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Spiritworld Incorporated Ch 1 Interview

by  Shnarkle

Posted: Sunday, January 10, 2010
Word Count: 1244
Summary: In which young Ritchie Bowman finds himself in a perculiar situation.

Ritchie Bowman sat alone in what looked like a doctor’s waiting room. This was a bit strange, because the last thing he remembered doing was cycling across the icy park, on his way home from his girlfriend’s house. And it had been night time; here, there was daylight streaming through the high windows opposite where he was sitting. He looked around. Everything in the room was white. White ceiling, white walls, white lino on the floor, and white furniture; even the flowers in the white vase on the white coffee table in the middle of the room were white.
He thought back; he’d left Sally’s at 10.30. He remembered how cold it had been, London had been gripped by snow and freezing temperatures for over a week, with no sign of a let up and he’d nearly skidded on the ice twice before he’d reached the park. He’d cycled alongside the frozen boating lake, and then… and then he found himself here; wherever here was.
“Next!” boomed a deep voice from behind the door directly opposite where Ritchie was sitting. He looked around, half expecting somebody else to stand up and approach the door; but he was utterly alone in the room. Shrugging his shoulders, Ritchie got to his feet, crossed the room and opened the door. He was in a large office, all white like the waiting room; a stout, balding middle-aged man sat facing him behind an imposing desk.
“Sit, sit,” said the man, gesturing towards a chair whilst studying the contents of a white folder. Ritchie sat down and waited. Finally, the man looked up from his file, sat back in his chair and addressed him; “Hello, and welcome to Spiritworld Incorporated. Have you been sent over to us from the Death Awareness Course?”
“Er, no,” said Ritchie, somewhat surprised.
“The, So You’re Dead, Now What? one day workshop?”
“No.” said Ritchie again, beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable.
“Car Maintenance for Dead People?” the man persisted.
“No,” said Ritchie,” Look, what is this all about?” There was something very funny going on here and he was beginning to panic.
“I take it you do know that you’re dead?” asked the man casually.
“Dead! What do you mean, dead?” wailed Ritchie, waiting to wake up from a bad dream.
“Hmmm, you seem to have slipped through the net somehow. You should have gone to Death Registration first, and then a Being Dead Familiarisation Course before being passed on to us. What’s your name?”
“Ritchie Bowman.”
The man began searching through a pile of folders in his “In” tray, “Let’s see; Bowman, Bowman, Bowman… ah, here you are.” He pulled out a file from the middle of the pile and opened it. “Right; Richard Bowman, aged 16 years and three months. Lived in Chiswick, West London. Cause of death: drowning under ice covered boating lake.” He closed the file. “Well, there you have it; you’re definitely dead. How do you feel about it, Ritchie?”
I must have skidded by the lake’s edge and fallen in, thought Ritchie. Dead? Dead!? Strangely, he didn’t have any feelings about it at all. “Strangely, I don’t have any feelings about it at all.” he said.
The man nodded sagely, “Very common, very common; but you will. It’s called Post Traumatic Death Syndrome. It may take months, but one day you’ll have a sudden fit of the heebie-jeebies and run around like a headless stoat, screaming like a banshee.”
“Well thanks for breaking it to me so gently.” said Ritchie sourly.
“You’re welcome. Right,” said the man, clapping his hands together, “To business. My name is Tom Foolery; I know, I know; my parents had a warped sense of humour; and I’m the Careers Director here at Spiritworld Incorporated.”
“Careers Director?” snorted Ritchie, “Careers for dead people, are you serious?”
“Absolutely,” said Tom, sitting forward animatedly. “Spiritworld Incorporated was set up as a Government Initiative Agency to get dead people back into work, instead of lolling about on a cloud for eternity wearing a white kaftan and contemplating their own backsides.” Ritchie exploded with laughter.
“It’s a serious thing,” continued Tom, “Most people, when they die, either go up the Heavenly escalator, or take a one way trip in the elevator to the basement, if you see what I mean?” Ritchie nodded. “However, some people, like yourself are not ready for death, and get stuck in this sort of netherworld; and with nothing much to do here, after a while they just start making a nuisance of themselves. That’s where we come in; to train you for doing something productive and worthwhile.”
“Like what?” asked Ritchie, convinced that Tom was completely off his trolley.
“Haunting!” said Tom triumphantly.
“Haunting?” echoed Ritchie in amazement, “You mean like, woo, woo, I’m a ghost?”
“Precisely!” shouted Tom enthusiastically. “Some of the Moaning Minnies who have come to the Netherworld have resorted to haunting people either out of spite, or just to entertain themselves and relieve the crushing boredom; but they were never very good at it, and there were always complaints through Mediums and Spiritualists that the quality of haunting really wasn’t up to scratch. So Spiritworld Incorporated have set up a complete career path for effective haunting.” Now on a real roll, Tom got up from his desk and began pacing back and forth across the office. “We have first class training facilities, a wide range of haunting options, promotional prospects, and an exciting new feature introduced this year, a points scheme that allows you to spend some time back in the world of the living; so long as you gain enough points of course.” He said with a knowing wink to Ritchie.
“Of course.” Said Ritchie completely bewildered at the ridiculousness of the situation. “What other options are there open to me?” he asked, going along with it to see how insane the whole thing became.
“Well,” said Tom, as he halted mid pace, “Not many, young man. You could always opt for the lolling about on a cloud thing, but after a couple of millennia of backside contemplation, POW! You suddenly find yourself reincarnated as a chicken in a battery farm in Northern Mongolia, with some hairy ape of a farmer slicing the end of your beak off so you can’t peck at your neighbours. That’s a wake up call I can tell you!”
Ritchie sniggered. “No cloud lolling for me then, I think.”
“Very wise, very wise.” said Tom seriously, resuming his office pacing, “I think you could probably start off with a spot of poltergeist work. As you won’t be seen there are no costumes or choreography involved, and there are no speaking duties. All you have to do is throw things around a bit and scare the living daylights out of your host family. Sound good?”
“Hilarious,” laughed Ritchie, “where do I live while all this is going on?”
“Well being dead has many advantages.” Said Tom, “You don’t sleep, so you don’t need a bed; you don’t eat, so don’t need food; when you’re on duty you stay at your host family’s house, when you’re not you can make use of the splendid Spiritworld Incorporated leisure complex or attend training courses for more complex haunting jobs. Shall we see which positions are currently open?”
“Why not?” said Ritchie, now highly amused at the thought of moving chairs invisibly around someone’s kitchen and making them wee themselves with fright, “Let’s do it!”