I’ve temporarily possessed a living person to write this little memoir, in case you must know. And, yeah, I know that sounds inconsistent with the tale I’m about to tell you. So what? If you were to ask me, I’d say everything in the world is inconsistent with what life is all about. Deal with it. The story begins with a great line I think I stole from someone.
I killed a soul just to watch him die. When it happened I was, oh, must have been about negative four or five years old. Hanging out waiting to be born and all. And this dude comes up to me. Old soul. He’d probably been reborn tens of thousands of times. All souls look blobby and squishy when they’re just hanging around, but he was really leathered. Didn’t seem to want to go back to the world. He looked in my eyes (souls don’t need eyes, no, you see with your whole being) and he goes “These worlds have worn me down. Lives are hard.” I was all like “Really, dude? What are you talking about? I can’t wait to get there!” He laughed at me (souls don’t have laughs, no, you really are just sighing) and went “You are such a young soul.” I was like “Yeah! I’ve never been born yet! Don’t you think it’s awesome?” He not only did not think it was awesome, he was trying to get out of being reborn. I was all “Dude, you don’t have any choice, do you?” Sadly, he did not. Except maybe for one. He came closer to me and said “You might be able to help.” Well, I was completely into that. I thought I was going to be the best soul ever born and I was totally going to help the shit out of everybody I could. So I said “Oh, yeah! I’ll help! What can I do?”
Turning to look over his shoulder (souls don’t have shoulders, no, but they have to look somewhere when they’re being shady), he says “Now, listen. I’m only going to say this once. I want you to kill me.”
The only problem I could see with this idea was that I didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about. He had to explain the concept of death and dying. Then I went “Well, yeah, but no one really dies. You just come back here and wait for another body, right?” I hadn’t been through the process yet but that’s how I understood it. And he goes “A soul may kill another soul. It’s not common, but it can be done.” I thought even if he was gone for a while he would just come back anyway. But he insisted that he would die a true death if he was killed while still a soul.
My mind blew then, and I evaporated for a while. About two years passed before I reformed. It was still another two or so years till I would be born, so I went looking for my depressed old friend again. Finally, I found him. He told me while I was drifting through the ether he’d been born again. Worst life yet, he said. He pleaded with me that he just could not take another turn in a body. For the love of mercy, I had to kill him.
“But why would I do that?” I wondered. “There’s got to be a rule against killing or something!” He told me there were no rules where we were and that it would be fine. If that was true, though, why was he being so whispery and sneaky? He was hiding something. So I said “Well, if I do this, what’s in it for me?” And he goes “You get a treasure beyond price. You will know everything I know before you are even born. How would you like that?”
That seemed like crazy talk! How would that work? He would just be gone and I would still be here.
Then, he hovered closer to me (souls don’t hover, no, but they have no legs either) and tried to come into my soulspace. I was like “Woah there! Only room for one in here!” But suddenly, I knew exactly what he was trying to do. If I wouldn’t kill him, he wanted to switch with me! He wanted to transmigrate into my soul and leave me with his! It would be like he was really starting all over by becoming a brand, spanking new soul like myself.
I backed off and really studied him for a while. I could see he’d done a lot of questionable things in his lives which accounted for him being all gross and greyish. It wasn’t that he was tired of being born so much as he was getting all the shit jobs. That is, horrible lives. Someone has to live them after all. I wondered if it was because he was naturally a grimy kind of soul or what. Had he deserved this fate, or was it just forced upon him?
“Dude,” I said. “I’m young but I’m not an idiot. You’re getting awful lives for a reason. Be honest with me. Did you do something, or are you just unlucky?”
“You would never understand,” he said. “To you, everything is rainbows and lollipops. Wait until you give birth, or go to war, or get murdered—”
I had to cut him off. “Dude, dude, dude! It’s not cool to talk about that shit here! Who would ever want to be born?”
He scowled (souls can’t scowl, no, but what do you know?), and said “It wouldn’t change a thing, really. Nothing I could say would stop you from being born. You would still want to go.”
I had to think about this a while, but eventually I decided he was right. “That’s the whole point of life, isn’t it? If we were never born, we’d never live.” I thought that was real deep but he just smacked me (souls don’t smack each other, no, because that’s rude) and started yelling incoherent nonsense at me. If he didn’t start making some sense I was going to leave him there, so help me.
Finally, he chilled a bit and shivered. He even shimmered and shaked. Then he looked away from me and nodded at something (souls can’t nod, no, because there’s no neck, head, shoulders or any other body part). I had no idea what to do. So I killed him.
Yeah, just like that. I can’t tell you how! One second, I wasn’t going to do it, then it just happened. He still hovered there so I could watch him go. It was fantastic! I really enjoyed that part the most. I think he thanked me and I swear I heard him chuckle (souls don’t chuckle, no, but you know…) And then, he was gone. Dwindled away before my eyes and vanished. Forever, I imagined. Good for him and shit.
But now I had all new worries. I wondered if I’d broken a rule or commandment or something. I couldn’t imagine that souls were supposed to kill each other no matter how tempting it was. And that guy had really been asking for it, after all! He was going to keep trying to switch with me if I didn’t do it, too! Still, I worried about being punished. My mind was in turmoil (souls don’t have minds, no, but who does?) and I started feeling paranoid. It could have been a test. A soul sidles up to you and wants you to kill him, tells you it’s okay and stuff, then provokes you till you kill him! It had to be a trap!
I tore off in an absolute panic; once I felt I’d gotten far enough away from the scene of the crime, I halted and hung out a bit. There was a google of souls in this area, all new ones to me. Soon, one slid up to me all shiny and sparkly and was like “Hey, dude!” I went “Hey.” I was playing it all cool and mellowsome. Then this guy goes “Where’ve you been? You look like you been around.” I just played it off, all like “Yeah, kid. I’ve seen some stuff.” Then he says, all excited “Really? You’ve lived before? I think we’re all brand-new souls over here.” I scoffed. “Yeah, no shit. Like I need you to tell me that.” And he goes “How’s it like to live, dude? Tell me about life!”
Well, what could I say? I didn’t know dick about living, but I knew how to kill someone. So I told him about killing the old soul. Fuck it. Suddenly I didn’t care if I got punished or not. I don’t know what was wrong with me, but my emotions were obviously all screwed up. I couldn’t hold onto a feeling anymore without it changing to the complete opposite a minute later.
As soon as I told my tale, the guy shunned me. In fact, every soul in that section shunned me. They all turned their backs on me. (Souls don’t have backs, no, but fuck you). And I lost my shit, man, and just started screaming at all of them. Like how could they judge me and the guy begged me to kill him and how annoying he’d been and he really burst my bubble and I couldn’t help it. Stuff like that. Gradually, they kind of all turned back to me. Then, the same dude from before came back up to me.
“Sorry, dude,” he said glumly. “I didn’t mean to be judgmental. Maybe I would have done the same thing to that geezer. He did want to die, you say.” “Hell, yeah, he wanted to die!” I yelled. “It was a favor I did him, dude! I didn’t even want to at first. And now I have to take crap from you guys? This sucks!”
I sank into a good sulk there for a while. The new guy never left my side. No punishment came my way. My day to be born (that could have been my punishment) came inevitably nearer till finally it was time! I felt a solid tingling through my whole self which is the only real indication you get. As I was sucked away into the life dimension, I saw my sidekick staring after me all dazzled and excited and stuff.
“Hey! Have an interesting life!” he called after me.
“Yeah, you too, buddy,” I said. “Oh and one more thing….”
And the rest is a blur. Just life, I guess. Don’t remember it. Now I’m back in the soulplace, who knows how much later. I can’t remember shit about my life in the body dimension. I only remember what I did as a disembodied soul. And I think a lot about the old soul I killed. He talked about his shitty lives, but if my life was shitty or not, I don’t remember it. How could he remember his? Were the rules different for him? I was still technically a pretty young soul, but I didn’t think so. That gradually led me to the inescapable conclusion that he was full of shit. Maybe he was just bored with the randomness of the system. One life after another for all time, and what to show for it? Just hanging out in between with dumbass souls. I saw now how that might get depressing. Was that it? He’d just been pushed over the edge of emptiness?
Just when I decide that was it, a soul comes up to me. After a minute, I see it’s the old soul! The dude I “killed”!
“I believe you have questions,” he says to me.
I looked at the bastard and put my whole self into a huge grin. (Souls can grin, yes, that’s about all we’re good for.)
“You just answered them,” I tell him. “Hey, should we take turns ‘killing’ each other?”
“If you want. That would make this your turn.”
So excuse me. This soul’s going to die for a while. If I was going to be a person who perpetrated a bunch of evil shit in the world, you’re welcome. If I would have saved the world and cured a disease or something, forgive me but I don’t care. Try to do without this soul for one lifetime. I’ll be back next time around.