642 Things – 81: Waiting

John was waiting. He’d been waiting for a very long time. And let’s be clear here, in his current setting the phrase “very long time” could mean years. Time didn’t really seem to mean anything here. See, John was dead.

His death had come in a quick but terror filled couple of seconds. He was driving to work, and making good time for a change. He was behind a large truck carrying metal piping. He never saw what the truck drove over that made it bounce, all he saw was one of the long segments of pipe come loose and fly directly at his face. He had just enough time to be scared before he stopped having any time at all.

He came to in a large space, and he really wished he was better with words, because “big” wasn’t going to cut it. It was enormous, larger than an airplane hanger, probably larger than an airport, and it was filled with people. In front of him was one of those Take A Number terminals. John’s number was 3/20/2017 121,853. He gathered from this that he was there were 121,852 people in front of him, who had all died on the same day he did.

Over a massive glass archway was a readout “NOW SERVING #5/19/2011 15” So John assumed he still had a long wait ahead of him. He sat down on a nearby bench, there were a lot of benches. His fellow waiters were the largest mix of people he’d ever seen. Men, women, and children of every race and nationality. Most weren’t talking, some were crying, some seemed catatonic.

One at a time, when the number on the arch changed, a person would walk under the arch. John could see what was happening on the other side, but he couldn’t hear anything. The dead person would walk forward and talk to a figure in a heavy hooded robe. The man in the robe was standing on a pedestal, like a judge. The two of them would talk, and from time to time some videos would show on a nearby screen. If John had to guess, it was videos of that person’s life, their good deeds, and their bad ones.

After a lengthy discussion, which would sometimes get quite animated, the dead person would be directed to one of two large ornate doors. One simply had an up arrow, the other a down arrow, inscribed on it’s surface. Well, that was pretty self-explanatory.

But as John continued to watch, he’d notice that occasionally, the dead person would simply disappear rather than walking through a door. Those people didn’t stand before the judge long at all. Also, from time to time, a person would be directed to a very small and plain third door, that didn’t have any markings John could see.

John hadn’t been an overly religious man in life, but he tried to be a nice person. All this time waiting to be judged for his 43 years on Earth made a man introspective. That’s probably why so many people weren’t talking. He liked to think that in his own very tiny way he left the world a better place than he found it.  He hoped the judge agreed.

He thought through the best things he’d ever done….he thought through the worst. He wished he had something to write with, so he could create a list, and try and prepare a proper defense for his less….shining moments.

Still, it looked like he was going to have a long time to ready his defense. And it gave him something to do while he waited.

Unlike my two books (“The Great Platypus Caper” and “The Coconut Monkey Horror”) I can not promise that each entry in my 642 things to write about series will be true stories drawn from my life, I’ll leave the amount of truth in each entry up to your imagination.
Want to stretch your writing muscles as well? Post your response to the writing prompt in the comments section. I’d love to see it.

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