Out of body? – out of your mind.
I think I am having a heart attack. Cardiac arrest, at best, is an awful inconvenience. That old pump beating erratically in my breast. Then all is black. What rotten luck! Until…
“Now my chest is still I suppose, because from where I hover, I spy it : ‘neath my vest, in repose. ” I think. Hmm, not bad that, reminds me of Milton. Hang on? The old Brainbox… working?
I am obscenely serene : I realise that this is due to oxygen starvation of my prefrontal cortex or some such… but it’s still a splendid wheeze.
While the doctors administer their ministrations below, I know that the flow of my old crude has increased enough for my eyes to see.
“Still feels like floating though.” I think. Am I thinking?
“I say!” I say.
It appears Yours Truly is moving down a tunnel, and at a fair old clip at that. I suppose all that adrenaline they’re pumping into your humble narrator has widened his pupils a couple of notches; the quack [ Dr R. Kimble, who is cousin to the Earl of Rochester you know! ] is probably shining his little light into my spheres to boot.
So as I say, here I am, hurtling down this absurd tube when I catch sight of this chap. He looks a peculiar bird, all radiant robes and whathaveyou; queer sort of look on his face.
“What-ho!” say I.
“Good afternoon Sir.” comes the rather staid reply.
“Just what the devil is all this about?” I inquire, somewhat nonplussed by the fellow’s attitude.
“It seems, Sir, that you are experiencing not an inconsiderable trauma to your person.”
“That’s all very well my good man, but I have a luncheon appointment to keep!”
“I believe it was the aforementioned luncheon, Sir, that precipitated your current predicament.”
“Really? What… so I’m dead you mean?” said I, thinking on my feet as it were. “Turned my toes up? But then who, by Odin’s beard, are you?”
“I’m your subconscious Sir … or rather, I am an aspect of the hallucinatory incident that you are undergoing.”
“Good show! ” I said stoically, ” but why the outrageous togs?”
“I believe Sir, that it is simply a ‘marker’, if I you will allow the term, that you have absorbed from the popular culture.”
“Well I never! You mean to say that all this is cooked up by my very own noggin?”
“In a manner of speaking Sir. Your “noggin”, especially the hippocampus, is indeed quite severely deprived of the oxygen that it needs to operate in a satisfactory fashion. I should warn you Sir, that this may also result in a sort of ‘life review’ as abnormal electrical activity in your temporal lobe gives rise to feelings of the immaterial presence of people from your past or, veritably, simulacrums such as myself.”
And wouldn’t you know it, I fancied that I could spy a couple of relatives knocking around in the background, giving me disparaging looks. Uncle Bert was the worst – he always did display a particular animus towards the old self. Ever since I mistakenly winged his dog Hubert whilst hunting pheasant. The mutt itself bore no malice, always accepting a game of ‘throw and retrieve’ with grace and humility, even enthusiasm … and with just the three pins.
“But… dash it all!” said I. ” How long is this nonsense going to go on? I’m expected for dinner at eight. I feel positively chipper.”
“I am of the opinion that it greatly depends upon the success of the resuscitation procedures implemented Sir. Your relatively jovial demeanour appears to be due to the failure of prefrontal function.”
“And this bally floating sensation?”
“Abnormal sensory information from muscle spindles Sir.”
“Hmm, I see. Well. That’s that then.”
“Nothing pertinent Sir.”
“Well, crivens, if this is a Near Death Experience, what happened to the poor saps before we’d developed this resuscitation malarkey?”
“It was much the same Sir, just without the Near or the Experience.”
As I came round, my bed adrift in the crowd of folk there gathered, like a fresh fallen snow drift, I allowed myself a chuckle as I shifted ‘mongst the covers. I gave no thanks above nor below, but to that old quack Kimble who had cracked my sternum with his knuckle.
“Dashed good show old man!” I bleated.
“Please relax Sir, you’ve had an awful shock.” said old Dr K.
“Nonsense Kimble, you’re hysterical. Jenkins?” I croaked. “Ready my evening wear! I have a dinner date with Ms Kensington-Smythe at eight.”