The Theater of Death
Written by EvanC
This work was last updated March 16, 2018
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It’s so dark and so cold. I can’t see anything. I hear it before I feel it, something loud. It’s rain. Then I feel the hard drops soaking through my clothes. It’s pouring. Lights focus into vision. There’s a building… a cinema. I need to get out of the heavy rain. My legs are sore but I force myself to splash through deep puddles toward the bright theatre. My brown shoes are completely submerged as I pull open the door. A flood of water enters the room with me.
Inside a man dressed in a white suit greets me. He speaks softly, “Welcome Richard Fisk. You might still catch the ending.”
I rationally respond with, “Where the fuck am I?”
The man in white calmly replies, “Please, Mr. Fisk, why don’t you enter and catch the ending of your film.” He gestures towards the next set of doors. “After all, you’ve already bought your ticket.” His smile is large.
I grumpily pass through the next set of doors. The ankle high water flowing in with me.
It’s a large dark hallway. I hear music. It’s familiar. Very familiar. Even being drenched, walking in saturated sponged shoes, I can’t help but smile due to the music around me.
I walk around the corner. It’s the end of the movie. Credits are scrolling upwards on a projected screen. The theater is large and dark.
Yes I remember this song. How could I forget?
Not Your Kind of People in the same named album by Garbage, a Scottish-American alternative garage rock band. It was released not long ago in May 11, 2012 after the band was on a seven year hiatus. What a long time to be separated.
How did I remember this? In fact how did I know this?
I silently sing along with the melodramatic lyrics,
We are not your kind of people
Something in your make-up
Don’t see eye to eye
A whiney guitar continues where the lyrics left off.
I remember when I first heard it. It was at that party. I was trying to look occupied as I drank a stupid amount, trying to fit in. That’s when I spotted Alana. It was like the movies where a spotlight from the ceiling shone on her, slouching on the wall acting inconspicuous but obviously the star of the scene.
I made the smartest decision of my life and made a move on her, “You wanna dance?”
She answered, her voice was articulate and alluring.
We danced slowly and close. As the song neared its end, Alana brought her lips to my ear and sang with the lyrics.
We are extraordinary people
The song finally concludes and so do the credits. I hadn’t paid any attention to who starred in the movie although I did notice the lack of “No animals were harmed in the making of this film.”
The theater is silent except for the noise of flapping or something. What is that sound? The lights in the room brighten. I see it now. Rows and rows of seats, and in almost every seat a fish is flapping about. All kinds of fish.
The water flooding in from the entrance doors continues. The current is stronger now. The room’s filling with water. The front row is almost completely submerged. It’s up to my knees. The three fronts rows are out of my sight, they’re below the murky water. A wave comes crashing in from the screen.
Fish swim passively by me. I’ve always liked fish. I’m reminded of a dinner. Alana’s there, as beautiful as ever. It was the first meal I ever cooked for her. With the lid still covering it, I place the dish on the center of the table dramatically. She laughs and I smile. I’ve always liked fish.
A Siamese fighting fish approaches me. It speaks with a deep masculine voice, “Why did you leave her?”
“What?” I reply. Bubbles leave my mouth as I speak in the water.
“In the third act, you told Alana you would meet her at the train. But you didn’t show up. Why?”
“I don’t know,” I lie.
“Hmmm,” the fish comments in deep thought. It begins to swim away.
“Hey wait! Where am I?”
“You’re in the Cinemas.”
“You were in a car crash.”
“What? Is this heaven?”
“There’s a reason why the movie ends at your death. No one wants to watch ten minutes of exposition of a fish telling a human that you died and you’re now in this weirdly contrived and specific writing prompt.”
“Not all things need to make sense.”
“Why all the fish?”
“Why are you a human is the better question. Like a genetic mutation in a descendant’s DNA, your incarnation was miraculously a human instead of a fish. Of course you aren’t the first. There was a human once before in our line of souls. However you humans have difficulty understanding existence and he took his own life.”
“But if this is the afterlife where did he go?”
“We are fish… we don’t care about your religions.”
The lights begin to dim.
“Blub,” the fish comments, “I didn’t have time to get some gold fish crackers.” The fish swims away.
I take a seat in the theatre. I can no longer tell if I’m submerged or not.
For the first time since dying I finally get a moment to think. It’s a strange feeling thinking about my life as a whole. Maybe I should feel regret about getting in that car drunk but I don’t. Instead I think about Alana. As much as I hate her I still love her. We were both just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We just ended up encouraging each other to shut out the world, casting ourselves as demons. We were too similar, the same kind of people. Both doing things we should have given up years ago.
Alas, there was no regret, it was simply the events written quickly in a screenplay.
On the screen, a car is driving down a laneway. The all new XM3.
A car ad in the afterlife?
The pufferfish next to me speaks eagerly, “I hope it’s about an octopus or a jelly fish this time.”
Words appear on the screen: A Heavenly Featured Presentation
A song starts with a screeching yell.
Awhoooo. Diamond Dogs!
I instantly recognize it. David Bowie, the first song on the Diamond Dogs album, Future Legend. I had a good feeling that this is going to be a good movie.
A dog appears on the sceen.
“This ain't Rock'n'Roll,
This is Genocide."
The year of the Diamond Dogs.
The fish next to me gulps.