Charley Parkins retreated from the forefront of his mind to his subconscious in an attempt to prolong his shameful life. His subconscious was a dark place. Dark in the sense of light, not thought. Charley Parkins had no idea how to light a place that wasn’t a part of reality. And it was this very thought of confusion that gave light to his subconscious mind.
There Charley stood, surrounded by nothingness. There was a lack of everything except for light which made the appearance of this surreal room white. The expanse of nothingness seem to go on forever. There was no noticeable end to Charley Parkins subconscious.
With no ideas on what to do in this nothingness, Charley Parkins simply lingered. He tried to think up something, but nothing came to mind. It seemed that light was the only thing he could bring into existence to this place, and even that was shoddy at best.
The longer Charley remained in this place, the dimmer the light grew. Minutes, hours, days had passed Charley Parkins by. His plain of nothingness growing darker and darker. His contentment had left him. Boredom was winning this battle. This plan of Charley’s seemed like a good one at first, but now he cannot say the same about it. Without knowing how much time had passed by on the outside, he was ready to leave this plain. There had been nothing here for him except a lighting that was about to go out. For what seemed like months he stared at this dimming, flickering light, trying to make some sense of it. For a year, Charley Parkins tried to organize a thought to bring to this place with no luck. He was beginning to realize, that this thoughtless plain must be left behind. So he thought.
In the seconds following this thought of departing this plain of absolute nothingness, Charley Parkins made another choice.
Charley Parkins, now living, stood in the middle of the road where he would be killed momentarily. He was numbed from the alcohol, but fully aware subconsciously about what was about to happen to him. He could retreat into his own mind and foresee what was to come of him, but the alcohol impaired him so greatly, that once he tried to come to his conscious sense, he immediately was unable too. Charley’s soul, since being detached, had the freedom to navigate his prison of a body as he pleased. Jumping from the deep, hidden thoughts of his subconscious where time seems to slow, then coming to the forefront where the drunkard stands awaiting his dread fate. He came to the forefront for the tenth time in an attempt to control his body, to move himself, to get some reaction, but the drunk shell wouldn’t budge. He could see the black F-350 approaching now. The woman with electric blues yelling angrily inside the cab. The man in his forties driving, sulking about the crazy bitch next to him.
Charley Parkins had one of two choices. Die again, and face Sheamus, or hide within himself to extend his life, living in his subconscious mind as long as he could.
Then Charley Parkins made his choice.
The short man begin to explain the ins and outs of what an average day in the life of Sheamus is like. He enlightened Charley of the circumstances that separate murder, suicide, and plain ole’ death. Then he explained what has happened to Charley due to his death. Sheamus went on and on about rules, regulations, and guidelines on how to judge the dead when they die. Charley felt that he was talking for years, when he was finally finished explaining it all to him, Charley massaged his long, greyed beard and asked, “so where does that leave me?”
Sheamus shook his head at Charley.
“You’re dumber than a fucking boulder, lad. Let me put this as short and simple as I can for such a simple man. You died because you were suffering from an overwhelming amount of shame.”
“I died because I was murdered. Hit and ran over, while they run off. I remember seeing a black truck right before I died.”
“No lad, you died of shame.”
Sheamus raised his hand, meticulously bending his boney fingers in position. He glanced up at Charley, “Here you go, lad. The proof you died of shame. Enjoy.”
Sheamus’ fingers released a loud, thunderous clap. Somehow, his cynical laugh overpowered the mighty thunder of his fingers.
Charley became uncomfortable. He felt his skin crawling off of his ethereal body. His iridescent spirit began being sucked towards his rotting corpse that had yet to be moved from the road. Charley felt compelled to look up and did so expecting salvation from the Big Man. Instead, Charley found himself staring at the largest screen he has ever saw.
The clouds brought to life a picture, in living color, of a man driving a truck. There was a Ford label plastered across the back window that the divine camera was able to capture. The man driving was a good looking man, about the age of forty or so. Charley Parkins was only twenty-eight. He continued to watch the movie as the man began to show signs of strain on his face. Contorting and souring, the man looked as if he just smelled the worlds most potent onion. A smile ran onto Charley’s face as he continued to float slowly towards his body as if he were on a lazy river.
Then Charley’s almost happy demeanor changed in an instant. He saw the hair of a woman rise from the man’s lap. Then he saw her electric blues and he cried. Charley Parkins was the first ghost that cried while he was still dead. Charley tried looking away, but something was forcing him to watch while he floats. The woman with electric blues wiped his paste from her mouth, leaned back into her seat, then began spouting about her hatred for that pathetic man she once dated. Nagging him about what they were going to do about her pregnancy. Yelling how much of a prick Charley Parkins was for not paying the lunch bill and making her pay.
The sky began to cloud again, making the enormous screen disappear. Charley, still weeping, felt himself being pulled at such an intense speed back to his body. The blackhole that was his body sucked him back in with such force, he swears that’s how he was revived. Charley Parkins was alive again. Standing in the middle of the road, again. Highly intoxicated for the third time in his second life.
Charley Parkins stares nervously at the short, goo covered man with red hair.
“Holy fuck is right, lad. This toga wasn’t cheap. Are you going to buy me a new one before I go back to the party? Oh, of course you’re not, because you’re a ghost and ghosts are the cheapest fucking thing on this damn pitiful planet!”
Charley Parkins turns his head ever so slightly, just to catch a glimpse of his mangled body lying in the middle of the road. A cold chill runs down his ethereal spine. He turns back to the short red-haired man, interrupting his angry grumbling as he wipes himself clean of the ectoplasm.
“You mean…I’m really dead?…”
The little mans eyes shoot up at Charley. His fist tense, and his brow arches with rage.
“Are you fucking dense boy? What did you think was happening here?”
“I thought this was all a dream. A nightmare; that I would wake up from eventually.”
The short red-haired man erupted in laughter. He laughed and laughed and then laughed some more. He laughed so hard that he rolled around on the floor while laughter spilled from his eyes.
Charley Parkins stood there, staring. He could feel his cold, pale ghostly cheeks beginning to redden with embarrassment. Even in the afterlife, Charley Parkins was still being afflicted by the very plague that killed him.
After what seemed like hours of laughter, the short, red-haired man finally collected himself. He pushed himself back to his feet, wiped his eyes, gave out one final chuckle, then began to explain to Charley who he was, what he does, and what’s happening next.
“Normally, when one dies due to overwhelming shame I give them a second chance to either avoid it or become shameless, but seeing that you’re still shaming yourself in the afterlife I think I’ll do something extra special with you.”
Charley Parkins gulped down his nerves. He began to speak very carefully to avoid anymore embarrassment.
“What do you mean extra special?”
Sheamus smirked at Charley’s question.
“Lad, I thought you’d never ask.
It's said that when one meets their demise their life passes before their eyes. Normally. Charley Parkins, however, did not die in the most normal of manners. Not suicide, not murder, but of shame, the shame one feels when his girlfriend of many years breaks up with him and is pregnant by another man. The kind of shame that drives a man to drink to become shameless. Charley Parkins was killed by shame.
Lying motionless in the middle of the road, the truck continues on, not stopping to check to see if he was okay. Charley stands above his corpse, staring down over it. He should be in shock over the event, but a dying drunkard feels no emotion. Chalking it up to blacking out, Charley Parkins believes that this is a dream.
The astral projection of Charley Parkins stands in the middle of the street, convinced he'll wake up soon.
"You're not dreaming."
Charley slowly, heavily turns his head as if it weighed a ton. Behind him stands a man, a very short man, with fire red hair and a large handle-bar mustache to match. He is dressed in a white toga with a green clover patch over his left breast.
"Who the fuck...are you?" Charley struggled very hard to compose himself. Laughter was creeping up his throat.
"Doesn't matter who I am prick. What does matter is that you died due to an overwhelming amount of shame and self-pity, and now I had to come down here and deal with your sad-ass. Do you know what I'm missing right now?"
Charley stares at the short man. Unable to swallow it down anymore, his laughter erupts from his whiskey coated mouth.
The short man crosses his arm, and stares at Charley Parkins with such rage that Charley can feel the lasers burning through his body. His laughter begins to fade. Then Charley feels a second wave coming. Creeping up his throat, he feverishly tries to swallow it down with no luck. Charley Parkins vomits on the short man.
The short man, who is now covered in ectoplasm, slowly turns his stare back up to Charley. The clear goo drips from his toga.
"Oh you really fucked up now, lad."
Polishing off the second bottle of whiskey, Charley Parkins continues to drunkenly roam about the city streets. Staggering down that sidewalk, stumbling up this curb, the drunkard odyssey continues on. With his knees growing weak and his feet sore, resting was what his body wanted, but a man in emotion shall remain in motion, even if it kills him.
Charley is in a bad place. His thoughts race around, the car with her decal plastered all over continually coming out ahead of all the others. He begins to sink back into the confides of his mind to piece together the events where everything took a turn for the worst.
“Was I ever truly happy?” he thought to himself. “Yes. But was she?”
Charley rattled his brain, attempting to dislodge any memories that were tightly pack into the back of his muddled mind.
Sorting through his mind, Charley neglected to take notice of where he currently walked. Slipping into a state of subconscious movement, his mind preoccupied, Charley hears a faint beeping. Grower louder and longer the more he tries to ignore it, he is forced away from his thoughts to focus on reality, but a moment too late.
The driver of the vehicle too distracted to take notice of this pitiful drunkard roaming in the middle of the street. His girlfriend incessantly nagging him about how to deal with their pregnancy, about how she wishes to be married, and how she can’t believe HE didn’t pay the bill. “What a selfish prick HE is!”
As Charley snaps back to reality, he finds himself face to grill with a large black Ford F-350.
Charley Parkins has met his end during his worst day ever.
Charley Parkins sits at the table. His once hot coffee now ice. His browns bled dry. Without paying his bill, Charley rises from the table and leaves. Walking mindlessly down the street, Charley can not pinpoint where he went wrong. Where they went wrong.
How could such a sweet girl do something like that, he asks himself. How could he have been so blind as to not notice the truth of the situation.
Charley snaps back to reality. Without knowing how he has procured it, Charley opens the bottle of whiskey in his hand and begins drinking. His first gulp drains nearly one third of the bottle. He wipes his mouth, caps his spirit, and begins to head towards his home.
Like any man who is down and out, Charley turned towards the bottle. Two bottles to be precise. The first bottle of whiskey was half gone when a cop stopped Charley on his way home. The officer, Grant Hadley, was a friend of Charley. Not a long time friend, but they had a few past encounters. Charley shared his story of heartbreak with Officer Hadley when he stopped him.
Instead of taking him into custody, Hadley opted to take the bottle. He told Charley, that he’s going to give him a break this one time. That if he see’s him like this again he’ll have no choice, but to take him in and charge him.
Charley gave him a drunkards promise to not do it again.
Grant Hadley gets into his squad car and pulls away without looking back. He gave Charley the decency of solitude, without a second interruption. Unlike woman with electric blues.
Charley takes a breathe to enjoy the solidarity of the moment. The moment is ruined when one thought finds its way to the forefront of his mind.
“I just came back for my pen.”
The sentence replayed constantly in Charley’s head. It was teasing him. Plaguing him to no end. Dancing around inside his mind, unable to end the song it’s dancing too.
Charley snaps back to reality. Words begin to form in his throat. Unable to swallow them, they seep from his mouth.
Charley Parkins takes a drink from his second bottle of whiskey without knowing how he came to acquire it.
Across from him she sits. Electric blue eyes staring into his faded browns. The coffee screams, releasing the pain of the scalding brew. The waiter pours him another cup.
He begins to speak words. Loving words of endearment and reassurance. The kind of words that a man thinks a woman wants to hear in times of trouble. The words that are suppose to soothe, to stop, to comfort. His rough voice is transformed into that of an opera singer as the words flow from his tongue. Locked her electric blue eyes are, but glassy they do not become.
When he finally runs out of words to speak, he looks at her with anticipation. He waits for the tears to come, for her reply, for some reaction. Nothing. The electric blues remain dry, her body does not shake, not even her lip quivers.
A sense of dread begins to flow up his feet, through his legs, his balls, chest, and into his head. The room begins to spin, although she remains stationary. Immovable she has become.
He takes a deep breath, inhaling sharp needles, and exhaling glass. He grabs the cup of coffee to chase the glass down, but the black magma only serves to enhance the pain. He clears his throat. In this instance, one final word has dislodged itself from his dry, pained throat. It travels up his esophagus like vomit, forcing its way onto his tongue and out of his mouth.
The statue with electric blue eyes stares soullessly back at him. Her response came as if she had prepared for this last word.
"I don't know, you didn't seem to want me anymore. And I'm pregnant."
The immovable statue with electric blue eyes rises from the table and exits. He sits there. His faded browns becoming glassy. He hears the sound of heels approaching the table just as soon as they left. The statue reaches down for her pen.
"I just came back for my pen. Oh yeah, the baby isn't yours, Charley."
The statue makes a swift exit for the second time.
Charley Parkins sits at the table, his coffee now whispering. His faded browns are now bleeding. His mind is empty, and his heart is silent. A cold wind blows over him. He shivers. As drops drip from his browns, he tries to create a positive thought of any kind with no luck. Then a thought comes to mind.