Death comes to us all. Or, more accurately, it will one day. Chocking relevation, fer sure, and you have heard this all too many times before and would rather not stink about it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Completely misunderstandable.

But wait, there's more.

No one seems to be immune to this eventuality, at least that the living know of, and just getting to the century mark is a major achievement.

Martin was no exception. Like everyone else, he had no idea what happened to your life essence once your frail corporeal body crapped out as his did, but he had no fear of no longer existing on this side of the proverbial veil. Or not existing at all.

There's nothing to be done about becoming nothing. You'll never know.

Never feel any pain, either. Total oblivion was not his first choice, but not his greatest worry.

At 78, all of his few friends were gone, along with his wife, parents and those famous names he had grown up admiring. If Jacques Cousteau, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Mother Teresa had to kick the bucket, so could a nobody like him. At least his son was doing good.

What EXACTLY happened on the 'other side' was more of a curiosity than anything.

Marty was not one of those happy people poisoned with half a brain. Merely driving down the road was proof that some humans were moronic borderline retards.

Yes, retards. As far as he was concerned, you can stuff your political correctness. Discrimination, in certain, very select, instances, was not such a bad thing.

And those 'Native Americans' who objected to the names of some sports teams?

They lost the damn war. White man kicked their ass.

Don't like it? We can do it again.

He did not want to have to deal with a bunch of scumbags in heaven.

Not the thieving bastards who broke into his vehicle on several occasions.

Not some of the jerks he had the unpleasant acquaintance of.

His standard joke was that he really wanted to know just who was the idiot who allowed male pattern baldness. He may have been a jerk himself, but unlike those others he was really, really good at it. He did realize that there were worse things in life, but something so simple should have been corrected a long, long time ago.

There was gonna be some bitching about that if there was not a good explanation.

No, he did not plan to go quietly into the darkness.

Not if he had to account for some poor decisions at the pearly gates. His life had been one largely of disappointment, but he always had wanted to do better.

He was not the kind to screw others over, but could have helped a lot more if he had his act together more.

Just not quite good enough.

Exactly what happened next was the key.

Would he meet his parents? Wife? Grandparents? What would they look like?

As they were at the time of death or in their prime?

Having a body wasted by disease for eternity would not be any fun at all.

Was Elvis greeting fans and was it the Vegas Elvis or the young one?

Seriously, not everyone got to grow up. Did anencephalic babies mature in heaven?

Marty decided to compromise. He felt that as long as his primary test went well, he could go along with whatever happened without too much of a fuss.

He had never met his maternal grandmother or paternal grandparents.

Pop's parents died before he was born.

Nothing to be done there. But Mom's mother had left the family due to personal problems.

She showed up many years later at his cousins, but they refused to take her back.

He would have taken her in, but never had the chance.

She probably didn't know he existed and he never even learned her name. Only that she was French and was not welcome.

As a youth, he had been told she died. Learning different years later hurt, but his cousins had their reasons and he hardly knew them as well.

Finally meeting her would go a long way to making him believe he had gone to a better place.

Meeting August and Otilla would be very nice also.

Did they have Pinochle, which he and Pappy had played many times until his death?

What actually happened was a lot more complicated.

He had expected to have SOME leverage, since he was already dead.

What could they do to him?

It turns out that what they could do to him wasn't a problem.

It was what would not be done for him.

Thousands of people die every day. Thousands more are born and this only counts one species.

He had to make a choice quickly.

Would he rather be reincarnated or take that nice tour of the universe he had always dreamed of?

This had to be done as a disembodied entity in total darkness. There were other options, but all had to made very soon or the window of opportunity closed forever. No reunion with relatives, one irrevocable choice allowed.

The specters haunting the psychics were those unable to make a decision in time. Eventually, their lifeforce would fade as their connections to the planet passed on.

Nothing lasts forever.

Marty's esprit de corpse would also eventually wane, but he was assured he would get to see much of the near universe before then.

Fortunately, those traveling with him were naturally similarly minded.

While some had delayed their selection as long as possible, Marty had no such qualms.

If he couldn't be around to comfort his son when the time came, he asked that a message be left behind with directions for his boy to follow.

This should have been totally impossible, but was agreed to all too quickly.

Martin was not done being a jerk.

After all, his name WAS derived from the Roman god of war.

It meant warlike.

He had no voice, but let it be known that he was hip to these aliens.

By sending Earthlings far away, their life essences could be the ones reincarnated here.

Just how this worked, he had no idea. Whatever rules were in place here were beyond human comprehension and he didn't care.

They could have the place for all he cared.

Couldn't louse it up any more than it already was.

Hell, he'd have gone years ago. Why wait for death?

That's the message Marty gave his 'benefactors' as he started on the trip to Mars.

He doubted that he'd give a warning to the living even if he could.

He wasn't sure how many other choices were on the poll, but he had no use for them.

He was sure that quite a few others would feel the same way.

To the Solar System and Beyond.

end

CONTENTS


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