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Published by Z.J. McBeattie
A funny speculative fiction story about what might happen after you die
A funny speculative fiction story about what might happen after you die

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Published by: Z.J. McBeattie on Jan 07, 2013


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Short Story ByZ.J. McBeattie A pang of dread swept through fifty-nine year old Betsy Walshwhen the mousey little woman in front of her said, “Oh dear me.”“I’m sorry?” Betsy replied.“Well, you see,” she said, “I’m afraid your file has beenflagged. You need to go to the thirty-ninth floor, room five.”
“Are you absolutely sure?” She looked at the woman’snametag. “Are you sure Charlotte? I was told this would be thelast step.”
“Yes, well, you came from the nineteenth floor and theydon’t have access to all the information. Confidentialityissues, you understand.”
Betsy folded her hands in her lap and rubbed her rightindex finger over the knuckles of her left hand nervously. Sheknew this wasn’t the time or the place to get upset. “Can youtell me what that room is for?”
“Oh yes, that’s where the impact review is conducted.”
“Impact review?”
“Yes, your impact on the world. Just take the elevator upand follow the blue line.”
“Very well, thank you for your help,” Betsy said politelyand got up. She had never expected Heaven to be thisbureaucratic, first the huge line on the fifth floor for thelengthy identification process. Apparently identity theft was abigger problem in the afterlife than it was down on earth. Thenthere was the three hour orientation on the sixteenth floor,followed by the individual assessment on the nineteenth floor.She thought Charlotte would arrange for a relative to meet herin Heaven.
Betsy got into the elevator and pushed thirty-nine.Hopefully the lines would not be long. The impact review justhad to be some kind of mistake. She counted off all the goodthings she had done for others: the fundraisers she had hosted,the hundreds of hours of volunteer work, not to mention thethousands of dollars she and her husband Ted had donated to allthose charities.Exiting the elevator, Betsy followed the blue line down along hallway to room five. Like all the other rooms, this onehad a bit of a smell to it and looked like it could do with afresh coat of paint. Looking around, Betsy could immediately seethat the fifty or so people in the room were definitely the typeof people who made an impact on the world. She sat down relievedand waited to be called.
After many people had already been called and others hadcome to take their places, the double doors leading to theinterview rooms opened. “Betsy Walsh, please follow me,” a youngman with long greasy hair, wearing a wrinkled tan linen suit,called out. He was not the first person working in the centerwho Betsy thought could use a shower.
“Have a seat,” he said once they were in the small room.“My name is Ronald.”Betsy sat in the chair putting her hands in her lap,already rubbing her knuckles in frustration.“So Ms. Walsh, you probably know we are going to bereviewing your impact.” As he opened a thick file in front ofhim, Betsy was happy to see that they had kept such good recordsof all the wonderful things she had done. She relaxed a littleand put her hands at her sides.
“Disposable diapers?” the man said looking at herquestioningly.
“No, my children wore cotton diapers,” Betsy said confused.“Not your children. You, you wore disposable diapers.”
“That’s probably true, though I can’t say I remember. Mymother could answer that question. She’s here right?”
“The 1988 Amendment to Article 5 holds the childresponsible for the impact of the disposable diapers worn,”

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