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Epilogue…Tank top and Soda jerk…7

“Do you remember Izzy?  She was here about a thousand years ago,” said Soda jerk, who was sprawled across his deck chair.

“Seems like only yesterday,” smiled Tank top.  “She was fabulous.  Tenacious and wild.”

Soda jerk laughed.  “She was, wasn’t she.  If not for her, we wouldn’t be together.  She told us to break the rules.”

“We owe her a lot,” agreed Tank top, reaching for his hand.

“Why didn’t you tell her that they would manifest somewhere else?”

“I thought she’d like to be surprised.”

“Do you think all three of them will stay together?”

“I do,” smiled Tank top.

“I haven’t liked anyone as much as I liked her.  She was fun.  Life on earth hadn’t broken her and made her passive, like so many of the others.”

“No.  It certainly had not.  That’s why Bret and Rory loved her.”

Soda jerk nodded.  “Giving Bret and Rory chocolate sundaes, to stop them from fighting, was brilliant.”

“It was, wasn’t it?  She knew them backward and forward and they didn’t know her at all.”

“Their loss.”


“She compared them to dogs who would follow the ball, remember?”

“I do,” snickered Tank top.

“Later, when she said women were like cats and couldn’t care less about the ball, a lot of things fell into place,” said Soda jerk.

“Like what?” asked Tank top.

“Why the males and females of their species had so much trouble understanding each other and getting along.  They were so different from each other.  Truthfully,  I don’t know how they managed to exist as long as they did.”

“It is curious, isn’t it,” agreed Tank top.  “How could a species evolve to make the males want to kill the females and still make them want to be with them, at the same time?  It doesn’t make any sense.  It’s chaos in human form.”

“A lot of animals are like that,” said Soda Jerk. “The females have to protect their cubs from their fathers, who want to eat them, or just kill them.  Lessens the competition and males are just…”



“They should have dialed down the testosterone,” said Tank top.

“That might have made a difference..”

“Well, it’s too late now.”

“It is, and our lives are a lot easier with them gone,” smiled Soda jerk.


“I miss her.”

“So do I.”

“Do you think we’ll ever see her again?” asked Soda jerk, hopefully.


“I have a question.”

“What is it Love?” asked Tank top.

“Who exactly are we?”

“Oh, that,” said Tank top, thoughtfully. “I have absolutely no idea.  None at all.”


There was a sudden flurry of activity and then, “YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING,” said Izzy, who was covered in blood, a sword in her hand.  “Not you two again.”

Tank top and Soda jerk got up, threw their arms around her, and hugged her tightly.



Post script

The earth healed and turned into the most beautiful garden that ever existed anywhere.  Once the humans were gone, all life blossomed, well, for the most part, anyway.



Izzy, Bret and Rory’s story…6

“Good sundae, Iz,” said Rory.

“Yeah, delicious, Babe,” said Bret.

“What do you think is wrong with all of them?” asked Soda jerk.

“If we knew the answer to that, we could have fixed them,” said Tank top.

“We’re SITTING right here,” said Izzy.  “We can HEAR everything you’re saying about us.”

“Yes.  Well,” said Tank top.  “I admit, I have absolutely no idea what just happened, but you seemed to have worked out your, uh…differences.”

Everyone nodded.

“What’s next?” asked Bret.

“Wait,” said Izzy. “Did you really kill every single human?”

Tank top nodded.  “After speaking with Rory, it seemed like the right thing to do.”

Rory inhaled loudly and looked at his shoes.

“You wiped out human beings because of something Rory said?” she asked, shocked.

“Well, we were going to do it anyway, he just sealed the deal, that’s all.  It’s a bit of a mess really.  All those humans crossing over at the same time.  It’s busier than you can imagine, getting everyone sorted out, I mean.”

Izzy and Bret turned toward Rory.  They stared at him until finally, he said, “Oh, for…you both know how awful we all were.”

They said nothing, but continued to stare.

“We were killing everything.  Even I knew that what we were doing was wrong.  Now the planet can start over without us and Iz, all the animals you love so much, will be happy and no one will kill or eat them.”

“That’s a good point,” she said, frowning.

“No, it’s not,” said Bret.

“Yes, it is,” she said.  “Rory’s right.  We kill everything.”

Bret slouched down on his chair.  “Yeah.  We do.”

“Rory.  Have you ever hit a girl?” asked Izzy.

Rory grinned and looked at Bret.  “Susan Mathews, in second grade.  Remember her?”

Bret laughed and nodded.

“Jessica Martin in fourth grade.”

“She was cute,” said Bret.  “Wore bows in her hair.”

“Andrea Wilson in freshman year.”

Izzy punched Rory in the face.

“What did you do THAT FOR?” he howled, holding his nose.

“I did it for Susan, Jessica, Andrea and whoever else you were going to name AFTER them.”

“I liked all of them,” he said.

Izzy turned to Tank top. “Is there any way at all that I can kill him again?”

“I’m afraid not,” said Tank top.

Izzy sat down.  “Okay, what comes next?  Surely, we can’t be stuck with each other forever.”

“About that,” said Tank top.

Izzy turned toward him and hissed.

“I don’t make the rules, you know,” he said, curtly.

“I don’t CARE who makes the rules.  I BREAK the rules,” said Izzy.

“Why are you so ANGRY all the time?” he snapped.

“How long do you have?”


“Not long enough,” she said, going back to the ice cream counter.  “If anyone wants anything, get it yourself.”

She made a double-dip strawberry and chocolate sugar cone and returned to her seat.

“Talk,” she said, to Tank top.

“Well, things didn’t go as they normally do. I mean usually people are…”

“Numb,” said Soda jerk, helpfully.

“Yes, usually people are numb, after their death experience, but for some reason, all three of you aren’t any different from the way you were when you were alive.”

“So?” said Izzy, looking at Soda jerk.  “This ice cream is fantastic.”

“I know,” he said, cheerfully.

“Could we get on with the, WHERE DO WE GO NEXT, part of the conversation,” said Rory.

“I hope there’s ice cream like this, wherever we go,” said Izzy.

“Me too,” said Bret.

“Your molecules will be disbursed into the universe and you’ll become energy,” said Tank top, quickly.

“That’s it?” asked Rory.”

“What did you expect?” asked Tank top. “An tropical island vacation?”

“Yes,” he said.  “Someplace to relax and enjoy myself after having been on earth.”

For the very first time, Tank top…laughed out loud.  “Is that one of the many stories you humans made up about the afterlife?  You want to see the River Styx too?” he chuckled.  “You humans never understand that the universe is just a huge recycling center.

Izzy got up and walked over to Soda jerk.  She handed her cone to Tank top and took Soda jerk’s hand, pulling him to her.  Then she put her arms around him and kissed him.  When she pulled away, she smiled at him, took back her ice cream, and said,   “Everything is a lie,” she said.  “Don’t forget that.”

He grinned.  “Thank you. I won’t,” he said.

“I love you Brett.  Love you too, Rory,” she said, looking at them.

“What are you doing?” they asked.

“I’m going to fly,” she said, dropping her ice cream cone and holding out her arms, as little by little, she began to disappeared in front of them.

“NO,” screamed Bret, trying to grab her. “IZ, DON’T GO.”

Rory was on his feet, telling her to stay.

When they turned around to ask what just happened,  Tank top and Soda jerk were gone and gradually…so were they.





Izzy and Bret’s story…5

“How long do you think he’ll be out?” asked Tank top, staring at Bret, who was laying face down on the floor.

Soda jerk shrugged.  “She’s strong, especially for her size.”

“She is,” agreed Tank top.  “Although, he wasn’t fighting back.”

“How could he?” said Soda jerk.  “He was unconscious.”

“Good point.”

“I really like her.”

“You touched her, but you seem okay,” said Tank top, who started watching Izzy push Bret in the side, with her foot.

“I know.  I feel fine.  I think it’s because I was only thinking about getting her off of you, or else…”

“Or else what?”

“Or else, she’s different than the others.”

They both stared at her.

“Why is she upset with him, when he did the same thing she did?” asked Soda jerk.

“No idea, but she seems very…”


“I was going to say enraged, but angry is good too.”

Izzy walked over to them.  “I can HEAR you, you know.”

“Oh, sorry,” said Tank top.

“I’m angry because we’re all dead for no good reason and because HE let me feel bad about what I did, when he should have been honest with me, so I didn’t have to feel BAD.”

“What?” asked Tank top.  “So you’re not upset because of what he did, your upset because he let you feel bad?”


“I will never understand this species,” sighed Tank top.

“I know what she means,” smiled Soda jerk.

“No you don’t,” said Tank top.

“Yes.  Yes, I do.”

“I think I have a concussion,” moaned Bret, rolling onto his back.

“You’re DEAD.  You can’t have a concussion,” growled Izzy.

“Oh, right,” he said.  “Well, it feels like I have one.”

“How could you have killed Rory for doing the same thing you did?”

“I didn’t think.”

“Tell me something I DON’T know,” she said, pacing back and forth.

“You shouldn’t hit people, Izzy,” he said.

“Oh, REALLY?  Is hitting others just  for GUYS?  What?  Don’t you liked to get punched now and then?  Men are always beating up women.”

“I don’t hit women,” said Bret.

“I know Sweetie,” she said, kindly.  “That’s why I let you live.  You’re one of the good guys, but see, the women who get beaten are good women too.”

“That’s crazy,” he said.  “What does what other guys do to women, have to do with me?”

“Izzy starting to pace again, her feet slamming onto the floor.  “I can’t BELIEVE you just said that.  And, I can  believe that I killed myself because I felt bad about what I did, when you did to Rory, the same thing I did to YOU!”

“What did she say?” asked Soda jerk?”

“I don’t think she would have killed herself if she knew he already slept with Rory’s sister.”

“You SLEPT with my sister?” said Rory, standing in the doorway.

Izzy started laughing.

Bret got off the floor, his hands in the air.

“Okay, this is just getting silly,” said Izzy, standing between them.

“Get out of my way, Iz,” whispered Rory, glaring at Bret.


He looked down and glared at her.  “Move.”

“No.  You slept with your best friend’s wife.”

“With who?” he asked, frowning.

“With ME, you moron.”

“Oh, yeah,” he said, smiling, touching her face.  “It was fun.”

What did you just say?” snarled Bret.

“Oh, sorry, man.  I didn’t mean…”

And then, Rory was flying through the air.

Izzy sat down next to Tank top.

“I’m kind of sorry we killed your species.  You’re more entertaining than I realized.”

Izzy nodded. “I know what you mean.”

“They look evenly matched,” said Soda jerk, watching Bret crash into the mirror behind the counter.

“Bret’s bigger and stronger,” said Izzy, “but Rory’s faster and fights smarter.  Bret’s emotional, Rory’s not.”

“Do they do this often?”

“Mmmm, every now and then,” she said, getting up.

Izzy went behind the counter and made two gigantic chocolate sundaes .  She held them up, where Bret and Rory could see them, then  put them down on the counter.  The men stopped fighting and each grabbed one of the sundaes and started eating.

“That’s amazing,” said Soda jerk, his eyes wide.

“Not really,” said Izzy.  “Men can sometimes be like dogs.  You just have to throw the ball and they can’t help themselves.”


Bret and Rory, were laughing and eating and all was forgotten.  When they were finished eating they walked over to the others and sat down.

“Now what?” asked Rory.

Part 6


Izzy and Bret’s story…4

“You want to help me get her off of him?” shouted Soda jerk, having to touch her with both hands.

“I don’t know,” said Bret.  “What did he do?  Maybe he deserves it.”

“He…KILLED…everyone…on…the…planet,” said Izzy, loudly.

Bret sat down.  “Good job, Babe,” he said, encouragingly.  “Keep going.”

Once Tank top was unconscious, Izzy got up and went over to Bret.  “I’m sorry,” she said.

“For what, trying to strangle that guy?”

“No, for sleeping with Rory.”

“Oh, that.”

“Yes, that.  I’m sorry.  I don’t know why I even did it.  It didn’t mean anything, you know that, but I broke our trust and it was a horrible thing to do.”

“It was.”

“Can you forgive me?  Or should I say, will you forgive me?”

“Of course.  I haven’t always been an angel either.”

“Wait.  What?”

“But with Rory?  He was my best friend,” said Bret, looking at the floor.  “That hurt.”

“When weren’t you an angel?”

Tank top was back in his seat, a glass of water in his hand, and soda jerk was sitting on a chair next to him.  They were both watching Izzy and Bret.

“I know you both didn’t think it meant anything,” said Bret.  “But it meant something to me.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” said Izzy.  “When weren’t you an angel and who weren’t you an angel with?”

“But I forgive both of you.”

“If…you…don’t…answer…me…right…now…I will…hurt…you…so bad…you’ll…”

Bret sighed.  “Rory’s sister.”


“A few months ago.”

“Does he know?”

“Are you kidding?  If he ever finds out, hopefully, he’ll never be able to hunt me down.”

“It’s a good thing I’m not a violent person,” hissed Izzy.  “Because…”

Tank top groaned and covered his eyes.

“…because,” said Izzy.

“I’m sorry,” he said, just before he hit the floor.

“Wow!” said Soda jerk.  “She’s got a great right hook.”

“I had three brothers,” she said.  “I had to learn how to fight to survive.  They said it was good for me, that I needed to know how to defend themselves.”

“I thought brothers were supposed to protect their sisters,” said Soda jerk.”

Izzy sighed.  “You two wouldn’t last a day on earth.”

“We meet a LOT of humans and hardly any of the females fight.  None of them fight like you do.”


“Good point,” said Soda jerk.  “I never thought of that.”

“You’re dead,” said Tank top.

“I was stupid enough to do it to myself.”

“She’s right,” said Soda jerk, nodding.  “She did.”




Part 5



Izzy’s story…3

“I want to see Bret.”

“You can’t see him,” said Tank top.

“Why not?”

“Because he’s in a different place.”

“Take me there.”

“I can’t.”

“Do it anyway.”

“Maybe you could take her,” said the Soda jerk, softly.

“If I get up and walk out the door?  Where will I be?” asked Izzy, staring at the white haze through the window..

“You’ll be nowhere,” said Tank top.

“Could you narrow it down a little?”


“We’re kind of in a pocket dimension, right now,” said the Soda jerk.  “There’s nothing really around us but the inside of a cloud.”

Thank you.  A real answer.”

“Your welcome,” said the Soda jerk, happily.

“If I leave, will I be lost forever?”

“No.  Eventually someone will bump into you.  But it could take awhile and you still won’t find your husband.”

“Why can’t you be more like this guy?” she asked Tank top.  “He knows how to answer questions.”

“He’s not supposed to answer questions,”  said Tank top.

“Wow, you guys don’t have any freedom at all.  It’s like you’re in a play and have to say the lines someone else wrote for you.”

“She’s right, again,” said Soda jerk.

“Fine,” said Tank top.  “I’ll see what I can do about letting you see Bret.”

Izzy reached across the red formica table top, picked up his hand and kissed his fingers.  “Thank you,” she whispered.

Both men sat frozen, their eyes wide. If they were breathing before, they weren’t now.

“Oh, come on, will you!” she said, leaning back in her chair.  HOW am I ever supposed to remember NOT TO TOCUH ANYONE and where’s the jukebox?” she asked, looking around. Would it kill you to play a little music?  EARTH ANGEL started playing.  “Nice,” she snickered.

“Izzy,” said Tank top, through gritted teeth.

“Yes?” she purred.

“What did you like about being alive?”

She thought for a moment then said, “When it was good, it was very, very good and when it was bad…it was horrid,”

“Not exactly what I’m looking for.”

“Cats.  I liked cats  and butterflies..”

“Anything else?”

“Fast cars, Paris, books,  Ice cream, movies, Bret,…”

“Okay, I get it.”


“I think so.”

“Write down pandas and kangaroos, goats and lambs, lambs for sure, and chickens, ducks and chipmunks.  Movies, birds, dogs and CHOCOLATE.  SEX and magical tents with twinkle lights, stuffed animals and grilled cheese sandwiches, swimming and rock and roll, jeans, tea, fireworks, motorcycles and…SUMMER, BIG TIME…”

“GOT IT,” said Tank top, loudly.

“Let her talk,” said Soda jerk.  “Can’t you see she’s under a spell?”

“And Vegas and cats, did I say cats, I probably said cats, and creating and loving and art, and gardens and flowers and blue skies and the SUN, definitely sun, and the BEACH, definitely the beach, and warm breezes and holding hands and…”

“Okay,  that’s enough.”

“It’s not,” she said.  “That’s just the start, don’t you know that?  It’s wonderful to be alive because you can taste and feel everything.  It’s all there, waiting to be experienced.  It’s…”

“I get it,” said Tank top, his face red, his heart, what there was of it, pounding.

“I want to go back,” she said, flatly.  I want to go back now.

“You can’t.  Your species is extinct, as of this morning.”

She was across the table before he knew that she had risen from her seat.  He was on his back, she was straddling him, her hands around his neck.  Soda jerk, was trying to pull her off of him, to no avail.”

“Babe?” said Brett, walking in.  “Is there a problem?”


Part 4



Izzy’s story…2

“What do you want to know?” asked Tank top.

“Oh, so many things,” she sighed. “Hard to pick just one.”

“I know what you mean,” he said, staring at her.

“Okay,” she said, leaning forward.  “If I’m dead, why do I feel as if I’m not?”

“Look at it this way.  Say you have a dentist appointment.  Well, before you get to see the dentist, you’re stuck in the waiting room.  That’s where you are right now, in the waiting room, being debriefed.   From here, you go to another place, and then, after all of that, you’ll be completely dead.”

“How does that make sense?”

“I’m not sure.”

“How can there be a waiting room for Death?  Am I half alive and half dead?”

“No, you’re all the way dead, it just hasn’t really caught up with you yet?”

“You mean I don’t know that I’m dead, even though I DO know that I’m dead?”

“Not exactly.  Look, I don’t make the rules.”

“Who does?”

“Thats another question.”

“Aren’t you kind of magickie?” asked Izzy. “Can’t you see my entire life at glance?”

“No, Well, yes, we can see your life, but we don’t know why you made the choices you made.”

“Ahhh.  I get it.  You’re looking for cause.”

“I think you asked a lot more than one question.”

“They were related questions, necessary for clarification.”

Tank top shook his head.  “Did you love your husband?”

“Yes. But I’m impulsive now and then, in case you haven’t noticed.”

“Believe me.  I’ve noticed.”

“My turn.  Do you love someone.”

The soda jerk looked at Tank top and waited.

“It’s not that hard,” said Izzy.  “Either you do or you don’t.”

“I do,” he said, quickly asking, “Do you love Rory?”

“Yes, but not in the same way I love Bret.  They both love me, but in different ways as well.  We’ve all been together a long time.”

“Why did you marry Bret instead of Rory?”

“I loved him in the right way and he loved me back, the way I loved him.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Who do you love, Mr. Tank top?”

“We aren’t supposed to love anyone,” he said softly.

“Why not?”

He shrugged.  “It’s not allowed.”

“Screw that.  If you love someone, be happy and live it out loud.”

“It’s different here.”

“Then change the rules.”


“Why are you letting someone else tell you how to live?   Don’t let anyone push you around.  Love whoever you want to love and don’t be an idiot.  INDULGE yourself.”


“But nothing.  What’s the worst thing that can happen to you?  Think about that and then you’ll know what to do.  Is someone going to do, kill you?  Are you even alive?  Will someone take your job aways from you?  Do you get paid for this,  or are you just free labor?  If you love someone, that’s the best thing there is.  Don’t live a life dictated to you by someone else,  Ever.  What could possibly be worse than living without the person you love?”

Soda jerk pulled up a chair.  He reached out to touch her hand, then stopped.  He smiled and said.  “I think you’re right.”

She looked at him. “What if I kissed you right now?”

Soda jerk swallowed and his eyes glazed over. A smile played across his lips.

“He would never forget you and he would long for you for all of eternity.  It would be a terrible thing to do to him.”

She grinned.  “Are you sure?” she asked, waving her hand in front of Soda jerk’s face.  He didn’t blink.

“I’m positive,” said Tank top.  “Look what just the thought of kissing you is doing to him.”

“You’re right,” said Izzy.  “That would be mean, IF it was true.  But I really want to kiss him to see what happens because I think you’re wrong.  I think it’s NOT kissing him that has him thinking about what it would be like to be kissed, instead of knowing what it would be like for real..  That’s the problem.  How can you not see that?  It’s the denial of what you want to know that makes you crazy.  Once you know it, you can move on.  You’re probably always around humans, sure we’re dead, but we don’t seem dead, and you just want to get to know us a little better because you’re probably bored to death just sitting around asking questions all the time.  It’s just harmless curiosity that comes with the job. That’s why he eats the ice cream.”

“Please don’t.”

“Okay, since you said please, I’ll leave him alone.  You guys are really weird.  You know that, don’t you?”

Tank top tapped Soda jerk on the arm and he snapped back.

“Maybe no one will stop us,” said Soda jerk, picking up the conversation where they left off. “No one’s ever tried to do what he wanted to do before.”

“No wonder humans aren’t allowed to know what happens after death.  It’s the same stupid things they do in life.”  sighed Izzy, eating the last wafer.  “That really sucks.”

Part 3



Izzy’s story…

“I can’t believe we’re all dead,” said Izzy, looking around.

“None of you had to die.  You each made a choice.  When you chose to sleep with Rory, you started a new path.

“Whatever,” said Izzy, stirring her chocolate coke with the straw.  “This is a 50s soda shop, right?  It’s kind of a surprise, all red and white.”

“I thought you’d be comfortable here.  You know for your out-take interview.”

“Why would you ever think that?” said Izzy.

“Don’t you have these where your from?”

“Maybe a million years ago, or in movies like Pleasantville.”

“Oh, sorry.  I thought you humans hung out in places like this.  But let’s continue, shall we?”

“Sure, why not.”

“So why did you choose to sleep with your husband’s best friend?”

“We had sex, no sleeping was done.  And, it’s  none of your business. In fact, noting about my life is any of your business.”

“Actually it is.”

“Not to me,” chuckled Izzy.

The guy in the tank top, shorts and flip-flops stared at her.

“You’re kidding.  You really think staring at me is going to make me talk?”

“You’re stubborn.”

“You’re nosy.  Who did you just sleep with?”

“My existence is not relevant to this conversation.”

“Yeah?  Neither is mine, so back the fuck off.”

He stared at her some more.  “I can see why they both wanted you.”


“You have spirit and you’re…enticing.”

“OMG, what’s your damage,  creepy guy?  I’ll beat you to death…”

“You mean you’d like to be able to beat me to death.  Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do that on this side.”

“What can I do?”

“You can answer my questions.”



“Why should I answer your questions?”

“Uh, because.”

Izzy started laughing.  “Because?  That’s all ya got?  Because?”

“We’re collecting data.”

“So, you work for the gigantic company that’s putting everyone else out of business and taking over the earth?”

“That’s not funny,” he said, frowning.

“So, you DO work for them,” she said, slurping the last drops out of her glass.  The bastards have even moved into the afterlife.  “Do you get one day one day delivery too?”

“Miss Izzy, please…”

“That’s Ms. Izzy to you and you can take your questions and shove them…”

“I can make you talk.”

Izzy brightened.  She stood up, knocking the chair over.  “You can try, Mr. Tank top and flip-flops.”

“Please, sit down.  There’s no need to get violent.  I would think you had enough of that on earth.”

“That’s all there is on earth, so your talking to a fish about water.”

“Would you like another drink?”

“Sure, why not.  Thanks.”

He held up his hand and the soda jerk brought over another drink, this time with wafers on the side.

“Nice touch,” she said, running her fingers down his hand.

The soda jerk gasped and reached for her.

“STOP,” said Tank top.  “Resume your position.”

The soda jerk clenched his jaw, balled his hands into fists, and walked slowly back behind the counter.

“Wow,” said Izzy.  “What was that all about?”

“If I tell you, will you answer one of my questions?”

“Oh, like tit for tat, you answer one and then I answer one?”

“Yes.  Exactly like that.”


“He reacted the way he did, because you touched him.  Humans are like catnip to most of us.  If you touch us, or we’re around you too long, we sometimes…forget ourselves.”

Izzy grinned.  “Do you have any idea…how much power you just gave me?”

“What?  Power?  I didn’t…what?”

Izzy turned and looked at the soda jerk and smiled.

“Stop that,” said Tank top.

“Make me,” smiled Izzy.

“It’s m turn to answer a question.  That was the deal.”


“Why did you sleep with your husband’s best friend?”

“He was there.”

“What does that mean?”

“I’ve known him forever and we were alone, so…  It didn’t mean anything to either one of us, just a way to spend the afternoon.  I didn’t think past that.  I should have.”

“That’s it?”

“What were you expecting?”


Izzy started laughing again.  “Been to earth in the last hundred thousand years?”

“I thought only men cheated.”

“Oh, Tank top.  Who do you think they cheat WITH?”


“It’s my turn,”  she said, snickering.


Part 2




“What’s your problem?” snapped Rory.

“You are,” said the guy.

“Why do you care what humans do anyway?”

“Seriously?” asked the guy, surprised.

“Uh,” stammered Rory, taken back.  “Yes, why?”

“Okay, look,” said the guy. “Say you’re at work and you have a project to finish.”


“You’re excited about the project, but no matter what you do, you can’t get it to work properly.”

“You call in experts,” said Rory, immediately.

“So, you call in experts,” said the guy.   But they can’t make the project work either.”

“Then there’s something wrong with the plan, so you scrap it and start over.”

“And over and over and over,” said the guy.  “But humans still won’t work.”

Rory stared at him, then nodded. “Then it can’t be done.”

“You’re right.  You can’t be done.  Not only that, you don’t even deserve to be done.”

“We aren’t that bad.”

“Yes.  You are.”

“Compared to what?” asked Rory.  “What are you comparing us to?”

“All the other life forms in the universe.”

“Are there a lot of them?”

“More than you can imagine.”

“No one likes us?”

“That’s an understatement.”

“What’s going to happen to Izzy?”

“She’ll go where she’s supposed to go.”

“You’re just a fount of information,” said Rory, in a very frustrated voice.  “So, what are you going to do about us?”

“Destroy all of you, and save the planet, or let you destroy yourselves AND the planet, and just be done with it, once and for all.”

“Who is going to decide which one?”


“The same others you won’t tell me about?”



“You’re entire species is being…considered for extinction.”

“I’m okay with that.”


“I’m okay with our species becoming extinct.”


“Because we’re horrible.”

“If you KNOW THAT, why do you continue to be horrible?”

“See this pretzel?” asked Rory, holding up a pretzel.


“Try to make it turn itself into an orange.”

“I see what you’re saying.  There’s no hope in you becoming something else.”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying.  You want to believe that we COULD be different,” said Rory.  “But we can’t be.  We don’t want to be different, and we never will be different.  Well, maybe we could be worse,” he said.  “But men will never give up the power they have over others and you, you have to give up the magical thinking that made you believe that it ever could have happened.”

“You’re smarter than you appear to be, Rory.”

“What does that mean?”

“You see the problem and the solution at the same time.”

“What solution?”

“The extinction of the human species.”

“Oh, yeah.  I see that.”

“It’s too bad.” said the guy.  “We had such high hope for humans.”

“Your mistake.”

“I can see that.  Although after talking with you and meeting your friends, I still see the capacity for kindness and tenderness.”

“Not enough to matter, believe me.  To say nothing of the fact that my best friend actually killed me, then himself, then his wife killed herself.  You’re not seeing kindness and tenderness.  What you’re actually seeing is regret and guilt.”

“I see,” said the guy.  “I appreciate your honesty.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I wasn’t sure until now,” said the guy.  “I’ll take you to where you’re supposed to go, which is different from where you should have been, if we hadn’t stopped to chat.  Meanwhile, we’ll send a comet toward earth.”

“Will you let us crawl out of the ooze once more?”

“No.  You’ve already had far too many chances.”

“That’s the right decision.”

“I know.”

“Can I finish the fries?  They’re really good.”

“Sure,”  he said, sliding the plate toward him, once more.

“Don’t feel bad about what you’re going to do,” said Rory, putting more catsup on the plate.  “Without us, the earth will be a beautiful place for plants and animals.  A real garden.”

“Yes, it will be.  It’s a wonderful blue dot.”

“I’m glad I had the chance to be there,”  he said, eating the last of the fries.  “I’m ready to go now.”

The guy stood up and pointed to the back door.  He followed Rory and looked back at the barman, who nodded.


The asteroid came out of nowhere and hit the earth early the next morning.  Fire tore across a part of the planet.  Smoke filled the air and darkness and darkness would soon descend. .

A meerkat who was standing guard, looked up and said, “Oh RATS!  Not this AGAIN!”



“What do you mean, does it have to be?  Yes.  It has to be.”

“What if people decided to be different.”

Rory exploded with laughter.  “Good luck with that,” he laughed.

“You don’t think it could happen?”


“Never is a long time.”

“Not long enough for humans to change,” he said, signaling for more pretzels.

“What if I could give you the power to change things?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean just what I said. What if I could give you the power to have people listen to you and understand that there’s a better way to live?”

“You have the wrong person.  I have no idea what the right way to live is?  No one does, as far as I’m concerned.  And the obvious part that you don’t seem to understand, is that if people wanted things to be different, they would be.”

“What would you do first, if you could change things?”

“Get rid of religion.”

“Then what?”

“Find a new form of government run by the people themselves.”


“Make everyone equal.”

“I thought you said you didn’t know what the right way to live was?”

“I don’t. None of those things would work.  People want to believe in invisible saviors who don’t exist, They always want someone else to take care of them, hence the corrupt government and there will always be those who will think they’re better than everyone else.  What you see, is as good as it’s going to get.”

“And men will always be sleeping with someone else’s wife?”  asked the guy.

“And women will always be sleeping with someone else’s husband. Only some birds stay with their mate forever.”

“What about love?” asked the guy.

Rory laughed again.  “You really don’t have a clue, do you.”

“Maybe.  Maybe not.”

“We’re good at two things: violence in all of it’s forms and greed.”

“That’s a truly negative view of what’s going on.”

“At some point, am I going to have to watch a movie of my life and look at all the mistakes I made while I was alive?”


“I saw Defending Your Life and that’s what happened,” said Rory.

“No, that’s crazy.  Why would you want to do that?”

“I don’t want to do it, I was wondering if I would have to do it.”

“No.  You won’t ever have to do that.  It doesn’t even make any sense.”


“Okay,” said the guy.

“Are we ever going to leave this bar?”


Rory nodded and grabbed a handful of pretzels.

“I think you have potential.”

“You’re wrong.”

“I don’t think so.”

“I know myself better than you do.”

“That’s not true.”

“How can that not be true?” asked Rory.

“None of you know yourselves.  You just make yourselves up and when you do, you bury who and what you really are.  It’s understandable, but it’s just another flaw in the system.”

“I don’t know how to argue with that.  And, I don’t care about what we really are.”

“Not even the least bit curious?”

“No, not the least bit.”

The bell on the door rang.  The sign lit up.

Rory turned and saw Bret standing there with a woman in a tank top, shorts, and flip-flops.

“Really?” he said, turning to the guy?”

“Really.” said the guy.  “After he shot you, he was overcome with remorse, so  he killed himself.”

“Rory?” whispered Bret.

“Man, I’m so sorry.  It was just…  I didn’t think…”

Bret held out his arms.  “Rory?  Is it really you?”

“Yeah, it’s really me,” he said, hugging him.

“I’m sorry I killed you,” mumbled Bret.

“I’m sorry for what I did too, man,” said Rory.

“I know.  I guess it’s too late to do anything about it now.”

“Maybe not,” said Rory.  “Forgive me.”

“For what?”

“For letting you down.”

“Okay.  I forgive you.”

“Really?” asked Rory.  “Just like that?”

“Sure, you’re my best friend.”

“Why does that make me feel worse?”

“Does it?”


“I’m sorry,” said Brett.  “Do you want me to not forgive you?  I don’t know how to do that?”

Rory groaned.

“Told you there were other ways to torture someone,” whispered the guy.

“I know you didn’t think when you were with Izzy.  I know how you are.  You didn’t mean anything by it but I loved her, you know.  And, I just thought…”

“Stop,” said Rory.  “You’re killing me.”

“You’re already dead,” said Bret, grinning at him.

“Not the same thing.”

“If you say so.  But why are we in a bar?” he asked, looking around.

“No idea.  None whatsoever, just go with it.”


“I’m sorry.  If I could undo everything I would.  I’m sorry,” sighed Rory.

“I said not to worry about it.  You didn’t mean it,” said Bret.

“I hurt you.  I never wanted to hurt you.  Since we were kids,  I always protected you from everyone. I just forgot to protect you from me.”

“How can I make you feel better?” asked Bret, putting his arm around him.

“Please don’t be nice to me.  it makes everything so much worse.”

“Okay.  Do you want me to kick you?”

“YES.  Please.”

Bret laughed.  “You always were an idiot.”


“You believed you were protecting me and never turned around to see all the bodies I took out to protect you.”


“It’s okay.  I told you that you were an idiot.  I always knew you would do something stupid.  I just didn’t know that I would react the way I did.  I guess I was a bigger idiot than you were.”


“Yeah, I know.  Let’s not get all mushy and this woman keeps pushing me in the back, so I think I have to move on.”

“I’m sorry you’re dead,” said Rory.

“I’m not.  I was sick of everything, so not problem.  Still, I didn’t think being dead would land me in a neighborhood bar, that’s for sure.”

“See you later?”

“Hope so,” said Brett, as he and the woman, walked toward the back door.  The sign went out and Rory, sat down.

“Did you know that was going to happen?”

“The possibility existed.  Nothing was certain,” said the guy.

“Where is he going?”

“Somewhere where he’ll be happy.  He’s a nice human.”


“You can still feel.”

“Shut up,”  hissed Rory.

“Touch a nerve?”

“I said…”

“Yeah, I heard what you said.

“Do all of you wear tank tops and flip-flops?”



“Why not?”

Part 5


Rory…3 (Put two chapters on today be sure to read chapter 2 first…I put them on backward, so go under this one for 2))

“Fixing your species, is not as easy as you think.”

“Not easy to fix us?  Seems as if you’ve hand enough chances,” said Rory, holding out his glass for a refill.  “I’d fire you if you were as incompetent as you sound.”

“First of all I can’t be fired.  Second,  it’s not like making you is the same as making bread.”

“You make bread?”

“Well, no.  Not really, but it was an example I thought you would understand.”

“Fine.  So, you’re saying we’re difficult to produce?”

“Something like that.”

“You want to tell me what you’re trying not to say, or are we going to dance indefinitely?”

“The problem is that we can’t just mass produce you.  Each one of you is different.  There’s no pattern to follow, other than the two legs, two arms thing.  The chemical, electrical and structural ways your brains are,  make each of you unique.  Each brain is wired differently than every other brain and all of you have different experiences, which make you even more different from each other.  There is no way to fix you.  You are not One, like that stupid saying you humans believe, you are all unique, different, one-of-a-kind.  You don’t have anything in common with each other, other than the fact that you’re kind of alive and living on the same rock.”

“Okay,” he said, pensively.  “I get the problem.”


“Sure, but what if we aren’t broken?  What if you accept the idea that this is all we can be?  That this is what we truly are?  That way there’s nothing to fix.”

“So you want me to accept the idea that you’re all just a bunch of violent, insane, killers and sheep?”


“Then what’s the point?”

“Why does there have to be a point?”  snickered Rory.

The guy smiled.  “I like it.”

Rory smiled back.  “Sometimes it’s hard to accept the ugly truth.”

The guy nodded.  “I was hoping you would all wake upn’t.  You have the potential to do the most wonderful things.”

“Don’t hold you’re breath,” said Rory.  “We’re a bunch of bottom feeders, crawling over each others dead bodies.”

“That’s pretty negative, even for you.”

Rory shrugged.  “Maybe.  I think the cruelest part is holding out hope.”

“What do you mean?”

“When you a kid, if your parents are crazy and hateful, you’re led to believe that life is good.  That it’s fair and that it can be nice.  Then you find out that everything is a lie and that you can’t trust other people.  Soon,  you stop caring and either turn into those people  you hate, or you just live for yourself, doing what you do.”

“Is that what you did?  Live for yourself?”

“Yes.  Anything else is a waste of time.  Nothing changes.  It’s all about power over others and money.  Those two things are the same, by the way.”

“What about love?”

“What about it?”

“Did you have it?”

“For awhile.”

“Did it make a difference?”

“Fora minute or two..”

“So you don’t think your species will ever rise above itself?”

“It won’t be allowed to rise.  The people running the show will kill everyone before they’ll let go of the leash and their stranglehold over everyone.”

“That’s a hardcore point of view.”

“It’s reality.”

“The way you see it, you mean.”

“Of course.  You said it yourself, we each see things differently.  That’s what I see.”

“Do you think you could you see it differently?”

Rory laughed.  “How?  By looking at all the people who help others but never get anywhere?  By being weak and pretending that life doesn’t suck for so many others?  Sorry, but not my style.  My brain, as you said, isn’t wired that way.”

“What if I could rewire it?”

“Thanks anyway.”

“It’s all a matter of perspective.  And besides, uhhhh, parts of your brain aren’t turned on.”

“I’m okay with my perspective.  And what do you mean parts of our brains aren’t turned on.”

“Parts are being held in reserve for when you’re more evolved.  I mean things couldn’t be added later, so thy were put in but not turned on.  Still, I could help you see that some things do matter, even without turning anything on.”

“Why would I ever want to do that?  If the game is rigged, it’s rigged, just like everything else.  Lies and important INFORMATION left out.”

“Just offering.”

“Look, even as we sit here, some people are being tortured.  Held prisoner, beaten, starved, sold, raped, dismembered, burned, murdered.  Kids, women, pretty much anyone.  Animals, plants, all up for grabs, in the hands of violent humans.  I don’t want to care about them.  I don’t want to think about them, or all the other things I can never stop from happening.  So keep your rewiring and give it to someone who can still feel something.”

“You make a good point.”

“Are there any pretzels?”

“Sure,” said the bartender, giving him a fresh glass of ice water and a bowl of pretzels.

“So, you don’t want to feel anything?”

“Nothing at all.  These are really good pretzels.  Thanks,” he said, nodding to the man behind the bar, who nodded back.

“What about you and Izzy sleeping together?”

“What about it?”

“Wasn’t that violence against Bret?”

“Of course not,” said Rory in amazement.  “No one was bleeding, cut, or tortured.  Do you know what violence is?”

“I do.  I also know there are different kinds of torture.  Bret was left bleeding, and cut, not only by his wife, but by you.  The one person he trusted.”

“Then he did the right thing, when he killed me.”

“But he will pay for that, for the rest of his life.”

“His choice.”

“His pain at your betrayal, was more than he could handle.”

Rory, bowed his head.  “Yeah.  I’m sorry about that.  I didn’t really think.”

“He’s lost everything.  Mostly he’s lost what he thought he had with you.  That’s what pushed him over the edge.  His trust that you always had his back was the thing that allowed him to keep going.”

“I didn’t make him shoot me.”

“No.  He made that decision by himself.  He thought it would make him feel better, but it didn’t.”

“Life’s like that.”

“Does it have to be?”

Part 4






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