J is for just do it
Struggled here, so I nicked the old Nike slogan. Here is an attempt at short fiction, inspired by Prompturium.
A week after I died
It’s been a week now. I can categorically state that every major religion got the whole afterlife thing wrong. Completely wrong. They were right about God. Partially. God exists. but it’s not a person or an individual. It’s more of a corporation. That’s almost completely wrong , but close enough for me to understand it. God stands for General Outerworld Developments. We are effectively a breeding colony/ experimental laboratory, in the universes equivalent of a low rent industrial park, a long way from the motorway.
We were arranged into cohorts based on age and gender, of twenty one. Orientation took up the first four days. The rest of the universe works on a 30 hour day so part of orientation was getting used to longer days. Only a third of us passed this stage. It’s still not clear what that means, either way. The other fourteen have gone somewhere else. We were told it’s not our concern, and to focus on ourselves. The last two days had been assignments and briefing. Tonight is a mandated evening of rest and celebration, before I take up my new role. Something I am not over happy about.
Mostly we record, measure, and report back.
The cohort facilitators were dead like me, but seem to have been bureaucrats before. There were a few middle level managers in the cohort, who seemed to have a bit of an advantage. Before my event, I was a disillusioned junior manager; that must of helped. There were assessors, but they only flickered in and out of vision.
John Lennon was surprisingly well informed. We were not in heaven, or hell, neither above or below. Best way to describe it would be alongside. This was a big stumbling block for those heavily into religion, which seems to have been a construct of the Romans, or Greeks, or someone similar, but basically a thing made up to exert some control over populations. Talk about a little white lie that got well out of hand.
Speaking of getting well out of hand, our bellicose nature was not part of the plan either. Outerworld Developments had seen many bloodlines compromised by war, and was still reeling from the various 19th Century wars. The 20th Century conflicts were organised just to weed out a percentage of the population spike, an unexpected result of innovations in technology and medicine. OD needed time to evaluate apparently.
Alongside is a dreary place. Think 1970’s beige and brown. It’s a little bit worn, and a lot dull. By getting this far I have been promoted to level five. I managed to suppress a giggle at this point, which would have probably demoted me to a four or even a three. We were herded into the club for a bit of a celebration. I really fancied a pint of two, what with it being a busy week, dying, finding out all life as know was utterly pointless, and now my new role, which was also utterly pointless. Quite a lot things needed to be washed down. Microsoft, for example, was created to punish us for the cold war. I think we all suspected that, but come on. Apple was set up as an experiment to see how gullible we were, and examine the impact of marketing on the developing brain. Apparently we were a lot more gullible than they thought.
There is no money here, your level entitles you to so much food, so much space and so on. In return, you work, as directed. The food is dreadful, but tonight I was entitled to two pints. A scratchy electronic recording told me I could have two more next month. Given the weak battery acid aftertaste, that might not be a bad thing. The facilitators had tried to encourage us to aspire to promotion through hard work in our new roles. Some of us even make the low twenties. Nice to find out your a low grade species, who in the General Outerworld Developments corp could actually aspire to the dizzy heights of junior cockroach. Did I mention there were over five hundred levels of promotion?
After an hour or so of enforced cheerfulness, without really knowing the alternative, we were ushered out, and directed to our pods for the six hour sleep. Here it really was a twenty four hour day. I call it pod, because that’s a nicer word than box. Just enough space to lay or sit, space for a box of papers, and this place ruins on paper, tons of it.
Alongside is not the Hi Tech paradise you think it should be, not at level five. Level tens have access to microfiche, if I get that far. There was a cautionary input about getting promoted before your entire box is full of paper. That one gave me a disturbed nights sleep, trying not to think of a mattress of pink assignment reports. Carbonated forms, white to management, pink to keep, yellow to stores.
Today is the first day of my unwanted role within G.O.D. It started with a brief ceremony at the stores building. Here I returned the faded pink jumpsuit of a novice, as well as the slippers. The receipt was signed, witnessed and countersigned. After a few minutes in the altogether, new ( to me ) essentials were issued. One pair of boots, sturdy. Two pairs boot laces. Three pairs of socks, three pairs of pants, two pairs of heavy serge trousers, one pair braces, two shirts, long sleeved. One woollen jumper, with faux leather elbow protectors, one knee length cotton jacket, button up, in brown, three ball point pens, one pencil, one pencil sharpener, the clipboard, and one satchel. We hurried to get dressed, the stores manager yelling, the facilitator yelling, and making notes. Everything had to be signed for, witnessed and countersigned for. Three of us got a reprimand. Failed to check inside the satchel, failed to count the needles in the clothing repair pouch. I’d signed to say I had two, there was only one.
Needless to say this caused a lot of smugness from fellow members of my cohort, and near apoplectic rage from the stores. The missing needle was replaced after a very impressive full five minute bollocking.
I looked and felt like a bit part actor in a 1950’s documentary about a factory foreman.
The only concession to technology was the PES. Personal Environmental Stabiliser. This generated a personal bubble of temperate calm, to ensure the paperwork didn’t get smudged.
So now I am alongside you. You might call me a ghost, or a spirit, but that would be wrong. The world is cluttered with clipboard wielding folk like me. As a level five counter, I have four levels to look down on, but four hundred and ninety four looking down on me. Pays to be aware of that.
Counting the leaves on an oak tree is not a bad job, quite restful. I am too lowly to know G.O.D.’s reason, but I was fortunate. My tree, and they encourage ownership of the job, is in a park. I can see another clipboard wielder counting and weighing dog poop.
I must of done something right, before after life…..