Dead or Alive

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Chapter 10: A BARGAIN

“I’m not dead, I’m not dead,” I repeated, over, and over, again. “Look at me. Do any of you think I have been dead for almost 50 years?” I cried. But the truth was evident. I had cheated death for all those years, through my dreams and Schizoid friends, and combinations of medicines.

The mixture of chemicals, Chemo, Element 55.738AB, Gene therapy, and regular daily pain medicines combating the excruciating bone cancer, mixed together a cocktail called, “The Walking Dead.” I was dead, but could still exist because of the massive amounts of chemicals infused into my genes.

I had received the cure for everlasting life, until the Undertaker caught up with me. The invisibles sustained me, as did my dreams, and kept me from seeing the truth.

I asked the Undertaker if there was a bargain to be made. The Undertaker stood firmly over the open grave, looked at the Shadows, raised his hand, and all became silent, dead silent.

“Jon, listen and tell me what you hear?” the Undertaker frowned.

“I don’t hear anything, except, birds, I think I hear birds.”

“Listen more intently Jon,” The Undertaker said respectfully.

“I hear your voice, my voice and the voice of new born chicks.” I smiled cautiously.

“New born chicks?” Jon. “you hear the sound of new life?”

The Undertaker was trying to make me see that I was stealing someone’s space, new space, space that belonged to new bourn’s. I was being selfish, keeping the cycle of life from working properly. 47 years, I had taken someone else’s place in the cycle of life, just to sustain my death.

“You do understand the process of how life is a continuum that has to adhere to rules, or it doesn’t work. If the cycle is broken for new life to enter this world, then the old life, the dead, must be removed for the cycle to continue.

In other words, you are taking some other life forms space, and that is against the rules.” The undertaker frowned, with compassion. “You had your turn.”

“I would like to think about all of this, if you will allow me a few minutes.”

The Undertaker and the Shadows stood next to me, watching me closely. Poppy was crying and the other 4 didn’t know what to say to me. I felt dirty, lost and ashamed.

All this time, I believed what the Doctor told me about being immortal, different, but never a robber, a thief who stole the life from innocent others. I bent down on my knees to ask God’s forgiveness, and to accept my destiny, to finally except death, long overdue.

The shadows surrounded me, looking at the Undertaker to say yes or no. The Undertaker pulled out a paper from his overcoat, that had my name on it. It was a collection document.

The sound of another person came up behind me. It was the Doctor and his two Nurses. He put his hand on my shoulder and smiled at me, with tears in his eyes.

“Jon, I am your dream talisman. The Invisibles are your visions of hope. This grave was cut into the earth for you to occupy and is your salvation. This grave is where immortality exists. This is where you belong.

Everything I believed or not, was a special part of my life. My Invisibles gave me strength and happiness, friendship, and hope. “You, Doc, gave me the reason to live, and not question death.”

The grave was not what I expected immortality to be. I believed I would live forever with my visions, my Invisibles, my Poppy. My God, what is real and what is fantasy. I don’t want to die, not like this.

I asked the Undertaker for a favor. “Will you allow me the respect to make things right that I did wrong over the last 47 years before you take me home.”

“What did you have in mind, Jon.” The Undertaker asked me.

“If I understood what you told me, there are a multitude of life forms that never had a chance to shine, be born. Is it possible to reach out to these that I hurt and help them to move on, to receive the gifts of creation?” I asked the Undertaker.

“Well, that is some offer of which I did not expect. There is a first time for everything, right Jon?” the Undertaker smiled. “Before you move on, or cross over as some would say, you wish to help all of those who should have been born, which you interfered with, and give them what, Jon?”

“Give them a piece of my life, my breath, my dreams and my visions. You must have the list of those I have hurt. Give me the list and I will use the Invisibles to help me, help them. A beginning, a new beginning for everyone on the list. THEN and only then, can I rest peacefully, forever, in this grave.”

“A piece of your life for everyone on the list? Interesting, but impossible. However, I do have a life in waiting, who you could exchange places with and that would satisfy your retribution in full.” The spirit of the Dead offered.

“Look, give me the list we discussed and I will include this life in waiting you have, upon completion of the others.” I said quietly.

“Jon, my two Nurses and myself would be proud to help you, giving each of the those waiting for their life to begin, a piece of your life form, genetically speaking. We can breathe life into each one in waiting if the Undertaker will allow us to help you.”

“Well now, this is becoming very interesting. Who else is willing to help Jon rectify the damage he had done, over the last 47 years? And help him find his way home.” The Undertaker questioned.

Everyone here offered to help with the program of salvation and rectification of wrong doing. “Who here will stand up for Jon, to complete the course of action he is proposing?” The Undertaker stood silently, waiting to see who is willing to commit helping me.

The Doctor, two Nurses, the Door Man, the old lady who helped Jon with courage to continue, the Invisibles and a voice from above. The Undertaker agreed to the terms, gave me the list of those who were never born due to my interference, and a hand shake between the Undertaker and myself, sealing the deal.

“I am giving you all, one year to complete this list and resurrect those who are deserving. If that is acceptable, then it shall be written. Good luck to all of you, kind, and generous souls. I will return in one year, here at this Grave, waiting for you Jon to keep your word, and comply with the rules so given.

“Thank you for this chance to make things right. We will be here in one year from now, as the Church Bells ring the hour of midnight. This list will be given to you to reflect my soul’s intent to reverse the sins I have committed, and shall open this grave for me to enter in peace.” I humbly responded to the agreement and opportunity to cure my sins before my death is completed. “The list shall be completed as agreed.” I said.

The Undertaker and the Shadows, looked down upon me, smiling. I did what was right, before God. There was no time to lose. We agreed to meet tomorrow, in the morning and begin the work, as discussed.

I thanked all my friends, dreamers, and Schizoids for their support, told them good night and walked home with Poppy hanging on to my arm. I had work to do, and one year to get it done and one year to live.

Our group asked if Bob could BBQ some burgers with a shot of Whiskey. I told them, great, sounds great. I asked the Doc, alone, if, before I enter the grave, is it possible to help the invisibles become something more than a Schizoid vision. Doc promised me he would do whatever was necessary to give them a full and real life to live.

The burgers were cooked and ready to eat. The whiskey chaser was next on the menu. A night of dreams fulfilled for those on the list, and us on a different list.

I knew that someday there would be a reckoning. That day came last night, making a bargain with the Undertaker. Honestly, I feel, for the first time in my life that a real quest was at hand, not another dream to help me elude responsibility for what I had done.

There were 47 lives that needed to be nurtured, given a chance for birth into this world, and the Invisibles, Doc and I will see that they get their birth rights realized.

The morning shuttered through the clouded skies, filtering a new light that I hadn’t seen before this day. A light of hope. I sat outside in the patio, waiting for the Invisibles and Doc to get here, have some coffee, and get started on finding 47 babies to be born, no longer to be forgotten and passed over.

Poppy was the first to take a seat in the patio with me. I poured her a cup of java, got my good morning kiss while we both smiled at one another in anticipation of the job in front of us, to complete.

The other Invisibles meandered outside to the patio, rubbing the sleep from their eyes, smelling the hot coffee, giving Poppy and I a hearty good morning greeting, excited and ready to get our commitment started.

Doc came around the corner of the house to the patio. He took the last chair, sat down, smiling, smelled the coffee, and delighted in drinking a cup full. “looks like everyone is here, and good morning to the Bargain makers, I smiled.

Let’s finish our coffee, talk a bit about strategy, open the list of newbies, babies needing help to find their place in the world, and go to work.” I thanked each one of our new group for helping, and told them that they were the immortals that made this world whole again.

The list had 47 babies in process, close to term. Doc was the first to talk.

“Let’s identify the Babies that will have issues at birth, correct the issues with a touch of new DNA, search their Genetic code for anomalies and bless the birth of the healthy new born child to be.” Doc smiled. “If it’s okay with all of you, my two Nurses are waiting to join us, with your approval.”

Everyone agreed that the Nurses were a necessary part of the puzzle to bring the babies to term, healthy, and following. Doc was the expert in the medical arenas and took charge of getting a plan underway, today. The list showed 3 babies coming on line, needing help to survive, in a few hours. Our work was at hand.

Doc laid out responsibilities for each one of us to perform. With 3 newborns on the way in a few hours, we needed to get started immediately, not lose time talking. The plan was finalized by all of us and Doc took the lead, we followed.

T-Cell’s were taken from the Bone Marrow of my leg, to be used for DNA modification and building the new born Babies immune system. Doc had a handheld MRI contraption, for scanning the babies at birth. Everything had to be administered at the instant moment of birth, by the Invisibles injecting what Doc had concocted to save a Baby’s life.

The list told us what was needed to do to save the babies at birth. Once born, our work was completed and now time to move on to the next patient.

The Huntington Hospital was the location of the first three babies on the Undertakers list. We finished our coffee, solidified our plan, and laid out the location of the Child in waiting. We were ready to bring life back into the world, excited to be a part of God’s work.

Inside the Hospital we walked to the Maternity Ward, looking for patient number 1 of 47. We found the Mother, who was in labor, dilated to 9cm, ready to deliver. Doc gave George the T-CELL of my DNA to be administered to the child, at birth. Doc completed his MRI scan finding a tangled growth, in the baby’s heart. The T-Cell will correct the anomaly giving the Baby a new and stronger heart. Doc was dressed in scrubs, ready to administer the child the life altering Genetic changes to survive, then leave the delivery room, mask on, unseen by the helpers in the room. The mother had achieved the 10 cm and the child’s head was crowning, ready to enter a new world. Doc delivered the Baby, administered the changes to save the child’s life, then left the room. Child number 1 was completed. Down the hallway, number 2 and 3 were in waiting. Doc was on his way.

By the time the other Doctors arrived to service their patients, the delivery was completed, giving the family a healthy new addition to their family. I couldn’t help thinking that the Undertaker was watching us, where ever he was, smiling that a new life has come.

Each new child took a piece of me, leaving me diminished, tired and drained. I was happy that I could give the children that part necessary to survive, from me to them.

The plan was working fine. Doc was amazing, the Invisibles, were being directed by Doc, to do what was needed to save the children. The first three on the list were born healthy.

We returned to the Beach house, Bob fired up the BBQ. Burgers were on the grill. George was pouring the whiskey. Job well done. An uninvited guest arrived at the patio, watching us working together, smiling, laughing and proud of the job we did, this day.

We all turned towards this uninvited guest, as he turned away, walking down the promenade, alone. Shadows were following him. We continued our feast as the night had come, hunger rolling inside our stomachs, at least my stomach and Docs.

The Invisibles finished the bottle of whiskey, ate the burgers, lounged on the couch in the living room, while Doc and I talked.

“Well Doc, you full?”

“Very,” he said, happily.

“You did good, Doc.” I smiled. “We can’t do his without you, my friend.”

“Jon, can I ask you a question, personal question?” Doc asked me.

I nodded my head in agreement. “What’s on your mind, Doc?” I asked him.

“Jon, this plan we are doing, will soon leave you on your death bed. When all your t-cells are gone, your DNA removed from your bone marrow, you won’t exist any longer, alive that is. You will have fulfilled your obligation to the Undertaker, at a price very few are willing to pay.” Doc frowned.

“Yeah Doc, you’re right. I will be giving little bits of myself to each child in need, to survive their birth, and live on with a healthy life. That was the deal, right?” I smiled sadly. “What more can a person do, than to help bring to this world, 47 healthy Babies, and a happy family. Doc, it’s all worth it to me, this plan.”

“I have to think that the Undertaker really didn’t think you were a premeditated thief, stealing the life force from Babies to service your needs?” Doc frowned.

“Hey, what’s all the serious talk about?” Poppy cuddled up to me, frowning at us, when we should be celebrating the first three lives healthy of the 47 on the list.

“Doc, things happen. You’re right, but I was only thinking of myself, until I met you, the Nurses, the Doorman and my Invisibles. I am guilty of being selfish, and probably murder of 47 children, unborn, dead at birth if we don’t help them.” I said solemnly.

“I lived in a wheel chair with cancer for 30 years. Chemo and radiation treatment for 30 years. My life was one vomit after another, one drain of my energy after another.

But, the selfish part, I wanted to pass through that door, to see you, achieve perfect health, and immortality.” I frowned. “that was the first stage of failure, for me. The reason the Undertaker came looking for me.”

We all worked through the year ahead, saving the lives of the Babies on the Undertakers list. When completed, the list will be destroyed, and the Undertaker will have just one person to take, me.

Doc became my best friend and Poppy the purist love of my life. Doc still felt there was room to negotiate with the Undertaker regarding the empty grave waiting for me. Without me knowing, our group called upon the Undertaker to meet with them. The Undertaker agreed to meet but it would be on the last day of completing the contract, the list.

Doing this work, allowed us the humility of being a part of a life force. We had saved 45 babies, with two more to go. Everyone was excited for the completion of the list, except Doc, Poppy and of course, me.

A Bargain was a Bargain. I was ready to keep my word, complete the list, and meet the Undertaker at my grave site, for interment. The last two babies were ready to make their entrance in the world. Doc was ready to correct their infirmities, and complete the list.

The day ended, the last two little ones born, healthy and full of life. I was drained, and it was time for me to complete the final part of the Bargain with the Undertaker.

Poppy and Doc wanted to have one more BBQ, one more shot of brown liquid, and one more special moment with me, alive. We sat in the patio, watching the surfers riding the waves, the skaters and bikers ride the promenade, and the joggers trudge through the sandy beach, dripping with sweat. Everything was normal, except me being in the picture.

Doc told me that he tried to change the Undertakers mind, but no luck. I was to meet the Undertaker at the Cemetery, in front of the grave, with my head stone on it, and complete the Bargain.

I had until midnight to say my goodbyes, give all my thanks for everyone’s help, to complete the list, spend a few hours with Doc, Poppy and the group, enjoying the sunset, the beauty of the sea, and good friends.

Hamburger Bob said we had time for one more BBQ, before I had to go. We cheered Bob, praised his timing, and waited for the burgers and whiskey to be passed around to all.

Poppy was teary- eyed, not wanting me to leave. Doc shook my hand, his eyes a bit misty as well, wishing we had more time together. All Invisibles were quiet, dismayed that tonight was our last night to be together.

“It has been an experience to be with you all, and I shall miss you, every one of you. I will remember you as I pass on, and I will watch over each of you to stay as you are, my Invisibles, my friends.

Poppy and the others had tears in their eyes, reaching out to say good bye. I left the keys to the house with Doc. I told Doc all my possessions belong to all of you. The BBQ was only for Hamburger Bob, best burgers in town.

I left the patio, walking to the Cemetery alone. While walking I pictured all 47 Babies, in row, looking at me, in my mind, happy and safe. Beautiful little hands, arms, legs, feet, faces smiling at me, waving goodbye. Waving goodbye. The others, watching me from the house, saw me disappear, from sight.

I appeared at the Grave site, exactly at midnight. The Undertaker was waiting as were the Shadows.

“You have kept your word, Jon. I am pleased, as this year has passed, you and your friends have completed the list, saved 47 newborns lives, and changed history.” The Undertaker smiled.

Standing before the open grave, waiting for me to enter, I asked the Undertaker how I changed history. “Within the 47 lives you spared, several will grow to become very important persons.

These few, will change the world for better, and will have a feeling of your presence within their psyche. Even though you will be gone, they will be introduced to you, who you were, by encountering your friends and of course, Doc.”

Entering the Grave, my thoughts were of Poppy, and the others. Then darkness surrounded me. I was alone, and Death, as it always does, came suddenly.


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