I’ve just died and gone to Hell. If I couldn’t already tell by the flames and screams, I’d know it by the task that’s been assigned to me:
Burning triceps, sweat-soaked brow, a desperate chain of flinches and whimpers as I struggle to avoid dark-colored backsplash…all part of the deal as I pump my plunger in an endless, frenzied rhythm. It makes a sucking, vortex-like noise with each madcap thrust (these noises would be appropriate if they originated from one of those crazy, modern-day hate-fuck porns). They sound like something you might imagine if the Sarlacc Pit Monster decided to laugh at you for all of eternity.
I pause to wipe sweat from my brow with an aching forearm (gotta use the part of my arm that’s near the elbow or I’m going turn a bad situation into a shitty one, pardon the pun). My heart jumps in my chest as the crack of a whip rings next to my ear.
“BACK TO WORK, KENT! THINK YOU CAN INSULT LUCIFER’S GRAMMAR NAZIS WITHOUT CONSEQUENCE? FAT FUCKING CHANCE! BWAHAHAHA!”
I turn to the demon. He’s standing on a tall crag of stone that looks like one of those rock mesas in Arizona, only his platform is about six feet in diameter.
“Please,” I gasp. “I can’t take much more.” Then a thought occurs to me. “Wait—shouldn’t ridiculing Satan’s minions SPARE me from this? I thought making fun of his dark forces would cause me to go to Heaven, not this shithole!”
The goat-horned demon narrows his eyes. “This is my home. Don’t call it a shithole.” The malevolent smile re-forms across his face. “You think that’s enough to get you into the Pearly Gates? Dude—the only other thing you did was romp around with frustrated soccer moms; you don’t get to avoid plunger duty just ‘cos you wrote some stupid ads!”
As I’m speaking, Gary Busey wanders over to my toilet, his wispy-haired pot-belly drooping prominently over his crotch. Enormous houseflies buzz around his yellow-specked tighty-whiteys.
“Oh God,” he groans. “Just ate a bowl of week-old garbage—this is gonna feel GREAT!” He sits on my toilet, screw up his face, and unleashes hell. A blissful smile widens his lips. When he’s done, he gets up and claps my shoulder. “Have fun, champ.” Then he wanders off, still grinning.
My eyes well with tears.
“Get to it, Kent!” the demon yells at me. “Get back to—oh, hold on; wait for Whoopi!”
Whoopi Goldberg wanders over, clutching her belly and moaning, “Holy god—I just devoured a head-sized ball of patchouli and chased it with expired kombucha. I REALLY need this!”
I can’t bear to watch while she does her business—I have to turn away like those traumatized moms in ’80s movies, covering their infant’s eyes and trying to hold back sobs.
“SHE’S FINISHED, WAYNE! GET BACK TO PLUNGING! AHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!”
“No…no…I CAN’T! PLEASE!” I drop to my knees. Blubbering sobs spill from my mouth.
“WAYNE! GET YOUR ASS BACK TO WORK OR I’LL ASSIGN YOU TO KATHY BATES’S TONGUE-BATH TEAM!”
“Wait,” I gasp through my tears. “What about a trade?”
The demon gives me a suspicious look. “What could you possibly have that I would want?”
“When I was alive, I wrote 3 novels in a sci fi series called Echo. I died before I could finish the fourth. Ever heard of them?”
For a long moment the demon maintains his level stare…then recognition dawns in his eyes. “Echo!” he says, snapping his fingers. “Giant robots and blaze avatars!”
I nod eagerly. “That’s the one!”
“What happens in the fourth one? Does Atriya get to put it in Verus’s butt?” He leans toward me, his cat-slit pupils wide and glittering.
I hiss awkwardly through my teeth. “Ah…not exactly…” When his eyes darken with displeasure, I quickly follow up with: “But maybe something similar! Just not as…not as crass, okay? All you gotta do is let me reincarnate so I can finish writing it!”
He studies me carefully, his eyes ticking back and forth across my face. “Okay,” he says finally. “But you BETTER finish it!” He points at my face with a gleaming red talon. “Or next time I see you, I’m gonna force you to participate in a Star Trek themed menage a trois with Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh. In between blasts of disheveled-old-man sperm, you’re gonna be subjected to a blistering deluge of ill-thought out rhetoric from both ends of the political spectrum!”
I suppress a shudder and manage to croak: “Deal.”
He snaps his fingers. Suddenly, I wake up in my studio apartment, back in my Man Whore body.
Sweet! Time to get on soccermoms.com and—
Then I imagine giant, laughing faces—phantom projections of Whoopi Goldberg and Gary Busey.
“COME BACK TO US, KENT! WE MISS YOUR MASTERFUL PLUNGING! AHAHAHAHAHA!!!”
I squeeze my eyes shut. Trails of tears leak down my cheeks. I take a deep, shuddering breath.
When I open my eyes, I get up and start working on Echo 4: The Last Edge of Darkness. No more plunger duty for me, thank you very much! And I only allow soccer moms in my menage a trois—not crazy nut jobs who look like they’re gonna give birth to foul humanoids made entirely of sweat!
Have you screwed up during your time on Earth and are now stuck in a burning lake of fire? 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