Heaven Isn’t a Good Place to be a Punk
by Melvin Corey Young
My name is Ian. I am a dead man. I know, right now you’re thinking “ZOMBIE”. Nah. None of that crap. I’m not a zombie. I’m not a sparkle in the sunlight vampire. I sure as hell am not a werewolf that seems to constantly forget his shirt even though I live in cold, rainy Washington. I am post living as in passed on to a better place. Dead, like you will be one day.
All of my life I tried to be a good person. I was kind to everyone, even those that were mean to me. I always just thought if someone was mean, it just meant that they had problems somewhere like home or something. The mean kids in school were that way because their parents were abusive or alcoholics. Maybe even both. I just gave everyone slack and tried to show kindness even in the face of anger.
I am not claiming that I was perfect or a pacifist. Once a bully tried to hit me. I hit him hard in the face and broke his nose. I had limits. I follow a straight edge lifestyle. No drugs, tobacco, Booze, and no promiscuous sex. Most of the time I avoided caffeine and for awhile I was even vegan. Animals are my buddies, even the ones that aren’t all cute and adorable.
I would go to parties and and sometimes things would get out of hand. We fought. Sometimes out of anger and sometimes just out of boredom. These weren’t my brothers and sisters but they were my family of choice, just like with blood related families, people do not always get along. I didn’t give others crap if they respected me. I didn’t force my sense of morals on others, not even the meat eaters. Well ok, I did throw some red paint on a few women that wore fur coats. But what can I say… they deserved it. They wore animals that were killed in barbaric ways just to make gaudy fur coats. There are no acceptable reasons to kill animals for sport or coats that make people look like walking road kill. I hope the coats were ruined and they decided to not buy another. Sometimes the best way to make people think about their actions is to offend them. There will always be some “people” that are really just walking semi-thinking sacks of human tissue that are better off being used to heal burn patients.
Anyway, I died. I was flying up I-80 in my Camaro and didn’t notice the truck that was pulled off to the side of the road. I guess I should have waited a few minutes until I stopped at Costco to reply to my girlfriends text. I remember glancing down at the screen of my iPhone and seeing her message “Remember no texting while driving Baby”. Priceless. I don’t remember any pain. Just hearing the last part of look back and laugh, by Minor Threat as I bled out on the road. My Camaro was probably totalled. That really pisses me off. It was almost paid off. My vision just went black like in the movies, just black.
I woke up a little groggy and tired. A man in a white coat looked down at me and said “Just lay still, it takes a bit to wake up after you rise.”
“You’re ok, just rest.”
I woke up after I don’t know how long. This time a pretty redheaded woman in a long white gown was there at my bedside. She looked familiar to me. Her voice was warm and relaxing.
“Hello Ian.” she said in that wonderful tone.
I couldn’t say anything.
“It’s ok. Right now just listen.”
“You died texting and are in Heaven now.”
“Where?” I half moaned.
“Dead … Heaven.”
I thought she had to be nuts, that the men in the little white coats would come and put her in a coat with the sleeves strapped to the back and take her away screaming. The room looked just like a normal hospital rooom and smelled just as bad. Bleach and disinfectant hung in the air. The walls were an especially normal hospital off white color. Bright sunlight bathed everything in a freaky glow.
She gave me a moment to focus, then said “You’ll feel like yourself soon. Let’s walk a little, it will help.”
The ground felt kinda soft but was ok to walk on.
“Heaven is a lot like earth but there is no evil.”
“Who are you?”
“My name is Elizabeth McKay, your grandmother. “
“Yeah, Bullshit.” I stuttered.
“Yes they most certainly do.” She gave me a little crooked smile that made me place her. She died when I was young. All I remember about her is that she called me Eanie and that she liked Ramen noodles and Pepsi. I was overwhelmed. I passed out like a street punk that has had one too many Pabst Blue Ribbons. In heaven everyone looks like they are twenty years old and in perfect health.
I woke up and had a good look around. Everyone wore pretty much the same thing. How boring, there was no sense of individuality. The music was all the same kind of song just other people sang them. I couldn’t even find some mellow pop punk to listen to. There sure wasn’t anything near Minor Threat. At least there was no Justin Bieber, but I guess he’s continuously played in hell. The food rocked. It was all wonderful and had no calories or fat. The meat looked like tofu but tasted like meat does on Earth. The apples were huge and sweet.
The first day I was assigned to one of the many choirs that did nothing but sing church songs all day, I mean all day as in that’s all we did. Sing sing sing blah blah blah. After we finally finished singing, I went home. There was really nothing to do but watch tv. The only thing on was a continuous stream of Disney movies. In all my time on Earth, I never watched more than five Disney movies, but now that’s all there was. I was in Hell but it was called Heaven.
The second day I went to choir and it was the same thing, more singing, all day. The same songs as the day before. Then, after choir, more Disney movies. Something awoke in me, the punk attitude that if you don’t like something, you change it. I started doing little things. I went to lunch and stood on the table and yelled “LONG LIVE ROCK AND ROLL.” People just looked at me and stared in disbelief. There’s nothing like a shocked angel to make you smile. Their face just blushes a better shade of red that you have ever seen on Earth. I loved it. I started doing things in Heaven the way we did on Earth. I drew big letter X’s on both my hands and flashed them to people. Some knew that it was used on Earth to show support for the straight edge movement. Some just thought I was bored and drawing on myself.
Things got a little worse after that. When I went to choir, they made me stand in the back row. I hated the back row. You have to walk up literally a thousand stairs to get to it. Even in Heaven, if you walk that much your legs get tired. Then I went home and expected to watch another Disney movie, but all there was on my tv was a choice of little house on the prairie or the Waltons.
I stepped up my rebellion. When I went to public places I would say things to people like “ I heard that the Doors are playing in Hell, and they have new music.” People were shocked, no one believed I would say things like that. One of the most shocking things to people was when I would talk about the virtues of fighting “THE MAN”. People would just avoid looking at me. I found it kind of awesome. soon I was not allowed to sing in choir, but I still had to climb to the back row. I would sit there and sing Minor Threat or Fugazi songs to myself. I started to wonder what I could do that would get me kicked out of Heaven. Did I want to leave? Hell didn’t seem like it would be a better place. It would probably be worse. I was sure it would be the same Disney movie all the time. I tried talking to my grandmother but all she would do was recommend that I conform. Conform, gag. Conformity just isn’t something that I am capable of.
A week after I arrived, I was given a “talking to” by the head of my sector. This was a warning that I was messing up. I kept up my little rebellion and soon I was made to sit outside the gates on a little stool and wasn’t allowed dessert. I liked being outside on my own. It was a good place to be. In the afterlife, you don’t have to really make anything by hand, you just imagine it and it appears. I started thinking up houses and roads. I thought about my awesome Camaro that I wrecked on earth and BAM there it was. I drove and drove blasting punk songs all the way. The outskirts of Heaven is a huge place, plenty of room to do what I wanted.
Rumors about me spread. Other people started to join me. Soon we had enough people that we could form a little council. We established a way of doing things. Punk in the afterlife as it was on Earth. We named our new space “The Edge”. It was great. No real leader, no real laws. Just punk principles and a straight edge lifestyle. We had bands that put on shows for us. We did what we wanted. There was no Disney and no Beiber. For us life is now a continual blast. The Edge is a great place to be. Every so often, I think of my old girlfriend. Her name is Connie. She is still alive and is now a married mother of two little kids. I watch over them sometimes. One kind of looks like me. I heard Connie tell her mother that he is my son. She chose to name him Ian. He has the same inner fire that I do. I feel bad that I’m not there to help raise him to be a good person. The man that Connie married two years after I died is a street punk. He has some of the same values that I do. Hank is his name. I am sure Hank will teach him right. Ian plays bass in a band. I guess even though I am dead, a little of me lives on in him.
The Edge is everything that I wanted it to be. I look forward to having the rest of my friends and family move here when they die. But for now I focus on having a good relationship with God and not making him mad enough to kick my ass down to Hell. I am allowed to visit God once in awhile. I was totally shocked that he has a really large record collection. There are even a few bands that I listen to in his collection.
Sometimes you have to find something inside yourself that makes you happy, even if it means that you have to go against the way things are. You are the only being that is responsible for your happiness. If you are a good person and treat others well, you will get the respect that you deserve. All are welcome here. Even Bieber fans. Well ok, Bieber fans have to promise to not cry for him. Other that that, Heaven is a good place to rock and roll.