Frank fell hard onto something soft. It moved. Frank looked around him. As far as he could see, there was nothing but naked bodies of all shapes and sizes under an expanse of white nothing. Just legs, hands, feet, arms attached to heads. And most of the heads were screaming.
“Do you have a sense of humor?” A voice broke through the mass hysteria.
Frank turned and found the source of sanity in the form of a large, hairy man. His left leg was pinned under Frank’s right; his arm was being held tight by an old woman who was not moving.
“Please don’t do the freak out thing, you look like you’re going to do the freak out thing, just…don’t,” the man said, cringing slightly.
“What? What is the freak out thing?”
A few yards in front of them a teenage boy fell from the sky. He sat up and looked around at the endless sea of squirming meat. His eyes bulged and he joined in the chorus of screams. The large hairy man winced. “That,” he said. “Oh would you shut up!” he yelled.
But, the boy only continued to scream. He got up and began scrambling away over the crowd. “It’s no use!” the man called after the boy.
He turned to Frank. “It really is no use. This is it, as far as you go in any direction. Oh well. What’s your name?”
The man wiggled his arm free from the old woman and held a hand out to Frank, Frank took it.
“So, you got a sense of humor Frank?”
“Well, this feels like one of those eternal damnation sort of things and I’d hate to be stuck in it next to someone without a sense of humor.”
“Why are we stuck here?” Frank asked.
“Look around you! What do you think is under those nice folks under you? It’s just more perfectly nice folks. Perfectly nice folks, all the way down.”
“Who knows, it just keeps piling up.”
“Coming in the same way you did. The same way I did a while ago. I scrambled a bit and finally settled on this nice fellow here.” Charlie motioned to a face peering out from between his legs. “Who incidentally doesn’t have a sense of humor. And now, you’ve come and fallen on top of me.”
Frank took it all in. While he considered his situation, Charlie ripped a bit of hair off the head of the old woman next to him. He put it in his mouth and began to chew on it. She jerked her head up and glared at him.
“What’d you do that for!” she snapped him.
He shrugged. “I’m bored. It’s not like you need it.”
She slapped his face. “It is a matter of dignity!”
Charlie looked over at Frank and rolled his eyes. Then, he waved his hand out over the crowd. “Are you serious?” he asked the old woman.
She yanked his arm back under her, muttered something and went back to not moving.
He looked back at Frank. “So, you got a sense of humor or not?”
Frank ignored him. “So, there is no way out?”
Charlie looked at him as a parent might look at a child who has now asked for another damn bed time story.
“Look. You’re welcome to try if you’re feeling particularly nimble and want to thrash your way through a sea of confused people. Huh? Yeah, I thought not.”
“So, this is hell, then?” Frank decided.
“Depends who you ask. I personally believe we are actually all just back to being sperm and this is one great big ball-sack.”
Charlie laughed a loud and full laugh. It fought outward against the cacophony of screams. Frank only stared. When Charlie had caught his breath, he sighed.
“No sense of humor then, huh?”
“I have a sense of humor. I just don’t find anything too funny right now.”
“Well, tell a joke then! I promise, it will make you feel better.”
“I don’t know any jokes.”
“Bullshit. Look, tell a joke. If it doesn’t make you feel better, I’ll shut up.”
Frank thought for a moment. There was a joke his son used to tell. He tried not to think about his son, buried under dozens of other people, terrified. He shook his head clear.
“Uh…what did the corn say when it’s pants fell down?”
“Aw, shucks,” Frank said and immediately began chuckling to himself, remembering his son tell it so long ago.
Charlie stared over at him, stone faced. Frank wiped a humorous tear from his eye.
Frank felt his arm slam down into someone below him as an obese nude man fell from the sky on top of it. The man looked into Frank’s eyes, looked around at the vibrating mass of horror, then to Charlie. Charlie broke a hopeful smile.
“Do you have a sense of humor?” Charlie asked.
The man’s eyes went wide and he began screaming. “Oh God! Oh my God!” he said, over, and over. Charlie rubbed the middle finger of his free hand into his temple and closed his eyes.
“This is going to be a long fucking eternity,” he said.