While Sally and Jimmy were having their paperwork processed by the Department of Wayward Souls and waiting to be planted in the L’il Grove of Suicides, the adults in their lives were still having a blast.
The partying continued unabated. There were BBQ nights. Murder mystery parties. Costume parties, and drinking contests (among other festivities). Sometimes Mrs. Slam would miss work because she stayed up too late enjoying being relieved of the burden of being Jimmy’s mother. On some mornings, Mr. Jam was seen coming out of Mrs. Slam’s house and Mr. Slam could be seen sneaking into the backdoor of the Jam residence.
Sally’s Aunt Witch and Jimmy’s Wizard Uncle often found themselves waking up next to each other, both with wicked headaches, no pants, and a super dry feeling in their mouths. Their apartments were messes and neither seemed to mind, they were so busy enjoying themselves and each other.
Everbody was having a great time, all the time.
This continued for months and would have continued forever if Jimmy’s Mom’s Dad (AKA Jimmy’s Grand Father) hadn’t stopped by for a visit one day. Jimmy’s Grand Father wasn’t like other Grand Fathers. In many ways he looked normal enough. He was thin, stood about six feet tall, and had gray hair which was always sternly parted to the side. Pretty standard Grandpa stuff.
His pockets always held candy and a joke was always right behind his teeth, waiting to jump out and cause smiles and laughter no matter what else was going on.
He would often carry a cane, even though he walked just fine without it. This may be considered unusual, but was hardly a trait capable of causing a ruckus.
What was different about Jimmy’s Grand Father was that he was a Magician of sorts. He wasn’t like Sally’s Aunt Witch or Jimmy’s Wizard Uncle, even though he taught Jimmy’s Uncle everything he knew about magic (Jimmy’s Mom wasn’t interested in magic and her Dad never forced the issue) their magic styles had very little in common.
Jimmy’s Mom’s Dad was more like a spirit world lawyer. He could summon just about any spirit and make it do his bidding. He could also make ghosts leave places they shouldn’t have been in the first place and other stuff like that.
Jimmy’s Uncle, on the other hand, didn’t spend much time with spirits. He knew enough about them to bring kids back from the dead, but his main focus was on telling the future and helping people win card games. That’s how most witches and wizards make their living these days.
So the day came when Jimmy’s Grand Pa knocked on his daughter’s front door unannounced. The Jams and Slams were enjoying a rousing Gin fueled game of Canasta when he arrived.
Mrs. Slam answered the door and went pale with embarrassment at the sight of her father. He smiled and said “Hello Hazel, how’s my little girl?”
“Juss fine. Come ooooooon in” slurred Jimmy’s mom. She thought she wasn’t slurring and that she seemed perfectly normal but parents know things about their children and magicial parents know more than regular parents. Even though Jimmy’s Mom knew this, it still didn’t stop her from pretending everything was ‘Juss fine’.
Mrs. Jam’s Father kissed her on the cheek and ignored how drunk everyone was while taking his coat off.
“Sorry to stop by unannounced like this, but I was in the neighborhood and came to see if Jimmy wanted to go get some ice cream, unless he’s dead again. That little scamp, always dying.”
Jimmy’s mom made a sour face which let her father know that Jimmy was not only dead, but had been so for some time.
“He’s dead again, huh?” Jimmy’s Grand Pa asked while patting his daughter’s shoulder. “How long has it been this time?”
“Months. A few months, I think.”
“Months?” he replied. His tone of voice was kind and stern, like he knew he was about to hear some bad news.
Jimmy’s Mom explained the situation to her father. She told him all about how Jimmy and Sally were horrible and that they had decided to leave them dead. She even left out some of the more embarrassing bits about how they’d been behaving and she still sounded like a selfish, self-centered jerk. When she finished, she looked her Father in the eye and waited.
“I see,” said her father in an icy and detached tone.He said nothing as he looked around the house and noted the adult-made messes. Dishes piled up in the sink. The trash bag was overflowing. Empty bottles and underpants were everywhere. The Jams and Slams had made a mess of their place and didn’t mind at all.
When he was done he cast a cool glance at everyone present, silently communicating his disgust.
He wasn’t mad or angry, he was disappointed and that was much worse.
It doesn’t matter how old your are, when your parents are disappointed in you, it hurts in a special kind of way. Every child knew this, even Jimmy and Sally. They just didn’t care about how they felt or made people feel- but they could still feel just the same.
The other adults looked at Jimmy’s Grand Father and suddenly felt like children again. The Slams quietly excused themselves and drunkenly slunk out the back door. They went to their bedroom to think about how they had been behaving.
Jimmy’s second dad put on a pot of coffee and waited for his Father-In-Law to continue speaking. Minutes passed. They seemed like days (even though they weren’t).
When Jimmy’s Grand Father spoke, he did so in quiet, hushed tones. When he was done, both his child and her second husband were staring at the floor with tears in their eyes.
“I’m going to go take care of this,” was the last thing he said before putting his coat on and leaving. The door made a quiet click that was louder than any angry door slam could have been.
Jimmy’s parents sat in silence for a while and then, without saying a word started cleaning up the giant mess they had made.
When Jimmy’s Grand Father got home he went into a special room and put on a special black and white robe. He lit some regular candles and a few special ones. With a piece of chalk he drew a circle on the floor and in the circle he drew a square and in the square he drew a triangle. When he finished he lit some incense and chanted while he waited for the smoke to fill the room.
Before long the smoke began to take the shape of an older woman.
“Hello, Sam” replied the old-woman-shaped smoke.
They smiled at each other and Sam explained to the spirit of Jimmy’s Grand Mother what had happened.
“Oh, dear,” she said. “That’s horrible. I suppose we could put in a transfer request and have the children’s souls reassigned somewhere nicer.”
“That’s what I was thinking. Would you like to try and locate them while I start filing the paperwork?”
“Of course, my love, I’ll get on it right away and let you know in your dreams tonight,” said the shade. The smoke was still there, but it was just smoke now.
Jimmy’s Grand Father pulled out a notebook and filed a motion to transfer souls and filed a movement to appoint himself “Guardian Ad Intothelightum” of Jimmy and Sally until they could be revived and brought back to the land of the living.
Grand Ma Jam found Jimmy and Sally in the L’il Grove of Suicides and reported this information in Grand Pa’s dream. They talked for a while and even danced a bit before morning came.
Later that day Jimmy’s Grand Pa finished filing all his motions and movements- and even a few easements, just to be sure. When he dreamed that night, Grand Ma Jam told him everything had been filed with the proper authorities and the children would be processed on a first come, first served basis.
With any luck Sally and Jimmy would be back on this side of the Veil in a few days, a week at the most.
But that’s not what happened. You see, paper work is a tricky thing and courts are even trickier. Jimmy and Sally’s case was held up by an incompletely filled out form DD214. Jimmy’s Grand Pa had forgotten to initial page two of the document. This form was mandatory for any kind of after life transfer, and without a correctly filled out and filed DD214, the kids were stuck in the Grove of Suicides.
Jimmy’s Grandparents tried for months that stretched into years in order to correct the form and file all the other auxiliary paper work. It DID eventually get approved but still nothing happened.
Years later, long after Grand Pop Jam had himself died, Jimmy and Sally were still where they were.
Even more years passed and Jimmy’s second dad expired. Then Sally’s dad passed away. Sally’s mom went to bed a few weeks later and never got up. Jimmy’s mom went to Heaven the next summer. She was not surprised to find Jimmy Jam wasn’t there.
For all those years Jimmy and Sally stood, planted in the ground. Neither of them had been dead this long and it was starting to annoy them both. After a few decades they had grown from saplings into young sturdy soul trees and were dug up and transferred to the young adult section of the Grove.
Eventually a tall man wearing a top hat and a tuxedo entered the Grove of Suicides. He was holding a clip board. He looked through the paperwork for a minute and said “J. Jam and S. Slam please come with me.”
To be concluded…