Books: An Abridged Existence (excerpt)

Chapter 9

The sky is partly cloudy, but at the moment the sun shines brightly through a hole in the clouds, and into Sid’s bedroom. A gentle breeze rolls over Sid, as he groggily rolls over on the soft floor of his room. He swiftly sits straight up, and appears fully alert.

Something is wrong. He should not be able to see the sun. His bedroom does not have any windows. As for the breeze, he should not feel that either. He walks over to his kitchen, crunching on small things on the ground. As his vision improves, he notices that his apartment has been ravaged by a terrible fire. Everything is charred or burnt. His couch has melted into a puddle on the floor, and the ceiling is just plain missing.

He looks down at his feet, and sees piles of ash everywhere. It is too early in the morning for Sid to be upset at the incineration of his apartment. Then he realizes that he must be dead. He is sure that he would have noticed a rather large fire consuming his apartment, so the fire must have came during the night while he was asleep. He feels sorry for himself slightly. Although that quickly passes, then he realizes that being dead feels no different to him than being alive. For some reason, he feels mild amusement at this.

He walks over to the refrigerator, which is slightly melted. The contents, however, are still in good condition. Since all of his glasses were melted by the fire, he drinks straight from the orange juice carton. He would have drunk the juice straight from the carton even if he had glasses, but now he at least feels somewhat justified for this unsanitary habit.

He decides that he should take a walk, so he goes to the door and opens it. Outside there is a fire truck, and the apartments are roped off with caution tape. One of the firemen notices Sid as he walks from the front door of his apartment and stops him. The fireman seems rather interested as to what he was doing in the building, when the premises are clearly marked off limits.

Sid replies that he has been burned up in the fire and is now dead. Since he is now dead, he has decided to go for a short walk. The fireman looks rather strangely at him, and does not say anything for a short time. Then he calls over his supervisor, who is also stunned by the appearance of Sid, who claims to be dead. The supervisor calls over the paramedics to have them determine if Sid is dead of not, since the fireman and his supervisor are not qualified to determine if someone is dead or not. Only the paramedics are able do that.