Then, more white.
Then, an overweight, balding man in a striped cotton shirt with pit stains sitting behind a desk. His nameplate reads “Mr. L. Johnson.” A doughnut box on his desk is nearly empty. The room is plain, with many other cubicles side by side. Phones are ringing and people seem to be doing a lot of work, but there isn’t anyone walking around.
“Ah, my 2 o’clock. Let’s see here,” the man says, shuffling papers until he finds the one he seemed to be looking for, “Mr. Robert Peterson, is it?”
“That’s me. The last thing I remember was crossing the street…”
“Its not easy to break it to you, Mr. Peterson, but, well, you’re dead.”
“That’s correct,” the overweight man says.
“How did I die?”
“That’s not the right question,” he replies, a tight smile coming to his lips, “the real question, Mr. Peterson, is how you lived…”
“I don’t understand.”
“Well, according to your file, you only had a 30% life-risk quota, and you only achieved 12%! Substandard to say the least.”
“ I don’t understand! Is this someone’s idea of fun? Is this some sick, twisted joke?!”
“Calm down, Mr. Peterson. Answer this question. Would you say you were happy in your life?”
“Happy? Well. I donno if I would go that far. I had a double-mortgage, two snot-nosed kids that hated me, and a wife that slept on the couch for the last ten years of our marriage.”
“Did you ever feel like you had missed opportunities for happiness that always seemed to just slip by?” His fingertips leave a powdery residue from the doughnut in his hand.
“I suppose, I mean, I did the best I could.”
“What do you think was stopping you from taking these chances?”
“I donno, fear, I guess.”
“It says on your report that you had a crush in high school. Stacy Keeler.”
“Stacy? Man, I haven’t thought about her in ages.”
“It also says that on average, you masturbated to her approximately 80% of the time for the remainder of your life. Why didn’t you ask her out when you were in high school? You and her would have been a match made in, well, you get the idea.”
“What? Where the hell did you get that from?” Mr. Peterson tries to reach for the piece of paper, but the more he tries the farther away from it his hand becomes. The fat man simply nods upwards in response to his question.
“Speaking of which, your report also says that your relationship with God was substandard as well. Perhaps this helps explain your innate inability to take chances and lead a fruitful and exciting life.”
“I went to church! I put money in the collection plate every time it passed me!”
“God does not want your money. All he wants is your time and love.”
“So what now? Do I repent? Do I say fifty Hail Marys and then get my elevator ride?”
“Too late for that.”
“So what now?”
The fat man leans over his desk and points his head out into the aisle. He motions his hand towards a small cubicle across it. The name plate on the desk says Mr. R. Peterson.
“Welcome to the club,” the fat man says, taking the last doughnut out of the box.