Complimentary Coffee

A steady patter of blood dripped from the guy sitting next to him. It splattered the white tiles making a pool that  reflected the bright neon lighting. They called a name on the loudspeaker and he shifted in his sit. He lifted his jaw back to his face and nodded at Justin. “It was great to meet you Justin. I hope to see you in the next phase.” They guy had gotten in a pretty bad car accident or something, it was hard to tell what the cause of death was really.

Holding his own hands out he examined them, he didn’t really feel dead his hands looked as they always have. His face felt the same, he stood and walked over to the receptionist. A long queue of folks stood at the desk staring at the waiting room with wide naive eyes.
“Excuse me, hi. I’ve been here for almost eight days just sitting over there. Can you provide an explanation or an ETA?”
“One of our care providers will be with you shortly. Please help yourself to some coffee and have a seat.”
“I’ve been helping myself to the coffee. I’ve been having my seat. Now I want some answers. What the hell is this?”

“Sir.” please lower your voice, you’ll only prolong your wait.”

His shoulders slumped forward and he hung his head before finding a new seat by the windows. They seemed like windows but outside was nothing but light. He saw no cars nor any sign of life. The woman next to him smiled and looked like she wanted to talk.
“Hey. How long have you been waiting in this DMV-esque hell?”

She motioned for him to wait a minute and fiercely began scribbling on her coffee napkin.

Smiling she held it out to him.
“I’ve been here for three months. I can’t talk because I’m embarrassed of how I died. But I watch and I listen. I don’t think there is a way out of here or a method to the madness. My name is Leah tell me about your life, why are you here so young?”

Ever the conversationalist he asked “What do you mean, you can’t talk?”

“Well.” she said in a inarticulate pneumatic voice. “I went out on the business end of a shotgun.”

When her mouth opened he could see the person behind her. She turned and confirmed by showing him the gaping exit wound on the back of her skull.

“We’re all dead apparently, there’s no sense in being self conscious. People are carrying around their limbs for christ’s sake, look at that guy completely nude. This is straight out of a Beetlejuice movie.”

“Fine.” She said.
“There’s no pouting in purgatory Leah, cheer up. We’ve got complimentary coffee after all.” She flipped him off and smiled.

“Is this purgatory though, I’m no catholic. Are you, do others even believe in this? What are we even waiting for, you know?”

“Too many questions, tell me how you died.”

“I don’t know.” He said. “I must have been sleeping or not seen it coming, I really can’t remember. I seem to be intact. its odd though, I always thought I’d be bummed out about leaving the realm of the living. But now I’m anxious to find out what’s going on here, I haven’t even thought about my old life much.”

A name was called and a corpse began shambling towards the open door, it closed behind him and another took his seat.
“Does anyone know what we’re waiting for!!” he screamed.

“Quiet down!” The receptionist snapped back a little too loudly over the speaker causing it to squeal.
“Waiting is hell Leah. Come with me.” They walked closer to the windows. “The next time that door opens I’m going to rush in. What can they even do to me, I’m dead right?”

“You should just bide your time and wait. This is the punishment we earned in life.”

“Why do you talk like that? We don’t live to earn or avoid suffering, we just live. I know I didn’t spend 33 years doing my thing just to wait in this place.”

“You know what I mean?” She was back in her chair. “I guess not.”

Purgatory, heaven, hell, reincarnation, nothingness he didn’t care, but the waiting. This process was excruciating. The door began sliding open and he ran for it. It closed quickly behind him. He was in another damn line. Everyone was still there, Leah sat near the windows a tear ran down her cheek. He went to her. “Did you know this would happen.”

She nodded.

“What happens now?”

“Two more weeks on top of whatever you had. I’m sorry, I wanted to tell you but I get so lonely here. We could be friends? I’m sorry.”

He sat down next to her with his head in his hands.

“What else do you know?”

“I, well..”
His name was called. They called his name! He ran for the door.

A diminutive man sat in a leather recliner with his legs crossed he sipped complimentary coffee. Four others were in the room wearing dark robes.
“There seems to have been a mistake, Mr. um Harris.”

“A mistake? I’ve been here over a week!”

“Yep.” The man smiled revealing a few missing teeth.
“You’re not dead Justin. Go Home.”

“But what’s all this, what’s happening here?”

“You’ll find out another time Mr.Harris. Have a good evening”

“No, wait!” He was lying on his back in a sterile white room.

“Justin, honey”


“Oh, I thought I’d never hear your voice again!”


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