Writer - Rosalind Trotter
Benjamin was a glutton -- not just your ordinary, everyday, garden variety glutton, but a true master glutton. He ate all day, read cookbooks from cover to cover, and kept the TV tuned to the food channel. He dreamt about food at night and had even been known to write poems about food. Any food. Junk food, gourmet food, health food, comfort food. He loved it all. His only requirement was that it arrive frequently and in large portions.
His love was not returned, however. Eventually the various systems of his body were overtaken by cholesterol, fatty tissue and just plain gravity, and at the age of 42 his body finally ceased to provide viable housing for his soul.
The experience of dying, as he drifted weightlessly up, was not unpleasant. He might have enjoyed it if there had been anything to eat, but there wasn’t. Eventually he came to a great city, with crystal towers like spun sugar and golden domed temples like so many cheese souffles. He landed at a gate guarded by an old man in meringue-white robes. "Where can I get something to eat?" he asked.
“All in due time,” the old man said.
“I have low blood sugar," Benjamin said. "I need to eat right now.”
“You don’t have low blood sugar," the old man said, " because you don’t have any blood and you don’t have any blood because you have left your body behind. That’s why you’re here -- to get a new body. But first things first. We must find an RAM position for you.”
“RAM?” Benjamin asked.
“Rest and Meditation,” the old man answered. “So you can examine your old life and make a decision about what new life will get you closer to the Great Nirvana.”
“Is there food there?” Benjamin asked.
“Not as you know it.”
Benjamin loved new experiences with food. “When can I go?” he asked.
“We’ll start you off in an SDC, I think.”
“A Sensory Detoxification Center.”
Before Benjamin could object, the old man waved his hand and Benjamin floated off like the froth on beaten eggs. He landed in a field where several people were sitting around a short, stocky man who was leading them in a group session.
Benjamin introduced himself and asked where the food was.
“Hey, man. You don’t need to eat up here,” the man next to him said. “It’s great. After a while you don’t even want to eat.”
“Not want to eat,” Benjamin yelled. “Holy hot dog! You might as well be dead."
“It’s not like that,” another man said. Then they were all talking at once, floating up and down in their enthusiasm about this wonderful place.
Benjamin was not impressed. “You guys may like it but not me. I want out. Now.”
“Well,” the leader said, “I can send you to the RRB, the Recalcitrant Reincarnatee Board, and you can talk to them.”
“Whatever,” Benjamin said. “Just do it before I starve.”
The leader waved his hand and Benjamin floated off again. This time he landed in a room where three white-haired crones sat behind a long desk. Their faces were as wrinkled as prunes.
“I understand you are having some trouble,” the middle one said.
“I’m hungry," Benjamin said. "I want to go someplace where there’s food.”
“You don’t need food here.”
“I don’t want to not need food.”
“Well, we don’t keep people here against their will. But you have to choose your new body, and I don’t think you’re ready to make a good choice.”
“As long as it’s got a mouth I’ll be happy -- two mouths would be even better.”
The three ladies exchanged looks.
“Well...,” the middle one said. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
She waved her hand and he shot out of the room with a big whoosh. Almost immediately he could felt the pull of gravity and knew he was back in a body. He didn’t have hands or legs and he couldn’t move, but he did have two mouths. Just as he was beginning to wonder how he was going to get food in his mouths without any hands, a piece of bread was put in each one.
Bread. Two lousy pieces of bread. He waited to see if any butter was going to follow, but it didn’t. Oh well, he’d eat the bread now and then find out what was going on. He tried to chew, but he didn’t seem to have any tongue or teeth and his jaws didn’t move. While he was trying to figure it out, a delicious smell of toast wafted through the air and the bread popped back out of his mouths.
He understood then. A toaster. I’ve come back as a freaking toaster.