“Say your prayers,” the chaplain says before we attack the Taliban scum hiding in the village of poor herdsmen and poppy farmers.
I pray all right, but not to go to heaven or hell, places I don’t believe exist. I pray that I live another day to enjoy my time in this world before I return to the dust I once was.
The order to move out comes and I’m in the lead with an IED detector. Those destructive bombs designed to destroy give me nightmares. I wear night vision goggles enabling me to see like a cat in the dark, but I worry that some raghead will flip the switch when I get close enough to detect the IED, and my Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) won’t save me.
Step by careful step, I advance toward the village and my foot hits metal. I raise my right hand to signal my squad to halt while I check to see if this is an explosive device. Before I can say a word, I’m floating through the air and I smell ozone as I timelessly drift through space tasting putrid, noxious substances. I hold particles of dirt suspended in the atmosphere and hear space debris in forty-seven colors.
I fear God in Heaven may have heard my denouncing, unbelieving words, and they reverberate through my ears. I tell myself, “There isn’t a God nor is there a heaven, or any of those painful places preached to me.”
So, if I’m dead and not in heaven or hell, where in the heck am I? Quantum physics shows a thousand worlds, and zoological impossibilities exist on every one. Quarks and leptons interacting via strong weak and electromagnetic fundamental forces proves that neither exists.
My head is a container full of deception and outright lies filled by priests and other preachers with pie in the sky that I can now see were nothing but lies. I believe what the physicists say, but I better pray anyway, because there’s more than one reality and maybe in the one where I’m going, there is everlasting life if one says he believes in God.
A dove flies by and speaks to me in Italian through a mouth instead of a beak, Non mi interessa dove vado dopo la mia morte (I don’t care where I go after I die), telling me after I pass away heaven or hell is a choice. But energy-filled air may be my paradise and is another place to go without Saint Peter waiting at the gate.
This is not what I expect to see after I expire. My expectations are nothingness. No thoughts or visions, just quiet and peace, but with the thoughts running through my mind like they are, I wonder if I’m still alive. I hit the ground and feel the pain where my legs used to be.
I try to feel my wound and discover my arms are gone too. I fear my penis is gone and if it is, I don’t want to live.
I can see and feel my pain, but that’s all I can do. I wish I had never prayed to live another day, because it is answered, and I said I didn’t believe in God, so it must be Him that’s punishing me by allowing me to live like this.