An Accountant on the Astral Plane

When I began to lose my corporeal form, first it manifested by dropping things—pens, cups, staplers. An object would be in my hand, then suddenly find itself on the floor. The explanations were obvious for a time—clumsiness. I hadn’t been particularly clumsy as a child, so a sudden descent into it was frustrating. As more objects would seem to slip from my grasp, I became agitated. A coworker’s eyes widened in concern as I cursed at a notepad lying inert on the floor.

The first time I stepped out of my shoe, it tripped me, and I nearly fell between two cubicles. It being a Monday, cries of “must be Monday” erupted with a chorus of laughter. The laughter seemed like it would never end. Faces reddened, people choked, Darrell was taken to the hospital due to an exacerbated cardiac condition.

Not being a meditative person, the thought of transcending planes of existence wasn’t an obvious thesis to me. I tried to concentrate on work. Losing myself in the swirl of spreadsheets and numbers, my mind could live in the timelines of claims: 2015 was forever ago. The world turned in seconds, one name, one balance replaced by another. Each year, hundreds of new names, new claims entered the system. Everything new became old in a moment. Everything ephemeral.

When I reached through my car’s door handle, I knew something was wrong. At first, I thought I had just missed it. So I concentrated. I stared at the chrome handle attached to my red sedan. Slowly, carefully, feeling like an old man trying to balance a cup of water, I reached for the handle. When I did, I watched my hand pass directly through the chrome, emerging whole on the other side. After a panicked moment of glancing around the parking lot (which entailed switching to a bland “have a nice day” smile whenever catching eyes with a coworker walking toward their vehicle), I tried again. This time, concentrating as hard as I could, I reached. And grabbed the handle. The door opened regularly.

Great concentration worked briefly. For a few days I could carefully determine when I needed to reach something, focus on it, and manage to grab it. But when all of my clothing fell off while at the urinal, I didn’t know how I could go on. The other man at the urinal stared, shocked, and the urinal began to flush on its own—no longer reading me there. I tried to gather up my clothing as fast as I could—clothing that kept slipping through my fingers. That night, I received an email saying I was going to have to speak to HR about the “indecent exposure” incident in the morning.

That next morning, concentration stopped working. I could slip between my sheets, couldn’t grab my clothes, couldn’t grab my door handle (but could step right through it). I heard a scream from downstairs when one of my feet casually slipped through the floor by accident. I found I could position myself in space, hang levitated in the room, and move through all of my furniture.

Later that day, however, my retinas stopped catching reflected light, and my sight blinked out. Sound could no longer ring in my eardrums, and everything was silent. I can only think of things that I knew before—all those names, dates, and repeated motions.  Though now I think, minus my job, my sight, my touch, and my hearing, I might be able to finally finish that screenplay. I never seemed to make time for it after work. I’m still working on the last act.

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