Robert glanced anxiously across the desk at
the official reading his dossier. So......what could I be
I see you were a traffic warden in
your last life - a good one too.
Robert was relieved. I thought giving
a ticket to that old lady who was thirty seconds overdue might
count against me, what with her having been delayed at her
No, that was fine. You were just
doing your duty, which is what we want. You werent to know
it but her husband was dead because shed poisoned him
together with five previous spouses. That ticket was a small
karmic warning of retribution to come. Youve no idea how
often spontaneous acts of kindness and generosity disrupt the
I thought that forgiveness was good?
Not if its undeserved. Im
afraid weve had to reincarnate several saintly individuals,
like Gandhi and Mother Teresa, several steps down the rebirth
ladder for indiscriminately easing the lot of the poor. Those
buggers were supposed to be suffering for what theyd done
in previous lives.
So what can I be next?
Well, you could be a car park
attendant, or even a painter of road markings.
I was rather hoping to get away from
the traffic - perhaps a doctor or lawyer?
This is the Road Traffic
Department of the Afterlife, you know. Before you can move on
from here you have to work your way up to being at least a
Robert thought for a moment. What
would have happened if Id failed as a traffic warden?
May have gone back as a wheel-clamper.
And failed wheel-clampers?
So thats the bottom of the
Not totally. In the Road Traffic
Department, if you fail as a hedgehog you go back as Jeremy
Dont worry, youre a long
way from that.
What else could I be?
Well, weve got a special offer
on at the moment on a two location life.
Youd spend the first twenty
years of your working life, from the age of eighteen, as a
service station attendant in California and the last fifteen
years as a car salesman in Paris.
Robert paused, checking the calculations on
his fingers. That means I die at 53?
Thats why its on special
offer. The official inspected the itinerary. It
appears that you get run over by the reincarnation of that old
lady you gave the ticket to after her husbands funeral.
Those guys in the Karma Department sure have an eye for irony.
What have you got where I can live
for one hundred years?
Nothing. An asteroid hits the Earth
seventy-two years from now and thats curtains for everyone.
Unless you fancy being a bacteria at a hot volcanic vent in the
deep ocean. The official picked up a new folder and flicked
through the pages. Mind you, you would get to live for ten
thousand years before you got eaten.
Eaten by what?
Well, you remember that old lady you
gave the ticket to.......?