I was telling him that I was looking forward to retirement in the next few months and I wanted to live for at least another twenty years. I had a lot of writing to do. He told me why would I wish that, that life was meant to test our faith and that death was a homecoming. He said we were in heaven before we were born, happy and fulfilled and that when we die we go back to heaven. Life is just a way station. Religious belief can be pretty scary- This was the inspiration for this tale.
Sam was excited, his new life was about to begin. He just tied up his last loose end in New York, and now he was off to Florida to be reunited with his wife and start his retirement. He gave the cabbie a big tip, went through the security check at the Train terminal and headed for Track 25. His train was due to leave within the hour, so he checked in, got on the train, and looked for a place to sit for the duration of the trip. He sat down next to a young man with a welcoming smile.
Sam introduced himself to the young man and found him to be quite affable. They struck up a conversation that Sam would remember for the rest of his life. Sam started to talk about what he wanted to do during his retirement. The young man listened intently, smiled, and nodded in the appropriate places. A shift in the conversation occurred after Sam mentioned his desire to live a longer life.
“I want to live for at least another twenty years; I got a lot of living left to do,” said Samuel Pickerford to the young man sitting in the seat next to him.
“Why would you want such a thing? Life is full of misery, we are born to suffer, and when our time allotted to us is up, we are then released from our suffering through death,” said the young man to Sam.
“Huh, I’ve suffered some, that’s true, but I’ve had a lot of joy and happiness as well. I’m sorry if your life has been full of misery, but mine has not. You seem affluent and well educated, so I’m a little surprised at your line of thinking,” said Sam.
“Happiness and joy are dangerous illusions. They warp the true message that God wants us to hear. Happiness and joy can only truly be experienced in Heaven. We were in Heaven before we were born, happy and serene. But Satan made a bet with God, that if man was thrown into a world without God’s presence, he would lose faith, and come to relish life under the rule of Satan. Those of the faithful who understand that life is misery without God’s presence will be accepted back into Heaven,” said the young man.
“What the hell are you talking about? You sound like some mad jihadist,” said an agitated Sam.
“I can assure you that I’m quite sane,” said the young man. “It’s people like you who are the deluded and the insane ones. You embrace the evil of this life. You choose to live in Satan’s house while I choose to live in God’s. Soon I will be in paradise and a hundred thousand virgins’ will welcome me in their arms.”
Sam felt a pinch in his arm; the little bastard stuck a needle in it. He felt himself nodding off, he thought of his wife that he will never again see, and of the retirement that was not to be. He tried to scream a warning but he couldn’t open his mouth. The son of a bitch incapacitated him.
“I really enjoyed our conversation Sam. For an infidel you’re really quite nice. I like you, and thank you for keeping my mind occupied, for I must admit I was a little scared. I wasn’t looking forward to dying alone. You and I will now be the first to die. You will be rewarded. Now, now, I know you are an unbeliever who has swallowed all of Satan’s lies, but I’m sure I can convince God to forgive you. You will live with me in Paradise as my servant, and if you’re good I’ll even let you have one of my Virgins. God is good, God is great!” were the last words of the madman…
a hundred thousand virgins