I’ve just died in battle. I’ve spent the last years of my life using firearms, blades—and eventually—my bola-like testicles and anaconda-like penis to wage war against the Insectoids when they invaded in 2042. For the past few months I’ve been milling around with a bunch of souls in front of the Pearly Gates. Finally, it comes time to assess whether I’m worthy, and I hear the Admissions Staff murmuring to each other from behind their desks.
Saint Peter flicks his eyes across the luminescent scroll that details all I’ve done throughout my life. “As far as dog-hugging goes, he’s in the top 1%…”
Gate Supervisor #1: “Yeah but he had sex with a soccer mom and made her go blind for two full seconds. To me that’s a minus—she was scared shitless that she’d lose her sight, and she became addicted to his genitals for 73 days following the incident, causing her to become significantly less productive during work hours.”
Supervisor #2: “Disagree. Ten percent of human females never achieve orgasm. This guy’s slinging dick like a champion; he should be rewarded for that, not punished. And it’s not like she lost her sight for more than a couple seconds. The fear she experienced is FAR outweighed by the ecstasy. I consider that a plus.”
In a tentative voice, I say: “I wrote a series of sci fi books called Echo.” I look nervously from one to the other. “If that helps.”
The three supervisors give me a flat stare.
Supervisor #3 says, “Book number two was all action. Couldn’t you have thrown in some romance or something?”
Supervisor #2: “Book number one was pretty emo; you got an elite soldier who keeps bemoaning the fact that he works harder than all of his peers, but he still can’t manage to be the top guy. He’s already made it into a select community—that’s privilege enough. Why did you have to write him like some kinda whiny Belieber?”
St. Peter listens to the exchange with a furrowed brow. Supervisor #3 opens her mouth—from the look on her face, it seems like she’s about to offer more criticism—but Peter chooses that moment to clear his throat. The other three supervisors turn to him, curious as to what he’s going to say.
“Echo…I think I read that series. In book three, you had a badass woman using some kind of acausal magic, right? She projected herself into a construct made of living lightning. I think it was called—”
My eyes lights up. “A blaze avatar! Yes! That was one of the best scenes I’ve ever written!”
An easy grin widens his lips. He motions for me to hold out my arm. When I do, he takes a weighty-looking stamp and presses it against the back of my right hand. A scrawl of light-woven characters appears on my flesh; they detail the time, day, year, and are also underscored by a bold, “ADMITTANCE FOR ONE.”
St. Peter meets my eyes, still smiling. “Welcome aboard, son.”
Yes! I pump my fist and resist the urge to stick my tongue out at the other supervisors. As I pass through the gates, I’m transformed into a giant head that moves around like Pac-Man. I proceed to maow my way through vast fields of different foods, always plentiful, never boring. The back of my head-body has a butt. But instead of emitting farts and poop, it blasts out beautiful rainbows and the smell of fresh-baked bread. This way, I’m able to experience the joy of eating copious amounts of food without the worry of offending someone with my nasty flatulence, which could easily strip flesh from bones in a matter of seconds. (I’m not exaggerating, not by that much, anyway.)
I spend a few hours in a dimension that’s comprised purely of New York street pizza, gobbling my way through endless heaps of cheese, crust, and delicious sauces, both tomato an pesto. As I pass by a unicorn, it farts out a gigantic blast of iridescent rainbow. I stop to look at it, and our eyes meet.
“You too, huh?” I laugh, then cut my own gust of rainbow cheese. The unicorn winks at me and bounds away. I shake my head and laugh again.
This place is the TITS!
Time for dessert! I close my eyes and reality starts hazing. The world drops out from under me, and I experience the sensation of falling. I feel myself plop down into a vast field of small, hard fragments. They rattle as my head-body displaces giant handfuls of matter.
I open my eyes. For a long moment, I’m stunned into silence.
I begin gobbling my way through an entire world made of Reese’s Pieces, blasting out gorgeous bands of shining rainbow from my head-body’s butt. A few millennia pass, but I’m still going strong, inhaling truckloads of delicious little morsels. After about twelve thousand years or so, a shining rip appears in the air, one that’s blindingly brilliant. Now that I’ve been reduced to a head-body, I don’t have arms to shield my eyes, so I turn away and narrow my gaze.
When the light dims, I see that it’s Saint Peter. He looks sad and mournful.
“I’m sorry, Kent; you can’t spend the rest of eternity eating mounds of Reese’s. Everyone has to pull a shift on Savior Duty, and your turn has come.
Savior Duty? Fuck that—I’ve got more Reese’s to eat!
“Wait I second,” I stammer, “there’s no need to—”
He holds up a hand. “The longer you draw this out, the worse it’ll be. Come here so we can reinstantiate you into a body.”
Fuck! I zoom away from him, plowing through Reese’s Pieces like fresh driven snow. As I flee from Peter, I can’t help munching on delicious mouthfuls of peanut buttery goodness. (Not sure what that says about me). At the same time, I’m flexing my sphincter, blasting as much rainbow as I can in a desperate attempt to slow St. Peter.
My eyes are fixed firmly to the front, but I can tell by the volume of his voice that he’s dangerously close when he yells, “Heaven is custom-engineered so that people don’t have to smell the horrific death that arises from each others’ buttocks! Your farts have no power here, Kent!”
I see his shadow grow long to my front. By its looming length, I can tell he’s right behind me. I turn around with a panicked expression.
He pauses, a suspicious look on his face. His right hand is raised, surrounded by glowing symbols. I have no doubt that each one is somehow instrumental in sending me back to Earth.
“Make it quick,” he rumbles. “I’m not here to play games.”
“Echo was supposed to be FOUR books—not just three! And I also had plans for a modern-day comedy where a sociopathic valley girl switches bodies with a hulking barbarian warrior, as well as a young adult fantasy series called the Unbound Realm. I was also set to write a detective noir that takes place on the astral plane! You don’t have to incarnate me as a savior—I still have books to write!”
He lowers his spell-wreathed hand. Not by much—but enough to kindle a surge of hope inside my panic-addled mind.
“A fourth Echo book? Prove it.”
I take a deep yoga breath and close my eyes, clearing my psyche of Reese’s-fueled ecstasy. I reach deep into my consciousness, hurtling through all the weird stuff that lies in the mind of your favorite author and perennial Man Child Kent Wayne. My mental fingers close around the conceptual body of Echo 4. It’s titled “The Last Edge of Darkness.” I will it towards St. Peter.
When I open my eyes, I see that his pupils are blinking with symbolic representations of ideas from Echo. Tiny robots, swords, and [no spoilers!] flash inside his irises like they were Vegas slot machines.
Finally, they stop spinning.
“Okay,” he says in a measured tone. “You get a pass on Savior Duty. I’m gonna send you back down, but you better finish Echo 4.”
I nod vigorously. “I promise! Thank you, Mr. Peter!”
He traces slow patterns with his spell-drenched fingers. The symbols float off his digits and carve alien (yet somehow familiar) constructs into the aether. Finally, he purses his lips and whistles out a chain of blue-glimmer chords; they aren’t just auditory, they take visual form as dancing musical notes. When they merge with the symbol-constructs, the world begins warping around me, merging into an insanely gorgeous mishmash of radiant colors. Somewhere in there I see a haze of laughing mandalas that flow and morph…
And then I’m back in my Man Whore body.
I blink awake, and brush a thick layer of empty Mountain Dew cans and Haribo candy wrappers off of my chest. The TV clicks on and I hear a news reporter speaking in officious tones:
“The Insectoids have been repelled from our outer coastal defense, thanks to a man-mecha merge that’s combined the powers and consciousnesses of our Lord and Savior Voltron with the deadly demiurge known as Chuck Norris. Using a flurry of devastating roundhouse kicks—not to mention a deft series of strikes from his Blazing Sword—our robotic savior has saved the Earth from—”
I click the TV off and breathe a sigh of relief.
No more Insectoids. That means I can get to work on finishing Echo.
It also means I can eat more Reese’s! 😀
(But sadly, my farts now smell like warmed-over death).
Are you in danger of being assigned Savior Duty, but you’ve got a boatload of other stuff to do? Never fear! Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle #kindle #kindleunlimited #sciencefiction #scifi #books #novel #book