There are many places to go after you die, some better than others. Where you find yourself after crossing the Great Veil depends on a variety of factors. It’s not as if you die and get to choose which afterlife you attend, you have to play by certain rules. No one really knows all of the rules, or even how many there are. New ones are being discovered all the time. As far as it is known, which afterlife you attend is linked most strongly to which religion you are when you die. If you don’t have a religion then you get to go to the afterlife of the most popular local religion. Jimmy was Baptized, but just barely. Same with Sally, she even had a burn mark from where the holy water touched her arm.
The reason, Dear Reader, I bring this up is because this is no ordinary tale of Jimmy Jam and his adventures.This time we find Jimmy and Sally trapped in the Grove of Suicides, a special part of Hell reserved for those who take their own lives.
Since they were children, they were planted in the Children’s Section, whimsically known to the locals as “The L’il Grove of Suicides”. The locals weren’t that bright and lacked imagination. If their parents had been Jewish or Taoist, they would have ended up somewhere else; however, they were members of a non-denominational Christian sect, so they ended up here.
Before we digress let me return to the intended tale and save stories about baptisms and related matters for another day.
As you might remember Jimmy Jam’s and Sally Slam’s parents didn’t bring their children back from the dead right away (like they usually do) after Sally and Jimmy murdered each other in a cold blooded knife fight. They stored their kids bodies in the cooler for a week and enjoyed themselves. I mean: they really, really cut LOOSE. Without their obnoxious offspring around, the Jam family and the Slam family became best friends. They dined together nearly every night and could be heard laughing well into the evening all nights.
When the time came to bring Sally and Jimmy back from the dead, it was done with sorrow and great reluctance. Sally’s Aunt Witch and Jimmy’s Wizard Uncle were growing tired of ferrying forth into the Nether (and sometimes the Ether), upsetting the natural balance of life and death so that two brats could keep blowing themselves up while being rude to adults and animals.
They were brought back, of course. Also “of course”, neither Jim nor Sally learned anything from their extra long stay in Limbo. Worse yet (and much to the chagrin of all six adults involved) they didn’t even seem to notice how long they were gone. It only took 68 hours before Jimmy found a way to fling himself off the Slam’s roof, landing on (and killing) Sally in the process.
Because of scheduling conflicts and the impending Winter Storm Jacqueline, they were once again snug in their mortal coils later that night.
The next morning both children received stern talking-to’s from their respective resurrectionist relative.
Both Jimmy’s Uncle and Sally’s Aunt said pretty much the same thing:
“I can’t keep doing this. You never learn. I hate to tell you this: No one likes you! You’re mean. You’re rude. You’re violent. You don’t care about anything.”
This should have reduced the coldest child to tears. However, neither of them so much as blinked. They already knew this. Not knowing how rotten they were wasn’t the problem. Not caring about how rotten they were was.
“I’m not doing this anymore. Next time you die you can stay dead or figure it out yourself.”
Sally flipped her Aunt Witch the bird before lighting a candy cigarette and walking away.
Jimmy pulled out his switchblade and started peeling an apple he produced from his coat pocket. He turned his back to his Uncle Wizard and ignored him. He wasn’t going to leave, that would make him seem weak. Jimmy was an Alpha Jimmy and he didn’t listen to anyone.
Jimmy didn’t need his uncle, at least not right away. He had a Get-Out-of-Being-Dead coupon that he won from the eighth graders in a game of dice.
“Pfffttt! Stupid adults. They don’t even know that I have this coupon.” A weird look entered Jimmy’s eyes. It was the look his eyes got when the clouds were talking to him.
“Go lie under your uncle’s car,” said the clouds. “When he goes to leave he’ll run you over and you’ll die. This will make him feel horrible and he’ll have to bring you back. Then you’ll know he’ll never leave you dead.”
“Ohhh, good idea”, thought Jimmy. “That will show them.” Jimmy liked showing people things. This would become a problem for him as he got older. For now, he snuck out the window.
When the inevitable happened, Jimmy’s uncle didn’t seem to care. Neither did his mother or his second dad. Days passed and Jimmy floated around being a ghost for two weeks before he found a coupon redemption center and returned to the living world.
His parents seemed shocked when they saw him walk through the door, but not too much. Jimmy was unpredictable and dangerous. They put nothing past him. What they thought was unusual was how quiet he seemed. He didn’t even mention what had just happened. When his uncle came to visit, neither said a word to each other.
Jimmy kept it all inside. A tight little ball of hatred grew in his chest.
Sally had her own problems. After Jimmy fell on her, her aunt refused to bring her back too. Her parents didn’t even ask her to and she never asked where Sally was. Sally had her own coupon which had been a Yule gift from her aunt, so she eventually figured it out and made her way home around the same time as Jimmy.
Sally went right to her bed room without saying a word, slammed her door, and sat on her bed. She stared at the wall. Stared hard.
A few days later Jimmy and Sally were whispering to each other behind the shed.
“I can’t take this shit,” Jimmy said.
“I know what you mean,” Sally said.
“We gotta do something. Something big,” he suggested.
“Yeah, but what?”
“Well, when my first dad couldn’t take anymore shit, he locked himself in his car and went to sleep forever. We should do that.”
“That’s what my first dad did too. It must be what you do when you can’t take anymore shit. I’m in,” she said.
“Great. Once we’re asleep forever we can use our coupons to come back and run away to a place that gets how cool we are.”
“Good idea. I’m never going home again.” Sally said, spitting in her hand and extending it to Jimmy for a pact-sealing-spit-shake.
Jimmy spit into his palm and shook Sally’s hand.
Sally told Jimmy she would write the note. Jimmy told Sally he’d set the garage up. They were to meet back in an hour.
At the appointed time Sally and Jimmy climbed into the front seat of her mother’s station wagon. She turned the ignition and started the car. Jimmy relaxed, staring out the window at a box of springs. Sally read a comic book. It didn’t take long for their small, underdeveloped bodies to fill with poison gas. Before they knew it they were getting sleepy. Jimmy reached over and held Sally’s hand. She rested her head on his shoulder. The note she had written stuck out of the front pocket of her jean jacket.
They were discovered in the morning when Sally’s dad went to warm up the car for Sally’s mom. He took the note from Sally’s coat and went back inside to share it with Mrs. Slam.
They took the note next door and showed it to the Jams. It read:
“Moms and Dads,
We’ve had enough of your shit and can’t take it anymore.
Fuck all four of you.
Sally and Jimmy”
“I don’t care if I ever see either of them ever again,” said Jimmy’s mom. Everyone else was thinking it and admired her bravery for saying it.
When Jimmy and Sally expired they found the coupon booth rather quickly because Sally had the foresight to draw a map and Jimmy knew how to read it.
“Please present your coupon,” said the voice from the booth.
“We gave them to you last time, just send us back,” said Sally.
“That is not at all how coupons work. Coupons are only good once. Terms and conditions are clearly printed on the back of the coupon,” explained the voice. A bony hand holding two clipboards with pens tied to them extended from the booth’s opening. “I’m going to need you to fill these out before we proceed.”
“Shit,” muttered Jimmy.
“Goddamn it,” hissed Sally.
“He already has ma’am,” calmly stated the boothling.
There was nothing else for the children to do but fill out their intake forms and wait to be sorted into the proper afterlife. It took a few hours, but at long last the boothling pointed at them and they vanished.
“Kids these days, it’s a real shame,” said the boothling half to himself “The L’il Grove of Suicides is not going to be kind to them.”
End Part One.