Death & Life

“Alright,” Elsa sighed as she accepted the punch card. It was dark black with six small golden squares along the bottom. Five of the six squares were marked out with a red ‘X’. “Last bonus life, Mr. Wyle. What do you want to be and where do you want to be it?” The frail old man in a hospital gown smiled at Elsa the reaper.

“There are so many choices,” he said. “Too many, I think.”

“Do you need to see the list again?” Elsa offered but Mr. Wyle shook his head.

“I remember the first time I saw the list. I kept thinking, ‘six tries isn’t enough to find the perfect combination. I’ve tried being a superhero,” he chuckled. “I’ve tried being a dragon, a vampire. I’ve spent so much time being alive and yet…,” Mr. Wyle paused. A weak mean catching his breath as if he were still alive. “…I didn’t realize until now how much living I missed.”

“As a superhero, A supervillain killed me. A knight slew me as a dragon and a hunter staked me in my coffin as a vampire. But as Malcolm Wyle, I died in a hospital surrounded by family and loved ones. I liked that life,” he said, then finally reached his question. “Can I live it again?”

“Uh, yeah!” Elsa perked up. It had been a long shift. She wasn’t done yet, but re-lifing Mr. Wyle would have been her most demanding case of the night. And it just became her easiest case. “That’s super easy. Do you want it exactly the same? Any changes?” she asked. Mr. Wyle shook his head.

“It was perfect,” he said.

“Do you want to remember anything from your first time around?” Again, he shook his head.

“It was perfect the way it happened. I don’t want to change a thing, or even risk changing anything by knowing.”

“SUuuuper easy!” Elsa chirped. “Too easy, in fact.” She stretched her hand out and offered Mr. Wyle the incomplete black punch card. “I can’t speak for other reapers you might get next time; but, as far as I’m concerned you’re still on your fifth bonus life.”

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