A Lifetime of Happiness


a lifetimeName…. Mr. Joseph Collins

Age……..35

D.O.B…. 31st October 1978

D.O.D…. 31st October 2013

E.T.A….. T.B.C

Final Destination…. Aeternitas

Category status…V.I.P

Special instructions…5 star reception & Special delivery

A young man closed the file that lay before him, and began to smile. He always enjoyed handling special Deliveries and 5 star receptions. The recipients were always so happy to receive such a welcome, and so keen to sign the contract. He was always delighted when they signed the contract, as then it was his turn to have some fun.

“A Special Delivery- a very Special Delivery.”He murmured to his secretary, as he walked out of his office.”I won’t be long”

#

Dead, done, and dusted. Joe had always feared death, and he was annoyed that he’d died on his birthday, but as he stood looking at his car and his crushed and broken body, Joe just smiled at how simple his crossover from life to death had been.

One moment he was trapped in his crashed car, with his head split open by the car dashboard, then he was standing on the pavement, without a crease, a tear, any pain, or spot of blood to his name. There was even a courier service to make a further transfer even easier, for while he looked at the crash site, a young man in a pale gray suit , and carrying a folder, stepped up by his side.

“Had an accident have we Sir?” The man had murmured demurely. “Don’t worry about anything; you’re a V.I.P, Sir. You’re in good hands now. My name is Nicholas, and I’m your celestial representative, or a courier, as you might say. Follow me please. You’re dead now, and, with my help, you are about to pass over. On behalf of the company I work for, may I offer my sincere condolences as regards your current situation, but a new life, a very special new life awaits you Sir, and it is just about to begin.”

#

Nicholas was right; there was nothing to worry about. Sitting comfortably in clear, glass, yet utterly self-contained transit vehicle, it seemed to Joe that nothing could possibly go wrong. A V.I.P Nicholas had told him, and a special fast track delivery, he had found out upon further questioning. He certainly seemed to be so, for while he sat back in comfort, other people, outside of his vehicle, walked and stumbled, by his side.

Joe was slightly puzzled. He knew they were in a tunnel, and the tunnel was headed for worlds as yet unknown, as Nicholas had told him so, but beyond that Nicholas had just looked at him, and smiled.

Nicholas was clearly a minor cog within a much larger piece of machinery. Minor cogs, in Joe’s opinion, were very insignificant, and could be ignored. He would wait until they reached their final destination before seeking any more answers. He would hold his fire until he saw the manager of where ever they were going. That is when he would Kick Ass and cause a lot of trouble, and, by doing so, that is when he would take control.

Now he was comfortable, and he didn’t feel like talking. With a glass of champagne in hand, and a plate of fresh strawberries in the other–courtesy of management, Nicholas had told him–he casually glanced around him so as to properly see what lay outside.

The tunnel was light and airy, with doors neatly arranged, but not sign posted, on all, sides. Travelling throughout Europe on business, Joe had witnessed many such tunnels, but the behaviour of his fellow travellers was strange.

They were a conglomerate of all ages, sexes, creeds and race’s, yet no sound came from them. Blankly staring at the floor of the tunnel they were lost within a world of their own. A few of them glanced at Joe and Nicholas, some enviously, some more in trepidation.

The vehicle passed a long queue of tired looking individuals, waiting outside one of the closed doors of the tunnel. Life’s walking wounded, and life’s losers, Joe complacently thought to himself, as they drove down the now rapidly emptying tunnel. Wrapped up in their little worlds of utter insignificance they didn’t notice him, but what did that matter; he was a special delivery, and he was going far!

#

“Here we are Sir; your final destination. May I be the first to welcome you to Aeternitas. Your papers are all in order, and are waiting for you, and there’s no need for a passport. You’re a V.I.P, have a nice day Sir. Everything has been arranged.”

“A special delivery!” Nicholas murmured to the girl behind the check in desk,. “A very special delivery for you know who!”

Joe looked around him, and grinned. A five star hotel, he thought to himself gleefully, only half registering the murmur that had barely crept into his ears.

A special delivery indeed, Joe thought as he registered the look from the lass behind the counter. Not many guys would ever get such a warm reception, let alone such a smile.

“Welcome to the Hotel Infinitas Mr Collins. I see, by my notes before me that you wish to see the manager? No problem Sir, just sign here Sir, and Mr Adams will see you now.”

What notes, Joe wondered, and how did she know about him wanting to see the manager. He was a top grade shark of a life insurance salesman though, he was known as the “Master Puppeteer” within his industry, and no hotel, not even this Hotel, let alone a mere flunky of a courier or receptionist, would ever control him, let alone catch him unawares.

#

Joe said nothing. Having played cat and mouse with so many hotel managers, he still felt comfortable. He nodded slightly towards the receptionist who held open the door to the manager’s office.

A small dark-eyed man sat behind a desk by a window, and Joe, ever the professional, gave him his finest smile.

The manager was a typical desk jockey, an insignificant little runt with the backbone of a sea cucumber; and he would be a walk over. Joe was in his element now. He had successfully dealt with his type many times before.

“Good morning Mr Collins, Please excuse me for a moment while I finish some paperwork, but welcome to the Hotel Infinitas and the resort of Aeternitas. A 5 Star paradise; with a cornucopia of pleasures that, from now on, will be your home!”

Joe sat down in a seat that Mr. Adams offered him, and watched the manager carefully. Think first, observe first, and then only say what you have to, that has always been his maxim. He noted how the man sorted through, and then studied, a stack of files. What was in the files, and why such dedicated attention to detail, but he waited patiently; curious, rather than frightened, as to what was to come. The man closed his files, nodded his head slowly, and looked up towards Joe.

“Please take a seat Mr Collins, my apologies for keeping you waiting. Now where did I put your file? Oh yes, right on top of the pile!”

Joe carried on watching silently, as the man closely opened a bright red file

“Now then. Mr Joseph Collins. Aged 35, single, never married. Nickname, the Master Puppeteer. Occupation, Life Insurance salesman. The best in the West I see.

He looked at Joe and raised a quizzical eyebrow

“Right so far?”

Joe just nodded.

“Life time ambition, a lifetime of happiness, and, quite understandably, all free of charge. How so, oh yes it’s all here. Top of the range Ferrari, a 20 – 25 yr old woman of unsurpassed and untouchable beauty. The woman of his dreams, preferably Scandinavian, I see. A sumptuous Hawaiian sea front property, a private palm tree lined boulevard, and a perfectly still yet sparkling blue sea. No rain, no cold, and all the sun, sea, sex and 3 star Michelin star food and service that any man could desire!”

Mr Adams closed the file, and handed Joe a sheet of paper, before offering him a pen.

“Not bad Joe, if I may call you by your first name, that’s some list I see before me, but everything has been arranged, just as you have requested. Now all you need to do is sign.”

Joe picked up the paper and studied it casually. It was a contract, but one drawn up by either a fool or a naive idiot. It was all there, all that he wished for, but there was no price list, no end date, and no restrictive clauses; and all he had to do was to tick a box and sign.

He would find out later as to how the guy had got all this information, but now he wanted what had been promised him. He grabbed the pen and paper that was placed before him, he rapidly signed his name.

Too rapidly. He felt a slight prick on his finger, and a spot of his blood fell on the line where he had just signed.

It was only a spot though, it didn’t matter, but as he sucked his finger briefly he remembered a client of his called Lilith. She was in her 50’s, a sucker for life insurance, and very eager to sign.

That is where The Hotel Manager got his information. A survey, Lilith had told him, as he idly made love to her. Just a bit of fun, according to Lilith, just like her love bite that had broken the skin on his upper shoulder. Looking back the sex had been fine, as she was an enthusiastic, if a slightly sweaty performer. It had been a giggle signing the mock marriage certificate; and she still carried on laughing as she filled in all of his forms. A worthless insurance policy, that’s what he gave her, and many promises of further assignations, before he decided to cut and run.

The sun, the sea, and his promised life were calling, and he looked out of the widow at the seafront beyond. A palm lined boulevard lay before him, and, and, waiting for him in the hotel forecourt, a brand new top of the range Ferrari. This would be his car. Driving down his private boulevard, graced by a perfectly blue sky and sparkling, yet still ocean, he would take possession of his new apartment, and soon make love to the girl of his dreams.

How this servile little pen pusher had got all this information was immaterial. The fool had granted him a lifetime of happiness. That lifetime was now immanent, and, by that now countersigned contract, the whole thing would come to him was free.

“Come my friend, a new life awaits you.”The manager’s voice softly murmured beside him.“Follow me Joe, and say hello to the land of your dreams.”

Joe stood up, smirked triumphantly at Mr Adams, and eagerly followed him outside. Maybe being a callous bastard was passport to Heaven. Maybe it helped being a manipulative degenerate, as his colleagues termed him, but they didn’t matter now, nor all the losers that he had left behind.

He was the Master Puppeteer, he was successful, and nothing was going to stand in his way.

#

“There you go Joe; your very own multi roomed, impeccably maintained, and magnificently furnished sea front property. Shall we step inside?”

Up until, caution had made Joe silent, but as he gazed at the magnificent structure before him, a sense of awe froze his tongue. The journey to the property had been easy, albeit the palm trees, planted at precise 20 yard intervals. They had grown dull after a while, as had the lack of other cars, or any other company, but now that didn’t matter. A wonderful house stood before him that was beyond the wildest of his dreams!

“Now come on Joe, the door’s open. There’s a lady inside who wants to meet you. A lady should never kept waiting, Isn’t that what you always say?

That was one of Joe’s expressions, and he wondered yet again how the Mr Adams man knew this, but Joe was eager to explore his new property, so he swiftly unlocked the door and went inside.

That was when he saw Asrid, maybe his “new life long partner”, as stated in his newly signed contract. He certainly hoped so, as bearing a charming smile and a wonderful tray of fine wine and 3 star delectable’s, she truly was the girl of his dreams. As she walked towards him, all slim hipped, graceful, and the possessor of a staggeringly beautiful smile, face, and body, he blushed slightly, desperately trying to control the excitement pulsing through his groin and veins.

“Hello Joe, my name is Asrid; you are my lord and master, what is your command?”

What was his command, there were many commands that he would like to give her, but how far, on such a short acquaintance would she go. The contract he had signed had said she would be compliant, but how compliant, and for how long. Slowly he drew in a deep breath.

“OK my girl, let’s be seeing you, every bit of you mind you. Remember, you’re mine now, you’re all mine.”

Asrid didn’t even blink as she put the tray of food and drink on the table beside her, nor did she hesitate, or drop her smile, as she took off all her clothes.

Once undressed, her clothes neatly folded in a pile beside her; she stood as pure and as chaste as any child in the Garden of Eden, yet with a body that would drive any man insane. He moved forward to embrace her, but she stepped back, still smiling.

She was just out of reach of his quivering fingers, and Mr Adams voice sidled mockingly into his ear.

“Sorry, Joe, no touching; you signed the contract, and, remember, you dictated the terms”

Joe spun round quickly. The room was hotter now, and a new man seemed to stand before him. A bigger man, a more powerful man, and a man who, with a steely gaze now fixed upon him, was now determined to have his own way.

“That’s right Joe, your words, your desires, and your pleasures, but allow me explain in more detail how your new life will be, as, according to your specifications, every day will be the same. Life will be free, and your chosen pleasures will always be with you, but with such a choice, and with such a life that you have led, there comes certain consequences. It is these that I lay before you now!

You’ll never age, and you, with your shallow life and even shallower values, will always drive your car up and down your empty, palm lined, silent, Boulevard. The sea will never change, and no clouds will ever adorn the sky. You’ll eat nothing but fine food, and drink fine wine, without any shortage or interruption, and Ingrid, dressed or undressed as you command her will always stand, compliantly by your side. You’ll never touch her though, as, by your signed contract, you cannot touch her. You’ll never feel the excitement of a stormy sea, or see a cloud spun sunset , and you’ll never drink fresh running spring water, or know the joy of simple yet wholesome food.

By a little drop of your blood on a willingly signed contract, and by a night of insincere and calculated passion and frivolous penmanship, you have denied yourself such simple wholesome pleasures.

You have chosen and created the world that is now before you.

A beautiful world, and an enchanted world of pure happiness, and yet a cursed nightmare world which will forever repeat itself, and forever lie before your eyes!”

Joe looked around wildly as the manager moved even closer.

“Your rules, your choice Joe, and your little slice of heaven, just as you ordered. Now it is time for me to introduce myself properly.

My name is Beelzebub, and I have a daughter called Lilith. I’m the devil Joe, and I have as many names as I have disguises, many of which, in life, and in death, you’ve seen before.

This is my domain Joe. I own this land, and all who live, breathe, and cry upon it. I make the rules Joe. I decide the fate of those who live here, and all I need from a new resident is a signature and a little drop of blood on a contract. Then they are mine!”

He paused, and gestured towards the open doorway; even Joe could hear heavy footsteps careering up the gravel drive.

“Listen Joe, we have a visitor! Why it’s my Lilith! Say hello, once more, to my one and only Lilith, Joe; and give her a kiss why don’t you, and yet another useless life insurance policy. You remember her don’t you, so won’t it be lovely to once more hold her in your arms!?”

Stepping back slightly he grinned maliciously, before sweeping a magisterial arm across the whole room

“All this I give to you, including my daughters hand in marriage, as agreed by a certain document, to which you were both very willing signatories; and I do so willingly, and of my own free will. So it is Mr Joe Collins, my soon to be my ever loving Son in Law, that, for no charge, I give you a lifetime of happiness; and thereby a personalised passport and a very special first class ticket to the deepest pits of Hell!”

Silently, yet inexorably, as now a sweaty, aging, naked, and savagely laughing Lilith, came rushing and skidding into the room, before clambering amorously all over him, Joe’s mind began to tear apart very slowly and painfully, and then inexorably, it began to scream!

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Categories: Short Stories, Walk on the Dark Side

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