PREVIOUSLY ON BOOKSHELF Q. BATTLER AND THE MEANING OF LIFE…
Our hero, Bookshelf Q. Battler, host of a mediocre book blog with a modest sum of 3.5 readers, died on the toilet after eating a toaster pastry infused with a lightning bolt. He woke up in God’s Waiting Room, where William Shakespeare, his spirit guide, advised him that he must return to the land of the living and seek out the meaning of life. Doing so will provide him with a brief, fleeting moment of contentment, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s the best the never satisfied, endlessly consuming mankind can ever hope for. The waitress sends BQB back to Earth with a kiss…
AND NOW BOOKSHELF Q. BATTLER AND THE MEANING OF LIFE CONTINUES…
Kiss. Nothing. Kiss. Darkness. My head felt light. I felt like I was floating. Another kiss.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Kiss.
Slowly, the darkness gave way to the light. I woke up in a hospital room, attached to various beeping machines. A great big pair of nasty, gross, chapped old lady lips were coming straight at me.
“OH! OH THANK GOD! OH MY LITTLE BOOKSHELF Q. BATTLER!” the old woman cried. “I’M SO HAPPY YOU’RE ALIVE!”
“Aunt Gertie?” I asked.
Aunt Gertie stood over my bed, wearing her big black horn rimmed glasses and a flower print muumuu dress. Her gray hair was wrapped up in a beehive. She was from the old country, a place where they believed it was acceptable to kiss relatives on the lips. Dirty third world communists.
“I wasn’t sure if anyone would miss me,” I said.
“Are you kidding?” Aunt Gertie asked. “When you didn’t post this morning, your 2.5 regular readers and I were very concerned! I went straight to your place and found you passed out cold on the John!”
“Wow,” I said.
“And between you and me,” Aunt Gertie said. “I’d keep an eye on Bookshelf Q. Battle Dog. You couldn’t have been out for more than a few hours and he was already nibbling on your carcass.”
“I forgot to feed him,” I said. “Yet I made myself a toaster pastry. Now I feel selfish.”
A man in a lab coat with a stethoscope hanging around his neck entered the room.
“Bookshelf Q. Battler!” the man said, reaching over to shake my hand. “Dr. Goetleib here. I see you’ve come out of the coma! It was pretty touch and go there for awhile. The other doctors and I had a pool as to whether or not you’d make it. Looks like I’m out a hundred bucks.”
“My own doctor bet against me?” I asked.
“What can you do?” Dr. Goetleib said, shrugging his shoulders. “That’s Obamacare for you.”
“I guess this is the first case of a man dying on the toilet while trying to evacuate a trapped bolt of concentrated lightning he ate in the form of a cherry toaster pastry,” I said.
“Not at all,” Dr. Goetleib replied. “In fact, now that you’re awake, you’d better read this.”
The doctor handed me a pamphlet. I opened it up and read it.
“SO YOU DIED ON THE TOILET WHILE TRYING TO EVACUATE A TRAPPED BOLT OF CONCENTRATED LIGHTNING THAT YOU ATE IN THE FORM OF A CHERRY TOASTER PASTRY?”
Chapter One – How to Resist Lightning Infused Treats
Chapter Two – How Sitting on the Bowl Causes a Ricochet, Sending the Bolt Straight Back Up You Know Where
Chapter Three – Why Next Time You Should Just Relieve Yourself in the Backyard
Chapter Four – Make Sure the Neighbors Aren’t Around First
“Happens more often than you’d think,” Dr. Goetleib said. “I wrote a whole thesis on it.”
“I still don’t feel so good,” I said.
“Of course you don’t,” Dr. Goetleib said. “You just did an imitation of Zeus with the wrong body part, my friend. You’ll need a few days to recover.”
The doctor pointed to a table next to my bed. Sitting on it was a large balloon in the shape of a donut.
“What is that?” I asked.
“That is your hemorrhoid relaxation device,” Dr. Goetleib said. “Or in laymen’s terms, ‘a butt pillow!’”
“What am I supposed to do with it?”
“You sit on it!” Dr. Goetleib said. “To relax your posterior from the burdensome pain it was caused when you literally crapped lightning!”
“I can’t believe this,” I said.
“Cheer up,” Dr. Goetleib said. “It could be worse. You could be that poor bastard they rolled in here last week. Guy hanged himself after he couldn’t take one more night alone writing Firefly fan fiction.”
“Oh my God,” I said, leaning up in the hospital bed. “Aunt Gertie! My one post a day challenge!”
“Don’t worry,” Aunt Gertie said. “I posted on your blog for you.”
“About waffles?” I asked.
“No,” Gertie said. “About the existential subtext behind predetermined contextual imagery in sixteenth century peasant poetry.”
“Seriously?” I asked.
“No dearie,” Gertie replied. “I wrote that you like danishes.”
“Changing it up on the breakfast food posts,” I said. “I like it.”
“Mr. Bookshelf,” Dr. Goetleib asked, “If you don’t mind me asking, what experiences, if any, did you incur while you were in the coma?”
“It was the weirdest thing, Doc,” I said. “I was in a 1930’s speakeasy. I was dressed like an old timey gangster. Abe Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Jim Morrison and Cleopatra were playing drinking games. Teddy Roosevelt cheated at cards and Lucille Ball punched him in the face. John Wayne bellied up to the bar at one point. Liberace even played the piano! Then, William Shakespeare explained to me how I needed to find the meaning of life while a beloved female celebrity of my generation who died too soon brought me free drinks and snacks!”
“Wow,” Dr. Goetleib said.
“Does that mean anything, doctor?” Aunt Gertie asked.
“Yup,” Dr. Goetleib said. “Your nephew must have wacked his head pretty hard on the back of the toilet tank before he passed out. Not to bore you with technical terms, but I think he might have gone nutsy cuckoo. We’ll do a psych eval, but he should get back to normal soon. You can take him home this evening. Call me if he’s still babbling about dead historical celebrities in a week.”
I leaned back in the hospital bed and shook my head.
“Well played, God,” I thought. “Well played.”
What is in store for BQB when he returns to the Bookshelf Battle Compound? Find out tomorrow on BQB and the Meaning of Life!
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Old lady and doctor photos courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.