Aphelion Issue 239, Volume 23
May 2019
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Pappy’s Trip

by C. E. Gee

The door was closed; the sounds of the busy hospital were blocked out. The soft sobbing of Pappy’s wife and occasional beeping from equipment monitoring Pappy’s vital-signs were the only sounds in the room.

Pappy’s wife was in one corner, by the window. Other visitors were gathered together arround Pappy’s deathbed.

In addition to Pappy’s adult son and daughter, there were in-laws, grandchildren, Pappy’s brother, nephews, nieces, grandnieces and grandnephews, a couple of cousins, old friends.

In his far distant youth, Pappy was once a trooper in the Army, fought in a war. Because of his service, Pappy became interested in military history, was a student of the subject. Pappy smiled as he remembered a classic quotation from a World War II general.

Pappy knew it was time to repeat the quote. As if delivering a blessing, Pappy placed one trembling hand upon the head of a small child standing bedside. “I shall return,” declared Pappy in a surprisingly deep, smooth, firm voice.

Pappy laughed. He had achieved his lifelong dream; Pappy got the last laugh. Pappy then died.


The darkness was infinite. But one blazing sphere of light beckoned. Pappy moved toward the light. Then, Pappy remembered.

When still among those not yet dead, Pappy, a genius, had formulated many unusual, unique theories. One theory was that after death, embracing the light eliminated all sense of self, wiped clean all impressions experienced in the previous incarnation. Thus, when a soul was reborn it would know nothing of the material world.

Pappy turned away from the light, returned to Earth. Pappy’s soul traveled around North America, sought out and found a human egg at the moment of fertilization. Before any other soul had a chance at it, Pappy occupied the fertilized egg.

Pappy had nine months to transfer his knowledge to the fetus as its mind developed.

Shortly after rebirth, Pappy, tightly swaddled in a receiving blanket, found himself in his new mother’s arms. Father stood nearby.

Pappy cleared his throat, licked his lips. Pappy had spent much of his previous incarnation as a telecommunications technician. It was time to bring his experiences as such into play.

In a high, squeaky voice, Pappy said, “Audio check. Testing, one, two, three, four, five; five, four, three, two, one. Testing, testing, testing.”

Pappy gazed up at his mother as his father exclaimed, “What the . . . ?!”

Pappy then declared, “I have returned.”

Pappy laughed. Pappy got his first laugh of a new age. Humanity would never be the same. Pappy was reborn. He had achieved eternal life.

Pappy had a mission. It was his destiny to teach others what he had learned.

Soon, humanity would join other immortal beings of the universe in achieving eternal life. Earth would become as it is in the heavens.

Pappy was amused.

2018 C. E. Gee

Born in 1947, C.E. Gee misspent his youth at backwater locales within Oregon and Alaska.

He’s answered many callings: logger, factory worker, meat packer, infantryman (Vietnam war draftee, 1968), telecommunications technician, volunteer fireman and EMT, light show roady, businessperson, webmaster.

Retired, also a severely disabled veteran (PTSD), Chuck now writes Science Fiction.

His blog is at https://kinzuakid.blogspot.com

Find more by C. E. Gee in the Author Index.

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