
I could only nod. Tears of joy streamed down my face as I stepped through heaven’s gate into my new existence.