Monday, November 06, 2006

Heaven, Room 103 Day!

Today you are going to be bludgeoned to death in a motel room. You only went there because a man you met at a truck stop told you he had some crank, and he said if you come back to his room with him the two of you could have a party. Even though ninety-nine percent of such encounters end in a bludgeoning just like yours, you never saw it coming.

When you arrive in Heaven, the talking puppy at the gate will look up your name and find your accommodations. 'Ah, you're staying in the Eastern Pass. Would you like to go to your room immediately, or would you care to drop into the Room 103 Reunion Party?'

'The Room 103 Reunion Party?' you'll ask.

'The Room 103 Reunion Party,' the talking puppy will say. 'They're expecting you.'

The talking puppy will point one of his paws towards a gathering of clouds off to the right where perhaps three dozen people are laughing and sipping from goblets like they're at some sort of medieval cocktail party. The talking puppy will say, 'Go on. They can't wait to meet you.' Then he'll roll over and bark once.

As you walk towards the gathering of people, you'll remember that 103 was the number of the hotel room where you were killed. Before you reach the gathering, everyone will turn to you and shout your name with open arms.

As they welcome you into their circle, they'll hand you a goblet of frozen mango margarita and they'll introduce themselves and point on their bodies to where they were shot, stabbed, or beaten with hammers. This is the Room 103 Reunion Party, and the only way anyone's getting on the guest list is if they die tragically in Room 103 at the I-80 Best Western off of exit 33-B Westbound.

'Looks like you took the 103 expressway up!' they'll joke with you, in between tales of how they were lured back to the motel room against their better judgement. You'll meet prostitutes, pimps, drug addicts and dealers, closeted gay preachers, even a couple of night-shift motel operators who were stupid enough to knock on the door to find out if that was a woman's scream they just heard.

'He was my knight in shining armor,' one former prostitute will say with her arms wrapped around a former motel operator. 'According to the coroner report, I was killed instantly, but I swear I saw him in that doorway. The last thing I remember is this here motel operator doubling over after the John unloaded a shotgun in his belly. He heard me scream for help when the John started beating me, and he came knocking to try and save my life. Too bad for you, huh baby?'

The motel operator will say, 'Just doing my job.' The prostitute will kiss his cheek. You'll get the sense they're kind of an item now.

They'll ask for your story, and you'll tell them about the truck stop and the crank and the paranoid shouting that resulted in a telephone being buried in your head.

'He seemed so nice,' you'll say. 'Then he just turned into a monster. I don't know why he did it.'

A voice behind you will say, 'Just got carried away I guess.'

You'll turn and you'll gasp when you see his face. It's him, your killer, but with a pair of crystal clear eyes and a face that looks decades younger, like the years of abuse have been washed away. If this is how he looks, you suddenly want to get to a mirror because you must look fantastic.

'All that crank just kind of fried me,' he'll say. 'I'm really sorry.'

'How'd you get here?' you'll ask.

'I sparked up right next to your dead body and OD'd,' he'll say. 'Heart attack. They found the both of us dead side by side and it took them a while to figure out what the hell happened.'

You'll laugh in spite of yourself. 'I bet,' you'll say.

He'll say, 'No hard feelings?'

You'll lift your goblet and touch it against his. 'To room 103,' you'll say.

The others will hear your toast and raise their goblets in kind. 'To room 103,' they'll shout, and the lot of you will sip from your drinks, feeling a sense of belonging deeper than anything you ever felt while you were still alive.

Happy Heaven, Room 103 Day!