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Afterlife

The bullet took the man rather by surprise. Why, just a moment before, he was sitting in the park, working feverishly on a crossword puzzle. The last thing that went through his mind, besides the speeding death-bean, of course, was the answer to 11 across: "having escaped or left without permission."

Nine letters, long, begins with an a... Ends in ed, obviously; past tense and all. Aha! It must be 'abscon--

Dead. The bullet killed him instantly. Shot from a gun held by a man believing himself to be Harold Bloom reincarnate. (It mattered little to the man that Harold Bloom was still alive).

But this story is not about the delusional Bloom aspirant. This story is about the dead man with the bloody crossword puzzle in his lap; his name was Harold. This, however, was pure coincidence. As a matter of fact, the delusional man wasn't even aiming for Harold; he was aiming for a pigeon.


Harold felt himself falling gently yet swiftly, as if being lowered by stage wires for dramatic effect.


I smell sesame, thought Harold. Indeed, he was smelling tahini, one of the main ingredients in Hummus, which, as it turned out, was precisely what he was being lowered into.


He sunk into the Hummus until it was about chest deep, his arms hovering horizontally above the creamy snack. Well, well, he thought. Harold had often wondered what might happen to him after he died, but hummus was a wholly unheralded hereafter.


Harold had lived a decent life. Though no saint, Harold committed no major crimes. His friends all thought of him as a perfectly tolerable and even good-natured fellow. By the time that bullet had prematurely put an end to his crossword puzzle solving endeavors, Harold was sufficiently happy with where he had come in life. He was, in other words, not too sorry to expire into a Mediterranean dish at that juncture in his life.


Harold just stayed there for a time, suspended in hummus as he was, to see if something would happen. The paprika started to make Harold's eyes water. The tears distorted his vision, but a sea of hummus looks the same, whether clear or obscured. Anyway, the temperature was nice, and the texture was pleasant enough. Another soul was not to be seen, and the silence was beginning to bother him. He called out towards the hazy, hummus-lined horizon: "Anybody have a pita chip?"


But there was not a pita in sight.
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