Excerpt From ‘The Dead Guy’ by Doug Hewitt
But second after second passed and still I had not budged. Maybe I had no control over my body now.
I didn’t believe it, though. Something inside me told me I could move. I only had to want it enough. (I think I can, tooted a little red engine.)
I turned my head—I could move!—and looked up at the sunlight above the alley. The light comforted me. Although it wasn’t the acclaimed tunnel of light to lead me to my afterlife, it was light nonetheless. The shadow of my death was a veil through which I now viewed the world, and sunlight helped dispel the darkness.
Placed in a new situation, the world of the soon-to-be-dead, I endeavored to take stock of the situation. Lying in the grit that had witnessed generations of assembly line workers making repetitive motions that numbed their brains (how much better I could now relate!), I tried to take inventory.
My five senses were intact. I could feel gritty dirt, smell exhaust fumes, hear a car horn’s blare, see the pebble (thank you, Stanley Kubrik), and taste dry fear in my mouth.
Yet I was intensely aware, my sense of being never stronger. Some days in my life had seemed a blur, and not just the college days of drugs. No, there were days of mediocre awareness when I had to catch up on paperwork or drive long distances. These were take-it-or-leave-it days of yada yada yada, when I wasn’t particularly impressed to be alive. There weren’t a lot of them. Many pursuits inspired me, not just tennis. But the ho-hum days were still there in my memory. Now, though, my awareness of my presence in the world was enhanced to a point that made all of my former days ho hum. I was in the here and now. I had never been so conscious of how miraculous that was.
That was the positive aspect of my condition.
All else was a dark, slow undercurrent of despair.
This was new to me. Normally I rolled with punches, played the cards dealt, never sulked or wished for a better life, and I didn’t want to start now. Ironic, that when I felt the deepest stab of despair in my life, I had little life left.
Why wasn’t he asking me if I was all right?
Not sure why—clutching at straws—I grabbed the pebble as I stood. Hal was prone, just ahead of me, not moving in a too-wide pool of blood. I knelt beside him, staring at the sickening squishy soup of fabric, flesh, and blood that was directly above his heart. Hal was dead. There was no need to check further. A single drop of blood plopped down into the pool. He was no longer gushing blood, only dribbling, like a man at a urinal waiting for the last few drops before zipping up.