He stood in line, patiently. Then, he frowned. He turned to the man next to him.
“Why are we in line?”
The large hairy face contorted into a hell-if-I-know expression. Frank tried to figure out how he got into line. He traced his steps only to find, there were none. He looked back at the man beside him.
“Are we dead?”
The man looked thoughtful a moment. Then said, “looks that way.”
Frank looked left, right and up, they were in a hallway. It was gray and business looking. Frank tried to peak around the edge of the line. It just seemed to go on, forever. The hallway was just barely wide enough for two by two. Frank stepped forward a bit, trying to squeeze around the person in front of him.
“Hey man! No cutting!”
Frank turned around. A youth of about nineteen was giving him a tough look. Frank shrugged and stepped back into line.
“Charlie.” A hand appeared in front of Frank. Frank took it and looked at the hairy man again.
“So, do you have any idea what is going on?” Frank asked.
Charlie shrugged. “I mean, it seems like we’re all dead. That part is for sure. And, the line is going somewhere. It moves every now and then. But, yeah, that is kind of it. Some think this is hell, some think it’s just the line to get into heaven.”
Frank thought for a moment.
“What happens if you just pushed people out of the way and walked up to the front?”
Charlie laughed. He pointed at himself.
“What?” Frank asked.
“Well, you get kicked back to the end. To be fair, I didn’t force my way, I just chatted, made friends and they let me pass. Until some prick snitched on me.”
“Snitched on you to who?”
Charlie shrugged, “No idea, he just yelled ‘that bastard is cutting,’ then, poof, you’re my new line buddy, and you just died. So, I am assuming this is somewhere near the tail end.”
“When did you die?”
Charlie bobbed his head side-to-side, thinking. “Maybe a couple years ago, or, an eternity, who knows” he decided.
Frank’s stomach fell. “You’ve been here, standing in line, for years?”
Charlie nodded. “It’s not so bad. We tell stories, or make up games, or have a bit of sex. Thank God, or well, The Great Hallway Deity, that we don’t have to eat or defecate. That was really the worst part of living, I think. Oh! And there is this.”
Charlie smiled as though he were a kid about to show Frank his new game system. Instead, he grabbed Frank around the neck, hard. He squeezed. Frank felt his breath cut off. Instinctually he kicked out at Charlie, but, Charlie just chuckled, barely noticing the blow.
“Think,” Charlie was saying, “just think, you’re dead.”
And then Frank thought and he realized, he didn’t feel any pain, or light headedness, just a weird pressure where Charlie was holding him. Charlie let go.
Frank started breathing again, out of habit.
Charlie clapped him on the back.
“What is so great about that?” Frank asked.
Charlie shrugged, “No idea, just think it’s pretty neat.”
Frank leaned against the wall and looked at Charlie, thinking.
“You’re a weird guy Charlie,” Frank decided.
“I’ve been standing in line in a hallway for years, I’m normal.”
Frank chuckled. Then sighed.
“Alright, well, this line will get to where it’s going eventually. What kind of stories you got?”
Charlie lit up.
**For more Frank, click here