Excerpt 1: Reborn in Heaven
“I know what you’re thinking,” Brody said. “I’m an amazing-looking guy! One of the awesome bennies of the afterlife. You’re, like, eighteen years old again, and ripped. Any birth defects or health problems are gone. Doesn’t matter if you were short or tall, everybody’s close to the same height. If you lost an arm or a leg, it’s back.” He stared at his left hand. “Hello, old friend.”
Pulling the suit to his midriff, David mumbled, “I’ve never been eighteen.”
“Died when you were a little squirt, huh?”
David pushed one arm through and then another. The clothes were softer than anything he’d ever worn before.
When he was dressed, Brody bobbed his head up and down in approval. “I’m gonna use my powers of prognostication to make a guess. You died unexpectedly. Am I right?”
David nodded. “Fire.”
Brody grimaced, but didn’t lose his grin. “Ouch! That sucks. Yeah, makes sense. When people die suddenly, it takes them a bit to get used to the idea of being alive again. For those of us who knew it was coming, well, it’s like, awesome!”
“I thought you were an angel. Because of that.” He pointed to a gold band around Brody’s head.
“Ha!” The blond man pulled it off and twirled it around his finger. “It’s more like a crown. You’ll get one, too.” Brody put it back on his head. “This is just my job. I’m a greeter. It’s my honor introduce the gremlins and grommets to their new life, and make ‘em feel welcome.
But now, It’s time to get you to orientation.”
“Yeah, better get moving.” Brody pointed to the gate. “There’s a group waiting there now. When about twenty of you are ripe, she’ll take you to a place where everything will be explained.”
Brody led him toward the only break in the wall, a massive pearl with an arch cut out of its center. Inside the opening, a golden gate lay open, the image of an angel etched in ebony on each side.
“Now, there’re a couple of things I like to tell everyone before they go out into Heaven proper. It’ll help you get your act together faster, and you won’t learn this stuff at orientation.”
“First, if you think you see a celebrity, don’t go asking for their autograph. Being reborn perfect and all, makes people look kind of the same, so you’re probably wrong. And even if you aren’t, they’re just dudes and wahines up here, like everybody else. Party with them, but don’t gush.”
“What’s a celebrity?”
Brody chuckled. “Guess you’re okay there. Second, don’t go trying to find your family, at least right away. I mean, mom and dad and sis might be happy to know you’re here, but great-great grandpa probably doesn’t care. You know, we’re all young, and partying. After a while, it’s like, meh. I mean, is your mom still your mom when you popped out of a watermelon?” He laughed. “The bottom line is, get the lay of the land before you approach your former loved ones. Things are a lot different than you’d expect. As if that wasn’t obvious already.”