I’ve seen wars, famine, death, birth, love, and utter hatred. I have seen the rise of angelic humans, and some that would make Lucifer himself cringe in complete disgust, and quite possibly even lose his lunch. Who am I, you ask? I’m not even sure I know anymore, not after all the garbage I’ve seen; but here’s who I used to be… absolutely no one special; I was just a web monkey and a painfully average college student. I’m a guy who would spend half of my time in front of a PC, and the other half buried in a book, all the while thinking about two things: sex and the fact that my life had no real purpose.
But one day, as I sat in a coffee shop contemplating my “oh so wonderful life,” as was a usual part of my everyday routine, I noticed this guy staring at me as I sat down with my coffee. I tried to ignore it, but he kept on looking at me, and this wasn’t just a normal look, it was a look that said, “I want some of that homemade sausage and eggs you’ve got going on.” That look made me extremely uncomfortable, so eventually I walked over to him to find out exactly what his problem was.
“Dude! What is your deal?” I asked under my breath.
“I don’t have a ‘deal’ except for the one I’m about to make you, boy.”
I didn’t even know this guy, and here he was assuming that I would take whatever twisted deal he had in his demented ass mind. He looked like a cross between something out of GQ magazine, and Professor Snape from Harry Potter! He wore all black, as if he were part of some Gothic reject movement; some kids that needed to grow up and get a real damned job. He wore black slacks, and a formfitting black button up. And to be honest, as much as I wanted to hate this guy, he always seemed to speak in a calm, authoritative tone.
“What makes you think I need some kind of deal, dude? I asked dubiously.
“Well, first off, here in a coffee shop 11 AM… when most people your age would either be at work, or in some godforsaken college class trying to figure what the hell they want to do with their lives. And if you must know, the most obvious sign that your life utterly lacks purpose is the fact that you’re clutching a copy of the Purpose Driven Life, as if it were an inner tube being thrown out to a drowning child.”
Who was this guy? And what gives them the right to say things like that about me after only having talked to him for about five minutes? As if someone were pushing my shoulders down, commanding me to sit, I took the seat across from him.
“I see that finally got your attention boy, or should I say Zak.”
“Wait… How did you know my name? “I asked in a nervous tone.
“I know great many things about you and a great many things in general… it comes with the territory. For example, you were born October 8, 1993, in Stockton California. You were born to parents who you feel don’t understand you at all, mostly because of your random “gifts” that you tend to see as a curse. And that woman over there has been looking at the both of us for the past 15 minutes, and she’s wondering if you can last longer than her two-minute boyfriend… not that that concerns you, as the last time you had sex you nearly suffocated in your ex-girlfriend’s Venus fly trap. You’re thinking about giving up sex altogether after that, and I can’t say I blame you.”
I studied this guy closer, and I noticed the shiny silvery light emanating from within him.
“Oh, I see you finally noticed it… my aura. Now takes a closer look.” He demanded firmly, yet calmly.
It can’t be! I started noticing something that looked like wings made of energy. I’ve seen these before, on myself in dreams and visions.
“It can’t be! I started noticing something that looked like wings made of energy. I’ve seen these before, on myself in dreams and visions.” He said mockingly, as the words ran rapidly through my head.
“Do you have any doubts now boy?” He snapped in a sarcastic tone.
“Who are you?” I asked nervously, yet again.
“I don’t really have a name, but my function is to usher souls who are stuck, either here, or in what your people would call limbo, into the next life, whether it be for punishment or reward.”
“Wait, so you’re telling me that you’re the God damned angel of death?”
“Well Zak, you’ve got it half right, but I don’t think God has damned me just yet.”
“Now I’d like to talk to you about the deal, boy. You see, I’ve been very… busy for the past 40 millennia, and I need to take a vacation. So I was thinking I could give you this ring, which you haven’t noticed has frozen time…”
He’s not kidding! Everyone in the coffee shop is frozen their tracks! He’s not trying to mess with my head. He’s been completely serious, and come to think of it, what the hell am I doing with a copy of the Purpose Driven Life anyway? He interrupts my soliloquy yet again,
“I’ll tell you what you’re doing with that book. You’re thinking maybe it will give you some sort of guiding principle with which you can discern your life’s purpose. But let me tell you something, young one. No one man, no matter how wise can tell another what he is destined to become. But you will learn that in time. Do we have a deal?”
Before I could voice my answer aloud, he calmly removed the ring from his ring finger, and placed upon mine. Suddenly, I was overcome with a sense of dread, but it wasn’t as though it was entirely overwhelming… there was a kind of peace intermingled with it. I felt stronger, somehow.
“10 years then, my young prince.” He muttered self-assuredly.
“Oh, and I forgot to tell you; the reason I chose you, that is. You said it yourself… you’ve seen yourself emitting the same type of energy as I do, you say all the time in jest: Genesis 6. You are one of the few creatures left on this planet who can handle the ring at its full capacity. I’ll see you soon, young prince. And before I go, don’t forget to snap your fingers. They don’t like it much when we stop time for this long.”
I looked around the motionless coffee shop, and I notice that same girl who was looking at me before was still staring at me, only she was stopped right in the middle of licking her lips. It almost looked as though she was sticking her tongue out at me. I wouldn’t mind seeing that again somewhere else, but I’ll have to check on that later. I quickly snapped my fingers, and the little café in which I found myself soon returned to life with the kind of vibrant exuberance that only Mother Nature herself could have ordered. No lie, I felt like a God. But I told myself, with this piece of tacky looking costume jewelry came a responsibility. I left the coffee shop and decided to head home for the night.
I didn’t sleep much at all; I kept hearing the screams of people all around me. I began to wonder if it was the ring that brought the curse upon me, but then I thought maybe it isn’t a curse. Screw it, time to return to old habits. I sat in zazen position, as I’d been accustomed to in my days of martial arts training, and began to quiet my mind. Soon the screams became echoes, and soon I focused in on one. When I open my eyes to wake from my meditation, I found myself in the same stupid coffee shop that I had been in prior. And I was wearing that same ridiculous metrosexual all black outfit that the angel of death had been wearing during the day I encountered him. Great, I put on a ring and all of a sudden, I look like a Gothic Prince. No time to think about that now.
There was a man sitting across from me at the table at which I was seated. He was in his mid-30s, of Asian or Pacific Island descent, with broad shoulders, and Manny Pacquiao mustache that made me laugh. I reached out to shake his hand and introduce myself, and as soon as our hands grasped one another, I knew why he was here; I was supposed to usher his soul into the afterlife wherever that may be. It’s strange, I felt a link between us like I can never remember feeling with another human being. It was as if I could sense my relationship to him, as well as his relationship to everything else… and when I say everything, I mean everything. Suddenly knew what I had to do.
“You know why you’re here, don’t you Ramon?” I asked in a calm tone.
“Yes, God has decided to take me home. And you are his ambassador.”
His degree of self-assuredness was startling; I had no idea what to tell this man. I had no idea how to explain to him that I had no idea where the hell he was going, that it wasn’t up to me, or even God. His judge would be the universe; fair, impartial, and sometimes even downright cold. But how do I know this? I think I’m beginning to understand why that guy needed a break. That question alone is both nerve-racking and unavoidable. I guess that explains why most people don’t bother to think about it, it makes life so much simpler. So I kept my mouth shut and got up from the table and proceeded to walk to what look like a staff entrance into the kitchen area, as if I were being led by instinct. Ramon followed me, and I opened the door and took his hand. I led him down what I can only describe as a gigantic stereotype… a long tunnel, with the light at the end of it. I kept thinking to myself, “big deal this is.” We get to the end of the tunnel, and all of a sudden the look of fear and shame flashes across Ramon’s face.
“Ambassador of our Lord, I have a favor to ask of you, though I’m not worthy to ask it.”
“What is it Ramon?”
Too ashamed to speak, I placed my hand upon his forehead, and suddenly a bunch of random events, seemingly scattered, rushed into my mind. It seems our Manny Pacquiao wannabe had a gambling problem, and he left his family with nothing. Wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong… it seems Ramon had a plan.
“You want to go back and find the money you hid away for your family, don’t you?” “But why did you hide it from them?”
Ramon sat silently for a second, and replied, “You see, I know I haven’t been a perfect man and I know that I’ve done a lot of wrongs to my family, but I won really big last time, $20,000… but I knew if my mother-in-law found out, she would take it and tell my wife that I was a good for nothing, and that I would just spend it. If that happened, they would have nothing.
I closed my eyes and tried to fix my mind on the location of the money, and before I knew it, both Ramon and I were standing over the spot where his little treasure was buried, and I could suddenly feel the energy of the universe coursing through my veins as if to tell me, “hey moron, this is the spot you’re looking for.” I reached deep within, then cleared away the dirt revealing a small box made of wood. The second Ramon touched it, we were transported to his deathbed, and I could see his spirit returning to his dying body, surrounded by his family. His family turned to look at me. Shit, I didn’t think anyone could see me. This must be part of the deal. I had to make something up, so I told them I was Ramon’s bookie and that I had owed him a payout that he hadn’t come to collect, and that judging by the situation, he wasn’t going to need it. I left the $20,000 in the capable hands of his loving family, and when Ramon’s spirit finally passed… I. guided it toward that oh so cliché tunnel. And his soul was finally at rest.
It’s been almost 10 years since that first day, and I’ve seen a lot of shit. I’ve seen a woman who wouldn’t cross over until her cat got out of a tree, I’ve seen a man wouldn’t leave until he relived his last spectacular murder of a 16-year-old girl, where he raped her, killed her, ground her body up into a fine mess of human meat, and then proceeded to feed it to the neighborhood dogs. I once ushered the soul of a Wall Street bigwig who refused to pass on, until he knew that final trade had gone through. None of this is making any sense to me. What the hell is the point of all this? I mean, one of these guys is clearly going to hell, but why are there so many different ways to end a life? Why is it that some souls want something profound and lasting, while others are perfectly content to pass on? And others still, want to have one last epic moment before they go on to the afterlife. These were things I would have to talk to death about, along with one other thing; each time that I touched a passing soul, my being was filled with energy unlike any I’ve ever felt, and for some reason I kept having flashbacks to the moment of creation… weird. One day left, and one more soul to collect.
As I have done countless times before for damn near a decade now, I put myself into a meditative trance, focused on my target soul, and transported myself to that cliché of a coffee shop that somehow served as limbo and conference hall to the newly departed. God must have a sense of humor, because he for damn sure knew that I was way too addicted to coffee for my own good. Sitting before me this time was not an old woman, or a man who had lived well beyond his years, nor was this an individual who had clearly bore the marks of too much time under intense stress. Standing before me was a young 18-year-old girl, with skin a golden brown, with wavy hair that reached to about shoulder length. She had beautiful, big hazel eyes, and as soon as I set out to introduce myself and take her hand… I saw everything. A tear came to my eye, I couldn’t take this soul. She died of a rare kind of lymphoma, her parents subjected her to countless rounds of chemo in order to preserve her life, but it only made her sicker, the harder they fought to keep her alive, the more pain they unwittingly put her through, and the more she yearned for release.
I also saw her as a little girl, playing happily with dump trucks and G.I. Joe’s, all the while playing house, wrestling with her brothers, and throwing down on some Halo as she grew older. I saw all of her aspirations, she wanted to become a doctor and treat cancer in Third World countries. Her mission was to become part of Doctors without Borders. But she knew that was a long way off, so she told herself that if she survived this ordeal, she would become part of a cancer awareness group and talk to young kids about what it was like. And for the past three years of her life, she had been active as a counselor for a summer camp comprised of California area cancer patients. This young girl was the closest thing I’ve ever witnessed to a living saint, only technically she wasn’t living anymore. I was the angel of death, and I could not bring death to this girl. That’s the tricky thing about knowing everything about someone; you either instantly loved them, or hated them within five minutes of meeting. And I think I loved her. Or at least I felt guilty of robbing the world of something so good, beautiful, and pure. There was another thing too; I knew what she wanted in order to pass on. You see, being diagnosed at a young age, and going through chemo for so many years, had pretty much shot her immune system to hell. Most of the time she was kept in a sterile environment. She was 18 years old and had never had sex. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that. Weren’t there rules or something? I thought back to the movie dogma, and about how angels had no dicks, and I’d mistakenly chuckled out loud. Apparently, she was also special in another way… when I touched her to read her, she could also read me. She knew what I was thinking too. She knew just as much about me as I knew about her and that scared the crap out of me.
“So, is that a yes or no?” Corrine asked impatiently, her voice was surprisingly angelic. Her words seemed to float from her mouth, like the notes of an outdoor orchestra floating into the midnight air.
“I don’t know. To be honest with you, you scare me… a lot. I’ve never had anyone read me before, not in my entire life. And the truth is, with you knowing so much about me, and I about you, I don’t know of any other response other than to love you. But it seems stupid, we have communicated mentally, with the other 50% comprising of a mix between verbal and nonverbal communication apart from that, it’s been two hours… by now I’d normally be home and finished.”
“Don’t you realize that you’re a treasure to this universe too? And to me? You’re the only person who hasn’t looked at me as just some pity case. And the worst part is, I don’t even know if I can technically call you a person. I mean, you are the angel of death after all.” She looked down slightly, searching for courage.
“Only for another 24 hours.” I thought to myself.
“You thought your life had no meaning before, that creepy guy really gave you a gift. You’re different now.”
I finally decided to speak, “you know, if we decide to do this I don’t know what will happen to me, but I can tell this is what you really want. And all I want is for you to know that before you died, someone somewhere loved you deeply.” I closed my eyes, and tried to find a suitable location, and before I knew it, we were there. The walls were a rich blue, with white crowning. And the sheets were made of silk and had the same tint of blue. She stood at the front of the bed and sat down as she slowly made her way out of the black-and-white polkadotted camisole and blue jeans she was wearing. I’m not going to lie, she had the perfect body. Every inch of her was golden brown to perfection, with a complexion reminiscent of the smoothness that is apparent in the most perfect cup of hot chocolate. She undressed me, and we made our way to the bed, and I kissed her lips gently. Her lips were soft as velvet, and as moist as freshly picked strawberries and equally as sweet.
I gently bit her ear lobe as I stroked it gently with my tongue, I kissed her on her neck, and as I pulled my lips away, and gently blew cool breeze onto it. She bit my neck in the excitement, this girl is a natural. I gently kissed her collarbone as I placed my hands upon her breasts. Gently caressing, when my mouth had finally reached her left breast, I bit her nipple ever so slightly, and she moaned with utter delight… such a sweet sound. I slowly made my way to the area just above her heavenly flower, and kissed it slightly. Her back arched with anticipation, and I began to massage her clit with my tongue and she instinctively placed her hands atop my head, and pushed my face in deeper, and I slid one finger into her slowly moving in and out. I could feel her becoming more moist, and it was becoming harder to control myself… I have never tasted anything so delicious in my life. I went back up for air, and I kissed her again and whispered in her ear that I loved her. When I can no longer contain myself, I entered her and we ravaged each other like rabid animals that have not seen a member of the opposite sex in months, which wouldn’t be too far from the truth for me anyway. When we finally came, I laid my head on her chest to listen to her heartbeat. And it slowed to a crawl, and then suddenly, it stopped.
Her soul was ejected from the body once more, and she thanked me. I guided her down the tunnel, as I have done every other soul before; but this time, I told her that I would miss her.
“I’ve never felt as connected to anyone as I have with you.” I said aloud.
Okay, first of all I can’t believe I said that. I’ve never been known to say anything like that. But I have to admit it even to myself, it was the truth. And if I had denied it any longer, I knew I would grow to hate myself eventually.
Corrine looked at me lovingly and said, “I know, it was the perfect moment.” And with that she disappeared, and for that matter, so had I.
I was back in that godforsaken coffee shop, with the original angel of death sitting before me.
“Well boy! That was a wonderful week off you gave me. So how did you fare?” He asked feigning seriousness.
“You and I both know that you have no need to ask me that.” I said self-assuredly.
“Oh, I see you have learned a thing or two. I was beginning to wonder whether or not you’d ever get the hang of this. You were such a mess when I met you. Oh, and that thing with Corrine, perfectly fine. No worries. I’m surprised you did it, actually. I know the first couple hundred times I had that offer I refused it. But what surprises me more, is that you did it out of love rather than lust. When I met you, you were so obsessed with sex solely for the sake of sex, I thought you would never understand.”
“Understand what?” I asked with a sense of incredulity filling my voice.
“The mystery of the human universe. Ask away boy, I know you’ve got a few questions.”
“That energy I felt when I would transport souls through the tunnel… I kept seeing the moment of creation over and over, on one with different possibilities and outcomes. Why?”
Angel of death smiled, and he motioned for me to take off my ring, or rather his ring. “You see, humans are a rather rare kind of thing. Much like the creation of the universe itself, humans are endowed with the same boundless energy that sets the world in motion. When a human being is created, and born to this earth, he or she possesses the same infinite number of possibilities as the universe, and they are always expanding just like the universe. The only thing that gets in the way are societal constraints. These are mechanisms of control that seek to tell people what they are capable of doing and what they’re not. But if these people can learn to open their eyes and reconnect with the universe whence they came, they would once again realize that life is limited only by their perceptions of it.” He looked down puzzled, and then looked up at me again.
“That’s what she wanted to teach you, you know… Corrine… the other thing you’ve been wondering about. The origin of all things that happen in this world. They all stem from love. Whether it’s a love of power, a woman, a home, or anything for that matter. The greatest heights of men, and their greatest fall; both are motivated by love.”
“Death, or I think your name is something else… so what you’re telling me, is that love is the root of all goodness and all atrocity, all at the same time? If that’s true, then we would do best to love at least one person unabashedly, and without shame. Then maybe one day, that same love would extend to those around us; with us wanting to better the lives of others in the same way that we want to better the life of our beloved, and then that will lead us on a quest to attain the knowledge that would make us capable of doing so. Did I get that right?
“Plato would be proud son, Plato would be proud. Well Zak, I really must be off, but I have something for you.” With that the Angel of death brandished a letter from his breast pocket. And then, he was gone. I unfolded the letter, and this is what it read:
I know that the past 10 years have been an ordeal for you, and I also know that it has forever changed you, and made you a stronger person. You’ve understood the mysteries that I was sent to teach you. What? You didn’t really think that I would need a vacation did you? If more of us were like you, perhaps Earth would have been a better place. We have our regrets about that. I’m glad that you finally managed to find love, even if it was with the passing soul, even angelic souls need love.
One day I will come for you, as you came for all the souls that you took in my stead. And when that day comes, I hope you will finally understand what I’m about to say. Death is not something to be feared, nor is it something to be embraced by a fool. The point of life is death. By this I mean that I will give you the answer to the question you were too afraid to ask: so many seemingly random tasks that all of the souls gave you before their passin;, what do they have in common? I shall tell you my boy. When I say that the point of life is death, I simply mean that one lives in order to create the perfect circumstances in which to die. That perfect moment, as Corrine put it, that moment that you gave her. That is all every human soul seeks, to be able to die in that perfect moment; and that is the point to life. So live young prince, so that when I come for you, together we can create your perfect moment.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Angel of Death
So what will I do now? Well, maybe I’ll go see what’s up with that tongue chick; you know, find out if she’s really worth knowing. And thank God I’m not dickless like those clowns from Dogma, Because until my time comes, I’m going to enjoy life with someone who may someday give me my perfect moment, and I don’t think she’d want a Ken doll.