Сборники Художественной, Технической, Справочной, Английской, Нормативной, Исторической, и др. литературы.


    "And who might you be?"
    "Crash Dawson".
    The mans tired face looked sceptical, "Crash?  Did your parents
not like you?"
    "Wha...oh...sorry, old habit.  Crash is my nickname, my real
name is Rick...Rick Dawson."  He spoke loudly so the old man would
get it right, over the buzz of the crowd.
    It was like a convention.  A big convention, a really big
convention. Actually, it was more like one of those tremendously huge
conventions they have to rent a football stadium for.  The place was
crammed with people from all walks of life, and all of them were
chatting to each other.  The noise of these hundreds of conversations
was not unlike a high pitched, street issue, jack hammer; and it
drilled deep into Ricks ears.
    "And what was your cause of death?"  The old man waited, pen
poised on paper.
    "Well that's where I'm confused,"  Rick leaned forward over the
mans book, somewhat confidentially,  "I don't think I'm supposed to
be here, I think there's been a mistake."
    Silence fell over the hall like a heavy iron slab.  All five
hundred or so people tried to eavesdrop inconspicuously.
    The old man glanced around the room, taking in the scene of
hundreds of people all staring at the painted ceiling, innocently
trying to strain their ears in his general direction.  He shook his
head.  "Are you trying to tell me that those idiots in purgatory have
botched up again, and sent another hellbound soul up here?"
    "No!  NoNoNoNoNo... What I'm trying to say is, I didn't die."
Everyone shrugged in unison and went back to hammering out their
    The old man smiled pleasantly,  "It is not uncommon for some
people to go into denial after their stint in purgatory.  I assure
you, if you are here, there is only one explanation, you died."
Ricks look of disbelief continued.  "Perhaps if we go over the events
that took place just before your arrival in purgatory, hmmm?"
    Rick nodded and sighed,  "Well lets see.  I had just gotten home
from work, and I was in my kitchen fixing up a drink,"  Rick found
the need to clarify,  "a milkshake, it's a drink."
    "I am familiar with what a milkshake is."
    "Well I just didn't want you to think it was a DRINK, drink.
You know, alcohol.  Cuz I don't drink.  Well I do drink, just not
alcohol, you know?"
    The old man stared blankly,  "The consumption of alcohol is not
considered a sin Mr. Dawson, continue your story please."
    "Right, milkshake.  So I chopped up some bananas, and then I got the
cherries, no wait, after the bananas I got the ice cream out of the
freezer, then I got the cherries.  Then came the milk.  I put the
whole batch in the blender and the next thing I know I'm sitting in
purgatory."  Rick inhaled finally.
    "I believe we have a solution Mr. Dawson.  We have had a few
arriving souls whose death's were the result of blender accidents.
You would not be the first to be killed by a quizinart."  The old man
smiled again.
    "But I hadn't turned it on yet."
    "I see, well that does eliminate the possibility now doesn't
it."  They both nodded.  The old man pulled a book out from under his
immense, slanted desk, and set it down heavily on top.  His old
fingers flipped through its pages youthfully.  Rick peered at the
book that was upside down to him, it seemed like names, dates and
times with another name written in the far right hand side. "Let's
see, Dawson...Dawson.  Rick Bartholomew Dawson?"
    "Yes."  Rick hated his middle name, he always figured it was the
result of his parents not liking him.
    "It seems you are correct you weren't scheduled to die for
another seven months.  Dear, this is a mix-up isn't it."  He reached
to one end of his desk and began poking at a keyboard.  Rick hadn't
noticed the computer there.  It was buried under the organized chaos
of pens, papers, and books.
    "What are you doing now?"  Rick asked.
    "Checking to see which angel retrieved your soul.  Oh for crying
out loud, not again."
    "What is it?"
    The old man leaned back in his chair,  "Well it appears you were
retrieved by O'Leary.  He was supposed to be taken out of the
retrieval circuit some time ago, but he keeps winning his licence
back in his friday night poker games with the big "G".  You see
O'Leary has the habit of going on a bender every so often and he
brings back the first soul that catches his eye."
    Rick interrupted, "A bender?"
    "A bender, you know, he drinks."
    "He drinks?"
    "Drinks, yes.  You know, alcohol."
    "You must be joking."
    "Afraid not."
    Rick closed his eyes slowly and sighed again, this time to
steady himself. Had he gone through so much to die like this?  Years
of football, university, sucking up to his bosses, and eating
macaroni and cheese because it was cheap, so he could afford to have
his Ferrari.  His cool "Arctic blue" Ferrari that was supposed to
attract girls but so far had only managed to reel in hefty insurance
cheques, and that odd queezy feeling you always get after eating
    "But all is not lost."
    "I beg your pardon?"
    "All is not lost Mr. Dawson, we can rectify this situation.
It's not like it hasn't happened before."  The old man started to
stand, "Not that it happens very often, I assure you."
    "Of course not."  said Rick.
    The old man smiled yet again. "I'll be right back, stay right
here."  Then he slipped through the bright, white door that sat
unnoticeably in the bright, white wall behind the desk.
    Rick turned and sat on the edge of the desk, finally taking his
weight off of his tired feet.  As he leaned back he put his hands
down to support himself but found cold wetness beneath his right
palm.  Looking back with a "what is it now" glance, he found that he
had put his hand down on top of one of the old mans ink bottles.  Now
emblazoned brightly on his right palm was a large black circle. He
shook his head.  Licking his left thumb swiftly he then proceeded to
try and remove this tattoo, to no avail.  The black, dark ink had
already dried, and it would take twenty minutes with a bar of Lever
2000 to get this off.  Rather than leaning back he hunched forward
and kicked his dangling feet.
    Through the masses of people, one caught his eye.  A rather
conspicuous looking fellow, with big wet, shifty, yellow eyes.
Between them was a large long and fat nose which twitched as his eyes
shifted.  Rick sat staring.  Never had he seen someone quite this
ugly.  He was short and bald, save for the odd rebellious hair that
stretched out from his chin.  And his jaw was huge, it was as if it
were meant for a head twice as big as his.....
    .....The big, wet, shifty, yellow eyes were now staring at him.
The little fellow squinted judgingly.  Rick felt uncomfortable, and a
little bit self conscious.  The eyes stared deeper, and the squint
became squintier.  Rick gave a nervous wave.  The little fellows face
registered two expressions.  One of shock, the other of pleasure.
Normal faces could not have achieved this, but he did not have a
normal face.
    Rick adjusted his seating as the man made his way across the
room towards him.  Eyes shifting back and forth.  Eventually the two
stood facing one another in close proximity.  The man reeked of
something unnatural.  Rick grimaced, putting a hand to his nose.
    The fellow sniffed with his monstrous nose, "Oh, that brimstone is
difficult to disguise so I don't bother.  Sides, what's it matter
anyway, eh?" The man pointed to Rick's right hand,  "So you're the
bloke eh?"
    "You're the bloke."
    "The bloke?"
    "Ya, the chappy I wuz sent 'ere to find.  They said watch for a
black ring or sumpfing and dat'll be yer man.  Dat'll be the one dat
we gotta get da message to.  So, old scratch sent me cuz I'm his most
trusted fella'.  He knew dat I'd get da message frew.  So I been here
fer ages lookin fer a black ring and nothing.  Plenty  'o silver an
gold, some plastic but no black ring.  Till I been peerin' over and
there ya are waving yer right 'and, black ring anall, clear as a spot
on Lucifers backside."
    Rick stared at his hand, the black ink ring.  "Oh this.  No you
don't understand, I was leaning back on the desk..."
    "Shhh..."  The man held a boney finger in front of his mouth,
"No time fer silly chatter.  Look 'ere now."  He crept in close, the
stench of brimstone followed, "The Pockyclypse is set fer nine weeks
from this 'ere day.  Yer ta get sent back to earth as Augustus
Tweezlemeyer, and under that code name no one will suspect yer
the..er..antiwhatzits,  you know the destroyer."  Rick was quiet.
"Then in nine weeks when yer ready, the whole bleedin'
    "Yeah, pockyclypse, dats what I said, it'll take place.  But ya
gotta go today udderwise we gots ta wait fer another few eons fer da
perfect astrological alignment."
    Rick sat dazed.  Not just dazed at what had transpired, but also
at the fact that the little shifty fellow had managed to utter two
complex words like 'astrological' and 'alignment'.  He decided not to
bring up the fact that he was not the man this little fellow was
looking for.  Instead, he nodded slowly.
    "Right.."  the big jaw sputtered,  "I'll tell ol' scratch it's a
go, eh?"
    "You do that."  Rick blinked.
    The man nodded profusely, giggled, then turned and started to
wade his way back through the crowd.  The smell of brimstone, that
Rick was now barely used to, began to drift away.  He pushed himself
off the desk and turned to face the bright, white wall with the
bright, white door.  A few minutes later, after Rick had played the
scene with the little man out in his head, the bright, white door
opened and the old man emerged.
    "You will be pleased to hear Mr. Dawson, that we will be able to
return you to your body only moments after you were taken."
    Rick smiled now, "Great, thank you very much."
    "It is you who should be thanked Mr. Dawson, for being so
understanding in this matter."  The old man raised his young, old
hand, "Bye now, enjoy your milkshake."  He snapped his fingers and
Rick faded out of sight.  The old man returned to his chair.  "Next!"
    A large ominous figure stalked up to the desk from out of the
crowd.  The old man peered up.  A tall pale man dressed in black
stood before him.  The 90's sure produced strange soul's.  Dangling
from his neck on a thick dark chain was a large, black ring.
    "Excuse me,"  the figure spoke,  "have you seen a short man with
big yellow eyes, and a large jaw?"  The deep voice straightened the
old man's curly hair.
    "Nope, sorry can't say that I have."  The old man shrugged.
    The dark figure sighed.

Kipp Lightburn (ah804@freenet.carleton.ca)=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
 "One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them, One ring to bring them
all, and in the darkness bind them. In the land of Mordor where shadows lie."

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