More of you already? I’ve only just processed the last batch! Okay then, quieten down and we’ll get on.
Hi everyone and welcome to the afterlife!
Do you all have a coloured badge? You should have received one from Carol at reception when you handed in your questionnaire. I’m sorry. I know there were lots of questions, but we do need to be comprehensive.
So everyone is ready? Excellent!
Firstly, who has a brown badge? You all answered ‘yes’ to question one? Goodness, there’s a lot of you! Congratulations! You can all fast-track straight back to your old bodies. Don’t worry if any bits fall off after you’ve gone back. That’s perfectly normal under the circumstances. So if you can just shuffle through the revolving door on your left, you’ll be on your way. And be sure to send as many of your friends and family our way as you can.
Now, who has a grey badge? Give me a little wail please, maybe a sepulchral moan. Thanks. You guys can go through, yes through, the door on the right. An advisor will meet each of you individually to help you choose where you want go from there. The most popular packages are ‘wistfully haunt the scene of your tragic death’ and ‘wreak terrible, ironic vengeance on those who have wronged you’. However, if you want to move on from your past issues, we do offer a free counselling service. It could help you avoid an eternity spent roaming the earth as an unquiet spirit of the night, and it’s totally free.
So that’s the short-stay customers sorted; the rest of you will be here on a more, shall we say, permanent basis. Can everyone with a red badge please raise your hands? My oh my, you’ve led interesting lives, haven’t you? If you could please—I’m sorry sir, you don’t have a badge? Didn’t you hear me earlier? Oh, I see; I do apologise. We haven’t had your kind around here for a very long time. Lose your way, did you? It may take a while to track the paperwork down, so in the meantime would you mind following those guys through the revolving door? Should cause an interesting stir at the British Museum. And if your bandages are coming loose, please do speak to Carol at reception. She always keeps a stapler handy.
Right, where was I? Ah, yes. Red badges, you need to go down that circular staircase. Your badges are numbered from one to nine, indicating the floor you need to get off at. Please note that floor nine is the lowest, okay? Might I suggest you remove your jackets before you go? I doubt you’ll need them again.
Okay, who has a beige badge? Can you pop into that waiting room there, and someone will be with you presently. Depending on the results of your questionnaire, it may only take a couple of centuries.
Yes sir, that’s a beige badge in your hand so could you please hurry on into the waiting room. I’m not finished yet and the next batch will be arriving any minute n– oh they’re here already!
Can you all simmer down please? I’ll be with you in a moment.
Sir, it’s very interesting that you worked in Human Resources, and well done on avoiding the red badge, now if you could just – understaffed? Definitely not… well, maybe a bit. Look… we don’t normally do it this way, and the paperwork will be a nightmare, but if you want you could stay here with me. Just as a trial, you understand. The pay sucks and there’s not much of a benefits package, but you’ll be busy enough that those centuries will seem to fly by. Believe me, I know.
Agreed? Now I do need to get on. Watch and learn.
Are any of you from the previous batch? I’ll get to the new people soon, but for now, is there anybody from the previous lot with an express pass? That’s the one with a smiley face. You can go up that staircase there then follow the brilliant white light.
BIO: Steven Young is a Fisheries Consultant living in London. This is his second appearance in Liquid Imagination.