The Resurrection Machine

Perry McGee

  • 3 Pages

At the reincarnation center, Brandy sat in a seat sewing as reincarnaters reincarnated. Beside her, on a walnut end table, lay a laminated card with a number stenciled on it, nearby was a pretty brass lamp. She sat in her regular chair. That is, the one she always sat in when she came here.

Her last memory before death (this time) was going to Home Depot for a hammer and nails, then getting squashed by a Greyhound bus. She needed the nails to hang banners and party favors; she needed the hammer because Lance took the hammer in the divorce. She needed the bus running her over like she needed a hole in her head. Damn that thing was noisy as hell.

Now, sitting in a soft room awaiting service, Brandy sewed. She was quilting a spread for the couch. Well, her couch in her former life, but she needed something to do while waiting. These damn angels were so slow.

“Number 8, Janis Leed Brallford,” a loudspeaker called.

A short woman with blue hair, sweat pants, and one shoe missing trembled her way along towards the processing area. Brandy asked the woman earlier about her missing shoe and was told, “Car hit me. Knocked me clear over the sidewalk it did.”

Too much information Brandy thought. It must have been horrible. Of course her own death wasn’t all that glamorous either. What with the bus’s grill sand papering its way over her face and the bumper pushing her ribcage closed like a steel trap. But at least she still wore all her clothes.
And as her life flashed before her eyes then, her death flashes its gruesome events now.

She recalled the last moment before impact, seeing the bus driver’s terrified face as he tried to avoid her car, seeing that big shiny dog emblem on the grill roll her over and crush her into a Burger King building, seeing herself die. And then, although it was New Years Eve and very cold, smelling rotten hamburger. As she walked away from the mangled mess she saw a multicolored automobile accident; a red brick Burger King wall with a big green trash dumpster and a mid-sized red Toyota compressed together by an enormous silver bus. What a sight that was.

Her, the car, and the dumpster leaked fluids onto the well lit concrete. Blood and spinal fluid, day old chocolate milk and back washed soft drinks, oil and gasoline; all mixing on the tarmac like a new salad dressing from hell.

And as a salmon is born with the knowledge of a future death swimming upstream, Brandy was born unto this waiting room with full understanding of the concept.

She knew she was dead and waiting for her next life. She also knew that when that life ended she would be back here doing it again. Here is where existence begins and ends. For forever, this waiting room has stood in the center of everything, recycling life and keeping the universe populated.

Sometimes there may be a short delay and sometimes a new arrival waited years for placement. And especially during time of war or a major natural catastrophe, when this waiting room was filled, the wait could be tremendous.

The loudspeaker asked for a gentleman by the name of Number Nine Chris Lee Knolf and a guy with blood draining from his nose and one ear sauntered from the seating area.

Good, only two people ahead of me. Her card said #11 She continued knitting as a planeload of people seated themselves towards the back.

The last time Brandy sat here, 1959 I believe, she began the afghan. Her name was Eileen Abbot at that time. Heart attack victim. In those days, smoking was not prohibited. She didn’t want a cigarette right this second, but soon the need would strike her. Damn she thought, I gotta wait until I’m a teenager again before I get another cig.

She gathered all the necessary yarns and needles from the Sewing Window and took her seat. That time she was called quickly, so she only got a small part finished. She lay it on her seat and went to the Enter Window. There the receptionist gave her a Showing of her new life.

This ‘new life’ was as any other; birth, then the interlude known as life, then death. She even foresaw the bus, at the time not realizing the largeness of the episode. Then, after walking into a glowing orb, she saw a woman’s birth canal. And blood, plenty of blood. Then a man slapping her ass. She tried to tell the mean man to stop but all that came from her mouth was a cry.

As a fetus, she still contained all the knowledge of her past lives and such, but the memories faded within minutes Then all memories of the reincarnation center left her. Like an eraser removing chalk, her mind eliminated all data concerned with that subject.

Her mother named her Brandy. And what happened was: she grew into a beautiful blonde young girl, then into a beautiful teenage girl, then into an ugly pile of crunched body parts. Before the bus mangled her into a dishrag, she weighed a hundred and twenty-eight pounds. Afterward, about sixty.

She only wanted everything to look alright for the party. Hank and Sara and probably Misty were coming tonight, and Bobby may stop in after the gig. Bobby was playing the Scottsdale Theater tonight with his band Shodelmyer and if he showed up, it would be about four in the morning. That was way okay in Brandy’s book, the others would surely be passed out by then. Maybe her and Bobby could hook-up, if you know what I mean. Besides, Brandy hasn’t seen any action since Lance up and left.

Oh, and don’t get her started about Lance. After that bastard of a fuck just grabbed his shit and hit the road, she was pissed big time. He didn’t leave a note, he didn’t call for days, and he took the savings account too, that bastard. When he did call, it was only to ask what lawyer she had. “Can I at least know why you left?” Brandy asked over the phone. His reply, “Irreconcilable differences.”

Irreconcile this you piece of shit she thought as she opened the sour kraut cans. Lance never once told her why. That hurt her more than the actual divorce.

But enough about that asshole. She dropped hot dogs into the crock-pot and added just a smidg of brown sugar. Now Bobby on the other hand, there’s a hunka, hunka burnin love.

She poured three cans of kraut on the dogs and felt a tingle. A small tingle, but nevertheless a tingle. Bobby could fix that problem she believed. She hoped to be awake if and when he arrived. The tingle became stronger the more she thought of Bobby, how he played that yellow Stratocaster hung down low, how he sometimes flashed her the male equivalent of a beaver shot when he soloed. Oh yea, Lance can just eat shit because there’s a new kid in town.

That’s what made this New Year’s Eve so important to her. Impressing Bobby. That’s also why she drove to the mall for New Year’s decorations, not caring that the roads were icy and not knowing a big Greyhound bus was coming in from Bellaire with a load of senior citizens to gamble at Aladdin’s Castle.

Although this was her destined fate, it still came as a shock. First sliding through a stop sign and getting mulched, then standing outside her body beside the wreckage as people said oh my god a few thousand times, then walking to the light. She instinctively knew to go to the light. That’s what all the great spiritualists say, like that crossing over guy, John Evan or whatever his name is, go to the light. So she goes to the light

On the other side, she stood before a chair. Not a big chair or a majestic throne, just a chair. A chair with a newly began orange afghan. Balls of yarn sat near the legs of an end table and a fresh glass of Lipton tea sat sweating on a coaster.

I’m back she thought.

After seating herself and taking the knitting needles in hand, she begins to think about her surroundings. She appears to be sitting in a lobby, like in an airport with glass walls. But unlike an airport, there were various windows all around. Each window had a sign hanging above explaining the window’s function. Like the one where she got the yarn, it said Sewing Window. Next to that was the Sport Window. She didn’t know what that meant but she saw several he-man looking dudes going over to it.

Overall, there were thousands of windows. But the most important window, the biggest and most well lit, was the Enter Window. That’s where everybody went when his or her number was called. And speaking of calls, the overhead PA system announced, “Number ten, Damien Burton Greenshute.”

A rather wired looking guy wearing a smoking jacket and carrying a laptop traipsed towards the Enter Window, stopping only to return his Dell to the Computer Window. Good, I’m next she thought. Not to busy in here tonight she also thought.

Back on earth, a man ate something with poison in it. He foamed at the mouth like he was an actor in a really bad toothpaste commercial, then fell dead to the floor. He stood beside himself looking at his corpse, all gooey like a fucked-up taffy machine. Then he too walked to the light.

Brandy wondered what her next life would be like. She’d know shortly. As soon as they call her name in fact. Always, the first item on the agenda after entering the Enter Window was the Showing. The Showing usually took two to three minutes and what it showed was highlights of the upcoming life. Just clips and previews, nothing to get excited about.

Her name was called. She sat her afghan on the arm of the chair (she’d work on it again) and walked to the Enter Window. Before she reached the arched doorway, she saw the glow of a new arrival. She turned and saw…

“No, can’t be…”

But as Wayne and Garth would say, Yes way! She stifled a worried giggle and hurried inside.

“Ready?” an angel asked, adjusting the controls on the Showing machine. “Guess so,” Brandy replied.

She saw herself as another baby girl, this time with red hair and bright brown eyes. Her brother lay next to her with the same red hair and bro…

Brother??? Why is there a brother laying next to me??? I’ve always been born alone. The Showing showed a couple more clips then another angel pointed to the glowing orb. Brandy had a really bad feeling about this. She walked to the orb and a different doctor smacked her ass. She saw the bloody opening she had just exited. And she saw another head crawling out.

“Oh my God.”

The last thought she had before her slate got wiped clean was: hello again Lance.

More Strange Stories…

Perry McGee

One of the early contributors from 2002.

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