As I went in no particular direction, for no particular reason, sifting and sloshing my mass of formless molecules through some kaleidoscope reality, I was reminded of a song by this guy I’d met named Jim Morton, or something like that — James Morrison perhaps? It’s hard to keep track; you meet a lot of people working in the Final Judgment Sector. Anyway, when I processed him, he insisted on singing the same damn tune over and over, no matter what I said or did. The tune, I believe, went something like this: “This is the end, beeeeeeaaaaaaauuuuuutiful friend. The end.”
I wasn’t sure if he thought I was his friend, or if he was saying goodbye to some friend that was still living, and since he never let me get a word in edgewise, I never got the chance to ask.
The point is, my somber misery made me remember his somber misery, which led me to thinking about misery in general. My conclusion is that there’s a whole lot of misery going on, all the time, and to everyone. It occurs regardless of which reality you live in, and what type of creature you are.
Making matters worse, the more I was left to simply “slosh about,” the more I felt as though the whole point of this journey was to make me realize there is no point — to anything — and that there never was.
This made me suspect I’d never see Gena again, and that Nova John, the lead engineer of the Trans-Reality Travel System, would remain a mere figment in my imagination.
By the way, this is how I imagined Nova John — a tall, hunched-over old sod that just hit buttons at random for kicks. I fathomed that he was pretty bored of controlling the suckage of black holes, since he’d been doing it for six times longer than the universe has even existed, and that, due to his boredom, he’d welcome my arrival with a big smile and a hand shake. Being happy just to see a new face, I figured he’d simply hand me over control of the black holes without hesitation. For him it’d be as though someone had finally come by to relieve him of his duty. Then I suppose he’d take a long nap.
Of course things never go as planned, and instead of completing my mission I was stuck floating about like some kind of amoeba.
“What a buzz kill,” I sighed. Exploding uncontrollably into a ball of fire, then diminishing, until I’d spelled out my words in Morse code.
Every once in a while, the neon lights around blinked this or that, and “the passing show” would return to smelling like rotten eggs and sour grapes. From time to time it would even smell like the perfume of the lady I happened to marry when I was a living person.
Thoughts of her belong alongside rotten eggs, make no mistake about that!
Over time, the bombardment of colours, smells, textures and sounds grew repetitive and boring. Like the notes from the Apocalypse Planning Committee, this whole reality felt as though it existed on some long loop that went nowhere. Eventually I just started blocking it all out, until I was left with nothing but blackness, and the taste of shoe polish.
This depression felt like death all over again, only instead of being processed, I was forced to maintain a sense of empty stillness forever. While the worst feeling in the world is thinking you’re not loved, the worst feeling in the universe is thinking you don’t exist at all. I felt like I didn’t exist at all. I felt like the “experience of life” in general was just some sick charade placed upon me by a twisted faceless vandal.
“Damn the faceless vandal!” I tried to scream, but instead burst into a ball of fire and diminished repeatedly.
On the bright side, my screams of desperation helped me learn Morse code, more or less.
At an impossible to determine point, reality lit up like a fireworks show, and tasted like marshmallows. Then, as I roused from my sleepy depression to witness the spectacle, everything suddenly returned to blackness. Only this blackness didn’t taste like shoe polish, it tasted more like — nothingness. Forgive me, I don’t know how to describe the taste of nothingness, but rest assured, you’ll know it when you experience it.
A moment later, a small blinking neon-green light appeared in the distance. After grabbing my attention, the little light skipped across a vertical plane, leaving behind it dots and lines which explained to me what had just occurred:
Never fear. Clara Reed is Here.
By some miracle, Clara Reed hacked this portion of non-physical reality.
In dots and dashes she updated me on her attempts to find God. So far, the holiest of entities had eluded even her best-laid plans, though she was still optimistic. I knew letting her into the highest echelons of Heaven was a bad idea, well for the heavenly establishment anyway. For, as it would turn out, my bad decision played to my advantage yet again.
I just wish she could’ve helped me without causing so much chaos.
Despite my reservations, I would soon be blasted away from the kaleidoscope reality, and programmed to appear before Nova John, bypassing a labyrinth of pissed off Archangels I’m sure.
However there was a catch. For her help, Clara demanded one thing from my meeting with Nova John. Somehow, I’d have to make Nova John tell me where God is. She figured my charm was more congenial than hers. But in case it wasn’t “congenial enough,” she programmed me to carry an Identity Scrambler, a powerful weapon anywhere, but most powerful up here in Heaven, to help with the persuading.